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Letter from Christabel Pankhurst to Lady Constance Lytton

Transcript

11 av de la Grande Armée | Paris.
14th May 1914

My dearest Con,

Lord Lytton was kind enough to write to me about the debate and his impressions of it. You may be interested to see a copy of my reply.

More & more & more one sees that the way to win is to get the Govt wedged between militancy & the impossibility of punishing militancy—in short—to create the Ulster situation over again.

Now there is no help that is any use from the practical point of view that does not fit into that scheme. It is all very well to rejoice over the sympathy & understandg shown in the Lords, but the House of Commons was sympathising & understand[in]g in the year 1870!

Sympathy & understand[in]g are a snare unless they are pounded into something more definite in the shape of an Act of Parliament.

You know, anti-militancy does affect the reasoning faculty adversely. People who are most rational & logical & enlightened when other political movements are at stake suddenly lose their bearings when the question of how to get votes for women comes uppermost.

You will see how the General {1} & Mrs Dacre Fox have been throwing the search-light upon the contrast between the Govt’s treatment of themselves & Carson & Lansdowne.

The W.S.P.U. leaves them all far behind doesn’t it.

The anti-militant ladies simply don’t come into anybody’s calculations these days. Why can’t they see & become a force by adopting a sane policy?

I am sure that you feel proud and happy when you read of our fighters’ exploits.

You and I, the Exiles, have a very joyful life in that sense have we not!

So very sorry I am dearest Con, to hear you have been ill again. I hope it has passed now.

You wrote of my dog the other day. She is indeed a little beauty, full of intelligence & affection. It is years since I could have a dog and to have this one is a joy.

As for my home here, it is to me just like a room in Lincoln’s Inn House. Outside I feel is not the Avenue de la Grande Armee, but Kingsway[.] In the next rooms are the organisers.

And yet it is Paris too—the beloved Paris that I really will & must come back to from time to time.

Imagine how one loves a place—delightful in any case—which has been one’s haven!

I am immeasurably happy in being here and in the thought of being some day—perhaps soon—back in London.

Back in London will be when the vote is won—not before. That might be so very soon if everybody wd do their best[.]

The barriers are so slight—the opposition so weak.

It is the weakness of pro Suffragists that is the enemy now.

But fighting is victory so it is well whatever happens.

When I go home one of the very early things I shall do is go & see you!

My love to you
Christabel Pankhurst

——————

{1} Flora Drummond.

Letter from Christabel Pankhurst to Lady Constance Lytton

Transcript

11 avenue de la Grande Armée | Paris.
7th May 1914

My dearest Con,

The really important thing in the Lords Debate is the recognition that the WSPU & Carson & Bonar Law—Militant Ulster in fact—stand in the same boat!

That was the one thing for good that really counted in a practical sense.

On the other hand there is the Liberal cry that one knew would be raised tht “the rejection of Lord Selborne’s Bill by the House of Lords illustrates the profound anti-feminism of the Unionist Party”[.] See leading article from “Daily Chronicle” enclosed.

It seems to me tht the matter having been brought to the present point, it cannot rest there. What next do Suffragists in the House of Lords intend to do! The Archbishop of Canterbury[,] the Bishop of London & Lord Lytton could get us the vote now if they cared to do it. But of course Lord Lytton does not agree with the Bishop of London about Ulster & ourselves.

How can they as suffragists—as men—allow the coercion & persecution of women to go on while concession is being made to Ulster men whose militancy means bloodshed & the death of hundreds if not thousands of human beings.

Have you heard that Mrs Drummond and Mrs Dacre Fox have both been summoned to appear at Bow St on account of “inciting” speeches?

This means illness & suffering—sheer torture for both of them. And there are Carson & Bonar Law & all the rest, free & unharmed!

Mrs Dacre Fox is expected at Bow Street on 14th May—a Thursday. The General threw her summons away & so we don’t know the date named in it.

The Government are trying to silence our powerful speakers. They will probably arrest several organisers—But there are always people ready to step into the breach[;] surely the last two Raids have taught them that.

We laugh at their Raids except for the pain & danger they mean to the ones taken.

Let us hold fast to tht admission tht women’s militancy & Ulster militancy are in their truth & essence one & the same & shd be dealt with in the same way! What are these men going to do!

Thank goodness we can win without them anyhow—by the sheer fact of being able to create an intolerable situation! Women winning their own freedom. Glorious thought!

My very best love to you.
Christabel Pankhurst

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The word ‘that’ is abbreviated a few times as ‘tht’.