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The wisdom of adopting universal suffrage, is brightly illustrated in the following extract from the Logansville Telegraph, Indiana. We would extend is as far as could be with safety, but it is not safe to entrust so important a duty to ignoramuses' who do not know enough to take any interest in public matters, and who would probably never attend the polls, were they not enticed there by partisans who are ready to resort to any means to carry their ends. It has been said that property qualifications place the right of voting in things instead of men; and Dr. Franklin's illustration of the man who with a horse, had enough to entitle him to vote, but on the death of the horse was too poor, and inferring that therefore the right of suffrage was in the horse, not in the man, has been often quoted as showing the absurdity of restrictions in this important matter. But we had quite as lief the right should be in the horse, so far as the safety of our institutions and intelligent exercise of it are concerned, as in such men as are described below,- just such men as we have seen voting in New England too! Still, perhaps property restriction is not the right one, as it would cut off some of our most intelligent and worthy voters; but we think a restriction might be devised, which would remove the objections urged against this, and be attended with all its benefits.

"Freedom of Elections.- We copy the following facts from the evidence elicited in a contested election in Wayne county, Indiana. The details of the contest show a most culpable indifference in relation to one of the dearest rights of American citizens. The man who knows not, cares not for whom he votes, should not be permitted to vote at all. We extract from the evidence offered by the plaintiff in the contest.

Wm. Rits, being sworn, 'says he can't tell what name was on the ticket-does not know for whom he voted-cannot read.'

Benjamin Jemison, on oath says, 'he did not know whom he voted for-did not care for whom he voted."

S. H. Mormon, 'sworn; Can't say for whom he voted-can't read-Mr Akin gave him a ticket.'

Benjamin Palmer, sworn; 'Can't read-don't know for whom he voted.'

Wm Morgaon, 'swonr: 'Can't read- Gregg gave him a ticket.'

Edwin Wade, on oath: 'Can't say for whom he voted-don't know who gave him the ticket.'

Joseph Snodgrass, sworn: 'Don't know for whom he voted-never read the ticket.'

J. Rittenhouse, sworn: 'Will not swear for whom he voted-can't read, nor write.'

Thos. Oarball, : sworn: 'Can't say for whom he voted-intended to vote for Finley.'

Saml. Banker, sworn: 'Believes he voted for Finely-won't say positively.'

James Pyles, sworn: 'Don't know for certain whom he voted for.'

Monroe Hunt, sworn: 'A ticket was handed to him-he thinks he voted that ticket, but cannot swear.'

Chas. Vanneum, sworn: 'Don't know for certain for whom he voted-don't know whether he read the ticket or not.'

Saml. T. M'Conahay, sworn: 'Is not positive for whom he voted- but believes he voted for Finley.'

Noah Addington, sworn: 'Says he can't say for certain whom he voted for.'

William M. Neal, sworn: 'Says William Fry filled his ticket-doesn't know for whom he voted.'

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This article proposes that granting universal suffrage without some voter qualifications is detrimental to the safety of our government. He quotes from the Logansville, Indiana, newspaper an account of the sworn statements of voters in a contested race. The sixteen men quoted all could not say for whom they voted-mostly because they could not read. Some states required that a man own property in order to be allowed to vote. The writer does agree that the property ownership restriction may not be the right one, but he does feel that some restriction needs to be devised. The Gazette & Mercury was the newspaper in Greenfield, Massachusetts, from June 27, 1837 to July 13, 1841, when it changed its name to the Gazette & Courier.


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Article about universal suffrage and freedom of elections in the Gazette and Mercury newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Mercury
date   Oct 17, 1837
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   10.25"
width   3.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.120

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See Also...

"Negro Slavery in Massachusetts"

Suffrage letter to George Sheldon

"The American Anti-Slavery Almanac for 1838"

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