During the three weeks following the National Woman's Rights Convention held at Cleveland, Oct. 5, 6 & 7th 1853, I travelled through the Southern tier of Counties in N. Y. State, & held meetings in some eight or ten different villages. I talked upon the subject of Temperance.
One year previous to this Miss Emily Clark of Le Roy, N. Y. had passed over the same ground, Lecturing upon the same subject, & had aided the Ladies of several of the villages in forming Women's Temperance Societies. In every place, except Elmira, those societies had never existed after the evening of their beginning. The reason given, by very nearly all the ladies with whom I conversed, for the failure of their societies, was Woman's want of time & money to meet their demands.
Their Temperance meetings could be made interesting &
useful to their members, or others,
unless only by securing the attendance of of persons who could speak to the edification of the People.
Those of their own number who possessed ability to prepare essays, found they had not the command of the leisure hours necessary for their preparation. And to secure the attendance of speakers & Lecturers from abroad, required money & money they possessed not.
Thus as I passed from town to town was I made to feel the great evil of woman's entire dependency upon man, for the necessary means to aid on any & every reform movement. though I had long admitted the wrong, & never, until this time, so fully took in the grand idea of pecuniary & personal independence.
It matters not how overflowing with benevolence toward suffering humanity may be the heart of woman it avails nothing so long as she possesses not the power to act in accordance with those prompting. Woman must
have a purse of her own, & how can this be, so long as the Wife is denied the right to her individual & joint earnings. Reflections like these, caused me to see & really feel that there was no true freedom for woman without the possession of all her property rights, & that these rights could be obtained through legislation only, & if so, the sooner the demand was made of the legislature, the sooner would we be likely to obtain them - This demand must be made by Petitions to the Legislature & that, too at its very next session - How could the work be started. Why, by first holding a Convention & adopting some plan of united action.