The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage


    M.D.,  F.R.S.


Copyright, 1913



PREFACE    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .     11

INTRODUCTION    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .     21
Programme of This Treatise--Motives from which
      Women Claim the Suffrage--Types of Men who Sup-
port the Suffrage--John Stuart Mill.



              RIGHTS   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .    33
Signification of the Term "Woman's Rights"--Argu-
ment from "Justice"--Juridical Justice--"Egalitarian
   Equity"--Argument from Justice Applied to Taxation
--Argument from Liberty--Summary of Arguments
 from Elementary Natural Rights.

         ANCES OF WOMAN  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .    54
Complaint of Want of Chivalry--Complaint of "In
sults"--Complaint of "Illogicalties"--Complaint of
 "Prejudices"--The Familiar Suffragist Grievance of
        the Drunkard Voter and the Woman of Property Who
     is a Non-Voter--The Grievance of Woman being Re-
quired to Obey Man-Made Laws.

                                            III                                   PAGE
               TO MAN  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   72
Argument that Woman Requires a Vote for her Pro-
   tection--Argument that Woman ought to be Invested
 with the Responsibilities of Voting in Order that She
    May Attain Her Full Intellectual Stature.



                       PHYSICAL FORCE  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   79
             International Position of State would be Imperilled by
    Woman's Suffrage--Internal Equilibrium of State
           would be Imperilled.

                          TELLECT    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   88
   Characteristics of the Feminine Mind--Suffragist Illu-
      sions with Regard to the Equality of Man and Woman
as Workers--Prospect for the Intellectual Future of
     Woman--Has Woman Advanced?

                       LIC MORALITY   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   98
  Standards by which Morality can be Appraised--Con-
flict between Different Moralities--The Correct
  Standard of Morality--Moral Psychology of Man and
    Woman--Difference between Man and Woman in Mat-
        ters of Public Morality.

                                                 IV                                                 PAGE
                    FEMALE LEGISLATIVE REFORMER  .   .  114

                FRAGE MOVEMENT HAS IN VIEW  .   .   .   136


                   CONTENT OF WOMAN  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   155
What are the Suffragist's Grievances?--Economic and
Physiological  Difficulties of Woman--Intellectual
   Grievances of Suffragist and Corrective.

   LETTER ON MILITANT HYSTERIA   .   .   .   .   .   .   167



    IT has come to be believed that everything
that has a bearing upon the concession of the
suffrage to woman has already been brought
    In reality, however, the influence of women
has caused man to leave unsaid many things
which he ought to have said.
    Especially in two respects has woman re-
stricted the discussion.
    She has placed her taboo upon all general-
isations about women, taking exception to
these on the threefold ground that there would
be no generalisations which would hold true of
all women; that generalisations when reached
possess no practical utility; and that the ele-
ment of sex does not leave upon women any
general imprint such as could properly be
brought up in connexion with the question of
admitting them to the electorate.                                               11
    Woman has further stifled discussion by
placing her taboo upon anything seriously un-
flattering being said about her in public.
    I would suggest, and would propose here
myself to act upon the suggestion, that, in con-
nexion with the discussion of woman's suf-
frage, these restrictions should be laid
    In connexion with the setting aside of the
restriction upon generalising, I may perhaps
profitably point out that all generalisations,
and not only generalisations which relate to
women, are ex hypothesi [by hypothesis] subject to individual
exceptions. (It is to generalisations that the
proverb that "the exception proves the rule"
really applies.)  I may further point out that
practically every decision which we take in or-
dinary life, and all legislative action without
exception, is based upon generalisations; and
again, that the question of the suffrage, and
with it the larger question as to the proper
sphere of woman, finally turns upon the ques-
tion as to what imprint woman's sexual sys-                              12
tem leaves upon her physical frame, character,
and intellect: in more technical terms, it turns
upon the question as to what are the secondary
sexual character[istic]s of woman.
    Now only by a felicitous exercise of the fac-
ulty of successful generalisation can we arrive
at a knowledge of these.
    With respect to the restriction that nothing
which might offend woman's amour propre [self love]
shall be said in public, it may be pointed out
that, while it was perfectly proper and equit-
able that no evil (and, as Pericles proposed,
also no good) should be said of woman in pub-
lic so long as she confined herself to the do-
mestic sphere, the action of that section of
women who have sought to effect an entrance
into public life, has now brought down upon
woman, as one of the penalties, the abrogation
of that convention.
    A consideration which perhaps ranks only
next in importance to that with which we have
been dealing, is that of the logical sanction of
the propositions which are enunciated in the                              13
course of such controversial discussions as that
in which we are here involved.
    It is clearly a precondition of all useful dis-
cussion that the author and reader should be in
accord with respect to the authority of the gen-
eralisations and definitions which supply the
premisses for his reasonings.
    Though this might perhaps to the reader
appear an impractical ideal, I would propose
here to attempt to reach it by explaining the
logical method which I have set myself to fol-
    Although I have from literary necessity em-
ployed in my text some of the verbal forms of
dogmatism, I am very far from laying claim
to any dogmatic authority.  More than that, I
would desire categorically to repudiate such a
    For I do not conceal from myself that, if I
took up such a position, I should wantonly be
placing myself at the mercy of my reader.
For he could then, by merely refusing to see                             14
in me an authority, bring down the whole edi-
fice of my argument like a house of cards.
    Moreover I am not blind to what would hap-
pen if, after I claimed to be taken as an author-
ity, the reader was indulgent enough still to go
on to read what I have written.
    He would in such a case, the moment he en-
countered a statement with which he disagreed,
simply waive me on one side with the words,
"So you say."
    And if he should encounter a statement with
which he agreed, he would in his wisdom, cen-
sure me for neglecting to provide for that
proposition a satisfactory logical founda-
    If it is far from my thoughts to claim a right
of dictation, it is equally remote from them to
take up the position that I have in my argu-
ments furnished proof of the thesis which
I set out to establish.
    It would be culpable misuse of language to
speak in such connexion of proof or disproof .                        15
    Proof by testimony, which is available in con-
nexion with questions of fact, is unavailable in
connexion with general truths; and logical
proof is obtainable only in that comparatively
narrow sphere where reasoning is based--as in
mathematics--upon axioms, or--as in certain
really crucial experiments in the mathematic
sciences--upon quasi-axiomatic premisses.
    Everywhere else we base our reasonings on
premisses which are simply more or less prob-
able; and accordingly the conclusions which
we arrive at have in them always an element
of insecurity.
    It will be clear that in philosophy, in juris-
prudence, in political economy and sociology,
and in literary criticism and such like, we are
dealing not with certainties but with proposi-
tions which are, for literary convenience, in-
vested with the garb of certainties.
    What kind of logical sanction is it, then,
which can attach to reasonings such as are to
be set out here?
    They have in point of fact the sanction which                        16
attaches to reasonings based upon premisses
arrived at by the method of diacritical judg-
    It is, I hasten to notify the reader, not the
method, but only the name here assigned to it,
which is unfamiliar.  As soon as I exhibit it
in the working, the reader will identify it as
that by which every generalisation and defini-
tion ought to be put to the proof.
    I may for this purpose take the general
statements or definitions which serve as prem-
isses for my reasonings in the text.
    I bring forward those generalisations and
definitions because they commend themselves
to my diacritical judgment.  In other words, I
set them forth as results which have been
reached after reiterated efforts to call up to
mind the totality of my experience, and to de-
tect the factor which is common to all the in-
dividual experiences.
    When for instance I propose a definition, I
have endeavoured to call to mind all the dif-
ferent uses of the word with which I am fa-                               17
miliar--eliminating, of course, all the obviously
incorrect uses.
    And when I venture to attempt a generalisa-
tion about woman, I endeavour to recall to
mind without distinction all the different
women I have encountered, and to extricate
from my impressions what was common to all,
--omitting from consideration (except only
when I am dealing specifically with these) all
plainly abnormal women.
    Having by this procedure arrived at a gen-
eralisation--which may of course be correct
or incorrect--I submit it to my reader, and
ask from him that he should, after going
through the same mental operations as myself,
review my judgment, and pronounce his ver-
    If it should then so happen that the reader
comes, in the case of any generalisation, to the
same verdict as that which I have reached, that
particular generalisation will, I submit, now
go forward not as a datum of my individual
experience, but as the intellectual resultant of                            18
two separate and distinct experiences.  It will
thereby be immensely fortified.
    If, on the other hand, the reader comes to
the conclusion that a particular generalisation
is out of conformity with his experience, that
generalisation will go forward shorn of some,
or perchance all, its authority.
    But in any case each individual generalisa-
tion must be referred further.
    And at the end it will, according as it finds,
or fails to find, acceptance among the thought-
ful, be endorsed as a truth, and be gathered
into the garner of human knowledge; or be
recognised as an error, and find its place with
the tares, which the householder, in time of the
harvest, will tell the reapers to bind in bundles
to burn them.
                                   A. E. W.                               19


Programme of this Treatise--Motives  from which
       Women Claim the Suffrage--Types of Men who
        Support the Suffrage--John Stuart Mill.

    THE task which I undertake here is to show
that the Woman's Suffrage Movement has no
real intellectual or moral sanction, and that
there are very weighty reasons why the suf-
frage should not be conceded to woman.
    I would propose to begin by analysing the
mental attitude of those who range themselves
on the side of woman suffrage, and then to pass
on to deal with the principal arguments upon
which the woman suffragist relies.
    The preponderating majority of the women
who claim the suffrage do not do so from mo-
tives of public interest or philanthropy.
    They are influenced almost exclusively by
two motives: resentment at the suggestion that                          21
woman should be accounted by man as inher-
ently his inferior in certain important re-
spects; and reprehension of a state of society
in which more money, more personal liberty
(In reality only more of the personal liberty
which the possession of money confers), more
power, more public recognition and happier
physiological conditions fall to the share of
    A cause which derives its driving force so
little from philanthropy and public interest
and so much from offended amour propre and
pretensions which are, as we shall see, unjusti-
fied, has in reality no moral prestige.
    For its intellectual prestige the movement
depends entirely on the fact that it has the
advocacy of a certain number of distinguished
    It will not be amiss to examine that ad-
    The "intellectual" whose name appears at
the foot of woman's suffrage petitions will,
when you have him by himself, very often                                 22
Make confession:--"Woman suffrage," he
will tell you, "is not the grave and important
cause which the ardent female suffragist
deems it to be.  Not only will it not do any
of the things which she imagines it is going to
do, but it will leave the world exactly where
it is.  Still--the concession of votes to women
is desirable  from the  point of view of sym-
metry of classification; and it will soothe the
ruffled feelings of quite a number of  very
worthy women."
    It may be laid down as a broad general rule
that only two classes of men have the cause of
woman's suffrage really at heart.
    The first is the crank who, as soon as he
thinks he has discerned a moral principle, im-
mediately gets into the saddle, and then rides
hell-for-leather, reckless of all considerations
of public expediency.
    The second is that very curious type of man,
who when it is suggested in his hearing that the
species woman is, measured by certain intel-
lectual and moral standards, the inferior of the                          23
species man, solemnly draws himself up and
asks, "Are you, sir, aware that you are insult-
ing my wife?"
    To this, the type of man who feels every un-
favourable criticism of woman as a personal
affront to himself, John Stuart Mill, had
    We find him writing a letter to the Home
Secretary, informing him, in relation to a Par-
liamentary Bill restricting the sale of arsenic
to male persons over twenty-one years, that it
was a "gross insult to every woman, all women
from highest to lowest being deemed unfit to
have poison in their possession, lest they shall
commit murder."
    We find him again, in a state of indignation
with the English marriage laws, preluding his
nuptials with Mrs. Taylor by presenting that
lady with a formal charter; renouncing all au-
thority over her, and promising her security
against all infringements of her liberty which
might proceed from himself.                                                    24
    To this lady he is always ascribing credit for
his eminent intellectual achievements.  And
lest his reader should opine that woman stands
somewhat in the shade with respect to her own
intellectual  triumphs, Mill undertakes the
explanation.  "Felicitous thoughts," he tells
us, "occur by hundreds to every woman of in-
tellect.  But they are mostly lost for want of a
husband or friend  .  .  .  to estimate them
properly, and to bring them before the world;
and even when they are brought before it they
generally appear as his ideas."
    Not only did Mill see woman and all her
works through an optical medium which gave
images like this; but there was upon his ret-
ina a large blind area.  By reason of this
last it was inapprehensible to him that there
could be an objection to the sexes co-operating
indiscriminately in work.  It was beyond his
ken that the sex element would under these
conditions invade whole departments of life
which are now free from it.  As he saw things,                          25
there was in point of fact a risk of the human
race dying out by reason of the inadequate im-
perativeness of its sexual instincts.
    Mill's unfaithfulness to the facts cannot,
however, all be put down to constitutional de-
fects of vision.  When he deals with woman
he is no longer scrupulously conscientious.
We begin to have our suspicions of his up-
rightness when we find him in his Subjection
of Women laying it down as a fundamental
postulate that the subjection of woman to man
is always morally indefensible.  For no up-
right mind can fail to see that the woman who
lives in a condition of financial dependence
upon man has no moral claim to unrestricted
liberty.  The suspicion of Mill's honesty
which is thus awakened is confirmed by
further critical reading of his treatise.  In
that skilful tractate one comes across, every
here and there, a suggestio falsi [suggestion of a falsehood], or a sup-
pressio veri [suppression of the truth], or a fallacious analogy nebulously
expressed, or a mendacious metaphor, or a
passage which is contrived to lead off attention                        26
from some weak point in the feminist case.1
Moreover, Mill was unmindful of the obliga-
tions of intellectual morality when he allowed
his stepdaughter, in connexion with feminist
questions, to draft letters 2 which went forward
as his own.
    There is yet another factor which must be
kept in mind in connexion with the writings
of Mill.  It was the special characteristic of
the man to set out to tackle concrete problems
and then to spend his strength upon abstrac-
    In his Political Economy, where his proper
subject matter was man with his full equip-
ment of impulses, Mill took as his theme an
abstraction: an economic man who is actuated
solely by the desire of gain.  He then worked
out in great elaboration the course of conduct
which an aggregate of these puppets of his
imagination would pursue.  Having  per-                                   27

   1 Vide [See] in this connexion the incidental references to Mill
on pp. 50, 81 footnote, and 139.
   2 Vide Letters of John Stuart Mill , vol. ii, pp. 51, 79, 80,
100, 141, 157, 238, 239, 247, 288, and 349.

suaded himself, after this, that he had in his
possession a vade mecum [handbook] to the comprehension
of human societies, he now took it upon him-
self  to expound the principles which govern
and direct these.  Until such time as this pro-
cedure was unmasked, Mill's political econ-
omy enjoyed an unquestioned authority.
    Exactly the same plan was followed by Mill
in handling the question of woman's suffrage.
Instead of dealing with woman as she is, and
with woman placed in a setting of actually sub-
sisting conditions, Mill takes as his theme a
woman who is a creature of his imagination.
This woman is, by assumption, in mental en-
dowments a replica of man.  She lives in a
world which is, by tacit assumption, free from
complications of sex.  And, if practical con-
siderations had ever come into the purview of
Mill's mind, she would, by tacit assumption, be
paying her own way, and be making full per-
sonal and financial contributions to the State.
It is in connexion with this fictitious woman
that Mill sets himself to work out the benefits                            28
which women would derive from co-partner-
ship with men in the government of the State,
and those which such co-partnership would
confer on the community.  Finally, practis-
ing again upon himself the same imposition as
in his Political Economy, this unpractical
trafficker in abstractions sets out to persuade
his reader that he has, by dealing with fictions
of the mind, effectively grappled with the
concrete problem of woman's suffrage.
    This, then, is the philosopher who gives in-
tellectual prestige to the Woman's Suffrage
    But is there not, let us in the end ask our-
selves, here and there at least, a man who is of
real account in the world of affairs, and who
is--not simply a luke-warm Platonic friend or
an opportunist advocate--but an impassioned
promoter of the woman's suffrage movement?
One knows quite well that there is.  But
then one suspects--one perhaps discerns by
"the spirit sense"--that this impassioned pro-
moter of woman's suffrage is, on the sequest-                           29
ered side of his life, an idealistic dreamer: one
for whom some woman's memory has become,
like Beatrice for Dante, a mystic religion.
    We may now pass on to deal with the argu-
ments by which the woman suffragist has
sought to establish her case.                                                     30

                        PART I




Signification of the Term "Woman's Rights"--Argument
       from "Justice"--Juridical Justice-"Egalitarian
       Equity"--Argument from Justice Applied to Tax-
       ation--Argument from Liberty--Summary of Argu-
       ments from Elementary Natural Rights.

    LET US note that the suffragist does not--
except, perhaps, when she is addressing her-
self to unfledged girls and to the sexually em-
bittered--really produce much effect by in-
veighing against the legal grievances of woman
under the bastardy laws, the divorce laws, and
the law which fixes the legal age of consent.
This kind of appeal does not go down with the
ordinary man and woman--first, because there
are many who think that in spite of occasional
hardships the public advantage is, on the whole,
very well served by the existing laws; secondly,                        33
because any alterations which might be desir-
able could very easily be made without recourse
to woman's suffrage; and thirdly, because the
suffragist consistently acts on the principle of
bringing up against man everything that can
possibly be brought up against him, and of
never allowing anything to appear on the credit
side of the ledger.
    The arguments which the woman suffragist
really places confidence in are those which are
provided by undefined general principles,
apothegms set out in the form of axioms, form-
ulæ which are vehicles for fallacies, ambigu-
ous abstract terms, and "question-begging"
epithets.  Your ordinary unsophisticated man
and woman stand almost helpless against argu-
ments of this kind.
    For these bring to bear moral pressure upon
human nature.  And when the intellect is con-
fused by a word or formula which conveys an
ethical appeal, one may very easily find one-
self committed to action which one's unbiased
reason would never have approved.  The very                         34
first requirement in connexion with any word
or phrase which conveys a moral exhortation
is, therefore, to analyse it and find out its true
signification.  For all such concepts as justice,
rights, freedom, chivalry--and it is with these
that we shall be specially concerned--are, when
properly defined and understood beacon-lights,
but when ill understood and undefined, stum-
bling-blocks in the path of humanity.
    We may appropriately begin by analys-
ing the term "Woman's Rights" and the cor-
relative formula "Woman has a right to the
    Our attention here immediately focuses upon
the term right.  It is one of the most important
of the verbal agents by which the suffragist
hopes to bring moral pressure to bear upon
    Now, the term right denotes in its juridical
sense a debt which is owed to us by the State.
A right is created when the community binds
itself to us, its individual members, to intervene
by force to restrain any one from interfering                              35
with us, and to protect us in the enjoyment of
our faculties, privileges, and property.
    The term is capable of being given a wider
meaning.  While no one could appropriately
speak of our having a right to health or any-
thing that man has not the power to bestow, it
is arguable that there are, independent of and
antecedent to law, elementary rights: a right
to freedom; a right to protection against per-
sonal violence; a right to the protection of our
property; and a right to the impartial admin-
istration of regulations which are binding
upon all.  Such a use of the term right could
be justified on the ground that everybody
would be willing to make personal sacrifices,
and to combine with his fellows for the pur-
pose of securing these essentials--an under-
standing which would almost amount to legal
    The suffragist who employs the term
"Woman's Rights" does not employ the word
rights in either of these senses.  Her case is                              36
analogous to that of a man who should in a
republic argue about the divine right of kings;
or that of the Liberal who should argue that
it was his right to live permanently under a
Liberal government; or of any member of a
minority who should, with a view of getting
what he wants, argue that he was contending
only for his rights.
    The woman suffragist is merely bluffing.
Her formula "Woman's Rights" means simply
"Woman's Claims."
    For the moment--for we shall presently be
coming back to the question of the enforce-
ment of rights--our task is to examine the
arguments which the suffragist brings forward
in support of her claims.
    First and chief among these is the argument
that the Principle of Justice prescribes that
women should be enfranchised.
    When we inquire what the suffragist under-
stands under the Principle of Justice, one re-
ceives by way of answer only the petitio prin-                         37
cipii [question begging] that Justice is a moral principle which
includes woman suffrage among its implica-
    In reality it is only very few who clearly ap-
prehend the nature of Justice.  For under
this appellation two quite different principles
are confounded.
    The primary and correct signification of the
term Justice will perhaps be best arrived at by
pursuing the following train of considera-
    When man, long impatient at arbitrary and
quite incalculable autocratic judgments, pro-
ceeded to build up a legal system to take the
place of these, he built it upon the following
series of axioms:--(a)   All actions of which
the courts are to take cognisance shall be classi-
fied.   (b)   The legal consequences of each
class of action shall be definitely fixed.   ( c)
The courts shall adjudicate only on questions
of fact, and on the issue as to how the particu-
lar deed which is the cause of action should be
classified.  And (d) such decisions shall carry                           38
with them in an automatic manner the ap-
pointed legal consequences.
    For example, if a man be arraigned for the
appropriation of another man's goods, it is an
axiom that the court (when once the questions
of fact have been disposed of) shall adjudicate
only on the issue as to whether the particular
appropriation of goods in dispute comes un-
der the denomination of larceny, burglary, or
other co-ordinate category; and that upon this
the sentence shall go forth: directing that the
legal consequences which are appointed to that
particular class of action be enforced.
    This is the system every one can see ad-
ministered in every court of justice.
    There is, however, over and above what has
just been set out another essential element in
Justice.  It is an element which readily
escapes the eye.
    I have in view the fact that the classifications
which are adopted and embodied in the law
must not be arbitrary classifications.  They
must all be conformable to the principle of                                39
utility, and be directed to the advantage of
    If, for instance, burglary is placed in a class
apart from larceny, it is discriminated from it
because this distinction is demanded by con-
siderations of public advantage.  But consid-
erations of utility would not countenance, and
by consequence Justice would not accept, a
classification of theft into theft committed by
a poor man and theft committed by a rich man.
    The conception of Justice is thus everywhere
interfused with considerations of utility and ex-
    It will have become plain that if we have in
view the justice which is administered in the
courts--we may here term it Juridical Justice
--then the question as to whether it is just
to refuse the suffrage to woman will be deter-
mined by considering whether the classification
of men as voters and of women as non-voters is
in the public interest.  Put otherwise, the ques-
tion whether it would be just that woman
should have a vote would require the answer                            40
"Yes" or "No," according as the question
whether it would be expedient or inexpedient
that woman should vote required the answer
"Yes" or "No."  But it would be for the elect-
orate, not for the woman suffragist, to decide
that question.
    There is, as already indicated, another prin-
ciple which passes under the name of Justice.
I have in view the principle that in the distri-
bution of wealth or political power, or any
other privileges which it is in the power of the
State to bestow, every man should share equally
with every other man, and every woman
equally with every man, and that in countries
where Europeans and natives live side by side,
these latter should share all privileges equally
with the white--the goal of endeavour being
that all distinctions depending upon natural
endowment, sex, and race should be effaced.
    We may call this principle the Principle of
Egalitarian Equity--first, because it aims at
establishing a quite artificial equality; secondly,
because it makes appeal to our ethical in-                                41
stincts, and claims on that ground to override
the distinctions of which formal law takes ac-
    But let us reflect that we have here a prin-
ciple which properly understood, embraces in
its purview all mankind, and not mankind only
but also the lower animals.  That is to say, we
have here a principle, which consistently fol-
lowed out, would make of every man and
woman in primis [at first] a socialist; then a woman suf-
fragist; then a philo-native, negrophil, and an
advocate of the political rights of natives and
negroes; and then, by logical compulsion ant
anti-vivisectionist, who accounts it unjust to
experiment on an animal; a vegetarian, who
accounts it unjust to kill animals for food;
and findly one who, like the Jains, accounts
it unjust to take the life of even verminous in-
    If we accept this principle of egalitarian
equity as of absolute obligation, we shall have
to accept along with woman's suffrage all the
other "isms" believed in, and agitated for, by                             42
the cranks who are so numerously represented
in the ranks of woman suffragists.
    If, on the other hand, we accept the doc-
trine of egalitarian equity with the qualifica-
tion that it shall apply only so far as what it
enjoins is conformable to public advantage,
we shall again make expediency the criterion of
the justice of woman's suffrage.
    Before passing on it will be well to point
out that the argument from Justice meets us
not only in the form that Justice requires that
woman should have a vote, but also in all sorts
of other forms.  We encounter it in the writ-
ings of publicists, in the formula Taxation
carries with it a Right to Representation; and
we encounter it in the streets, on the banners
of woman suffrage processions, in the form
Taxation without Representation is Tyranny.
    This latter theorem of taxation which is dis-
played on the banners of woman suffrage is, I
suppose, deliberately and intentionally a sug-
gestio falsi.  For only that taxation is tyran-
nous which is diverted to objects which are not                        43
useful to the contributors.  And even the suf-
fragist does not suggest that the taxes which
are levied on women are differentially applied
to the uses of men.
    Putting, then, this form of argument out
of sight, let us come to close quarters with the
question whether the payment of taxes gives
a title to control the finances of the State.
    Now, if it really did so without any regard
to the status of the claimant, not only women,
but also foreigners residing in, or holding
property in, England, and with these lunatics
and miners with property, and let me, for the
sake of a pleasanter collocation of ideas, has-
tily add peers of the realm, who have now no
control over public finance, ought to receive
the parliamentary franchise.  And in like
manner if the payment of a tax, without con-
sideration of its amount, were to give a title
to a vote, every one who bought an article
which had paid a duty would be entitled to a
vote in his own, or in a foreign, country ac-                              44
cording as that duty has been paid at home or
    In reality the moral and logical nexus be-
tween the payment of taxes and the control of
the public revenue is that the solvent and self-
supporting citizens, and only these, are en-
titled to direct its financial policy.
    If I have not received, or if I have refunded,
any direct contributions I may have received
from the coffers of the State; if I have paid
my pro rata share of its establishment charges
--i.e. of the costs of both internal administra-
tion and external defence; and I have further
paid my proportional share of whatever may
be required to make up for the deficit incurred
on account of my fellow-men and women who
either require direct assistance from the State,
or cannot meet their share of the expenses of
the State, I am a solvent citizen; and if I fail
to meet these liabilities, I am an insolvent cit-
izen even though I pay such taxes as the State
insists upon my paying.                                                            45
    Now if a woman insists, in the face of warn-
ings that she had better not do so, on taxing
man with dishonesty for withholding from her
financial control over the revenues of the
State, she has only herself to blame if she is
told very bluntly that her claim to such control
is barred by the fact that she is, as a citizen
insolvent.  The taxes paid by women would
cover only a very small proportion of the
establishment charges of the State which would
properly be assigned to them.  It falls to man
to make up that deficit.
    And it is to be noted with respect to those
women who pay their full pro rata contribu-
tion and who ask to be treated as a class apart
from, and superior to, other women, that only
a very small proportion of these have made
their position for themselves.
    Immeasurably the larger number are in a
solvent position only because men have placed
them there.  All large fortunes and practically
all the incomes which are furnished by invest-
ments are derived from man.                                                   46
    Nay; but the very revenues which the
Woman Suffrage Societies devote to man's
vilification are to a preponderating extent de-
rived from funds which he earned and gave
over to woman.
    In connexion with the financial position of
woman as here stated, it will be well to consider
first the rich woman's claim to the vote.
    We may seek light on the logical and moral
aspects of this claim by considering here two
parallel cases.
    The position which is occupied by the peer
under the English Constitution furnishes a
very interesting parallel to the position of the
woman who is here in question.
    Time out of mind the Commons have viewed
with the utmost jealousy any effort of the
House of Lords to obtain co-partnership with
them in the control of the finances of the State;
and, in pursuance of that traditional policy,
the peers have recently, after appeal to the
country, been shorn of the last vestige of
financial control.  Now we may perhaps see,                            47
in this jealousy of a House of Lords, which
represents inherited wealth, displayed by a
House of Commons representing voters elect-
ing on a financial qualification, an unconscious
groping after the moral principle that those
citizens who are solvent by their own efforts,
and only these, should control the finances of
the State.
    And if this analogy finds acceptance, it
would not--even if there were nothing else
than this against such proposals--be logically
possible, after ousting the peers who are large
tax-payers from all control over the finances
of the State, to create a new class of voters out
of the female representatives of unearned
    The second parallel case which we have to
consider presents a much simpler analogy.
Consideration will show that the position oc-
cupied in the State by the woman who has
inherited money is analogous to that occupied
in a firm by a sleeping partner who stands in
the shoes of a deceased working partner, and                          48
who has only a small amount of capital in the
business.  Now, if such a partner were to
claim any financial control, and were to make
trouble about paying his pro rata establish-
ment charges, he would be very sharply called
to order.  And he would never dream of ap-
pealing to Justice by breaking windows, go-
ing to gaol, and undertaking a hunger strike.
    Coming back from the particular to the
general, and from the logical to the moral
aspect of woman's claim to control the finances
of the State on the ground that she is a tax-
payer, it will suffice to point out that this claim
is on a par with the claim to increased political
power and completer control over the finances
of the State which is put forward by a class of
male voters who are already paying much less
than their pro rata share of the upkeep of the
    In each case it is a question of trying to get
control of other people's money.  And in the
case of woman it is of "trying on" in connexion
with her public partnership with man that prin-                          49
ciple of domestic partnership, "All yours is
mine, and all mine's my own."
    Next to the plea of justice, the plea which is
advanced most insistently by the woman who
is contending for a vote is the plea of liberty.
    We have here, again, a word which is a val-
uable asset to woman suffrage both in the re-
spect that it brings moral pressure to bear, and
in the respect that it is a word of ambiguous
    In accordance with this we have John Stuart
Mill making propaganda for woman suffrage
in a tractate entitled the Subjection of
Women; we have a Woman's Freedom League
--"freedom" being a question-begging syn-
onym for "parliamentary franchise"--and
everywhere in the literature of woman's suf-
frage we have talk of woman's "emancipa-
tion"; and we have women characterised as
serfs, or slaves--the terms serfs and slaves
supplying, of course, effective rhetorical syn-
onyms for non-voters.
    When we have succeeded in getting through                         50
these thick husks of untruth we find that the
idea of liberty which floats before the eyes of
woman is, not at all a question of freedom from
unequitable legal restraints, but essentially a
question of getting more of the personal lib-
erty (or command of other people's services),
which the possession of money confers and
more freedom from sexual restraints.
    The suffragist agitator makes profit out
of this ambiguity.  In addressing the woman
worker who does not, at the rate which her
labour commands on the market, earn enough
to give her any reasonable measure of financial
freedom, the agitator will assure her that the
suffrage would bring her more money, describ-
ing the woman suffrage cause to her as the
cause of liberty.  By juggling in this way with
the two meanings of "liberty" she will draw
her into her toils.
    The vote, however, would not raise wages
of the woman worker and bring to her the
financial, nor yet the physiological freedom
she is seeking.                                                                         51
    The tactics of the suffragist agitator are the
same when she is dealing with a woman who is
living at the charges of a husband or relative,
and who recoils against the idea that she lies
under a moral obligation to make to the man
who works for her support some return of
gratitude.  The suffragist agitator will point
out to her that such an obligation is slavery,
and that the woman's suffrage cause is the
cause of freedom.
    And so we find the women who want to have
everything for nothing, and the wives who do
not see that they are beholden to man for any-
thing, and those who consider that they have
not made a sufficiently good bargain for them-
selves--in short, all the ungrateful women--
flock to the banner of Women's Freedom--
the banner of financial freedom for woman at
the expense of financial servitude for man.
    The grateful woman will practically always
be an anti-suffragist.
    It will be well, before passing on to another                          52
class of arguments, to summarise what has
been said in the three foregoing sections.
    We have recognised that woman has not
been defrauded of elementary natural rights;
that Justice, as distinguished from egalitarian
equity, does not prescribe that she should be
admitted to the suffrage; and that her status
is not, as is dishonestly alleged, a status of
serfdom or slavery.
    With this the whole case for recrimina-
tion against man, and a fortiori [for greater reason] the case for
[a] resort to violence, collapses.
    And if it does collapse, this is one of those
things that carries consequences.  It would
beseem man to bethink himself that to give in
to an unjustified and doubtfully honest claim
is to minister to the demoralisation of the
claimant.                                                                                  53


                      ANCES OF WOMAN

Complaint of Want of Chivalry--Complaint of "Insults"
         --Complaint  of  "Illogicalities"--Complaint  of
         "Prejudices"--The Familiar Suffragist Grievance
         of the Drunkard Voter and the Woman of Property
         Who is a Non-Voter--The Grievance of Woman be-
         ing Required to Obey Man-Made Laws.

    WE pass from the argument from elemen-
tary natural rights to a different class of argu-
ments--intellectual grievances.  The suffra-
gist tells us that it is unchivalrous to oppose
woman's suffrage; that it is insulting to tell
woman that she is unfit to exercise the franchise; s
that it is "illogical" to make in her case
an exception to a general rule; that it is mere
"prejudice" to withhold the vote from her;
that it is indignity that the virtuous and highly
intelligent woman has no vote, while the                                   54
drunkard has; and that the woman of property
has no vote, while her male underlings have;
and, lastly, that it is an affront that a woman
should be required to obey "man-made"
    We may take these in their order.
    Let us consider chivalry, first, from the
standpoint of the woman suffragist.  Her no-
tion of chivalry is that man should accept
every disadvantageous offer which may be
made to him by woman.
    That, of course, is to make chivalry the prin-
ciple of egalitarian equity limited in its appli-
cation to the case between man and woman.
    It follows that she who holds that the suf-
frage ought, in obedience to that principle of
justice, to be granted to her by man, might
quite logically hold that everything else in
man's gift ought also to be conceded.
    But to do the woman suffragist justice, she
does not press the argument from chivalry.
Inasmuch as life has brought home to her that
the ordinary man has quite other conceptions                           55
of that virtue, she declares that "she has no
use for it."
    Let us now turn to the anti-suffragist view.
The anti-suffragist (man or woman) holds that
chivalry is a principle which enters into every
reputable relation between the sexes, and that
of all the civilising agencies at work in the
world it is the most important.
    But I think I hear the reader interpose,
"What, then, is chivalry if it is not a question
of serving woman without reward?"
    A moment's thought will make the matter
    When a man makes this compact with a
woman, "I will do you reverence, and protect
you, and yield you service; and you, for your
part, will hold fast to an ideal of gentleness, of
personal refinement, of modesty, of joyous
maternity, and to who shall say what other
graces and virtues that endear woman to
man," that is chivalry.
    It is not a question of a purely one-sided                              56
bargain, as in the suffragist conception.  Nor
yet is it a bargain about purely material things.
    It is a bargain in which man gives both
material things, and also things which pertain
perhaps somewhat to the spirit; and in which
woman gives back of these last.
    But none the less it is of the nature of a con-
tract.  There is in it the inexorable do ut des;
facio ut facias [give me this, and I will give you that; do this for me, and I will do that for you].
    And the contract is infringed when woman
breaks out into violence, when she jettisons
her personal refinement, when she is ungrate-
ful, and, possibly, when she places a quite ex-
travagantly high estimate upon her intellectual
    We now turn from these almost too intimate
questions of personal morality to discuss the
other grievances which were enumerated above.
    With regard to the suffragist's complaint
that it is "insulting" for woman to be told that
she is as a class unfit to exercise the suffrage,
it is relevant to point out that one is not in-                                57
sulted by being told about oneself, or one's
class, untruths, but only at being told about
oneself, or one's class, truths which one dis-
likes.  And it is, of course, an offence against
ethics to try to dispose of an unpalatable gen-
eralisation by characterising it as "insulting."
But nothing that man could do would be
likely to prevent the suffragist resorting to
this aggravated form of intellectual immor-
    We may now turn to the complaint that it
is "illogical" to withhold the vote from women.
    This is the kind of complaint which brings
out in relief the logical endowment and legis-
lative sagacity of the suffragist.
    With regard to her logical endowment it
will suffice to indicate that the suffragist
would appear to regard the promulgation of a
rule which is to hold without exception as an
essentially logical act; and the admission of
any class exception to a rule of general ap-
plication as an illogicality.  It would on this
principle be "illogical" to except, under con-                             58
scription, the female population from military
    With regard to the suffragist's legislative
sagacity we may note that she asks that we
should put back the clock, and return to the
days when any arbitrary principle might be
adduced as a ground for legislation.  It is as
if Bentham had never taught:--
    "What is it to offer a good reason with re-
spect to a law?  It is to allege the good or
evil which the law tends to produce; so much
good, so many arguments in its favour; so
much evil, so many arguments against it.
    "What is it to offer a false reason?  It is
the alleging for, or against a law, something
else than its good or evil effects."
    Next, we may take up the question as to
whether an unwelcome generalisation may
legitimately be got out of the way by char-
acterising it as a prejudice.  This is a funda-
mentally important question not only in con-
nexion with such an issue as woman suffrage,
but in connexion with all search for truth in                               59
those regions where crucial scientific experi-
ments cannot be instituted.
    In the whole of this region of thought we
have to guide ourselves by generalisations.
    Now every generalisation is in a sense a pre-
judgment.  We make inferences from cases
or individuals that have already presented
themselves to such cases or individuals of the
same class as may afterwards present them-
selves.  And if our generalisation happens to
be an unfavourable one, we shall of necessity
have prejudged the case against those who are
exceptions to their class.
    Thus, for example, the proposition that
woman is incapable of usefully exercising the
parliamentary franchise prejudges the case
against a certain number of capable women.
It would none the less be absolutely anarch-
ical to propose to abandon the system of
guiding ourselves by prejudgments; and un-
favourable prejudgments or prejudices are
logically as well justified, and are obviously                               60
as indispensable to us as favourable prejudg-
    The suffragist who proposes to dispose of
generalisations which are unfavourable to
woman as prejudices ought therefore to be told
to stand down.
    It has probably never suggested itself
to her that, if there were a mind which was not
stored with both favourable prejudgments
and prejudices, it would be a mind which
had learned absolutely nothing from experi-
    But I hear the reader interpose, "Is there
not a grave danger that generalisations may
be erroneous?"
    And I can hear the woman suffragist inter-
ject, "Is there not a grave danger that unflat-
tering generalisations about woman may be
    The answer to the general question is that
there is of course always the risk that our gen-
eralisations may be erroneous.  But when a                              61
generalisation finds wide acceptance among
the thoughtful, we have come as close to truth
as it is possible for humanity to come.
    To the question put by the suffragist the
reply is that experience with regard to the
capacity of woman has been accumulating in
all climes, and through all times; and that the
belief of men in the inherent inferiority of
women in the matter of intellectual morality,
and in the power of adjudication, has never
    I pass now to the two most familiar griev-
ances of the suffragist; the grievance that the
virtuous and intelligent woman has no vote,
while the male drunkard has; and the griev-
ance that the woman of property has no vote,
while her male underlings have.
    All that is worth while saying on these points
is that the suffragist is here manufacturing
grievances for herself, first, by reasoning from
the false premiss that every legal distinction
which happens to press hardly upon a few in-
dividuals ought for that to be abrogated; and,                           62
secondly, by steady leaving out of sight that
logical inconsistencies can, for the more part,
be got rid of only at the price of bringing others
into being.
    The man who looks forward to the intel-
lectual development of woman must be
brought near to despair when he perceives that
practically every woman suffragist sees in
every hard case arising in connexion with a
legal distinction affecting woman, an insult
and example of the iniquity of man-made
laws, or a logical inconsistency which could
with a very little good-will be removed.
    We have come now to the last item on our
list, to the grievance that woman has to submit
herself to "man-made laws."
    This is a grievance which well rewards study.
It is worth study from the suffragist point of
view, because it is the one great injury under
which all others are subsumed.  And it is
worth studying from the anti-suffragist point
of view, because it shows how little the suf-
fragist understands of the terms she employs;                           63
and how unreal are the wrongs which she re-
    Quite marvelously has the woman suffra-
gist in this connexion misapprehended; or
would she have us say misrepresented?
    The woman suffragist misapprehends--it
will be better to assume that she "misappre-
hends"--when she suggests that we, the male
electors, have framed the laws.
    In reality the law which we live under--and
the law in those States which have adopted
either the English, or the Roman law--
descends from the past.  It has been evolved
precedent, by precedent, by the decisions of
generation upon generation of judges, and it
has for centuries been purged by amending
statutes.  Moreover we, the present male elec-
tors--the electors who are savagely attacked
by the suffragist for our asserted iniquities in
connexion with the laws which regulate sexual
relations--have never in our capacity as elec-
tors had any power to alter an old, or to sug-
gest a new law; except only in so far as by                               64
voting Conservative or Liberal we may indi-
rectly have remotely influenced the general
trend of legislation.
    "Well but"--the suffragist will here rejoin
--"is it not at any rate true that in the draft-
ing of statutes and the framing of judicial
decisions man has always nefariously discrim-
inated against woman?"
    The question really supplies its own answer.
It will be obvious to every one who considers
that the drafting of statutes and the formula-
ting of legal decisions is almost as impersonal a
procedure as that of drawing up the rules to
govern a game; and it offers hardly more op-
portunity for discriminating between man and
    There are, however, three questions in con-
nexion with which the law can and does make
a distinction between man and woman.
    The first is that of sexual relations: rape,
divorce, bastardy, and the age of consent.  In
connexion with rape, it has never been alleged
that the law is not sufficiently severe.  It is, or                           65
has been, under colonial conditions, severe up
to the point of ferocity.  In the matter of
divorce the law of a minority of man-governed
States differentiates in favour of man.  It
does so influenced by tradition, by what are
held to be the natural equities, and by the fact
that a man is required to support his wife's
progeny.  The law of bastardy [illegitimate childbirth] is what it is
because of the dangers of blackmail.  The law
which fixes the age of consent discriminates
against man, laying him open to a criminal
charge in situations where woman--and it is
not certain that she is not a more frequent of-
fender--escapes scot-free.
    The second point in which the law differ-
entiates is in the matter of exacting personal
service for the State.  If it had not been that
man is more prone to discriminate in favour of
woman than against her, every military State,
when exacting personal military service from
men, would have demanded from women some
such equivalent personal service as would be
represented by a similar period of work in an                           66
army clothing establishment, or ordnance fac-
tory, or army laundry; or would at any rate
have levied upon woman a ransom in lieu of
such service.
    The third point in which the law dis-
tinguishes between man and woman is with ref-
erence to the suffrage.  The object of this
book is to show that this is equitable and in the
interests of both.
    The suffragist further misapprehends when
she regards it as an indignity to obey laws
which she has not herself framed, or specifically
sanctioned.  (The whole male electorate, be
it remarked, would here lie under the same
dignity as woman.)
    But in reality, whether it is a question of the
rules of a game, or of the reciprocal rights and
duties of members of a community, it is, and
ought to be, to every reasonable human being
not a grievance, but a matter of felicitation,
that an expert or a body of experts should have
evolved a set of rules under which order and
harmony are achieved.  Only vanity and folly                            67
would counsel amateurs to try to draw up rules
or laws for themselves.
    Again, the woman suffragist takes it as a
matter of course that she would herself be
able to construct a system of workable laws.
In point of fact, the framing of a really useful
law is a question of divining something which
will apply to an infinite number of different
cases and individuals.  It is an intellectual
feat on a par with the framing of a great
generalisation.  And would woman--that be-
ing of such short sight, whose mind is always
so taken up with whatever instances lie near-
est to her--be capable of framing anything
that could pass muster as a great generalisa-
    Lastly, the suffragist fails to see that the
function of framing the laws is not an essential
function of citizenship.
    The essential functions of citizenship are the
shaping of public policy, and the control of
the administrative Acts of Government.
    Such directive control is in a state of political                        68
freedom exercised through two quite different
    It is exercised--and it is of the very essence
of political freedom that this should be the
normal method of control--in the first place,
through expressed public opinion.  By this
are continuously regulated not only momen-
tous matters of State, such as declarations of
war and the introduction of constitutional
changes, but also smaller and more individual
matters, such as the commutation of a capital
sentence, or the forcible feeding of militant suf-
    In the background, behind the moral com-
pulsion of expressed public opinion, there is,
in the case of a Parliamentary State, also an-
other instrument of control.  I have in view
that periodical settlement of the contested
rulership of the State by the force of a majority
of electors which is denoted a general elec-
    The control exercised by the suffrages of
the electors in a general election is in certain                             69
important respects less effective than that ex-
ercised by the everyday public expression of
opinion.  It falls short in the respect that its
verdicts are, except only in connexion with the
issue as to whether the Government is to be
retained in office or dismissed, ambiguous ver-
dicts; further, in the respect that it comes into
application either before governmental pro-
posals have taken definite shape, or only after
the expiration of a term of years, when the
events are already passing out of memory.
    If we now consider the question of woman's
franchise from the wider point of view here
opened up, it will be clear that, so far as con-
cerns the control which is exercised through
public opinion on the Government, the intelli-
gent woman, and especially the intelligent
woman who has made herself an expert on any
matter, is already in possession of that which is
a greater power than the franchise.  She has
the power which attaches to all intelligent opin-
ion promulgated in a free State.  Moreover,
wherever the special interest of women are in-                         70
volved, any woman may count on being lis-
tened to if she is voicing the opinions of any
considerable section of her sex.
    In reality, therefore, woman is disfran-
chised only so far as relates to the confirmation
of a Government in office, or its dismissal by
the ultima ratio [ultimate reason] of an electoral contest.  And
when we reflect that woman does not come into
consideration as a compelling force, and that
an electoral contest partakes of the nature of
a civil war, it becomes clear that to give her the
parliamentary vote would be to reduce all those
trials of strength which take the form of elec-
toral contests to the level of a farce.
    With this I have, I will not say completed
the tale of the suffragist's grievances--that
would be impossible--but I have at any rate
dealt with those which she has most acrimoni-
ously insisted upon.                                                                 71


                     DRESSED TO MAN

Argument that Woman Requires a Vote for her Protec-
          tion--Argument that Woman ought to be Invested
          with the Responsibilities of Voting in Order that
          She May Attain Her Full Intellectual Stature.

    THERE, however, remains still a further class
of arguments.  I have in view here arguments
which have nothing to do with elementary
natural rights, nor yet with wounded amour
propre.  They concern ethics, and sympathy,
and charitable feelings.
    The suffragist here gives to man "counsels
of perfection."
    It will be enough to consider here two of
these:--the first, the argument that woman,
being the weaker vessel, needs, more than man,
the suffrage for her protection; the second,                             72
that woman, being less than man in relation
to public life, ought to be given the vote for
instructional purposes.
    The first of these appeals will, for instance,
take the following form:--"Consider the poor
sweated East End woman worker.  She
knows best where the shoe pinches. You men
can't know.  Give her a vote; and you shall see
that she will very soon better her condition."
    When I hear that argument I consider:--
We will suppose that woman was ill.  Should
we go to her and say: "You know best, know
better than any man, what is wrong with you.
Here are all the medicines and remedies.
Make your own selection, for that will assur-
edly provide what will be the most likely to
    If this would be both futile and inhuman,
much more would it be so to seek out this
woman who is sick in fortune and say to her,
"Go and vote for the parliamentary candidate
who will be likely to influence the trend of
legislation in a direction which will help."                                   73
    What would really help the sweated woman
labourer would, of course, be to have the best
intellect brought to bear, not specially upon
the problem of indigent woman, but upon the
whole social problem.
    But the aspect of the question which is, from
our present point of view, the fundamentally
important one is the following: Granting that
the extension of the suffrage to woman would
enable her, as the suffragist contends, to bring
pressure upon her parliamentary representa-
tive, man, while anxious to do his very best
for woman, might very reasonably refuse to
go about it in this particular way.
    If a man has a wife whom he desires to treat
indulgently, he does not necessarily open a
joint account with her at his bankers.
    If he wants to contribute to a charity he
does not give to the managers of that charity
a power of attorney over his property.
    And if he is a philanthropical director of a
great business he does not, when a pathetic
case of poverty among his staff is brought                                74
to his notice, imperil the fortunes of his under-
taking by giving to his workmen shares and a
vote in the management.
    Moreover, he would perhaps regard it as a
little suspect if a group of those who were
claiming this as a right came and told him that
"it was very selfish of him" not to grant their
    Precious above rubies to the suffragist and
every other woman who wants to apply the
screw to man is that word selfish.  It furnishes
her with the petitio principii that man is under
an ethical obligation to give anything she
chooses to ask.
    We come next--and this is the last of all
the arguments we have to consider--to the
argument that the suffrage ought to be given
to woman for instructional purposes.
    Now it would be futile to attempt to deny
that we have ready to hand in the politics of the
British Empire--that Empire which is swept
along in "the too vast orb of her fate"--an ideal
political training-ground in which we might                                75
put woman to school.  The woman voter would
there be able to make any experiment she
    But one wonders why it has not been pro-
posed to carry woman's instruction further,
and for instructional purposes to make of a
woman let us say a judge, or an ambassador,
or a Prime Minister.
    There would--if only it were legitimate to
sacrifice vital national interests--be not a
little to say in favour of such a course.  One
might at any rate hope by these means once
for all to bring home to man the limitations
of woman.                                                                              76

                                  PART II



                      PHYSICAL FORCE

International Position of State would be Imperilled by
      Woman's Suffrage--Internal Equilibrium of State
       would be Imperilled.

    THE woman suffrage movement has now
gone too far to be disposed of by the over-
throw of its arguments, and by a mere indica-
tion of those which could be advanced on the
other side.  The situation demands the bring-
ing forward of the case against woman's suf-
frage; and it must be the full and quite unex-
purgated case.
    I shall endeavour to do this in the fewest pos-
sible words, and to be more especially brief
where I have to pass again over ground which
I have previously traversed in dealing with the
arguments of the suffragists.
    I may begin with what is fundamental.                                  79
It is an axiom that we should in legislating
guide ourselves directly by considerations of
utility and expediency.  For abstract princi-
ples--I have in view here rights, justice, egali-
tarian equity, equality, liberty, chivalry, logi-
cality, and such like--are not all of them
guides to utility; and each of these is, as we
have seen, open to all manner of private mis-
    Applying the above axiom to the issue be-
fore us, it is clear that we ought to confine
ourselves here to the discussion of the ques-
tion as to whether the State would, or would
not, suffer from the admission of women to
the electorate.
    We can arrive at a judgment upon this by
considering, on the one hand, the class-char-
acters of women so far as these may be rele-
vant to the question of the suffrage; and, on
the other hand, the legislative programmes
put forward by the female legislative re-
former and the feminist.
    In connexion with the class-characters of                             80
woman, it will be well, before attempting to
indicate them, to interpolate here the general
consideration that the practical statesman,
who has to deal with things as they are, is not
required to decide whether the characters of
women which will here be considered are, as
the physiologist (who knows that the sexual
products influence every tissue of the body)
cannot doubt, "secondary sexual characters";
or, as the suffragist contends, "acquired char-
acters."  It will be plain that whether defects
are "secondary sexual characters" (and there-
fore as irremediable as "racial characters"); or
whether they are "acquired characters" (and
as such theoretically remediable) they are
relevant to the question of the concession of
the suffrage just so long as they continue to
be exhibited.1

     1 This is a question on which Mill (vide Subjection of Women ,
last third of Chapter I) has endeavoured to confuse the issues
for his reader, first, by representing that by no possibility can
man know anything of the "nature," i.e. , of the "secondary
sexual characters" of woman; and, secondly, by distracting at-
tention from the fact that "acquired characters" may produce
unfitness for the suffrage.                                                            81

    The primordial argument against giving
woman the vote is that that vote would not
represent physical force.
    Now it is by physical force alone and by
prestige--which represents physical force in
the background--that a nation protects itself
against foreign interference, upholds its rule
over subject populations, and enforces its own
laws.  And nothing could in the end more cer-
tainly lead to war and revolt than the decline
of the military spirit and loss of prestige which
would inevitably follow if man admitted
woman into political co-partnership.
    While it is arguable that such a partnership
with woman in government as obtains in Aus-
tralia and New Zealand is sufficiently unreal
to be endurable, there cannot be two opinions
on the question that a virile and imperial race
will not brook any attempt at forcible control
by women.
    Again, no military foreign nation or native
race would ever believe in the stamina and                               82
firmness of purpose of any nation that submit-
ted even to the semblance of such control.
    The internal equilibrium of the State also
would be endangered by the admission to the
register of millions of electors whose vote would
not be endorsed by the authority of physical
    Regarded  from this point of view a
Woman's Suffrage measure stands on an ab-
solutely different basis to any other extension
of the suffrage.  An extension which takes in
more men--whatever else it may do--makes
for stability in the respect that it makes the
decrees of the legislature more irresistible.
An extension which takes in any women
undermines the physical sanction of the
    We can see indications of the evil that would
follow such an event in the profound dissatis-
faction which is felt when--in violation of the
democratic principle that every man shall
count for one, and no man for more than one                           83
--the political wishes of the large constituen-
cies which return relatively few members to
Parliament, are overborne by those of con-
stituencies which, with a smaller aggregate
population, return more members.
    And we see what such evil finally culminates
in when the over-representation of one part of
a country and the corresponding under-rep-
resentation of other portions has led a large
section of the people to pledge themselves to
disregard the eventual ordinances of Parlia-
    If ever the question as to whether the will
of Ulster or that of the Nationalists is to pre-
vail is brought to the arbitrament of physical
force, it will be due to the inequalities of parlia-
mentary representation as between England
and Ireland, and as between the Unionist and
Nationalist population of Ulster.
    The general lesson that all governmental
action ought to be backed by force, is fur-
ther brought home to the conscience when we
take note of the fact that every one feels that                            84
public morality is affronted when senile, in-
firm, and bedridden men are brought to the
poll to turn the scale in hotly contested elec-
    For electoral decisions are felt to have moral
prestige only when the electoral figures quan-
titatively represent the physical forces which
are engaged on either side.  And where vital
interests are involved, no class of men can be
expected to accept any decision other than one
which rests upon the ultima ratio.
    Now all the evils which are the outcome of
disparities between the parliamentary power
and the organised physical force of contend-
ing parties would "grow" a hundredfold if
women were admitted to the suffrage.
    There would after that be no electoral or
parliamentary decision which would not be
open to challenge on the ground that it was
impossible to tell whether the party which
came out the winner had a majority which
could enforce its will, or only a majority ob-
tained by the inclusion of women.  And no                               85
measure of redistribution could ever set that
    There may find place here also the considera-
tion that the voting of women would be an un-
settling element in the government of the
State, forasmuch as they would, by reason of a
general lack of interest in public affairs, only
very; seldom come to the poll: would, in fact,
come to the poll in full strength only when
some special appeal had come home to their
    Now an electorate which includes a very
large proportion of quite uninterested voters
would be in the same case as a legislature
which included a very large proportion of
members who made a practice of staying away.
It would be in the same case, because the ab-
sentees, who would not have acquired the train-
ing which comes from consecutive attention
to public affairs, might at any moment step
in and upset the stability of State by voting
for some quite unconsidered measure.
    Coming back in conclusion to our main is-                           86
sue, I would re-emphasise an aspect of the
question upon which I have already elsewhere
insisted.1   I have in view the fact that woman
does, and should, stand to physical violence in
a fundamentally different relation to man.
Nothing can alter the fact that, the very mo-
ment woman resorts to violence, she places
herself within the jurisdiction of an ethical
law, which is as old as civilisation, and which
was framed in its interests.

   1 Vide Appendix, pp. 176-179.                                                    87



Characteristics of the Feminine Mind--Suffragist Il-
       lusions with Regard to the Equality of Man and
       Woman as Workers--Prospect for the Intellectual
       Future of Woman--Has Woman Advanced?

    THE woman voter would be pernicious to
the State not only because she could not back
her vote by physical force, but also by reason
of her intellectual defects.
    Woman's mind attends in appraising a state-
ment primarily to the mental images which it
evokes, and only secondarily--and sometimes
not at all--to what is predicated in the state-
ment.  It is over-influenced by individual in-
stances; arrives at conclusions on incomplete
evidence; has a very imperfect sense of pro-
portion; accepts the congenial as true, and re-
jects the uncongenial as false; takes the imagi-                          88
nary which is desired for reality, and treats the
undesired reality which is out of sight as non-
existent---building up for itself in this way,
when biased by predilections and aversions, a
very unreal picture of the external world.
    The explanation of this is to be found in all
the physiological attachments of woman's
mind: 1 in the fact that mental images are in
her over-intimately linked up with emotional
reflex responses; that yielding to such reflex
responses gives gratification; that intellec-
tual analysis and suspense of judgment involve
an inhibition of reflex responses which is felt as
neural distress; that precipitate judgment
brings relief from this physiological strain;
and that woman looks upon her mind not as an
implement for the pursuit of truth, but as an
instrument for providing her with creature
comforts in the form of agreeable mental im-
    In order to satisfy the physical yearning

    1 Certain of these have already been referred to in the letter
printed in the Appendix ( vide p.167 infra ).                                                   89

for such comforts, a considerable section
of intelligent and virtuous women insist
on picturing to themselves that the reign of
physical force is over, or as good as over; that
distinctions based upon physical and intellec-
tual force may be reckoned as non-existent;
that male supremacy as resting upon these is a
thing of the past; and that Justice means
Egalitarian  Equity--means  equating the
weaklings with the strong and the incapable
with the capable.
    All this because these particular ideas are
congenial to the woman of refinement, and be-
cause it is to her, when she is a suffragist, un-
congenial that there should exist another prin-
ciple of justice which demands from the phys-
ically and intellectually capable that they shall
retain the reins of government in their own
hands; and specially uncongenial that in all
man-governed States the ideas of justice of
the more forceful should have worked out so
much to the advantage of women, that a
large majority of these are indifferent or ac-                             90
tively hostile to the Woman's Suffrage Move-
    In further illustration of what has been said
above, it may be pointed out that woman, even
intelligent woman, nurses all sorts of miscon-
ceptions about herself.  She, for instance, is
constantly picturing to herself that she can
as a worker lay claim to the same all-round
efficiency as a man--forgetting that woman
is notoriously unadapted to tasks in which se-
vere physical hardships have to be con-
fronted; and that hardly any one would, if
other alternative offered, employ a woman
in any work which imposed upon her a com-
bined physical and mental strain, or in any
work where emergencies might have to be
    In like manner the suffragist is fond of
picturing to herself that woman is for all
ordinary purposes the intellectual equal, and
that the intelligent woman is the superior of
the ordinary man.
    These results are arrived at by fixing the at-                          91
tention upon the fact that an ordinary man
and an ordinary woman are, from the point of
view of memory and apprehension, very much
on a level; and that a highly intelligent woman
has a quicker memory and a more rapid power
of apprehension than the ordinary man; and
further, by leaving out of regard that it is not
so much a quick memory or a rapid power of
apprehension which is required for effective
intellectual work, as originality, or at any rate
independence of thought, a faculty of fel-
icitious generalisations and diacritical judg-
ment, long-sustained intellectual effort, an un-
selective mirroring of the world in the mind,
and that relative immunity to fallacy which
goes together with a stable and comparatively
unresponsive nervous system.
    When we consider that the intellect of the
quite ungifted man works with this last-
mentioned physiological advantage, we can
see that the male intellect must be, and--
pace [with the permission of] the woman suffragist---it in point of fact
is, within its range, a better instrument for                                 92
dealing with the practical affairs of life than
that of the intelligent woman.
    How far off we are in the case of woman
from an unselective mirroring of the world in
the mind is shown by the fact that large and
important factors of life may be represented
in woman's mind by lacunæ [gaps] of which she is
totally unconscious.
    Thus, for instance, that not very unusual
type of spinster who is in a condition of re-
tarded development (and you will find this
kind of woman even on County Council's), is
completely unconscious of the sexual element
in herself and in human nature generally.
Nay, though one went from the dead, he could
not bring it home to her that unsatisfied sex-
uality is an intellectual disability.
    Sufficient illustration will now have been
given of woman's incapacity to take a com-
plete or objective view of any matter in which
she has a personal, or any kind of emotional
interest; and this would now be the place to
discuss those other aspects of her mind which                          93
are relevant to her claim to the suffrage.  I
refer to her logical endowment and her political
    All that I might have been required to say
here on these issues has, however, already been
said by me in dealing with the arguments of
the suffragist.  I have there carefully writ-
ten it in between the lines.
    One thing only remains over.--We must,
before we pass on, consider whether woman
has really, as she tells us, given earnest for the
future weeding out of these her secondary sex-
ual characters, by making quite phenomenal
advances within the lifetime of the present gen-
eration; and, above all, whether there is any
basis for woman's confident assurance that,
when for a few generations she shall have en-
joyed educational advantages, she will at any
rate pull up level with man.
    The vision of the future may first engage
our attention; for only this roseate prospect
makes of any man a feminist.
    Now the basis that all this hope rests upon                           94
is the belief that it is a law of heredity that ac-
quired characteristics are handed down; and,
let it be observed, that whereas this theory
found, not many decades ago, under the in-
fluence of Darwin, thousands of adherents
among scientific men, it finds to-day only here
and there an adherent.
    But let that pass, for we have to consider
here, not only whether acquired characteristics
are handed down, but further whether, "if we
held that doctrine true," it would furnish scien-
tific basis for the belief that educational ad-
vantages carried on from generation to gen-
eration would level up woman's intellect to
man's; and whether, as the suffragist also be-
lieves, the narrow education of past genera-
tions of women can be held responsible for their
present intellectual shortcomings.
    A moment's consideration will show--for
we may here fix our eyes only on the future---
that woman could not hope to advance rela-
tively to man except upon the condition that
the acquired characteristics of woman, instead                         95
of being handed down equally to her male and
female descendants, were accumulated upon
her daughters.
    Now if that be a law of heredity, it is a law
which is as yet unheard of outside the sphere
of the woman suffrage societies.  Moreover,
one is accustomed to hear women, when they
are not arguing on the suffrage, allege that
clever mothers make clever sons.
    It must, as it will have come home to us, be
clear to every thoughtful mind that woman's
belief that she will, through education and the
cumulation of its effects upon her through
generations, become a more glorious being,
rests, not upon any rational basis, but only on
the physiological fact that what is congenial
to woman impresses itself upon her as true.
All that sober science in the form of history
and physiology would seem to entitle us to
hope from the future of woman is that she will
develop pari passu [step by step] with man; and that educa-
tion will teach her not to retard him overmuch
by her lagging in the rear.                                                         96
    In view of this larger issue, the question as
to whether woman has, in any real sense of the
word, been making progress in the course of
the present generation, loses much of interest.
    If to move about more freely, to read more
freely, to speak out her mind more freely, and
to have emancipated herself from traditionary
beliefs--and, I would add, traditionary ethics
--is to have advanced, woman has indubitably
    But the educated native too has advanced
in all these respects; and he also tells us that
he is pulling up level with the white man.
    Let us at any rate, when the suffragist
is congratulating herself on her own progress,
meditate also upon that dictum of Nietzsche,
"Progress is writ large on all woman's ban-
ners and bannerets; but one can actually see
her going back."                                                                      97


                    PUBLIC MORALITY

Standards by which Morality can be Appraised--Con-
          flict  between  Different Moralities--The Correct
          Standard of Morality--Moral Psychology of Men
          and Woman--Difference between Man and Woman
           in Matters of Public Morality.

    YET a third point has to come into considera-
tion in connexion with the woman voter.  This
is, that she would be pernicious to the State
also by virtue of her defective moral equip-
    Let me make clear what is the nature of the
defect of morality which is here imputed to
    Conduct may be appraised by very differ-
ent standards.
    We may appraise it by reference to a trans-
cendental religious ideal which demands that                            98
the physical shall be subordinated to the spirit-
ual, and that the fetters of self should be flung
    Or again, we may bring into application
purely mundane utilitarian standards, and
may account conduct as immoral or moral ac-
cording as it seeks only the happiness of the
agent, or the happiness of the narrow circle
of humanity which includes along with him
also his relatives and intimate friends, or again,
the welfare of the wider circle which includes
all those with whom he may have come into con-
tact, or whom he may affect through his work;
or again, the welfare of the whole body-politic
of which we are members; or lastly, that of the
general body of mankind.
    Now it might be contended that all these dif-
ferent moralities are in their essence one and
the same; and that one cannot comply with the
requirements of any one of these systems of
morality without fulfilling in a measure the re-
quirements of all the other moralities.
    It might, for example, be urged that if a                                99
man strive after the achievement of a trans-
cendental ideal in which self shall be annulled,
he will pro tanto [to such extent] be bringing welfare to his do-
mestic circle; or again, that it would be im-
possible to promote domestic welfare without,
through this, promoting the welfare of the
nation, and through that the general welfare
of the world.
    In like manner it might be argued that all
work done for abstract principles of morality
like liberty and justice, for the advancement
of knowledge, and for whatever else goes to
the building up of a higher civilisation, will,
by promoting the welfare of the general body
of mankind, redound to the advantage of each
several nation, and ultimately to the advantage
of each domestic circle.
    But all this would be true only in a very
superficial and strictly qualified sense.  In re-
ality, just as there is eternal conflict between
egoism and altruism, so there is conflict be-
tween the different moralities.
    To take examples, the attempt to actualise                           100
the transcendental religious ideal may, when
pursued with ardour, very easily conflict with
the morality which makes domestic felicity its
end.  And again--as we see in the anti-mili-
tarist movement in France, in the history of
the early Christian Church, in the case of the
Quakers and in the teachings of Tolstoy--it
may quite well set itself in conflict with na-
tional ideals, and dictate a line of conduct
which is, from the point of view of the State,
    We need no further witness of the divorce
between idealistic and national morality than
that which is supplied in the memorable utter-
ance of Bishop Magee, "No state which was
conducted on truly Christian principles could
hold together for a week."
    And domestic morality will constantly come
into conflict with public morality.
    To do everything in one's power to advance
one's relatives and friends irrespectively of all
considerations of merit would, no doubt, be
quite sound domestic morality; it could, how-                           101
ever, not always be reconciled with public
morality.  In the same way, to take one's
country's part in all eventualities would be
patriotic, but it might quite well conflict with
the higher interests of humanity.
    Now, the point towards which we have been
winning our way is that each man's moral sta-
tion and degree will be determined by the elec-
tion which he makes where egoism and altru-
ism, and where a narrower and a wider code
of morality, conflict.
    That the moral law forbids yielding to the
promptings of egoism or to those of the nar-
rower moralities when this involves a violation
of the precepts of the wider morality is axio-
matic.  Criminal and anti-social actions are
not excused by the fact that motives which im-
pelled their commission were not purely ego-
    But the ethical law demands more than ab-
stention from definitely anti-social actions.
It demands from every individual that he
shall recognise the precepts of public mor-                               102
ality as of superior obligation to those of ego-
ism and domestic morality.
    By the fact that her public men recognised
this ethical law Rome won for herself in the
ancient world spectacular grandeur.  By an
unexampled national obedience to it glory has
in our time accrued to Japan.  And, in truth,
there is not anywhere any honour or renown
but such as comes from casting away the bonds
of self and of the narrower moralities to
carry out the behests of the wider morality.
    Even in the strongholds of transcendental
religion where it was axiomatic that mor-
ality began and was summed up in personal
morality, it is gradually coming to be rec-
ognised that, where we have two competing
moralities, it is always the wider morality
which has the prior claim upon our allegiance.
    Kingsley's protest against the morality of
"saving one's dirty soul" marked a step in ad-
vance.  And we find full recognition of the
superior claim of the larger morality in that
other virile dictum of Bishop Magee, "I would                          103
rather have England free, than England
sober."  That is, "I would maintain the con-
ditions which make for the highest civilisation
even at the price of a certain number of lapses
in personal and domestic morality."
    What is here new, let it be noted, is only
the acknowledgment by those whose official
allegiance is to a transcendental ideal of per-
sonal morality that they are called upon to
obey a higher allegiance.  For there has al-
ways existed, in the doctrine that guilty man
could not be pardoned and taken back into
favour until the claims of eternal justice had
been satisfied, theoretical recognition of the
principle that one must conform to the pre-
cepts of abstract morality before one may
ethically indulge oneself in the lower moral-
ities of philanthropy and personal benevo-
    The view point from which I would pro-
pose to survey the morality of woman has now
been reached.  It has, however, still to be
pointed out that we may appropriately, in com-                        104
paring the morals of man and woman, confine
our survey to a comparatively narrow field.
That is to say, we may here rule out all that
relates to purely personal and domestic mor-
ality--for this is not relevant to the suffrage.
And we may also rule out all that relates to
offences against the police laws--such as public
drunkenness and offences against the criminal
law--for these would come into consideration
only in connexion with an absolutely inappre-
ciable fraction of voters.
    It will be well to begin by signalising certain
points in the moral psychology of man.
    When morality takes up its abode in a
man who belongs to the intellectual caste it
will show itself in his becoming mindful of his
public obligations.  He will consider the qual-
ity of his work as affecting the interest of those
who have to place dependence upon it; be-
haviour to those who are casually brought into
relations with him; the discharge of his in-
debtedness to the community; and the proper
conduct of public affairs.                                                          105
    In particular, it will be to him a matter of
concern that the law shall be established upon
classifications which are just (in the sense of
being conformable to public advantage); and
that the laws shall everywhere be justly, that
is to say rigorously and impartially, adminis-
    If we now turn to the man in the street we
shall not find him especially sensible to the
appeals of morality.  But when the special
call comes it will generally be possible to trust
him: as an elector, to vote uninfluenced by con-
siderations of private advantage; and, when
called to serve on a jury, to apply legal class-
ifications without distinction of person.
    Furthermore, in all times of crisis he may be
counted upon to apply the principles of com-
munal morality which have been handed down
in the race.
    The Titanic disaster, for example, showed
in a conspicuous manner that the ordinary man
will, "letting his own life go," obey the com-
munal law which lays it upon him, when in-                               106
volved in a catastrophe, to save first the wo-
men and children.
    Lastly, we come to the man who is intoler-
ant of all the ordinary restraints of personal
and domestic morality.  Even in him the seeds
of communal morality will often be found
deeply implanted.
    Time and again a regiment of scallawags,
who have let all other morality go hang, have,
when the proper chord has been made to vi-
brate in them, heard the call of communal
morality, and done deeds which make the ears
of whosoever heareth of them to tingle.
    We come into an entirely different land
when we come to the morality of woman.  It
is personal and domestic, not public, morality
which is instinctive in her.
    In other words, when egoism gives
ground to altruism, that altruism is exercised
towards those who are linked up to her by a
bond of sexual affection, or a community in
blood, or failing this, by a relation of personal
friendship, or by some other personal relation.                          107
    And even when altruism has had her perfect
work, woman feels no interest in, and no re-
sponsibility towards, any abstract moral ideal.
    And though the suffragist may protest, in-
stancing in disproof of this her own burning
enthusiasm for justice, we, for our part, may
legitimately ask whether evidence of a moral
enthusiasm for justice would be furnished by
a desire to render to others their due, or by
vehement insistence upon one's own rights,
and systematic attempts to extort, under the
cover of the word "justice," advantages for
    But it will be well to dwell a little longer
on, and to bring out more clearly, the point
that woman's moral ideals are personal and
domestic, as distinguished from impersonal
and public.
    Let us note in this connexion that it would
be difficult to conceive of a woman who had
become deaf to the appeal of personal and do-
mestic morality making it a matter of amour
propre to respond to a call of public morality;                          108
and difficult to conceive of a woman recover-
ing lost self-respect by fulfilling such an obli-
    But one knows that woman will rise and re-
spond to the call of any strong human or trans-
cendental personal affection.
    Again, it is only a very exceptional woman
who would, when put to her election between
the claims of a narrow and domestic and a
wider or public morality, subordinate the
former to the latter.
    In ordinary life, at any rate, one finds her
following in such a case the suggestions of
domestic--I had almost called it animal--mor-
    It would be difficult to find any one who
would trust a woman to be just to the rights
of others in the case where the material in-
terests of her children, or of a devoted hus-
band, were involved.  And even to consider
the question of being in such a case intellec-
tually just to any one who came into competi-
tion with personal belongings like husband and                         109
child would, of course, lie quite beyond the
moral horizon of ordinary woman.
    It is not only the fact that the ideals of
abstract justice and truth would inevitably
be brushed aside by woman in the interests of
those she loves which comes into consideration
here; it is also the fact that woman is almost
without a moral sense in the matter of execut-
ing a public trust such as voting or attaching
herself to a political association with a view
to influencing votes.
    There is between man and woman here a
characteristic difference.
    While it is, of course, not a secret to any-
body that the baser sort of man can at any
time be diverted from the path of public mor-
ality by a monetary bribe or other personal
advantage, he will not, at any rate, set at
naught all public morality by doing so for a
peppercorn.  He will, for instance, not join,
for the sake of a daughter, a political move-
ment in which he has no belief; nor vote for this
or that candidate just to please a son; or cen-                           110
sure a member of Parliament who has in vot-
ing on female suffrage failed to consider the
predilections of his wife.
    But woman, whether she be politically en-
franchised as in Australasia, or unenfran-
chised as at home; whether she be immoral in
the sense of being purely egoistic, or moral in
the sense of being altruistic, very rarely makes
any secret or any shame of doing these things.
    In this matter one would not be very far
from the truth if one alleged that there are no
good women, but only women who have lived
under the influence of good men.
    Even more serious than this postponement
of public to private morality is the fact that
even reputedly ethical women will, in the in-
terests of what they take to be idealistic causes,
violate laws which are universally accepted as
being of moral obligation.
    I here pass over the recent epidemic of polit-
ical crime among women to advert to the want
of conscience which permits, in connexion with
professedly idealistic causes, not only misrepre-                       111
sentations, but the making of deliberately false
statements on matters of public concern.
    It is, for example, an illustration of the pro-
foundly different moral atmospheres in which
men and women live that when a public woman
recently made, for what was to her an idealistic
purpose, a deliberately false statement of fact
in The Times, she quite naïvely confessed to
it, seeing nothing whatever amiss in her ac-
    And it did not appear that any other woman
suffragist could discern any kind of immoral-
ity in it.  The worst thing they could find to
say was that it perhaps was a little gauche
to confess to making a deliberately false state-
ment on a public question when it was for the
moment particularly desirable that woman
should show up to best advantage before the
eyes of man.
    We may now for a moment put aside the
question of woman's public morality and con-
sider a question which is inextricably mixed up                         112
with the question of the admission of woman
to the suffrage.  This is the mental attitude
and the programme of the female legislative
reformer.                                                                                 113



    THE suffragist woman, when she is the kind
of woman who piques herself upon her ethical
impulses, will, even when she is intellectually
very poorly equipped, and there is no imprint
of altruism upon her life, assure you that noth-
ing except the moral influence of woman, ex-
erted through the legislation, which her prac-
tical mind would be capable of initiating, will
ever avail to abate existing social evils, and to
effect the moral redemption of the world.
    It will not be amiss first to try to introduce
a little clearness and order into our ideas upon
those formidably difficult problems which the
female legislative reformer desires to attack,
and then to consider how a rational reforming
mind would go to work in the matter of pro-
posing legislation for these.                                                      114
    First would come those evils which result
from individuals seeking advantage to them-
selves by the direct infliction of injury upon
others.  Violations of the criminal law and the
various forms of sweating and fleecing one's
fellow-men come under this category.
    Then would come the evils which arise out of
purveying physiological and psychological re-
freshments and excitements, which are, ac-
cording as they are indulged in temperately or
intemperately, grateful and innocuous, or
sources of disaster and ruin.  The evils which
are associated with the drink traffic and the
betting industry are typical examples.
    Finally, there would come into consideration
the evils of death or physical suffering deliber-
ately inflicted by man upon man with a view to
preventing worse evils.  The evil of war would
come under this category.  In this same cate-
gory might also come the much lesser evil of
punitive measures inflicted upon criminals.
And with this might be coupled the evil of                                 115
killing and inflicting physical suffering upon
animals for the advantage of man.
    We may now consider how the rational legis-
lative reformer would in each case go to
    He would not start with the assumption that
it must be possible by some alteration of the
law to abolish or conspicuously reduce any of
the afore-mentioned evils; nor yet with the as-
sumption that, if a particular alteration of the
law would avail to bring about this result, that
alteration ought necessarily to be made.  He
would recognise that many things which are
theoretically desirable are unattainable; and
that many legislative measures which could
perfectly well be enforced would be barred by
the fact that they would entail deplorable un-
intended consequences.
    The rational legislator whom we have here
in view would accordingly always take expert
advice as to whether the desired object could
be achieved by legal compulsion; and as to                              116
whether a projected law which satisfied the
condition of being workable would give a bal-
ance of advantages over disadvantages.
    In connexion with a proposal for the pre-
vention of sweating he would, for instance,
take expert advice as to whether its provisions
could be enforced; and whether, if enforce-
able, they would impose added hardships on
any class of employees or penalties on any in-
nocent class of employers.
    In like manner in connexion with a pro-
posed modification in criminal procedure, the
rational reformer would defer to the expert
on the question as to whether such modification
would secure greater certainty of punishment
for the guilty without increasing the risk of
convicting the innocent.
    In connexion with the second category of
evils--the category under which would come
those of drinking and betting--the rational
legislative reformer would recognise the com-
plete impracticability of abolishing by legis-                              117
lative prohibition physiological indulgences
and the evils which sometimes attend upon
    He would consider instead whether these at-
tendant evils could be reduced by making the
regulating laws more stringent; and whether
more stringent restrictions--in addition to
the fact that they would filch from the all too
small stock of human happiness--would not,
by paving the way for further invasions of per-
sonal liberty, cripple the free development of
the community.
    On the former question, which only experts
could properly answer, the reasonable reformer
would defer to their advice.  The answer to
the last question he would think out for him-
    In connexion with the evils which are de-
liberately inflicted by man with a view to reap-
ing either personal profit, or profit for the na-
tion, or profit for humanity, the reasonable
reformer would begin by making clear to
himself that the world we live in is not such                               118
a world as idealism might conjure up, but a
world of violence, in which life must be taken
and physical suffering be inflicted.
    And he would recognise that the vital
material interests of the nation can be pro-
tected only by armed force; that civilisation
can be safeguarded only by punishing viola-
tions of the criminal law; and that the taking
of animal life and the infliction of a certain
amount of physical suffering upon animals is
essential to human well-being, comfort, and
recreation; and essential also to the achieve-
ment of the knowledge which is required to
combat disease.
    And the reasonable reformer will, in con-
formity with this, direct his efforts, not to the
total abolition of war, but to the prevention of
such wars as are not waged for really vital
material interests, and to the abatement of the
ferocities of warfare.
    In the case of punishment for criminals he
would similarly devote his efforts not to the
abrogation of punishments, but to the relin-                              119
quishment of any that are not reformatory, or
really deterrent.
    In like manner the reasonable reformer
would not seek to prohibit the slaughtering of
animals for food, or the killing off of animal
pests, or the trapping, shooting, or hunting of
animals for sport or profit, nor yet would he
seek to prevent their utilisation of animals for
the acquirement of knowledge.
    He would direct his efforts to reducing the
pain which is inflicted, and to preserving every-
where measure and scale--not sentimentally
forbidding in connexion with one form of
utilisation of animals what is freely allowed
in connexion with another--but differentia-
ting, if differentiating at all in favour of per-
mitting the infliction of proportionately greater
suffering in the case where national and hu-
manitarian interests, than in the case where
mere recreation and luxury and personal
profit, are at stake.
    Having recognised what reason would pre-
scribe to the legislative reformer, we have next                         120
to inquire how far the man voter conforms to
these prescriptions of reason, and how far the
woman reformer would do so if she became
a voter.
    Let it be noted that the man in the street
makes no question about falling in with the
fact that he is born into a world of violence,
and he acquiesces in the principle that the
State, and, failing the State, the individual,
may employ force and take life in defence
of vital material interests.  And he frankly
falls in with it being a matter of daily
routine to kill and inflict suffering upon ani-
mals for human profit or advantage.
    Even if these principles are not formulated
by the man in the street in quite such plain
terms, he not only carries them out in practice,
but he conducts all his thinking upon these pre-
    He, for instance, would fall in with the prop-
osition that morality does not require from
man that he should give up taking life
or inflicting physical suffering.  And he would                            121
not cavil with the statement that man should
put reasonable limits to the amount of suffer-
ing he inflicts, and confine this within as nar-
row a range as possible--always requiring for
the death or suffering inflicted some tangible
    Moreover, if the question should be raised
as to whether such advantage will result, the
ordinary man will as a rule, where the matter
lies beyond his personal ken, take expert opin-
ion before intervening.
    He will, for instance, be prepared to be so
guided in connexion with such questions as
whether disease could, if more knowledge were
available, be to a large extent prevented and
cured; as to how far animal experiments would
contribute to the acquirement of that knowl-
edge; and as to how far the physical suffer-
ing which might be involved in these experi-
ments can be minimised or abolished.
But not every man is prepared to fall in
with this programme of inflicting physical suf-
fering for the relief of physical suffering.                                    122
There is also a type of spiritually-minded man
who in this world of violence sets his face un-
compromisingly against the taking of any
life and the infliction of any physical suffer-
ing--refusing to make himself a partaker of
    An idealist of this type will, like Tolstoy,
be an anti-militarist.  He will advocate a gen-
eral gaol delivery for criminals.  He will be a
vegetarian.  He will not allow an animal's
life to be taken in his house, though the mice
scamper over his floors.  And he will, consist-
ently with his conviction that it is immoral to
resort to force, refuse to take any part in legis-
lation or government.
    This attitude, which is that commended by
the Hindoo and the Buddhist religions, is, of
course, a quite unpractical attitude towards
life.  It is, in fact, a self-destructive attitude,
unless a man's fellow-citizens are prepared by
forcible means to secure to him the enjoyment
of the work of his hands or of his inherited
property, or unless those who refuse to desist                           123
from the exercise of force are prepared to un-
take the support of idealists.
    We have not only these two classes of men--
the ordinary man who has no compunction in
resorting to force when the requirements of life
demand it, and the idealist who refuses to have
any lot or part in violence; there is also a hy-
brid.  This male hybrid will descant on the
general iniquity of violence, and then not only
connive at those forms of violence which min-
ister to his personal comforts, but also make
a virtue of trying to abate by legal violence
some particular form of physical suffering
which happens to offend in a quite special man-
ner his individual sensibility.
    There is absolutely nothing to be said about
this kind of reforming crank, except only that
anything which may be said in relation to the
female legislative reformer may be appositely
said of him; and perhaps also this, that the
ordinary man holds him both in intellectual
and in moral contempt, and is resolved not to                           124
allow him to do any really serious injury to
the community.
    To become formidable this quasi-male per-
son must, as he recognises, ally himself with
the female legislative reformer.
    Passing on to deal with her, it imports us first
to realise that while the male voter has--ex-
cept where important constitutional issues
were in question--been accustomed to leave
actual legislation to the expert, the female re-
former gives notice beforehand that she will,
as soon as ever she gets the suffrage, insist
on pressing forward by her vote her reform-
ing schemes.
    What would result from the ordinary voter
legislating on matters which require expert
knowledge will be plain to every one who will
consider the evolution of law.
    There stand over against each other here, as
an example and a warning, the Roman Law,
which was the creation of legal experts: the
prætor and the jurisconsult; and the legal                                  125
system of the Greeks, which was the creation
of a popular assembly--and it was a popu-
lar assembly which was quite ideally intelli-
    Upon the Roman Law has been built the law
of the greater part of the civilised world.  The
Greek is a by-word for inconsequence.
    How can one, then, without cold shudders
think of that legal system which the female
amateur legal reformer would bring to the
    Let us consider her qualifications.  Let us
first take cognisance of the fact that the re-
forming woman will neither stand to the prin-
ciple that man may, where this gives a balance
of advantage, inflict on his fellow-man, and a
fortiori upon animals, death and physical suf-
fering; nor yet will she stand to the principle
that it is ethically unlawful to do deeds of vio-
    She spends her life halting between these
two opinions, eternally shilly-shallying.
    She will, for instance, begin by announcing                           126
that it can never be lawful to do evil that good
may come; and that killing and inflicting suf-
fering is an evil.  (In reality the precept of
not doing evil that good may come has rela-
tion only to breaking for idealistic purposes
moral laws of higher obligation.)  She will
then go back upon that and concede that war
may sometimes be lawful, and that the punish-
ment of criminals is not an evil.  But if her
emotions are touched by the forcible feeding
of a criminal militant suffragist, she will again
go back upon that and declare that the appli-
cation of force is an intolerable evil.
    Or, again, she will concede that the slaugh-
tering of animals for food is not an evil, but
that what is really unforgivable is the infliction
of physical suffering on animals.  And all the
time for her, as well as for man, calves and
lambs are being emasculated to make her meat
succulent; wild animals are painfully done to
death to provide her table with delicacies;
birds with young in the nest are shot so that
she may parade in their plumage; or fur-bear-                           127
ing animals are for her comfort and adorn-
ment massacred and tortured in traps.
    When a man crank who is co-responsible
for these things begins to talk idealistic re-
forms, the ordinary decent man refuses to
have anything more to say to him.
    But when a woman crank holds this lan-
guage, the man merely shrugs his shoulders.
"It is," he tells himself, "after all, the woman
whom God gave him."
    It must be confessed that the problem as to
how man with a dual nature may best accom-
modate himself to a world of violence pre-
sents a very difficult problem.
    It would obviously be no solution to follow
out everywhere a programme of violence.
Not even the predatory animals do that.
Tigers do not savage their cubs; hawks do not
pluck hawks' eyes; and dogs do not fight
    Nor would, as has been shown, the solution
of the problem be arrived at by everywhere
surrendering--if we had been given the grace                            128
to do this--to the compunctious visitings of
    What is required is to find the proper com-
promise.  As to what that would be there is,
as between the ordinary man and woman on
the one side, and the male crank and the
battalions of sentimental women on the other,
a conflict which is, to all intents and purposes,
a sex war.
    The compromise which ordinary human na-
ture had fixed upon--and it is one which, min-
istering as it does to the survival of the race,
has been adopted through the whole range of
nature--is that of making within the world in
which violence rules a series of enclaves in
which the application of violence is progres-
sively restricted and limited.
    Outside the outermost of the series of ring
fences thus constituted would be the realm of
uncompromising violence such as exists when
human life is endangered by wild animals, or
murderous criminals, or savages.  Just within
this outermost fence would be civilised war--                            129
for in civilised war non-combatants and prison-
ers and wounded are excluded from the appli-
cation of violence.  In like manner we bring
humanity in general within a more sheltered
enclosure than animals--pet animals within a
more sheltered enclosure than other animals.
Again, we bring those who belong to the white
race within a narrower protecting circle than
mankind in general, and those of our own na-
tion within a still narrower one.
    Following out the same principle, we in-
clude women and children within a narrower
shelter fence than our adult fellow-male; and
we use the weapon of force more reluctantly
when we are dealing with our relatives and
friends than when we are dealing with those
who are not personally known to us; and
finally, we lay it aside more completely when
we are dealing with the women of our house-
holds than when we are dealing with the
    The cause of civilisation and of the amenities,
and the welfare of the nation, of the family,                               130
and of woman, are all intimately bound up with
a faithful adherence to this compromise.
    But this policy imposes upon those whom
it shelters from violence corresponding obliga-
    In war non-combatants--not to speak of the
wounded on the battlefield--must desist from
hostile action on the pain of being shot down
like wild beasts.  And though an individual
non-combatant might think it a patriotic action
for him to take part in war, the thoughtful
man would recognise that such action was a
violation of a well-understood covenant made
in the interest of civilisation, and that to break
through this covenant was to abrogate a hu-
manitarian arrangement by which the general
body of non-combatants immensely benefits.
    Exactly the same principle finds, as already
pointed out, application when a woman em-
ploys direct violence, or aspires to exercise by
voting indirect violence.
    One always wonders if the suffragist appre-
ciates all that woman stands to lose and all                               131
that she imperils by resort to physical force.
One ought not to have to tell her that, if she
had to fight for her position, her status would
be that which is assigned to her among the
Kaffirs--not that which civilised man concedes
to her.
    From considering the compromise by which
man adapts his dual nature to violence in the
world, we turn to that which the female legis-
lative reformer would seek to impose by the
aid of her vote.
    Her proposal, as the reader will have dis-
cerned, would be that all those evils which make
appeal to the feminine emotions should be
legally prohibited, and that all those which fail
to make this appeal shall be tolerated.
    In the former class would be included those
which come directly under woman's ken, or
have been brought vividly before the eyes of
her imagination by emotional description.
And the specially intolerable evils will be those
which, owing to the fact that they fall upon
woman or her immediate belongings, induce                             132
in the female legislative reformer pangs of
sympathetic discomfort.
    In the class of evils which the suffragist is
content to tolerate, or say nothing about, would
be those which are incapable of evoking in her
such sympathetic pangs, and she concerns her-
self very little with those evils which do not
furnish her with a text for recriminations
against man.
    Conspicuous in this programme is the ab-
sence of any sense of proportion.  One would
have imagined that it would have been plain
to everybody that the evils which individual
women suffer at the hands of man are very far
from being the most serious ills of humanity.
One would have imagined that the suffering
inflicted by disease and by bad social condi-
tions--suffering which falls upon man and
woman alike--deserved a first place in the
thoughts of every reformer.  And one might
have expected it to be common knowledge that
the wrongs individual men inflict upon women
have a full counterpart in the wrongs which                               133
individual women inflict upon men.  It may
quite well be that there are mists which here
"blot and fill the perspective" of the female
legislative reformer.  But to look only upon
one's own things, and not also upon the things
of others, is not for that morally innocent.
    There is further to be noted in connexion
with the female legislative reformer that she
has never been able to see why she should be
required to put her aspirations into practical
shape, or to consider ways and means, or to
submit the practicability of her schemes to ex-
pert opinion.  One also recognises that from
a purely human point of view such tactics are
judicious.  For if the schemes of the fe-
male legislative reformer were once to be re-
viewed from the point of view of their prac-
ticability, her utility as a legislator would come
into question, and the suffragist could no
longer give out that there has been committed
to her from on High a mission to draw water
for man-kind out of the wells of salvation.
    Lastly, we have to reflect in connection with                         134
the female legislative reformer that to go about
proposing to reform the laws means to aban-
don that special field of usefulness which lies
open to woman in alleviating misery and re-
dressing those hard cases which will, under all
laws and regulations of human manufacture
and under all social dispositions, inevitably
occur.  Now when a woman leaves a social
task which is commensurate with her abilities,
and which asks from her personal effort and
self-sacrifice, for a task which is quite beyond
her abilities, but which, she thinks, will bring
her personal kudos, shall we impute it to her
for righteousness?                                                                    135



    WE have now sufficiently considered the
suffragist's humanitarian schemes, and we
may lead up to the consideration of her further
projects by contrasting woman's suffrage as it
presents itself under colonial conditions--i.e.
woman's suffrage without the female legisla-
tive reformer and the feminist--with the
woman suffrage which is being agitated for in
England--i.e. woman suffrage with the fe-
male legislative reformer and the feminist.
    In the colonies and undeveloped countries
generally where women are in a minority, and
where owing to the fact that practically all
have an opportunity of marrying, there are not
for woman any difficult economic and physio-
logical conditions, there is no woman's ques-                            136
tion; and by consequence no female legislative
reformer or feminist.  The woman voter fol-
lows, as the opportunist politicians who en-
franchised her intended, the lead of her men-
folk--serving only a pawn in the game of pol-
itics.  Under such conditions woman's suf-
frage leaves things as they are, except only
that it undermines the logical foundations of
the law, and still further debases the standard
of public efficiency and public morality.
    In countries, such as England, where an ex-
cess female population 1 has made economic
difficulties for woman, and where the severe
sexual restrictions, which here obtains, have
bred in her sex-hostility, the suffrage move-
ment has as its avowed ulterior object the abro-
gation of all distinctions which depend upon
sex; and the achievement of the economic inde-
pendence of woman.
    To secure this economic independence every
post, occupation, and Government service is to

   1 In England and Wales there are, in a population of 8,000,-
000 women between the ages of twenty and fifty, 3,000,000 un-
married women.                                                                          137

be thrown open to woman; she is to receive
everywhere the same wages as man; male and
female are to work side by side; and they are
indiscriminately to be put in command the one
over the other.  Furthermore, legal rights are
to be secured to the wife over her husband's
property and earnings.  The programme is,
in fact, to give to woman an economic inde-
pendence out of the earnings and taxes of
    Nor does feminist ambition stop short here.
It demands that women shall be included in
every advisory committee, every governing
board, every jury, every judicial bench, every
electorate, every parliament, and every minis-
terial cabinet; further, that every masculine
foundation, university, school of learning,
academy, trade union, professional corpora-
tion and scientific society shall be converted
into an epicene institution--until we shall have
everywhere one vast cock-and-hen show.
    The proposal to bring man and woman
together everywhere into extremely intimate                             138
relationships raises very grave questions.  It
brings up, first, the question of sexual compli-
cations; secondly, the question as to whether
the tradition of modesty and reticence between
the sexes is to be definitely sacrificed; and,
most important of all, the question as to
whether epicene conditions would place ob-
stacles in the way of intellectual work.
    Of these issues the feminist puts the first two
quite out of account.  I have already else-
where said my say upon these matters.1    With
regard to the third, the feminist either fails to
realise that purely intellectual intercourse--as
distinguished from an intercommunion of men-
tal images--with woman is to a large section
of men repugnant; or else, perceiving this,
she makes up her mind that, this notwithstand-
ing, she will get her way by denouncing the
man who does not welcome her as selfish; and
by insisting that under feminism (the quota-
tion is from Mill, the italics which question his
sincerity are mine) "the mass of mental facul-

   1 Vide Appendix, pp. 169-173.                                                     139

ties available for the higher service of man-
kind would be doubled."
    The matter cannot so lightly be disposed of.
It will be necessary for us to find out whether
really intimate association with woman on the
purely intellectual plane is realisable.  And if
it is, in fact, unrealisable, it will be necessary to
consider whether it is the exclusion of women
from masculine corporations; or the perpetual
attempt of women to force their way into these,
which would deserve to be characterised as
    In connexion with the former of these issues,
we have to consider here not whether that form
of intellectual co-operation in which the man
plays the game, and the woman moves the
pawns under his orders, is possible.  That
form of co-operation is of course possible, and
it has, doubtless, certain utilities.
    Nor yet have we to consider whether quite
intimate and purely intellectual association on
an equal footing between a particular man and
a selected woman may or may not be possible.                        140
It will suffice to note that the feminist alleges
that this also is possible; but everybody knows
that the woman very often marries the man.
    What we have to ask is whether--even if
we leave out of regard the whole system of at-
tractions or, as the case may be, repulsions
which come into operation when the sexes are
thrown together--purely intellectual inter-
course between man and the typical unselected
woman is not barred by the intellectual im-
moralities and limitations which appear to be
secondary sexual characters of woman.
    With regard to this issue, there would seem
to be very little real difference of opinion
among men.  But there are great differences
in the matter of candour.  There are men who
speak out, and who enunciate like Nietzsche
that "man and woman are alien--never yet
has any one conceived how alien."
    There are men who, from motives of delicacy
or policy, do not speak out--averse to saying
anything that might be unflattering to woman.
    And there are men who are by their pro-                             141
fession of the feminist faith debarred from
speaking out, but who upon occasion give
themselves away.
    Of such is the man who in the House of
Commons champions the cause of woman's
suffrage, impassionately appealing to Justice;
and then betrays himself by announcing that
he would shake off from his feet the dust of its
purlieus if ever women were admitted as mem-
bers--i.e. if ever women were forced upon him
as close intellectual associates.
    Wherever we look we find aversion to com-
pulsory intellectual co-operation with woman.
We see it in the sullen attitude which the or-
dinary male student takes up towards the pres-
ence of women students in his classes.  We see
it in the fact that the older English universi-
ties, which have conceded everything else to
women, have made a strong stand against mak-
ing them actual members of the university;
for this would impose them on men as intellec-
tual associates.  Again we see the aversion in
the opposition to the admission of women to                            142
the bar.  But we need not look so far afield.
Practically every man feels that there is in
woman--patent, or hidden away--an element
of unreason which, when you come upon it,
summarily puts an end to purely intellectual
intercourse.  One may reflect, for example,
upon the way the woman's suffrage contro-
versy has been conducted.
    Proceeding now on the assumption that
these things are so, and that man feels that he
and woman belong to different intellectual
castes, we come now to the question as to
whether it is man who is selfish when he ex-
cludes women from his institutions, or woman
when she unceasingly importunes for admit-
tance.  And we may define as selfish all such
conduct as pursues the advantage of the agent
at the cost of the happiness and welfare of
the general body of mankind.
    We shall be in a better position to pronounce
judgment on this question of ethics when we
have considered the following series of analo-
gies:                                                                                        143
    When a group of earnest and devout be-
lievers meet together for special intercession
and worship, we do not tax them with selfish-
ness if they exclude unbelievers.
    Nor do we call people who are really de-
voted to music selfish if, coming together for
this, they make a special point of excluding
the unmusical.
    Nor again would the imputation of selfish-
ness lie against members of a club for black-
balling a candidate who would, they feel, be
    Nor should we regard it as an act of selfish-
ness if the members of a family circle, or of
the same nation, or of any social circle, desired
to come together quite by themselves.
    Nor yet would the term selfish apply to an
East End music hall audience when they eject
any one who belongs to a different social class
to themselves and wears good clothes.
    And the like would hold true of servants re-
senting their employers intruding upon them
in their hours of leisure or entertainments.                                 144
    If we do not characterise such exclusions as
selfish, but rather respect and sympathise with
them, it is because we recognise that the whole
object and raison d' être of association would
in each case be nullified by the weak-minded
admission of the incompatible intruder.
    We recognise that if any charge of selfish-
ness would lie, it would lie against that in-
    Now if this holds in the case where the in-
terests of religious worship or music, or family,
national, or social life, or recreation and relax-
ation after labour are in question, it will hold
true even more emphatically where the inter-
ests of intellectual work are involved.
    But the feminist will want to argue.  She
will--taking it as always for granted that
woman has a right to all that men's hands or
brains have fashioned--argue that it is very
important for the intellectual development of
woman that she should have exactly the same
opportunities as man.  And she will, scouting [rejecting with contempt]
the idea of any differences between the intelli-                          145
gences of man and woman, discourse to you of
their intimate affinity.
    It will, perhaps, be well to clear up these
    The importance of the higher development
of woman is unquestionable.
    But after all it is the intellect of man which
really comes into account in connexion with
"the mass of mental faculties available for the
higher service of mankind."
    The maintenance of the conditions which
allow of man's doing his best intellectual work
is therefore an interest which is superior to
that of the intellectual development of woman.
And woman might quite properly be referred
for her intellectual development to instruc-
tional institutions which should be special to
    Coming to the question of the intimate re-
semblances between the masculine and the
feminine intelligence, no man would be ven-
turesome enough to dispute these, but he may                          146
be pardoned if he thinks--one would hope in
no spirit of exaltation--also of the differences.
    We have an instructive analogy in connexion
with the learned societies.
    It is uncontrovertible that every candidate
for election into such a society will have, and
will feel that he has, affinities with the members
of that association.  And he is invited to set
these forth in his application.  But there may
also be differences of which he is not sensible.
On that question the electors are the judges;
and they are the final court of appeal.
    There would seem to be here a moral which
the feminist would do well to lay to heart.
    There is also another lesson which she might
very profitably consider.  A quite small dif-
ference will often constitute as effective a bar
to a useful and congenial co-operation as a
more fundamental difference.
    In the case of a body of intellectual workers
one might at first sight suppose that so small
a distinction as that of belonging to a different                           147
nationality--sex, of course, is an infinitely pro-
founder difference--would not be a bar to un-
restricted intellectual co-operation.
    But in point of fact it is in every country,
in every learned society, a uniform rule that
when foreign scientists or scholars are admitted
they are placed not on the ordinary list of
working members, but on a special list.
    One discerns that there is justification for
this in the fact that a foreigner would in cer-
tain eventualities be an incompatible person.
    One may think of the eventuality of the
learned society deciding to recognise a national
service, or to take part in a national movement.
And one is not sure that a foreigner might not
be an incompatible person in the eventuality
of a scientist or scholar belonging to a national-
ity with which the foreigner's country was at
feud being brought forward for election.
And he would, of course, be an impossible
person in a society if he were, in a spirit of
chauvinism, to press for a larger representa-
tion of his own fellow-countrymen.                                          148
    Now this is precisely the kind of way man
feels about woman.  He recognises that she is
by virtue of her sex for certain purposes an in-
compatible person; and that, quite apart from
this, her secondary sexual characters might in
certain eventualities make her an impossible
    We may note, before passing on, that these
considerations would seem to prescribe that
woman should be admitted to masculine insti-
tutions only when real humanitarian grounds
demand it; that she should--following here the
analogy of what is done in the learned societies
with respect to foreigners--be invited to co-
operate with men only when she is quite spe-
cially eminent, or beyond all question useful
for the particular purpose in hand; and lastly,
that when co-opted into any masculine institu-
tion woman should always be placed upon a
special list, to show that it was proposed to con-
fine her co-operation within certain specified
    From these general questions, which affect                           149
only the woman with intellectual aspirations,
we pass to consider what would be the effect
of feminism upon the rank and file of women
if it made of these co-partners with man in
work.  They would suffer not only because
woman's physiological disabilities and the re-
strictions which arise out of her sex place
her at a great disadvantage when she has to
enter into competition with man, but also be-
cause under feminism man would be less and
less disposed to take off woman's shoulders a
part of her burden.
    And there can be no dispute that the most
valuable financial asset of the ordinary woman
is the possibility that a man may be willing--
and may, if only woman is disposed to fulfil her
part of the bargain, be not only willing but
anxious--to support her and to secure for her,
if he can, a measure of that freedom which
comes from the possession of money.
    In view of this every one who has a real fel-
low-feeling for woman, and who is concerned
for her material welfare, as a father is con-                               150
cerned for his daughter's, will above every-
thing else desire to nurture and encourage in
man the sentiment of chivalry, and in woman
that disposition of mind that makes chivalry
    And the woman workers who have to fight
the battle of life for themselves would indi-
rectly profit from this fostering of chivalry;
for those women who are supported by men do
not compete in the limited labour market which
is open to the woman worker.
    From every point of view, therefore, except
perhaps that of the exceptional woman who
would be able to hold her own against mas-
culine competition--and men always issue in-
formal letters of naturalisation to such an ex-
ceptional woman--the woman suffrage which
leads up to feminism would be a social disaster.                       151

                        PART III

                DISCONTENTS OF WOMAN?



What are the Suffragist's Grievances?--Economic and
         Physiological Difficulties of Woman--Intellectual
         Grievances of Suffragist and Corrective.

    Is there then, let us ask ourselves, if the suf-
frage with its programme of feminism is
barred as leading to social disaster, any pallia-
tive or corrective that can be applied to the
present discontents of woman?
    If such is to be found, it is to be found only
by placing clearly before us the suffragist's
    These grievances are, first, the economic
difficulties of the woman who seeks to earn her
living by work other than unskilled manual
labour; secondly, the difficult physiological
conditions in which woman is placed by the                              155
excess of the female over the male population
and by her diminished chances of marriage 1 ;
and thirdly, the tedium which obsesses the life
of the woman who is not forced, and cannot
force herself, to work.  On the top of these
grievances comes the fact that the suffragist
conceives herself to be harshly and unfairly
treated by man.  This last is the fire which
sets a light to all the inflammable material.
    It would be quite out of question to discuss
here the economic and physiological difficulties
of woman.  Only this may be said: it is impos-
sible, in view of the procession of starved and
frustrated lives which is continuously filing
past, to close one's eyes to the urgency of this
woman's problem.
    After all, the primary object of all civilisa-
tion is to provide for every member of the
community food and shelter and fulfilment of
natural cravings.  And when, in what passes
as a civilised community, a whole class is called
upon to go without any one of these our hu-

   1 Vide footnote, p. 138.

man requirements, it is little wonder that it
should break out.
    But when a way of escape stands open revolt
is not morally justified.
    Thus, for example, a man who is born into,
but cannot support himself in, a superior class
of society is not, as long as he can find a liveli-
hood abroad in a humbler walk in life, entitled
to revolt.
    No more is the woman who is in economic or
physiological difficulties.  For, if only she has
the pluck to take it, a way of escape stands
open to her.
    She can emigrate; she can go out from the
social class in which she is not self-supporting
into a humbler social class in which she could
earn a living; and she can forsake conditions
in which she must remain a spinster for con-
ditions in which she may perhaps become a
mother.  Only in this way can the problem of
finding work, and relief of tedium, for the
woman who now goes idle be resolved.
    If women were to avail themselves of these                          157
ways of escape out of unphysiological condi-
tions, the woman agitator would probably find
it as difficult to keep alive a passionate agita-
tion for woman suffrage as the Irish Nation-
alist agitator to keep alive, after the settlement
of the land question and the grant of old age
pensions, a passionate agitation for a separate
Parliament for Ireland.
    For the happy wife and mother is never pas-
sionately concerned about the suffrage.  It is
always the woman who is galled either by phy-
siological hardships, or by the fact that she has
not the same amount of money as man, or by
the fact that man does not desire her as a co-
partner in work, and withholds the homage
which she thinks he ought to pay to her intel-
    For this class of grievances the present edu-
cation of woman is responsible.  The girl who is
growing up to woman's estate is never taught
where she stands relatively to man.  She
is not taught anything about woman's phys-
ical disabilities.  She is not told--she is left                              158
to discover it for herself when too late--that
child and husband are to woman physiological
requirements.  She is not taught the defects
and limitations of the feminine mind.  One
might almost think there were no such defects
and limitations; and that woman was not al-
ways overestimating her intellectual power.
And the ordinary girl is not made to realise
woman's intrinsically inferior money-earning
capacity.  She is not made to realise that the
woman who cannot work with her hands is
generally hard put to earn enough to keep her-
self alive in the incomplete condition of  a
    As a result of such education, when, influ-
enced by the feminist movement, woman comes
to institute a comparison between herself and
man, she brings into that comparison all those
qualities in which she is substantially his equal,
and leaves out of account all those in which she
is his inferior.
    The failure to recognise that man is the mas-
ter, and why he is the master, lies at the root                            159
of the suffrage movement.  By disregarding
man's superior physical force, the power of
compulsion upon which all government is based
is disregarded.  By leaving out of account
those powers of the mind in which man is the
superior, woman falls into the error of thinking
that she can really compete with him, and that
she belongs to the self-same intellectual caste.
Finally, by putting out of sight man's superior
money-earning capacity, the power of the
purse is ignored.
    Uninstructed woman commits also another
fundamental error in her comparison.  Instead
of comparing together the average man and
the average woman, she sets herself to estab-
lish that there is no defect in woman which can-
not be discovered also in man; and that there
is no virtue or power in the ordinary man which
cannot be discovered also in woman.  Which
having been established to her satisfaction, she
is led inevitably to the conclusion that there is
nothing whatever to choose between the sexes.
And from this there is only a step to the posi-                           160
tion that human beings ought to be assigned,
without distinction of sex, to each and every
function which would come within the range
of their individual capacities, instead of being
assigned as they are at present: men to one
function, and women to another.
    Here again women ought to have been safe-
guarded by education.  She ought to have
been taught that even when an individual
woman comes up to the average of man this
does not abrogate the disqualification which
attaches to a difference of sex.  Nor yet--as
every one who recognises that we live in a
world which conducts itself by generalisations
will see--does it abrogate the disqualification
of belonging to an inferior intellectual caste.
    The present system of feminine education is
blameworthy not only in the respect that it
fails to draw attention to these disqualifications
and to teach woman where she stands; it is even
more blameworthy in that it fails to convey
to the girl who is growing up any conception
of that absolutely elementary form of morality                           161
which consists in distinguishing meum and
tuum [that which is mine and that which is yours].
    Instead of her educators encouraging every
girl to assert "rights" as against man, and put
forward claims, they ought to teach her with
respect to him those lessons of behaviour which
are driven home once for all into every boy at
a public school.
    Just as there you learn that you may not
make unwarranted demands upon your fel-
low, and just as in the larger world every na-
tion has got to learn that it cannot with im-
punity lay claim to the possessions of its neigh-
bours, so woman will have to learn that when
things are not offered to her, and she has not
the power to take them by force, she has got
to make the best of things as they are.
    One would wish for every girl who is grow-
ing up to womanhood that it might be brought
home to her by some refined and ethically-
minded member of her own sex how insuffer-
able a person woman becomes when, like a
spoilt child, she exploits the indulgence of                                 162
man; when she proclaims that it is his duty
to serve her and to share with her his power
and possessions; when she makes an outcry
when he refuses to part with what is his own;
and when she insists upon thrusting her society
upon men everywhere.
    And every girl ought to be warned that to
embark upon a policy of recrimination when
you do not get what you want, and to pro-
claim yourself a martyr when, having hit, you
are hit back, is the way to get yourself thor-
oughly disliked.
    Finally, every girl ought to be shown, in the
example of the militant suffragist, how revolt
and martyrdom, undertaken in order to possess
oneself of what belongs to others, effects the
complete disorganisation of moral character.
    No one would wish that in the education of
girls these quite unlovely things should be in-
sisted upon more than was absolutely neces-
sary.  But one would wish that the educators
of the rising generation of women should, bas-
ing themselves upon these foundations, point                            163
out to every girl how great is woman's debt to
civilisation; in other words, how much is under
civilisation done for woman by man.
    And one would wish that, in a world which is
rendered unwholesome by feminism, every
girl's eyes were opened to comprehend the
great outstanding fact of the world: the fact
that, turn where you will, you find individ-
ual man showering upon individual woman--
one man in tribute to her enchantment, an-
other out of a sense of gratitude, and another
just because she is something that is his--every
good thing which, suffrage or no suffrage, she
never could have procured for herself.                                      164



Reprinted by permission from The Times  (London), March
                                           28, 1912.


SIR,--For man the physiological psychology
of woman is full of difficulties.
    He is not a little mystified when he encoun-
ters in her periodically recurring phases of
hypersensitiveness, unreasonableness, and loss
of the sense of proportion.
    He is frankly perplexed when confronted
with a complete alteration of character in a
woman who is child-bearing.
    When he is a witness of the "tendency of
woman to morally warp when nervously ill,"
and of the terrible physical havoc which the
pangs of a disappointed love may work, he is
    And it leaves on his mind an eerie feeling
when he sees serious and long-continued men-
tal disorders developing in connexion with the                           167
approaching extinction of a woman's repro-
ductive faculty.
    No man can close his eyes to these things;
but he does not feel at liberty to speak of

For the woman that God gave him is not his to give away.    [From "The Female of the Species" by Rudyard Kipling]

    As for woman herself, she makes very light
of any of these mental upsettings.
    She perhaps smiles a little at them. . . . 1
    None the less, these upsettings of her men-
tal equilibrium are the things that a woman
has most cause to fear; and no doctor can ever
lose sight of the fact that the mind of woman
is always threatened with danger from the
reverberations of her physiological emer-
    It is with such thoughts that the doctor lets
his eyes rest upon the militant suffragist.  He
cannot shut them to the fact that there is

   1 In the interests of those who feel that female dignity is
compromised by it, I have here omitted a woman's flippant
overestimate of the number of women in London society who
suffer from nervous disorders at the climacteric [i.e. menopause].          168

mixed up with the woman's movement much
mental disorder; and he cannot conceal from
himself the physiological emergencies which lie
    The recruiting field for the militant suf-
fragists is the million of our excess female
population--that million which had better long
ago have gone out to mate with its comple-
ment of men beyond the sea.
    Among them there are the following dif-
ferent types of women:--(a)  First--let us
put them first--come a class of women who
hold, with minds otherwise unwarped, that
they may, whenever it is to their advantage,
lawfully resort to physical violence.
    The programme, as distinguished from the
methods, of these women is not very different
from that of the ordinary suffragist woman.
    (b)  There file past next a class of women
who have all their life-long been strangers to
joy, women in whom instincts long suppressed
have in the end broken into flame.  These are
the sexually embittered women in whom every-                        169
thing has turned into gall and bitterness of
heart, and hatred of men.
    Their legislative programme is license for
themselves, or else restrictions for man.
    (c)  Next there file past the incomplete.
One side of their nature has undergone atro-
phy, with the result that they have lost touch
with their living fellow men and women.
    Their programme is to convert the whole
world into an epicene institution--an epicene
institution in which man and woman shall
everywhere work side by side at the selfsame
tasks and for the selfsame pay.
    These wishes can never by any possibility be
realised.  Even in animals--I say even, be-
cause in these at least one of the sexes has
periods of complete quiscence--male and fe-
male cannot be safely worked side by side, ex-
cept when they are incomplete.
    While in the human species safety can be
obtained, it can be obtained only at the price
of continual constraint.                                                             170
    And even then woman, though she protests
that she does not require it, and that she does
not receive it, practically always does receive
differential treatment at the hands of man.
    It would be well, I often think, that every
woman should be clearly told--and the woman
of the world will immediately understand--
that when man sets his face against the pro-
posal to bring in an epicene world, he does so
because he can do his best work only in sur-
roundings where he is perfectly free from sug-
gestion and from restraint, and from the onus
which all differential treatment imposes.
    And I may add in connexion with my own
profession that when a medical man asks that
he should not be the yoke-fellow of a medical
woman he does so also because he would wish
to keep up as between men and women--even
when they are doctors--some of the modesties
and reticences upon which our civilisation has
been built up.
    Now the medical woman is of course never                         171
on the side of modesty,1 or in favour of any
reticences.  Her desire for knowledge does
not allow of these.
    (d)  Inextricably mixed up with the types
which we have been discussing is the type of
woman whom Dr. Leonard Williams's recent
letter brought so distinctly before our eyes--
the woman who is poisoned by her misplaced
self-esteem; and who flies out at every man
who does not pay homage to her intellect.
    She is the woman who is affronted when a
man avers that for him the glory of woman lies
in her power of attraction, in her capacity for
motherhood, and in unswerving allegiance to
the ethics which are special to her sex.
    I have heard such an intellectually embit-
tered woman say, though she had been self-
denyingly taken to wife, that "never in the
whole course of her life had a man ever as much
as done her a kindness."

   1 To those who have out of inadvertence and as laymen and
women misunderstood, it may be explained that the issue here
discussed is the second in order of the three which are set out
on p. 139  (supra ).                                                                      172

    The programme of this type of woman is,
as a preliminary, to compel man to admit her
claim to be his intellectual equal; and, that
done, to compel him to divide up everything
with her to the last farthing, and so make her
also his financial equal.
    And her journals exhibit to us the kind of
parliamentary representative she desiderates.
He humbly, hat in hand, asks for his orders
from a knot of washerwomen standing arms
    (e)  Following in the wake of these em-
bittered human beings come troops of girls
just grown up.
    All these will assure you, these young girls
--and what is seething in their minds is stir-
ring also in the minds in the girls in the col-
leges and schools which are staffed by un-
married suffragists--that woman has suffered
all manner of indignity and injustice at the
hands of man.

    2 I give, in response to a request, the reference: Votes for
Women, March 18, 1910, p. 381.                                                     173

    And these young girls have been told about
the intellectual, and moral, and financial value
of woman--such tales as it never entered into
the heart of man to conceive.
    The programme of these young women is to
be married upon their own terms.  Man shall
--so runs their scheme--work for their sup-
port--to that end giving up his freedom, and
putting himself under orders, for many hours
of the day; but they themselves must not be
asked to give up any of their liberty to him,
or to subordinate themselves to his interests,
or to obey him in anything.
    To obey a man would be to commit the
unpardonable sin.
    It is not necessary, in connexion with a
movement which proceeds on the lines set out
above, any further to labour the point that
there is in it an element of mental disorder.
It is plain that it is there.
    There is also a quite fatuous element in the
programmes of the militant suffragist.  We
have this element, for instance, in the doctrine                           174
that, notwithstanding the fact that the con-
ditions of the labour market deny it to her,
woman ought to receive the same wage as a
man for the same work.
    This doctrine is fatuous, because it leaves
out of sight that, even if woman succeeds in
doing the same work as man, he has behind him
a much larger reserve of physical strength.
As soon as a time of strain comes, areserve of
strength and freedom from periodic indisposi-
tion is worth paying extra for.
    Fatuous also is the dogma that woman
ought to have the same pay for the same work
--fatuous because it leaves out of sight that
woman's commercial value in many of the best
fields of work is subject to a very heavy dis-
count by reason of the fact that she cannot,
like a male employee, work cheek by jowl with
a male employer; nor work among men as a
man with his fellow employees.
    So much for the woman suffragist's protest
that she can conceive of no reason for a dif-
ferential rate of pay for man.                                                    175
    Quite as fatuous are the marriage projects of
the militant suffragist.  Every woman of the
world could tell her--whispering it into her
private ear--that if a sufficient number of men
should come to the conclusion that it was not
worth their while to marry except on the terms
of fair give-and-take, the suffragist woman's
demands would have to come down.
    It is not at all certain that the institution of
matrimony--which, after all, is the great in-
strument in the levelling up of the financial
situation of woman--can endure apart from
some willing subordination on the part of the
    It will have been observed that there is in
these programmes, in addition to the element
of mental disorder and to the element of the
fatuous, which have been animadverted upon,
also a very ugly element of dishonesty.  In
reality the very kernel of the militant suffrage
movement is the element of immorality.
    There is here not only immorality in the                                 176
ends which are in view, but also in the methods
adopted for the attainment of those ends.
    We may restrict ourselves to indicating
wherein lies the immorality of the methods.
    There is no one who does not discern that
woman in her relations to physical force stands
in quite a different position to man.
    Out of that different relation there must of
necessity shape itself a special code of ethics
for woman.  And to violate that code must be
for woman immorality.
    So far as I have seen, no one in this con-
troversy has laid his finger upon the essential
point in the relations of woman to physical
    It has been stated--and in the main quite
truly stated--that woman in the mass cannot,
like man, back up her vote by bringing physi-
cal force into play.
    But the woman suffragist here counters by
insisting that she as an individual may have
more physical force than an individual man.                              177
    And it is quite certain--and it did not need
suffragist raids and window-breaking riots to
demonstrate it--that woman in the mass can
bring a certain amount of physical force to
    The true inwardness of the relation in which
woman stands to physical force lies not in the
question of her having it at command, but in
the fact that she cannot put it forth without
placing herself within the jurisdiction of an
ethical law.
    The law against which she offends when she
resorts to physical violence is not an ordinance
of man; it is not written in the statutes of any
State; it has not been enunciated by any hu-
man law-giver.  It belongs to those unwritten,
and unassailable, and irreversible command-
ments of religion, [Greek 1 ],
which we suddenly and mysteriously become
aware of when we see them violated.
    The law which the militant suffragist has
violated is among the ordinances of that code
which forbade us even to think of employing                            178

    [ 1 From Antigone by Sophocles; "the unwritten
and unassailable statutes given to us by the gods. "
Sir Almroth had it in the original Greek with Greek fonts.]

our native Indian troops against the Boers;
which brands it as an ignominy when a man
leaves his fellow in the lurch and saves his
own life; and which makes it an outrage for a
man to do violence to a woman.
    To violate any ordinance of that code is
more dishonourable than to transgress every
statutory law.
    We see acknowledgment of it in the fact
that even the uneducated man in the street
resents it as an outrage to civilisation when he
sees a man strike a blow at a woman.
    But to the man who is committing the out-
rage it is a thing simply unaccountable that
any one should fly out at him.
    In just such a case is the militant suffragist.
She cannot understand why any one should
think civilisation is outraged when she scuffles
in the street mud with a policeman.
    If she asks for an explanation, it perhaps
behoves a man to supply it.
    Up to the present in the whole civilised world
there has ruled a truce of God as between man                        179
and woman.  That truce is based upon the
solemn covenant that within the frontiers of
civilisation (outside them of course the rule
lapses) the weapon of physical force may not
be applied by man against woman; nor by
woman against man.
    Under this covenant, the reign of force
which prevails in the world without comes to
an end when a man enters his household.
    Under this covenant that half of the human
race which most needs protection is raised up
above the waves of violence.
    Within the terms of this compact everything
that woman has received from man, and every-
thing man receives from woman, is given as a
free gift.
    Again, under this covenant a full half of the
programme of Christianity has been realised;
and a foundation has been laid upon which it
may be possible to build higher; and perhaps
finally in the ideal future to achieve the aboli-
tion of physical violence and war.
    And it is this solemn covenant, the covenant                         180
so faithfully kept by man, which has been
violated by the militant suffragist in the in-
terest of her morbid, stupid, ugly, and dis-
honest programmes.
    Is it wonder if men feel that they have had
enough of the militant suffragist, and that the
State would be well rid of her if she were
crushed under the soldiers' shields like the
traitor woman at the Tarpeian rock [in ancient Rome where traitors were killed] ?
    We may turn now to that section of woman
suffragists--one is almost inclined to doubt
whether it any longer exists--which is opposed
to all violent measures, though it numbers in
its ranks women who are stung to the quick
by the thought that man, who will concede the
vote to the lowest and most degraded of his
own sex, withholds it from "even the noblest
woman in England."
    When that excited and somewhat pathetic
appeal is addressed to us, we have only to con-
sider what a vote really gives.
    The parliamentary vote is an instrument--
and a quite astonishly disappointing instru-                               181
ment it is--for obtaining legislation; that is,
for directing that the agents of the State shall
in certain defined circumstances bring into ap-
plication the weapon of physical compulsion.
    Further, the vote is an instrument by which
we give to this or that group of statesmen an-
thority to supervise and keep in motion the
whole machinery of compulsion.
    To take examples.  A vote cast in favour
of a Bill for the prohibition of alcohol--if we
could find opportunity for giving a vote on
such a question--would be a formal expression
of our desire to apply, through the agency of
the paid servants of the State, that same physi-
cal compulsion which Mrs. Carrie Nation put
into application in her "bar-smashing" cru-
    And a vote which puts a Government into
office in a country where murder is punishable
by death is a vote which, by agency of the
hangman, puts the noose round the neck of
every convicted murderer.
    So that the difference between voting and                            182
direct resort to force is simply the difference
between exerting physical violence in person,
and exerting it through the intermediary of
an agent of the State.
    The thing, therefore, that is withheld from
"the noblest woman in England," while it is
conceded to the man who is lacking in nobility
of character, is in the end only an instrument
by which she might bring into application
physical force.
    When one realises that that same noblest
woman of England would shrink from any
personal exercise of violence, one would have
thought that it would have come home to her
that it is not precisely her job to commission
a man forcibly to shut up a public-house, or
to hang a murderer.
    One cannot help asking oneself whether, if
she understood what a vote really means, the
noblest woman in England would still go on
complaining of the bitter insult which is done
to her in withholding the vote.
    But the opportunist--the practical politi-                             183
cian, as he calls himself--will perhaps here in-
tervene, holding some such language as this:
--"Granting all you say, granting, for the sake
of argument, that the principle of giving votes
to woman is unsound, and that evil must ulti-
mately come of it, how can you get over the
fact that no very conspicuous harm has re-
sulted from woman suffrage in the countries
which have adopted it?  And can any firm
reasons be rendered for the belief that the giv-
ing of votes to women in England would be
any whit more harmful than in the Colo-
    A very few words will supply the answer.
    The evils of woman suffrage lie, first, in the
fact that to give the vote to women is to give
it to voters who as a class are quite incom-
petent to adjudicate upon political issues;
secondly, in the fact that women are a class of
voters who cannot effectively back up their
votes by force; and, thirdly, in the fact that
it may seriously embroil man and woman.
    The first two aspects of the question have                            184
already in this controversy been adequately
dealt with.  There remains the last issue.
    From the point of view of this issue the con-
ditions which we have to deal with in this coun-
try are the absolute antithesis of those ruling
in any of the countries and States which have
adopted woman suffrage.
    When woman suffrage was adopted in these
countries it was adopted in some for one
reason, in others for another.  In some it was
adopted because it appealed to the doctrinaire [theoretical]
politician as the proper logical outcome of a
democratic and Socialistic policy.  In others
it was adopted because opportunist politicians
saw in it an instrument by which they might
gain electioneering advantages.  So much was
this the case that it sometimes happened that
the woman's vote was sprung upon a com-
munity which was quite unprepared and in-
different to it.
    The cause of woman suffrage was thus in
the countries of which we speak neither in its
inception nor in its realisation a question of                               185
revolt of woman against the oppression of
man.  It had, and has, no relation to the pro-
grammes of the militant suffragists as set out
at the outset of this letter.
    By virtue of this, all the evils which spring
from the embroiling of man and woman have
in the countries in question been conspicuously
    Instead of seeing himself confronted by a
section of embittered and hostile women voters
which might at any time outvote him and help
to turn an election, man there sees his women
folk voting practically everywhere in accord-
ance with his directions, and lending him a
hand to outvote his political opponent.
    Whether or no such voting is for the good
of the common weal is beside our present ques-
tion.  But it is clearly an arrangement which
leads to amity and peace between a man and
his womenkind, and through these to good-will
towards all women.
    In England everything is different.
    If woman suffrage comes in here, it will                                186
have come as a surrender to a very violent
feminist agitation--an agitation which we have
traced back to our excess female population
and the associated abnormal physiological con-
    If ever Parliament concedes the vote to
woman in England, it will be accepted by the
militant suffragist, not as an eirenicon, but as a
victory which she will value only for the better
carrying on of her fight à outrance [to the bitter end] against the
oppression and injustice of man.
    A conciliation with hysterical revolt is
neither an act of peace; nor will it bring
    Nor would the conferring of the vote upon
women carry with it any advantages from the
point of view of finding a way out of the ma-
terial entanglements in which woman is en-
meshed, and thus ending the war between man
and woman.
    One has only to ask oneself whether or not
it would help the legislator in remodelling the
divorce or the bastardy laws if he had con-                              187
joined with him an unmarried militant suf-
fragist as assessor.
    Peace will come again.  It will come when
woman ceases to believe and to teach all man-
ner of evil of man despitefully.  It will come
when she ceases to impute to him as a crime her
own natural disabilities, when she ceases to
resent the fact that man cannot and does not
wish to work side by side with her.  And peace
will return when every woman for whom there
is no room in England seeks "rest" beyond the
sea, "each one in the house of her husband," and
when the woman who remains in England
comes to recognise that she can, without sacri-
fice of dignity, give a willing subordination to
the husband or father, who, when all is said
and done, earns and lays up money for her.
                                        A. E. WRIGHT.
March 27, 1912.                                                                          188

Prepared by Thomas Pollock aka Spartacus,
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