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The Lyttelton Times. SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 1890.

Ok Thursday Sir John Hall made an effort to push on the claim of -women' to the suffrage. The effort was not successful. Seeing the way in which it was made, we do not see how it could have been expected to be successful. We do not suppose that Sir John ventured to hope that it would be successful. If he did, he stood alone in his sanguine expectation. We do not blame Sir John for what he did. He was in a difficult position. Having carried an abstract resolution in favour of female franchise by a large majority,, be felt himself compelled in honour to strike a blow for the cause. No, doubt he had been urged on by his friends and sympathisers. At the same time ho was blocked by the compact entered into between the Government and the Opposition, relative to concluding the business of the session. That compact provided that certain business should be done, and that nothing else should be done; no legislation of a general character was to be introduced. - After assenting to that, the House would assuredly not have been justified in making so gigantic and sweeping a constitutional change as the sudden admission of all the women in the Colony to the franchise. We will go further, and say that no moribund House would be justified in carrying such a reform without a direct and strong expression of opinion from the country. There is much to ho said for woman suffrage —it is one of the coming questions ; but this Colony has never pronounced upon it, has never seriously considered it. We have not the least objection to members of the House of Eeprosentatives expressing their individual opinion on the matter, nor do we contest their rights to pass abstract resolutions which recognise the right of women to vote. We should, however, object to the present Parliament in its last hours giving votes to scores of thousands of women, most of whom are unprepared to use the privilege, and most of whom have never asked for it. We have much sympathy with the seventy ladies who met the other evening and passed resolutions in favour of Sir John Hall’s Bill. They only did what they were entitled to do. Moreover, they passed one eminently sensible and opportune resolution. They pledged themselves to do their utmost to awake attention and interest in the matter. That is exactly their business. That is just what they ought to do. They have to do that, and to do it actively and successfully before they can expect any House of Eepresentatives to pass Sir John’s Bill, or the Legislative Council to endorse the action of the Lower Chamber. We cordially commend this task to the ladies who met in conclave on Wednesday last, and we sincerely wish them God-speed. Reverting for a moment to Sir John Hall’s attempted amendment of Mr Hislop’s Bill, we may point out the impolicy of endeavouring to carry a great political reform by a side wind, Mr Hislop’s Bill was a small measure which, by consent of both sides, was being hurried through the House at top speed, in order to allow it to operate during the coming elections. A number of members resented, and with some reason, an attempt to load such a measure with so gigantic and undigested a matter as female franchise. Had Sir John Hall’s clause been carried, it would simply have meant the obstruction and destruction of the Bill, a necessary little measure. Friends, therefore, appealed to Sir John to withdraw his amendment. Sir John finally consented to do so. By this time, however, a good deal of sparring had taken place, members’ blood was up, and Sir John’s opponents refused to let him withdraw, preferring to have the luxury of defeating him. Thus it came about that his resolution was beaten on a division. There was nothing in all this to discourage the ladies. The circumstances under which the fight took place foredoomed Sir John to failure ; the result of the division was a foregone conclusion. No businesslike House of Eepresentatives could have dreamed of passing the amendment. If it had been passed, nothing would have come of it. Sir John Hall and his lady friends ai'o now remitted to the tribunal of public opinion. The elections are at hand. They have a fine opportunity of striking blows for their cause. Let them take it.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/LT18900823.2.21

Bibliographic details

The Lyttelton Times. SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 1890., Lyttelton Times, Volume LXXIV, Issue 9189, 23 August 1890

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746

The Lyttelton Times. SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 1890. Lyttelton Times, Volume LXXIV, Issue 9189, 23 August 1890

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