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(we could give their names) to vote against the scrutin de liste, and à week after the vote M. Ferry made the Epinal anti-progress speech.
This was all; and we find this quite sufficient.
And now, if asked how, in our opinion, the regrettable conflict caused by the vote of the Senate will end, we think we may reply without embarrassment. If the President of the Republic thinks the way of democratic reform can be barred by rejecting the scrutin de liste, he is mistaken. By the scrutin d'arrondissement as by the scrutin de liste, a progressist majority will be returned at the coming elections. This majority will certainly be smaller, less united, less governmental, less stable, less powerful against réactionnaires and intransigeants to consolidate the normal development of our institutions, than if it had been elected by scrutin de liste; but that there will be this majority is certain, and it is not less certain that the republican party does not think the moment come to divide into Whigs and Tories in presence of a still too numerous monarchical minority. If the Senate imagined that its vote of the 9th of June would hinder the revision of the Constitution, it is deceived, for from this day forth there is not a circuit where the four-fifths of the republicans do not demand the reform of the electoral law of the Senate. Finally, if the enemies of the Republic hoped this conflict would be fatal to our young institutions, they also are deceived. Certainly this incident, which could and should have been avoided, is to be deplored, and there is no need to say why. But our confidence in the future is none the less perfect and entire. We know the wisdom and patriotism of the republicans too well to be alarmed. The delight experienced by the reactionary members at the vote of the 9th of June, and the sad verities in store for us at the coming elections through the employment of the scrutin d'arrondissement, will, we are convinced, bring the whole republican party, without exception, back to its old and noble tradition on the scrutin de liste question. The end of the crisis provoked by the rejection of the scrutin de liste Bill will be the voting of it. There will, we sincerely hope, only have been time lost. For the good of the Republic, may this lost time be as short as possible!
This article was written last July, and would have appeared, but for an error in transmission, in the August number of this Review. We congratulate ourselves on that delay. Our legislative elections took place on the 21st of August, and they have proved our previsions to be correct.
1. As we had foretold, and in contradiction to the senatorial majority of the 9th of June, universal suffrage elected on the 21st of August a republican progressist majority of deputies, and this majority has been obtained in spite of that most vicious instrument, scrutin d'arrondissement. With scrutin de liste our elections would simply have been admirable. Not a single intransigeant would have been named, and the réactionnaires would have lost 100 seats instead of 50.
2. The Senate had imagined that the vote of the 9th of June would hinder the revision of the Constitution. As we had announced in our article, the Senate was deceived; and the direct consequence of the vote of the 9th of June has been that revision has been demanded on all republican programmes. M. Ferry himself, in his most patriotic Nancy speech, has acknowledged that revision was imminent.
3. We wrote, six weeks ago, in our article: “The delight experienced by the reactionary members at the vote of the 9th of June, and the sad verities in store for us. at the coming elections through the employment of the scrutin d'arrondissement, will, we are convinced, bring the whole republican party, without exception, back to its old and noble tradition on the scrutin de liste question. Our hopes have been fulfilled. Everywhere scrutin de liste has been urged by the republican committees; and the sad and shameful scenes of Charonne, which could never have taken place with scrutin de liste, as is asserted in our most important papers (Temps, Journal des Débats, République Française, Siècle, Dir-neurième Siècle, Revue Politique), have converted the last advocates of scrutin d'arrondissement. M. Grévy's most intimate friends have acknowledged this stubborn fact. Thanks to the intransia geants, Bonapartists, and ticket-of-leave men of the Rue St. Blaise, the whole republican party has been brought back to its old tradition on the scrutin de liste question.
• We must add that Léon Renault, Bardoux, Sénard, and a few other eminent republicans who have been defeated by obscure but active and cunning hommes de clochers, would have been victors with scrutin de liste. Léon Renault said that he had turned into an argument against scrutin d'arrondissement, which is perfectly true.
WOMEN AS CIVIL SERVANTS.
The great and increasing demand for remunerative employment of women calls for frank discussion of their present position and future prospects as members of the working community. Necessity now forces many women out into the world where the law of the survival of the fittest, and therefore of the strongest, holds good for all comers. Equality with men they can never attain, for the best work will always be done by those who possess the most physical and mental power; but that the amount of energy and ability women have at their disposal will eventually command the same market price as that of the other sex I firmly believe. At present every branch of labour on which women can enter is overcrowded by them, and therefore they are ready to engage themselves at a much lower rate than would be offered to men; but when a wider range of employment shall be open to them, they will receive due pay for good service.
While public interest seems especially directed towards this question, viz. the necessity of providing fresh opportunities for the gain of a livelihood to the large female section of the community now clamorous, and in no way to be ignored, it is well to understand clearly what has already been done, what labour market is already open, and where any vista of fresh modes of activity may be found. At the risk of taxing the reader's patience with a good deal of dry practical detail, it seems worth while to give an account as thorough as may be of one important line of employment which has been experimentally offered to women : that is to say, their admission to one department of the Civil Service.
One of the most encouraging prospects before women, and that because the commencement made promises of further development, is their admission to the Public Postal Service. Nearly two hundred women find occupation in three important branches of the post-office, and their numbers, it is said, are likely to be greatly enlarged. Ten years ago the Clearing House, a branch of the Receiver and AccountantGeneral's Office, was opened to female officers, the idea being to give employment to ladies in reduced circumstances. Sir John Tilley first suggested that these clerkships should be filled by gentlewomen, and Lord John Manners, then Postmaster-General, favoured the plan, and took much interest in the nominations. In the year 1872 the staff commenced with thirty members, and gradually their numbers have been increased, and their work now embraces that of the Clearing House, the greater part of the Examiner's Branch of the Savings Bank, and the Postal Orders Examining Branch.
To give an idea of the capacities required in the workers it is necessary to state briefly the nature of their duties, and to describe the way in which these are despatched. That a good deal of mental strain is put upon the officers will be seen readily, and that the work is no sinecure will appear from the following facts.
The clerks enter upon a six months' probation after passing an examination in arithmetic, dictation, handwriting, and grammar, under the Civil Service Commissioners, at Cannon Row or Burlington House; and at the end of that time, if their health and conduct are considered satisfactory, a report is sent in to the authorities by the superintendent, and they are fully established as second-class clerks. The salary commences from the day of entry, and is 65l. a year, rising by 31. to 801. for a second-class clerk; 851., rising by 5l. to 1101., for a first-class clerk; and 1101., rising to 1701., for a principal clerk. The age of admission is between seventeen and twenty. The hours of attendance are from ten a.m. to four p.m.; and the holidays consist of a free afternoon on Saturday and a calendar month some time during the year.
The Clearing House is situated at No 1 Albion Place, Blackfriars Bridge, and it will be remembered that this was the first branch of the Post Office in which ladies were engaged. The work here has to do with telegrams, and every telegram sent throughout the United Kingdom is forwarded here from the General Post Office for examination. In the press section on the ground floor all unpaid telegrams are received which are sent by those papers, agencies, clubs, exchanges, and news-rooms, which have made arrangements with the PostmasterGeneral for the transmission of news. The telegrams are sorted, their words counted, and the number entered to the names of the senders whose franks they bear, and then they are put away on the shelves round the walls. Above this room is the section for the examination of messages for small charges. All paid telegrams sent throughout England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland are counted here, and examined to see that the right number of stamps have been affixed. Such words as cui bono' or names like fly-by-night' are apt to be written as one word, and the clerk in whose division such mistakes occur writes a report of the error, and her decision is checked by a principal clerk. The daily average of mistakes is about one hundred and fifty to two hundred, and they are all entered in a book, and the telegrams are kept for two years, in case some further information should be required. The messages found correct are returned in sacks to the General Post Office.
The Government Account Section occupies the third floor, and
consists of the postmasters' abstract work, viz. daily account of the number of messages each postmaster has sent out, and the commission he claims. This work varies in quantity. During the snowstorm in January of this year, 97,143 more messages were sent than during the same week of the preceding year. It is noticed that messages increase during wet weather, and decrease on bright sunny days. The postmasters' accounts are examined weekly, and a monthly abstract sheet is made out for the general office. The highest room is where the Government messages and those of the Queen and her family are counted and charged to the offices, and to the Controllers of the Royal Households. This apartment is far up above the noise of the streets, and a small balcony allows the clerks to breathe the fresh air from the river. A few withered ferns outside the window struggle to keep life in them, and are carefully tended by their owners, but the smoke and fog do not encourage the growth of young leaves.
The Examiners' Branch of the Savings Bank, in which ladies are employed, occupies a floor of the new building in Queen Victoria Street, and the staff numbers one hundred and thirty ladies. private staircase leads up to this part of the building, and a diningroom and kitchen are attached to it, in order that no communication need be carried on with the other floors. This work is in three sections, and a fourth has been added by the Act for Investments in Government Stock. The post-offices of the kingdom are separated into ninety-six divisions, and each division is the work of a separate clerk. The work consists in examining the signatures of depositors who withdraw money from the Savings Bank ; in initialing them if found correct; and in entering the amount of the withdrawals on remittance-sheets for the Receiver and Accountant-General. The notices are forwarded to the book-keeper's branch, and when returned, if found correct, warrants are sent to the depositors signed with the initials of the examiner, and advices to the paying offices. Examiners sign for withdrawals up to fifty pounds; first-class clerks to one hundred and fifty; and the superintendent for all sums over that amount. The Daily Balance Section deals solely with the postmasters, and is also arranged in divisions. The clerks receive the daily dockets of postmasters, stating the number of deposits and withdrawals in their various offices; and they examine dates and stamp marks, report errors, and make out a daily total. The Allowance and Adjustment Section is where the allowances to postmasters are counted, the rate of payment being five pounds for each thousand transactions of deposits and withdrawals for the medium-sized offices, and two pounds a year for the small offices. The large offices receive a fixed salary, and are dealt with elsewhere. Certificates and vouchers for payment are sent quarterly to the Receiver and Accountant-General. A final adjustment sheet for all the deposits and withdrawals dealt