AM OPEN LETTER
To Dr. Ayres, President of the
University of Tennessee.
Dear Sir:—The press reports you as
having delivered an address at Memphis
to the graduates of the public schools
and quotes the two sentences which follow:—
"Woman's suffrage tends to destroy
the home and with it the sweetness of
"All this business of women pushing
themselves into the sual avocations
followed by men is destructive to the
A formal public utterance by one occupying a high position naturally attracts
attention and is calculated to have much
No greater problems for solution have
ever come to any nation than the two
subjects touched upon by you in the
sentences quoted above: those of the
suffrage, and industrialism.
Every human being, man, woman and
child, is vitally interested and should be
impartially considered in the study of
1.—How are the people to sustain
2.—How are the people to be gov-
In the eyes of many there are few
higher positions than that of the presi-
dent of a university; than that of the
man who stands at the head of the edu-
cational system, of a common wealth.
To reach such a position a man is supposed to be versed in the fundamental
principles which underlie ail great ques-
tions of general interest and to have such
depth and breadth of mind as to be able
to interpret them without prejudice or
partiality. Such a man will make a
statement of facts only when he has the
fullest knowledge of the truth of them.
The first day of January there was
organized in Knoxville an Equal Suff-
rage League the object of which is: "to
advance the educational, industrial, legal
and political rights of women and to
secure suffrage to them by appropriate
state and national legislation.
The membership is composed of men
and women, about forty in number. The
object is not selfish nor is there any desire to assert one sex against the other.
Our belief is that the infranchisement of
women will contribute as much to the
betterment of men and children as to
the women and that the home will be
made a better, purer, happier place for
the family and that the influence of this
better family life will radiate and help
to clear that "dirty pool of politics" one
hears spoken of so often. Do you ask
upon what the opinion is based? The
reply is upon principles and upon facts.
As to the principle I refer you to Benjamin Franklin:—"They who have no
voice nor vote in the electing of representatives do not enjoy liberty, but are
absolutely enslaved to those who have
votes and to their representatives for to
be enslaved is to have governors whom
other met) have set over us and to be
subject to laws made by the representatives of others without having had representatives of our own to give consent
in our behalf."
Those who are slaves can never develop into as great characters as those
who are free, hence all children, both
girls and boys, would be benefited if
their mothers were free and independent
both financially and politically.
The fact plain to all who read history
and study human conditions that laws
and customs favorable to women are
the last to be changed as civilization advances because women do not look after
these matters themselves. Some have
been too poor, weak and ignorant to demand improved conditions, while others
have been basking in the lap of luxury
protected and cared for by male relatives
and have been heedless and indifferent to
any higher life.
In conclusion, will you consent to give
a public address in Knoxville setting
forth more fully your views concerning
the advisability of demanding the financial dependence of women upon men and
the continuance of woman's political
Waiting your reply, I remain.
Your humble servant,
L. CROZIER FRENCH.
President Equal Suffrage League.
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