MARK TWAIN'S VIEW ON VOTES FOR WOMEN
Votes for Women
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Mark Twain's Votes for Women Speech.
It follows the full text transcript of
Mark Twain's Votes for Women speech, delivered at
the Temple Emmanuel in New York, N.Y. - January 20, 1901.
Gentlemen, it is a small help that I can afford,
but it is just such help that one can give as
coming from the heart through the mouth.
The report of Mr.
Meyer was admirable, and I was as interested in
it as you have been. Why, I'm twice as old as
he, and I've had so much experience that I would
say to him, when he makes his appeal for help:
"Don't make it for to-day or to-morrow, but
collect the money on the spot."
We are all creatures of sudden impulse. We must
be worked up by steam, as it were. Get them to
write their wills now, or it may be too late
by-and-by. Fifteen or twenty years ago I had an
experience I shall never forget. I got into a
church which was crowded by a sweltering and
panting multitude. The city missionary of our
town-Hartford-made a telling appeal for help. He
told of personal experiences among the poor in
cellars and top lofts requiring instances of
devotion and help. The poor are always good to
the poor. When a person with his millions gives
a hundred thousand dollars it makes a great
noise in the world, but he does not miss it;
it's the widow's mite that makes no noise but
does the best work.
I remember on that occasion in the Hartford
church the collection was being taken up. The
appeal had so stirred me that I could hardly
wait for the hat or plate to come my way. I had
four hundred dollars in my pocket, and I was
anxious to drop it in the plate and wanted to
borrow more. But the plate was so long in coming
my way that the fever-heat of beneficence was
going down lower and lower-going down at the
rate of a hundred dollars a minute. The plate
was passed too late. When it finally came to me,
my enthusiasm had gone down so much that I kept
my four hundred dollars-and stole a dime from
the plate. So, you see, time sometimes leads to
Oh, many a time have I thought of that and
regretted it, and I adjure you all to give while
the fever is on you.
Referring to woman's sphere in life, I'll say
that woman is always right. For twenty-five
years I've been a woman's rights man. I have
always believed, long before my mother died,
that, with her gray hairs and admirable
intellect, perhaps she knew as much as I did.
Perhaps she knew as much about voting as I.
I should like to see the time come when women
shall help to make the laws. I should like to
see that whip-lash, the ballot, in the hands of
women. As for this city's government, I don't
want to say much, except that it is a shame-a
shame; but if I should live twenty-five years
longer-and there is no reason why I shouldn't-I
think I'll see women handle the ballot. If women
had the ballot to-day, the state of things in
this town would not exist.
If all the women in this town had a vote to-day
they would elect a mayor at the next election,
and they would rise in their might and change
the awful state of things now existing here.