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Document Seven: Carrie Chapman Catt to Senator Charles Curtis, Washington D.C., 15 January 1919, Carrie Chapman Catt Papers, Container 4, Library of Congress (Microfilm, reel 3, frame 20).
In this letter to U.S. Senator Charles Curtis of Kansas, Carrie Chapman Catt expressed her hostility toward Senator George Higgins Moses of New Hampshire, an anti-suffragist whom she credited with the defeat of a recent suffrage resolution in New Hampshire. In her scathing attack on the widespread corruption in American politics, Carrie Chapman Catt named names of those she believed were improperly influenced to vote against woman suffrage.
Hon. Charles Curtis, January 15, 1919.
United States Senate,
Washington, D. C.
My dear Senator Curtis:-
I asked Mrs. Tillinghast who has been representing us in New Hampshire to wire you when the resolution should be passed by the Senate. Whether she would take the same action now that is has been defeated, I do not know.
You doubtless have heard of the vote, but there are some things that perhaps you will not have heard and which I wish to lay before you. There was no difficulty in getting signatures on the petitions to ask Senator Moses to vote for the resolution. The men were willing to have the vote and to stand by their signatures on the resolution in the House. Those who had interviewed the men watched the vote with great care. They found that most of the men who had signed voted "aye". A few did not do so, but on the other hand some who had not signed did vote "aye".
Senator Moses went up to New Hampshire at the opening of the Legislature and hired a room at the hotel and saw a great many members of the Legislature. I must say that the best people in New Hampshire have a very small opinion of Senator Moses. They hold him to be absolutely dishonorable and unscrupulous. I know nothing of my own knowledge. I did not get this from the women, but from men and men of his own party. They believed that Senator Moses was there to see that the resolution did not go through and that if he was assuring the men of his party in Washington that he stood ready to vote for the federal amendment when the resolution should go through, he was carrying water upon both shoulders and was asking his faithful friends that he should not be instructed by New Hampshire. I did not believe these charges when I heard them, but I must say the results bear out that theory. The following nine men signed the petition to Senator Moses and voted against the resolution: George H. Eames, Mayor of Keene, Benjamin G. Hall, Ex-Sheriff of Marlborough, Joseph P. Boucher, Northumberland, Guy H. Hubbard, Boscawen, George L. Sadler, Nashua, William F. Sullivan, Nashua, Gedeon Lariviere, Manchester, Alvah T. Ramsdell, Dover, Oliver B. Marvin, Newcastle.
The first on the list, George H. Eames, claims to be a suffragist. What happened to those men to make them change their minds? What was the influence. The most remarkable case of all is that of Andrew J. Hook of Warner, a Republican. He was an opponent and never claimed to be anything else. He did not sign the petition. Mrs. Tillinghast herself saw Mr. Hook and had a long talk with him. Finally of his own volition, he "passed the buck" as did Senator Moses and said if you can bring me a petition signed by a majority of all the Republican town committee men in my district, I will vote for it. He made that as a straight, deliberate pledge. Mrs. Tillinghast at once wishing to secure his vote made the arrangements to send some women to his district on Monday morning. When all the arrangements were made to send the women to his district, Mrs. Tillinghast called him on the telephone and told him that she was going ahead to get the petitions and asked him if he would assure her that he would give his vote provided the names were obtained. He replied significantly, that he had decided to tell her that if she could assure him that twelve men would vote for the resolution, he would give his vote to make the majority. She told him she was glad to know that but that she would go ahead with the petition. Now, the evidence seems very convincing that Mr. Hook meanwhile knew that the majority had been fixed by the opposition and that there would not be twelve men. He knew that such a promise was a safe one and he did not wish to add to the embarrassment of the situation by having a petition from his committee men turned down as he intended it to do.
My dear Senator Curtis, I wish I could hand over to you some information I picked up in New Hampshire years ago when there was a suffrage campaign there. It was straight and reliable. At that time about 1901, it was certainly one of the most corrupt states in the entire country. Men who were pillars of their Churches made a common practice of selling their votes. The Legislatures had been bought over and over again and if there were any honest men in politics, nobody knew their names. Putting together the facts I learned at the time and the remarkable antics which have just taken place in the Senate, I give it to you as my firm conviction that there was deliberate bribery in the New Hampshire Senate. That is a bold charge to make without any positive proof, except the circumstantial evidence. I only know New Hampshire behaves that way when money appears and does not behave that way when there is no money In sight. Who put up the money? I should like to know. I imagine I do know. Naturally, I am wondering whether if men can be bought in New Hampshire to keep us from getting one vote that a certain man that you and I know, who changed his position, was not also bought when we needed his one vote and there is still one other man who is on my list of suspects.
Many a night in New Hampshire years ago I walked the floor in mental agony aroused by the fact that we did not have representative institutions, but that the money of corrupt interests could make laws, make and break men, write constitutions and build our civilization.
I am not so much depressed over the result of the resolution in New Hampshire, as I am by the conviction that it was obtained in the ever-recurring criminal way.
Carrie Chapman Catt
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