himself, after this, that he had in his possession a vade mecum [handbook] to the comprehension of human societies, he now took it upon himself to expound the principles which govern and direct these. Until such time as this procedure was unmasked, Mill’s political economy enjoyed an unquestioned authority.
Exactly the same plan was followed by Mill in handling the question of woman’s suffrage. Instead of dealing with woman as she is, and with woman placed in a setting of actually subsisting conditions, Mill takes as his theme a woman who is a creature of his imagination. This woman is, by assumption, in mental endowments a replica of man. She lives in a world which is, by tacit assumption, free from complications of sex. And, if practical considerations had ever come into the purview of Mill’s mind, she would, by tacit assumption, be paying her own way, and be making full personal and financial contributions to the State. It is in connexion with this fictitious woman that Mill sets himself to work out the benefits which women would derive from co-partnership with men in the government of the State, and those which such co-partnership would confer on the community. Finally, practising again upon himself the same imposition as in his Political Economy, this unpractical trafficker in abstractions sets out to persuade his reader that he has, by dealing with fictions of the mind, effectively grappled with the concrete problem of woman’s suffrage.
This, then, is the philosopher who gives intellectual prestige to the Woman’s Suffrage cause.
But is there not, let us in the end ask ourselves, here and there at least, a man who is of real account in the world of affairs, and who is—not simply a luke-warm Platonic friend or an opportunist advocate—but an impassioned promoter of the woman’s suffrage movement? One knows quite well that there is. But then one suspects —one perhaps discerns by “the spirit sense”—that this impassioned promoter of woman’s suffrage is, on the sequestered side of his life, an idealistic dreamer: one for whom some woman’s memory has become, like Beatrice for Dante, a mystic religion.
We may now pass on to deal with the arguments by which the woman suffragist has sought to establish her case.
ARGUMENTS WHICH ARE ADDUCED IN SUPPORT OF WOMAN’S SUFFRAGE
ARGUMENTS FROM ELEMENTARY NATURAL RIGHTS
Signification of the Term “Woman’s Rights”—Argument from “Justice” —Juridical Justice-"Egalitarian Equity”—Argument from Justice Applied to Taxation—Argument from Liberty—Summary of Arguments from Elementary Natural Rights.