from Woman, Her Education and Influence
by Mrs. Hugo Reid
... We have still to add a few words to those of our readers who may approve of women taking an interest in politics, but who may think at the same time, that female influence is a very good substitute for the more direct and straight-forward course of allowing them to express their opinions by voting. We think, that as a substitute for the open and direct method, female influence is a mere phantasm: either it means nothing at all, else it has a bad meaning. It resolves itself into the same kind of influence as is exerted by clear reason and strong argument, whether produced by a man or a woman - whether spoken or written; or else it is an instrument which no conscientious woman could justify herself in the use of. If a lady, by force of reason alone, brings a gentleman round to her view of any question, it is an abuse of the term, to say that this is accomplished by female influence: it is an influence which might as well have been employed by another man - by the still colder means of a book even, or by the more careful consideration of the subject by the gentleman himself. If, however, failing to convince his understanding, she succeeds in subduing it to her will by female arts and blandishments, this would, indeed, be the triumph of female influence, but such a triumph as no honourable woman would ever avail herself of. Thus we see that the influence of woman is either of the same nature as that which is exerted by men themselves, and which does not derogate in the slightest from their other privileges, or else it is of so dishonest and corrupting a nature, that nothing could justify the use of it to a woman of principle. ...
[Woman, Her Education and Influence, pp. 190-91.]