§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
§ LORD REDESDALE
objected to the Bill, on the ground that it imposed obligations on women which could not but be objectionable. It was said that women had been appointed overseers, and that if they were qualified to act as overseers they were qualified to vote. No doubt, in some cases, women had been chosen to fill that office—no doubt the case in small places in default of any more eligible person, and there was also no doubt the duties had been properly discharged in such eases; but it was one thing to appoint a woman under exceptional circumstances and another to make an objectionable rule.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
thought it desirable the House should understand precisely what his noble Friend objected to. This was not a proposition giving to women the municipal franchise for the first time. Previous to the passing of the Municipal Act, in 1835, women did vote at municipal elections, but that Act took away their right to do so. Subsequent Local Government Acts gave them the franchise in the places in which those Acts were in force; and hence arose the anomaly that, whilst they could vote in the numerous towns in which the Local Government Acts were in operation, when a town obtained a charter of incorporation they were excluded. Therefore, this Bill merely re- 146 stored to women a franchise which they formerly enjoyed, and their Lordships were not discussing the wider and more doubtful question of extending to women the right to vote at Parliamentary elections.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, that as an unmarried women could dispose of her property, and deal with it in any way in which she thought proper, he did not know why she should not have a voice in saying how it should be lighted and watched, and generally in controlling the municipal expenditure to which that property contributed.
§ Further Amendments made; Bill to be read 3a on Thursday next; and to be printed as amended. (No 200.)