Dora Montefiore April 1913


Source: Letter, Justice, p.7, April 12, 1913;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

Sir, – In the columns of the “Referee” of March 30 there occurs in the letter of a woman signing herself E.M. Sewell, Putney (and supporting a measure for the enfranchisement of propertied spinsters and widows), the following statement: “Of the women who would be enfranchised practically all would unite with the educated class among present voters in resisting any further lowering of the qualification for voting for either men or women. The greatest argument in favour of Woman Suffrage, after the simple right of all taxpayers to choose their representatives, is, I think, that patriotic and educated women could then help to counterbalance the uneducated and therefore unpatriotic among the present voters.”

There speaks the spirit of the National Union of Woman Suffrage Societies, which is using the political Labour Party to help pass a reactionary measure for enfranchising these very women, who have again and again in unguarded moments let the cat out of the bag to the effect that their intention was, when enfranchised, “to resist any further lowering of the qualifications for voting for either men or women.” Lady Frances Balfour and Mrs. Fawcett have both acknowledged that the enfranchisement of women with a property qualification would be the best way to crush the Adult Suffrage demand, which is the only demand of Social-Democracy; and E.M. Sewell is now proving herself the apt pupil of these powerful and subtle women, who are using the forces of the Labour Party to conspire against the democratisation of the franchise in this country. Working men and women must watch carefully the form of the Bill promised by Mr. Henderson, M.P., and must insist that the human qualification and not the property qualification shall prevail. – Faithfully,

Dora Montefiore.