The first post from new columnist Rt. Hon. Humphrey Horswell, QSM.
I have always thought that giving women the vote is a step too far.
Who could argue with the basic principle that men and woman should have equal rights? In the ideal world, of course, such a proposition would be inarguable.
But the people now clamouring to allow women to vote may be making a grave error. What of the honour of our ladies? And think of the children!
A woman may well have as much right as her husband to have a say in the affairs of the nation, but what a woman has a right to and what is good for her are quite different things.
Every sensible person knows that a woman’s natural place is as the servant and housekeeper of her husband or father. This is not because women are any less able than their husbands. Indeed, in many activities, such as stitch-craft and baking, the fairer sex is by far the superior one. Women may not have an understanding of the finer points of politics and statesmanship, but a respectable lady could still be trusted to make a more sensible voting decision than a mere labourer or a Chinaman.
But then no respectable woman would even discuss politics, because every society lady knows that one does not mingle discussions about the affairs of state with idle chatter about babies and sewing. A woman does grave dishonour to her husband when she allows herself to be seen as politically informed and independent of thought, because her proper role is to be her husband’s obedient servant in all things.
It may seem entirely reasonable that a woman should be permitted to follow her own conscience and determine her own path in life. But a woman’s husband or father is the best protector of her virtue, and a young woman left to her own devices puts her modesty and the good name of her family in danger. A woman permitted to think for herself is only a step away from disgrace. If you give her the right to vote, will she not then demand the right to work? Who can honestly say they are not revolted by the thought of women in commerce?
We must also consider what is most conducive to the happiness of our wives and daughters. A woman who is compliant to her husband’s wishes in all respects is a most genteel creature, and her home is a blessed one. Her happiness is best served by confining her thoughts to the children, the laundry and the table.
Do not be seduced by those who call for women to have the franchise. Their arguments may seem reasonable and just, but what purpose would giving woman the vote serve? Any respectable woman, had she the right to vote, would simply follow the directions of her master when casting that vote. So the proposal offers nothing for respectable women from good families, and only encourages women who are already dangerously independent of mind to embarrass their families. And if a woman is set on a course of embarrassing her family, who dares to wonder where that course may lead her?
The virtue of our ladies needs to be preserved at all costs, but let us also consider the place of the children. Consider the young child raised in a family where his mother has voted in defiance of her husband’s instructions. The lives of our young ones are difficult enough without the shame of having a mother who voted for the Liberals or who voted in favour of progressive social measures. The stigma of having a mother with political opinions is one no child should have to bear.
We must not allow the rhetoric of civil rights to cloud our judgement. Enfranchising women would be a backward step for our ladies. As their guardians and masters we must protect their honour and virtue, and we must not permit our children to suffer the shame that comes with having a mother who thinks for herself.
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