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And out of 27,949 women
registered, where a contest occurred, 14,416 voted. Of men
there were 166,781 on the register, and 90,080 at the poll.
The _Examiner_ thereupon draws this conclusion: "Making
allowance for the reluctance of old spinsters to change
their habits, and the more frequent illness of the sex, it
is manifest that women, if they had opportunity, would
exercise the franchise as freely as men. There is an end,
therefore, of the argument that women would not vote if they
had the power."

Our law books furnish, perhaps, more satisfactory evidence of the
earnestness with which women in England are claiming the right to
vote, under the reform act of 1867, aided by Lord Brougham's act
of 1850. The case of Chorlton, appellant, _vs._ Lings,
respondent, came before the Court of Common Pleas in England in
1869. It was an appeal from the decision of the revising
barrister, for the borough of Manchester, to the effect "that
Mary Abbott, being a woman, was not entitled to be placed on the
register." Her right was perfect in all respects excepting that
of sex. The court, after a very full and able discussion of the
subject, sustained the decision of the revising barrister,
denying to women the right to be placed on the register, and
consequently denying their right to vote. The decision rested
upon the peculiar phraseology of several Acts of Parliament, and
the point decided has no applicability here. My object in
referring to the case has been to call attention to the fact
stated by the reporter, that appeals of 5,436 other women were
consolidated and decided with this. No better evidence could be
furnished of the extent and earnestness of the claim of women in
England to exercise the elective franchise.--Law Rep. Com. Pleas,
4-374. I infer, without being able to say how the fact is, that
the votes given by women, as mentioned in the newspapers, were
given at municipal elections merely, and that the cases decided
by the Court of Common Pleas relate to elections for members of
Parliament.

Another objection is, that the right to hold office must attend
the right to vote, and that women are not qualified to discharge
the duties of responsible offices. I beg leave to answer this
objection by asking one or more questions. How many of the male
bipeds who do our voting are qualified to hold high offices? How
many of the large class to whom the right of voting is supposed
to have been secured by the XV. Amendment, are qualified to hold
office? Whenever the qualifications of persons to discharge the
duties of responsible offices is made the test of their right to
vote, and we are to have a competitive examination on that
subject, open to all claimants, my client will be content to
enter the lists, and take her chances among the candidates for
such honors.

But the practice of the world, and our own practice, give the lie
to this objection. Compare the administration of female
sovereigns of great kingdoms, from Semiramis to Victoria, with
the average administration of male sovereigns, and which will
suffer by the comparison? How often have mothers governed large
kingdoms, as regents, during the minority of their sons, and
governed them well? Such offices as the "sovereigns" who rule
them in this country have allowed women to hold (they having no
voice on the subject), they have discharged the duties of with
ever-increasing satisfaction to the public; and Congress has
lately passed an act, making the official bonds of married women
valid, so that they could be appointed to the office of
postmaster.

The case of Olive _vs._ Ingraham (7 Modern Rep. 263) was an
action brought to try the title to an office. On the death of the
sexton of the parish of St. Butolph, the place was to be filled
by election, the voters being the housekeepers who "paid Scot and
lot" in the parish. The widow of the deceased sexton (Sarah Bly)
entered the lists against Olive, the plaintiff in the suit, and
received 169 indisputable votes, and 40 votes given by women who
were "housekeepers, and paid to church and poor." The plaintiff
had 174 indisputable votes, and 22 votes given by such women as
voted for Mrs. Bly. Mrs. Bly was declared elected. The action was
brought to test two questions: 1. Whether women were legal
voters; and 2. Whether a woman was capable of holding the office.
The case was four times argued in the King's Bench, and all the
Judges delivered opinions, holding that the women were competent
voters; that the widow was properly elected, and could hold the
office. In the course of the discussion it was shown that women
had held many offices, those of constable, church warden,
overseer of the poor, keeper of the "gate house" (a public
prison), governess of a house of correction, keeper of castles,
sheriffs of counties, and high constable of England. If women are
legally competent to hold minor offices, I would be glad to have
the rule of law, or of propriety, shown which should exclude them
from higher offices, and which marks the line between those which
they may and those which they may not hold.

Another objection is that women can not serve as soldiers. To
this I answer that capacity for military service has never been
made a test of the right to vote. If it were, young men from
sixteen to twenty-one would be entitled to vote, and old men from
sixty and upward would not. If that were the test, some women
would present much stronger claims than many of the male sex.

Another objection is that engaging in political controversies is
not consistent with the feminine character. Upon that subject,
women themselves are the best judges, and if political duties
should be found inconsistent with female delicacy, we may rest
assured that women will either effect a change in the character
of political contests, or decline to engage in them. This subject
may be safely left to their sense of delicacy and propriety. If
any difficulty on this account should occur, it may not be
impossible to receive the votes of women at their places of
residence. This method of voting was practiced in ancient Rome
under the republic; and it will be remembered that when the votes
of the soldiers who were fighting our battles in the Southern
States were needed to sustain their friends at home, no
difficulty was found in the way of taking their votes at their
respective camps.

I humbly submit to your honor, therefore, that on the
Constitutional grounds to which I have referred, Miss Anthony
had a lawful right to vote; that her vote was properly received
and counted; that the first section of the XIV. Amendment secured
to her that right, and did not need the aid of any further
legislation. But conceding that I may be in error in supposing
that Miss Anthony had a right to vote, she has been guilty of no
crime, if she voted in good faith believing that she had such
right. This proposition appears to me so obvious, that were it
not for the severity to my client of the consequences which may
follow a conviction, I should not deem it necessary to discuss
it.

To make out the offense, it is incumbent on the prosecution to
show affirmatively, not only that the defendant knowingly voted,
but that she so voted knowing that she had no right to vote. That
is, the term "knowingly" applies, not to the fact of voting, but
to the fact of want of right. Any other interpretation of the
language would be absurd. We can not conceive of a case where a
party could vote without knowledge of the fact of voting, and to
apply the term "knowingly" to the mere act of voting, would make
nonsense of the statute. This word was inserted as defining the
essence of the offense, and it limits the criminality to cases
where the voting is not only without right, but where it is done
willfully, with a knowledge that it is without right. Short of
that there is no offense within the statute. This would be so
upon well-established principles, even if the word "knowingly"
had been omitted, but that word was inserted to prevent the
possibility of doubt on the subject, and to furnish security
against the inability of stupid or prejudiced judges or jurors,
to distinguish between willful wrong and innocent mistake. If the
statute had been merely that "if at any election for
representative in Congress any person shall vote without having a
lawful right to vote, such person shall be deemed guilty of a
crime," there could have been justly no conviction under it
without proof that the party voted knowing that he had not a
right to vote. If he voted innocently supposing he had the right
to vote, but had not, it would not be an offense within the
statute. An innocent mistake is not a crime, and no amount of
judicial decisions can make it such. Mr. Bishop says, (I Cr. Law,
205),

There can be no crime unless a culpable intent accompanies
the criminal act. The same author (1 Cr. Prac. 521),
repeated in other words, the same idea: In order to render a
party criminally responsible, a vicious will must concur
with a wrongful act.

I quote from a more distinguished author:

Felony is always accompanied with an evil intention, and
therefore shall not be imputed to a mere mistake or
misanimadversion, as where persons break open a door, in
order to execute a warrant, which will not justify such
proceeding: _Affectio enim tua nomen imponit operi tuo: item
crimen non contrahitur nisi nocendi, voluntas intercedat_,
which, as I understand, may read: For your violation puts
the name upon your act; and a crime is not committed unless
the will of the offender takes part in it.



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