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Of course, there has been a departure from the old in all these cases; I do not question that, but I say it is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel, to make that departure the only basis of judgment of such men as are to-day under the eye of suspicion all along the line.
If the so-called followers of Jesus were his actual followers, it seems to me there would be no such thing in a Christian world as heresy-hunting. The “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you;" the "Overcome evil with good;" the “Love one another," of the Nazarene, it seems to me, do not mean, suspect one another, look for bad things in one another and be glad when you have found them. They mean confidence, they mean trust, they mean faith in one another. We find what we look for. We appropriate from each other that which is akin to something in ourselves.
The world is full of noble men and women; they are in all denominations. They have their shortcomings,—the best of them,—but they are all tending upward, they are all divine. How much better it would be if we could only realize that, and live in an atmosphere of good-will and confidence! Do each other the simple justice of believing in the good which may be in him, putting our faith in that,-idealizing, if you please, that! The impartial historian knows that the heretics of the past are the saints of the present; and it does not take much of a prophet to see that the heretics of to-day are only saints in the making.
Whatever may be the action of assemblies and synods, one can but be impressed with the growing impulse toward the Church of the Spirit in all denominations. The men under the ban are its forerunners, assailed by those who seem unaware of how often it is the letter which kills.
It seems strange, passing strange, to us, who are in a way outside it all, that so much can be made of what seems to us so little. But perhaps it is not so vital as to what the occasion is. The real issue is that for which the Protestant Reformation began its career, and is still continuing its career, the right of private judgment. In that issue is involved the vitality, the progress, the brotherhood of the human race. It is a satisfaction to know that no sophistry, no dogmatism, no arrogance has ever been sufficient, or ever can be sufficient, to stop the onward movement; it is a sweet and serene faith to cherish, that in the end Truth and Justice and Love will bear away the victory.
For lack of time, the discussion of the paper was deferred until the afternoon session.
After a few announcements the morning session was adjourned, the audience joining the SWAYNE FAMILY in singing a hymn.
Sixth Day.—Afternoon Session. Promptly at two o'clock the afternoon session convened with a much larger attendance than at the opening session.
After the singing of a hymn, SAMUEL PENNOCK reported that the Auditing Committee had found the Treasurer's report correct, with a balance of $13.32 remaining in the Treasurer's hands. He also said that there were a few members of the Financial Committee who had not paid their dues, and he urged them to do so as soon as convenient.
The discussion of the papers of the morning being now in order, the Chairman called upon the Rev. Mr. Nichols, of Philadelphia, for a few words. MR. NICHOLS came forward and spoke in substance as follows:
It seems to me Longwood represents one of those centres of liberal thought which are always useful. I am glad to find here a centre which sends out a liberal influence. This is rare in a rural neighborhood, and I think you should congratulate yourselves upon being able to sustain it. I agree with the ideas brought forward in MR. HINCKLEY's paper, read this morning. It is strange that people cannot learn the value of free thought. The stronger my opinion is upon any subject, the more I feel that I should listen to and respect the views of others. It is not exact agreement which we must seek, but a kindred kindly spirit in the consideration of all subjects. If a body of persons are engaged in doing good, others will join them; if they are doing evil, others will not join them. Here at Longwood you are sending forth new light and new hope, and others will learn this and join you. Many Churches have long been at a stand-still. They should not be satisfied in contemplation of where they stand, but be moving on, and learning new truths. Dr. Clark says when he finds himself in the majority he thinks himself in the wrong, because he has been so in the habit of being in the minority. I enjoy the minority if the cause is something which I feel is right. We cannot suppress the movement of free speech nor stay the onward march of truth.
Remarks were also made on the general theme by J. WilLIAMS THORNE and GERTRUDE MAGILL.
MRS. ISABELLA BEECHER HOOKER was then introduced, and spoke eloquently for an hour upon the subject of
MRS. HOOKER said:
The question of woman's rights was settled long ago. Now it is the question of the duty of women to participate in the government of the country, and the duty of the men to help them to do so.
The questions of to-day are largely moral ones. Without women they are handled in a one-sided manner. In this way no true manhood or womanhood can be maintained.
How are our great cities to become fit places for our children to live in without the help of women ? Take New York City, for instance. The women of that city are called upon to help make it a fit place in which to live. I have been seeking for a public office for several years. It is this: I wish to become Superintendent of Police of New York. I am trying to persuade women to do their duty by seeking office. I married at nineteen, and ever since that time my husband and I have been asking each other questions, and both of us are better for it. We have grown by it. Every year we go together to the Legislature and ask for the passage of some bill providing a place for women in the government. Once we got a bill passed through the House, but it was reconsidered in the committee-room, and they argued and argued over it, and it was finally defeated in the Senate, and it has been defeated in the Senate every year since. We cannot manage the older people who have confirmed habits, but we can greatly influence the children.
Some have said that it would be ruinous to our school system to have women upon the school-boards, but where it has been tried the schools have flourished as never before. Our State prisons are filled with men. As soon as they are released they go and help make laws to govern the people. The temperance question will never be settled until women help do it by the ballot. Liquor men have come to the conclusion that when women vote their business will be ruined, and consequently they will ever oppose woman suffrage. When women get the ballot, party fealty will be a second consideration in a candidate; the first consideration will be character. The essential thing will be to have in office men of strong personality. When that time arrives a man will not nominate a bad candidate for office, because he will know his wife and daughters will not support an unfit person. This fact alone is enough argument for woman suffrage.
Instead of having a republic here in the United States we have a male oligarchy. There never has been a republic in the world. This male oligarchy has done as well as it could, -better than women alone, but it has not done the work as well as men and women together could have accomplished it. When there is no division between men and women, and not till then, shall we have a government of the people, for the people, and by the people. The women must be alongside the men in the work.
As an objection to woman suffrage, some say we have too many voters already. If this is the case, why are they continually placing the ballot in the hands of more men? Another objection offered is that, on account of its peculiar nature, women are not fitted to enter politics. As we cannot alter the nature of women, is it not better to alter the nature of politics? I think women are particularly fitted to rule. Economies occur to them which never enter the sublime heads of the men.
Women ought to be politicians. It is one of the greatest sciences, and who will study it as a mother? I have sat in the Congressional galleries at Washington, and wondered how men could condescend to such littlenesses as I there witnessed.
The men say woman does not want to vote. That depends upon how she is asked. They say to her, “What do you want to vote for?" Her children do not want her to do anything which will bring her into disrepute. It has so long been the custom in society for the men to rule that the women are afraid to attempt it. And here is another point scored by those who object to the ballot for women. They say, “Who will take care of the babies while the women go to the polls ?” Ah! that is a question. What would become of the sweet helpless babes while the women were at the polls! For an answer, I should say I think it would be perfectly safe to leave them in the charge of those who formerly cared for them while the women went to pay their taxes.
In the Senate in Washington I saw a colored man taking the oath of allegiance to his country. Oh, for that privilege for myself! I have not as much influence to-day as that black man from Georgia. His enfranchisement made him a power in the land, and my enfranchisement will make me a power in the land,
The duty of the hour for women is to make themselves