Though the press of the State was largely in our favor, yet there were some editors who, having no arguments, exercised the little wit they did possess in low ridicule. It was in this campaign that an editor in a Kalamazoo journal said: “That ancient daughter of Methuselah, Susan B. Anthony, passed through our city yesterday, on her way to the Plainwell meeting, with a bonnet on her head looking as if it had recently descended from Noah’s ark.” Miss Anthony often referred to this description of herself, and said, “Had I represented twenty thousand voters in Michigan, that political editor would not have known nor cared whether I was the oldest or the youngest daughter of Methuselah, or whether my bonnet came from the ark or from Worth’s.”
THE SPIRIT OF ’76.
The year 1876 was one of intense excitement and laborious activity throughout the country. The anticipation of the centennial birthday of the Republic, to be celebrated in Philadelphia, stirred the patriotism of the people to the highest point of enthusiasm. As each State was to be represented in the great exhibition, local pride added another element to the public interest. Then, too, everyone who could possibly afford the journey was making busy preparations to spend the Fourth of July, the natal day of the Republic, mid the scenes where the Declaration of Independence was issued in 1776, the Government inaugurated, and the first national councils were held. Those interested in women’s political rights decided to make the Fourth a woman’s day, and to celebrate the occasion, in their various localities, by delivering orations and reading their own declaration of rights, with dinners and picnics in the town halls or groves, as most convenient. But many from every State in the Union made their arrangements to spend the historic period in Philadelphia. Owing, also, to the large number of foreigners who came over to join in the festivities, that city was crammed to its utmost capacity. With the crowd and excessive heat, comfort was everywhere sacrificed to curiosity.
The enthusiasm throughout the country had given a fresh impulse to the lyceum bureaus. Like the ferryboats in New York harbor, running hither and thither, crossing each other’s tracks, the whole list of lecturers were on the wing, flying to every town and city from San Francisco to New York. As soon as a new railroad ran through a village of five hundred inhabitants that could boast a schoolhouse, a church, or a hotel, and one enterprising man or woman, a course of lectures was at once inaugurated as a part of the winter’s entertainments.