Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

s

,

the fact that so much of the legislation in Parliament referred exclusively to women; it was injurious that women should not be represented, and to this may be attributed the one-sided character of many recent Acts of Parliament. They further mentioned that the interest of the country in the subject was manifested by large meetings which had been held in different towns and by very largely signed petitions to Parliament. The Lord-Advocate said that he would consider the question which had been brought under his notice. He congratulated the women ratepayers on having secured the concession of the municipal franchise to Scotland, and also expressed his satisfaction at the rights which had been secured for women under the Women's Property Acts.

The same deputation also waited on Mr. T. R. Buchanan, M.P., who received them very courteously, and promised to give the subject his most careful consideration.

NEW ZEALAND.—The question of women's suffrage is again being mooted in the colonies. In a despatch from Wellington, dated December 3rd, relating to the general election proceeding in New Zealand, it is reported that the Prime Minister, Mr. Hall, in the course of a speech delivered before his constituents, spoke in favour of female franchise, based on property qualification.

BRISTOL WOMEN'S LIBERAL ASSOCIATION. A meeting of ladies, convened by circular, was held at the rooms of the Young Women's Christian Association, Royal Promenade, on December 19th, for the purpose of forming a Liberal Association of women in Bristol. Miss Sturge, who occupied the chair, first briefly explained the object of the association. She remarked that, although women largely availed themselves of the power of voting in local elections, still their means of knowledge of the outside world of action were more limited than those of men. An association such as they proposed that day to form, would help to diffuse information amongst them. The first resolution was moved by Mrs. Colman: " That it is desirable to , form a Liberal Association of women in Bristol, to promote Liberal principles, and to diffuse knowledge on political questions of general and local interest among the women of this city.” The word liberal was always associated with the idea of something great and noble. They had to think of the greatest happiness of the greatest number. She hoped that women would be found to have an ennobling influence on public opinion. The resolution was seconded by Miss Mary Price, who said they wanted three things—first, that women should use the votes they possessed ; next, that they should help the association with money when they could; and thirdly, with work where they could ;-but the use of that important trust, the vote, was the brst and principal thing. The resolution was carried unanimously. Mrs. Terrett proposed the adoption of rules for the association, which was seconded by Mrs. Arthur Tanner, who remarked that although women were now at a disadvantage in having no power of voting in national elections, they should, nevertheless, study social questions, and bring their influence to bear on political opinion. They must not judge Liberal politics by special actions, but by the aim and line of action of Liberal policy and its general results. The rules were then discussed and adopted, a committee was appointed, and the association declared formed. Ladies wishing to join the association, will receive all information from the Hon. Secretary, Miss Tribe, 7, Westfield Park.

RESPONSIBILITY OF WOMEN IN POLITICS. During the debate upon the Person and Property Protection (Coercion) Act, last February, Mr. CORBETT wished to introduce an amendment to provide against the arrest of women under the Bill. Mr. FORSTER could not make the exception, but assured him there was no danger of the Act being put in force against women or young boys. While Mr. Gladstone, more far-sighted, said that though it was the hope and wish of the Government that the law should not be put in force against any woman, there was reason to fear that if they were excluded from the Bill, they would become the tools of others, and be misled into committing

woman's

14th, 1882

66

offences against which the Bill was directed. That contingency which Mr. Gladstone foresaw has arrived, and arrests of Lady Land Leaguers are now reported from all parts of the country. When taken before the magistrate, they refuse to find bail, and are committed to prison; and the prison of Grengegorman has been made ready for their reception.

The political infiuence of women is assumed equally by both parties. On the one hand we find the leaders of the men's Land League exhorting them to continue their efforts-on the other hand the Inspector-General of Constabulary issued this notice :“ Royal Irish Constabulary Office, Dublin Castle,

“ Dec. 16, 1881. “1. The Inspector-General is advised that the proclamation of his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, dated the 20th of October, 1881, and which declared the Land League to be an unlawful and a criminal association, includes female as well as male persons, and that the promotion of the objects and purposes of that association on any pretext by females, whether under the name of Ladies' Land League or any other designation, is unlawful and criminal.

“2. When the constabulary have reason to believe that a meeting of females for any such object or purpose is intended to be held in any house, they shall warn the owner or occupier of such house that he will act criminally and at his peril in permitting his house to be used for such unlawful and criminal purpose; and they shall also warn every person who they have reason to believe is about to attend or take part in any such meeting; and he or she will act criminally and at his or her peril in doing so.

“3. In other cases when the constabulary find any females, either collectively or individually, actually engaged in promoting any such objects or purpose, they are forthwith to take the offender or offenders before a magistrate and apply that she or they may be bound with solvent sureties to good behaviour or to the peace (as the case may be), or in default committed to prison : and the constabulary are to report any repetition of the offence, in order that the more stringent measures of the law may, if necessary, be enforced against the offender in addition to the estreat of the recognizances.

" 4. Females who take part in or incite to any unlawful assembly are forthwith to be made amenable and prosecuted in the ordinary way.

“G. E. HILLIER, Inspector-General.” " Treason, sedition and agrarian violence are no more justifiable when carried on by women than by men, one newspaper says. We entirely coincide with this, but how comes it that statesmen are so very clear-sighted about women’s political duties, and so absolutely blind

66

[ocr errors]

about their political rights, and that as Mr. Forster lately declared after the Bradford Demonstration of loyal English women, they“ do not think it right to undertake to vote for giving women the suffrage.”

The Northern Whig in an article of December 20th said:

The police authorities in Dublin have at last discovered that, when the Land League was proclaimed illegal, the proclamation included the Ladies' Land League as well as the one over which Mr. Parnell presided. How there could be any doubt on this question surpasses all understanding. When the Protection Act was before Parliament efforts were made to exclude women from its provisions. The Government repeatedly and positively refused to make any such exemption. They could not have taken any other course without making themselves and the law ridiculous. It has been our decided opinion, expressed again and again, that it was absurd to summarily suppress The Land League as an illegal association, and to allow the Ladies' Land Leagne, with the same objects, to hold meetings, and even individual members to interfere with the action of the police. When the United Ireland newspaper was seized last Friday several ladies of the Ladies' Land Leagne appeared on the scene and openly challenged the legality of the authorities. They avowedly directed the newspaper, and supplied the money to keep it going. They were in communication with the treasurer of the League in Paris, and telegraphed to him for instructions. It is not denied that since the Land League was suppressed the Ladies' Land League have been carrying on all the operations. The law in criminal acts can make no distinction between men and women. There ought never to have been any doubt or hesitation respecting the course the police authorities ought to pursue under such circumstances.

The circular now issued ought not to have been necessary. If women choose to engage in an illegal confederacy for the non-payment of rents, or to deprive any persons of their property, they have no right whatever to expect immunity. They must accept the full responsibility for their acts, and cannot justly plead any privilege of sex. The notion is absurd. Why, indeed, should they not, like their husbands and brothers, be prepared to incur the consequences such illegal proceedings involve? The suppression of the Land League while allowing the Ladies' Land League to exist, was a halfmeasure. It has had the common result of such half-measures. The snake was scotched, not killed. It has revived into vigorous life, eager to bite the band which, through mistaken indulgence, sought to protect it as an act of gallantry. It is much to be regretted that there should be any occasion for such repressive measures : but since they are necessary they ought to be systematically and resolutely carried out.

We concur most fully with the writer of this article. We have never desired to see women freed from the esponsibility of their political or their criminal acts.

woman's

14th,

To plead privilege is to deny them the right of forming independent opinions and to treat them as children. Why, indeed, should not the Irish ladies, as well as the Irish men, be prepared to incur the consequences of their illegal proceedings? But is the House of Commons prepared to accept the other side of their argument. Responsibility cannot exist without power. If women are liable to incur the same consequences for illegal acts as their husbands and brothers, they should have the same legal power to prevent those acts. Towards a man, Government balances repression on the one hand with reward in the shape of a vote in the other : but towards the women repression only is used. It seems to us impossible not to acknowledge that if capable of judging between political right and wrong, women are capable of giving a vote in support of their principles.

The newspapers lately contained the following story:

The following answer to a communication received from “ Rory of the Hills” has been sent to the newspapers by Mrs. Anderson, a Cork landowner: “Ballinaboy, Nov., 1881. Sir,-In compliance with the request contained in your esteemed letter, I reply through the press, and my reply is this: I intend to reside in my own house at Ballinaboy, and I intend to dispose of my own property, whether in land or otherwise, as it seems best to me, pursuing that course with Providence for protection. My children shall continue their usual amusements and employments undismayed by the threats of a gallant captain who makes war on girls of 17 and old women of 60, and even from the likes of us' would probably run away. I was not aware that “ us and the likes of us " imprisoned your best, dearest, and bravest countrymen in gloomy dungeons. But if all their pupils and admirers avow themselves as candidly as you hired assistants, that result is not wonderful, and it might have been well had it been arrived at sooner. I see you have omitted honesty in the list of Land League virtues ; but if the Land League will repay me the two years' rent (£480) I lost through one of its pupils--my late tenant, Daniel Allen- also the £100 paid to him as compensation, your impoverishing his farm, and some smaller sums, then the Land League shall be to me in future the best, bravest, and certainly the dearest League in the world.—I remain, sir, sincerely yours,

FRANCES ANDERSON.—Captaia Rory of the Hills." And yet this brave old lady is denied the vote which “Rory of the Hills" is competent to exercise.

RELIEF OF IRISH LADIES IN DISTRESS.—The Lord Mayor has received some particulars of the work of the

6

« AnteriorContinuar »