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News

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Their Words

Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony
Seneca Falls, December 1, 1853

"Dear Friend,

Can you get any acute lawyer—perhaps Judge Hay is the man—sufficiently interested on our movement to look up just eight laws concerning us—the very worst in all the code? I can generalize and philosophize easily enough of myself; but the details of the particular laws I need, I have not time to look up.

You see, while I am about the house, surrounded by my children, washing dishes, baking, sewing, etc., I can think up many points, but I cannot search books, for my hands as well as my brains would be necessary for that work.

If I can, I shall go to Rochester as soon as I have finished my Address and submit it—and the Appeal too for that matter—to Channing's criticism. But prepare yourself to be disappointed in its merits, for I seldom have one hour undisturbed in which to sit down and write. Men who can, when they wish to write a document, shut themselves up for days with their thoughts and their books, know little of what difficulties a woman must surmount to get off a tolerable production."

 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony
Peterboro, September 10, 1855

Dear Susan,

I wish that I were as free as you and I would stump the state in a twinkling. But I am not, and what is more, I passed through a terrible scourging when last at my father's. I cannot tell you how deep the iron entered my soul. I never felt more keenly the degradation of my sex. To think that all in me which my father would have felt a proper pride had I been a man, is deeply mortifying to him because I am a woman.

That thought has stung me to a fierce decision—to speak as soon as I can do myself credit. But the pressure on me just now is too great. Henry sides with my friends, who oppose me in all that is dearest to my heart. They are not willing that I should write even on the woman question. But I will both write and speak. I wish you to consider this letter strictly confidential.

Sometimes, Susan, I struggle in deep waters.

I have rewritten my "Indian," and given it into the hands of Oliver Johnson, who has promised to see it safely in the Tribune. I have sent him another article on the "Widow's Teaspoons," and I have mailed you one of mine which appeared in the Buffalo Democracy. I have sent six articles to the Tribune, and three have already appeared. I have promised to write for the Una...

I read and write a good deal, as you see. But there are grievous interruptions. However, a good time is coming and my future is always bright and beautiful. Good night.

As ever your friend, sincere and steadfast.

 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony
Seneca Falls, July 4, 1858

Dear Susan,

I went to Junius and read my address on suffrage, which was pronounced very fine. I feel that two or three such meetings would put me on my feet. But, oh, Susan, my hopes of leisure were soon blasted. The cook's brother was taken sick with a fever a few days after you left, and she was obliged to go home. So I have done my work aided by a little girl ever since. But I went to Junius in spite of it all.

I see that Mr. Higginson belongs to the Jeremy Bentham school, that law makes right. I am a disciple of the new philosophy that man's wants make his rights. I consider my right to property, to suffrage, etc., as natural and inalienable as my right to life and to liberty. Man is above all law. The province of law is simply to protect me in what is mine.

 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony
Seneca Falls, December 23, 1859

Dear Susan,

Where are you? Since a week ago last Monday, I have looked for you every day. I had the washing put off, we cooked a turkey, I made a pie in the morning, sent my first-born to the depot and put clean aprons on the children, but lo! you did not come. Nor did you soften the rough angles of our disappointment by one solitary line of excuse. And it would do me such great good to see some reformers just now.

The death of my father, the worse than death of my dear Cousin Gerrit, the martyrdom of that grand and glorious John Brown—all this conspires to make me regret more than ever my dwarfed womanhood. In times like these, everyone should do the work of a full-grown man. When I pass the gate of the celestial city and good Peter asks me where I would sit, I shall say, "Anywhere, so that I am neither a negro nor a woman. Confer on me, good angel, the glory of white manhood so that henceforth, sitting or standing, rising up or lying down, I may enjoy the most unlimited freedom." Good night.

 

The Obituary of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The New York Times, October 27, 1902

Rochester, NY, October 26, 1902—The news of the death of Elizabeth Cady Stanton fell with almost crushing weight upon Miss Susan B. Anthony, who had planned to go to New York on November 12 to assist the venerable advocate of women's suffrage in the celebration of her eighty-seventh birthday. Miss Anthony said to-night:

"Through the early days, when the world was against us, we stood together. Mrs. Stanton was always a courageous woman, a leader of thought and new movements. She was a most finished writer, and every State paper presented to Congress or the State Legislatures in the early days was written by Mrs. Stanton.

"I cannot express myself at all as I feel. I am too crushed to say much, but, if she had outlived me, she would have found fine words with which to express our friendship."

"What period of your lives gave you the greatest pleasure?" was asked.

"When we were digging together. When she forged the thunderbolts and I fired them. The greatest campaign we ever had together was in 1869, at the constitutional convention held in Kansas for suffrage and the same year in New York State.

"In spite of her big family, to whom she was devoted, and the great amount of work she did outside her home, she was one of the finest housekeepers I ever saw."

©2000, The New York Times Company