John Greenleaf Whittier.
(Read at the Woman's Convention at Washington.)
This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.
I THANK thee for thy kind letter. It would be a great satisfaction to be able to be present at the fortieth anniversary of the Woman's Suffrage Association. But, as that is not possible, I can only reiterate my hearty sympathy with the object of the asso ciation, and bid it take heart and assurance in view of all that has been accomplished. There is no easy royal road to a reform of this kind, but if the progress has been slow there has been no step backward. The barriers which at first seemed impregnabl e in the shape of custom and prejudice have been undermined and their fall is certain. A prophecy of your triumph at no distant day is in the air; your opponents feel it and believe it. They know that yours is a gaining and theirs a losing cause. The wor k still before you demands on your part great patience, steady' perseverance, a firm, dignified, and self--respecting protest against the injustice of which you have so much reason to complain, and of serene confidence which is not discouraged by tempora ry checks, nor embittered by hostile criticism, nor provoked to use any weapons of retort, which, like the boomerang, fall back on the heads of those who use them. You can affor in your consciousness of right to be as calm and courteous as the archangel Michael, who, we are told in Scripture in his controversy with Satan himself, did not bring a railing accusation against him. A wise adaptation of means to ends is no yielding of principle, but care should be taken to avoid all such methods as have disgr aced political and religious parties of the masculine sex. Continue to make it manifest that all which is pure and lovely and of good repute in womanhood is entirely compatible with the exercise of the rights of citizenship, and the performance of the du ties which we all owe to our homes and our country. Confident that you will do this, and with no doubt or misgiving as to your success, I bid you Godspeed. I find I have written to the association rather than to thyself, but as one of the principal origi nators and most faithful supporters, it was very natural that I should identify thee with it.