Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Half a Century.

The lecture gave an account of the wrongs heaped upon women by slavery, as a reason why women were then called upon for special activity, and I never failed to “bring down the house” by describing the scene in which the tall Kentuckian proposed to the tall Pennsylvanian that he should horsewhip an old woman one hundred and two times, to compel her to earn two hundred dollars with which his mightiness might purchase Havana cigars, gold chains, etc., or to elicit signs of shame by relating the fact of the United States government proposing to withdraw diplomatic relations with Austria for whipping Hungarian women for political offenses, while woman-whipping was the principal industry of our American chivalry.

I stated that men had sought to divide this world into two fields—­religion and politics.  In the first, they were content that their mothers and wives should dwell with them, but in the second, no kid slipper was ever to be set.  Horace Mann had warned women to stand back, saying:  “Politics is a stygian pool.”  I insisted that politics had reached this condition through the permit given to Satan to turn all the waste water of his mills into that pool; that this grant must be rescinded and the pool drained at all hazards.  Indeed the emergency was such that even women might handle shovels.

Chicago had once been in a swamp, but the City Fathers had lifted it six feet.  Politicians must “raise the grade,” must lift their politics the height of a man, and make them a habitation for men, not reptiles.  At this an audience would burst into uproarous applause.

As for the grand division, no surveyor could find the line; for no line was possible between religion and politics.  The attempt to divide them is an assumption that there is some part of the universe in which the Lord is not law-giver.  The Fathers of the Republic had explored and found a country they thought was outside the Divine jurisdiction, and called it Politics.  Because old world government had bowed to popes and prelates, they would ignore Deity, and say to Omnipotence what Canute did to the sea:  “Thus far shalt thou go but no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.”  But God laughed them to scorn, and would certainly dash them to pieces.  The government which they had set up like the golden image of Nebuchadnezzer, and demanded that all should bow before it, this same government was bound to sustain men in scourging women for chastity.  Every man who voted a democratic ticket voted to put down as insurrection any attempt to stand between the cradle and its robber.

I never spoke of the St. Cloud trouble—­there was too much else to talk about.  I was seldom interrupted by anything but applause; but in Stillwater I was hissed for denouncing Buchanan’s administration.  I waited a moment, then lowered my voice, and said I had raised a good many goslings, and thought I had left them all in Pennsylvania, but found some had followed me, and was sorry to have no corn for them.  There was no further interruption.

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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