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only to recall to our readers those celebrated personages better known in France than elsewhere, but we have endeavoured more particularly to point out the necessity for and the practical utility of Molière's method of forming the company,' the practicality of the Sociétariat, of a membership which in fact opened a door between the world and the stage. Corneille had, with Baron's co-operation, formed a troupe—and nothing but a troupe. The task of founding the Théâtre Français devolved on Molière. When, a few weeks ago, tout Paris was loud in welcoming M. Claretie 20 to the Maison de Richelieu (the Académie), it was, let be it repeated, as much in honour of the Director of the Comédie Française as of the author of Pierille, Une Drôlesse, Les Voyages Parisiens, Le Dernier Baiser, and many other delightful novels fallen some years ago from M. Claretie's pen.
The day when the Duc de Choiseul and the Duc d'Aumont, in 1780, had given Mademoiselle Clairon the benefit of their support and influence in putting an end to the absurdes rigueurs of the • Excommunication,' was only separated by a century from the day when Coquelin, Delaunay, and Got obtained, as · Professors at the Conservatoire,' not as actors,' the decoration of the Légion d'Honneur. The election of the head administrator' of the Théâtre Français to a seat among the “ Forty' of the Académie is, after a lapse of two hundred years, an atonement for the non-election of the founder himself. There is a significance in this retour de justice which should not be lost sight of.
M. Renan, who was the récipiendaire on the occasion of the 22nd of February last, distinctly alluded to the literary importance and social status of the Maison de Molière ;' and it is by his masterly summary of a subject 'given in outline and no more’through these imperfect pages that we will close. • La Comédie Française,' 21 said M. Renan, i et ses intérêts sont inséparables de ceux de l'esprit Français. Ils ont prospéré entre vos mains. Votre nomination, Monsieur, représente donc un salut de notre compagnie à la vôtre, gardienne aussi de la langue et du goût de la nation.'
YETTA BLAZE DE BURY.
20 M. Claretie, who was elected a member of the Academy at forty-nine years of age (an exceptionally early age for such a distinction), first signalised himself in 1867 by his articles in the Nain Jaune and Diogène, under the pseudonym of Olivier Jallin. He wrote also for L'artiste and L'Avenir National. He made his first mark as a novelist in La Pressc by writing • M. de Cupidon.' In the early part of his career he entertained Radical views, but these were soon modified, and his election to the Directorship of the Théâtre Français in 1887 completed his conversion. His address on the occasion of his entering the Academy was in accordance with the place where it was delivered, and shows the altered tendency of his opinions.
21 M. Renan's discourse on the occasion of M. Claretie's reception at the Académie Française on the 22nd February, 1889.
THE APPEAL AGAINST
The Protest in last month's number of this Review, signed by peeresses and other ladies, against women's suffrage suggests an historical parallel. In the early part of the reign of George the Third, it is well known that Nonconformists were subject to many humiliating disabilities. They were liable to be thrown into prison if they came within five miles of a corporate town; all offices of honour and emolument were closed to them; the mere holding of their religious services was a statutable offence. It is true that in 1772 the Five Mile Act and the Conventicle Act were more savage than the tenour of public opinion, and their cruel provisions were seldom acted upon ; but while they remained upon the statute book every Nonconformist held his freedom upon sufferance; it was therefore determined to make an attempt to repeal these laws, and with this object the Nonconformist Relief Bill was brought forward in the House of Commons. Its supporters began to be confident of success; the Ministry of the day had shown themselves very favourably disposed to the Bill; it commanded a majority in the House of Commons, and was approved by public opinion outside the House. The opponents of the measure almost feared that further resistance would be fruitless, when their position was suddenly fortified by a petition from dissenting ministers praying Parliament to maintain all the disabilities to which they and their brethren were subjected. Burke held these petitioners up to the contempt they deserved in a great speech : Two bodies of men,' he said, 'approach our House and prostrate themselves at our bar: “We ask not honours," say
the one,“ we have no aspiring wishes, no views upon the purple; ... we pray, for the sake of Him who is the Lord of conscience, that we may not be treated as vagrants for acting agreeably to the dictates of internal rectitude.” “We, on the contrary,” say the Dissenters who petition against Dissenters, “enjoy every species of indulgence we can wish for; and, as we are content, we pray that others, who are not content, may meet with no relief.”'
The position of women who protest in favour of the electoral 1 Early History of Charles James Fox. By Sir G. 0. Trevelyan, M.P., pp. 448, 449.
disabilities of women is here compressed into a sentence. “We enjoy every species of indulgence we can wish for; and, as we are content, we pray that others, who are not content, may meet with no relief.' The Dissenters who petitioned against Dissenters appear to have adopted a line of argument usual to persons in their position. They were not opposed to toleration or to religious liberty, but they feared that more would be lost than would be gained by advances in the direction of the Nonconformist Relief Bill. That which would be gained, they argued, in the direction of toleration and freedom of conscience by the passing of the Bill, would be more than outweighed by what would be lost through the encouragement that would be given to Socinianism and other heresies.
The ladies who sign the Nineteenth Century Protest against the enfranchisement of women adopt a very similar attitude. They do not wish it to be supposed that they are opposed to the recent improvements that have taken place in the education of women, or to their increased activity in various kinds of public work. "All these changes,' they say, 'together with the great improvements in women's education which have accompanied them, we cordially welcome. But We believe that the emancipating process has now reached the limits fixed by the physical constitution of women. In other passages they attribute the greatest value to the influence of women in politics, recognising it as a moral force, which is likely to grow stronger as the results of the improved education of women make themselves felt. In the concluding paragraph they, with some want of humour, I think, asseverate that nothing is further from their minds, 'than to seek to depreciate the position and importance of women. To acknowledge the importance of women conveys a height and depth and breadth of condescension which is difficult to measure. A lady last year at Lucerne, admiring the view of lake-and mountains, said in a similar spirit, 'It is lovely: my daughter says, if she had made it herself she could not have done better. And we may take a grain of comfort, that the writer of the Protest gives her san
ction and approval to the scheme of creation. She acknowledges thé
she portance' of half the human family; if she had made it herselfi
din could hardly, perhaps, have done better. Mr. Disraeli once sai, the House of Commons, referring to a speech which had just been delivered by Mr. W. E. Forster: ‘The right honourable gentleman bas acknowledged in the handsomest manner that the agricultural labourer is a human being. The hundred and four ladies have acknowledged in the handsomest way the importance of women.' Let us inquire a little in detail into the line of argument adopted in the Protest, and also analyse somewhat the list of names by which the arguments are supported.
The Protest speaks in congratulatory words of all recent changes which have given extended opportunities of usefulness to women.
Special reference is made to improvements in education, and among other subjects mentioned are the care of the sick and the insane, the treatment of the poor, the education of children: in all these matters, and in others besides, they (women] have made good their claim to larger and more extended powers. We rejoice in it. But, on reading the names appended to the Protest, the most striking fact about them is that hardly any out of the hundred and four ladies who now rejoice in these changes have helped them while their issue was in any way doubtful. They hardly deserve even to be called the patrons of any effort to improve the social, legal, or educational position of women-unless, indeed, we adopt Dr. Johnson's famous definition of the word "patron': 'Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached the ground, encumbers him with help?' A good many of the hundred and four hardly preserved an attitude of neutrality whilst the changes they now rejoice in were struggling for life in the water;' while success was still uncertain, many a backhander has been dealt at them by the same ladies who now announce themselves as rejoicing in their success. Very few are there, among the hundred and four, who moved purse, tongue, or pen in support of these changes before they became accomplished facts. This is the general character of the list of names. But let it be at once acknowledged that there are exceptions, chief of whom is the lady whose name heads the list—the Dowager Lady Stanley of Alderley. She has been a constant, a generous, and an outspoken friend of better education for women of all classes. There are other exceptions, but they are less striking, and I think they could easily be counted on the fingers of one hand. The women to whose initiative we owe the improvements which the hundred and four rejoice in, are not to he found in the Nineteenth Century list. Work for others is one of the most
educating influences either man or woman can have. Professor Mars
hall recently said in his presidential address at the Co-operative
Stress: 'He who lived and worked only for himself, or even only for bl.
"imself and his family, led an incomplete life. To complete it
eeded to work with others for some broad and high aim.' The spaen who have worked with others for the object of lifting the lives of women to a higher level educationally, socially, and industrially, are not in the Nineteenth Century list. The names of the women to whose unselfish and untiring labours we owe what has been done for women during the last twenty-five years in education, in social and philanthropic work, in proprietary rights, in some approach towards justice as regards the guardianship of children, in opening the means of medical education, are conspicuous by their absence, and for an excellent reason : they support the extension of the suffrage to duly qualified women. At the head of the educational movement for women are Miss Emily Davies, Miss Clough,
Mrs. Henry Sidgwick, Miss Dorothea Beale of Cheltenham, Mrs. William Grey, Miss Shirreff, Miss Buss, and Miss Eleanor Smith of Oxford. They, and many others too numerous to mention, to whom the girls and women of England owe a revival of learning hardly less remarkable than that of the sixteenth century, are with us in the matter of the franchise ; so are the Misses Davenport Hill, Miss Florence Nightingale, Miss Cons, Mrs. Josephine Butler, Mrs. Bright Lucas, Mrs. Barnett, and Miss Irby, as representing the best women's work in philanthropy of various kinds ; so are Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, Mrs. Garrett Anderson, M.D., Dr. Sophia Jex Blake, Miss Edith Pechey, M.D., and, I believe, all the women who have helped to open the medical profession to women.
A further consideration of the Nineteenth Century list of names shows that it contains a very large preponderance of ladies to whom the lines of life have fallen in pleasant places. There are very few among them of the women who have had to face the battle of life alone, to earn their living by daily hard work. Women of this class generally feel the injustice of their want of representation. The weight of taxation falls upon them just as if they were men, and they do not see why representation should not go with taxation in their case, simply because their physical strength is less than that of men. No one proposes to relieve them of fiscal burdens because of 'the limits fixed by the physical constitution of women.' A lady of the class to which I refer has placed her case before me in a letter which she permits me to quote. She writes :
I pay rent and taxes 1301. I have nothing but what I earn by painting, teaching, and writing, and naturally have to work exceedingly hard. My stepmother and I let our ground floor to reduce our rent. Now here is the absurdity. Our lodger, a young man doing absolutely nothing but amuse himself, has a vote. The owner of the house, working early and late (somewhat useful, I hope, in her generation, at all events, not useless) because she is a woman is not allowed to vote. Again, I may vote for parish guardians, of whom I know nothing, but for an M.P., of whose opinions I can judge, I may not vote.
There is nothing in the Nineteenth Century Protest which touches the cogency of a plain, matter-of-fact statement like this. Equally unanswered by the Protest is the case for women's suffrage as presented by those women who are employers of labour, and through whose employment a number of men became qualified to vote. It cannot be seriously argued that the means of making an intelligent choice between voting for this candidate or that, is not as much within the reach of women of education and property, as within that of their footmen, ploughmen, or other employés.
A large part of the Protest is directed against women taking an active part in the turmoil of political life. This has nothing to do with voting or not voting. For instance, women vote in school board elections ; but they can please themselves about taking part in the