March 2, 1872
THE ACADEMY OF MUSIC DEMONSTRATION.
TWELVE THOUSAND PEOPLE RESPOND.
The most important and imposing gathering that has been known for many a day took place at the Academy of Music, on Tuesday evening last, the occasion being the lecture of Victoria C. Woodhull on "The Impending Revolution."
Six thousand men and women were crowded together within the auditorium of that immense building, while as many more made ineffectual attempts to gain admission. The whole length and breadth of Irving Place, from Fourteenth to Fifteenth Streets, as well as the wide pavements from Fourth to Third avenues was literally packed with a living, swaying mass of people. Some estimated that the crowd outside at ten thousand souls. . . .
When it became evident that no more could crowd their way inside, large sums, from one to ten dollars for reserved seats, and twenty to thirty dollars for private boxes were offered; and only when it was learned that not another seat was vacant did the immense throng slowly and reluctantly turn their faces homeward
Ordinarily such a remarkable outpouring of the people would have received respectful attention from the press. Had it been some vulgar show; some great artist in music or the drama; some reverend divine, speaking upon a commonplace subject; some noted personage, denouncing freedom and equal political rights for women, why, whole columns with headings, immensely displayed, would have proffered their readers. But this occasion was only an inquiry about matters into which the 'monopolists' of all sorts do not desire that the people shall inquire; hence the press is muzzled, the people must not know too much. . . .
Even the Herald, usually independent, makes a tremendous effort to say nothing, and succeeds admirably. Although it could not ignore the crowd it endeavored to belittle its character:
"VICTORIA" ON THE STUMP.
She says Christ was a Communist and does not believe in Hell or Damnation--Pitches into A. T. Stewart and Astor--Tom Scott gets a "Show" and so does Vanderbilt.
Last evening the Academy of Music was crowded to overflowing with a fashionable audience of ladies and gentlemen who came to listen to Victoria Woodhull in her new lecture entitled, "The Impending Revolution." The aisles of the large auditorium were packed with ladies, who were forced to stand up packed like herrings in a barrel. Many of these ladies were afterward carried out fainting into the open air. Irving Place at as early as seven o'clock was filled with a moving mass of people of both sexes who were either endeavoring to force their way in at fifty cents a head or were fighting their way out, having found out that there was not even standing room for them. The proscenium boxes were many of them filled with the owners and their families and guests, who had come for the first time to hear the terrible Victoria Woodhull. It can be safely concluded that there were as many people turned away last evening from the doors of the Academy as there were persons who found accommodation within the walls of the temple of music.
Mrs. Woodhull came on the stage in a quiet black dress, her hair cut short and allowed to float freely on her shoulders. There was a pleased flush on her cheeks as she looked first into the parquette, then into the dress circle, and finally into the amphitheater, and smiled 'victoriously' at the tiers upon tiers of eager faces. It was a noticeable fact that many bald-headed men were among the audience. Mrs. Rose McKinley, Miss Tennie C. Claflin, Mrs. Miles, sister to Mrs. Woodhull, and other strong-minded females were present in the boxes. It may here be observed that the bald-headed men were nearly all sitting in the front rows.
Victoria read from her notes slowly and with precision, and so distinctly that she was heard all over the Academy. It is a popular belief that Victoria Woodhull is a sort of Bacchante, cut on the bias, with low neck and short sleeves, whatever she may be she has achieved success and has at last secured an audience. There were but few interruptions last night and when they occurred it was only to encourage her to proceed.--NY Herald.
"She has at last secured an audience." Has the Herald forgotten her audience at Lincoln Hall, Washington, of 2,500 persons; at Cooper Institute shortly after, of 3,000 persons; at the Rink, Cleveland of 4,000 persons; at Steinway Hall, according to its own report, of 3,000 persons; and at Music Hall, Boston of 3,000 persons? Verily it is convenient for this great paper to be slightly oblivious to facts contained in its own columns. . . .
As we have said, the Academy of Music was crowded. Of course, there were rowdies there; but the great body of the audience was composed f the bone and sinew of this great city, well dressed, well behaved, thoughtful people who are anxiously asking the way out of this wilderness of political incompetency and dishonesty. Notwithstanding the most radical and revolutionary doctrines were enunciated, the great mass of that great audience accepted them, and the great mass of the people will accept them when permitted to hear dispassionately. They may not approve of our methods, but our purposes and principles are so in accord with the spirit, necessities, and tendencies of the age that the people can only be made to reject them because they are not allowed to fairly consider them.
If the press do not, the people do, concede that our civilization and our religion are failures. The purposes of government are not accomplished, the design of the church is not met. But this is not the worst. The intelligence of the age, presented in editors and politicians is wholly unable to solve the simplest problem in the purposes of government. They do not understand any of the great questions demanding answer, in the hands of a people ready for remedy or revolution. Scurrility, slander, ridicule are fit weapons in the hands of such men, and for a time conceal their ignorance, incompetency, malevolence, and dishonesty, but the mask must fall, and then the people will lose confidence in editors just as they have in political hucksters and tricksters.
We do not object, we court, fair and honorable criticism. We are ready to publish such criticism; for we have no interest in error. But such the press of New York is incompetent or unwilling to render. A horse neighs, a hog grunts, a dog barks. It is their nature. So editors steeped in corruption--the creatures of party and plunder--educated in the school that accepts as axiomatic: "To the victor belong the spoils." What more can we expect than dishonorable and dishonest renderings. But the day of retribution is at hand, and not one who has bartered principle for political or party purposes shall escape. And so we bear patiently, and wait cheerfully for that law of compensation which enforces even-handed justice.
There was another fact connected with the meeting which, though of considerable significance, was not noticed by the press.
On the stage were two large banners, bearing the following inscriptions:
"What lack I yet? Jesus said unto him; go sell all thou hath and give to the poor." --St. Matthew XIX., 21, 22. "Neither said any that what he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."--The Acts V., 32.
Victoria Woodhull T-Shirts, Bumper Stickers, Campaign Buttons, and Books
Webmaster's Note: Except for some headings, these are actual extracts from the Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly. Some spelling and punctuation has been changed. If an article was too long, some sentences were removed. Sentences or paragraphs that have been removed are indicated with the ellipsis (....)