Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/97

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87
WOMAN SUFFRAGE AS AFFECTING THE FAMILY.

I am not going to take any radical ground on the tobacco question in its general aspects. Every man must judge for himself, and experiment for himself, as to the physiological action of the weed. I have simply recorded my own experiences and experiments, and the conclusions to which they have impelled me. I will not even say that I shall never smoke another cigar, for temptations are often strong and sudden; but I will say that, in such an event, I should regard myself as the victim of a nervous infirmity, not as one merely indulging himself in a harmless and pleasant luxury—of a devil far easier to get out of the bottle, to apply a Moslem legend, than to get back and cork in again.

 

WOMAN SUFFRAGE AS AFFECTING THE FAMILY.[1]
By J. E. CAIRNES,

PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL ECONOMY IN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON.

I NOW turn to a side of the question on which Mr. Smith lays very great stress, and of which I am not in the least disposed to underrate the importance—the extension of the suffrage to married women. I do not yield to Mr. Smith, or to any one, in the firmness of my conviction that the family is at the bottom of our existing civilization, and I should, for my part, regard as dearly purchased any gain in material or political well-being which should introduce a jar or weakness into this pivot of our social system. But I believe that to open political life to women, far from being fraught with the disastrous consequences Mr. Smith anticipates, would, taking things in their entire scope, be productive of quite opposite effects. If I were asked to name the principal element of weakness in the family as things now stand, I should have no hesitation in pointing to the want of sufficient subjects of common interest between man and woman. It is owing to this that matrimonial engagements are entered into so rarely on the basis of any broad intellectual sympathy, such as might furnish some security for lasting affection, and so often at the bidding of impulses and fancies that do not outlive the honey-moon; and it is owing to the same cause that so very large a proportion of the lives of most husbands and wives are spent practically apart, with little or no knowledge on the part of either of the objects or aims that engross the greater portion of the other's thoughts and energies. That under such circumstances the marriage-tie is, on the whole, maintained as well as it is, seems rather matter for wonder; and to argue that the introduction of a new source of very profound common interest for husband and wife must, of necessity weaken the bond, is, in my opinion, to

  1. Extracted from an article in Macmillan's Magazine for September, in reply to Goldwin Smith.