A public meeting was held in the Tuam Street Hall laßb evening in connection i with the women's franchiee. Prior to the meeting a large number of claims to vote were signed in the hall. Mw K. Sheppard, Superintendent of the Franchise Department of the Women's Christian Temperance | Union, occupied the chair, and on the platform were Mesdames Newton Richardson, Smith, Wilson, W* P. Reeves, Robinson, Pettifer (of Victoria), Mies Gordon, Revs H. R. Dewsbury, P. R; Monro and F. W. Isitt, Messrs Taylor, Sheppard, W, S. Smith and G. J. Smith. The meeting was opened by sacred eong and prayer. The weather was very unfavourable, and doubtless tended to keep the attendance small, for only some 350 or 400 persons •were present, about half being women. In the course of an address Mrs Sheppard sketched the history of the extension of the franchise to women from the commencement of the agitation in 1879, when the Hon John Ballance had moved in that direction in the House of Representatives. She mentioned that the question had been brought before the constituencies in 1890, when the Bill of Sir John Hall had been left over from one session to another for the purpose of letting the country express an opinion thereon. She contended that every woman should vote because it was her constitutional right, considering that a woman could occupy the tbronej because, by allowing her the power of voting, man had recognised her intelligence, good sense and fitness to vote ; because she was commanded by the Bible to uplift, and Bhe could only do so in some senses by the aid of the ballot-box j because by her means better laws could be framed, and only by her means ; because by withholding her vote she voted against reform ; | because she had a' right to have j a voice in laws she had to obey ; because ! Borne social wrongs under which women I suffered could not be removed unless with her aid ; because evil-doers and the up- | holders of the drink traffic feared her vote ; | became she wa3 responsible for public evils, and should therefore help to remove them ; that altogether women would fail in their duty to their country if they did not vote. Mr G. J. Smith addressed the meeting, and offered his sincere congratulations to the women on the passage of the Electoral Bill. The women now held the balance of power in their own hands, and he was certain they realised that power, and would use it to the best purpose. In whatever sphere women had yet acted it had been seen that they would act just as fully and as well as men could, and in politics it was only to be expected that they would be equally successful. They would look upon political questions in a quiet, thorough manner, and vote according to their convictions. He would like to warn women that when registering their claims they should be very careful to see that their names were actually registered. He had been told on good authority that certain individuals were getting claims signed, and where it suited them were quietly putting them in the waste-papar basket. The Rev H. R. Dewßbury moved— "That this meeting regards the enfranchisement oE women as calling for an expression of gratitude to the Divine Ruier of Events, and recognises that the suffrage is a sacred trust to |be prayerfully exercised for the advancement of every righteous cau3e." He gaid the women had need to bo grateful ht having this right at last conferred upon them. Some of the members of Parliament no doubt would have been glad of any excuse to stop it, but none had come along. Now the Bill had passed, the Premier had said that all throughout it had had his greatest sympathy. Of course the Hon R. J. Seddon was an honourable man— all the members were— and | would not say so did he not mean | it. He believed firmly that the sympathy of some of the members of the Government extended only to fear of the result for themselves and it was certain that the women were more indebted for this right to Sir John Hall tban.co Mr Seddon. The women would always use their power to further all that was just, moral, righteous and true. Every woman should see that her name was on the register, and should vote when the time came to the best of her judgment. | Tho motion was seconded by the Rev P. R. Monro. He said that the granting to women of the franchise was a triumph of right over might and that women would exercise a vast influence for good in politics, &a they were capable of thinking strongly, seeing clearly, and acting quickly. Women had gone into politics not in any captious spirit, but in the spirit of seriousness and earnestness, and with the determination of improving politics and bettering the condition of the coin- ! j munity. ( Mrß Wilson moved — " That this meeting | accords to Sir John Hall, Mr Alfred Saunders, the Hon Mr Oliver, the Hon W. Downi6 Stewart, the Hon Dr Pollen, and other sincere workers for the enfranchisement of women, its appreciation of their ; valued services, and heartily congratulates
j Sir John Hall on having Been this reforir ! cawied before hie retirement from palitioa] ill t course of her speech ahe said j w r, a wom an accomplished a greal and noble work after she had brought up & family her dqfcy did not stop there. Hex greatest work, certainly, was training her children. The extension of the franchise 0 was calculated to assist her in doing this a , duty even more thoroughly. The belt and f . most permanent; training a child received 1 I 7hL fr ,°, m , its mother, and if the mother . thought clearly and strongly, and was selfj reliant and possessed of native dignity— a which the fact of her being an elector j would tend to bring out— she was all the L more capable of moulding the character " »i n V hlld , a " d layin S fch * foundation of r a good and strong future. Women as a rule were conscientious, and the female vote would always be used conscientiously. 1 lhe motion was seconded by Mrs NewtoD j and carried unanimously. 3 I A hearty vote of thanks for her work i | was accorded to Mrs Sheppard. ' On the motion of Mrs Willie, seconded ■ ; by Mrs Leige, a vote of thanks was passed , , to Mrs Newton. I ! It was announced that during the afteri noon and eveniDg 600 names had been i ; enrolled by the Franchise Department. i The meeting having closed, some fifty • claims were signed in the hall. : J During the meeting Mrs Pettifer, a . ! member of the Temperance Union in ' Victoria, congratulated the women of New » Zealand upon the acquisition of the frani chise, and expressed a hope that the , ; women of Victoria would very Boon be i j able to rejoice in a similar way.
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Enrolment Meeting., Star, Issue 4758, 26 September 1893
Enrolment Meeting. Star, Issue 4758, 26 September 1893
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