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Muller, to discuss various matters connected with the management of pauper women and children. There were present, Miss Davenport Hill, Miss Lidgett and Miss Andrews, Guardians for St. Pancras, Miss Eva Muller and Miss Lord, Guardians for Lambeth; Miss Donkin, Guardian for Kensington; Mrs. Charles, Paddington; Miss Baker, Holborn, and Miss Varley, Islington; Mrs. Fielder, Abergavenny, Mrs. McIlquham, Boddington, Miss Spottiswoode, Shere, and Miss Clifford, Clifton. There were present also, Miss Twining, and the Members of the Committee for promoting the return of women as Poor Law Guardians.
Among the subjects discussed were the administration of out-relief to widows and women deserted by their husbands, and whether it is best to give relief in money or in kind; suitable employment for able-bodied women in workhouses; the treatment of children in workhouses, and the manner in which their school attendance should be arranged; the methods of dealing with women paupers ; the management of the infirmary, and whether pauper nursing should be altogether abolished; and the training and placing out in situations of the children, particularly the girls.
The importance of these questions makes us hope that these conferences may be of frequent occurrence; there is great diversity between the customs of various workhouses, and it cannot but do good that the Guardians should compare their experience. The requirements and practices of country unions are in many points very dissimilar to those in London, but even in London there are many differences. To quote one instance. The Guardians of Paddington and Kensington when taking a poor family into the workhouse, have a room in which they are in the habit of storing the furniture, &c., so that à forced sale is unnecessary, and if the poor woman and her children ever find means again to support themselves independently their household goods are given back to them. The Guardians in other London Unions believe that it is illegal to do this, and that no person has any right to be taken into the workhouse tiil he or she has parted with all his belongings. The truth appears to be that it is optional with the
Guardians to do this. It is evident that comparing this and many other subjects which engage more particularly the attention of women, is likely to be exceedingly useful.
MR. HIBBERT, M.P., has been lately speaking at Eastbourne on the advisability of having women on Boards of Guardians. In a letter to the Eastbourne papers, Mr. Chamberlain, hon. sec. of the Society says:
The question of schools is certainly one on which the opinion of refined and cultivated women Guardians would be specially valuable. It is probably in great measure owing to the fact that the girls' as well as boys' schools have hitherto been under the control of men alone that the sad truth is due that girls trained in pauper schools do not turn out so well as the boys; nor, as a rule, have they the same fair chance given them of selecting the way in which they will in future earn their living. Miss Louisa Twining, as far back as 1860, when she was fighting almost single handed in this work, said " No Board of Guardians and no officials can be expected to manage girls' schools as they ought to be, neither can male inspectors alone inspect them. Results would be far different, if the influence of women of feeling and education were largely introduced (strange as it may seem none are even appointed for the needlework or the domestic arrangements), and constant lady visitors, who would cultivate the affection of the children and help to counteract the fatal effects of life in an institution and in a mass of girls.” The truth of this is evident.
A MARRIED WOMAN'S CLAIM TO BE RATEPAYER. Our readers will remember that Mrs. Shearer's name had been removed by the Clerk of the Islington Board of Guardians from the rate-book, alleging that her husband and not herself was by law the ratepayer, although the house belonged to her. Mrs. Shearer appealed against this decision to the Local Government Board, who referred the difficult question to the Law Officers of the Crown. Under the advice of these high legal authorities, the disqualification of Mrs. Shearer was upheld. The Law Officers of the Crown are of opinion that the husband, not the wife, is to be regarded as the rateable occupier of the premises; and that as she is not rated to the relief of the poor, she is not qualified to fill the office of Guardian. In their judgment the question of the occupation of the house-the occupier being the person to be rated-is one quite distinct from the question of ownership; and the rule must be that where husband and wife are living together, though in a house
which is the separate property of the latter, the husband is to be regarded as the occupier.
The Standard in an article on the case, July 31st, makes the following comments on the Married Womens' Property Laws :There is in short, no doubt about the law of the case ; and yet it
; must be confessed that a good many people will regard the consequences as unsatisfactory. The public offices open to women are few in number, and, we are not sure that lady Guardians, like lady members of School Boards, are not often in their right place. Reversing the wisdom of our ancestors, it seems now to be admitted that the less a woman is effaced by her marriage the better; and under the most favourable circumstances the losses which matrimony entails upon her must be considerable. The ancient legal theory that a woman ceases upon marriage to have any civil existence rightly offends modern sentiment, and there will probably be some who will persist in regarding Mrs. Shearer's disqualification as an ugly remnant of the theory in question. As a matter of fact, the equitable doctrines of settlement and the Married Women's Property Act have together done much to soften the ancient rigours of the law; and though there is still room enough for reform, we think it would be difficult to suggest any practicable rule by which Mrs. Shearer should still have retained the privileges of rateability, which were enjoyed by Miss Downing. The old hardships of the law, which the Church of England marriage service appeared to have been designedly drawn to conceal, have really little to do with this question. Probably few people are aware of the real meaning of the words put into the mouth of the man, “ With all my worldly goods I thee endow," and Blackstone's explanation of it, as the form which anciently entitled the wife to her “thirds,” or pars rationabilis, of the man's personal estate, is at least open to question ; but there can be co doubt that he is right in saying that the expression in our modern Liturgy, if it has any meaning at all, can only refer to the wife's right of maintenance-i.e., to the necessaries of life-out of all her husband's earnings or estate. The words, in fact, be legally true, should be placed in the mouth of the bride, and not of the bridegroom. The criticism of the late Sir John Bowring on the words of espousal, if not accurate throughout, is at any rate not without force.
66 With this ring I thee wed,” according to him, is Popery ; " with my body I thee worship,” is idolatry; and “ with all my worldly goods I thee endow,” is a lie. It is not improbable that the latter words owe their origin to the ancient practice of declaring the dower of the bride at the Church door; the duty of the priest, according to the uses of Sarum and York, being to enquire as to the provision which had been made for the woman before completing the binding portion of the ceremony. Modern civilisation reserves these mysteries for the privileged few alone and the declaration of the husband-which everybody knows to be false in law-has rather the sound of a concession to the conscience of the priest. Whether or not this was its origin
not very material. The broad fact, which Mrs. Shearer's discom.
fiture clearly illustrates, is that women in general hardly understand exactly what they are giving up when they go through the Marriage service.
WOMEN DOCTORS IN INDIA. On July 12th a very interesting lecture was given by Dr. Frances Hoggan on the subject of obtaining Government support for women doctors in India, by the kind permission of Mrs. S. W. Browne, at 58, Porchester Terrace, London, W. Mrs. Hoggan pointed out that the Indian Government had for many years recognised the necessity of supporting and paying officially English doctors and dispensaries for the native poor of India; the usual economic principles of supply and demand could not apply here. The average Indian population were far too poor to support any medical institution, a few annas being the only fee which, even in the most important cases, they can pay; while, the women being naturally of less value than the bread winners of the family, even these small sums would be grudged on their behalf. Dispensaries, therefore, that are nearly or wholly free, have long been common in India. But these dispensaries being wholly served by men, and in many cases lacking even a separate waiting room, are hardly attended by women except of the very lowest classes, and thus the very persons who most needed medical assistance were still deprived of it. This did not arise from any unwillingness to employ European physicians. Wherever a medical woman had been established, whether by aid of missions or otherwise, the native women crowded to her for assistance. But as they were unable to pay fees, it was clearly impossible that any European doctor could be supported by the most extensive practice, and it behoved the Government to come in aid. This, Mrs. Hoggan suggested, might be done
. by dividing the country into districts; each district having one thoroughly qualitied medical woman, well paid by Government, who should have under her a skilled staff of assistants and nurses whom she might leave in charge of protracted cases while she went her rounds through the district. But the women doctors thus appointed must be considered the immediate servants of the Government, and entirely independent of any existing medical staff of men. In conclusion, Mrs. Hoggan pointed out that the very best knowledge and skill were necessary among the women doctors to be appointed in India, and that, for many years at least, we could not hope to find sufficient qualifications among the native or Eurasian classes.
At the close of Dr. Frances Hoggan’s lecture, it was resolved unanimously that the Moral Reform Union should use its best endeavours to lay this scheme before the Indian government.
MISCELLANEOUS. WORKING GIRLS' HOMES IN LONDON.-At the biennial meeting held last month of the Society for providing honues for working girls in London, Mr. Forster, who presided, said, if ever there was a movement which spoke for itself this was one. He thought it was hardly possible that any institution could have a greater claim for support, and which was so entirely removed from the danger of misuse. Mr. S. Morley, in moving the adoption of the report, expressed the hope that by making the work of the society more generally known it might be largely extended. He was last autumn in America, and saw there that great facilities were given in many factories for the lodging of the young women in them. A charge was made, and the young women paid it. It would be impossible to make proper provision for the lodging of the 250,000 working girls in London unless these institutions were made self-supporting, and this he thought might be done. Mr. Kinnaird, the treasurer, said the Council longed for the time when the houses would be self-supporting. In the meantime they were effecting much good among the class for whose benefit they were established.
EARLY CLOSING.—The plan adopted by the shopkeepers of many country towns, and lately by the drapers of many suburban districts in London, of closing early on some other day in the week, when the nature of their custom will not permit Saturday to be a halfholiday, is well worthy of support by the public. The