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sented are set aside and those of the represented only are attended to, have had a very convincing effect upon the minds of working women as to the practical hardships which follow from their exclusion from the suffrage.

As to the second of the assertions of which I venture to question the accuracy, I do not think it is true that the advocates of 'women's rights' strongly insist on the absolute mental equality of the sexes. Like Marco Polo, I wish to set down things seen as seen, things heard as heard only; therefore I confine my remarks to what has come under my own observation in the conduct of the women's suffrage movement in England during the last twenty years. The leaders of the movement, and its rank and file, have entertained some one and some another view as to the comparative natural capacity of the sexes. But whether they think men and women similar in this respect, or dissimilar but equal, or dissimilar and unequal, they have all, I believe, agreed that the matter was not of any real importance to the question in hand. It is certain that, whatever the inherent natural capacity of a woman's mind may be, its development largely depends on education, circumstances, and opportunity. All that the advocates of women's rights have wished or claimed on behalf of women is that, whatever their natural gifts may be, the opportunity of developing those gifts should not be denied to them. The physical strength of the average woman is inferior to that of the average man; but this does not afford any reason for subjecting women to lowering physical conditions: wholesome food, fresh air, daily exercise, and suitable clothing are as necessary for making the best of the physical powers of the weaker as of the stronger sex. Analogous reasoning can be applied to the educational, social, and political conditions of a woman's life. The question is not whether men and women are equal, but whether the conditions by which men and women are surrounded are calculated to bring out and make the best of their natural powers, whatever these may be. Whether our cups hold a pint or a quart, we wish for the opportunity of filling them. With regard to the effect which a larger measure of freedom has had in developing the natural capacities of women's minds, I think we have every reason to be satisfied with the result of the experiment so far as it has gone. The respect for the individual rights of every human being, which was partly the cause and partly the outcome of the French Revolution, marks the beginning of the modern era so far as the position of women is concerned. The great discovery that women were human beings fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a man is, is conveniently dated in England by the publication in 1792 of Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women. Previous to that, hardly any woman, save here and there a saint, a queen, or a king's mistress, had done any work which

left its mark on the history of art, politics, literature, or science. Whatever the natural gifts of women may be, before that time they were undeveloped in comparison with a later period. Since that time we have had indeed among women no Shakespeare, no Dante, no Beethoven, no Newton, but in our scarcely completed century we have had, in literature alone, women whose works the world will not willingly let die. Jane Austen, the two Brontës, Mrs. Browning, and George Eliot are not a poor harvest for one nation to have reaped as a result of giving greater scope and greater opportunities of development to the natural powers, whatever they may be, of one half of its inhabitants. We live by admiration, hope, and love.' Our love and admiration for the great women given to us during the last half century, as a result of the comparative freedom accorded to Englishwomen by advancing civilisation, leads us to hope that yet greater women may be given to us in the time to come, when a larger measure of liberty and greater opportunities of development will have been won.

We are moving and growing slowly towards larger ideas as to the capacity of women and what it is fitting that they should or should not do. At one time it was thought impossible that a woman should ever acquire the difficult art of cutting hair; a male hairdresser remarked, 'It took me a fortnight to learn it,' and believed that this settled the question. A little later it was discovered that women could keep accounts, and keep them well. When I was being shown over the Savings Bank Department of the General Post Office, the excellence of the work of the women there was specially pointed out to me by the kindness of the gentleman who was then head of the branch. Taking down one of the heavy ledgers, and showing with official pride the beautifully neat columns of figures, he said, 'At one time I did not believe that females were capable of making figures like these.' I smiled, and hoped that further surprises were in store for him. Till Ellen Watson won the first prize for Mathematics at London University and Miss Scott was eighth wrangler at Cambridge, many people believed that Mrs. Somerville notwithstanding-there was something in the female brain which rendered it incapable of apprehending the mysteries of mathematical science. It is evident, then, that there is more capacity on the part of women to undertake successfully various kinds of work than at one time was dreamed of. It will never be certainly known whether their mental powers are equal to those of men till their chances have been equal during a long period of time. It may be that physical laws have irrevocably ordained that their chances never can be equal; and that by the service they render to the world in another way women are eternally handicapped, if a comparison is made between their achievements and those of men. If this be so, we argue not against Heaven's hand or will; but we ask, all the same, on behalf of women, that they should

have the opportunity of developing whatever powers nature may have vouchsafed to them.

It should be remarked that, contemporaneously with the greater activity of women during the last half century in those spheres which were at one time held to be fit for men exclusively, the work that always has been and probably always will be specially women's work has not been neglected; on the contrary, in almost every department women have done their own special work, since a larger degree of liberty has been afforded them, with increased zeal and intelligence. I need only refer to the great improvement in the education of the young; to the careful training now sought by all women who wish to devote themselves to the nursing of the sick; to the revival of fine needlework, artistic and utilitarian; to the schools for teaching cookery; to the increase of skill and thought employed in beautifying the home; to the work of women as poor-law guardians; to the method of really helping the poor which is associated with the name of Miss Octavia Hill; and last, but not least, to that noble army of martyrs who, in ever-increasing numbers and with increasing wisdom and self-devotion, give their lives to rescuing from unspeakable misery the most wretched and unhappy of their sex.

Mrs. Chapman concedes everything that has been already won; it is only where the immediate issue of the battle is still doubtful that she joins the forces of reaction. She is convinced that it is right that women should vote in municipal and school-board elections and should serve the community as poor-law guardians; for school boards and boards of guardians deal, she urges, with local not national interests, and for these the distinguishing feminine characteristics are strong qualifications; and she further hints in another passage that wise women will recognise that great questions of national interest are the subjects appropriate for the consideration of masculine minds, while feminine minds should occupy themselves with such questions as are connected with household management and the care of the sick. Is there not a fallacy here? Is it not right that all human beings should like the best things best, and be most interested in the things that are most interesting? It often helps one to test the value of an argument to translate it from the abstract to the concrete. Will wise women recognise during the next few months that it is scarcely fitting that they should occupy themselves with an attempt to understand Mr. Gladstone's proposals for the future government of Ireland, and that they will find a subject in every way worthy of the contemplation of the female mind in the 'Substitutes for Butter' Bill? When the question arises whether the Church of England shall be disestablished, are women to leave its fate to be decided by others, while they occupy themselves exclusively, so far as public affairs are concerned, with those matters which Mrs. Chapman accurately describes as a sort of housekeeping on a large

scale? It is impossible in practice to separate the daily interests of men and women in this way. They live together as husbands and wives, fathers and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and sons. Those great questions of national interest which deeply stir the heart and mind of the country excite the most intense interest on the part of both men and women. It is true that from the natural difference of sex, and from the different conditions of their lives, women may look upon these and other questions from a point of view somewhat different from that of men. It is this very difference, from whatever cause it may arise, that, in my view, gives to women their strongest possible claim to representation. If women and men were just alike in everything but clothes and outward form, the representation of men would virtually represent women also; but, being different, the true representation of the country demands that this difference should be able to make itself felt constitutionally through representation. The main work of most women's lives is domestic, and is likely to remain so; this gives in their eyes a special value to the domestic virtues of truthfulness, morality, sobriety, economy, and order. Would not the course of legislation be favourably influenced if, through the constitutional channels of representation, more weight were given in public affairs to what promotes these virtues?

It appears to be thought that, if women vote for members of Parliament, they must bid a final adieu to all personal influence over their fellow-creatures. The non sequitur is obvious. Almost everyone exercises influence in a greater or less degree over those with whom he is brought into contact. Sometimes the influence is good and sometimes it is bad. An unselfish, noble character, one that cherishes high ideals, makes all great and brave and beautiful things easier in the entire circle where his influence radiates. That is one of the most blessed things in the world. It will not be stopped by women voting for members of Parliament. There have been men and women in all times and in all countries who have exercised this beneficent personal influence over both men and women. But personal influence is not necessarily good: sometimes it is akin to flattery and cajolery, or may be prompted by a desire for selfish ascendency. I am not so Utopian as to imagine that this bad kind of personal influence will be extirpated by allowing women to vote for members of Parliament. I am afraid that the bad sort of personal influence, as well as the good, belongs to that class of great, unalterable facts underlying all our arrangements,' which Mrs. Chapman speaks of. But there is room to hope that to extend the blessings of liberty and self-government to women may help them to a more generous patriotism, to higher ideals and a keener appreciation of public duty; and in this case their influence for good would be strengthened, and such influence as is not good would be correspondingly diminished. Mr. Gladstone once said, in the pages, I believe, of this Review: All who live in a


country should take an interest in that country, love that country; and the vote gives that sense of interest, fosters that love.' It is impossible to doubt, unless it is contended that circumstances have no modifying effect on character, that the entire exclusion of women from direct political power and responsibility has weakened their sense of patriotism and public duty. How many men since Adam have been hindered in making the right choice between duty and temptation by the woman whom Thou gavest to be with me!' Browning makes Andrea del Sarto say to his wife :

Had I been two, another and myself,

Our head would have o'erlooked the world!

Had you enjoined them on me, given me soul,
We might have risen to Rafael, I and you.
.. Had the mouth there urged
'God and the glory! never care for gain!'

I might have done it for you.

The thought may arise that it is easy to blame another for one's own shortcomings, and it is not uncommon to hear Adam's excuse sharply animadverted upon. If not manly, it is said to have been very like a man; but I am afraid that Eve's share in the transaction, if not womanly, was very like a woman.

It is a truism to say women have not always thrown their weight on the side of duty, irrespective of gain, reputation, and everything else. The question as to the suffrage is really this: Will the extension of political privileges to some women tend in any degree to awaken in all women a higher sense of civic duty, a juster power of comparison between the value of personal aims and national wellbeing? The tragedy of Lydgate and Rosamund Vincy in Middlemarch should ever be before the eyes of women. The life of the young husband, full of promise, of fine ideals, of generous enthusiasm, is marred and turned to dust and ashes by the entire incomprehension of the beautiful girl whom he married that life could have any higher aims than to get into good society and lead the van of provincial gentility. I am afraid we shall have Rosamunds always with us; but everything which lifts up women's lives, whether it be education or political responsibility or industrial independence, ought to be thankfully grasped at, in the faith that they will all help to weaken the Rosamund who is the Edward Hyde to the Dr. Jekyll of so many of us.

There is one circumstance in particular which tells us to be of good cheer in this matter of the extension of the suffrage to women. Women's suffrage will not come, when it does come, as an isolated phenomenon; it will come as a necessary corollary of other changes which have been gradually and steadily modifying during this century the social history of our country. It will be a political change, not

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