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the real benefit of women in the not perform knight's service in social and industrial sphere will be person, and when land held by obtained for them from the good military tenure came to her by will and sympathy of men, without descent, she had to perform the the agency of the political vote" (the duty by deputy." italics are mine). Women with- It may be true, as Mr Bright out the vote can and do bring once said, that “force is no remgreat pressure to bear on legislation edy." But force is the basis of all and upon legislators. “They will,” law and social order, the ultimate says Mr Goldwin Smith, "renounce sanction of legislation and tribunal their present influence in grasping of appeal—a giant in the backthe vote. Let them appear as a ground veiled and at times seemseparate interest in the political ingly asleep, but nevertheless, like arena, and they will, like every the fabled watcher of the hundred other separate interest, awaken eyes, never with all closed at once, an antagonism which does not nor ever relinquishing his vigilant now exist."
outlook, It is urged by sentiOur next point for considera- mental optimists that things are tion is one of vital importance. altered in these days; that civilIs the asserted claim of woman isation and modern culture have to full separate citizenship a valid supplanted force; that internaone ?
tional arbitration is hereafter to The rights of the citizen to settle the disputes of nations ; determine by whom and in what that a millennium of universal manner the State shall be gov- peace is ahead of us, if only the erned imply a corresponding obli- gentle and softening influence of gation on his part to support the woman can be imported into poliExecutive and the State in all tics through the medium of female conjunctures by his body service, suffrage. On this point it may vi et armis if necessary.
This be well to hear a recent forehas been recognised in all epochs casting writer, whose bold generalof the world's history as a root- isations are not less striking than axiom of political economy; and, his profound research. " It is though feudalism is dead, the quite conceivable," says Mr Pear
” elementary principle remains in- son, " that the soldier may be controvertible as
Among rather less of an obtrusive element the Saxons, said Mr Justice in the future than he has been in Willes in the case already cited the past. This, however, is not
woman suffrage, “it appears likely to be because armies will that women cannot have been be relatively smaller, but because admitted to their councils, where universal conscription will have no one took part unless entitled become the rule, and military eduto bear arms and invested with cation up to a certain point will them in the public assembly, which be part of the stock-in-trade with investiture Tacitus likened to which every citizen is equipped the assumption of the 'toga when he enters life.” virilis,' and Selden
- The pos
to being sibility,” says another discriminknighted. ... A woman could ating writer, “and even the pro
1 • American Commonwealth,' 1895, vol. ii. p. 558.
2 National Life and Character. By the late Charles H. Pearson, LL.D. Macmillan, 1893.
bability, of a war in which England which threw all the Bourses of would be opposed both to France the civilised world into panic, and and to Russia, has long been per- sane Christian folk into consternaceived."1 As to the prospects of tion. Has that brought the dream an abiding peace, this is what an of assured international concord eminent statesman and littérateur, any nearer ? the late M. Barthélemy St Hilaire, It is sometimes argued that said only recently: "I no women's disqualification to vote by believe in disarmament than I do reason of their inability to serve as in the maintenance of peace. War combatants is no more than that is, I am sorry to say, a necessity; of men in old age or medically unit is the law of nature." We shall, fit. But there is no parity in the he thought, witness in the next two cases, inasmuch as the man's century “wars-civil wars as well liability to defend his country, or as foreign wars — far more bitter be sworn in to aid the civil power and intense than those it has been in times of emergency, attaches to my lot to witness. Do I believe him during, at all events, the best in peace? No. No one believes part of his life, while to women it
We all try to deceive never applies at all. At the most ourselves and cherish illusions on the argument would only tell in the subject; but in our inmost favour of disfranchising the men hearts we are all convinced that when they had become incapable war is inevitable." “Do you of serving—which would not help suppose,” said Mr Chamberlain, the women suffragists much. Not speaking at Durham, 16th Octo- many years ago, indeed, some inber 1894, “because we have been dications and half-articulate murat peace with all the world since murings, on the part of a knot of the time of the Crimean war, “advanced women," were heard that the age of peace has come? in a northern town in favour of Has the millennium arrived, with forming a Female Volunteer Medithe nations armed and arming, cal Staff Corps, the members of with millions of men waiting only which it was apparently proposed for the word, it may be of an in- to drill and arm. This initiative dividual, at once to begin cutting was followed up by a meeting one another's throats ?” “Who held in London on 26th May 1894, can say," was the dictum of an under the patronage of Mrs Sarah eminently peace-loving authority, Grand, Lady Florence Dixie, Miss the Lord Chief Justice, only a few Ethel Stokes, and others. At this months since—"who can say that meeting the new movement was these times breathe the spirit of explained as being intended "to peace? There is war in the air. supplement the work of the hospital Nations armed to the teeth prate nurses by providing a medical Staff of peace, but there is no sense of Corps of women to deal with the peace.
Look at the extraordin- wounded on the battle-field,” &c., ary suddenness of the crisis re- while it must be able to "take cently developed over the Vene- care of itself in war, and be prezuelan and Transvaal questions, pared to march, encamp, and per
1 The Great Alternative : A Plea for a National Policy. By Spenser Wilkinson. Sonnenschein & Co., 1894.
2 See Lord Russell of Killowen's admirable address to the U.S. Law Congress on 20th August last—The Times,' 21st August 1896.
form all duties incident to a cam- woman's advent to the franchise, paign.. The meetings for are we then to infer that the male drill have already begun.” Then, legislator and a male electorate again, the Radical member for have no sufficient concern in those Caithness, Dr Clark, appears to virtues ? The truth is, if ever by have had peculiar views about some evil fatuity we should come the advantages of Amazonian or to be dominated by female poliDahomeyan regiments; and it is ticians, and any great stress, such conceivable that if the way were as of war, invasion, or civil strife, led by such as he, abetted by the were to arise, the feminine element more adventurous and untram- in the fabric of Government would melled of the female sex, a fol- simply be swept down like a house lowing of a few masculine women of cards, and we should hear no might even aspire to the rôle of more of woman's suffrage.1 soldier, with modifications. There But it is (sixth) the ultimate would not be wanting the precedent aims of the leaders of this woman's of the Lacedæmonian women, who, movement and its logical consewe are assured, were required by quences which really underlie the law to be so exercised in the use whole matter. Prima facie, there of arms as to be qualified for battle is a show of justice in enfranchisamong men.
ing those women who may be said Meanwhile, however, as they are to stand literally in loco viri in precluded by their sex from fulfill-respect of payment of rates and ing the primary duty of citizenship, headship of households. Certain women have no tenable claim to qualified women are now entitled participate in the government or to vote in municipal, school board, legislation of the Commonwealth. parochial, and other elections of a At least they do not at present purely local character. They can propose to serve as soldiers, sailors, also sit on school boards, as well special constables, or policewomen. as on district and parish councils, It is all very well for the Dean of and under certain restrictions act Durham, late of Winchester, and as guardians and overseers of the those who take his views, to desire poor, which seems not unreasonthe weight of the female vote to be able. They appear, further, to be “thrown into the scale of peace, eligible to fill the offices of churchtemperance, and morality," and to warden and sexton, though I never
Ι “ repudiate the degrading doctrine heard of a female acting in the that only those should vote who latter capacity. And, could we can fight for their vote.” Degrad- have an assurance that the presing or not degrading, the world ent extent of the female municipal is backed up by physical power. franchise represented the highAnd as for righteousness and peace, water mark of woman's demand temperance and morality, which, for the parliamentary vote, there we are told, will be promoted by might be less to be said against it. We might even go further, and would be momentous. Even the admit that such demand might be circumscribed and partial admisrightly and safely conceded. What sion of females to the vote prois certain, however, is, that if the posed by that bill would have Woman Suffrage Bills hitherto added at least a million women projected have been restricted to to the register ; but it was shown à limited number of ratepaying that the ulterior result would be, widows and spinsters, the conces- speaking broadly, to raise the elecsion, if granted, would never be torate from 6,000,000 males to allowed to stop there. The lodger 20,000,000 persons of both sexes, franchise must follow ;1 and it whereof the women would prewould be at once recognised as ponderate by something like 10 intolerable that married women per cent over the men. Well should be excluded, "who are not might Mr Samuel Smith "ask less reflective, intelligent, and the House to pause before taking virtuous than their unmarried this terrible leap in the dark, the sisters," and even "superior in most revolutionary proposal of our another great element of fitness time.” — namely, the lifelong habit of Again, it is not a question of responsible action." 2 The result
1 Even Mr Stead, staunch ally of the woman movement, caustically admits that “it would be interesting to see how women's suffrage would work if it had to enforce prohibition on an adverse majority of topers who carried shot-guns, and • didn't hesitate to shoot?” ( Review of Reviews,' April 1894, p. 340).
2 In the parish registers of Bramfield, Suffolk, there appears to be record of women having been elected churchwarden (‘Athenæum,' 29th December 1894).
The result the fittest women being admitted would be to read in the word to the vote. Doubtless there are “ female” wherever "male" was females exceptionally equipped by signified for all purposes of the training and intellect who might parliamentary electorate. There well be trusted with electoral prican be no sort of doubt about this. vileges. But this is not a matter The next step is obvious. It is which concerns the few; its appliscarcely denied that the trend of cation would extend to the many. Radical legislation must land us The real point is : Are women eventually in manhood suffrage— collectively as fit to exercise the Sir George Trevelyan and the franchise as men taken collectively? *Daily News' have advocated as Can it be seriously contended that much ; and so, womanhood suf- they are ? We may allow that frage would ensue. All adult average woman is superior in many women-according to Mr Herbert ways to average man. Burrows, an exponent of Fabian even be of Max O’Rell's opinion Socialism as well as all adult that there are very few men in men, must
It the world good enough for women. was made clear in the discussion But, as it has been well put, “it on Sir Albert Rollit's bill in the does not follow that woman is session of 1894 that such a change political any more than that man
1 In a paper contributed to the ‘New Review' (March 1894), mordant but containing much truth, Mrs Lynn Linton discusses certain dangers to be anticipated from the female lodger franchise.
2 Mr Gladstone's letter (already quoted).
3 See “The Woman's Signal,' 27th June 1895. On this point the conference (16th-17th April 1895) of the Independent Labour party at Newcastle, under Mr Keir-Hardie's presidency, may be usefully studied. Among a mass of advanced socialistic resolutions one was adopted defining the political attitude of the party as in favour of every proposal for extending electoral rights to both men and women, and democratising the system of Government (“Morning Post,' 17th April 1895).
is maternal or adapted for house- woman, after driving in the suffrage keeping.” The difference of their wedge, has come within measurable spheres, the ineradicable diversities distance of the legislator's seat. imposed by sex, as of tempera- And now that goal seems to have ment, function, and even habits of been actually reached by another thought — these cannot be got Australasian colony. For South over, though they imply no dis- Australia has not only conceded paragement to either the man or to its women electoral rights, but the woman.
it has also made them eligible to But we
must, further, face sit in both Houses of Parliament, squarely what is involved as and to serve as Ministers of the consequential to female franchise. Crown. “ The woman's vote carries with it Here, then, we begin to see the the woman's seat.” Capacity to strange and unprecedented possisit in the Legislature practically bilities opening out from female means "capacity to fill every office suffrage. It would be bad enough in the State," executive and ju- for the manhood of a country to dicial. So says Mr Gladstone, and feel itself outvoted by women, and Mr Bryce tells us this contention to have what would literally be is fully endorsed in the United "skirt legislation " enforced upon States. “It is universally admitted it. But what should we think of that the gift of the suffrage must the spectacle of women sitting side carry with it the right of obtain- by side with men on the benches ing any post in the service of the of St Stephen's, possibly under the country for which votes are cast, presidency of a lady Speaker; or, up to and including the Presidency it might be, bearing the seals of itself.” Once or twice, he adds, office as Secretary of State, Chanwomen have been nominated as cellor of the Exchequer, members candidates for the Presidency. of the Cabinet or of the Privy The present editress of “The Hu- Council. They might clamour for manitarian' (Mrs Martin) was, I a share in the prizes of the Bench, believe, at one time a candidate for and indeed a bewigged male barthe Presidential Chair. As a case rister pleading before a woman in point, we have only to turn to judge would not be much more one of our own colonies. In New startling than a Portia in silk Zealand, some time back, women gown haranguing a mixed jury were admitted to the parliamentary of men and women! franchise, with certain results to These, let us remember, are not be noted presently. What has fol- mere fanciful ideas. In America lowed as the next step in the sex's there are already female barristers, claim ? Why, that a resolution lawyers, doctors, ministers of the has been quite recently introduced Gospel. In one State, Kansas, into the Colonial Legislature pray- there is a city in which the mayor ing that women should be allowed and many of the municipal council to sit in the House of Representa- are, or were, women. In Wyoming tives—in other words, to be mem- women served as jurors ; in the bers of Parliament. This motion, territory of Washington they had it appears, was only lost in a House the same privilege, till the Legisof 61 members by a majority of 9. lature, recognising the grave evils Obviously, then, in this antipodal of the practice, withdrew the qualiArcadia of feminine emancipation, fication. In New Zealand we heard