HC Deb 25 March 1867 vol 186 c467

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, having regard to the Act 13 & 14 Vict. c. 21, s. 4, which enacts, "That in all Acts words importing the masculine gender shall be deemed and taken to include females," it is intended by the use of the word "man," instead of the words "male person" in Clause 3 of the Bill to amend the Representation of the People, to confer the suffrage on women qualified according to the requirements of that Clause?


It appears to me, Sir, that this is a Question which the hon. and learned Gentleman might have reserved for the Committee on the Bill, when the opinion of Gentlemen of the long robe might be taken with respect to it. I am scarcely competent to offer one; but I have considered this subject, and it appears to me that if he had studied it more attentively he would have found it unnecessary to put his Question. It is laid down in the Act to which he refers that in all Acts the words importing the masculine gender shall be taken to include females unless the contrary is provided. But that is, I believe, provided in this instance.