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TSSS'Tgi"'"} No. 3352 October 3, 1908. |^i,BCcur
X. A Song of Semiramis. By Ethel Talbot .... Nation 2
XI. Christmas Eve at Sea. John Masejleld. 2
ASONG OF SEMlRAMlS.
Who hath loved Queen Semiramis,
These many years by visions led, Who hath desired her mouth to kiss,
A lotus-blossom, amorous, red;
He should have love for wine and bread, Loving her once in Babylon; Her beauty shamed the mounting sun—
Semiramis the queen is dead.
For wonder of Semiramis
All the brown world bent down with dread, She was a glorious queen, l wis,
Splendid and shameful, all men said:
Beauty she had in her soul's stead. Now is her empery foredone, ln Babylon the lizards run,
Semiramis the queen is dead.
The splendor of Semiramis
ls sunken in a shallow bed, For sound of lutes the serpents hiss.
Her clamorous lovers all are fled.
None sitteth at her shrouded head: Of singing-girls she hath not one. Whispering joy, now joy is none:
Semiramis the queen is dead.
CHRlSTMAS EVE AT SEA.
A wind is nestling "south and soft," Cooing a quiet country tune,
The calm sea sighs, and far aloft The sails are ghostly in the moon.
Unquiet ripples lisp and purr, A block there pipes and chirps i' the sheave,
The wheel-ropes jar, the reef-points stir Faintly—and it is Christmas Eve.
The hushed sea seems to hold her breath, And o'er the giddy swaying spars, Silent and excellent as Death. The dim blue skies are bright with stars.
Dear God. they shone in Palestine Like this, and yon pale moon serene Looked down among the lowing kine: On Mary and the Nazarene.
The angels called from deep to deep.
Startling the flocks of silly sheep,
To-night beneath the dripping bows.
The moon goes nodding down the west.
l charge you, brothers, sing Nowell, Sex Judmorum milUh est.
They are but simple wild-flowers at
the best. Gathered in sheltered nook, by wood
and mere; But take them—all June's sunshine
lies confessed To seeing eyes, even in blossoms sere.
Though this is but a honeysuckle
spray. And that is but a homely meadow
flower, This may restore to you a golden day. And that may breathe of an enchanted
lf they have hidden sweetness, may it call
Back to your mind old fragrant dear delights,—
All you have dreamed of happiness, and all
Your cloudless days and rare midsummer nights.
Perchance some flower to you is memory—
This hnrebell from the sod, this cornflower blue—
Dear, take them as a little gift from me,
Haply l gathered some of them for you.
Eli'.alteth li. Pierey.
The Wtndsor Magazine.
THE WOMEN'S ANTl-SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT.
ln June 1889—nearly twenty years ago—an "Appeal against Female Suffrage" was issued in this Review. lt was signed by about 104 names, headed by the veteran Lady Stanley of Alderley, whose long social service, combined with her marked independence and originality, made of her, in this matter, a leader whom other women were proud to follow. Among the names are many, very many, of which the bearers have now passed away. The list was rich in the names of women remarkable for ability or high character, and of these many were also the wives of famous men—Mrs. Goschen, Mrs. Westcott, Mrs. Church, Mrs. T. H. Green, Mrs. Leslie Stephen, Mrs. Huxley, Mrs. Hort, Mrs. Spencer Walpole, Mrs. W. E. Foster, Mrs. Matthew Arnold, Mrs. Arnold Toynbee, Mrs. Max Mfiller, Mrs. Seeley, Mr*. Bagehot—whose names therefore conveyed a double protest against a national danger.1
lf we look at the appeal itself, and compare it with the arguments advanced to-day against woman suffrage, we see that the case put forward is substantially the same, but that the process of time has in some respects strengthened the older pleas, while in others it has made it necessary to add to them. The "Appeal" was written immediately after the passage of the Local Government Act creating County Councils as we now know them, and it expressed hearty sympathy
with all the recent efforts which have been made to give women a more important part in those affairs of the community where their interests and those of men are equally concerned. . .
■ ln furtherance of this Appeal a Protest against Female Suffrage was widelv circulated amongst women readers, and a long list of signatures was published in the August No. of the same year— Editor, -' Nineteenth Century and After.:
As voters for or members of School Boards, Boards of Guardians, and other important public bodies, women have now opportunities for public usefuiness which must promote the growth of character, and at the same time strengthen among them the social sense and habit . . . . The care of the sick and the insane; the treatment of the poor; the education of children; in all these matters and others besides, they have made good their claim to larger and more extended powers.
Since these words were written what may be called the Local Government powers of women—powers especially recognized and supported by this earlier manifesto—have been still further extended, and, finally, the right of women not only to vote for, but to become elected members of County and Borough Councils, has been conceded, thus bringing to a successful issue a movement covering some forty years of the national life.
At the same time it will perhaps strike a thoughtful reader of the earlier document, as he or she looks back over the twenty years which separate us from it, that important as women's share in Local Government has become, female suffrage as such has had very little to do with it, or with the general progress of reform. Women have been placed on local bodies by the votes of men, or by co-option, rather than by the votes of women; probably just as good or even better results might have been achieved by the American system, which nominatex women—through the Governor or the Mayor—to sit on State or Municipal boards. And outside the Local Government sphere altogether a large amount of both legislative and administrative reform has been secured by the efforts of women, official and nonofficial, whose wide experience of life. together with their trained ability, acting on the minds and appealing to the justice of men, have borne admirable fruit. The "Remonstrants" of twenty years ago maintained that "during the past half-century all the principal injustices of the law towards women have been amended by means of the existing constitutional machinery; and with regard to those that remain, we see no signs of any unwillingness on the part of Parliament to deal with them." Parliament in truth has been dealing with them, in the slow but steady English fashion, ever since; and if much is still unachieved, it is because the reforms yet to be won depend upon the growth of public opinion and moral conviction among both average men and average women,—a growth which is still in many important respects—l refer especially to matters concerning the relation of the sexes—weak and ineffectual.
Thus, while the advancing education of women, and their greater social power and efficiency have given them an ever-increasing influence on both law-making and administration, the important suffrage—let me repeat— which they possessed during the whole period has played an extremely insignificant part in the process. lt has been very difficult to get them to vote in any numbers; only the pressure of religious interests has achieved it; and with regard to the important powers in respect of women and children possessed by local bodies, the woman vote has notoriously meant little or nothing.
This is perhaps one of the most striking features of the twenty years which lie between us and the manifesto of '89. lt seems to show that women are not naturally voters, and that the instruments which suit and serve them best are of another kind.
But while the main case to be presented against the suffrage does not differ now materially from the main
case as it was presented in '89, it cannot be denied that the circumstances of to-day are different from those of twenty years ago. The speech printed below enumerates some of those recent events which are in all our minds. Urged by them, the women of to-day, who oppose female suffrage, can no longer content themselves with "Appeals" or "Remonstrances." We have reached perhaps the crisis of the movement, and an active propaganda must be met by one no less active. Last year the first steps in opposition were taken; and in a few weeks 37,000 signatures were collected. This year a National Women's Anti-Suffrage League has been started, evoking the same instant and widespread response, and on the 21st of July a crowded meeting, under the presidency of the Countess of Jersey, was held at the Westminster Palace Hotel, for the purpose of approving the Constitution, and adopting the Manifesto of the new League. The task of proposing the Manifesto fell to myself, and the editor of this Review, renewing the friendly co-operation shown by Sir James Knowles in initiating the appeal of '89, has expressed a wish to print the speech made on that occasion. No one can be more conscious of its short-comings and omissions than myself. But it shows, l hope, that the newly started League is very much in earnest; and that while the old arguments of '89 are as strong as ever, time has added not a few new ones to our store. The manifesto ran as follows:
1. lt is time that the women who are opposed to the concesson of the parliamentary franchise to women should make themselves fully and widely heard. The arguments on the other side have been put with great ability and earnestness, in season and out of season, and enforced by methods legitimate and illegitimate.
2. An Anti-Suffrage League has therefore been formed, and all women who sympathize with its objects are earnestly requested to join lt .
3. The matter is urgent. Unless those who hold that the success of the women's suffrage movement would bring disaster upon England are prepared to take immediate and effective action, judgment may go by default and our country drift towards a momentous revolution, both social and political, before it has realized the dangers involved.
4. lt is sometimes said that the concession of the franchise is "inevitable," and that a claim of this kind once started and vehemently pressed must be granted. Let those who take this view consider the case of America. A vigorous campaign in favor of women's suffrage has been carried on in the States for more than a generation. After forty years the American agitation has been practically defeated. The English agitation must be defeated in the same way by the steady work and argument of women themselves.
5. Let us state the main reason why this League opposes the concession of the parliamentary vote to women:
(a) Because the spheres of men and women, owing to natural causes, are essentially different, and therefore their share in the management of the State should be different.
(6) Because the complex modern State depends for its very existence on naval and military power, diplomacy, finance, and the great mining, constructive, shipping and transport industries, in none of which can women take any practical part . Yet it is upon these matters, and the vast interests involved in them, that the work of Parliament largely turns.
(o) Because by the concession of the local government vote and the admission of women to County and Borough Councils, the nation has opened a wide sphere of public work and influence to women, which is within their powers. To make proper use of it, however, will tax all the energies that women have to spare, apart from the care of the home and the development of the lndividual life.
(d) Because the influence of women in social causes will be diminished rather than increased by the possession
of the parliamentary vote. At present they stand. in matters of socal reform, apart from and beyond party politics, and are listened to accordingly. The legitimate influence of women in politics—in all classes, rich and poor—will always be in proportion to their education and common sense. But the deciding power of the parliamentary vote should be left to men, whose physical force is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the State.
(e) Because all the reforms which are put forward as reasons for the vote can be obtained by other means than the vote, as is proved by the general history of the laws relating to women and children during the past century. The channels of public opinion are always freely open to women. Moreover, the services which women can with advantage render to the nation in the field of social and educational reform, and in the investigation of social problems, have been recognized by Parliament. Women have been included in Royal Commissions, and admitted to a share in local government. The true path of progress seems to He in further development along these lines. Representative women, for instance, might be brought into closer consultative relation with Government departments, in matters where the special interests of women are concerned.
(f) Because any measure for the enfranchisement of women must either (1) concede the vote to women on the same terms as to men, and thereby in practice involve an unjust and invidious limitation; or (2) by giving the vote to wives of voters tend to the introduction of political differences into domestic life; or (3) by the adoption of adult suffrage, which seems the inevitable result of admitting the principle, place the female vote in an overpowering majority.
(a) Because, finally, the danger which might arise from the concession of woman suffrage, in the case of a State burdened with such complex and farreaching responsibilities as England, is out of all proportion to the risk run by those smaller communities which have adopted it. The admission to full political power of a number of voters debarred by nature and circum