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Pankhurst says, “ passed by men without consulting women”-it was, as I happened to know, mainly the work of a group of energetic and clear-headed women, who proved their point and achieved their reform, even against a strong masculine opposition. The Probation of Offenders Act of last year was framed throughout in consultation with women possessed of expert knowledge and experience; and as for the Children's Bill of this Session, this children's charter, which does Mr. Samuel such honour, it could not have been drawn up without the advice and help of women, which it has had, throughout. Women, moreover, are now placed on Royal Commissions, and we may be very sure that the influence of Mrs. Sidney Webb on the Poor Law Commission is at least equal to that of any man upon it.
• But this is not all. Women have not only the influence given them by special knowledge and ability, knowledge which enables them now in all fields to represent and speak for their sex; they have also freely open to them, whether as electors or elected, the immense field of local government. They have had the municipal vote for thirty-seven years; they have long been eligible as Poor Law Guardians, as parish or district councillors, and they have now been made eligible as county and borough councillors. If anyone will take up any competent book on local government and look at the powers of county and borough councils, he will ask himself, I think, how long will it be before women overtake or fill the immense sphere which has been here opened to them? They have not, indeed, shown any great zeal to fill it. The women's vote has been extremely small, except when some exciting cause has intervened-not unlike the men, however, in this ! But all the time, if the vote were really the talisman that the Suffragists proclaim, what women might have done in local government !--what they still might do !
"“ If we get the vote,” says one of the Suffragist leaflets, “ more attention would be given to the condition of the children, to the care of the sick and aged, to education,” and so on. But meanwhile all sorts of powers are lying unused under the hands of women. There has been much talk, for instance, of the evils of street trading for children of school age. But this is a matter which depends entirely upon the County Council; and if the women's vote in London, which they have now possessed for thirty years and more, had been properly used and directed, street trading could have been made impossible. Organised playgrounds again for children throughout London could have been established, as they have been established in Boston and New York; a hundred things could have been done for children, if voters and organisers had so willed it. Meanwhile, the need for women school managers of a capable sort throughout London is really urgent. In the Cripple Schools with which I have been specially connected, we cannot get women enough to do the work which urgently wants doing for these delicate and helpless children. And
meanwhile good brains and skilled hands are being diverted from women's real tasks to this barren agitation for equal rights with men, in men's own field, this sex-rivalry, which has too often masqueraded as reform
* Two arguments often used in the controversy are not touched in the Manifesto, which had of necessity to be short. But they have had remarkable influence upon the working population of the north. I mean (1) the argument that the possession of the vote would raise the wages of women to an equality with those of men ; (2) that hygienic regulation of the employment of women-married women especially should not be imposed on women without their consent, expressed through the vote.
Heavy indeed is the responsibility of those who are teaching an excitable factory population that the possession of a vote will raise their wages! If this were even remotely true, would the average wage of the agricultural labourer, twenty-four years after his political enfranchisement, be still 158. or 168. a week? Would all that mass of low-paid male labour disclosed by Mr. Rowntree's book on York, or Mr. Booth's London, still exist–if the vote could remedy it ?
•The reasons why women's wage is generally lower than that of men are partly economic, partly physical. There are more women than men; men are stronger than women; there is far more competition for men's labour; marriage and the expectation of marriage affect the industrial value of women's work unfavourably; and above all the organisation of women's labour is still backward and weak.
Many causes now in operation will, we hope, tend in time to the better payment of women; the more even spread of the world's population, better training, better organisation, and so on.
But to teach the labouring women of England that a parliamentary vote is of itself to raise wages and bring them the economic millennium, is, as it seems to me, to poison the wells of thought and action among them, and to increase instead of lightening the burdens on our sex.
* As to factory regulations, the opinion of women in the matter, trained and experienced women, has been of increasing importance with the Government for many years past. I believe I am not wrong in saying that a very large proportion of the recent reforms in factory legislation for women and children are due to the reports of women inspectors, in daily contact with the people, and bringing their trained knowledge to bear. But let us ask a further question. Is the work of married women in factories the concern only of women ? Not at all. It is the concern of the nation as a whole, who are the trustees for. and the guardians of the coming generation.
Whether the legitimate influence of women 'on legislation could be carried further, on the lines of responsible advice, and co-operation with Government departments, is a matter to which some of us have given anxious thought. You will find a reference to this in the Manifesto. We have no hard and fast plan. We throw out the suggestion to show that we are far from admitting that everything is for the best in the best of worlds. We know that there are grievances of women, just as there are grievances of men, awaiting redress. But let us not throw out the child with the bath water. Let us not in pushing the claims and demands of women forget that the interests of the whole of the great country to which we all belong-must come first. As one reads the Suffragist literature, Macaulay's lines come ringing in one's head :
When all were for a party,
And none were for the State.
* The party of sex may be the worst of all parties. And there is too much of it in the Suffrage agitation.
* Practically, then, our new League meets the Suffragist demand by a direct negative, and by the strong assertion that women's true sphere is already secured to her, both in the home and the State, and what she has to do now is to fill and possess it. For the brutalities and wrongs that remain, force, political force, is no remedy. The task, alack, is harder than that.
* Finally, outside the political machinery necessary to the maintenance of the modern, civilised State, there is a world of thought and action common to both men and women alike, in perfect equality, a world more readily open to ideas than the world of party politics, a world where all reforms begin, and which provides the force which ultimately carries them. Every capacity of women can find, if we will, free scope in that world, and within it women's influence and women's power depend entirely upon what women are themselves.
'Well, now, we have to give practical effect to this belief. We have to carry the organisation of the League throughout the country; we have to provide good and adequate literature; we have, above all, to break down the 420 pledges that have been given to Woman Suffrage in this Parliament; and if Men's Societies " for the promotion of Woman Suffrage” have been already formed—as they have been formed in the north-we must call on men to form Associations of voters “in opposition to Woman Suffrage.” In short, we must fight—with good humour, I hope, and with constant respect for those-often dear friends of our own—who differ from us, but with a determination to make our voice heard, and to save England, if we can, from a national disaster.'
MARY A. WARD.
The Editor of THE NINETEENTH CENTURY cannot undertake
to return unaccepted MSS.
THREE points are especially interesting in connexion with the remarkable change which has taken place in the condition of the Ottoman Empire. Firstly, the unprecedented manner in which one of the most despotically governed countries in the world has acquired freedom; secondly, the prospects of a satisfactory working of the new order of things and its permanence-in other words, the prospects of real reformation which the transformation offers ; thirdly, the feelings with which the modified situation in which Turkey finds herself is viewed by her immediate neighbours and by the rest of the world.
I propose to deal with these three points as comprehensively as is possible within the compass of a Review article.
The re-establishment by Abd-ul-Hamid of the Constitution he had promulgated in 1876, and almost immediately afterwards suspended, came as a tremendous surprise to everybody, not excepting the chiefs of the Young Turkey party, who did not expect such a sudden fruition of their patriotic labours. Undoubtedly these labours have been very great during the last ten years or so, and marked by an ability and perseverance which reflect the greatest credit on the reorganiser of the party, Prince Sabah-ed-dine, own nephew of Abd-ul-Hamid, who, at Vol. LXIV-No, 379
the early age of thirty, has gained undying glory as the prime agent in the destruction of one of the most infamous and yet most deeplyrooted political systems in the world. But the obstacles to success opposed by the ill-inspired genius of Abd-ul-Hamid, and the extraordinary difficulty of weaning the Turkish peasant, who forms the backbone of the Turkish Army, from his almost animal devotion to the Sultan-Caliph, were recognised to be of such magnitude by the party as to cause it to believe that at least two or three years more would be necessary to bring about that general revolt of the troops upon which it had rightly centred its efforts and which, by depriving the Hamidian régime of its principal support, would bring it to the ground. What hastened the event is that the indescribably wretched condition which has been the lot of the Turkish soldier under the autocracy of Yildiz, and which none but men of his admirably patient and disciplined race would have endured so long, became at last intolerable to him when he was brought into contact with his fellow-subjects, most of them his co-religionists, of the Macedonian Gendarmerie, whose treatment, under European supervision, formed such a contrast to his own. The army concentrated in Macedonia, which represented four-fifths of the military establishment of Turkey, having revolted, the movement spread with lightning rapidity to the neighbouring troops in the Vilayet of Adrianople, and from them to those in the vicinity of Constantinople, because it arose from a reaction against unbearable sufferings common to all the soldiers of the Sultan, with the exception of those belonging to the pampered Guard, garrisoned around Yildiz itself, and also because, unlike former mutinies, the rebellion in Macedonia broke out in the midst of a whole Army Corps simultaneously, and thus gave encouragement to other units and divisions to follow suit.
The Young Turkey party had no anticipation of this happy precipitation of events, due to unforeseen causes; but no sooner had the tendency manifested itself among the rank and file to take into its own hands the matter of the reformation of their lot-their object was purely selfish in the beginning, and confined to the desire of remedying military grievances only—than the party intervened through the numerous officers affiliated to its cause, and, adjusting the movement to its general purposes, gave it the significance of a political rising, which led, in an extraordinarily short time, to the attainment of its fundamental programme. Herein lies the great merit of Prince Sabah-ed-dine and his coadjutors. They were prepared for emergencies because they had patiently established a widespread connexion with the regimental officers of the Turkish Army, the great majority of whom had personal as well as patriotic motives for adhering to the Young Turkey creed, but who ran the greatest risks in joining the ranks of the party. In this way a military revolt was promptly transformed into a revolution: the first, be it noted,