Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]


frankness he points, indeed, to the various difficulties attendant on it, but only that he may at the same time clear them away. “No one,” he says,

66 who was in the United States at the time of the Civil War, could fail to see what immense strength that Government derived from the breadth of the basis on which it rested, and from the universal feeling that it was, in the fullest sense, the Government of the people. It was enabled in this way to put forth a power which no Autocracy could have put forth."

In the light of Mr. Goldwin Smith’s remarks, those who are seeking electoral privileges may well take courage. Is it a question of the illiteracy of the votes? Mr. Goldwin Smith would prefer an educational test, and he points out that “under a complete system of popular education (if we ever attain it) a school certificate might be the qualification,” but meanwhile he is reconciled to the admission of the uneducated voter by the reflection that “the possession of a vote excites interest in public affairs, so that the suffrage has a certain educating power, though by no means so great a power as some sanguine advocates of extension have maintained,” and by a consideration of no less importance, that under a thoroughly popular system of suffrage, the holders of property and the highly educated are spurred by regard for their own safety—if not by any more generous motive—to educate their masters.” At all events,” he goes op to say, “feeble barriers merely chafe the popular flood—the only chance of safety lies in frankly embracing the Democratic principles, and framing securities for the ascendency of public reason over cupidity and passion, not in the interest of an upper class, but in that of the whole community.”

It is often urged against the extension of the franchise that the ascendency of folly will be the result of every fresh addition to the electorate, for that a dangerous unanimity of opinion will prevail among the new electors which will make itself felt. But against the first objection Mr. Goldwin Smith maintains that “the balance of advantage is on the side of allowing a man to give free expression to bis real sentiments, whatever


March 15th, 1882. they may be, the result is then trustworthy, and the general action of the voters, as citizens, will be in accordance with their votes.' The fear of dangerous unanimity, also, he pronounces chimerical: “The tendency of opinion is to divide, and to divide in proportion to the activity of intelligence and the amount of independence.”

It would seem as though Mr. Smith intends the close of this article to furnish a reductio ad absurdem of the arguments of his opponents. With refined irony he restricts the application of this cogent reasoning to half mankind. He throws out the supposition that the vote which is to exercise so beneficial an influence on men is to develop no valuable aspirations in women. The few expressions of opinion which in the male votes is to be the safeguard of the State, is to be fraught with nothing but peril if the voters are women. The fatal unanimity which in men will yield to the “increased activity of intelligence and the progress of moral independence,” is to prevail with ever increasing force among women. In the case of men responsibility for opinions and the power of free expression has been shown to bring the “actions of citizens into conformity with their votes,” but when women are made responsible for their opinions, and become possessed of the power of expressing them, they will advocate only a policy of injustice, fantastic sentiment, and bloodshed, and their advocacy will rouse nothing but resistance and rebellion, for the men (who, as Mr. Goldwin Smith points out, have ever been only too ready to rush into ciril war in obedience to the irresponsible counsels of a Margaret of Anjou, a Henrietta Maria, or a Marie Antoinette) will think well before they are guided by the votes of the unanimous—responsible but irrational votes of the women of England.


[ocr errors]



GUARDIAN ELECTION. By the time these lines are read, the time for nomination of candidates for the election of Poor Law Guardians will have already arrived. From the 14th of March to the 27th, nomination of candidates is possible. As the 26th is Sunday, all nomination papers, if posted, should be filled up and sent in not later than Saturday night; but it is better, to prevent mistakes, to send the nomination to the Returning Officer a few days earlier. Full particulars of the amount of rental qualifying for election (as it varies in each parish), of the dates for nomination, of the Returning Officer to whom the paper should be sent, are posted up on church doors, town halls, vestry halls, workhouse gates, and other prominent places in each parish.

A Committee has been formed in Birmingham (of which Mr. Councillor Bishop is chairman, Mrs. Alfred Osler, treasurer, and Mrs. C. E. Mathews and Mrs. Fellows, hon. secretaries) to promote the election of women, and, at least two ladies are strongly recommended by it as candidates. In Bristol there is an active Committee, and two ladies are presenting themselves for Westbury-on-Trym, and one for Clifton, the local parishes. In Cheltenham there is another committee, and two ladies (Mrs. Ryder and Miss March Phillips) have signified their willingness to come forward for election. The Leeds electors have the opportunity of placing an excellent member on the Board in Miss Louisa Carbutt. There is an active local committee in Nottingham; and the Brighton householders also will have the opportunity of choosing a lady to be on their Board.

In London, St. Pancras, Kensington, and Paddington, will be enabled to re-elect the ladies who have already done so much excellent work upon their Boards. In Lambeth, two ladies, at least, Miss Eva Muller and Miss Frances Lord, will offer themselves for election. In Woolwich, a local committee has been recently established for the purpose of bringing forward suitable women as candidates, and we have heard of two ladies in Greenwich who have consented to try election. We hope that by the time the nomination week is over, this list will have received many additions. Though it is too late now for any one who is not already qualified to become so, there is ample time for any lady who is already a ratepayer, to give permission to a friend to nominate her. It is foolish to nominate any one without his or her consent, as we know happened once or twice last year, as an election always gives trouble, and voters are naturally discouraged when they find they have been working for some one who has no intention of profiting by their suffrages. But during the next ten days it may happen that some women who could not before“ screw their courage to the sticking place,” may re-consider the usefulness of the work they have the opportunity of engaging in ; and we believe they will not fail. Many of the women best fitted for the work have their hands already so full of charitable undertakings, that they hesitate to engage in anything more ; but we hope they will reflect that by becoming Guardians they may carry on the same work as at present; not necessarily devoting more time to it, but doing it more efficiently, because they can take a higher standpoint, and do it with authority to back them up. All their experience, all their insight into the wants and habits of the poor, all their patience and tact will find equal scope for action, and have a tenfold influence for good. Some ladies, again, may be hesitating because they are dreading the trouble or publicity of an election. In most cases, this may be managed very quietly. If there is a local committee established, it will be responsible for the trouble; and where there is not, a few energetic friends may easily supply its place.

All who are interested in the question should do their best during the next fortnight. There is not much opposition to fear, for there is a growing feeling that women are needed in this office; but there is the usual amount of apathy to overcome,-much more apathy than in a political election. A very large proportion of householders never look at or fill up their papers; these may be called upon, and asked to consider the question. A great number make mistakes in filling up their papers, and thus cancel the whole vote. These might have the


15th, 1882

proper manner of doing it explained to them. Anyone who has the ear of the press, should try to call public attention to the importance of this election. The question of pauperism is growing each year in difficulty ; it is one that through their pockets, if not their sympathies, affects everybody; and if women Guardians can help to bring, as we believe they may, some solution to the difficulty, they deserve the goodwill and the active support of every householder.

CORRESPONDENCE. MADAM,—The following extract from the Lancet, which has been thought of sufficient interest to women to be copied into the Queen, deserves a passing notice, if only to contrast its tone and statements on the subject of the employment of women generally, and especially as pharmaceutists, with those of another on the same subject, which was written by a physician of forty years standing, and appeared in your journal of the 14th ult. :

66 WOMEN AS PHARMACEUTISTS. “ Before the suggestion that women should be employed as pharmaceutists or dispensers is adopted, let other considerations besides that of mere “intellectual and physical fitness ' have weight. The experience of the postal and telegraph offices, in which females are entrusted with the simple duties of selling stamps, issuing money orders, and taking in messages, would seem to show that there is one propensity of the sex which is in itself an insuperable obstacle to the employment of women in pharmacy. They will talk. This is a universally evident weakness on the part of those at present occupying the desks at both large and small offices. This evil is so widespread that we venture to predict the abandonment before long years have elapsed of any attempt to employ women in public offices.

If females are entrusted with the duty of dispensing, cases of poisoning from misadventure would certainly increase in number, while less formidable blunders in the compounding of mixtures would become the rule. There is in the mind of woman an inherent disability for work of any kind which requires concentration of thought and mental isolation. It is not that she will not, she cannot attend to the business in hand so exclusively as it is necessary the practical pharmaceutist should attend if his duties are to be discharged with credit to himself, and safety to his customers.- Lancet."

Two more widely-differing cannot be imagined; indeed, since this

« AnteriorContinuar »