However, those conventions have probably saved the republic. From the readiness with which Pennsylvania legislators responded to the petition of three of four women, acting without concert, in the matter of property rights, it is probable that in a fit of generosity the men of the United States would have enfranchised its women en masse; and the government now staggering under the ballots of ignorant, irresponsible men, must have gone down under the additional burden of the votes which would have been thrown upon it, by millions of ignorant, irresponsible women. Before that time, the unanswerable argument of Judge Hurlbut had been published, and had made a deep impression on the minds of thinking men. Had this been followed by the earnest, thrilling appeals of Susan B. Anthony, free from all alliance with cant and vanity, we should no doubt have had a voting population to-day, under which no government could exist ten years; but those conventions raised the danger signal, and men took heed to the warning.
The period of the Visiter was one of great mental activity—a period of hobbies—and it, having assumed the reform roll, was expected to assume all the reforms. Turkish trowsers, Fourierism, Spiritualism, Vegetarianism, Phonetics, Pneumonics, the Eight Hour Law, Criminal Caudling, Magdaleneism, and other devices for teaching pyramids to stand on their apex was pressed upon the Visiter, and it held by the disciples of each as “false to all its professions,” when declining to devote itself to its advocacy. There were a thousand men and women, who knew exactly what it ought to do; but seldom two of them agreed, and none ever thought of furnishing funds for the doing of it. Reformers insisted that it should advocate their plan of hurrying up the millenium, furnish the white paper and pay the printers. Pond parents came with their young geniuses to have them baptized in type from the Visiter font. Male editors were far away folks, but the Visiter would sympathize with family hopes.
Ah, the crop of Miltons, Shakespeares, and Drydens which was growing up in this land, full forty years ago. What has ever become of them? Here conscience gives a twinge, for that wicked Visiter did advise that parents should treat young genius as scientists do wood, which they wish to convert into pure carbon, i.e., cover it up with neglect and discouragement, and pat these down with wholesome discipline, solid study and useful work, and so let the fire smoulder out of sight.
The policy of the Visiter in regard to Woman’s Rights, was to “go easy,” except in the case of those slave-women, who had no rights. For others, gain an advance when you could. Educate girls with boys, develop their brains, and take away legal disabilities little by little, as experience should show was wise; but never dream of their doing the world’s hard work, either mental or physical; and Heaven defend them from going into all the trades.