This lengthy address is particularly interesting as a window not simply onto Scott Duniway’s views on suffrage and prohibition but onto her broader reformist spirit. In it, she first offers her views on human motivation, echoing the liberal belief that environment influences behavior and the progressivist credo that improvements in the human condition will improve the human mind and spirit. She then touches upon the need for a variety of reforms, including, to be sure, woman suffrage and temperance, but focusing in particular on economic inequalities that, she argues, are the root cause of poverty and crime.

Scott Duniway vigorously attacks those monopolists who have “over-reached their neighbors” by amassing vast wealth. Although she prefers allusion and does not “name names,” she has in mind capitalists like the banks and railroads.1 And while she speaks shortly after the financial panic of 1873, during the early stages of the depression of the mid-1870s  and before the labor strikes of 18772 that were their fruit, it seems likely that she would view subsequent events as proof of her argument that the concentration of wealth is responsible for mass poverty, and of her prediction that the poor will not remain quiescent indefinitely.

It is important to note that Scott Duniway’s economic views remained fundamentally reformist, not radical.3 She was suspicious of wealth and oligarchy, was sympathetic to the view that banks, railroads, and other combines too closely controlled the nation’s economy, inducing the cycles of boom and bust that devastated ordinary laborers, and would criticize the gold standard for perpetuating these cycles. But she also became apprehensive about the unrestrained power of the people and developed reservations about the dogma of “free silver.”4 She believed that labor and capital–like men and women–were mutually interdependent, and she repeatedly advocated, as the best solution to economic turmoil, that families pool their resources to form self-sufficient, cooperative communities.5 Abigail never embraced the class analysis or socialist solution of Marx. Indeed, in this speech, she takes pains to distinguish her proposal–that the government repurchase the public domain from its “feudal” owners and rent it back to ordinary citizens in perpetuity–from “communism.”6

Scott Duniway spoke on this Monday evening at Reed’s Opera House in Salem, in response to an invitation extended by a group of prominent citizens, including members of the Legislature. The speech was phonographically recorded and published in the New Northwest on November 6, 1874.7

Friends, this testimonial of your presence this evening almost overpowers me. As I stand here, I look back through the dim vista of almost a quarter of a century to the days when I first landed, a young girl, a stranger in this our beautiful State, then a Territory. Then rapidly my mind flashes across the intervening years to the short time that has marked my public life. Three years ago I was almost wholly unknown outside of the little circle of my family and friends who had known me from childhood.

Stimulated in part by that restless spirit of ambition which has all along characterized the American people, and inspired by a desire to do whatever my hand might find to do with all my might, that I might be able to leave this world better than I found it, I have dared to brave the storms of opposition, prejudice and ignorance, and sometimes it may be of my own folly; for I would be more than human did I never err. And tonight, looking into your listening faces, and casting my imagination over the years that are gone, I go from this beautiful scene–beautiful, indeed, to me–to the far distant years of the long ago, where a little Pilgrim band went aboard the Mayflower and trusted themselves to the treacherous and then almost unknown seas, and guided by the hand of Omnipotence, landed safely upon Plymouth Rock. Then, glancing hastily over our country’s past history, which is known, or ought to be, to every schoolgirl and boy, we come to the time when another Spartan few, imbued with a spirit of patriotism that emanates from on high, gathered themselves together, and seeking not only their present good but the good of future generations, took counsel concerning those matters that pertain to the Destiny of our Republic. Ah! Little did they think one hundred years ago–that patriot band–that at this time upon the verge of the Pacific Ocean we, their descendants, would assemble on occasions like this to glance back through the history of the far-receding years and on into the future–the mystical, the beautiful, the ideal beyond. Little did they imagine that hardy pioneer band that gave birth to our Republic upon the inhospitable shore of bleak New England, that far away across the Continent reposed the beautiful valleys, the verdant hillsides, the hoary mountains, the dashing waterfalls, the glorious possibilities that grace our beloved Oregon.

And it is, indeed, meet that we, their children, descendants of those hardy pioneers–ourselves yet pioneers, who have wandered across the unbeaten tracks of the Western wilds and pitched our tents upon this distant shore of the bracing and breezy Pacific–it is indeed meet that we should pause in the hurry and worry of everyday existence and drop a tear to their memory, chant an anthem of praise to their heroic patriotism, and sing a deep and solemn dirge over the graves of those who fell battling in the foremost ranks of liberty that we, their children, might enjoy the priceless boon of freedom and the peerless blessings of education and religion, which they gladly laid down their lives to bequeath to us.

It is idle for me to spend time in talking to you, my friends, tonight, about that occurrence in our history of which every American patriot in whose heart burns the fire that lights the flames of liberty has sung while chanting hymns of praise to freedom.

But when we look abroad over our country, and see that, despite its many beautiful surroundings and glorious possibilities, there is yet so much of suffering to alleviate, so much of ignorance to overcome, so much of prejudice to destroy, so much of materialism and coarse selfishness and avarice and misery among us, we feel that there is indeed work for the philanthropist that takes on gigantic shapes and stirs the soul of the deepest and most thoughtful humanitarian to its profoundest depths.

Glance abroad over our country and you find that we have jails and gibbets, and penitentiaries and almshouses and asylums for the insane. You find, too, that we have need of these. You find, too, the wretched drunkard going down to ruin, while all manner of legalized temptations are suffered to lie in wait for the unwary, and beguile the weak into error and crime. And shall we as a people, forget these, the lowliest of God’s children? Shall we cloak ourselves about with a mantle of our own self-righteousness, and, because our lines have fallen to us in pleasant places, consider it beneath ourselves to look down upon those children of Almighty God who may need our uplifting care? Shall we not rather feel that it is not beneath us to stoop to lift the fallen, to strengthen the weak, to encourage the timid, and to help the faltering upon life’s rugged highway? Our country’s destiny should point us not so much to our future financial greatness–not so much to grand piles of architecture, monumental structures of human greatness that shall live in the annals of history long after we shall have passed away–should point not nearly so much to our grand system of railroads and telegraphs and to everything that betokens a high state of rapid life and rapid civilization, as it should point to the necessity that the human mind shall reach out and grasp after the possibilities that are ever clustering around the humblest son and daughter of God.

We, as a people, have become so engrossed in the mad search for gain, that we have forgotten too often to look from our own fancied greatness as a Republic down into the lower strata of human life, and cast about us to see whether or not it may be possible to benefit those who are not so well situated as ourselves. And we, too, have grown so sordid and selfish, the most of us, that we are too apt to look down upon those who have been imbued with humanitarian ideas, and dared to work accordingly.

We are often told that if we would be happy, we must be good; and while I know that there is much truth in this idea in the abstract, yet let us cast about us and see if there is not much human destiny that is attributable not so much to man’s want of goodness as to his want of happiness; and then, having seen that the reason why so many people are not good is because they are not happy, let us see if there is not a reason why they are not happy which the humanitarian can reach; and, reaching, apply it to those whom he may have opportunity to benefit. It is very easy for the man or woman who is surrounded with everything that makes life pleasant and agreeable to be good. We naturally feel, when the world goes smooth with us, and our neighbors treat us well, and our friends respect us, it is very natural, I say, for us in circumstances like these to feel that after all we are walking in about the right way, and then we are thoroughly satisfied with ourselves. Now, let the same human being who is thus so good, genial, pleasant, comfortable, and affable, be suddenly deprived of house and lands, of home and family and kindred, and be thrown out upon the cold charity of the world, penniless, suffering and destitute; such as is the case with nine-tenths of the people of this great Republic who go first into the pathways of crime. Let us suppose that one of these good men or good women who never has been seriously tempted, never has seriously gone astray, is suddenly placed in one of the worst conditions of destitution. Think you when the pangs of hunger take hold upon the vitals, when the storms of heaven beat pitilessly upon the uncovered head, when it seems that human sympathy and human agency have gone from him, think you that he would not then be very likely to break some of the great commandments which all his life before he has found it easy to live up to? I think that we too often lose sight of this consideration when we would censure those who go astray.

This country is or ought to be a government of homes. It is built upon that grand idea. Never were truer words uttered than the glorious ones that proclaim the glad tidings that this government of ours should be “of the people, for the people, and by the people.” Yet, such is our system of finance, such have been the manipulations of our money kings in the carrying on of business through the various ramifications of commerce, that we are in reality not a government of the people and by the people, but a government of money, by money–a government of landed monopolies and corporations and cash.

Ere this, indeed, shall have become a government of the people and by the people, it must be so emphatically a government of homes, that nowhere within all our borders shall there be those who need to be without a home, wherein they may repose under their own vine and fig tree. In order that we may accomplish this idea, it is8 necessary that in the Destiny of our Republic men and women shall upset many of the financial theories that have gone abroad, that have descended to us from the old feudal times–from the days when might made right.

Instead of considering the claims of money as paramount to all other claims, is it not about time that we should cast about us to see whether or not the claims of humanity are not superior? This ultimately is to be the Destiny of our Republic. Yet what we, as a nation, shall be compelled to pass through ere that ultimatum shall be reached, I would not dare to tell you even if I could, because so desirous are we to hold on to that which we may compass legally–whether rightfully or not, no matter, so it is legal–so determined are we to endure present laws so long as they may be endurable, rather than make any radical change, that it will be long before the great masses of the people shall be enabled to see clearly the real condition of their own interests and demand the recognition of their inalienable rights.

Go to the island of Great Britain, and you will find that thirty thousand men own the entire landed estate of that Kingdom. If the accumulators of landed estates in this Republic shall aggregate to themselves as vast an apportionate area of acres in the next twenty years as they have done in the last quarter of a century, fifty thousand men will own the entire landed domain of the nation. This is to what we as a people are tending today. Now, how shall it be avoided? It is true that many of the evils that worked ill to the human family under the old system that has descended to us from Great Britain have been greatly modified. The heiring of the estate by the eldest son has become obsolete with us. But this is being rapidly more than counteracted by our desire to encourage in great corporations the buying up of vast landed tracts–the driving back of the settlers from the great, governmental domain, which is so cheap and plentiful, that the man who can compass so many thousand dollars can avail himself of opportunity to get possession of so many thousand acres. Often in my traveling to and fro, and up and down in this country I pass places where some man and woman with a large family of children have been driven up into the mountain fastnesses, where, working at all sorts of disadvantageous odds, they are compelled to dig and delve and keep their children away from the opportunities of education and the intercourse of society, which all humanity needs so badly, and must have if it would progress. I see these people building their humble homes in isolated places, while just below, in the verdant, smiling valley are thousands of acres given over to horses and sheep and cattle and swine, and no man dares to dispute their prior right. Friends, have you never questioned whether or not it would not be better that this Government of ours should indeed be of the people and by the people, rather than a government for the few who may compass these broad acres for the abode of hogs and cattle, driving back humanity to the foothills? I know that my views upon this question are considered by many to be altogether Utopian; but I tell you, friends, I can see as plainly as in mid-day I can see the sun, that the time must come when this Republic shall acquiesce in the idea that this government shall be literally and truly a government of homes; when no man shall be permitted to spread his imaginary ownership over countless acres of our governmental area, while man shall be driven by man’s cupidity out in the byways, among the hedges, in the ditches, among the rocks and boulders, or where the eagle keeps watch over the pointed crag, or soars in his freedom over the wild fastnesses. I see that the time must come when these things must have an end; and when every man shall be able to say “The Earth is my mother; from her I draw my sustenance; no one has a right to drive me from her bosom.” “Oh! but,” says some man who, through over-reaching, or by inheritance, has accumulated a vast domain–owning a whole township, or it may be in some instances, a whole county–“What nonsense that woman is preaching!” Now, let me say to you, good sir–and I say it that you may ponder it well–that often, in the stilly night, when you might have imagined that if I was thinking at all, I was going wild on that particular hobby that you are pleased to call “Woman’s Rights,” I have been studying this deep financial problem. And I read it thus by the signs of the times: Fifty years hence individual ownership in these large tracts of land will be just as obsolete as individual ownership in man is today. “Oh! but,” you tell us, “that will never do. You take away the idea that land is the basis of all our financial greatness, and straightway you sunder the bonds that bind society together. If you break up the bonds of self-interest you make of the people a nomadic, wandering race, so that they will lose their hold upon all that is permanent, and relapse into the mode of life of the wild Indian.” I have often heard these arguments advanced. But let me tell you, friends, that you who reason thus have not yet acquired the divine9 idea of a government of the people and by the people. But you say to me, “Come–that is running into Communism; we never can endure that.” Ah, friends, there is nothing in Communism as it is, that compares with this idea. Communism was born of the ignorant prejudice of an idle rabble, who, seeing that something was wrong, have only dimly comprehended what, and they have flown to the other extreme, and instead of striving after humanity’s best interests, have been ready with torch and flame to lay the wide world waste.10 We want the government of these United States to be so emphatically of the people and by the people that it can own its governmental right, our vast landed domain and hold it in trust for the possessors. How this is to be brought about–whether our government, grown rich and proud and mighty, shall be enabled to purchase from those men who own, under the old feudal system, broad tracts of land which they can never use, whether the government shall purchase these tracts at a fair valuation, or whether we shall go on, until the vast homeless, landless masses shall rise up in a great rebellion, compared with which the slave-holders’ Rebellion was as child’s play, is something which, indeed, I cannot tell you. But I do say that I realize, that I know, that the time is coming in the further education of our people when the man of intelligence and education and brawn will not brook to be driven away with his wife and children into the outskirts of the wild forest, there to rear himself a home away from the advantages of civilization, when down in the valley are thousands and tens of thousands of acres of untilled virgin soil upon which swine are roaming in freedom. Every public school that raises its walls toward high heaven; every child that learns its A B C at the expense of the vast multitude of tax-payers; every intellect that expands under the beneficent influence of our free institutions, is building up a bulwark of defense against the encroachments of landed monopolists. And these will in time rise up against all those whose aim is to accumulate broad acres, which they cannot take with them when they die, but which, after they are dead, are held by them, according to our statutes, forever.

The landed domain is the foundation of our Republic, and as we are building an edifice of freedom, we must begin with the foundation, and that is why I thus call your attention to it. I have not time, and, indeed, it would not now suit my purpose, to show you step by step and link by link in the great chain of human possibility, how this network is to be interwoven in the great web of human interest. I wish merely, if I can, to startle you with the crude idea, that you may talk about it, digest it, and laugh at and ridicule it, if you please; but think about it.

Many a gentleman has said to me within the last two years, and the statement has been made, too, by those who were themselves large land owners, “The principle upon which you build is right, and ultimately must prevail.”

I have said that this government is theoretically built upon the idea that it is of the people and by the people. Practically, it is administered upon the idea that it is a government of finance, of landed monopoly of masculine gender, of corporations and of cash. I suppose that every thinker who looks into my face tonight will confess that I have stated the matter precisely as it is. Now, suppose that all this governmental domain–all that is owned by monopolists–should belong, as it ought, and as it one day must, just exactly as the people do to the government of the United States. Suppose then that every man who wanted to possess an interest in this governmental domain had to comply with certain acts and regulations–the simpler and more easily comprehended the better–whereby, by paying into the governmental coffers annually, such and such a stipend, he might be protected in his inalienable rights upon the soil forever. Then would arise a feeling of security–an uplifting of the idea of the importance of human life and human labor. Then no longer would the man who now works all his days to pay continually the accruing interest of a mortgage feel that a month’s illness would unhouse him and drive his children penniless and destitute into the stormy street. And this feeling of security, I veribly believe, would not work to the enervating of human character but altogether to the contrary. I believe that it would stimulate men to build up around their beautiful homesteads, under the possibilities of a long possession, those improvements that would cause the wilderness everywhere to blossom as the rose. It would impel those who are surrounded with that which makes them comfortable always–and I have shown that whenever people are comfortable, they are inclined to be good–to reach out after art and science and religion, and higher civilization, and all the beautiful and beneficent ideas which human beings should aspire to to make this Republic what it ought to be. Then the great millionaire who wastes his means so often now in laying claim to thousands of broad acres, merely that he may drive all other human beings beyond their confines into the rocky districts and byways, where privation reigns supreme will have opportunity, not to yield to such temptations, but rather to use the means with which Heaven has blessed him in assisting his neighbors in building up and beautifying surrounding habitations, and in loaning of his abundance to those who are less fortunate than he, to help in making up this great network of a government of homes.

In the near future I see before us, not a government under which men can collect themselves as now, and hold caucuses and concoct plots by which they may overreach their neighbors in the carrying out of some pet scheme, by which they may amass broad acres and consequent rich possessions, but I see the network of a beautiful creation which shall spread the ramifications of its influence out over all the earth, giving the people confidence, inspiring the great public heart with that patriotism that is born of trust, and that reposes in the bosom of every honest man who learns to trust his fellow-man, because he is in himself trust-worthy.

Shall I attempt to portray to you what I see as the Destiny of our Republic within the next hundred years? “Ah!” some of you say, “you may safely make such predictions as you choose, because there is not a man or woman within the sound of your voice that will be here in a hundred years to know whether you have told the truth or not.” Friends, even tonight, here on the banks of the winding Willamette, with the roar of old Ocean sounding upon our borders, where the wild eagle sweeps over the mountain crags, and the fir trees point their feathery tips toward the evening sky, even here we are making history. Even here, as I speak with this imperfect utterance, my feeble words are being transferred to paper, and ere long they will be spread to the north and the south and the east and the west, and they will go into history, humble as they are. And here, standing before you in the light of the present century, I dare, with fear and trembling, to make a prediction that I believe will live a hundred years. I see beautiful and stately Senate Chambers, where men and women, clothed in regal dignity–that dignity that is not born of gilded trappings and great possessions, but that individual dignity which is the proud heritage of every intelligent son and daughter of God; I see men and women taking counsel together in regard to the Government, just as they do now in regard to our homes. And I see, also, this Government divested of all that is now crude and unfinished, built up and hedged around and about with all that beautifies the human intellect and adorns the human mind with noble, generous impulses. I see in the nearby future our Halls of Legislation, where men and women mingle together, consulting as only men and women can, concerning that in which each is as much interested as the other in relation to the great network of human government, which shall be of the people and by the people. And dotted all over our broad expanse of country I see beautiful cottages rising up, set round about with vines and gardens, adorned with all that is pleasant to the eye, with all that is elevating to the mind and the body. I see matrons–queenly, womanly women–content to apply themselves diligently to the avocations of their homes, building up around them such pure and homelike associations as shall make their husbands praise them in the gates, their children rise up and call them blessed. I see no longer the hollow eye, the bowed shoulders, the despairing look, the furrowed cheek of mothers whose every impulse of soul and body is left free to go forth in untrammeled liberty toward the dear offspring of their life and suffering, who need every moment of a mother’s care, every deep, devotional impulse of a mother’s love to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Highest, and to endow them with that grand and perfect physical constitution which naturally and rightfully belongs to every child of this Republic. I see all over the country beautiful buildings with their spires reaching heavenward devoted to the service of a free religion. I see grand, stately, massive edifices wherein the poorest child of the poorest man or woman can enter, supported and sustained by the State–by the Nation, if you please–in the purest knowledge preparing to add daily to the glories of the Republic in its high destiny. I see men and women walking side by side along life’s rugged pathway, struggling earnestly, unselfishly and zealously for the promotion of all that makes up the well-being and happiness of humanity. I see in the good time coming and in the glimmer of the distance that spans a hundred years the disappearance, gradually, of every penitentiary, every almshouse, every gibbet, every asylum for the insane. I see no more idiotic, no more blind, no more deaf and no more dumb; for the people, elevated beyond their present ignorance and prejudice, shall no more make the mistakes that throw around humanity those adverse influences that cause them so often to groan under misfortunes that bring forth bitter fruits.

O, friends, you who have been disposed to look upon my mission merely as an idle clamor for “woman’s rights,” little have ye known the dreamings, little have ye imagined the aspirations of my soul. How little do you know of the tumultuous human aspirations that beat tonight in the breasts of tens of thousands of women, who look with steadfast interest upon all that pertains to the Destiny of our beloved Republic. And as they gaze into the morning papers day by day in the crowded cities, or in the more lovely villages and byways of our country await the tardy arrival of the weekly mail–how little do you know what deep emotions stir their spirits as they read the proceedings even of this Legislature in far-away Oregon in this year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy-Four?

Ah, friends, you who are disposed to treat this matter lightly, let me say to you that this Legislature has a grand opportunity to open a chapter of history that may make this northwestern State of ours famous historic ground in the next hundred years. Very soon there is to come before you an opportunity to decide whether or not Oregon shall be the first planet in the grand galaxy of States to clothe its women in equal power with its men before our laws; that shall enable woman to take her rightful seat in the northwestern State of this Republic by the side of her brother man, taking counsel with him in all that pertains to the best interests of men and women.11

Ah, brothers, ye of the Legislative Halls of Oregon who are here tonight–and I am thankful that I see so many of you–let me entreat you, by all the past history of our Republic, by all upon which hangs its future destiny, to let not the golden opportunity pass you by, to return no more forever, but haste to take the lead in the van of States in this onward march in our National progression. Let me say to you, if you fail this time through timidity or prejudice, or anything else, to seize this golden opportunity, it shall have gone from the State of Oregon forever; because, ere the circling years shall roll around another opportunity, another State–aye, indeed, many others–shall have led off in the grand work; the Congress of our Republic shall have forestalled you; and this glory, such a glory as has made old Philadelphia historic ground, will be lost unto Salem forever.

O, friends, when I think of the opportunities that lie before you; when I look back at the three years that span the brief course of my public life; when I see how this idea has grown upon the people; when I see the expansion of public sentiment and the liberality of human utterance today as compared with what I saw three years ago, I thank God and take courage. I have a far better opinion of human nature, a far more exalted opinion of the nature of man, a far grander idea of the ultimate destiny of our Republic today than I had three years, two years, or even one year ago; because I see that the mists of prejudice are being dissipated before the enlightening influences of calm investigation. I see before me men who at first looked with derision, contempt and scorn upon the idea that a woman might mount a platform like this and address an assembled multitude, and they are listening now, not only with interest, but, if I am at all a reader of countenances, almost with keen delight. I see before me women who, a few years ago, were turning the cold shoulder to these ideas, because they never had investigated them, whose hearts are now fired with a deep and intense patriotism; whose souls are touched as with a live coal from off the altar of freedom; whose spirits are aroused in the demand for the inalienable rights which all are born with, and which can be rightfully denied unto none.

Ideas crowd upon me, and it is almost impossible to bring this address within the limits of the legitimate lecture hour; but I must not forget that it is our duty as men and women to be temperate in all things.

I realize, O men and women, as you look upon my face as I speak, that the time is soon to come, whether this Legislature of ours does its duty or not, whether it shall seize this golden opportunity or not, when women shall indeed be free.

Yesterday I found myself thoroughly worn out; and while lying ill I was casting dimly in my mind the vision before me–for I had rashly promised to address the people upon the Destiny of our Republic–and not a single solitary sentence could I frame. But as I lay there thinking–thinking–thinking–my fevered brain suddenly attuned itself to numbers, and this is the result12:

Columbia, pride of nations, hail!
Backward throw thy shimmering vail,
Revealing Beauty’s magic darts
And Intellect’s abounding arts,
From eye all bright and brow serene,
Let man behold the glittering sheen
Of Freedom’s light. O’er all the earth,
In climes where slavery has birth,
In lands where tyrants wield the rod,
Falsely proclaiming power from God;13
O’er every lowly human home,
Where Thought can stray or Fancy roam,
Plant thou the starry banner high,
Emblem of human Liberty
And our Republic’s Destiny.

Thy magic wand, resplendent, bright,
That waves o’er Bunker Hill tonight,
And flutters in the balmy breeze
From torrid zone to arctic seas,
And shakes its white and scarlet folds
And field of blue o’er wastes and wolds,
That sweeps its pure and milk-white stars
Above its wind-tossed, streaming bars,
Plant thou on every hoary peak
That looms ‘bove haunts where men may seek
A habitation. Let thy name
Writ high on monuments of fame
In diamonds emblazoned be,
And every child of liberty
Shall shout Columbia’s destiny.

From regions of the northern pole,
To where the antarctic circles roll;
From where the Equator’s fervent heat
Burns the bright sands that human feet
Shall tread along the sea-girt shore
Where Ocean’s grand, resounding roar
Chants14 Time’s deep dirge forevermore;
From wild Mount Baker’s summit bleak,
From eyries where bald eagles shriek;
From Montezuma’s mouldering halls;
From proud New England’s granite walls;
From Florida’s green everglades
To Greenland’s icy palisades;
From Behring’s Strait to bleak Cape Horn;
From birthplace of the dewy Morn
To rosy couch of sunset Eve,
Where Night his somber web doth weave;
From California’s golden sands
To Cuba’s glittering seaside strands;
From Andes and from Amazon;
From Plymouth Rock to Oregon,
This emblem of the brave and free
Thy synonym shall ever be,
Till Time shall greet Eternity
With our Republic’s Destiny.


    1. The latter, the largest industries of their day, were granted millions of acres of public lands in the west. The federal charter for the Northern Pacific Railroad, which originated in Minnesota and was to terminate in Scott Duniway’s “bailiwick,” was approved in 1864, and–like similar charters for the Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe–granted to the corporation twenty square miles of public land for every mile of track laid (Corning 141; Morison 50-55, 72-76). In 1872–three years after the completion of the transcontinental railroad and two years before Scott Duniway delivered this speech–the infamous Crédit Mobilier scandal, in which Union Pacific officials reaped $23 million in dividends from a bogus construction company and passed its stock to influential members of Congress, came to public light (“Union Pacific: Chronological History”). On the railroad industry more generally, see Blackford and Kerr (126-65). Abigail may have felt a slight twinge of ambivalence on this subject, reliant as she was on the kindnesses of railroad and steamship tycoons like Ben Holladay, whose passes facilitated her travel. (On Holladay, see Edwards, Sowing 25-26; Corning 116.) []
    2. Taft and Ross 270-362. []
    3. Commenting in part on this speech, Moynihan concludes that Abigail  was a “committed Jeffersonian” who opposed both monopolies and the gold standard, championed the rights of laborers and farmers as well as women, and eventually became “seriously interested” in Populism (Rebel 148-70; see also McKern 86-87. []
    4. In the mid-1880s, inveighing against conditions that “make the idle rich continually richer and the industrious poor continually poorer,” Scott Duniway dismissed the “hackneyed objections” to the silver standard as “the re-hash of the old threadbare arguments against greenbacks” and lauded the unionizing of the Knights of Labor. A decade later, she still would reject the gold standard but also contend that “McKinley’s plan for starting the mills and manufactories of the country under a protective tariff, will do the laboring people vastly more good than Mr. Bryan’s idea of free trade, coupled with his pet hobby of coining the output of every silver baron’s mine into dollars which no laborer can get at until it is so depreciated in value by the time it reaches his hands that it will be comparatively valueless as a purchasing commodity” (New Northwest 14 Jan. 1886; Pacific Empire 16 Aug. 1895, 3 Oct. 1895, 8 Oct. 1896). Wary of the emotionalism of some Populist advocates, Abigail would write to Clyde (on October 29, 1896) that the “masses need to be led.” At this time, Clyde had been tutoring the son of Henry Clay Frick, of Carnegie Steel and responsible for the infamous Homestead strike of 1892. In another letter to Clyde about a month earlier (September 21, 1896), Abigail expressed her sympathy for the boy, whose development she believed would be impeded by his family’s great wealth (qtd. in L. Roberts 141-42). []
    5. In the same “Letter from the Fireside” in which she inveighed against the “idle rich,” Scott Duniway rejected “the theory that there is a natural antagonism between capital and labor” (New Northwest 14 Jan. 1886). She penned a five-part series on “Hard Times Talks” in the Pacific Empire in 1895 (October 24-November 21), outlining a proposal for a cooperative community in which families would join and pool resources, living according to “the greatest good to the greatest number.” Ward suggests that this proposal appears in her novel, ‘Bijah’s Surprises (serialized between April 2 and December 31, 1896) in the form of a cooperative community called Utilitaria or Home Utilitaria (“Women’s Responses” 138-39). Ward also identifies Abigail’s previous novel, Shack-Locks (serialized between October 3, 1895, and March 26, 1896), as concerned with “the interdependence of labor and management” (“Women’s Responses” 144-45 [n. 5]). It bears emphasizing that Scott Duniway’s ideas about “labor” always included woman’s labor. The final installment of her series treated housework–which Abigail detested–as central to her self-sufficient “colony”: “Our colony should bear in mind that cooking, or the manufacture of raw materials into food, and mothering children, or the manufacture of babies into men and women, are among the most necessary, and ought to be rated among the most remunerative of occupations” (Pacific Empire, 21 Nov. 1895). She repeats this idea in her O.S.E.S.A. address in 1909 and at a Progressive Party luncheon in 1914. []
    6. This idea had been proposed more than a year before, in the second installment of a series on “Labor and Capital” in the New Northwest (19 Sept. 1873). []
    7. Although the date of the speech is given as October 5 (a Monday), this may be off by a week or so. In “editorial correspondence” published the week before (October 30), and, apparently referring to the same occasion, Abigail says that she spoke on Friday, “the week before the fair,” or October 9. Alternatively, see infra, n. 12. This uncertainty makes it especially difficult to ascertain what Revolutionary War anniversary may have prompted this occasion. []
    8. In an evident typesetting error, the text says “is it”; but punctuation and context strongly suggest that this is declarative, not interrogative. []
    9. The text, in evident error, reads “divide.” []
    10. Marx and Engels had completed the Communist Manifesto in 1848 and Marx had published the first volume of Das Kapital in 1867 (two further volumes would appear in 1884 and 1894). Scott Duniway’s comments come almost on the heels of the formation (in 1864) and splintering (in 1872) of the International Working Men’s Association, or First International; a wave of labor strikes in France, Belgium and Switzerland in 1868, which the International was rumored to foment; and the Franco-Prussian war, which broke out in 1870, and which Marx strongly opposed (“First International“; “Karl Marx: Role in the First International“). []
    11. A woman suffrage bill failed in the legislature in 1874, as did a bill to submit the issue to referendum (Richey, “Unsinkable” 87). []
    12. This poem, slightly revised, appeared in My Musings, Scott Duniway’s early collection of poetry, in 1875. She also included it, as “The Destiny of Freedom,” in David and Anna Matson (180-82). In the latter, it is said to have been composed in Salem on October 11, 1874. Assuming that this is correct and that Abigail indeed wrote it “yesterday,” this speech would have been delivered on Monday, October 12. []
    13. My Musings and David and Anna Matson insert two lines hereafter: “O’er every struggling human soul/That spurns a monarch’s mean control;” []
    14. My Musings: “Shall chant” []

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