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the greatest auxiliaries of right against might. For what would not the patient energetic mind of woman accomplish, when once resolved? The brave and heroic deeds which history records are our testimony to the world that no danger is too great, or struggle too arduous, for her to encounter; thus confirming our convictions, that woman's co-operation is greatly needed for the accomplishment of our political well-being. But there are some who would say: Would you have women to enjoy all the political rights of men? To this we most emphatically answer, Yes! for does she not toil early and late, in the factory, and in every department of life, subject to the despotism of men ; and we ask, in the name of justice, must we continue ever the silent and servile victims of his injustice —to perform all the drudgery of his political societies, and never to possess a single political right? Is the oppression to last for ever? Are we always to remain the drudges, the helots of society? We, the women of the democracy of Sheffield, answer, No! And will not our sisters throughout the realm say, No? We put forth the earnest appeal to our sisters of England to join hand and heart with us in this noble and just cause, to the exposing and eradicating such a state of things. Let us shake off our apathy, and resolve to examine our position; ever continuing to raise our voices for right and liberty, till justice, in all its fulness, be conceded to us. This we say to all who are contending
. for liberty: for what is liberty if the claims of women be disregarded? We have commenced an association, designated The Sheffield Women's Political Association;" aided by that talented and philanthropic member of the Society of Friends, Miss Anne Knight, of Chelmsford, near London. Our special object will be the entire political enfranchisement of our sex; and we conjure you, our sisters of England, to aid us in accomplishing this holy work of liberty and fraternity. We remain, with heartfelt respect, your friends, —
, “ Council of the Association : Mrs. S. Turner, Mrs. E. Bartholomew, Mrs. E. Stephenson, Mrs. M. Whalley, Mrs. E. Rooke, Mrs. E. Wade. Mrs. C. Ash, President,
pro. tem. Mrs. E. Cavill, Treasurer. Mrs. M. Brook, Financial Sec. Mrs. A. Higginbottom, Cor. Sec.” We wonder if any of the
members of this heroic little association, who so early unfurled the standard of equal rights for women, survived to be present at the crowded demonstration in Sheffield last February, when thousands of women thronged together to record their demand to be admitted to the Parliamentary franchise. They must have felt their hearts beat high to see the mustard seed which they planted grown to such a goodly tree; to know that the faint cry for justice they uttered, which hardly awoke an echo, was now repeated by thousands of lips through the length and breadth of Great Britain. Much has been done and suffered since that time, but also much has been gained, and if it is not yet granted to us to choose the men who inflict the laws which we are compelled to endure,” we can see the promised land in the near distance, and know that by steady continuance in our present efforts we shall soon reach it.
THE late horrible outrage in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, has for the time united men of all parties in sincere sympathy for the victims, and hatred and detestation of the criminals. It has become no longer a matter of party controversy that order must be maintained on one side of St. George's Channel by the Government which has its seat on the other; all questions of national difference are sunk in the common determination of Englishmen and Irishmen that atrocities of this nature shall become no longer possible in any part of Great Britain. There is a heavy load of responsibility which all alike, English as well as Irish, women as well as men, must share, and mingled with the national mourning must be the sense of individual humiliation if we
have not done before what lay in us to check the tide of brutal ruffianism before it rose to such a height.
If political ruffianism be rife in Ireland, what shall we say to the brutalities with which every English newspaper teems, brutalities which, of course, are not directed solely against women, but of which they are the most frequent victims. A member of the House of Commons proposed the other day a measure purporting to deal with the better protection of women and children. With the object of this measure we had every sympathy, though objecting to the methods by which it proposed to deal with increase of crimes of this nature. The real remedy for the reign of brutal ruffianism lies not in the return to barbarous and antiquated punishments, such as the pillory or flogging, but in a general determination on the part of magistrates that crimes against the person shall be punished with longer sentences than crimes against property. For the last four years a magistrate has been empowered by the law to give an aggrieved and injured wife a separation from a brutal husband. “The magistrate may, if satisfied that the future safety of the wife is in peril
, order that she shall be no longer bound to live with her husband,” but this discretionary power given to magistrates, is obviously not enough. When a bruised and terrified victim appeals to him to release her from daily and hourly terror and ill-usage. it clearly should not be left to his judgment to decide that she has not been abused or beaten enough to merit release, but must be sent back to her tyrant to be tortured again : a magistrate should be bound to give her the release she asks for on grounds such as these. Again, the imprisonments for ruffianly ill-usage should be much longer than they are now. There are crimes of continual occurrence even worse than wife-beating; crimes which make the lives of unprotected women a daily terror and burden to them, but a man may get many years imprisonment for stealing a watch and only a few months for outrages like these. Before deciding that imprisonment is not a sufficient remedy for atrocious crimes of violence, it should be first ascertained that imprisonment has
May 15th, 1882.
been fairly tried; but the British rough is not likely to be deterred from his favourite amusements of knocking down, beating and kicking, if he knows that the law looks so leniently upon his brutality and savagery that his punishment will be much lighter than if he had stolen a few shillings.
ART. IV.-GERMAN LADIES' WORK. A CONVENTION of the various Women's Unions in Germany has been recently held in Lubeck. The discussions were chiefly directed to the industrial position of women, which is improving, but some attention also was paid to advances which had been made in other directions, although the Reichstag had taken no notice of the women's petition for a change in the civil laws relating to marriage and guardianship. Nevertheless, in order to show that some progress has been made in legislation, a delegate from Saxony spoke in praise of the constitution of that kingdom, which has abolished the condition of wardship in which all women stood before 1831. Before that time, no signature of a woman, no testimony of a woman had any value, if her husband did not stand by her side to allow or confirm it. Women were treated as children or idiots. In most of the German States this condition existed until 1818. Now all smile or shudder at such treatment of women. “Hence we may hope,” added a speaker, “that the time will come when all will laugh or shudder at many of the institutions under which women now suffer.”
As to the civil position of woman in Germany, everywhere was to be seen the inequality of the sexes before the law. Men have driven women out of manufactures. In divorce cases there are many evils affecting women, owing to the deficiences of the laws. In all cases where the law interferes, woman has no existence but as witness; her signature is valueless. By the marriage laws the whole property of the wife and all her earnings
May 15th, 1882.
belong entirely to the husband; he enjoys the use of them and she is forced to obey him in all things. She has no legal protection against a drunken or wasteful husband. She cannot become a guardian, except for her own children, and according to the new Prussian law, she has no voice in the marrying of her children, the acquiescence of the father only being necessary. But, as one speaker remarked, the Government certainly did take notice of women in one respect, viz., in taxpaying
“On the subject of the scientific culture of women teachers,' Miss Willborn, of Schwerin, declared that the fate of young women graduates as teachers, after passing an honourable examination, is a very sad one, compared with that of young men. Only in the rarest cases could they hope for such a position in the public schools as the men find. The speaker, therefore, was forced to the conclusion that a higher culture was superfluous for women teachers, was even a waste of time and powers, since in the rural districts, among most families, a simple young girl is thought more desirable as teacher for children destined to simple circumstances in life than a lady skilled in ecclesiastical history, geometry, and the like.' The speaker therefore advised against the study of those sciences, in imparting which, prejudice and legislation could hinder a woman teacher from obtaining a good position. She emphasized the fact that the philological branches, like history, geography, and natural history, were the special field in which a cultivated woman teacher might hope for success either in the public schools or private seminaries.
Another theme was “ Wages of Women,” with special reference to those poor women who work daily from twelve to sixteen hours and scarcely earn a miserable subsistence. The speaker gave examples such as these: For twelve dozen purses, where the sewing women must provide the sewing silk, one mark is paid. For twelve dozen doll's skirts, seven pfennings. For a lady's cloak, one mark. For a man's shirt, half a mark. For an embroidered fire-screen, two, marks. A manufacturer who delivered the worsted to the workers,