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or answers in other tones, for the rea- lence where the sexes are mixed is not sons that I originally gave, that he to be denied. They will probably be fears a different retaliation, and that listened to, whether liked or not. But his objects in society are other than will the easy freedom of enjoyment verbal success. Habits introduced remain? These remarks, and many with the blood are not thrown off by more besides them, are certainly not entering a council hall, and there they specially made by those who are will be mischievous. The women who averse to female society as such, they wish to enter council halls are the last are even made by those specially alive to wish to throw them off. Nor is to the charm of mixed social interthere any serious wish on the part of course, as opposed to meetings where males that women of any type should the real ventilation of public topics is do so.
the reason of the gathering, though its But such considerations have a very form be convivial. The introduction serious bearing upon the possible en- of the matter would be impertinent tering of Parliament by women. It but for the light it may throw on some is not to be denied that there is some part, at least, of the results following serious danger of their ultimately doing from a Parliament which shall be so. This would be the natural result
open to both sexes, and into which of their voting at all, and of con
even a few women shall have entered. cessions already made, whatever prot- The time when veterans like Mr. estations may be expedient from time Gladstone were entering it is with reato time. It has come within the re- son believed to have been great gion of possible danger through the time of Parliament. The reministendency of either side to coquet with cences of the very old may still be the female vote when the polling of gathered by those who are admitted to the constituencies threatens to be well them, and they may be found abunbalanced. This coquetry is, perhaps, dantly in memoirs. And the general a little more pronounced among Tory impression left of this time is, that it members through a not ill-founded be
was a time of great freedom of exlief in the Toryism of the bulk of pression. Humor, often boisterous women. And it leaves more to be ex
humor, was allowed to play freely plained from them, because such an
over the solemn subjects of debate, admission of women is contrary to the and in this way reality of treatment general set of their principles.
was attained. The matters really Whereas the employment of women were discussed, and the vital points (and so naturally the voting of women) were not shirked; and those who were has always been akin to the general not pertinent or interesting were left re-examination of the framework of under no self-delusions. When it is society which seems essential to Rad- sometimes pretended that icalism. And before glancing at the would raise the tone of debates by probable results, as affecting honest preventing freedom, there is an utter discussion, of admitting women to confusion of thought. There is no Parliament let us look at what is tak
reason to suppose that there would ing place around us, their joining men arise a less venomous way of looking in public dinners where speeches are at things by women taking places in delivered, and where they themselves Parliament. The restraining
men deliver them. If there be an enjoy- from saying what they have to say. able element in the dining parties of in the way in which they would natuclubs and societies in what does it con- rally say it amongst themselves, would sist? In easy freedom, in the possibil- be not a good but a real evil, tending ity of natural badinage, in the cutting to prevent the fatuity of solemn preshort of a bore even, if need be. That tences from being exposed, and turna certain sequence of speeches will be ing debate from an engine for getting delivered more or less in decorous sic at the realities of the case, into a se
quence of decorous declamations, not relations of man to woman have been really contradicted on the points in settled by nature long ago; that these which contradiction and exposure are are incompatible with an uncompronecessary. In this matter the mere mising sifting of truth in common pubfuency of woman is not so much a lic debate; and that this public debate qualification as a drawback. That she whether in the large field of Parliais capable of making speeches of a cer- ment, or in the lesser fields of parish tain length one doubts,
councils, hospital boards, or boards of speeches of a set coherent cogency. guardians, and especially in boards The vital point is that the mere pres- which relate to public education, is of ence of her sex must necessarily dis- more importance to a nation than any turb the freedom of style and the pos- ciber things. If there be any truth in sibility of rudeness where necessary, this point of view, it would seem to which is indispensable to the real follow from it that the public functreatment of public questions.
tions of women would be limited to It is much to the point to remark the collecting of evidence, which men that on many less observed platforms must afterwards debate. This seems there is little doubt that she is hinder
at first sight arrogant on the part of ing that reality of treatment now. males. And there is no doubt that it Even in a matter which seems to give will be received with indignation by more than any other a promise of her those who are most serious in the beneficial agency, her appointment as claims which they make for public guardian of the poor, I believe that position. But it has a really humble her presence in debate among other side. The sarcasm of Johnson is male guardians, considered as a ham- worth attending to. So supereminent pering presence, stopping the free play is the influence of woman over man of natural remark and contradiction, that we must protect ourselves. By and securing to her own share of as- rightly constituted men, women will sertion and discussion a far larger im
never be subjected to the immediate munity from reflection by reason of sifting or heckling in public debates her sex than her influence and posi- which we must needs give to one antion could give if she were male, is other; and those who respect woman more calculated to do harm by the much and love their country more,. hampering of truth than her special must in self-protection do their best aptitudes for finding out certain facts
to keep her out of them. of public import could do good. Un
CHARLES SELBY OAKLEY. reality, and the thin dropping of uncontradicted assertion, lack of contradiction which to a large extent must always come to her by reason of her sex, must, I think, outbalance the
From The Nineteenth century. advantage of her sitting at the board.
“OF WOMEN IN ASSEMBLIES.” Yet these are but illustrative matters, and it is in view of a danger of wider and more vital operation on broader The value of one ounce of practice fields that the remarks are offered. being by general consent accredited as At the risk of repetition I say in fewer worth pounds of theory is the only exwords, that the vital object of debate cuse I offer for this article. It has is that the realities which underlie a lately been advanced in this review as matter, and which often come out best a truism that the self-consciousness of by collision, by contradiction, and by sex prevents men from being outspoken irritating interruption, should be re- and businesslike on such public boards vealed there and then in the council as have women members. I prefer to chamber. That whenever claims may contend that the meeting together of be made by New Women, the radical men and women for public work lessens LIVING AGE.
exaggerated sex-consciousness by bring- toat this dominating 'fascination of the ing men and women together on a sex will not tongue-tie male auditors." sound and easy union of common duty. Now, I think we should ask, where are
Thirteen years' experience as poor- we? Surely at a point where pathos is law guardian, member of rural dissolved in bathos! sanitary authority, and frequenter of It would seem that women are akin to parish vestries, with just one oppor- serpents, which, whether beautiful, old, tunity (by invitation) of arguing an im- or ugly exercise in a greater or lesser portant subject before quarter sessions, degree so dangerous a fascination that on a matter in which that body and men must be protected from having to several of the boards of guardians face them. They are advised to double throughout the county were at variance, round and scotch them if they can, followed by further experience under the result of which advice, if taken, the Local Government Act 1894, both as will be that the snakes-i.e., tbe rural district councillor and first chair- women-will thrive and multiply in man of a parish council, ought to entitle the land of public debate. There is me to speak on the utility of the joint another suggestion to protect men, work of the sexes in local government; and that is that women might "be even though my statement be regarded allowed to collect evidence for men to -as of necessity it must be as an ex use in debate." We therefore presume parte one.
that there should be an end to women The theory which has been ventilated giving evidence before committees of in this review is so charged with life the Houses of Parliament or Royal destroying character that we women, Commissions. In the future we ought most of us being proud to be united to to lose such valuable testimony as was men by near and dear ties, may well be given years ago by Miss Louisa Twini.. excused if we fail to accept anything so on workhouse management, or that of derogatory to the character of men in Dr. Annie M'Call and other ladies begeneral. We are told that the inherent fore the recent Commission on Middifferences of sex so dominate the wifery. We should dispense with that nature of men as to preclude full and verbal testimony which from time to free discussion on their part of any sub- time able and philanthropic women can ject when women are present. "That give to the nation. things will appear to be threshed out, We are asked to believe “that the posbut will not be threshed, and yet they sibility of rudeness is the indispensable will appear so to the woman,” and that condition of public debate;" that women she, the woman, will delude herself will never-by rightly constituted men with having been victorious when in –be subjected to that heckling and siftreality she has not been clearsighted ing which those "who love their counenough to correctly apprehend the try” give to men. Therefore women situation. This reticence on the part of should be kept not only out of Parliamen will be owing to some "fascina- ment, where they would intensify the tion” which women always possess, and already too venomous style of debate, which men must always feel, because but also off local councils. this "fascination" has existed since the Those who are conversant with the days of the Garden of Eden. And yet, modern work of women in local governpropounding this theory as to the in- ment know that even if women have ability of men to be businesslike and not been exactly heckled on boards of candid, the writer goes on to say, “And guardians, they have certainly not been yet men would not like women to lose received with uniform courtesy. The this 'fascination' even in the council success of lady guardians has not been həll!” And further, alas! “This great due to any fascination which has struck sensitiveness is so extensive that even if dumb their male co-workers, but to the women be old and ugly-unless possibly signal ability and ease with which they they keep silence—there is no guarantee have grasped the possibilities of the
poor law. This has doubtless been in their share in local government, they part owing to their superior knowledge and men had worked together on joint to men of the needs and characters of boards for the management of refuges
for fallen women and kindred instituThe women who have taken part in tions. "To the pure all things are such forms of local government as have pure.” A loathsome subject carries been open to them do not believe-nor with itself an antidote for all except do the public who have watched the those who, if they have attained office, joint work of men and women on boards are really not fit to act as public repreof guardians believe-toat the presence sentatives. of women has stulified freedom of Parish councils have been in existence speech or discussion for men. The so brief a time that it is not possible to Local Government Board and both report much experience, but so far as Houses of Parliament have in every that experience has gone it has tended way encouraged the election of women, to show that the presence of women, far both as poor-law guardians and as from being considered a hindrance by members of the Metropolitan Asylums man, has been valued and appreciated Board. Those governing powers have by them. Two at least of the lady realized that poor law work cannot be chairmen who were elected at the first thoroughly done without the co-opera- election were unanimously chosen by tion of women. Both sexes can bring councils composed entirely of small vilto the application of the poor law the lage traders and laborers, in one case fun complement of facts, and in this dashed with the Nonconforming eleway both the poor and the public have ment. One at least of those lady chairbeen the gainers. I will give as an ex- men (Mrs. Barker of Sherfield) dealt ample of the need of the womanly mind with the powers under the act in so the consideration of three of those acts systematic and exhaustive a manner of Parliament which for brevity I will as to serve, in my humble opinion, as a call Permissive Acts—they may be pattern for many a parish council under applied or not applied-viz., the Notifi- male control. Both Mrs. Barker and cation of Diseases, the Vaccination, and myself (though unknown to each other) the Cow Sheds and Dairies Acts. Who resigned at the end of our first year of would say but that women ought to office, strangely enough for the same have a voice and vote in the working of reasons. Both were anxious that the those acts, or that the interest of women educational power of the chair of parish in those acts should be confined “to councils should not crystallize, and both collecting evidence for men to debate” were desirous of proving beyond a thereon? There have been most full doubt that a woman could act as chairand free discussions of the working of man and returning officer at the annual tbose acts on councils composed of men parish elections. This would have been and women, and surely it is reductio ad impossible had we been candidates for absurdum to suppose that the most sus- office. By singular good luck one, if not ceptible of men to female influence felt both, the elections were decided by the unequal to say all he required to. casting vote of the lady chairman. Be
If it be granted, as indeed it must be, fore the publication of this review Mrs. that questions will sometimes arise Barker will have given her most intertouching the most miserable side of the esting experience at the conference of relations of the sexes, I can say that the Women's Emancipation Union held from my fifteen years' experience there in London. need be no reticence in discussion, ex. If we could gather together the opincept that which is of pre-eminent impor- ions of those women pioneers who have tance in all public work, viz., the choice borne the brunt and burden of the day of fitting and appropriate language. as co-workers with men in public as
Long before the modern movement semblies, there is little doubt but that had arisen among women for taking their testimony would tend to show that
sex distinction has been much less Experience has taught some of us that oppressive than even they hoped it many men are more fearful of ventilatcould be. It is not far-fetched to sug ing their opinions before members of gest that the novel position assumed by great ability among their own sex than them minimized sex fascination. Men they are of enforcing opinions opposed possibly regarded them as hybrid crea- to those of women. The fear of woman tures, partaking of the characteristics is as nothing compared to the fear of of two species, curiosities of nature; a clever scathing male tongue. but, like all hybrids, limited in sexual Women have desired that their public power, therefore (though, like the mule, work should be on the broad line of good for hard work and surefootedness) homo man—“male and female created of depreciated value in the scheme of He them”—not on the narrow one of sex nature.
affinity, much less of sex antagonism. I think we touch the crux of the George Meredith, by deep and generous matter when we say that a great van intuition, has sounded in his latest tage-ground has been taken from men work the revolt of women from sex who have to sic with women on local appreciation alone. A too late enlightboards. It is less easy to air a sex ened husband is made to say: "I do not biassed opinion, or give a sex biassed believe that anything higher than reruling, than of yore. In the past but spect can be given to a woman;" and few men cared to earn the gratitude of again "When ...
breathes women by being enthusiastic on the into us she wings a beast.” How differwoman's side of a question. It was ent are these sentiments from those of much more comfortable when only one Mr. Oakley, who would base all human side need be debated, and that the male relationships between men and women side. Though, according to Mr. Oakley, on sex fascination alone! two thirds of the spoil (I question the If the disorder be but half as bad as proportion), "holy or ly,” gained by it is represented, there can be only one men may be appropriated by the women
certain cure. We must have an inthey favor, there will always be some crease in the representation of women. women who will appreciate simple Women cannot go back, it is undesirable justice above all the good things of this from the enemy's point of view that life.
they should remain where they are, conThis terrible theory of the impossi- sequently they must go forward. This bility of men doing justice to business will reduce the number of men likely to in the presence of women has been
be affected, and secure for women the backed up by a quotation from Dr. exercise of those higher qualities of Johnson. It is now more than a cen- mind, heart, and brain which belong tury since the grand old lexicographer alike to spiritually-minded men and was placed in his grave, and men and
Every age has produced women and theories have moved on
women for whom the serious concerns since then. Yet I cannot say an unkind
of life have had a greater attraction word of Dr. Johnson. His practice in than its pleasures. The Vestal Virgin regard to women so often excelled his exists no longer but as a pure symbol. precepts; the good husband of an old The Sister of Charity has been for aģes wife, the kind protector of destitute
The spear of progress women, even to the sheltering of some
This generation of of them for years in his own home, has
women is awake not only to the need gained my love. Even to the wealthy of religious but also of civic devotion on and fascinating Mrs. Piozzi he could the part of women to do battle with blurt out his opinions. He never be- dirt, discomfort, and disease.” came weak-kneed in the presence of