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Title: Women's Suffrage - A Short History of a Great Movement
Author: Fawcett, Millicent Garrett, Dame
Language: English
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    It is not to be thought of that the flood
    Of British freedom, which to the open sea
    Of the world's praise, from dark antiquity
    Hath flowed "with pomp of waters unwithstood"--
    Road by which all might come and go that would,
    And bear out freights of worth to foreign lands;
    That this most famous stream in bogs and sands
    Should perish, and to evil and to good
    Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
    Armoury of the invincible knights of old:
    We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
    That Shakespeare spake--the faith and morals hold
    Which Milton held. In everything we're sprung
    Of earth's first blood, have titles manifold.

                             --W. Wordsworth.




We suffragists have no cause to be ashamed of the founders of our

                        "In everything we're sprung
    Of earth's first blood, have titles manifold."

Mary Wollstonecraft[1] started the demand of women for political
liberty in England, Condorcet in France,[2] and the heroic group of
anti-slavery agitators in the United States. It is true that Horace
Walpole called Mary Wollstonecraft "a hyena in petticoats." But this
proves nothing except his profound ignorance of her character and aims.
Have we not in our own time heard the ladies who first joined the
Primrose League described by an excited politician as "filthy witches"?
The epithet of course was as totally removed from any relation to the
facts as that which Horace Walpole applied to Mary Wollstonecraft.
William Godwin's touching memoir of his wife, Mr. Kegan Paul's _William
Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries_, and Mrs. Pennell's Biography
show Mary Wollstonecraft as a woman of exceptionally pure and exalted
character. Her sharp wits had been sharpened by every sort of personal
misfortune; they enabled her to pierce through all shams and pretences,
but they never caused her to lower her high sense of duty; they never
embittered her or caused her to waver in her allegiance to the pieties
of domestic life. Her husband wrote of her soon after her death, "She
was a worshipper of domestic life." If there is anything in appearance,
her face in the picture in the National Portrait Gallery speaks for
her. Southey wrote of her, that of all the lions of the day whom he had
seen "her face was the best, infinitely the best."

The torch which was lighted by Mary Wollstonecraft was never afterwards
extinguished; there are glimpses of its light in the poems of her
son-in-law Shelley. The frequent references to the principle of
equality between men and women in the "Revolt of Islam" will occur to
every reader.

In 1810 Sydney Smith, in the _Edinburgh Review_, wrote one of the most
brilliant and witty articles which even he ever penned in defence of an
extension of the means of a sound education to women.

In 1813 Mrs. Elizabeth Fry began to visit prisoners in Newgate, and
shocked those who, citing the parrot cry "woman's place is home,"
thought a good woman had no duties outside its walls. She had children
of her own, but this did not shut her heart to the wretched waifs
for whom she founded a school in prison. A little after this England
began to be stirred by the agitation which resulted in the passing
of the Reform Bill of 1832. It is one of life's little ironies that
James Mill, the founder of the Philosophical Radicals, and the father
of John Stuart Mill, who laid the foundation of the modern suffrage
movement, was among those who, in the early nineteenth century,
justified the exclusion of women from all political rights. In an Essay
on "Government" published in 1823 as an appendix to the fifth edition
of the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, he dismissed in a sentence all claim
of women to share in the benefits and protection of representative
government, stating that their interests were sufficiently protected
by the enfranchisement of their husbands and fathers. It is true that
this did not pass unchallenged; a book in reply was published (1825)
by William Thomson. This book had a preface by Mrs. Wheeler, at whose
instigation it was written.[3]

The Reform Movement was agitating the whole country at this period,
and political excitement led to political riots, burning of buildings,
and general orgies of massacre and destruction. The Government of the
day had their share in the blunders and stupidities which led to these
crimes, and in none were these qualities more conspicuous than in the
riot at Manchester, which came to be known as the Peterloo Massacre in
August 1819, in which six people were killed and about thirty seriously

What connects it with the subject of these pages has already been
hinted at. Women as well as men had been ridden down by the cavalry;
they were present at the meeting not merely as spectators, but as
taking an active part in the Reform Movement. A picture of the Peterloo
Massacre, now in the Manchester Reform Club, is dedicated to "Henry
Hunt, Esq., the chairman of the meeting and _to the Female Reformers
of Manchester_ and the adjacent towns who were exposed to and suffered
from the wanton and furious attack made on them by that brutal armed
force, the Manchester and Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry." The picture
represents women in every part of the fray, and certainly taking their
share in its horrors. In the many descriptions of the event, no word of
reprobation has come to my notice of the women who were taking part in
the meeting; they were neither "hyenas" nor "witches," but patriotic
women helping their husbands and brothers to obtain political liberty;
in a word, they were working for men and not for themselves, and this
made an immense difference in the judgment meted out to them. However,
it is quite clear that even as long ago as 1819 the notion that women
have nothing to do with politics was in practice rejected by the
political common-sense of Englishmen. No one doubted that women were,
and ought to be, deeply interested in what concerned the political
well-being of their country.

Some political antiquarians in this country have expressed their
conviction that in early times when the institution of feudalism was
the strongest political force in England, women exercised electoral
rights in those cases where they were entitled as landowners or as
freewomen of certain towns to do so.[4] This view has been combated
by other authorities, and has not been accepted in the law courts,
where special emphasis has been laid on the fact that no authentic
case of a woman having actually cast a vote, as of right, in a
Parliamentary election can be produced. The claim that in ancient
times women did exercise the franchise, whether capable of being
established or not, certainly does not deserve to be dismissed as in
itself absurd and incredible. I believe it has been called by some
anti-suffragists "an impudent imposture," in the most approved style
of the "what-I-know-not-is-not-knowledge" pedant. Whatever it may be,
it is not this. In a book published in 1911,[5] there is a passage
which goes far to prove that even as late as 1807 the right of women
possessing the necessary legal qualification to vote in Parliamentary
elections was recognised as being in existence. One of the Spencer
Stanhopes was a candidate during the general election of 1807, and
Mrs. Spencer Stanhope writes to her son, John, that her husband's party
was so certain of success that they had announced that their women folk
need not vote. "Your father was at Wakefield canvassing yesterday....
They determined not to admit the ladies to vote, which is extraordinary
and very hard, considering how few privileges we poor females have.
Should it come to a very close struggle, I daresay they will then call
upon the ladies, and in that case every self-respecting woman should
most certainly refuse her assistance."

The contention is that the Reform Act of 1832, by substituting the
words "male person" in lieu of the word "man" in the earlier Acts,
first placed upon the women of this country the burden of a statutory
disability. This process, it is argued, was repeated in the Municipal
Corporation Act of 1835, and is the reason why the admission of women
to the municipal franchise in 1870 is spoken of in many of our suffrage
publications as the "_Restoration_" of the municipal suffrage to women.
The point appears more of antiquarian than of practical interest. If
substantiated, it only illustrates anew the fact that under feudalism,
and as long as feudalism survived, property rather than human beings
had a special claim to representation, but it assumed a larger degree
of importance from what followed in 1850 and 1868.

In 1850 Lord Brougham's Act was passed, which enacted that in all Acts
of Parliament "words importing the masculine gender shall be deemed
to include females unless the contrary is expressly provided." In the
Reform Bill of 1867 the words "male person" were abandoned, and the
word "man" was substituted, and many lawyers and others believed that
under Lord Brougham's Act of 1850 women were thereby enfranchised.
Under this belief, the reasons for which were set forth by Mr. Chisholm
Anstey, barrister and ex-M.P., in two legal pamphlets published, one
just before and one just after the passing of the Reform Bill of 1867,
a large number of women rate-payers claimed before the revising
barristers in 1868 to be placed upon the Parliamentary register. Under
the able leadership of Miss Lydia Becker 5346 women householders of
Manchester made this claim, 1341 in Salford, 857 in Broughton and
Pendleton, 1 lady in S.E. Lancashire, a county constituency, 239
in Edinburgh, and a few in other parts of Scotland. The revising
barristers in most of these cases declined to place the women's names
on the register; and in order to get a legal decision, four cases were
selected and argued before the Court of Common Pleas on November 7,
1868. The judges were the Lord Chief Justice Bovill, with the Justices
Willes, Keating, and Byles. Sir John (afterwards Lord) Coleridge, and
Dr. Pankhurst were counsel for the appellants. The case (technically
known as Chorlton _v._ Lings) was given against the women, on the
express ground that although the word "man" in an Act of Parliament
must be held to include women, "_this did not apply to the privileges
granted by the State_." This judgment, therefore, established as law
that "the same words in the same Act of Parliament shall for the
purpose of voting apply to men only, but for the purpose of taxation
shall include women."[6]

Some women's names had been accepted by revising barristers, and were
already upon the register. A question was raised whether they could
remain there. The barrister in charge of this case, Mr. A. Russell,
Q.C., argued that when once the names were upon the register, if they
had not been objected to they must remain; one of the judges thereupon
remarked that if this were so there would be no power to remove the
name of _a dog or a horse_ from the register if once it had been
inscribed upon it. This was eloquent of the political status of women,
identifying it by implication with that of the domestic animals. _The
Times_, in anticipation of the Chorlton _v._ Lings case coming on for
hearing, had an article on November 3, 1868, in which it said: "If
one supposes it ever was the intention of the legislature to give
women a vote, and if they do get it, it will be by a sort of accident,
in itself objectionable, though, in its practical consequences,
perhaps harmless enough. On the other hand, if they are refused, _the
nation will, no doubt, be formally and in the light of day committing
itself through its judicial tribunal, to the dangerous doctrine that
representation need not go along with taxation_." With the decision in
Chorlton _v._ Lings, the last chance of women getting the suffrage by
"a sort of accident" vanishes, and very few of us can now regret it,
for the long struggle to obtain suffrage has been a great education
for women, not only politically, but also in courage, perseverance,
endurance, and comradeship with each other.

If the nineteenth century was a time of education for women, it was no
less a time of education for men. We have not yet arrived at an equal
moral standard for men and women, but we have travelled a long way on
the road leading to it. A George I. openly surrounding himself with
mistresses, and shutting up his wife for life in a fortress for levity
of behaviour; a George IV. who measured with similar inequality his
own and his wife's connubial transgressions, would not be tolerated
in the England of the twentieth century. The awakening of women to
a sense of their wrongs before the law was a leading feature of the
women's movement in the early nineteenth century. The Hon. Mrs. Norton,
the beautiful and gifted daughter of Tom Sheridan, a reigning toast,
a society beauty, and with literary accomplishments sufficient to
secure her an independent income from her pen, was subjected to every
sort of humiliation and anguish as a wife and mother which the mean
and cruel nature of her husband could devise. Mr. Norton brought an
action against Lord Melbourne for the seduction of his wife, and the
jury decided without leaving the box that Lord Melbourne was wholly
innocent. This did not prevent the petty malice of her husband from
depriving Mrs. Norton entirely of her three infant children, one of
whom died from an accident which ought never to have happened if the
child had been duly cared for. To read her life[7] is comparable to
being present at a vivisection. Mrs. Norton had one weapon. She could
make herself heard; she wrote a pamphlet in 1836 called "_The Natural
Claim of a Mother to the Custody of her Children as affected by the
Common Law Right of the Father_." One result which followed from Mrs.
Norton's sufferings, coupled with her power of giving public expression
to them, was the passing of Serjeant Talfourd's Act in 1839, called
the Infants' Custody Act, giving a mother the right of access to her
children until they are seven years old. This is the first inroad on
the monopoly on the part of the father of absolute control over his
children created by the English law. The division of legal rights
over their children between fathers and mothers has been described by
a lawyer as extremely simple--the fathers have all and the mothers
none. Serjeant Talfourd's Act did not do much to redress this gross
injustice; but it did something, and marks the beginning of a new epoch.

Little by little things began to change. Mrs. Somerville and Miss
Caroline Herschell were elected members of the Royal Astronomical
Society in 1835. Mrs. Browning wrote "Aurora Leigh," and thereby
touched the whole woman's question with an artist's hand. Thackeray,
in _Esmond_, pointed the finger of scorn at the "politicians and
coffee-house wiseacres," who are full of oratorical indignation against
the tyrannies of the Emperor or the French King, and wonders how they,
who are tyrants too in their way, govern their own little dominions at
home, where each man reigns absolute. "When the annals of each little
reign are shown to the Supreme Master, under whom we hold sovereignty,
histories will be laid bare of household tyrants as cruel as Amurath,
and as savage as Nero, and as reckless and dissolute as Charles." This
was a new note in literature. Mrs. Jameson and the Brontë sisters
contributed much in the same key. Anne Knight, a Quaker lady of Quiet
House, Chelmsford, issued about 1847 a small leaflet boldly claiming a
share for women in political freedom. There can be little doubt that
the presence of a pure and virtuous young woman upon the throne had
its influence in leading people to question seriously whether there
was any real advantage to the nation at large in shutting out from
direct political power all women who were not queens. In 1848[8] Mr.
Disraeli, in the House of Commons, had said, "In a country governed by
a woman--where you allow women to form part of the other estate of the
realm--peeresses in their own right, for example--where you allow women
not only to hold land but to be ladies of the manor and hold legal
courts--where a woman by law may be a churchwarden and overseer of the
poor--I do not see, where she has so much to do with the State and
Church, on what reasons, if you come to right, she has not a right to

Other influences were operating to open political activity to women.
Their help and co-operation were warmly welcomed by the Anti-Corn Law
League. Cobden, at one of the great meetings of the League held in
Covent Garden Theatre in 1845, said that he wished women could vote. A
few years later than this the Sheffield Female Political Association
passed a resolution in favour of women's suffrage, and presented a
petition in this sense to the House of Lords. The refusal to allow
women who had been duly appointed as delegates in the United States
to take their places in the Anti-Slavery Congress held in London in
1840 roused a great deal of controversy, especially as William Lloyd
Garrison, the leader of the Anti-Slavery Movement in America,[9]
declared that if the ladies were excluded he would share their
exclusion with them; he did this, and sat with them in a side gallery,
taking no part in the discussion. The opponents of the women took
refuge, as they have so often done before and since, in an affirmation
that they were the special repositories of the Divine Will on the
subject, and declared that it was contrary to the ordinances of the
Almighty that women should take part in the Congress. The treatment
they had received in London naturally caused great indignation on the
part of the American ladies, among whom were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and
Lucretia Mott. When they returned to their own country they immediately
began to work for the political enfranchisement of women, and the first
Women's Rights Convention was held in the United States at Seneca Falls
in 1848. This was the beginning of definite work for women's suffrage
in the United States.

In England in the 'fifties came the Crimean War, with the deep stirring
of national feeling which accompanied it, and the passion of gratitude
and admiration which was poured forth on Miss Florence Nightingale for
her work on behalf of our wounded soldiers. It was universally felt
that there was work for women, even in war--the work of cleansing,
setting in order, breaking down red tape, and soothing the vast sum of
human suffering which every war is bound to cause. Miss Nightingale's
work in war was work that never had been done until women came forward
to do it, and her message to her countrywomen was educate yourselves,
prepare, make ready; never imagine that your task can be done by
instinct, without training and preparation. Painstaking study, she
insisted, was just as necessary as a preparation for women's work as
for men's work; and she bestowed the whole of the monetary gift offered
her by the gratitude of the nation to form training-schools for nurses
at St. Thomas's and King's College Hospitals.

When a fire is once kindled many things will serve as fuel which to
a superficial glance would seem to have no connection with it. The
sufferings and torture of women during the Indian Mutiny heroically
borne helped people to see that Empire is built on the lives of women
as well as on the lives of men.

    "_On the bones of the English
    The English flag is stayed_,"

means that women as well as men have laid down their lives for their

In 1857 the movement among women for political recognition was
stimulated in quite a different way. In that year the Divorce Act was
passed, and, as is well known, set up by law a different moral standard
for men and women. Under this Act, which is still in force (1911), a
man can obtain the dissolution of his marriage if he can prove one
act of infidelity on the part of his wife; but a woman cannot get her
marriage dissolved unless she can prove that her husband has been
guilty both of infidelity and cruelty. Mr. Gladstone vehemently opposed
this Bill. It is said that "in a ten hours' debate on a single clause
he made no less than twenty-nine speeches, some of them of considerable
length."[10] All these things prepared the way for the movement which
took definite shape in the next decade.



 "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."--Rt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone.

The women's suffrage question in 1860 was on the point of entering
a new phase--the phase of practical politics. Parliamentary Reform
was again before the country; the principles of representation were
constantly discussed in newspapers, and in every social circle where
intelligent men and women met.

James Mill's article on "Government," referred to in Chapter I., has
been described as being "out of sight the most important in the
series of events which culminated in the passing of the Reform Act
of 1832."[11] The works of his son, John Stuart Mill, had a similar
influence on the series of events which led up to the passing of the
Reform Act of 1867. But whereas James Mill had specifically excluded
women from his argument, John Mill as specifically and with great force
and vigour included them.

In his _Political Economy_, and in his collected essays, and, of
course, in his _Liberty_, it was easy to perceive that he strongly
condemned the condition of subordination to which the mass of women
had been from time immemorial condemned. But in his _Representative
Government_, published in 1861, he put forward in a few eloquent
pages of powerful argument the case for the extension of the suffrage
to women, showing that all the arguments by which the principles of
representative government were supported were equally applicable to

The volumes of his correspondence, published in 1908, show how
constantly his mind dwelt on the grave injustice to women involved
by their exclusion from political rights, and also how deeply he was
convinced that the whole of society loses by treating them as if they
had no responsibility for the right conduct of national affairs.
It was an enormous advantage to the whole women's movement, not
only in England, but all over the world, that it had for its leader
and champion a man in the front rank of political philosophers and
thinkers. He formed a school at the universities, and in all centres of
intellectual activity, and from that school a large number of the chief
leaders and supporters of the women's movement have been derived.

As early as 1851 an essay on the "Enfranchisement of Women" had
appeared in the _Westminster Review_. It had been written by Mrs. J. S.
Mill, and took the form of a review of the proceedings of a Convention
of Women held in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the previous year to
promote the cause of the political enfranchisement of women.

The essay is a complete and masterly statement of the case for the
emancipation of women. The terminology is a little out of date, but the
state of mind which she exposes is perennial. We can all, for instance,
recognise the applicability of the following sentences to the present

"For with what truth or rationality could the suffrage be termed
universal while half the human species remain excluded from it? To
declare that a voice in the government is the right of all, and demand
it only for a part--the part, namely, to which the claimant belongs--is
to renounce even the appearance of principle. The Chartist, who denies
the suffrage to women, is a Chartist only because he is not a lord; he
is one of those levellers who would level only down to themselves."[13]

This essay, with its clear, pointed, and epigrammatic style, produced
a great effect on the more cultivated section of public opinion. If
Mrs. Mill had lived longer she would probably have inaugurated the
practical organisation of a women's enfranchisement movement, but she
died in the autumn of 1858. What her death meant to her husband he has
left on record in glowing and touching words, and in his loneliness
he endeavoured "because she would have wished it," to make the best
of what life was left to him, "to work on for her purposes with such
diminished strength as could be derived from thoughts of her and
communion with her memory."[14]

Shortly before the general election of 1865 Mr. Mill was invited by
a considerable body of electors of the Borough of Westminster to
offer himself as a candidate. In reply he made the plainest possible
statement of his political views, including his conviction that women
were entitled to representation in Parliament. It was the first time
that women's suffrage had ever been brought before English electors,
and the fact that after having announced himself as strongly in favour
of it Mr. Mill was elected, gave a place to women's suffrage in
practical politics.

The situation in Parliament, as regards Parliamentary Reform, at the
time of Mr. Mill's election was very like what it is now in respect
of women's suffrage. Parliament had been playing with the subject for
a great many years. Reform Bills had been introduced, voted for, and
abandoned again and again. The real reformers were growing impatient.
I, myself, heard John Bright say about this time or a little later that
he began to think the best way of carrying a Reform Bill was to tell
working men that "a good rifle could be bought for £2." Candidates
who stood for election pledged themselves to Parliamentary Reform,
but year after year went by and nothing was done. Each party brought
forward Reform Bills, but neither party really wished to enfranchise
the working classes. Before 1867 the total electorate only numbered
a little over one million voters. The Reform Bill of 1867 more
than doubled this number. It is not in human nature for members of
Parliament really to like a very large increase in the number of their
constituents. Besides the extra trouble and expense involved, there
was in 1865 another deterrent--terror. Those who held power feared
the working classes. Working men were supposed to be the enemies of
property, and working men were in an enormous numerical majority over
all other classes combined. "You must not have the vote because there
are so many of you" was a much more effective argument when used
against working men than it is when used against women; because the
working classes are fifteen or sixteen times more numerous than all
other classes combined, whereas women are only slightly in excess of
men.[15] On one excuse or another the Reform Bills constantly brought
before Parliament were dropped or burked in one of the thousand ways
open to the experienced Parliamentarian for getting rid of measures
which he has to appear to support, but to which he is in reality
opposed. The time had come, however, after 1865, when it became
apparent that the game was up, and that a Reform Bill would have to be
passed. It was to this Parliament that Mill was elected, and in which
in 1867, as an amendment to the Reform Bill, he raised the question of
the enfranchisement of women. His motion was to omit the word "man" and
insert the word "person" in the enfranchising clause. Of this he says
himself that it was by far the most important public service that he
was able to perform as a member of Parliament. Seventy-three members
voted with him and 196 against him; with the addition of pairs and
tellers the total number supporting women's suffrage was over 80. This
amount of support surpassed all expectations. Before the debate and
division it was uncertain whether women's suffrage would command more
than a few stray votes in the House. Mr. Mill's masterly speech, grave
and high-toned, made a deep impression. Perhaps the thing that pleased
him most was the fact that John Bright voted with him. He was known to
be an opponent of women's suffrage, but he was fairly won over by the
force of Mill's speech. Those who watched him sitting in the corner
seat of the front row on the left-hand side of the Speaker, just below
Mr. Mill, saw his whole expression and demeanour change as the speech
proceeded. His defiant, mocking expression changed to one that was
serious and thoughtful; no one but Mill ever had the moral and mental
strength to wrestle with him again successfully. It was the first and
last time he ever gave a vote for women's suffrage.

It is an oft-told tale how in the previous year a little committee of
workers had been formed to promote a Parliamentary petition from women
in favour of women's suffrage. It met in the house of Miss Garrett,
(now Mrs. Garrett Anderson, M.D.), and included Mrs. Bodichon, Miss
Emily Davies, Mrs. Peter Taylor, Miss Rosamond Davenport Hill, and
other well-known women. They consulted Mr. Mill about the petition, and
he promised to present it if they could collect as many as a hundred
names. After a fortnight's work they secured 1499, including many of
the most distinguished women of the day, such as Mrs. Somerville,
Frances Power Cobbe, Florence Nightingale, Harriet Martineau, Miss
Swanwick, Mrs. Josephine Butler, Lady Anna Gore Langton, Mrs. William
Grey. In June 1866 Miss Garrett and Miss Emily Davies took the petition
down to the House, entering by way of Westminster Hall. They were
a little embarrassed by the size of the roll in their charge, and
deposited it with the old apple-woman, who hid it under her stall.
The ladies did not know how to find Mr. Mill, when at that moment Mr.
Fawcett passed through Westminster Hall and at once offered to go in
search of him. Mr. Mill was much amused on his arrival when he found
the petition was hidden away under the apple-woman's stall; but he was
greatly delighted by the large number of names which had been obtained,
and exclaimed, "Ah, this I can brandish with great effect."[16]

It was in 1867 that the Reform Bill was carried, and Mr. Mill's Women's
Suffrage Amendment defeated on May 20th. The testing of the actual
legal effect of the passing of the Bill upon the political status of
women (already described in Chapter I.) took place in 1868. These
events caused a great deal of thought and discussion with regard
to women's position in relation to the State and public duties in
general; and it is as certain as anything which is insusceptible of
absolute proof can be, that to the interest excited by the claim of
women to the Parliamentary vote was due the granting to them of the
Municipal Franchise in 1869; and also that in 1870, when the first
great Education Act was passed, they were not only given the right to
vote for members of School Boards, but also the right to be elected
upon them. At the first School Board election, which took place in
London in November 1870, Miss Elizabeth Garrett, M.D., and Miss Emily
Davies were returned as members. Miss Garrett was at the head of the
poll in her constituency--Marylebone. She polled more than 47,000
votes, the largest number, it was said at the time, which had ever been
bestowed upon any candidate in any election in England. In Manchester
Miss Becker was elected a member of the first School Board, and was
continuously re-elected for twenty years, until her death in 1890.
In Edinburgh Miss Flora Stevenson was elected to the first School
Board, and was continuously re-elected for thirty-three years until
her death in 1905. From the date of her election she was appointed
by her colleagues to act as convener of some of their most important
committees, and in 1900 was unanimously elected the chairman of the
board; she retained this most honourable and responsible post until the
end of her life.

The connection between the election of the ladies just mentioned--and
other instances might be added--with the suffrage movement is strongly
indicated by the fact that they were, without exception, the leading
personal representatives of the suffrage movement in the various places
in which they respectively lived. Miss Garrett and Miss Davies, as
just described, helped to organise the suffrage petition, which they
handed to Mr. Mill in 1866; Miss Becker was the head and front of the
suffrage movement in Manchester, and Miss Flora Stevenson in Edinburgh.
These ladies had taken an active part in starting the women's suffrage
societies in their own towns. Five important societies came into
existence almost simultaneously in London, Manchester, Edinburgh,
Bristol, and Birmingham, and as they almost immediately devised a
plan for combining individual responsibility with united action, they
formed the nucleus of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies,
which has become the largest organisation of the kind in the United
Kingdom, and in October 1911 numbered 305 societies, a number which is
constantly and rapidly increasing.

With the suffrage work carried on by the societies, other work for
improving the legal status of women, resisting encroachments upon
their constitutional liberties, and improving their means of education
went on with vigour, sobriety, and enthusiasm; these qualities were
combined in a remarkable degree, and were beyond all praise. It has
been remarked that the successful conduct of every great change needs
the combination of the spirit of order with the spirit of audacity.
It was the good fortune of the women's movement in England to secure
both these. The suffrage societies from the first saw the necessity of
keeping to suffrage work only; but the same individuals in a different
capacity were labouring with heroic persistence and untiring zeal to
lift up the conditions of women's lives in other ways; thus to Mrs.
Jacob Bright, Mrs. Wolstenholme Elmy, Mrs. Duncan M'Laren, and Mrs.
Pochin, we owe the first Married Women's Property Act, and also the
Guardianship of Children Act; to Mrs. Bodichon and Miss Davies, Henry
Sidgwick and Russell Gurney, the opening of university education to
women; to Miss Garrett (now Mrs. Anderson), Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell,
and Miss Jex Blake, the opening of the medical profession; to Mrs.
Josephine Butler, and Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Amos, Sir James Stanfeld,
and Mr. James Stuart, the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts
(passed in 1866 and 1868); to Mrs. William Grey, Miss Sherriff and
Miss Gurney, the creation of good secondary schools for girls. I am
well aware that in this bald recital I have omitted the names of many
noble, conscientious, and self-sacrificing workers for the great causes
to which they had devoted themselves; I cannot even attempt to make
my list exhaustive; I have but selected from a very large number, all
ardent suffragists, a few names that stand out preeminently in my
memory among the glorious company whose efforts laid the foundations on
which we at the present day are still building the superstructure of
equal opportunity and equal justice for women and men.

As an illustration of how the tone has changed in regard to the
personal and proprietary rights of women I can give a little story
which fell within my own experience. In the 'seventies I was staying
with my father at a time when he had convened in his house a meeting of
Liberal electors of East Suffolk. We were working then for a Married
Women's Property Bill. The first Act passed in 1870 gave a married
woman the right to possess her _earnings_, but not any other property.
I had petition forms with me, and thought the "Liberal" meeting would
afford me a good opportunity of getting signatures to it. So I took
it round and explained its aim to the quite average specimens of the
Liberal British farmer. "Am I to understand you, ma'am, that if this
Bill passes, and my wife have a matter of a hundred pound left to her,
I should have to _ask_ her for it?" said one of them. The idea appeared
monstrous that a man could not take his wife's £100 without even going
through the form of asking her for it.

But we were making way steadily. It is true that Mr. Mill was not
re-elected in 1868, but Mr. Jacob Bright succeeded him as the leader
in the House of Commons of the women's suffrage movement. The second
reading of his, the first Women's Suffrage Bill, was carried on May 4,
1870, by 124 to 91. Further progress was, however, prevented, mainly in
consequence of the opposition of the Government, and on the motion to
go into committee on May 12, the Bill was defeated by 220 to 94.

From the beginning women's suffrage had never been a party question.
In the first division, that on Mr. Mill's Amendment to the Reform
Bill, the 73 members who voted for women's suffrage included about 10
Conservatives, and one of them, the Rt. Hon. Russell Gurney, Q.C.,
Recorder of London, was one of the tellers in the division. The great
bulk of the supporters of the principle of women's suffrage were then
and still are Liberals and Radicals, but from the outset we have
always had an influential group of Conservative supporters. And it is
indicative of the general growth of the movement that among the large
majority secured for the second reading of Sir George Kemp's Bill in
May 5, 1911, 79 were Conservatives, a number in excess of the total
of those who supported Mr. Mill's amendment in 1867. Sir Stafford
Northcote (afterwards Lord Iddesleigh) was among the friends of women's
suffrage, and so was Sir Algernon Borthwick (afterwards Lord Glenesk),
the proprietor and editor of _The Morning Post_. Support from the
Conservative side of the house was greatly encouraged in 1873 by a
letter written by Mr. Disraeli in reply to a memorial signed by over
11,000 women. The memorial had been forwarded by Mr. William Gore
Langton, M.P., and was thus acknowledged:--

 "Dear Gore Langton,--I was much honoured by receiving from your
 hands the memorial signed by 11,000 women of England--among them
 some illustrious names--thanking me for my services in attempting
 to abolish the anomaly that the Parliamentary franchise attached to
 a household or property qualification, when possessed by a woman,
 should not be exercised, though in all matters of local government
 when similarly qualified she exercises this right. As I believe this
 anomaly to be injurious to the best interests of the country, I trust
 to see it removed by the wisdom of Parliament.--Yours sincerely,

      "B. Disraeli."

This was written in 1873 in immediate prospect of the dissolution of
Parliament, which took place in February 1874, and placed Mr. Disraeli
in power for the first time.

These were days of active propaganda for all the suffrage societies.
A hundred meetings were held on the first six months of 1873, a large
number for that time, though it would be considered nothing now. All
the experienced political men who supported women's suffrage told us
that when the 1874 Parliament came to an end a change of Government
was highly probable, a new Liberal Government would be in power, and
would certainly deal with the question of representation--that then
would be the great opportunity, the psychological moment, for the
enfranchisement of women. The agricultural labourers were about to
be enfranchised and the claim of women to share in the benefits of
representative government was at least as good, and would certainly be
listened to. With these hopes we approached the election of 1880.



 "We have filled the well-fed with good things, and the hungry we have
 sent empty away."--From the _Politician's Magnificat_.

The year 1880 opened cheerfully for suffragists. There was a series
of great demonstrations of women only, beginning with one in the Free
Trade Hall, Manchester, in February. The first little bit of practical
success too within the United Kingdom came this year, for suffrage was
extended to women in the Isle of Man. At first it was given only to
women freeholders, but after a few years' experience of its entirely
successful operation all feeling of opposition to it died away, and it
was extended to women householders. The representative system of the
Isle of Man is one of the oldest in the world, and the House of Keys is
of even greater antiquity than the House of Commons.

The general election took place in March and April 1880, and the
Liberals were returned to power with a large majority. Mr. Gladstone
became Prime Minister, and it was well known that the extension of
Household Suffrage in the counties would be an important feature in
the programme of the new Government. Mr. Goschen declined to join Mr.
Gladstone's Government, because he was opposed to the extension of the
Parliamentary franchise to the agricultural labourers. It is strange
how the whirligig of time brings about its revenges. Mr. Goschen
held out to the last against the enfranchisement of the agricultural
labourers, but after the election of 1906 he publicly congratulated
a meeting of Unionist Free Traders on "the magnificent stand the
agricultural labourers had made for Free Trade!" If his counsels had
prevailed in 1880, not one of these men would have had a vote and could
have made a stand for Free Trade or anything else. But in politics
memories are short, and no one reminded Lord Goschen, as he had then
became, of his stand against the labourers' vote a few years earlier.

As the time approached when the Government of 1880 would introduce
their Bill to extend household suffrage to counties, the exertions
of the women's suffragists were redoubled. One of the methods of
propaganda adopted was the bringing forward of resolutions favourable
to women's suffrage at the meetings and representative gatherings of
political associations of both the great parties.

Resolutions favourable to an extension of the Parliamentary suffrage
to women were carried at the Parliamentary Reform Congress at Leeds in
October 1883, at the National Liberal Federation at Bristol in 1883, at
the National Reform Union, Manchester, January 1884, at the National
Union of Conservative Associations (Scotland) at Glasgow in 1887, at
the National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations'
Annual Conference (Oxford) 1887, and so on yearly, or at very frequent
intervals, down to the present time.[17]

At the Reform Conference at Leeds in 1883, presided over by Mr. John
Morley, and attended by 2000 delegates from all parts of the country,
it was moved by Dr. Crosskey of Birmingham, and seconded by Mr. Walter
M'Laren, to add to the resolution supporting household suffrage in
the counties the following rider:--"_That in the opinion of this
meeting, any measure for the extension of the suffrage should confer
the franchise on women who, possessing the qualifications which entitle
men to vote, have now the right of voting in all matters of local

It was pointed out by Mr. M'Laren (now a member of the House of Commons
and one of our most valued supporters) that in the previous session
a memorial signed by 110 members of Parliament, of whom the chairman,
Mr. John Morley, was one, had been handed to Mr. Gladstone, to the
effect that no measure for the extension of the franchise would be
satisfactory unless it included women. Mrs. Cobden Unwin and Mrs. Helen
Clark, the daughters respectively of Richard Cobden and John Bright,
spoke in support of the rider, which was carried by a very large
majority. But when the Reform Bill of 1884 came before the House of
Commons it was found that the inclusion of women within the Bill had an
inexorable opponent in the Prime Minister, Mr. Gladstone. He did not
oppose Women's Suffrage in principle. In 1871 he had taken part in a
woman's suffrage debate in the House of Commons and had said:--

 "So far as I am able to form an opinion of the general tone and
 opinion of our law in these matters, where the peculiar relations of
 men and women are concerned, that law does less than justice to women,
 and great mischief, misery, and scandal result from that state of
 things in many of the occurrences and events of life.... If it should
 be found possible to arrange a safe and well-adjusted alteration of
 the law as to political power, the man who shall attain that object,
 and who shall see his purpose carried onward to its consequences in
 a more just arrangement of the provisions of other laws bearing upon
 the condition and welfare of women, will, in my opinion, be a real
 benefactor to his country."

It is somewhat difficult to deduce from this statement the condition
of the mind from which it proceeded; but it was generally thought to
mean that Mr. Gladstone believed that women had suffered practical
grievances owing to their exclusion from representation, and that it
would be for their benefit and for the welfare of the country if a
moderate measure of women's suffrage could be passed into law. When,
however, it came to moving a definite amendment to include women in the
Reform Bill of 1884, the most vehement opposition was offered by Mr.
Gladstone; not indeed even then to the principle of women's suffrage,
but to its being added to the Bill before the House. The idea that
household suffrage was not democratic had not then been invented.
The Prime Minister's line was that the Government had introduced
into the Bill "as much as it could safely carry." The unfortunate
nautical metaphor was repeated again and again: "Women's suffrage would
overweight the ship." "The cargo which the vessel carries is, in our
opinion, a cargo as large as she can safely carry." He accordingly
threw the women overboard. So different are the traditions of the
politician from the heroic traditions of the seaman who, by duty and
instinct alike, is always prompted in moments of danger to save the
women first.

Comment has been made on the curious ambiguity of the language in
which Mr. Gladstone had supported the principle of women's suffrage
in 1871. There was no ambiguity in what he said about it in 1884. In
language perfectly plain and easily understood he said, "I offer it
[Mr. Woodall's Women's Suffrage Amendment] the strongest opposition
in my power, and I must disclaim and renounce responsibility for the
measure [_i.e._ the Government Reform Bill] should my honourable friend
succeed in inducing the committee to adopt the amendment." This was on
June 10, 1884. The decision resulted in a crushing defeat for women's
suffrage. The numbers were 271 against Mr. Woodall's amendment to 135
for it. Among the 271 were 104 Liberals who were pledged supporters
of suffrage. Three members of the Government, who were known friends
of women's suffrage, did not vote at all, but walked out of the House
before the division. To one of them Mr. Gladstone wrote the next day
pointing out that to abstain from supporting the Government in a
critical division was equivalent to a resignation of office. But he
added that a crisis in foreign affairs was approaching which might be
of the deepest importance to "the character and honour of the country
and to the law, the concord and possibly even the peace of Europe. It
would be most unfortunate were the minds of men at such a juncture
to be disturbed by the resignation of a cabinet minister and of two
other gentlemen holding offices of great importance." He, therefore,
was proposing to his colleagues that he should be authorised to request
the three gentlemen referred to, to do the Government the favour of
retaining their respective offices. As they had never resigned them,
this petition that they should withdraw their resignation seemed a
little superfluous.

The blow to women's suffrage dealt by the defeat of Mr. Woodall's
Amendment to the 1884 Reform Bill was a heavy one, and was
deeply felt by the whole movement. But though fatal to immediate
Parliamentary success, the events of 1884 strengthened our cause in
the country. Everything which draws public attention to the subject of
representation and to the political helplessness of the unrepresented
makes people ask themselves more and more "Why are women excluded?"
"If representative government is good for men, why should it be bad
for women?" "Why do members of Parliament lightly break their promises
to non-voters?" It will be remembered that the Reform Bill of 1884 was
not finally passed until late in the autumn. While the final stages of
the measure were still pending, the Trades Union Congress meeting at
Aberdeen passed a resolution, with only three dissentients, "_That this
Congress is strongly of opinion that the franchise should be extended
to women rate-payers._" Thus at that critical juncture the working
men's most powerful organisation stood by the women whom the Liberal
party had betrayed.

New political forces made their appearance very soon after the passing
of the Reform Act of 1884, which have had an almost immeasurable effect
in promoting the women's suffrage cause. The Reform Act had contained
a provision to render paid canvassing illegal, and in 1883 Sir Henry
James (afterwards Lord James of Hereford) had introduced, on behalf of
the Government, and carried a very stringent Corrupt Practices Act. Its
main feature was to place a definite limit, proportioned to the number
of electors in each constituency, upon the authorised expenditure of
the candidates. Political agents and party managers had been accustomed
to employ a large number of men as paid canvassers, and to perform the
great amount of clerical and other drudgery connected with electoral
organisation. The law now precluded paid canvassing altogether, and,
by limiting the authorised expenditure, severely restrained the number
of people who could be employed on ordinary business principles, of
so much cash for so much work. But the work had got to be done, or
elections would be lost. It was necessary, therefore, to look round
and see how and by whom the work could be performed now that the
fertilising shower of gold was withdrawn. The brilliant idea occurred
to Lord Randolph Churchill, Sir Algernon Borthwick, and others to
obtain for their own party the services of ladies. This was the
germ of the organisation which soon became known by the name of the
Primrose League. Ladies were encouraged to take an active part in the
electoral organisation; they canvassed, they spoke, they looked up
"removals," and "out voters," and did all kinds of important political
work without fee or reward of any kind, and, therefore, without adding
to candidates' expenses. The ladies were highly successful from the
very first. They showed powers of work and of political organisation
which heretofore had been unsuspected. Their political friends were
delighted. The anger of their political opponents was unmeasured. It
was then that the expression "filthy witches" was used in relation to
the Dames of the Primrose League by an excited member of the Liberal
party, who attributed his defeat in a contested election to their
machinations. But anger quickly gave way to a more practical frame of
mind. If the Conservatives could make good use of women for electoral
work, Liberals could do so also and would not be left behind. The
Women's Liberal Federation[18] was formed in 1886 under the Presidency
of Mrs. Gladstone, supported on the executive committee by other
ladies, mainly the wives of the Liberal leaders. The idea of the
officers of this association from the outset was that the object of its
existence was to promote the interests of the Liberal party, or, as
Mrs. Gladstone once put it, "to help our husbands." Events, however,
soon followed which created great dissatisfaction among the rank and
file with this limited range of political activity. There were many
women in the association who desired not merely to help their party
but to educate it, by promoting Liberal principles, and of these the
extension of representative government to women was one of the most

The Federation was formed in 1886; the very next year a women's
suffrage resolution was moved at the annual council meeting, but was
defeated. The same thing happened in 1888 and 1889, the influence of
the official Liberal ladies being used against it. In 1890, however,
a women's suffrage resolution was carried by a large majority. The
earnest suffragists in the Federation continued their work, and in 1892
they became so powerful that fifteen of the members of the executive
committee, who had opposed suffrage being taken up as part of the work
of the Federation, did not offer themselves for re-election. Mrs.
Gladstone, however, did not withdraw, and continued to hold the office
of president. The retiring members of the executive took a considerable
number of the local associations with them, and in 1893 these formed
a new organisation called the National Women's Liberal Association.
Some of those who formed this seceding Women's Liberal Association were
definitely opposed to Women's Suffrage; others thought that while in
principle the enfranchisement of women was right, the time had not come
for its practical adoption. In practice, however, the Women's Liberal
Federation has stood for suffrage with ever-increasing firmness since
1890, while the Women's Liberal Association has continued to oppose it.

The formation of women's political associations was encouraged by
party leaders of all shades of politics. There is probably not a single
party leader, however strongly he may oppose the extension of the
suffrage to women, who has not encouraged the active participation of
women in electoral work. The Liberal party issues a paper of printed
directions to those who are asking to do electoral work in its support.
The first of these directions is:--_Make all possible use of every
available woman in your locality._

Suffragists contend that a party which can do this cannot long maintain
that women are by the mere fact of their sex unfit to be entrusted with
a Parliamentary vote.

Even as long ago as his first Midlothian campaign, and before any
definite political organisations for women existed, Mr. Gladstone had
urged the women of his future constituency to come out and bear their
part in the coming electoral struggle. Speaking to a meeting of women
in Dalkeith in 1879 he said:--

 "Therefore, I think in appealing to you ungrudgingly to open your
 own feelings and bear your own part in a political crisis like this,
 we are making no inappropriate demand, but are beseeching you to
 fulfil the duties which belong to you, which so far from involving
 any departure from your character as women, are associated with the
 fulfilment of that character and the performance of those duties,
 the neglect of which would in future years be a source of pain and
 mortification, and the accomplishment of which would serve to gild
 your future years with sweet remembrances and to warrant you in hoping
 that each in your own place and sphere has raised your voice for
 justice, and has striven to mitigate the sorrows and misfortunes of

In less ornate language Mr. Asquith, in January 1910, thanked the
women of Fife for the aid they had given him and his cause during the
election, and said that "their healthy influence on the masculine
members of the community had had not a little to do with keeping things
in a satisfactory condition."

The organised political work of women has grown since 1884, and has
become so valuable that none of the parties can afford to do without
it or to alienate it. Short of the vote itself this is one of the most
important political weapons which can possibly have been put into our
hands. At the outset, while the women's political societies were still
young, and were hardly conscious of their power, the women's suffrage
movement benefited greatly by their existence. If the Women's Liberal
Federation had existed in 1884, the 104 Liberals who voted against Mr.
Woodall's amendment would have probably decided that honesty was the
best policy. In 1892 Sir Albert Rollit introduced a Women's Suffrage
Bill, as nearly as possible on the lines of the Conciliation Bill of
1910-11. Before the second reading great efforts were made by the
Liberal party machine to secure a crushing defeat for this Bill on its
second reading: a confidential circular was sent out to all Liberal
candidates in the Home Counties advising them not to allow Liberal
women to speak on their platforms lest they should advocate "female
suffrage." In addition to this, Mr. Gladstone was induced to write a
letter addressed to Mr. Samuel Smith, M.P., against the Bill, in which
he departed from his previous view that the political work done by
women would be quite consistent with womanly character and duties, and
would "gild their future years with sweet remembrances." He now said
that voting would, he feared, "trespass upon their delicacy, their
purity, their refinement, the elevation of their whole nature."

In addition to all this a whip was sent out signed by twenty members
of Parliament, ten from each side of the House, earnestly beseeching
members to be in their places when Sir Albert Rollit's Bill came on
and to vote against the second reading. But when the division came,
notwithstanding all the unusual efforts that had been made, it was only
defeated by 23. A general election was known to be not very far off,
and members who were expecting zealous and efficient support from women
in their constituencies did not care to alienate it by denying to women
the smallest and most elementary of political privileges. In surprising
numbers (as compared with 1884) they stood to their guns, and though
they did not save the Bill, the balance against it was so small that
it was an earnest of future victory. This division in 1892 was the
last time a Women's Suffrage Bill was defeated on a straight issue in
the House of Commons. Mr. Faithfull Begg's Bill in 1897 was carried
on second reading by 228 votes to 157. After this date direct frontal
attacks on the principle of women's suffrage were avoided in the House
of Commons. The anti-suffragists in Parliament used every possible
trick and stratagem to prevent the subject being discussed and divided
on in the House. In this they were greatly helped by Mr. Labouchere, to
whom it was a congenial task to shelve the women's suffrage question.
On one occasion he and his little group of supporters talked for hours
about a Bill dealing with "verminous persons," because it stood before
a Suffrage Bill, and he thus succeeded in preventing our Bill from
coming before the House.



 "Wake up, Mother Country."--Speech by King George V. when Prince of

The debate on Sir Albert Rollit's Bill in 1892 brought out a full
display of oratorical power from all quarters of the House, both
for and against women's suffrage. Mr. James Bryce, Mr. Asquith, and
Sir Henry James (afterwards Lord James) spoke against the Bill. Mr.
Balfour, Mr. (now Lord) Courtney, and Mr. Wyndham supported it. When
Mr. Bryce spoke he used the timid argument that women's suffrage was
an untried experiment. "It is a very bold experiment," he said; "our
colonies are democratic in the highest degree; why do they not try it?"
and again, "This is an experiment so large and bold that it ought to
be tried by some other country first." Mr. Asquith, in the course of
his speech, said much the same thing: "We have no experience to guide
us one way or the other." Mr. Goldwin Smith, an extra-Parliamentary
opponent of women's suffrage, pointed, in an article, to its solitary
example in the State of Wyoming, where it had been adopted in 1869, and
asked why, if suffrage had been a success in Wyoming, its example had
not been followed by other states immediately abutting on its borders.

Now it has frequently been noticed that when this line of argument is
adopted it seems to be a sort of "mascot" for women's suffrage. When
Mr. Bryce inquired in 1892 "why our great democratic colonies had
not tried women's suffrage," his speech was followed in 1893 by the
adoption of women's suffrage in New Zealand and in South Australia.
When Mr. Goldwin Smith asked why the States which were in nearest
neighbourhood to Wyoming had not followed her example, three States
in this position, namely Colorado in 1893, Utah in 1895, and Idaho in
1896, very rapidly did so. When Sir F. S. Powell, in 1907, said in the
House of Commons that no country in Europe had ever ventured on the
dangerous experiment of enfranchising its women, women's suffrage was
granted in Finland the same year, and in Norway the year following.
When Mrs. Humphry Ward wrote in 1908 that our cause in the United
States was "in process of defeat and extinction," this was followed by
the most important suffrage victories ever won in America--the States
of Washington in 1910, and California in 1911.

The question arises why so well informed and careful a political
controversialist as Mr. James Bryce spoke as he did in 1892 of the
fact that none of our great democratic colonies had adopted women's
suffrage, in evident ignorance of the fact that two at any rate
were on the point of doing so. The answer is probably to be found
in the attitude of the anti-suffrage press. No body of political
controversialists are so badly served by their own press as the
anti-suffragists. The anti-suffrage press appears to act on the
assumption that if they say nothing about a political event it is the
same as if it had not happened. Therefore, while they give prominence
to any circumstances which they imagine likely to be injurious to
suffrage, they either say nothing about those facts which indicate
its growing force and volume, or record them in such a manner that
they escape the observation of the general reader. The result is that
only the suffragists, who are in constant communication with their
comrades in various parts of the world and also have their own papers,
are kept duly informed, not only of what has happened, but of what is
likely to happen. Mr. Bryce cannot have known of the imminence of the
success of women's suffrage in New Zealand and South Australia in 1892.
Mrs. Humphry Ward did not know in February 1909 that women's suffrage
had actually been carried in Victoria, and had received the royal
assent in 1908. She could have known very little of the real strength
of the suffrage movement in the United States, when she said it was
virtually dead, just at the moment when it was about to give the most
unmistakable proofs of energy and vigour. For all this ignorance the
anti-suffrage press of London is mainly responsible. "Things are what
they are and their consequences will be what they will be," whether the
newspapers print them or not, and to leave the controversialists on
your own side in ignorance of facts of capital importance is a strange
way of showing political allegiance.[19]

It is a mistake to represent that women's suffrage was brought about
in New Zealand suddenly or, as it were, by accident. The women of New
Zealand did not, as has sometimes been said, wake up one fine morning
in 1893 and find themselves enfranchised. Sustained, self-sacrificing,
painstaking, and well-organised work for women's suffrage had been
going on in the Colony for many years.[20] The germ of it may be
traced even as early as 1843, and many of the most distinguished
men whose names are connected with New Zealand history as true
empire-builders have been identified with the movement, including Mr.
John Ballance, Sir Julius Vogel, Sir R. Stout, Sir John Hall, and
Sir George Grey. It is curious that Mr. Richard Seddon, under whose
Premiership women's suffrage was finally carried, was not at that
time (1893) a believer in it. He was a Thomas who had to see before
he could believe, but when he had once had experience of women's
suffrage, he was unwearied in proclaiming his confidence in it. When
he was in England in 1902 for King Edward's Coronation he hardly ever
spoke in public without bearing his testimony to the success of women's
suffrage. Much good seed had been sown in New Zealand by Mrs. Müller,
an English lady, who landed in Nelson in 1850. One of her articles,
signed "Femina" (she was obliged to preserve her anonymity for reasons
of domestic tranquillity), won the attention of John Stuart Mill, and
drew from him a most encouraging letter, and the gift of his book
_The Subjection of Women_. Mrs. Müller died in 1902, and thus had the
opportunity of seeing in operation for nearly ten years the successful
operation of the reform for which she had been one of the earliest
workers. An American lady, Mrs. Mary Clement Leavitt, visited New
Zealand in 1885 on behalf of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
Mrs. Leavitt was a great organiser and arranged the whole of the work
of the Temperance Union in definite "Departments," and a general
superintendent was appointed to each. There was a Franchise Department,
the general superintendent of which was Mrs. Sheppard, who, from 1887,
became an indefatigable and, at the same time, a cautious and sensible
worker for the extension of the Parliamentary franchise to women.
She was in communication with Sir John Hall and other Parliamentary
leaders, and kept in close touch with the whole movement until it was

Just as it is now in England with us, differences arose among New
Zealand suffragists as to how much suffrage women ought to have, or at
any rate for how much would it be wise to ask, and the parties were
called the "half loafers" and the "whole loafers." The "no bread"
party watched these differences just as they do in England, and tried
unsuccessfully to profit by them. In the debate on Sir John Hall's
Women's Suffrage resolution in 1890, Mr. W. P. Reeves, so long known in
England as the Agent-General for New Zealand, and later as the Director
of the London School of Economics, and also as an excellent friend
of women's suffrage, announced himself to be a "half loafer"; indeed
he advocated the restriction of the franchise to such women, over
twenty-one years of age, who had passed the matriculation examination
of the university. There is an Arabic proverb to the effect that the
world is divided into three classes--"the immovable, the movable, and
those who actually move." It is unwise to despair of the conversion
of any anti-suffragist unless he has proved himself to belong to the
"immovables." In 1890 Mr. Reeves, now so good a suffragist, had only
advanced to the point of advocating the enfranchisement of university
women. His proposal for a high educational suffrage test for women did
not meet with support. It was rejected by more robust suffragists as
"not even half a loaf, only a ginger nut." The anti-suffragists used
the same arguments which they use with us. They professed themselves
to be intimately acquainted with the views of the Almighty on the
question of women voting. "It was contrary to the ordinance of God";
women politicians were represented as driving a man from his home
because it would be infested "with noisy and declamatory women." After
the Bill had passed both Houses a solemn petition was presented by
anti-suffragists, who were members of the Legislative Council, asking
the Governor to withhold his assent on the ground that "it would
seriously affect the rights of property and embarrass the finances of
the colony, thereby injuriously affecting the public creditor." Others
protested that it was self-evident, that women's suffrage must lead
to domestic discord and the neglect of home life. Of course all the
anti-suffragists were certain that women did not want the vote, and
would not use it even if it were granted to them.

The French gentleman who called himself Max O'Rell was touring New
Zealand at the time, and deplored that one of the fairest spots on
God's earth was going to be turned into a howling wilderness by women's
suffrage. Mr. Goldwin Smith wrote that he gave women's suffrage ten
years in New Zealand, and by that time it would have wrought such havoc
with the home and domestic life that the best minds in the country
would be devising means of getting rid of it. A New Zealand gentleman,
named Bakewell, wrote an article in _The Nineteenth Century_ for
February 1894, containing a terrible jeremiad about the melancholy
results to be expected in the Dominion from women's suffrage. The last
words of his article were, "We shall probably for some years to come
be a dreadful object lesson to the rest of the British Empire." This
was the prophecy. What have the facts been? New Zealand has become an
object-lesson--an object-lesson of faithful membership of the Imperial
group, a daughter State of which the mother country is intensely proud.
Does not everybody know that New Zealand is prosperous and happy and
loyal to the throne and race to which she owes her origin.[21] New
Zealand was the first British Colony to enfranchise her women, and was
also the first British Colony to send her sons to stand side by side
with the sons of Great Britain in the battlefields of South Africa; she
was also the first British Colony to cable the offer of a battleship
to the mother country in the spring of 1909. She, with Australia, was
the first part of the British Empire to devise and carry out a truly
national system of defence, seeking the advice of the first military
expert of the mother country, Lord Kitchener, to help them to do it
on efficient lines. The women are demanding that they should do their
share in the great national work of defence by undergoing universal
ambulance training.[22]

New Zealand and Australia have, since they adopted women's suffrage,
inaugurated many important social and economic reforms, among which may
be mentioned wages boards--the principle of the minimum wage applied
to women as well as to men--and the establishment of children's courts
for juvenile offenders. They have also purged their laws of some of the
worst of the enactments injurious to women. If it were needed to rebut
the preposterous nonsense urged by anti-suffragists against women's
suffrage in New Zealand eighteen years ago, it is sufficient to quote
the unemotional terms of the cable which appeared from New Zealand in
_The Times_ of July 28, 1911:--

 "Parliament was opened to-day. Lord Islington, the Governor, in his
 speech, congratulated the Dominion on its continued prosperity. The
 increase in the material well-being of the people, was, he said,
 encouraging, and there was every reason to expect a continuance and
 even an augmentation of the prosperity of the trade and industry of
 the Dominion.... The results of registration under the universal
 defence training scheme were satisfactory. The spirit in which this
 call for patriotism had been met was highly commendable."

The testimony concerning the practical working of women's suffrage in
Australia and New Zealand is all of one kind. It may be summarised
in a single sentence, "Not one of the evils so confidently predicted
of it has actually happened." The effect on home life is universally
said to have been good. The birth-rate in New Zealand has steadily
increased since 1899, and it has now, next to Australia, the lowest
infantile mortality in the world. In South Australia, where women
have been enfranchised since 1893, the infantile death-rate has
also been reduced from 130 in the 1000 to half that number. Our own
anti-suffragists are quite capable of representing that this argument
means that we are so foolish as to suppose that if a mother drops a
paper into a ballot-box every few years she thereby prolongs the life
of her infant. Of course we do nothing of the kind; but we do say
that to give full citizenship to women deepens in them the sense of
responsibility, and they will be more likely to apply to their duties a
quickened intelligence and a higher sense of the importance of the work
entrusted to them as women. The free woman makes the best wife and the
most careful mother.

The confident prediction that women when enfranchised would not take
the trouble to record their votes has been falsified. The figures
given in the official publication, _The New Zealand Year Book_, are as

  |       |          Men.                  Women.       |
  +       +-----------+----------+-----------+----------+
  | Date. | Electoral | Actually | Electoral | Actually |
  |       |   Roll.   |  Voted.  |  Roll.    |  Voted.  |
  | 1893  |  193,536  |  129,792 |  109,461  |   90,290 |
  | 1896  |  196,925  |  149,471 |  142,305  |  108,783 |
  | 1899  |  210,529  |  159,780 |  163,215  |  119,550 |
  | 1902  |  229,845  |  180,294 |  185,944  |  138,565 |
  | 1905  |  263,597  |  221,611 |  212,876  |  175,046 |
  | 1908  |  294,073  |  238,538 |  242,930  |  190,114 |

This table shows that men and women who are on the electoral roll vote
in almost the same proportion. The number of votes actually polled
compared with the number on the register is, of course, to some extent
affected by the number of constituencies in which there is no contest,
or in which the result is regarded as a foregone conclusion; but this
consideration affects both sexes alike. It is impossible for reasons of
space to enter in detail in this little book upon the history in each
of the Australian States of the adoption of women's suffrage. But it
is well known that every one of the States forming the Commonwealth of
Australia has now enfranchised its women, and that one of the first
acts of the Commonwealth Parliament in 1902 was to grant the suffrage
to women. The complete list of dates of women's enfranchisement in New
Zealand and Australia will be found in _The Brief Review of the Women's
Suffrage Movement_, which concludes this little book.

When the Premiers and other political leaders from the overseas
Dominions of Great Britain were in London for the Coronation and
Imperial Conference of 1911, the representatives of Australia and New
Zealand frequently expressed both in public and in private their entire
satisfaction with the results of women's suffrage. Mr. Fisher, the
Premier of the Commonwealth, constantly spoke in this sense: "There
is no Australian politician who would nowadays dare to get up at a
meeting and declare himself an enemy.... It has had most beneficial
results.... He had not the slightest doubt that women's votes had had
a good effect on social legislation.... The Federal Parliament took
a strong stand upon the remuneration of women, and the minimum wage
which was laid down applied equally to women and men for the same work"
(_Manchester Guardian_, June 3, 1911). On another occasion Mr. Fisher
said that so far from women's suffrage causing any disunion between
men and women, "the interest which men took in women's affairs when
women had got the vote was wonderful" (_Manchester Guardian_, June 10,
1911). Sir William Lyne, Premier of New South Wales, said: "When the
women were enfranchised in Australia they proceeded at each election to
purify their Parliament, and they had gone on doing so, and now he was
proud to say their Parliament was one of the model Parliaments of the
world" (_Manchester Guardian_, August 1, 1911). The Hon. John Murray
of Victoria and the Hon. A. A. Kirkpatrick spoke in the same sense.
Indeed the evidence favourable to the working of women's suffrage is
overwhelming, and is given not only by men who have always supported
it, but by those who formerly opposed it, and have had the courage to
acknowledge that as the result of experience they have changed their
views. Among these may be mentioned Sir Edmund Barton, the first
Premier of the Commonwealth, and the late Sir Thomas Bent, the Premier
of Victoria, under whose administration women were enfranchised in
that State. Why appeal to other witnesses when both Houses of the
Commonwealth Parliament in November 1910 unanimously adopted the
following resolution:--

"(i.) That this {House / Senate} is of opinion that the extension of
the Suffrage to the women of Australia for States and Commonwealth
Parliaments, on the same terms as men, has had the most beneficial
results. It has led to the more orderly conduct of Elections, and at
the last Federal Elections the women's vote in the majority of the
States showed a greater proportionate increase than that cast by men.
It has given a greater prominence to legislation particularly affecting
women and children, although the women have not taken up such questions
to the exclusion of others of wider significance. In matters of Defence
and Imperial concern, they have proved themselves as far-seeing and
discriminating as men. Because the reform has brought nothing but good,
though disaster was freely prophesied, we respectfully urge that all
Nations enjoying Representative Government would be well advised in
granting votes to women."

With all this wealth of testimony rebutting from practical experience
almost every objection urged against women's suffrage, it is impossible
to exaggerate the value to the movement here of the example of
Australia and New Zealand. There are few families in the United Kingdom
that have not ties of kindred or of friendship with Australasia. The
men and women there are of our own race and traditions, starting from
the same stock, owning the same allegiance, acknowledging the same
laws, speaking the same language, nourished mentally, morally, and
spiritually from the same sources. We visit them and they visit us;
and when their women return to what they fondly term "home," although
they may have been born and brought up under the Southern Cross, they
naturally ask why they should be put into a lower political status in
Great Britain than in the land of their birth? What have they done to
lose one of the most elementary guarantees of liberty and citizenship?
As the ties of a sane and healthy Imperialism draw us closer together
the difference in the political status of women in Great Britain and
her daughter States will become increasingly indefensible and cannot be
long maintained.



 "We enjoy every species of indulgence we can wish for; and as we are
 content, we pray that others who are not content may meet with no
 relief."--Burke in House of Commons in 1772 on the Dissenters who
 petitioned against Dissenters.

The first organised opposition by women to women's suffrage in England
dates from 1889, when a number of ladies, led by Mrs. Humphry Ward,
Miss Beatrice Potter (now Mrs. Sidney Webb), and Mrs. Creighton
appealed in _The Nineteenth Century_ against the proposed extension
of the Parliamentary suffrage to women. Looking back now over the
years that have passed since this protest was published, the first
thing that strikes the reader is that some of the most distinguished
ladies who then co-operated with Mrs. Humphry Ward have ceased to be
anti-suffragists, and have become suffragists. Mrs. Creighton and
Mrs. Webb have joined us; they are not only "movable," but they have
moved, and have given their reasons for changing their views. Turning
from the list of names to the line of argument adopted against women's
suffrage, we find, on the contrary, no change, no development. The
ladies who signed _The Nineteenth Century_ protest in 1889 were then
as now--and this is the essential characteristic of the anti-suffrage
movement--completely in favour of every improvement in the personal,
proprietary, and political status of women that had already been
gained, _but against any further extension of it_. _The Nineteenth
Century_ ladies were in 1889 quite in favour of women taking part in
all local government elections, for women's right to do this had been
won in 1870. The protesting ladies said in so many words "_we believe
the emancipating process has now reached the limits fixed by the
physical constitution of women_." Less wise than Canute, they appeared
to think they could order the tide of human progress to stop and that
their command would be obeyed. Then, as now, they protested that the
normal experience of women "does not, and never can, provide them with
such material to form a sound judgment on great political affairs as
men possess," or, as Mrs. Humphry Ward has more recently expressed it,
"the political ignorance of women is irreparable and is imposed by
nature"; then having proclaimed the inherent incapacity of women to
form a sound judgment on important political affairs, they proceed to
formulate a judgment on one of the most important issues of practical
politics. Several of the ladies who signed _The Nineteenth Century_
protest in 1889 were at that moment taking an active part in organising
the political work and influence of women for or against the main
political issue of the day, the granting of Home Rule to Ireland; and
yet they were saying at the same time that women had not the material
to form a sound judgment in politics. This is, of course, the inherent
absurdity of the whole position of anti-suffrage women. If women are
incapable of forming a sound judgment in grave political issues, why
invite them and urge them to express an opinion at all? Besides this
fundamental absurdity there is another, secondary to it, but none the
less real. Anti-suffragists, especially anti-suffrage men, maintain
that to take part in the strife and turmoil of practical politics
is in its essence degrading to women, and calculated to sully their
refinement and purity. If this, indeed, is so, why invite women into
the turmoil? Why advertise, as the anti-suffragists do, the holding of
classes to train young women to become anti-suffrage speakers, and thus
be able to proclaim on public platforms that "woman's place is home?"
This second absurdity appears to have occurred to the late editor of
_The Nineteenth Century_, Sir James Knowles, for a note is added to
the 1889 protest apologising, as it were, for the inconsistency of
asking women to degrade themselves by taking part in a public political

 "It is submitted," says this note, "that for once and in order to
 save the quiet of Home Life from total disappearance they should
 do violence to their natural reticence and signify publicly and
 unmistakably their condemnation of the scheme now threatened."

If this note was, as it appears, by the editor, how much he, too,
needed the lesson which Canute gave to his courtiers. The waves were
not to be turned back by a hundred and odd great ladies doing violence
to their natural reticence and signifying publicly that they were very
well satisfied with things as they were. "Just for once, in order to
save the quiet of home life from total disappearance," these milk white
lambs, bleating for man's protection, were to cast aside their timidity
and come before the public with a protest against a further extension
of human liberty. The anti-suffrage protest of 1889 had the effect
which similar protests have ever since had of adding to the numbers and
the activity of the suffragists.

Women anti-suffragists formed themselves into a society in July 1908
under the leadership of Mrs. Humphry Ward, and a men's society was
shortly afterwards formed under the chairmanship of the Earl of Cromer.
These two societies were amalgamated in December 1910. Lord Cromer is
the President, and exerts himself actively in opposition to women's
suffrage, and in obtaining funds for the League of which he is the
leader. In the previous spring of 1910 the Anti-Suffrage League had
adopted as part of its programme, besides the negative object of
opposing women's suffrage, the positive object of encouraging "the
principle of the representation of women on municipal and other bodies
concerned with the domestic and social affairs of the community." But
male anti-suffragists dwell chiefly on the negative part of their
programme. As a fairly regular reader of the _Anti-Suffrage Review_ I
may say that the advocacy of municipal suffrage and eligibility for
women bears about the same proportion to the anti-suffrage part of it
as Falstaff's bread did to his sack; it is always one halfpennyworth
of bread, and even that is sometimes absent, to an intolerable deal of

The English anti-suffragists' combination of opposing Parliamentary
suffrage and supporting municipal suffrage for women has no counterpart
in the United States. American anti-suffragists are as bitterly opposed
to municipal and school suffrage for women (where it does not exist)
as they are to political suffrage. In the State of New York, not
many years ago, the Albany Association for Opposing Woman's Suffrage
vehemently resisted the appointment of women on School Boards and said,
"It threatens the home, threatens the sacredness of the marriage tie,
threatens the Church, and undermines the constitution of our great
Republic." An American senator, not to be outdone, improved even upon
this, and spoke of school suffrage for women in Massachusetts in the
following terms: "If we make this experiment we shall destroy the
race which will be blasted by the vengeance of Almighty God." These
extravagances do not belong entirely to the dark ages of the nineteenth
century; only in the summer of 1911 the _New York Association opposed
to the extension of the suffrage to women_ successfully opposed a Bill
to confer the municipal suffrage on women in Connecticut. This Bill
had passed the Senate and was before the House of Representatives,
which was immediately besieged by petitions against the Bill urging
all the old arguments with which we are so familiar in this country
against the Parliamentary suffrage, such as that it was not fair to
women that they should have the municipal vote "thrust upon them"; that
Governments rest on force, and force is male; that women cannot fight,
and therefore should not vote; that to give the municipal vote to women
would destroy the home, and undermine the foundations of society.[23]

This opposition was successful, and the Bill was defeated in face of
overwhelming evidence derived from the numerous cases which were quoted
of women exercising the municipal vote, and sitting as members of local
governing bodies without producing any of the disastrous consequences
so confidently predicted. Where women have the municipal vote there
is no opposition to it in any quarter, because it is overwhelmingly
evident, as Mr. Gladstone once said, that "it has been productive of
much good and no harm whatever."

English suffragists can only heartily rejoice that English
anti-suffragists are so much more intelligent than those of the United
States. It shows that they are capable of learning from experience.
Women have had the municipal vote in Great Britain since 1870, and
they have voted for Poor Law Guardians and School Boards (where such
still exist) from the same date. They were rendered eligible for Town
and County Councils in 1907 by an Act passed by Sir Henry Campbell
Bannerman's Government. Suffragists are far from complaining that
anti-suffragists rejoice with them at these extensions of civic liberty
to women. Though the battle is over and the victory won, it is very
satisfactory to see the good results of women's suffrage, where it
exists, recognised and emphasised even by anti-suffragists. Mrs.
Humphry Ward has advocated the systematic organisation of the women's
vote in London local elections in order to have increased motive power
behind some of her excellent schemes for making more use of playgrounds
for the benefit of the London children. She has also spoken several
times in public in favour of the increased representation of women on
local government bodies; and has even gone very near to making a joke
on the subject, saying, in justification of her attitude, "That it was
not good to allow the devil to have all the best tunes," and not wise
for the anti-suffragists to allow the suffragists to claim a monopoly
of ideas and enthusiasm.[24]

Still it is rather significant that she comes to the suffrage camp
for the ideas and enthusiasms. Her male colleagues have not shown
themselves very ardent in the cause of equal rights for women in local
government. In 1898, when the London Borough Councils were established
in the place of the Vestries, an amendment was moved and carried in the
House of Commons rendering women eligible for the newly created bodies
as they had been on the old ones. When the Bill came to the House of
Lords, this portion of it was vehemently opposed by the late Lord James
of Hereford (afterwards one of the vice-presidents of the Anti-Suffrage
League), and his opposition was successful, notwithstanding a powerful
and eloquent speech by the late Lord Salisbury, then Prime Minister,
in support of the eligibility of women on the new Borough Councils.
Again, when in 1907 the Bill rendering women eligible for Town and
County Councils reached the House of Lords, it had no more sincere and
ardent opponent than Lord James. He saw its bearing upon the question
of women's suffrage, and the absurdity involved in a state of the law
which allows a woman to be a Town or County Councillor, or even a
Mayor, and in that capacity the returning officer at a Parliamentary
election, but does not permit her to give a simple vote in the election
of a member of Parliament.

 "If," said Lord James, "their Lordships accepted this measure making
 women eligible for the great positions that had been specified in
 great communities like Liverpool and Manchester, _where was the man
 who would be able to argue against the Parliamentary franchise for

The Bill became an Act, notwithstanding Lord James's opposition, and
within twelve months he had become a vice-president of the League for
Opposing Women's Suffrage and for "Maintaining the Representation of
Women on Municipal and other Bodies concerned with the Domestic and
Social Affairs of the Community."

It has been said by Mrs. Humphry Ward, Miss Violet Markham, and other
anti-suffragists that it is not very creditable to women's public
spirit that four years after the passing of the Local Government
Qualification of Women Act of 1907, so few women[25] are serving on
Town and County Councils. The chief reason for their insignificant
numbers is that at present only those women may be elected who are
themselves qualified to elect. Outside London this disqualifies married
women, and in London it only qualifies those married women who are
on the register as municipal voters. It also disqualifies daughters
living, under normal conditions, in the houses of their parents. The
range of choice of women candidates is, therefore, very severely
restricted. Similar disqualifications in former years applied to the
post of Poor Law Guardian. When a simple residential qualification
was substituted for the electoral qualification the number of women
acting as Poor Law Guardians increased in a few years from about
160 to over 1300, of whom eight out of nine have the residential
qualification only, nearly half of them being married women. It helps
people to realise how the present law limits the range of choice of
women to serve on locally elected bodies to ask them to consider what
would be the effect on the number of men who could offer themselves
for election if marriage were a disqualification for them also. A
Bill for allowing women to be elected to Town and County Councils
on a residential qualification has been before Parliament for the
four sessions 1908-11. It is "non-contentious," but it has never even
got a second reading. Bills concerning women lack the motive power
behind them which is almost invariably necessary for the successful
passage of a Bill through all its stages. Mrs. Humphry Ward and Miss
Markham have some justification for their contention that the suffrage
movement has largely absorbed the energies of the more active-minded
women, and prevented them from offering themselves as candidates in
municipal elections. This is inevitable. Not every one possesses the
boundless energy of such women as Miss Margaret Ashton, Miss Eleanor
Rathbone, or Mrs. Lees, who combine active suffrage propaganda with
work of first-class importance as members of councils in large and
important towns. But when once the battle for suffrage is won, and the
qualification is made reasonable for women, it is almost certain that
the number of women elected on municipal bodies will largely increase.
In Norway, where women's suffrage has been in operation since 1908,
although the population is only a little over 2,000,000, the number
of women elected on Town and County Councils in 1911 was 210, and as
many as 379 have been elected in addition as "alternates." It appears,
therefore, that the secondary object of the Anti-Suffrage League, "the
representation of women on municipal bodies," would be best served by
extending the Parliamentary franchise to women.

The Anti-Suffrage League in England has made a great point of the
number of petitions and protests which they have obtained from women
municipal voters declaring their antagonism to women's suffrage in
Parliamentary elections. The suffragists, however, attach little or no
importance to the figures which have been published. When suffragists
conduct a canvass of the same people on the same subject the result is
entirely different.[26] Much criticism has been made upon the manner
in which the anti-suffragists have obtained the signatures to their
petitions and protests against women's suffrage, and we know that
in some cases signatures have been asked for "as a protest against
being governed by these lawless women." Now there are almost as many
fallacies in this sentence as there are words. Many ardent suffragists,
probably the majority of them, are opposed to the use of physical
violence as a means of obtaining political justice. Moreover, women are
not lawless. Women in this country, as all criminal statistics prove,
are about nine times more law-abiding than men.[27] If people object to
being governed by the more lawless sex, it is not women who should be
disfranchised. And besides these considerations there is another--the
voter, whether male or female, does not govern. He, when he gives his
vote, has to decide between two or more men representing different
sets of principles, to which he wishes to confide the various tasks of

The _Anti-Suffrage Review_ of January 1911 contained an article called
"Arguments for use in Poor Districts," which throws a flood of light on
the methods by which these signatures of women against women's suffrage
have been obtained. The article represents an anti-suffrage lady going
round with a petition against women's suffrage. She approaches the
house of a working woman and appeals to her whether, after she has
looked after her children and her home, she has not done all that a
woman has time for, and "had better leave such things as the Government
of India and the Army and Navy, and all those outside things to the men
who understand them." A more extraordinarily dishonest argument, if
argument it can be called, can hardly be imagined. If it were sound,
it would exclude from all share in political power not only working
women, but also working men--all who live by the sweat of their brow,
and all hard working professional and business men. If the argument
were a sound one, the best Government would be a bureaucracy like that
of Russia, where the great tasks of government and the management of
the Army and Navy "are left to the men who understand them," and where
the peasant, the artisan, the professional man, and the merchant have
nothing to do with laws but to obey them, and nothing to do with taxes
but to pay them. But this system has never commended itself to the
political instincts of the British nation. Some of the anti-suffragists
at any rate could see this plainly enough when this "argument" was
applied to the continued exclusion of working men from the franchise.
Mr. Frederic Harrison has written words on this very subject which are
as applicable to women to-day as they were to men at the time when they
were first published:--

 "Electors have not got to govern a country; they have only to find a
 set of men who will see that the Government is fresh and active....
 Government is one thing, but electors of any class cannot and ought
 not to govern. Electing, or giving an indirect approval of Government,
 is another thing, and demands wholly different qualities. These are
 moral, not intellectual, practical, not special gifts--gifts of a
 very plain and almost universal order. Such are, firstly, social
 sympathies and sense of justice, then openness and plainness of
 character; lastly, habits of action and a practical knowledge of
 social misery."[28]

These are the lessons of their own leaders; but the anti-suffragists
pay no heed to them; it is little wonder then that they pay no heed to
the great suffrage leader who has taught us that women, like men, do
not need the franchise in order that they may govern, but in order that
they may not be misgoverned.

One other consideration may be deduced from this extraordinary
article--"Arguments for use in Poor Districts." If the anti-suffragists
will put into cold print such "arguments" that women ought not to vote
because they are occupied with the daily tasks of ordinary life and are
not prepared to govern India or manage the Army and Navy, what may not
the anti-suffragists say in private in the cottages which they visit in
order to overcome the reluctance of working women to put their names to
the anti-suffrage petitions?

The women who petition against women's enfranchisement are a type that
we have always with us. Burke held them up to disdain and contempt
in inimitable words in 1772, when Dissenters petitioned against
Dissenters. The Five Mile Act and the Test and Corporation Act were
then in force. The Test Act made the taking of the Sacrament according
to the rites of the Church of England a necessary qualification for
holding public office of any kind. The Five Mile Act forbade the
proscribed Nonconformists from preaching or holding meetings within
five miles of any corporate town. In 1772 these Acts were not often
put into operation, but as long as they were in the Statute Book the
Nonconformist leaders felt that they were doomed to live on sufferance;
their friends in Parliament prepared a Bill for their relief from these
outrageous disabilities. Opposition was, of course, at once awakened;
it proceeded mainly from the King and the "King's friends." Their
hands were strengthened by receiving a petition signed by dissenting
ministers, who entreated Parliament not to surrender a test "imposed
expressly for the maintenance of those essential doctrines upon which
the Reformation was founded." They were for the time successful, but
Burke's oratory has pointed the finger of scorn at them for all
time. "Two bodies of men," he said, "approach our House and prostrate
themselves at our Bar. 'We ask not honours,' say the one. 'We have no
aspiring wishes, no views upon the purple....' 'We, on the contrary,'
say the Dissenters who petition against Dissenters, 'enjoy every
species of indulgence we can wish for; and as we are content, we pray
that others who are not content may meet with no relief.'"[29]

We do not envy the Dissenters who petitioned against Dissenters in the
eighteenth century, and future generations will probably mete out no
very kindly judgment to the women who petitioned against women in 1889
and 1911: "As we are content, we pray that others who are not content
may meet with no relief."

One most effective reply has been made by the suffragists to the
allegation of their opponents that women do not desire their own
enfranchisement. Between the autumns of 1910 and 1911 more than 130
local councils petitioned Parliament in favour of passing without
delay the Women's Suffrage Bill, known as the Conciliation Bill.
These councils comprise those of the most important towns in the
kingdom, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, Dublin,
Cork, Limerick, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield,
Bradford, Oldham, Leeds, Wolverhampton, Newcastle, and Brighton. No
such series of petitions from locally elected bodies has probably
ever been presented to Parliament in favour of a Franchise Bill. The
anti-suffragists have endeavoured to belittle the significance of these
petitions. In an important official letter to Mr. Asquith, signed by
Lord Cromer, Lady Jersey, Mrs. Humphry Ward, Lord Curzon, and others,
it is stated:--

 "The councils which have allowed these resolutions to go through are,
 in no small degree, dependent for votes upon the very women whom
 the Bill proposes to enfranchise, _and it is most natural that the
 councillors should shrink from the risk of offending them_."[30]

This is a good specimen of anti-suffrage logic. Women householders are
strongly opposed to their own enfranchisement; but Town Councillors who
depend upon the votes of these women are forced to petition in favour
of their enfranchisement because these councillors "shrink from the
risk of offending them."

It is true that Lord Cromer, Lord Curzon, and the other signatories of
the letter go on to say that they are much better acquainted with the
feeling of the women municipal voters in the various towns than the
men are who have lived in them all their lives, and have repeatedly
stood in them as candidates in municipal elections. This illustrates
the degree of knowledge possessed by the most distinguished of the
anti-suffragists of the work-a-day world in which humbler mortals have
to live.

Mr. Gladstone said of the House of Lords when they opposed the Reform
Bill of 1884 that they "lived in a balloon," unconscious of what was
happening among the dim common populations living on the earth. The
same criticism is applicable to the anti-suffragists. They opened the
year 1911 in their _Review_ by saying that they looked "forward with
complete confidence to the work of saving women from the immeasurable
injury of having their sex brought into the conflict of political
life." This was immediately after the election of December 1910,
during which Mrs. Humphry Ward had taken an active personal share in
her son's electoral contest in West Hertfordshire; and during which a
large number of Unionist candidates and others had had the offer from
her publishers of her _Letters to my Friends and Neighbours_, written
anew for the second election of 1910, price 3d. each or 1000 copies
for £5. No suffragist blames Mrs. Humphry Ward for her active interest
in politics. Whether people like it or not, women are taking part in
active political work; but to talk of "the immeasurable injury of
bringing their sex into the conflict of political life," and at the
same time to profit by the political knowledge and enthusiasm of women
is a practical absurdity. All parties are alike in getting as much work
as possible during an election out of the women who sympathise with

To encourage the political activity of women and at the same time
talk about "protecting women from the immeasurable injury of having
their sex brought into the conflict of political life," helps one
to understand why Frenchmen say that the English are a nation of

Some eminent anti-suffragists attacked the Insurance Bill (1911) on the
ground that it is "cruelly unfair" to women; others, including some of
their most distinguished women, but no men, sent to the Prime Minister
in July a carefully worded and powerfully reasoned letter explaining
in detail the points in which they felt that the Bill did less than
justice to women. Space does not permit a detailed examination of the
points raised in this excellent letter, but one sentence in it must be
given, for it contains within itself the gist of the case for women's

 "We would strongly urge that instead of meeting these and similar
 cases by amending the Bill in the way which was promised by the
 Chancellor of the Exchequer on July 10th, _it would be preferable
 to substitute the insurance which is needed for that which is not

The unrepresented are always liable to be given what they do not
need rather than what they do need. This, in one sentence, forms the
strength of the case for women's suffrage. However benevolent men may
be in their intentions, they cannot know what women want and what suits
the necessities of women's lives as well as women know these things



 "It is a calumny on men to say that they are roused to heroic action
 by ease, hope of pleasure--sugar plums of any kind. In the meanest
 mortal there lies something nobler. Difficulty, abnegation, martyrdom,
 death, are the allurements which act upon the heart of man."--Thomas

In Chapters II. and III. an outline was given of the Parliamentary
history of women's suffrage between 1867 and 1897. In those thirty
years the movement had progressed until it had reached a point when
it could count upon a majority of suffragists being returned in
each successively elected House of Commons. In 1899 came the South
African War, and the main interest of the nation was concentrated on
that struggle till it was over. A war almost invariably suspends all
progress in domestic and social legislation. Two fires cannot burn
together, and the most ardent of the suffragists felt that, while the
war lasted, it was not a fitting time to press their own claims and
objects. The war temporarily suspended the progress of the suffrage
movement, but it is probable that it ultimately strengthened the demand
of women for citizenship, for it has been observed again and again
that a war, or any other event which stimulates national vitality,
and the consciousness of the value of citizenship is almost certain
to be followed by increased vigour in the suffrage movement, and not
infrequently by its success. For instance, suffrage in Finland in 1907
followed immediately upon the great struggle with Russia to regain
constitutional liberty; women as well as men had thrown themselves into
that struggle and borne the great sacrifices it entailed, and when
Finland wrung from the Czar the granting of the Constitution, women's
suffrage formed an essential part of it, and was demanded by the almost
unanimous voice of the Finnish people. Again, when suffrage was
granted to women in Norway in 1907, it was immediately after the great
outburst of national feeling which led to the separation from Sweden,
and established Norway as an independent kingdom. Upon the rights and
wrongs of the controversy between the two countries it is not for us
to enter, but the intensity of the feeling in Norway in favour of
separation is undoubted. The women had shared in the national fervour
and in all the work and sacrifices it entailed. The Parliamentary
Suffrage was granted to women as one of the first Acts of the Norwegian

In the Commonwealth of Australia almost the first Act of the first
Parliament was the enfranchisement of women. The national feeling of
Australia had been stimulated and the sense of national responsibility
deepened by the events which led to the Federation of the Independent
States of the Australian Continent. It is true that South Australia and
Western Australia had led the way about women's suffrage before this in
1893 and 1899, but up to the time of the formation of the Commonwealth
there had been no such rapid extension of the suffrage to women as that
which accompanied or immediately followed it.[31]

The fight for suffrage in the United Kingdom is not won yet, but it
has made enormous progress towards victory, and this, in my opinion,
is in part due to the quickened sense of national responsibility, the
deeper sense of the value of citizenship which was created by the South
African War. The war in the first instance originated from the refusal
of the vote to Englishmen and other "Uitlanders" long settled in the
Transvaal. The newspapers, therefore, both in this country and in South
Africa constantly dwelt on the value and significance of the vote. _The
Spectator_ once put the point with great brevity and force when it
wrote, "We dwell so strongly on the franchise because it includes all
other rights, and is the one essential thing." Now this is either true
or untrue; if true it applies to women as well as to "Uitlanders."
After thinking of the war and its causes the first thing in the morning
and the last thing at night for nearly three years, there were many
thousands of Englishwomen who asked themselves why, if the vote to
Englishmen in the Transvaal was worth £200,000,000 of money and some
30,000 lives, it was not also of great value and significance to women
at home. Why, they said to themselves and to others, are we to be
treated as perpetual "Uitlanders" in the country of our birth, which we
love as well as any other of its citizens?

Therefore in the long run the war, though it temporarily caused a
suspension of the suffrage agitation, nourished it at its source, and
very shortly after the declaration of peace it became more active than
it had ever been before. Ever since 1897, when Mr. Faithfull Begg's
Women's Suffrage Bill had been read a second time by 228 to 157, the
enemies of suffrage in the House of Commons had managed to evade a
vote on a direct issue. The days obtained for Suffrage Bills were
absorbed by the Government or merged into the holidays. One or other
of the hundred ways of burking discussion open to the experienced
Parliamentarian was used. Nevertheless women's suffrage resolutions
were brought forward in 1904 and 1905; that of 1905 was "talked out."

At the end of 1905 the general public first became aware of a new
element in the suffrage movement. The Women's Social and Political
Union had been formed by Mrs. and Miss Pankhurst in 1903, but the
"militant movement," with which its name will always be associated,
had not attracted any public notice till the end of 1905. Its
manifestations and multifarious activities have been set forth in
detail by Miss Sylvia Pankhurst in a book, and are also so well known
from other sources that it is unnecessary to dwell upon them here.[32]
It is enough to say that by adopting novel and startling methods not at
the outset associated with physical violence or attempts at violence,
they succeeded in drawing a far larger amount of public attention to
the claims of women to representation than ever had been given to the
subject before. These methods were regarded by many suffragists with
strong aversion, while others watched them with sympathy and admiration
for the courage and self-sacrifice which these new methods involved.
It is notorious that differences of method separate people from one
another even more acutely than differences of aim. This has been seen
in the history of religion as well as in politics:--

    "Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded
    That the apostles would have done as they did."

It was a most anxious time for many months when there seemed a danger
that the suffrage cause might degenerate into futile quarrelling among
suffragists about the respective merits of their different methods,
rather than develop into a larger, broader, and more widespread
movement. This danger has been happily averted, partly by the good
sense of the suffragists of all parties, who held firmly to the sheet
anchor of the fact that they were all working for precisely the same
thing, the removal of the sex disability in Parliamentary elections,
and, therefore, that what united them was more important than that
which separated them. The formation of the anti-suffrage societies
was also from this point of view most opportune, giving us all an
immediate objective. It was obvious to all suffragists that they should
turn their artillery on their opponents rather than on each other.
Therefore, while recognising fully all the acute differences which
must exist between the advocates of revolutionary and constitutional
methods, each group went on its own way; and the total result has
undoubtedly been an extraordinary growth in the vigour and force of the
suffrage movement all over the country. The most satisfactory feature
of the situation was that however acute were the differences between
the heads of the different societies, the general mass of suffragists
throughout the country were loyal to the cause by whomsoever it
was represented, just as Italian patriots in the great days of the
_Risorgimento_ supported the unity of Italy, whether promoted by
Cavour, Garibaldi, or Mazzini.[33]

The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies endeavoured to
steer an even keel. They never weakened in their conviction that
constitutional agitation was not only right in itself, but would
prove far more effective in the long run than any display of physical
violence, as a means of converting the electorate, the general public,
and, consequently, Parliament and the Government, to a belief in
women's suffrage. But the difficulties for a long time were very great.
A few of our own members attacked us because we were not militant;
others resigned because they disapproved of the militantism which we
had repudiated. On one such occasion a high dignitary of the Church of
England, who is also a distinguished historian, wrote to resign his
position as vice-president of one of our societies because he highly
disapproved of the recent action of the members of militant societies.
The honorary secretary replied, asking him if he was also relinquishing
his connection with Christianity, as she gathered from his writings
that he strongly disapproved of what some Christians had done in the
supposed interests of Christianity. It is to the credit of both that
the threatened resignation was withdrawn. We tried to comfort and help
the weak-hearted by reminding them, in the words of Viscount Morley,
that "No reformer is fit for his task if he suffers himself to be
frightened by the excesses of an extreme wing."[34]

Personally it was to myself the most difficult time of my forty years
of suffrage work. I was helped a good deal by recalling a saying of
my husband's about the Irish situation in the 'eighties, when he was
heard saying to himself, "Just keep on and do what is right." I am far
from claiming that we actually accomplished the difficult feat of doing
what was right, but I believe we tried to. But the brutal severity with
which some of the militant suffragists were treated gave suffragists of
all parties another subject on which they were in agreement.

Minor breaches of the law, such as waving flags and making speeches in
the lobbies of the Houses of Parliament, were treated more severely
than serious crime on the part of men has often been. A sentence of
three months' imprisonment as an ordinary offender was passed in one
case against a young girl who had done nothing except to decline to be
bound over to keep the peace which she was prepared to swear she had
not broken. The turning of the hose upon a suffrage prisoner in her
cell in a midwinter night, and all the anguish of the hunger strike and
forcible feeding are other examples. All through 1908 and 1909 a dead
set was made upon law-breakers, real or supposed, who were obscure and
unknown; while people with well-known names and of good social position
were treated with leniency, and in some cases were allowed to do almost
anything without arrest or punishment.[35]

The militant societies split into two in 1907, when the Freedom League
was formed under the Presidency of Mrs. Despard. Shortly after this
both the militant groups abandoned the plan upon which for the first
few years they had worked--that of suffering violence, but using none.
Stone-throwing of a not very formidable kind was indulged in, and
personal attacks upon Ministers of the Crown were attempted.[36] These
new developments necessitated, in the opinion of the National Union
of Women's Suffrage Societies, the publication of protests expressing
their grave and strong objection to the use of personal violence as
a means of political propaganda. These protests were published in
November 1908 and October 1909.[37] The second, and shortest, was as

 "That the Council of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies
 strongly condemns the use of violence in political propaganda, and
 being convinced that the true way of advocating the cause of Women's
 Suffrage is by energetic, law-abiding propaganda, reaffirms its
 adherence to constitutional principles, and instructs the Executive
 Committee and the Societies to communicate this resolution to the

To this was added:--

 "That while condemning methods of violence the Council of the
 N.U.W.S.S. also protests most earnestly against the manner in which
 the whole Suffrage agitation has been handled by the responsible

The National Union has not thought it necessary publicly to protest
against every individual act of violence. Having definitely and in a
full Council, where all the societies in the Union are represented in
proportion to their membership, put upon record that they "strongly
condemn the use of violence in political propaganda," it appears
unnecessary to asseverate that they condemn individual acts of
violence. There is a remarkable passage in one of Cromwell's letters
explaining why that which is gained by force is of little value in
comparison with that which is conceded to the claims of justice and
reason. "Things obtained by force," he wrote, "though never so good
in themselves, would be both less to their honour and less likely to
last than concessions made to argument and reason." "What we gain
in a free way is better than twice as much in a forced, and will be
more truly ours and our posterity's."[38] The practical example of
male revolutionists is often cited to the contrary; but with all due
respect to the other sex, is not their example too often an example
of how not to do it? The Russian revolution, for instance, seems to
have thrown the political development of Russia into a vicious circle:
"we murder you because you and your like have murdered us," and thus
it goes on in an endless vista like one mirror reflecting another. I
admit fully that the kind and degree of violence carried out by the
so-called "suffragettes" is of the mildest description; a few panes of
glass have been broken, and meetings have been disturbed, but no one
has suffered in life or limb; our great movement towards freedom has
not been stained by serious crime. Compared with the Irish Nationalist
movement in the 'eighties, or the recent unrest in India, the so-called
"violence" of the suffragettes is absolutely negligible in degree,
except as an indication of their frame of mind.

Far more violence has been suffered by the suffragettes than they have
caused their opponents to suffer. The violence of the stewards at
Liberal meetings in throwing out either men or women who dared to ask
questions about women's suffrage has been most discreditable. It may be
hoped it has been checked by an action claiming damages brought on at
the Leeds Assizes in March 1911 on behalf of a man who had had his leg
broken by the violence with which he had been thrown out of a meeting
at Bradford by Liberal stewards, in the previous November. The judge
ruled that his ejection from the meeting was in itself unlawful, and
the only question he left to the jury was to assess damages. The jury
awarded the plaintiff £100; this decision was appealed against, but the
appeal was withdrawn in October 1911.[39]

Mark Twain once wrote of the women suffragists in his own country, "For
forty years they have swept an imposingly large number of unfair laws
from the statute books of America. In this brief time these serfs have
set themselves free--essentially. _Men could not have done as much for
themselves in that time without bloodshed_, at least they never
have, and that is an argument that they didn't know how."[40]

Perhaps the mild degree of violence perpetrated by the suffragettes was
intended to lower our sex pride; we were going to show the world how
to gain reforms without violence, without killing people and blowing
up buildings, and doing the other silly things that men have done when
they wanted the laws altered. Lord Acton once wrote: "It seems to be
a law of political evolution that no great advance in human freedom
can be gained except after the display of some kind of violence." We
wanted to show that we could make the grand advance in human freedom,
at which we aimed without the display of any kind of violence. We have
been disappointed in that ambition, but we may still lay the flattering
unction to our souls that the violence offered has not been formidable,
and that the fiercest of the suffragettes have been far more ready
to suffer pain than to inflict it. What those endured who underwent
the hunger strike and the anguish of forcible feeding can hardly be
overestimated. Their courage made a very deep impression on the public
and touched the imagination of the whole country.

Of course a very different measure is applied to men and women in
these matters. Women are expected to be able to bear every kind of
injustice without even "a choleric word"; if men riot when they do
not get what they want they are leniently judged, and excesses of
which they may be guilty are excused in the House of Commons, in the
press, and on the bench on the plea of political excitement. Compare
the line of the press on the strike riots in Wales and elsewhere with
the tone of the same papers on the comparatively infinitesimal degree
of violence shown by the militant suffragists. No one has been more
severe in his condemnation of militantism than Mr. Churchill, but
speaking in the House of Commons in August 8, 1911, about the violent
riots in connection with Parliamentary Reform in 1832, he is reported
to have said: "It is true there was rioting in 1832, _but the people
had no votes then, and had very little choice as to the alternatives
they should adopt_." If this is a good argument, why not extend its
application to the militant suffragists?

The use of physical violence by the militant societies was not the only
difference between them and the National Union. The two groups between
1905 and 1911 adopted different election policies. The militants
believed, and they had much ground for their belief, that the only
chance of a Women's Suffrage Bill being carried into law lay in its
adoption by one or other of the great political parties as a party
question. The private member, they urged, had no longer a chance of
passing an important measure; it must be backed by a Government. Hence
they concluded that the individual member of Parliament was of no
particular consequence, and they concentrated their efforts at each
electoral contest in endeavouring to coerce the Government of the day
to take up the suffrage cause. Their cry in every election was "Keep
the Liberal out," not, as they asserted, from party motives, but
because the Government of the day, and the Government alone, had the
power to pass a Suffrage Bill; and as long as any Government declined
to take up suffrage they would have to encounter all the opposition
which the militants could command. In carrying out this policy they
opposed the strongest supporters of women's suffrage if they were also
supporters of the Government.

The National Union adopted a different election policy--that of
obtaining declarations of opinion from all candidates at each election
and supporting the man, independent of party, who gave the most
satisfactory assurances of support. In the view of the National Union
this policy was infinitely more adapted to the facts of the situation
than that adopted by the militants. What was desired was that the
electorate should be educated in the principles of women's suffrage,
and made to understand what women wanted, and why they wanted it; and
electors were much more likely to approach the subject in a reasonable
frame of mind if they had not been thrown into a violent rage by what
they considered an unfair attack upon their own party. To this it was
replied that only the Liberals were enraged and that the Conservatives
would be correspondingly conciliated. It did not appear, however, that
this was actually the case. The Conservatives were not slow to see that
their immunity from attack was only temporary; when their turn came
to have a Government in power the cry would be changed to "Keep the
Conservative out." And then having profoundly irritated one half of the
electorate, the militants would go on to irritate the other half. What
the National Union aimed at was the creation in each constituency of a
Women's Suffrage society on non-party lines, which should by meetings,
articles, and educational propaganda of all kinds create so strong a
feeling in favour of women's suffrage as to make party managers on both
sides realise, in choosing candidates, that they would have a better
chance of success with a man who was a suffragist than with a man who
was an anti-suffragist.

The whole Parliamentary situation was altered when in November 1910,
and again more explicitly in June and August 1911, Mr. Asquith promised
on behalf of the Government that on certain conditions they would
grant time for all the stages of a Women's Suffrage Bill during this
Parliament. This removed the basis on which the militant societies had
founded their election policy; it no longer was an impossibility for a
private member to carry a Reform Bill, and it became obvious that the
road to success lay in endeavouring, as far as possible, to promote the
return of men of all parties to the House of Commons who were genuine
suffragists. The Women's Social and Political Union and the Freedom
League appreciated the importance of this change, and early in 1911
they definitely suspended militant action, and abandoned their original
election policy. There was thus harmony in methods as well as unity of
aims between the Suffrage Societies until this harmony was disturbed by
the events to be described in the next chapter.



 "If a great change is to be made in human affairs, the minds of men
 will be fitted to it; the general opinions and feelings will draw
 that way. Every fear, every hope will forward it, and then they who
 persist in opposing this mighty current in human affairs, will appear
 rather to resist the decrees of Providence itself, than the mere
 designs of men. They will not be resolute and firm, but perverse and
 obstinate."--Burke (_Thoughts on French Affairs_).

The Parliament elected in January 1906 contained an overwhelming
Liberal majority; it also contained more than 400 members, belonging
to all parties, who were pledged to the principle of women's suffrage.
A considerable number of these had expressed their adherence to the
movement in their election addresses.

Mr. (now Viscount) Haldane had said at Reading, just before the
election, that he considered women's suffrage not only desirable,
but necessary, if Parliament would grapple successfully with the
difficult problems of social reform. Mr. Lloyd George stigmatised the
exclusion of women from the right of voting as "an act of intolerable
injustice." Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, the Prime Minister, who
received a deputation containing representatives of all the suffrage
societies in May 1906, said that they "had made out a conclusive and
irrefutable case." Still no promise of Government help for the passing
of a Suffrage Bill was forthcoming; the difference of opinion in both
parties on the subject of women's suffrage cut across all party ties,
and thus hindered Government action. It was obvious that no private
member, in the changed conditions of modern politics, could pass so
important a Bill without Government help; and no promise of this
help could be obtained. The first debate on a Women's Suffrage Bill
in the new Parliament took place in 1907, when the speaker refused
to grant the closure and the Bill was talked out. Mr. Stanger, K.C.,
M.P., drew a good place in the ballot in 1908, and his Bill for the
simple removal of the sex disability from existing franchises came on
for second reading in February. The closure having been granted, the
division resulted in the great majority for the Bill of 273 to 94. But
no further progress was made.

In May of the same year a deputation of Liberal M.P.'s waited on Mr.
Asquith, who had then become Prime Minister, to press him for aid
for passing into law a Women's Suffrage Bill. He admitted that about
two-thirds of his Cabinet and a majority of his party were favourable
to women's suffrage, and while maintaining his own continued opposition
to it, made a statement that his Government intended to introduce
a measure of electoral reform, and that if an amendment for the
admission of women were proposed on democratic lines, his Government
as a Government would not oppose it. This was a great advance on
the position occupied by Mr. Gladstone in 1884, when he vehemently
opposed a women's suffrage amendment to the Reform Bill of that year.
All the organs of public opinion without exception recognised that
this promise advanced the movement for women's suffrage to a higher
place in practical politics than it had ever before occupied. The
next year, 1909, Mr. Geoffrey Howard, M.P., and other Liberal members
abandoned the non-party Women's Suffrage Bill which had hitherto always
been introduced, and brought forward a Bill for what was practically
universal adult suffrage; this course alienated all Conservative
and much moderate Liberal support, and was taken in the face of the
strongly expressed protests of all the suffrage societies. The division
on the second reading showed a majority of only 35 or less than
one-fifth of the majority for the more moderate Bill. The supporters
fell in numbers from 273 to 159, and the opposition increased from
94 to 124, and this in a House of Commons with the immense combined
Liberal, Labour, and Nationalist majority of 513 to 157. In the House
of Commons elected successively in January and December 1910 the same
combination of parties had a majority of about 125, as compared with
a majority of 356 in the Parliament of 1906. These figures are most
eloquent of the real political situation, and explain why genuine
suffragists who want women's names on the register before the next
election, supported, in the absence of Government aid, a measure on
moderate lines calculated to unite the greatest amount of support from
all parts of the House, rather than a Bill drafted on extreme party
lines, which would certainly alienate Conservative and moderate Liberal
support. If an Adult Suffrage Bill could only obtain a majority of 35
when the Government majority was 356, it is easy to predict where it
would be when the Government majority was reduced to 125.

In December 1909 the Government announced an immediate dissolution of
Parliament. For the first time in the history of the women's suffrage
movement the political campaign preceding a general election was opened
with important declarations from the Prime Minister and other members
of his Government on the subject of the enfranchisement of women.

At the great meeting of his party at the Albert Hall, December 10,
1909, after indicating his own continued opposition to women's
suffrage, Mr. Asquith said: "Nearly two years ago I declared on
behalf of the present Government that in the event, which we then
contemplated, of our bringing in a Reform Bill, we should make the
insertion of a suffrage amendment an open question for the House of
Commons to decide (cheers). Our friends and fellow-workers of the
Women's Liberal Federation (cheers) have asked me to say that my
declaration survives the expiring Parliament, and will hold good in its
successor, and that their cause, so far as the Government is concerned,
shall be no worse off in the new Parliament than it would have been in
the old. I have no hesitation in acceding to that request (cheers). The
Government ... has no disposition or desire to burke this question;
it is clearly an issue on which the new House of Commons ought to be
given an opportunity to express its views."

On the same day Sir Edward Grey, at Alnwick, reiterated his continued
support of women's suffrage. In reply to a question, he said: "If that
means, am I in favour of a reasonable Bill for giving votes to women, I
have always supported that Bill, and I don't think it right to change
my opinions because what I believe to be a small minority among women
has been very violent and unreasonable." Mr. Winston Churchill, a few
days earlier, expressed a similar opinion to that of Sir Edward Grey.

The anti-suffragists are never weary of asserting that women's suffrage
has never been before the country as a practical political issue. It
is difficult to imagine what being "before the country" consists in,
if the foregoing declarations on the part of the leaders of the party
in power do not indicate that a question has reached this stage. At
the general election of January 1910, 245 candidates mentioned in
their election addresses that they supported the extension of the
Parliamentary franchise to women.[41] In this election the National
Union organised a voters' petition in support of women's suffrage.
The signatures, amounting to over 280,000, were nearly all collected
on polling day from electors who had just recorded their own vote. In
some constituencies, especially in the North of England, hardly a man
refused his signature; the polling number was in each case attached to
the signature as a means of identification, and as a guarantee of good
faith. No objection has ever been made to our petitions, or signatures
disallowed, as in the case of some of the anti-suffrage petitions,
on the ground that there were pages of signatures all in the same

An extremely important event in the development of the suffrage
movement in the field of practical politics took place almost
simultaneously with the January 1910 election. This was the formation
of the Conciliation Committee. It was recognised on all hands that
women's suffrage was in an unprecedented Parliamentary position; a
large majority of members of Parliament were pledged to it, but it was
not backed by either of the great parties, and consequently lacked the
driving power to get through the stages necessary to convert a Bill
into an Act of Parliament. This was in part due to differences as to
the sort of women's suffrage which members of Parliament were prepared
to accept. The Liberals objected to a Bill in the old lines based
on the removal of the sex disability, dreading that such a measure
would be used as a means of multiplying plural voting, and would thus
probably tell heavily against the Liberal party. Conservatives and
moderate Liberals objected to the immense addition to the electorate
which would be caused by adult suffrage. The Conciliation Committee
was formed with the view of reconciling these differences, by finding
a Bill which all suffragists could support. With the exception of
the chairman, the Earl of Lytton, and the Hon. Secretary, Mr. H. N.
Brailsford, it consisted entirely of members of the House of Commons
favourable to women's suffrage, and representing the parties--Liberal,
Conservative, Labour, and Nationalist--into which the House is divided.
As the result of the work of this committee a Bill was arrived at, to
which all the parties represented on the committee could agree.

The Bill was drafted on the lines of simple Household Suffrage
with a clause expressly laying down that marriage was not to be a
disqualification. It has never been contended that this is a perfect
Bill; it was the result of a compromise between the different parties
in the House of Commons. The Conservatives and moderate Liberals
objected to adult suffrage; the Liberals and their allies objected
to the old suffrages being simply opened to women for the reasons
just indicated; therefore, in deference to Liberal objections, the
freeholders, occupiers, service, university, lodger, and other
franchises were abandoned in the case of women, and in deference to
Conservative objections adult suffrage was not proposed. The Bill
which was agreed upon was based upon the democratic principle of
Household Suffrage, of which the country had had more than forty years'
experience as far as women were concerned in municipal elections.
The principle of the Conciliation Bill is to make Household Suffrage
a reality. Mrs. Humphry Ward condemns this measure as "absurd."[42]
Wherein its absurdity consists she does not explain. Household Suffrage
was the main sheet anchor of all the great Reform Bills of the last
century; it is the basis of most of the local franchises. It is by
far the most important, numerically, of all the various existing
franchises. An interesting return is published every year of the
total number of Parliamentary voters, indicating the qualifications
under which they vote. That dated February 28, 1911, shows that in
the whole United Kingdom there were 7,705,602 registered electors;
of these 6,716,742 voted as occupiers and householders, while less
than 1,000,000 represented the total of all the other franchises put
together. The Bill, therefore, which gives women Household Suffrage
admits them to by far the most important suffrage which men enjoy.
Personally many suffragists would prefer a less restricted measure, but
the immense importance and gain to our movement in getting the most
effective of all the existing franchises thrown open to women cannot
be exaggerated. This was immediately appreciated by all the suffrage
societies and also by the Women's Liberal Federation, all of which gave
hearty and enthusiastic support to the Bill, known as the Conciliation
Bill, to extend Household Suffrage to women.[43]

The Conciliation Committee and the suffrage societies successfully
refuted the charge made against the Conciliation Bill that it was
undemocratic. It would, if passed, enfranchise approximately 1,000,000
women, and it was proved conclusively, by careful analysis of the
social status of women householders in a large and representative group
of constituencies, that the overwhelming majority of these would be
working-class women. In London (1908) the proportion of working-class
women was shown to be 87 per cent., in Dundee (1910), 89 per cent.,
Bangor and Carnarvon (1910), 75 per cent. The average in about fifty
representative constituencies, where the investigation was conducted
under the auspices of the Independent Labour Party, was shown to be
82 per cent. The Bill gave no representation to property whatever.
The only qualification which it recognised was that of the resident

This Bill, drawn in such a way as not to admit of amendment, was
introduced by Mr. Shackleton, Labour member for Clitheroe in the new
Parliament, elected in January 1910. Two days of Government time were
given for its second reading in July of that year. It was the first
time a Women's Suffrage Bill had been the subject of a full-dress
debate. Parliamentary leaders on both sides took part in it, and the
voting was left to the free judgment of the House of Commons. Among
the supporters of the Bill were Mr. (now Viscount) Haldane, Mr. Arthur
Balfour, Mr. Philip Snowden, and Mr. W. Redmond, while among its
opponents were Mr. Asquith, Mr. Austen Chamberlain, Mr. F. E. Smith,
and Mr. Haviland Burke. Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Winston Churchill also
vehemently opposed the Bill, not on the ground of opposition to women's
enfranchisement, but because of the alleged undemocratic character of
this particular measure, and because it was introduced in a form that
did not admit of amendment. The division resulted in the large majority
of 110 for the second reading, a figure in excess of anything which the
Government could command for their chief party measures. An analysis
of the division list gave the following results, omitting pairs of whom
there were 24:--

               For the Bill    Against the Bill
  Liberals         161                 60
  Unionists         87                113
  Labour            31                  2
  Nationalists      20                 14
                  ----               ----
                   299                189

Notwithstanding this large majority the Bill was destined to make no
further progress that session; but the interval between the second
reading and the assembling of Parliament for the autumn session was
utilised for the organisation of the most remarkable series of public
demonstrations of an entirely peaceful character which have probably
ever been held in this country in support of any extension of the
suffrage. It was estimated that no fewer than 4000 public meetings
were held in the four months between July and November; the largest
halls all over the country were filled again and again; the Albert
Hall was filled twice in one week; the largest meeting ever held in
Hyde Park, when more than half a million of people were assembled, was
organised by the Women's Social and Political Union. It was at this
moment that the remarkable movement, already referred to in Chapter V.,
was begun--the series of petitions from Town and other locally elected
Councils for the speedy passing into law of the measure known as the
Conciliation Bill. The city of Glasgow led the way with a unanimous
vote of its Council.

During this autumn Sir Edward Grey, Mr. Birrell, and Mr. Runciman made
public declarations in support of women's suffrage, and said that in
their opinion facilities for the further progress of the Bill and its
passage into law ought to be provided in 1911. A few months later Lord
Haldane said he hoped "the Bill would pass quickly." The most important
practical gain for the suffrage movement was, however, achieved
in November 1910. Early in the month Mr. Asquith had announced the
intention of his Government again immediately to dissolve Parliament;
and on the 22nd, in reply to a question in the House, he said that the
Government would, "if they were still in power, give facilities in the
next Parliament for effectively proceeding with a [Women's Suffrage]
Bill, if so framed as to admit of free amendment." These words gave
to suffragists the key which enabled them to unlock the doors which
barred their progress. The more astute political minds among the
anti-suffragists immediately saw the importance of this promise. _The
Times_, November 24, announced that it made women's suffrage an issue
before the country at the coming election, and added, "If the election
confirms the Government in power the new Parliament _will be considered
to have received a mandate on the subject of women's suffrage_."[44]

The feather-heads could see nothing of any importance in this promise,
and the _Anti-Suffrage Review_ allowed itself the treat of entitling
an article "Nod and wink promises." All suffragists of any experience,
however, felt that their cause had received an immensely important
impetus, and that they were gaining ground not by painful inches but by
furlongs. When the session of 1911 opened, the Conciliation Committee
was again formed, and good luck smiled upon its members, for three of
them drew the first, second, and third places in the ballot, and thus
secured an excellent place for the second reading of the Bill. The
member in charge was Sir George Kemp, who sits for N.W. Manchester. The
Bill was, of course, drawn so as to admit of free amendment. The second
reading was on May 5, 1911, and there voted for it 255, and against it
88. The majority of 110 in 1910 had thus grown in 1911 to 167. There
were 55 pairs; but the number of members wishing to pair in favour of
the Bill was so great that the demand could not be satisfied. Six of
these wrote to the papers explaining their position. Adding the pairs,
and those who desired to pair, but were unable to do so, the analysis
works out as follows:--

                  For the Bill  Against the Bill
  Liberals            174             48
  Conservatives        79             86
  Labour               32              0
  Nationalists         31              9
                     ----           ----
                      316            143

Almost immediately after this an announcement was made from the front
bench that Mr. Asquith's promise of the previous November that an
opportunity should be given for proceeding with the Bill in all its
stages would be fulfilled during the session of 1912. There was for a
time some fencing and difficulty over the point whether this promise
applied exclusively to the Conciliation Bill or to any Women's Suffrage
Bill which might obtain a place in the ballot for second reading. All
doubt on this subject was finally set at rest on August 23, by a letter
from Mr. Asquith to Lord Lytton, in which the Prime Minister stated
that the promises were given in regard to the Conciliation Bill, and
that they would be strictly adhered to both in letter and in spirit.

This, then, was the position of the suffrage question between the
close of the summer session and the beginning of November 1911. All
the suffrage societies were working in complete harmony on the same
lines and for the same Bill. The militant societies had suspended
militant tactics, and also their anti-government election policy. The
Women's Liberal Federation, whose co-operation was of great and obvious
importance, were uniting their efforts with those of the suffrage
societies, when on November 7, a bombshell was dropped among them in
the speech of the Prime Minister, replying to a deputation from the
People's Suffrage Federation, who presented a memorial asking for
adult suffrage. Mr. Asquith then announced that it was the intention
of his Government to introduce during the coming session (1912) the
Electoral Reform Bill, which he had foreshadowed in 1908, that all
existing franchises would be swept away, plural voting abolished, and
the period of residence reduced. The new franchise was to be based
on citizenship, and votes were to be given "to citizens of full age
and competent understanding." But no place was found within the four
comers of the Bill for the enfranchisement of women. Mr. Asquith
reiterated his promise of facilities for the Conciliation Bill, and
then merely dismissed the subject of women's suffrage with the remark
that his opinions upon it were well known. If it had been his object to
enrage every women's suffragist to the point of frenzy, he could not
have acted with greater perspicacity. Years of unexampled effort and
self-sacrifice had been expended by women to force upon the Government
the enfranchisement of women, and when the Prime Minister spoke the
only promise he made was to give more votes to men. Mrs. Bernard Shaw
exactly expressed the sentiments of women's suffragists, whether
militant or non-militant, when she wrote that Mr. Asquith's speech
filled her with "an impulse of blind rage"; she felt she had been
personally insulted, and that he had said to her in effect "that the
vilest male wretch who can contrive to keep a house of ill-fame shall
have a vote, and that the noblest woman in England shall not have one
because she is a female" (_The Times_, November 21, 1911).

It is never safe to act under an impulse of blind rage, and very soon
a closer knowledge of the actual facts surrounding and explaining
the situation brought the conviction home to many of us, indeed it
may be stated to the whole body of suffragists with one important
exception,[45] that the new situation created by Mr. Asquith's speech,
so far from decreasing the chances of success for women's suffrage in
1912 had very greatly strengthened them. First of all we were cheered
by the courageous and outspoken remonstrances on behalf of women
made by _The Manchester Guardian_ and _The Nation_. _The Manchester
Guardian_, (November 9, 1911), said that the exclusion of women would
be "an outrage and, we hope, an impossibility.... No Government calling
itself Liberal could so far betray Liberal principles without incurring
deep and lasting discredit and ultimate disaster." The Labour party,
through its chairman, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, M.P., also spoke out very
plainly. "We shall take care," he said, "that the Manhood Suffrage
Bill is not used to destroy the success of the women's agitation,
_because we have to admit that it has been the women's agitation that
has brought the question of the franchise both for men and women to the
front at the present time_." Like other experienced Parliamentarians,
he advised us to hold the Government to their pledges about the
Conciliation Bill until we had actually secured something better (_The
Manchester Guardian_, November 9, 1911).

Then we began to hear from those we knew we could trust of meetings
that were being held of suffrage members of the Government to decide
upon a plan of action, so as to secure for women a better chance of
enfranchisement through the operation of an amendment to the Government
Bill than we could have if we relied upon the Conciliation Bill alone.
An invitation was received from the Prime Minister to all the suffrage
societies to attend a deputation on the subject. The full report of
that deputation was in all the papers of November 18, 1911. It is
sufficient here to say that when Mr. Asquith spoke he acknowledged the
strength and intensity of the demand for women's suffrage, and admitted
that in opposing it he was in a minority both in his Cabinet and in
his party; finally, and most important of all, he added that although
he could not initiate and propose the change which women were seeking,
he was prepared to bow to, and acquiesce in, the deliberate judgment
of the House of Commons, and that it was quite in accordance with the
best traditions of English public life that he should act thus. A great
majority of those who were present thought that the Prime Minister had
recognised that women's suffrage was inevitable, and that it would not
be for the benefit of his party that he should withstand to the last
this great advance in human freedom.

Mr. Asquith gave positive and definite answers in the affirmative to
the four questions which were asked by the National Union of Women's
Suffrage Societies:--

  1. Is it the intention of the Government that the Reform Bill
     shall go through all its stages in 1912?

  2. Will the Bill be drafted in such a way as to admit of any
     amendments introducing women on other terms than men?

  3. Will the Government undertake not to oppose such amendments?

  4. Will the Government regard any amendment enfranchising
     woman which is carried as an integral part of the Bill in
     all its stages?

Almost immediately after this Mr. Lloyd George authorised the public
announcement that he was himself prepared to move the women's suffrage
amendment to the Reform Bill, or, if it was thought best in the
interests of women's suffrage, he would be pleased to stand aside in
favour of Sir Edward Grey or of some leading Conservative. It has been
indicated very plainly that the amendment Mr. Lloyd George himself
favours will be one for the enfranchisement of householders and wives
of householders. A Bill to this effect has been some time before
Parliament, and is familiarly known as Dickinson, No. 2; it enacts
that when a husband and wife reside together in premises for which,
under the existing law, the husband is entitled to vote, the wife shall
also be entitled to vote as a joint-occupier. There is a parallel for
a provision of this kind in the existing franchise law of Norway.
Sir Edward Grey, Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, and other
suffragists in and out of the House of Commons concur in the opinion
that the present situation gives our movement almost a certainty of
success in the session of 1912.

Mr. Lloyd George opened his campaign for women's suffrage in an
important speech at Bath on November 24, 1911. It was a men's meeting,
the occasion being the Annual Congress of the Liberal Federation. He
was received with enthusiasm and made a powerful and well-reasoned
speech in favour of the enfranchisement of women. This was followed in
December 16 by a meeting in London of the Women's Liberal Federation
addressed by Sir Edward Grey and Mr. Lloyd George.[46] The former dwelt
upon the reasons which weighed with him in favour of the representation
of women, and indicated that the amendment to the Reform Bill which he
favoured would be on the lines of Women's Suffrage in Norway, _i.e._
not Adult Suffrage, but suffrage for women householders, including
wives (as indicated on p. 81). Mr. Lloyd George dwelt on the essential
partnership of men and women in all the greatest things in human life,
and urged that this partnership should be extended to politics. Thus
the year 1911 ended with every prospect of a hard won Parliamentary
victory for women's suffrage in 1912. Women's suffrage always has
been, and will remain, a non-party question. The Conservative and
Unionist Women's Franchise Association is working as keenly as any
of the other suffrage societies. We shall not succeed in 1912 unless
we are successful in attracting the support of Conservatives as well
as Liberals and Radicals. To aid us in the final struggle it is of
no little value that we have the promise of a week's Government time
for the Conciliation Bill, if our hopes of carrying a satisfactory
amendment to the Reform Bill should be frustrated.

We are on the eve of the fulfilment of our hopes. The goal towards
which many of us have been striving for nearly half a century is in
sight. I appeal to each and all of my fellow-suffragists not to be
over confident, but so to act as if the success of the suffrage cause
depended on herself alone. And even if our anticipated victory should
be once more delayed, I appeal to them again not to despond but to
stand firm and fast, and be prepared to work on as zealously and as
steadfastly as of old.

A splendid lesson reaches us from America. The great victory for
women's suffrage in California in October 1911 was at first reported
to be a defeat. A group of the leaders, including Dr. Anna Shaw, had
been sitting up to the small hours of the morning in the New York
Women's Suffrage Office, receiving news from California, 3000 miles
away. The first returns were so bad that it looked as if nothing could
save the situation; and the grief was all the greater because victory
had been confidently counted on. Dr. Anna Shaw went away in deep
despondency. Presently she came back saying she could not sleep, and
walking backwards and forwards in the office, she explained a new plan
of campaign which her fertile brain had already originated. This is the
spirit which is unconquerable and it is our spirit too.

He who runs may read the signs of the times. Everything points to the
growing volume and force of the women's movement. Even if victory
should be delayed it cannot be delayed long. The suffragists ought to
be the happiest of mankind, if happiness has been correctly defined
as the perpetual striving for an object of supreme excellence and
constantly making a nearer approach to it.


  _Reprinted with abbreviations, by kind permission of the
  National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies
  14 Great Smith Street, Westminster_


In 1832, the word "male" introduced into the Reform Act (before
"person") restricted the Parliamentary franchise to men, and debarred
women from its use.

1850, Lord Brougham's Act came into operation, which ruled that, in
the law of the United Kingdom, "words importing the masculine gender
shall be deemed to include females, unless the contrary is expressly

In 1867, John Stuart Mill moved an amendment to the Representation of
the People Bill (Clause 4), to leave out the word "man" and substitute
"person." This amendment was lost by a majority of 123.

In 1868, the judges in the Chorlton _v._ Lings case ruled that in the
case of the Parliamentary franchise, the word "man" does not include
"woman" when referring to privileges granted by the State.

Since 1869, Bills and Resolutions have been constantly before the House
of Commons. Debates took place in 1870 (twice), 1871, 1872, 1873, 1875,
1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1883, 1884, 1886, 1892, 1897, 1904, 1905, 1908
(twice), 1910, 1911.

Altogether, besides resolutions, thirteen Bills have been introduced
into the House of Commons, and seven passed their second reading,
_i.e._ in the years 1870, 1886, 1897, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911. There has
been a majority in the House of Commons in favour of women's suffrage
since 1886.

Formation of the Conciliation Committee

In 1910 the Conciliation Committee was formed in the House of Commons.
With the exception of the chairman, the Earl of Lytton, and the Hon.
Secretary, Mr. Brailsford, it consisted of members of the House of
Commons representative of all the political parties. This committee
drafted a Bill which extended the Parliamentary franchise to women
householders (about one million in all). This Bill, popularly known as
the "Conciliation Bill," was introduced into the House of Commons by
Mr. Shackleton. Two days of Government time were allotted to it, and
on July 13, 1910, it passed its second reading by a majority of 110,
a larger majority than the Government got for any of its measures,
including the Budget.

Time was refused for the further stages necessary for its passage into
law, and Parliament dissolved in November 1910.

In the new Parliament Sir George Kemp re-introduced the Bill; it was
nearly the same Bill as that introduced by Mr. Shackleton; but it was
given a more general title, leaving it open to amendment. The second
reading of this Bill took place on May 5, 1911, and secured a _majority
of_ 167.

History of the Agitation in the Country

The first women's suffrage societies were founded in Manchester, in
London, and in Edinburgh in 1867, and in Bristol and in Birmingham in

These united to form the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.

This Union has grown into a large and powerful body, its progress
during the last two years being especially remarkable.

In January 1909 there were 70 affiliated societies; in October 1911
there were 305 affiliated societies, and new societies are formed every

Societies of the National Union are now, therefore, in existence in all
parts of Great Britain, and take an active part in electoral work. The
National Union regards this part of its work as the most important it
has to do, both as propaganda and as a means of bringing pressure to
bear upon the Government. Its election policy is to oppose its enemies
and support its friends, and in carrying out this policy it disregards
all parties.

For the purposes of its peaceful propaganda, whether by public
meetings, petitions, or other constitutional forms of agitation, the
N.U.W.S.S. has, during the past year (1910), alone, raised considerably
over £20,000. More than £100,000 has also been raised for suffrage work
by the Women's Social and Political Union.

Public Meetings and Demonstrations

These have been organised in great numbers. For example:--

 In February 1907, 3000 women marched in procession in London,
     from Hyde Park to Exeter Hall.

 In October 1907, 1500 women marched in procession through

 In October 1907, 2000 women marched in procession through

 In June 1908, 15,000 women marched in procession in London to
     the Albert Hall.

 In June 1911 more than 40,000 women, representing all the
     suffrage societies, walked in a procession four miles long
     to the Albert Hall.

Public meetings have been held all over the country by all the suffrage
societies. It is obviously impossible to enumerate them. We content
ourselves with a rough estimate of meetings held in support of the
"Conciliation Bill." These amount to, at least, 5000 meetings,
including a demonstration in Hyde Park, attended by half a million
people, a demonstration in Trafalgar Square, attended by 10,000 people.
Also six Albert Hall meetings (two in one week), and demonstrations
held in other cities than London, _e.g._, Manchester (2), Edinburgh,
Bristol, Newcastle, Guildford, &c., &c.

These figures include meetings held by the N.U.W.S.S. and other
societies; but leave out of account out-door meetings held in such
numbers as to make even a rough estimate impossible. During the summer
and autumn of 1910 there were at least two or three hundred every week.

Growth of the Movement outside the N.U.W.S.S.

Many other societies have been formed, having women's suffrage as their
sole object. Such are the National Women's Social and Political Union,
the Men's League for Women's Suffrage, the Women's Freedom League, the
National Industrial and Professional Women's Suffrage Society, the New
Union, the New Constitutional Society, the Men's Political Union, the
Church League, the Free Church League, the League of Catholic Women,
the League of the Society of Friends, the Tax-Resistance League.
Besides such groups as the Artists' League, the Suffrage Atelier,
the Actresses' Franchise League, the Society of Women Graduates, the
Women Writers' Suffrage League, the Younger Suffragists, the Cambridge
University Men's League, the London Graduates' Union for Women's
Suffrage, the Gymnastic Teachers' Suffrage Society, &c., &c.

There is also the Irish Women's Suffrage and Local Government
Association, and an Irish Women's Franchise League.

Within the political parties there have been formed the Forward
Suffrage Union (within the Women's Liberal Federation), the
Conservative and Unionist Women's Franchise Association, the People's
Suffrage Federation (which demands the suffrage for all adult men and

The following organisations have officially identified themselves with
the demand for some measure of women's suffrage:--the London Liberal
Federation, the Women's Liberal Federation, the Welsh Women's Liberal
Federation, the Independent Labour Party, the Fabian Society.

Other societies have repeatedly petitioned Parliament, or passed
resolutions asking for a measure of women's suffrage. Among them the
National British Women's Temperance Association (148,000 members), the
Scottish Union of the above (42,000 members), the National Union of
Women Workers (the largest Women's Union, numbers not exactly known),
the International Council of Women, the Association of Headmistresses,
the Association of University Women Teachers, the Incorporated
Assistant Mistresses in Secondary Schools, the Society of Registered
Nurses, the Nurses' International Congress, the Women's Co-operative
Guild (the only organised body representing the married working-women
of this country).

Resolutions in favour of the "Conciliation Bill" have been passed by
49 Trades and Labour Councils, and 36 Trades Unions and Federations.
Moreover, during the year between October 1910 and October 1911 more
than 130 Town and other local Councils petitioned Parliament in favour
of women's suffrage; among the Town Councils who have done this are
those of Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford,
Huddersfield, Brighton, Dover, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness,
Dublin,[47] Limerick, Cork, Cardiff, and Bangor.

It is to be remembered that these bodies represent women as well as
men, as women already possess the municipal franchise.

Women's Suffrage in other Countries

The suffrage movement has now become world-wide. The International
Women's Suffrage Alliance, which meets quadrennially, includes
societies in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bohemia, Bulgaria, Canada,
Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy,
Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Cape Colony, Natal, Sweden,
Switzerland, the United States.

Women's suffrage was granted in--

  Wyoming, U.S.A.               in 1869
  Colorado, U.S.A.               " 1893
  New Zealand                    " 1893
  South Australia                " 1893
  Utah, U.S.A.                   " 1895
  Idaho, U.S.A.                  " 1896
  W. Australia                   " 1899
  The Commonwealth of Australia  " 1902
  New South Wales                " 1902
  Tasmania                       " 1903
  Queensland                     " 1905
  Finland                        " 1907
  Norway                         " 1908
  Victoria                       " 1909
  Washington, U.S.A.             " 1910
  California, U.S.A.             " 1911

It will be noticed that all the Australian States have now granted
women's suffrage. That they have done so proves that they realised its
beneficial effects, where they could actually see it in working as
State after State came into line.


  _The Subjection of Women._ By J. S. Mill.
  _On Liberty._ By J. S. Mill
  _On Representative Government._ By J. S. Mill.
  _Essays and Dissertations_ (vol. ii.). By J. S. Mill. Article by Mrs.
      Mill on the Enfranchisement of Women.
  _Letters._ By J. S. Mill. Edited by Hugh Elliot.
  _Record of Women's Suffrage._ By Helen Blackburn.
  _A Handbook for Women._ By Helen Blackburn.
  Articles on Women's Rights in _Encyclopædia Britannica_ and in
      _Chambers's Encyclopædia_.
  _The Emancipation of English Women._ By W. Lyon Blease.
  _Questions Relating to Women._ By Emily Davies, LL.D.
  _Women and Labour._ By Olive Schreiner.
  _The Suffragette._ By E. Sylvia Pankhurst.
  _The Status of Women, 1066-1909._ By the Misses Wallis Chapman.
  _Women's Work in Local Government._ By Jane E. Brownlow.
  _The Life of Josephine Butler._
  _Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women._ By Dr.
      Elizabeth Blackwell.
  _Women's Suffrage in Many Lands._ By Alice Zimmern.
  _The Englishwoman._ By David Staars.
  _The Women's Franchise Movement in New Zealand._ By W. Sidney Smith.
  _Le Vote des Femmes._ Par Ferdinand Buisson, Député de la Seine et
      Président de la Commission du Suffrage Universel.
  _Women and Economies._ By Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
  _Common-sense Applied to Women's Suffrage._ By Mary Putnam Jacobi, M.D.
  _Equal Suffrage._ By Helen Sumner, Ph.D.
  _A Short History of Women's Rights._ By Eugene Hecker.
  _Reports of the International Women's Suffrage Alliance._


[1] _Vindication of the Rights of Women_, published in 1792.

[2] See _Le vote des Femmes_, pp. 16-22, par Ferdinand Buisson, Député
de la Seine et Président de la Commission du Suffrage Universelle.
Condorcet had a predecessor in Mademoiselle Jars de Gournay, the friend
of Montaigne. See Miss E. Sichel's _Michel de Montaigne_, p. 137.

[3] Helen Blackburn's _Record of Women's Suffrage_, also _Women in
English Life_, by Miss Georgina Hill. Mrs. Wheeler's daughter Rosina,
married Mr. Lytton Bulwer, afterwards the first Lord Lytton. The
present Earl of Lytton is thus the great-grandson of the lady who
prompted the reply to James Mill's article referred to in the text.

[4] This view has also been supported in France, see _Le vote des
Femmes_, by Ferdinand Buisson, for evidence of women having in ancient
times voted and sat in the Parlements of France. Taine also mentions
the Countess of Perigord sitting in the États of her province prior
to the Revolution (_Les Origines de la France Contemporaire_, par H.
Taine, vol. i. p. 104).

[5] _Annals of a Yorkshire House_, vol. ii. p. 319.

[6] Report of the Manchester National Society for Women's Suffrage,

[7] _The Life of Mrs. Norton_, by Miss Jane Gray Perkins (John Murray).

[8] The date of this speech is given in Miss Blackburn's _Record of
Woman's Suffrage_ as 1866, the only mistake I have found in her careful
and faithful history.

[9] See the interesting picture in the staircase of the National
Portrait Gallery, London.

[10] Morley's _Life of Gladstone_, vol. i. p. 571.

[11] _James Mill: a Biography_, by Alexander Bain, LL.D., p. 215.

[12] _Representative Government_, by J. S. Mill, pp. 175-180.

[13] _Dissertations and Discussions_, by J. S. Mill, vol. ii. p. 417.

[14] _Autobiography_, p. 241.

[15] The census of 1911 shows that the excess of women over men is in
the proportion of 1068 women to 1000 men, and that this proportion has
changed but little during the last hundred and ten years.

[16] _Record of Women's Suffrage_, by Helen Blackburn, pp. 53, 54, 55.

[17] _Record of Women's Suffrage_, p. 190, by Helen Blackburn.

[18] A few isolated associations of Liberal women had existed before
this. There was one at Bristol started in 1881; but nothing was done on
an extended scale till 1886.

[19] An important new departure in journalism was taken by _The
Standard_ in October 1911. This paper now devotes more than a page
daily to a full statement both of events and arguments bearing on all
sides of the suffrage and other women's questions.

[20] See _Outlines of the Women's Franchise Movement in New Zealand_,
by W. Sydney Smith. Whitecombe & Tombs, Ltd., Christchurch, N.Z. 1905.

[21] See Report by Sir Charles Lucas, who visited New Zealand on behalf
of the Colonial Office in 1907.

[22] See _Colonial Statesmen and Votes for Women_, published by The
Freedom League, p. 6.

[23] See letter from Miss Alice Stone Blackwell in _Manchester
Guardian_, July 12, 1911.

[24] See _Anti-Suffrage Review_, No. 33, p. 167.

[25] The exact numbers in England and Wales (autumn 1911) are fifteen
on Town Councils (two being Mayors) and four on County Councils.

[26] As an example I quote the canvass of women municipal electors
in Reading made respectively by the suffragists in 1909 and
anti-suffragists in 1911. When the suffragists canvassed, the results

                              Did not answer
  In Favour      Against       and Neutral
    1047           60              467

When the anti-suffragists canvassed in 1910 the results were:--

                              Did not answer
  In Favour      Against       and Neutral
     166          1133            401

With such disparity as this between the two returns no conclusion can
possibly be drawn from either without further investigation of the
methods pursued.

[27] See Statistical Abstract from the United Kingdom.

[28] Quoted in Lord Morley's _Studies in Literature_, pp. 133, 134.
The reference there given for the extract is _Order and Progress_, by
Frederic Harrison, pp. 149-154.

[29] _Early History of Charles James Fox_, by the Rt. Hon. Sir G. O.
Trevelyan, p. 449.

[30] _Anti-Suffrage Review_, December 1910.

[31] See p. 89.

[32] See _The Suffragette_, by Miss E. Sylvia Pankhurst (Gay and
Hancock, 1911).

[33] See _Garibaldi and the Making of Italy_, by G. M. Trevelyan, p. 3.

[34] Morley's _Life of Gladstone_, vol. iii. p. 371.

[35] I have in my possession positive proof that orders were given to
the police not to arrest a particular lady whose name is well known and
highly respected in every part of the country.

[36] I am requested by the Women's Freedom League to state that they
have never resorted to stone-throwing or to personal assaults.

[37] A third protest was published in December 1911.

[38] Morley's _Life of Oliver Cromwell_, pp. 232-3.

[39] See Summing up of Mr. Justice Avory in Hawkins _v._ Muff case. _A
Warning to Liberal Stewards_, published by the Men's Political Union,

[40] _More Tramps Abroad_, by Mark Twain, p. 208.

[41] See the Annual Report of the National Union of Women's Suffrage
Societies presented in March 1910.

[42] _Standard_, Oct. 17, 1911.

[43] See resolution adopted by the executive committee of the Women's
Liberal Federation, quoted in _Standard_, October 30, 1911:--

"That ... the executive resolves that until definite promises are made
of a Government Reform Bill including women they will support by all
means in their power the Bill promoted by the Conciliation Committee
and will pursue with regard to amendments to that Bill such a policy
as circumstances show to be most likely to secure for it a substantial
third reading majority."

[44] See "Political Notes," _Times_, November 24, 1910.

[45] The Woman's Social and Political Union dissented from this view.
They resumed militant tactics, and scenes of considerable disorder
occurred on November 21 and November 29, 1911.

[46] These speeches can be obtained from the Women's Liberal
Federation, 2 Victoria Street, London, S.W.

[47] The Corporation of Dublin authorised the Lord Mayor and other
officers to attend in their robes and present the Dublin petition in
person at the Bar of the House of Commons.


  Acton, Lord, on political violence, 66

  Adult Suffrage Bill, 1909, 70

  ---- 1912, 78-82

  America, Women's Suffrage in, 89

  Amos, Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon, 22

  Anderson, Mrs. Garrett, M.D. _See_ Garrett

  Anti-Corn Law League, 13

  Anti-slavery movement in America, 5

  ---- Congress, 13

  Anti-Suffrage League, the, 46

  _Anti-Suffrage Review_, quoted, 47, 52, 77

  Anti-suffragists, arguments of, 14

  ---- and the Insurance Bill, 57

  ---- and municipal franchise, 50, 51, 52

  ---- letter against Conciliation Bill, 55, 56

  ---- movement in United States, 47

  ---- protest in _Nineteenth Century_ (1889), 46

  ---- tactics of, 33, 34, 35, 51-54

  Ashton, Miss Margaret, 51

  Asquith, Mr., on facilities for Suffrage Bill, 68, 77, 78

  ---- on position of women under Manhood Suffrage Bill, 78, 80, 81

  ---- on women's political activity, 32

  ---- on Women's Suffrage, 35, 70, 71, 80

  Australia, Women's Suffrage in, 35, 40, 42, 43, 59, 89

  Bannerman, Sir H. Campbell, on Women's Suffrage, 69

  Becker, Miss Lydia, 10, 21

  Begg, Mr. Faithfull, Women's Suffrage Bill of, 34, 60

  Birrell, Mr., on Women's Suffrage, 76

  Blackwell, Dr. Elizabeth, 22

  Blake, Miss Jex, 22

  Bodichon, Mrs., 20, 22

  Borthwick, Sir Algernon, 24, 30

  Brailsford, Mr. H. N., 73, 85

  Bright, Mr. Jacob, 23

  Bright, John, on Parliamentary Reform, 18

  ---- on Women's Suffrage, 19

  Brougham's Act, Lord, 1850, 9

  Browning, E. B., _Aurora Leigh_, 12

  Bryce, Rt. Hon. James, 34

  Burke on Dissenters' Petition, 54

  Butler, Mrs. Josephine, 20, 22

  California, Women's Suffrage in, 83, 89

  Canvassing, 29, 30

  Chorlton _v._ Lings, case of, 10, 11

  Churchill, Lord Randolph, 30

  Churchill, Mr. Winston, on militant tactics, 66, 67

  ---- on Women's Suffrage, 72, 75

  Clark, Mrs. Helen, 27

  Cobbe, Frances Power, 20

  Cobden on Women's Suffrage, 13

  Conciliation Committee, the, 72, 73, 85

  Conciliation Bill (Mr. Shackleton's), 1910, 55, 75, 85

  ---- (Sir George Kemp's), 1911, 73-76, 77, 85

  ---- Anti-Suffragists' protest against, 55, 56

  ---- petitions and resolutions in favour of, 88

  Condorcet, 5

  Contagious Diseases Acts, 22

  Corrupt Practices Act, 29, 30

  Creighton, Mrs., 44

  Crimean War, the, 14

  Cromer, Lord, on Women's Suffrage, 47

  Cromwell, on gains by force, 64

  Davies, Miss Emily, 20, 21, 22

  Demonstrations, public, 76, 86

  Despard, Mrs., 63

  Disraeli, on Women's Suffrage, 13, 24

  Dissenters' Petition, Burke on, 54, 55

  Divorce Act, 1857, 15

  Dublin, Lord Mayor of, 88 _n._

  Electoral Reform Bill, 1912, 78-82

  Elmy, Mrs. Wolstenholme, 22

  Fawcett, The Rt. Hon. H., 20, 62

  Finland, Women's Suffrage in, 58, 59, 89

  Fisher, Mr., on Women's Suffrage, 42

  Five Mile Act, 54

  Fry, Mrs. Elizabeth, 6

  Garrett, Miss Elizabeth, 19, 20, 21

  Garrison, William Lloyd, 13

  General Election, 1910, 72

  Gladstone, Mr., on Divorce Bill, 1857, 15

  ---- on household suffrage, 25

  ---- opposition to Reform Bill, 1884, 27

  ---- on women's political activity, 32

  ---- on Women's Suffrage, 27, 28, 33

  Godwin, William, 5

  Goschen, Lord, on agricultural labourers' franchise, 25

  Grey, Mrs. William, 22

  Grey, Sir Edward, on Women's Suffrage, 72, 76, 81, 82

  Guardianship of Children Act, 22

  Gurney, Miss, 22

  ---- Rt. Hon. Russell, 22, 23

  Haldane, Lord, on Women's Suffrage, 69, 75, 76

  Hall, Sir John, 37, 38

  Harrison, Frederic, on powers of the elector, 53

  Herschell, Miss Caroline, 12

  Hill, Miss Davenport, 20

  Household Suffrage, 25, 73, 74, 81

  Howard, Mr. G., Adult Suffrage Bill, 1909, 70

  Iddesleigh, Lord. _See_ Northcote

  Indian Mutiny, 14

  Infants' Custody Act, 12

  Insurance Bill, the, 57

  Isle of Man, Women's Suffrage in, 25

  James, Lord, on Corrupt Practices Act, 29, 30

  ---- on Women's Suffrage, 49, 50

  Jameson, Mrs., 12

  Kemp, Sir George, Conciliation Bill (1911) introduced by, 24, 77, 85

  Knight, Anne, 13

  Labouchere, Mr., attitude to Suffrage Bills, 34

  Langton, Lady Anna Gore, 20

  Leavitt, Mrs., 37

  Lees, Mrs., 51

  Lloyd George, Mr., on Women's Suffrage, 69, 75, 81

  Local Government Qualification of Women's Act, 1907, 49, 50

  Lyne, Sir William, on Women's Suffrage, 42

  Lytton, Earl of, 7 _n._, 73, 78, 85

  MacDonald, Mr. Ramsay, 80, 81

  M'Laren, Mrs. Duncan, 22

  M'Laren, Mr. Walter, 26

  _Manchester Guardian, The_, on Women's Suffrage, 79

  Manhood Suffrage Bill, 1912, 78-82

  Markham, Miss Violet, 50, 51

  Married Women's Property Act, 22, 23

  Martineau, Harriet, 20

  Medical profession opened to women, 22

  Militant Societies, the, 58

  ---- election policy of, 67

  Mill, James, on Women's Suffrage, 6, 7, 15

  Mill, John Stuart, on enfranchisement of women, 16, 17, 19

  ---- and Women's Parliamentary Petition, 20

  ---- Women's Suffrage Amendment Bill, 19, 20, 23

  Mill, Mrs. John Stuart, on Enfranchisement of Women, 16, 17

  Morley, Viscount, 26, 27, 62

  Mott, Lucretia, 14

  Müller, Mrs., 37

  Municipal Corporation Act, 1835, 9

  Municipal suffrage, 9, 20, 48

  ---- Anti-Suffragist support of, 47

  National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, 21, 22, 62, 81, 85

  ---- election policy, of 67

  ---- protests against militant tactics, 63

  National Women's Liberal Association, 31

  New Zealand, Women's Suffrage in, 35, 36, 37, 89

  ---- electoral roll of, 41

  Nightingale, Miss Florence, 14, 20

  Northcote, Sir Stafford, 24

  Norton, Hon. Mrs., 11, 12

  Norway, Women's Suffrage in, 51, 59, 89

  Pankhurst, Dr., 10

  Pankhurst, Mrs. and Miss, 60

  People's Suffrage Federation, 78, 87

  Peterloo Massacre, the, 7

  Petitions from Town Councils, 55, 88

  Pochin, Mrs., 22

  Poor Law Guardians, qualifications of, 50

  Primrose League, the, 5, 30

  Public meetings and demonstrations, 76, 86

  Rathbone, Miss Eleanor, 51

  Reeves, W. P., on Women's Suffrage, 38

  Reform Acts, exclusion of females, 9

  Reform Bill, 1832 and 1867, 6, 7, 9

  ---- 1884, 27-29

  ---- 1912, 78-82

  Rollit, Sir A., Women's Suffrage Bill (1892) introduced by, 33, 34

  Royal Astronomical Society, women members of, 12

  Runciman, Mr., on Women's Suffrage, 76

  School Boards, women members of, 20, 21

  Seddon, Mr. Richard, 37

  Serjeant Talfourd's Act, 1839, 12

  Shackleton, Mr., Conciliation Bill, 1910, 55, 75, 85

  Shaw, Dr. Anna, 82

  Shaw, Mrs. Bernard, on Reform Suffrage Bill, 1912, 79

  Sheffield Female Political Association, 13

  Sherriff, Miss, 22

  Sidgwick, Henry, 22

  Smith, Mr. Goldwin, 35, 39

  Smith, Sydney, on education for women, 6

  Societies, Suffrage, 87

  South African War, the, 58, 59, 60

  Somerville, Mrs., 12, 20

  Stanfield, Sir James, 22

  Stanger, Mr., Women's Suffrage Bill (1908) introduced by, 70

  Stanhope, Mrs. Spencer, quoted, 9

  Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 14

  Stevenson, Miss Flora, 21

  Stuart, Mr. James, 22

  Suffrage Societies, 85, 87

  Swanwick, Miss, 20

  Taylor, Mrs. Peter, 20

  Test Act, the, 54

  Thackeray, in _Esmond_, on domestic tyranny, 12

  _Times, The_, on Women's Suffrage, 77

  Town Councils, petitions from, 85, 88

  Town and County Councils Qualification Bill, 50, 51

  Trades Union Congress (Aberdeen) and Women's Suffrage, 29

  Twain, Mark, on Women's Suffrage, 65

  United States, Anti-suffrage movement in, 47

  ---- Women's Suffrage in, 14, 35, 89

  University education opened to women, 22

  Unwin, Mrs. Cobden, 27

  Voters' Petition, the, 1910, 72

  Walpole, Horace, on Mary Wollstonecraft, 5

  Ward, Mrs. Humphry, on Women's Suffrage, 35, 44, 50, 51

  ---- on Conciliation Bill, 1911, 74

  ---- on representation in local government, 48, 49

  ---- political activity of, 56

  Webb, Mrs. Sidney, 44

  Wheeler, Mrs., on Women's Suffrage, 7

  Wollstonecraft, Mary, 6, 6

  Women, in local government, 49

  ---- as members of School Boards, 21

  ---- as municipal voters, 9, 20

  ---- as Poor Law Guardians, 50

  ---- political activity of, 13, 30, 31, 32, 56, 57

  Women's Freedom League, 63

  Women's Liberal Federation, 30, 31, 78

  ---- and Conciliation Bill, 74

  Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, U.S.A., 14

  Women's Social and Political Union, 60

  ---- election policy of, 67

  Women's Suffrage, arguments against, 34

  ---- beginnings of, 5

  Women's Suffrage, Conservative objections to, 73

  ---- not a party question, 23, 73, 82

  ---- ---- support of, 24

  ---- historical aspect of, 8

  ---- in Greater Britain, 34

  ---- in Isle of Man, 25

  ---- in other countries, 89

  ---- in United States, 35, 47, 89

  ---- Liberal objections to, 73

  ---- ---- support of, 23

  ---- pioneers of, 5, 10, 13, 14, 16, 20, 21, 22

  ---- political aspect of, 15

  ---- position in 1880-1884, 25-34

  ---- position under Reform Bill, 1912, 78-82

  ---- recent developments, 69

  ---- resolutions and petitions in favour of, 19, 26, 84, 88

  ---- Societies, 21, 22, 85, 87

  ---- summary of movement, 84

  Women's Suffrage Amendment (J. S. Mill's), 1867, 23

  Women's Suffrage Amendment Bill (Mr. Woodall's), 1884, 23, 28, 29

  Women's Suffrage Bill, 1870 (Mr. Jacob Bright's), 23

  ---- 1892 (Sir A. Rollit's), 33

  ---- 1897 (Mr. F. Begg's), 34, 60

  ---- 1908 (Mr. Stanger's), 70

  ---- 1910 (Mr. Shackleton's), 55, 75, 85

  ---- 1911 (Sir G. Kemp's), 77, 85. _See also_ Summary, p. 84

  Woodall, Mr., Suffrage Amendment Bill (1884) introduced by, 28, 29

  Wyoming, Women's Suffrage in, 35, 89

  Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
  Edinburgh & London



The volumes now (February 1912) issued are marked with an asterisk. A
further twelve volumes will be issued in May


   1. Introduction to Science By C. D. Whetham, M.A., F.R.S.
   2. Embryology--The Beginnings of Life By Prof. Gerald Leighton, M.D.
   3. Biology--The Science of Life By Prof. W. D. Henderson, M.A., B.Sc.,
   4. Animal Life By Prof. E. W. MacBride D.Sc., F.R.S.
  *5. Botany; The Modern Study of Plants By M. C. Stopes, D.Sc., Ph.D.,
   6. Bacteriology By W. E. Carnegie Dickson, M.D., B.Sc.
   7. Geology By the Rev. T. G. Bonney, F.R.S.
   8. Evolution By E. S. Goodrich, M.A., F.R.S.
   9. Darwin By Prof. W. Garstang, M.A., D.Sc., F.Z.S.
 *10. Heredity By J. A. S. Watson, B.Sc.
  11. Chemistry of Non-living Things By Prof. E. C. C. Baly, F.R.S.
 *12. Organic Chemistry By Prof. J. B. Cohen, B.Sc., F.R.S.
 *13. The Principles of Electricity By Norman R. Campbell, M.A.
  14. Radiation By P. Phillips, D.Sc.
 *15. The Science of the Stars By E. W. Maunder, F.R.A.S., of the Royal
        Observatory, Greenwich.
  16. Light, according to Modern Science By P. Phillips, D.Sc.
  17. Weather-Science By R. G. F. K. Lempfert, M.A., of the
        Meteorological Office.
  18. Hypnotism By Alice Hutchison, M.D.
  19. The Baby: A Mother's Book by a Mother By a University Woman.
  20. Youth and Sex--Dangers and Safeguards for Boys and Girls By Mary
        Scharlieb, M.D., M.S., and G. E. C. Pritchard, M.A., M.D.
  21. Marriage and Motherhood--A Wife's Handbook By H. S. Davidson, M.B.,
  22. Lord Kelvin By A. E. Russell, M.A., D.Sc., M.I.E.E.
  23. Huxley By Professor G. Leighton, M.D.
  24. Sir W. Huggins and Spectroscopic Astronomy By E.W. Maunder,
        F.R.A.S., of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.


  25. The Meaning of Philosophy By Prof. A. E. Taylor, M. A., F.B A.
 *26. Henri Bergson: The Philosophy of Change By H. Wildon Carr.
  27. Psychology By H. J. Watt, M.A., Ph.D.
  28. Ethics By the Rev. Canon Hastings Rashdall, D.Litt., F.B.A.
  29. Kant's Philosophy By A. D. Lindsay, M.A.
  30. The Teaching of Plato By A. D. Lindsay, M.A.
  31. Buddhism By Prof. T. W. Rhys Davids, M.A., F.B.A.
 *32. Roman Catholicism By H. B. Coxon. Preface, Mgr. R. H. Benson.
  33. The Oxford Movement By Wilfrid P. Ward.
  34. The Bible in the Light of the Higher Criticism By the Rev.
        Principal W. F. Adeney, M.A., D.D., and the Rev. Prof. W. H.
        Bennett, Litt.D., D.D.
  35. Cardinal Newman By Wilfrid Meynell.


  36. The Growth of Freedom By H. W. Nevinson.
  37. Bismarck and the Foundation of the German Empire By Prof. F. M.
        Powicke, M.A.
  38. Oliver Cromwell By Hilda Johnstone, M.A.
 *39. Mary Queen of Scots By E. O'Neill, M.A.
  40. Cecil Rhodes By Ian Colvin.
  41. Julius Cæsar: Soldier, Statesman, Emperor By Hilary Hardinge.

  History of England--

  42. England in the Making By Prof. F. J. C. Hearnshaw, M.A., LL.D.
  43. Medieval England By E. O'Neill, M.A.
  44. The Monarchy and the People By W. T. Waugh, M.A.
  45. The Industrial Revolution By A. Jones, M.A.
  46. Empire and Democracy By G. S. Veitch, M.A.


 *47. Women's Suffrage--A Short History of a Great Movement By M. G.
        Fawcett, LL.D.
  48. The Working of the British System of Government to-day By Prof.
        Ramsay Muir, M.A.
  49. An Introduction to Economic Science By Prof. H. O. Meredith, M.A.
  50. Socialism By F. B. Kirkman, B.A.


 *51. Shakespeare By Prof. C. H. Herford, Litt.D.
  52. Wordsworth By Miss Rosaline Masson.
 *53. Pure Gold--A Choice of Lyrics and Sonnets By H. C. O'Neill.
  54. Francis Bacon By Prof. A. R. Skemp, M.A.
  55. The Brontës By Miss Flora Masson.
  56. Carlyle By the Rev. L. MacLean Watt.
 *57. Dante By A. G. Ferrers Howell.
  58. Ruskin By A. Blyth Webster, M.A.
  59. Common Faults in Writing English By Prof. A. R. Skemp, M.A.
  60. A Dictionary of Synonyms By Austin K. Gray, B.A.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Minor punctuation and printer errors repaired.

Footnote anchors for footnotes 30 and 37 were missing in the original
and have been inserted.

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