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CASSON then read a paper on “Total Abstinence as a Christian Duty.” In the various sections in the afternoon, papers were contributed by Mrs. HUTCHINSON and Miss WHATELY on religious topics; by Miss MAYER on the Art Students' College at Rome and the good work carried on among the artist's models; and by Miss ELLICE HOPKINS on the “Protection of our girls ; Mrs. MARSHMAN also gave an account of the Brighton Convalescent Home.
The evening meeting at which gentlemen were again admitted, took mostly a conversational form on varions. aspects of the Lord's work at home and abroau. Madame De Ramsay's successful work in Sweden in rescuing and partially training semi-idiotic children was particularly alluded to. Votes of thanks to the Brighton Committee for their excellent organisation of the Conference, brought the proceedings to a close. The meeting must have been one of much encourage ment to many earnest-hearted workers who took pari in it.
TRADES' UNION CONGRESS. The discussions and resolutions of the Trades' Union Congress which met last month at Manchester, again give convincing proof of the necessity of the participation of women in these representative meetings in order that their interests may receive due recognition. The following women's societies sent delegates : Women’s Trades' Council, London; Women Employed in Bookbinding, London; Tailoresses' Trade Union, London and Westminster; Upholstresses' Trade Society, London; and British Association of Working Women. If they had not been there we cannot expect that the following debate would have ended as favorably for their interests as it did.
On the 19th September the discussion turned upon the inspection of factories and workshops. Mr. A. W. BAILEY (Preston) moved :
“ That, whilst acknowledging the great and beneficial results to the factory and workshop population of the United Kingdom conferred upon them by the legislation of the past half century, this Congress is of opinion that a vast amount of juvenile and female labour is still carried on under conditions entirely opposed to the intentions of the factory and workshop laws, and in a manner most detrimental to the physical and moral wellbeing of the workers en
gaged, and in many cases producing great danger to the public health. This Congress is therefore of opinion that, in order to the better enforcement of these laws, the united trades should continue to urge upon the Government the great and pressing necessity which exists for such an increase of practical working men and women as sub-inspectors as would meet the constant extension of factory and workshop industries, and thus to enforce the observance of the law upon many who now evade it, to the disadvantage of those honourable employers who faithfully carry out the intentions of the LegisJature."
He had nothing to say in disparagement of the present staff of inspectors, but he said it was impossible for fifty inspectors adequately to do the work of inspecting the factories and workshops of the United Kingdom.
Miss WILKINSON (London upholstresses), in seconding the resolution, said there was nothing worse than making laws and not properly carrying them out. She was confident that the appointment of practical working men and women for the purposes of inspection would have a beneficial effect. If a place was fit for a woman to work in, it was surely not unfit for a woman to inspect it.
Mr. M'LEAN (Edinburgh) supported the resolution. He said that the body which he represented (the Scottish National Association of Operative Tailors) felt very strongly indeed the total inadequacy of the present Government inspection. He directed attention especially to the underground workshops in Scotland. As far as his fellowoperatives were concerned, they had had practical proof that the inspectors knew little and cared less about the interests of workmen in domestic workshops. As trades-unionists their desire was, not to get big salaries for the working men and women who might be appointed, but to see that the law was sufficiently carried out in order that the lives of workers and their families and also of the general public might be protected. In Scotland they had evidence that infection was carried by nothing more than woollen clothing.
Mr. Bloor (Burslem) was of opinion that in the Potteries the requirements of the case would not be met simply by the appointment of additional inspectors. There were in that part of the country 300 factories, at all of which females and juveniles were employed, There were different degrees of danger and unhealthiness in different employments—evils which inspectors or sub-inspectors could not control, and which it was not their duty to inquire into: and what was wanted in this movement was a thorough searching inquiry, on the part of a commission or certain members of the Parliamentary Committee, in order to raise not only questions of ventilation and general sanitary arrangements, but the question of how far female and juvenile labour in certain departments was injurious to the public health.
The resolution was supported by Mr. Freak (London), Mrs. Ellis (Dewsbury and Batley), Mr. Snow (Stockton), Mr. Inskip (Leicester), Mr. Simmons (Maidstone), Mr. Jack (Glasgow), Mr. Townley (Manchester), and Mr. Stevenson (Edinburgh).
Mr. DRUMMOND (Glasgow) said he concurred with all that had
been said on the subject, but he thought it would be advisable to strike out of the resolution the suggestion that women should be employed as sub-inspectors. With all due respect for the ladies, he said it was far better that they should have half a loaf than none, and if they sent their representatives to lay their case before the House of Commons previously to women's rights being acknowledged by that House, he did not think they would get anything like the increase of inspectors which they asked for. He moved as an amendment that that part of the resolution relating to women be omitted.
The amendment was not seconded, and accordingly fell to the ground.
The resolution was further supported by Mr. Buckley (Oldham), Mr. Mallinson (Sheffield), Miss Addis (London), Mr. Williams (Manchester), Mr. Hunter (Glasgow), Mr. Morrison (London), Mr. Shorrocks (Manchester), Mr. Bowman (Belfast), and Mr. McCrae (London).
The resolution was carried unanimously.
We regret that no woman has been placed upon the Parliamentary Committee as their vigilance is greatly needed to press forward this subject of the appointment of women as factory inspectors on the attention of Government. Perhaps, however it would be too much to expect that till women become voters, they should be elected on this Committee.
The influence of the women delegates was also felt when the subject of infant mortality came forward with the favourite nostrum of the prevention of their mothers from working.
Mr. THRELFALL moved :
“ That, considering the high rate of infant mortality in manufacturing districts, mainly arising from neglect through the mothers' enforced absence at work, this Congress is of opinion that both justice and humanity demand the passing of some law with the object of preventing women with very young children being employed in factories and workshops.”.
He observed that he did not seek in any way to disfranchise women from working, but, in the interest of future generations, women should not be allowed to go to work and leave their children to the charge of careless and indolent persons.
Mr. HULME (Burnley) seconded the motion.
Mr. JUDGE (Leeds), thinking that the subject, which had two sides to it, was too large for discussion at this time, moved as an amendment that they should proceed to the next business.
Mrs. ELLIS (Batley) seconded the amendment. The women wanted a fair field and no favour.
Mr. POWELL (London) submitted an amendment advocating the establishment by municipal and local government bodies of crêches or nurseries in poor industrial localities, for the daily care of the young
children of poor working men at the lowest possible cost to the parents.
Mr. SMYTH (London) seconded the amendment. Mr. COOTE (London) advised the withdrawing of the motion. The subject was of too much importance and involved too many grave issues to be dealt with in five minutes.
Mr. THRELFALL stated that his object had been to get the matter discussed, and he would now withdraw his motion, whereupon the subject dropped.
A proposition in favour of manhood suffrage versus household suffrage was rejected. This is fair; any proposal to extend the franchise so as to include all men before the existing qualification has included any woman, would only be to extend an injustice which is already an anomaly in a country calling itself representatives.
In the evening a meeting was held in the Co-operative Hall, to organise trades' unions for the benefit of working women. Miss Wilkinson presided, and among the speakers were Mr. King, Miss Whyte, Mrs. Fanny Paul, and Miss Geary. Miss WILKINSON explained the basis on which trade societies for women had been formed in London, and which, she said, had worked very successfully. The Women Bookbinders' Society had been in existence some eight or nine years, and during that time had paid away a considerable amount in sick and out of work benefits. At the present time this society had a considerable balance in hand. The Upholstresses' Society of London had also done a good work, having paid about £150 in sick and out of work benefits, and having over £100 in hand at the bank. As these societies for women could be worked so well in London, she thought nothing could stand in the way of similar societies in the provinces. In Manchester one society, that of the tailoresses, was already in existence, and she recommended women in other trades to amalgamate with it, and to make one large society. Resolutions were passed approving of the formation of protective and provident societies for women, similar in formation to the societies that have existed for many years in London and elsewhere; and pledging the meeting to do all in its power to help forward the work of the Manchester association of
tailoresses, tailors, machinists, women engaged in bookbinding, upholstery trades, mantle making, &c.
WOMEN IN POLITICS. On October 2nd, a Conference was held in the Christian Institute, Bothwell Street, Glasgow, to make arrangements for a great demonstration in favour of Women's Suffrage, which will be held in that city on November 2nd. Councillor Burt presided, and there was a large attendance of ladies and gentlemen. Mrs. McLaren, Miss Wigham and Mrs. Scatcherd, among others addressed the meeting, and severel other ladies joined in the discussion. It may fairly be expected that this demonstration will fully equal all the preceding in importance. Glasgow has already politically contributed its full quota to the work of women's freedom, as one Member, Mr. Anderson, carried through Parliament the (Scotland) Married Women's Property Bill, and another, Dr. Cameron, procured for Scottish women the Municipal Vote.
THE necessity of forming political opinion among women, as electors at no distant day, is beginning to be felt on all sides. When Sir Stafford Northcote, well known for a supporter of Women's Suffrage, addressed a crowded Conservative meeting on October 4th, in St. Andrew's Hall, the largest in Glasgow, a great part of the area was set aside for ladies, an arrangement which was the first of the kind at any political gatherng at Glasgow.
POLLOKSHAWS AND FEMALE ELECTORS:—The following is from the Daily Review: -By the charter of erection of the burgh of Pollokshaws, inhabitants who are tenants of premises at a rent of £4 yearly and upwards, are to be burgesses, and entitled to vote at the election of magistrates, treasurers and councillors; and to be elected to these offices. It has been decided, however, that this provision does not confer votes on female householders, and intimation to that effect has been notified by placards throughout the Burgh.
“I wonder,” a lady writes, “if this is law; we see how slow they are to shew women what rights they have and how to use them, but how quick to act when a right is wished to be witheld.”