20 APRIL 1889, Page 3

Mr. Justice Stephen and Baron Huddleston, in the Queen's Bench

Division of the High Court, decided on Saturday that a woman could not be elected to a County Council. The basis of the decision was one given in the case of Chorlton v. Leng," in which four eminent Judges held that, in the absence of special legislation, the legal incapacity of women to vote for Members of Parliament resulted from the unbroken usage of centuries. Such a usage has also debarred women from municipal office, except in a rare case or two in which women have served by deputy. It is, therefore, just to presume that had the Legislature intended to remove the disability, it would have done so by express enactment. Lady Sandhurst, there- fore, against whom the question has been tried, is declared disqualified for the London County Council, and her seat given to the next candidate, Mr. Beresford Hope. The case -will, of course, be appealed ; but there can be little doubt that the decision will be upheld. Mr. Reid argued justly that our forefathers had not barred out women by express enactment, but that was because they never dreamed of the possibility of women seeking such an office. They did not bar them out by statute from commanding men-of-war. We have no objection to their admission to the Councils, but we warn Members that the result will not be what is generally expected. The majority of women have Conservative instincts ; but the majority of the kind of women who will accept such posts will be Radicals of a pronounced type.