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Pethick-Lawrence Papers Lawrence, Emmeline Pethick- (1867–1954), suffragette, wife of the 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence Imagen Con objetos digitales
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Letter from Charlotte Despard to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

29 Glenburn Park, Belfast.—Refers to her current circumstances and the arrangements for her birthday celebrations. The world needs true feminism more than ever.

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Transcript

29 Glenburn Park | Belfast
12 June 1935

Mrs Pethick Lawrence

My very dear friend.

On Saturday 15th instant I am having my own little birthday party {1}. You were with us last year and did much to make us all happy and joyful.

I hear that you are deeply engaged in Edinburgh now, so I do not even venture to ask if you can come. All I want you to understand that in the midst of our festivals, as in the more serious moments in our life as a league we could not forget you. Therefore I let you know.

I heard the other day that you have not been very well. I do hope and trust that you are not overtasking yourself. You should take rest when you feel it is to be necessary.

I cannot expect to be so strong as I once was, but I man[a]ge still to do some work, and to encourage and cheer those who are young.

I am glad [I] came to the North. This is the industrial part of Ireland, and there are many fine industrials here.

Some of these days if we meet I must tell you about them.

In the meantime I send you my love, complet[e] with an earnest desire that you may suc[c]eed in your present venture. Your husband too!

I don’t know what you think about the present situation in Europe and indeed throughout the world. I feel that there was never a time when feminism of the true sort was more needed than it is now.

I am so glad to hear that you are taking the chair on the day of the official birthday party.

We always miss our dear Dr Knight. The other officers, Miss Underwood in particular, are very good.

Women have not yet still {2} wanted. Women† has not reached her true position as she has in Russia—therefore our League has still its uses.

Earnestly wishing that all may go well with you

Yours in true affection
C. Despard

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Full stops have been supplied at the end of a few sentences.

{1} Charlotte Despard’s birthday, 15 June, was celebrated each year by the members of the Women’s Freedom League. But the distinction between the party mentioned here, which Pethick-Lawrence was not expected to attend, and the official party mentioned later, which she was to chair, is unclear.

{2} This word is indistinct.

† Sic.

Letter from Sylvia Pankhurst to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

West Dene, 3 Charteris Road, Woodford Green, Essex.—She was too upset to attend Lady Pethick-Lawrence’s cremation, but has written tributes for the press.

(Letter-head of the New Times and Ethiopia News. Sylvia Pankhurst is named as Editor.)

Letter from Sylvia Pankhurst to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

(3 Charteris Road, Woodford Green, Essex?)—Sends news of Richard’s health and development.

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Transcript

Boxing Day

Dearest Emmeline,

The spirit moves me to write to you to say that in spite of plenty of anxieties I feel a flood of happiness today. Raddie {1} and Richard are in the garden. It is warm and spring-like.

Richard has not had so much as a cold this winter! He is bright and well. Instead of having the doctor like last year he was able to make Christmas presents for his friends and dress the tree Mrs Brimley {1} brought him. He stitched over a pencil drawing on paper tacked to the ribbon to make me little calendar banners. Then we tore the paper away, and the red ribbon was left. He was greatly pleased.

He looks straight and tall. His brows are straight, and his thoughts are kind. He puts bread and cheese by the mousehold†, crumbs for the birds, milk for the cat. He brought his money box to me to buy a present for Daddy. He has his own ways and his own character. He does things one would never think of and says: “I have a good idea.” I gaze at him, amazed, and say to myself: where have you come from, little man? He is physically joyous as I never was—plunging into nearly cold water with a zest—not every day—but when he feels like it (other days prefers warm) {2}. He loves to “dance” and jump and climb.

It is a daily marvel this new person—like noone else—himself. One realises the miracle more when one knows one bore him. I look at his father—the boy is not him—not me—new entirely. How have you—so entirely—individual—sprung from us? I ask it to myself so often. This year when I heard the carol singers I thought so often of waiting for him at Hampstead. How wonderful it all was. How you came to make his happy arrival safe and all that one could desire. So I feel a great flood of gratitude and joy.

With love
Sylvia P.

What I feel so vividly of his being a new person is true of all the children I know, but it comes home so forcibly when every day one sees it in a close intimate way one felt generally before—not with this piercing astonishme[nt] {3}.

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{1} Reading uncertain.

{2} ‘other … warm’ interlined. Brackets supplied.

{3} A small piece of the paper has been torn away.

† Sic.

Letter from Sylvia Pankhurst to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

(Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead.)—Thanks her for helping to arrange for the safe birth of her son.

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Transcript

Dearest Emmeline,

I am only allowed to write to Silvio so slip in a note for you to sign.

Yes dear friend he is a fine healthy beautiful Child perfect in every way. Yet I am told if I had not come here {1} when I did I should not have brought him out alive. And that I could not have done so without Lady Barretts help in the nick of time as it was.

So dear it seems I owe him to you and Silvio {1}–You first and through all.

Thanks thanks and love.

Till Friday

Sylvia.

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This letter was evidently written shortly after the birth of Sylvia Pankhurst’s son Richard on 3 December 1927. A few of the words are indistinct.

{1} The reference is to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, where Lady Barrett was a consultant surgeon. See PETH 9/61.

Letter from Charlotte Despard to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

29 Glenburn Park (Belfast).—Reciprocates her New Year’s greeting, and reflects on the situation in Northern Ireland.

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Transcript

29 Glenburn Park

My very dear Mrs Pethick Law[ren]ce

I have been intending for many days to write to you, to thank you for your beautiful New Year’s greeting and to send you and your husband my best wishes for the New Year and the years that are to follow; but, though I am wonderfully well for my age, I very seldom write in my own hand. My delightful young Secretary types for me. Strange how the years run on!

We are full of work and life interests of all kinds here under perhaps the worst government in Europe—a great industrial population—some of them of a better and mentally stronger type than any I have ever [met]—much distress[,] keen dissatisfaction and the spirit of revolt. The women are rather behindhand. We have not been able to do much with them yet.

I will tell you more about all this when we meet, as I hope we shall do in the Summer.

And now I must write no more except to say that I hope and trust that you are well and not suffering too much (if you are in England[)] from the bad weather

With much love and many kindly memories
Yours affec {2}
C. Despard

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{1} This word was not completed distinctly.

Letter from Charlotte Despard to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

Roebuck (Dublin).—Discusses her convalescence (from an injury?), and refers to the distress of the poor in Ireland.

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Transcript

Roebuck
22 Novr 1928.

My very dear friend.

I delayed answering your delightful letter until I could use my hurt hand. It is not quite itself yet; but I think like the rest of me it will soon be well.

The time has been a difficult one in some ways; but the compensations were many, and in the Hospital I had solitary hours of great happiness. Often and often I have thought of our strenuous days in the women’s movement.

I say sometimes, one of its chief achi[e]vements and joys was the discovery of woman by woman.

I was grieved to hear that you were laid aside during the Fair-time. I do hope the rest has restored you.

We are having terribly hard times here[. ]Two young men “mad with hunger” broke windows last week to get imprisonment. I fear things are not much better in England. Great changes, I be-lieve are impending

I must write no more. Thank you, dear friend a thousand times for your love and thought of me

I hope still to see you and my other dear friends of the League next year

With affectionate and grateful memories to your husband and true love to yourself

Yrs affectionately
C. Despard

Letter from Charlotte Despard to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

2 Currie Street, Nine Elms, S.W.—Discusses arrangements for their journey on the Continent, and refers to the Caterers’ Union meeting at Memorial Hall.

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Transcript

2 Currie St | Nine Elms | S.W
23 May 1920

Dear Mrs Pethick Lawrence,

Thank you so much for both your letters. I hope the business is now pretty well finished. I went to Cooks on Friday {1}, saw your clerk, paid for my ticket and am to call for it on Friday, when, I hope my passport also will be ready. I have the French visa: for the Swiss there were more formalities. But one of our staff at the W.F.L office has promised to see it through so I hope all will be plain sailing for our start 8 a.m from Victoria on Monday-week. I shall only take hand luggage.

Fortunately, one will not need warm things.

I look forward with great pleasure to our journey together.

I hear you had a great send-off on Friday. The Caterers’ Union packed Memorial Hall, principally girls and women. There will be trouble at Lyons’s this week if the employers do not make substantial concessions.

I have seldom seen such unity and determination.

With love
Affectionately yours
C. Despard

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{1} 21st.

{2} 31st.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to Emmeline Pankhurst

Transcript

The Waldorf-Astoria, New York
Sept 22 1912.

Dear Mrs Pankhurst

We found your letter awaiting us on our arrival here. We have read it carefully & thoughtfully. We quite understand that it is a purely business letter, endorsing the views of our responsible colleagues with regard to the present situation & its effect upon us—& we reply in the same spirit of deliberation.

Perhaps you are not aware that the present position does not take my husband or me by surprise. Before putting our hand to the plough we were bound of course to consider every aspect of the matter & the Government’s policy of attacking us financially was discussed between us. We have therefore faced the situation already. But we appreciate the fact that you have faced it on our behalf during the past weeks, & that you are anxious to find a way out for us in order to spare us further sacrifice.

Our answer today is the same as it has been since we entered the struggle. You will realize directly we state it that there is only one answer possible. It is the answer which you yourself would give if asked to choose between the Movement (which you & we have in so large a measure jointly built up) and any other possession in life however dear & precious. You would not hesitate for a moment. Neither do we. Our answer is that we shall continue to be jointly responsible with you in the future as we have been in the past, and that the more we are menaced the harder we will fight until victory is won.

So far as the Union is concerned, the difficulty you allude to can be met. We can refuse if we choose to allow any members of the Union to share personally incurred liability.

With regard to Militancy—we have never for a single instance allowed our individual interests to stand in the way of any necessary action or policy to be pursued by the Union, and we never shall. At the present moment, hard fighting & harder than ever is essential. The harder the battle, the more need for every one of the generals & soldiers.

Yours very sincerely
Emmeline Pethick Lawrence

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{1} PETH 9/31.

Typed copy of a letter from Emmeline Pankhurst to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

COPY.

Boulogne sur Mer.
September 8th, 1912.

My dear Mrs Lawrence:—

It is during a breathing space such as we have had that one is able to quietly take stock of the situation and see things in their true perspective and this I have been doing. No doubt you and Mr Lawrence have also been thinking much about the Union and its work. We, Mrs Tuke, Annie, Christabel and I have met here and had a long talk and as a result I write you this letter which embodies our views. I want you to regard it as a business letter and to realise that in all our hearts are feelings which are very deep and real but which it would be out of place to express here.

First let me tell you how matters stand.

1. Of course you have been kept informed of the Government’s proceedings to recover the costs of the prosecution and how after much effort the sale at Holmwood has been for a time postponed.

2. I enclose a letter claiming compensation which has been answered to the effect that we are travelling abroad. This claim is likely to be followed by others.

3. The new premises are nearing completion. Mrs Tuke and I return to London next week to superintend furnishing and removal. Before going to Evian-les-Bains for our cure we deposited with the solicitor, Mr Blount, a sum of money to cover the rent for three years so that the guarantors are now entirely protected against possible loss.

4. Christabel leaves Boulogne next week to establish herself in Paris. It is commonly known who she is and where she is and so we have decided that it is better she should be in Paris the seat of French Government, where she will be in touch with the representatives of the English Press and also that the moment has come for her to resume her own name and live quite openly. She will now sign her articles and letters.

Now as to the situation as it seems to us to affect you and Mr Lawrence, and your position in the Union as Treasurer.

It is quite evident that the authorities and also the Insurance Companies and property owners mean to take full advantage of the fact that they can attack Mr Lawrence with profit and through Mr Lawrence weaken the Movement. So long as Mr Lawrence can be connected with militant acts involving damage to property, they wil make him pay. Nothing but the cessation of militancy, (which of course is unthunkable† {1} before the vote is assured) or his complete ruin will stop this action on their part. They see in Mr Lawrence a potent weapon against the militant movement and they mean to use it. This weapon is a powerful one. By its use they can not only ruin Mr Lawrence, but they also intend, if they can, to divert our funds. If suffragists, feeling strongly as they do, the injustice of one having to suffer for the acts of otheres, raised a fund to recoup Mr Lawrence, it would mean that our members[’] money would go finally into the coffers of the enemy and the fighting fund would be depleted or ended. It would also reduce militancy to a farce for the damage we did with one hand would be repaired with the other. It is well to see things at their very worst especially when the very worst is not only possible but highly probable. In one night, by one militant act, hundreds of thousands of pounds might be involved and the only individuals in the Movement who would be affected apart from imprisonment of those responsible would be you two. So long as you are a responsible official of this Union this will be so. Then there is the Albert Hall Meeting. What we say at that meeting is of vital importance. I know that it will be my duty as Chairman to make a militant speech, a speech that will lead to further acts of reprisal on the part of the Government if it is followed, as it will be, by a fresh outbreak of militancy. No doubt there will be another prosecution for conspiracy in which those who share responsibility with me will be involved. The Gov. can only take me when they proceed against me and that will do them more harm than good but in taking you they repeat the money getting process. I know you will understand me when I say that if to ruin Mr Lawrence would help the Woman’s Cause I should think it worth while for what is the individual as compared with the Cause? When however far from helping it is a source of weakness, a positive injury, then the case is different! What is to be done?

This is what we suggest after long and anxious thought. It is a way of retaining your active participation in a great Imperial Movement which is just beginning and at the same time of preventing the Government from striking at the militant Movement in England through you. The Union has paved the way by my two visits to Canada, by the establishment of the first W.S.P.U. there, by the presence of scattered members and by the deputation to Borden. Will you for a time lead the Imperial Suffrage Movement in Canada? It is a great mission and a great role. The Government would get a huge rebuff. Like all their previous acts of tyranny this latest one would recoil on their own heads and they would find that instead of crushing the Movement in England by attacking you they had actually helped to spread it throughout the Empire. We have often felt in this Movement that we were guided in a mysterious way. Perhaps the events and trials of the past few months have been preparing us for greater developments. You can do this work. For me to undertake it would not change the situation here for the difficulties and dangers would still remain.

Following on the deputation to Borden we are sending Miss Wylie (whose brother is a Canadian M.P.) to organise our scattered members. We are endeavouring to get together a special Canadian Fund to launch the Campaign. The growing importance of Canada makes a W.S.P.U. Movement there imperative even if you do not agree to control and guide it.

Of course you might decide to carry out the project of foreign travel of which you have so often talked. All that I have written is with the full approval and concurrence of our friends who share my anxieties and hopes. Please show my letter to Mr Lawrence and discuss it with him and believe that I have left unwritten many expressions of affection and appreciation which we all feel very deeply. I hope your holiday has been a pleasant one. It must have been a great joy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I send this letter to New York in the hope that you may get it before sailing.

Very affectionately yours,
(Signed) E. Pankhurst.

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A typed transcript.

{1} Followed by a superfluous closing bracket.

Letter from Charlotte Despard to Emmeline or F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

2 Currie Street, Nine Elms, S.W.—Accepts an invitation to tea.

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Transcript

2 Currie St | Nine Elms | S.W
28th Novr 1913

Dear Mrs {1} Pethick Lawrence

I shall be very glad to take tea with you between 4 & 5 p.m on Thursday 4th Decr.

As regards the dinner I thank you cordially for the invitation; but I am going to ask you to excuse me. A dinner, however pleasant, is always a bit of a trial to me, and just now, life has been so strenuous with us, that I am feeling a little run down.

With kindest regards
Yours sincerely
C. Despard

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The address printed at the head (Hillcrest, Mayfield, Sussex) has been struck through.

{1} The title resembles ‘Mr’, but is perhaps more likely to be ‘Mrs’.

Letter from Charlotte Despard to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

Brackenhill, Highland Road, Bromley, Kent.—Has transferred her platform ticket for Wednesday to Miss Underwood, as she is busy looking after Mrs Harvey.

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Transcript

Brackenhill, Highland Road, Bromley, Kent
14th Octr 1913

Dear Mrs Pethick Lawrence.

I thank you very heartily for the platform-ticket for Wednesday {1} which followed me to Harrogate.

I waited until my return home to see our people. I am sorry to say that I cannot be present. I am giving every moment of spare time to Mrs Harvey, who is still in bed. I have to go to Edinburgh on Friday.

But our Miss Underwood will greatly enjoy being present, so I hand the ticket to her.

With all my heart I wish you success.

It was so good of you to be with us on Tuesday. I greatly enjoyed your speech.

Yours affec[tion]ately
C. Despard

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{1} 15th. The meeting referred to has not been identified.

Letter from Charlotte Despard to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

2 Currie Street, Nine Elms.—2 Currie Street, Nine Elms.—Asks to be on the platform of the rally at Hyde Park (concluding the Great Pilgrimage of suffragists), and comments on the action of Miss Davison.

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Transcript

2 Currie St | Nine Elms
7th July 1913

My dear Mrs Pethick Lawce†,

I see that you are holding your meeting in Hyde Park on Sunday {1} at 5. p.m.

I am going to Kingston in the evening, so I can only be with you for a short time; but I should like to be on your platform if you will have me, for a few minutes.

I do feel so keenly the injustice of the Government, and your husband’s courage in fighting it out.

Poor Miss Davison! What a wonderful action! Alas! that women should be sacrificed in this terrible way.

I hope you are keeping well[.] My love to you

Yours affectionately
C. Despard

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{1} 26th. The reference is to the rally which concluded the Great Pilgrimage of suffragists.

† Sic.

Letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Agnes Harben

Fourways, Gomshall, Surrey.—Thanks her for the gift of some freesias. Is delighted to be remembered by one of the most lovely women she has known.

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Transcript

Fourways, | Gomshall, | Surrey.
15th. December, 53.

My dear Agnes,

How very dear of you to think of me now a poor old cripple who cannot put a foot to the ground and has to be entirely dependent upon other people!

I was delighted with the lovely freesias and to be remembered by you who are always in my thoughts and memories as one of the most lovely women I have ever known, which is saying a great deal. {1}

With love,
Ever yours,
Emmeline

Mrs. Harben,
6, Park Side,
Knightsbridge,
London, S.W.7.

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Letter-head of 11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, W.C.2. Typed, except the signature.

{1} This paragraph has been marked with a line in the margin, and at the foot of the letter is written, ‘Ans[were]d Keep for ref!!!’

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to Naomi Lutyens

Fourways, Gomshall.—Is delighted by her decision to devote herself to social reform, and has communicated on her behalf with representatives of a Club.

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Transcript

Fourways. Gomshall.
Dec. 10. 1942

My very dear Naomi.

Many thanks for your lovely letter. I was particularly glad to get it, as I have been thinking of you much & often, since you brought the light of your dear countenance last Monday {1}. I wanted to send you a line, but did not know where to address you.

Oh yes indeed—you made it quite clear to me—for it needed no words of explanation,—that your heart was full of love for others & that you needed to find the rightest & best way of expressing it in Service. It is a very great delight to me to have you come & talk to me—bringing your gifts of charm & vitality & youth, & giving me the sense of continuity, now that my little day is almost done.

I wrote the next day to Mr Holloway and to Beth Macara. I want you to know the people who could give you the fullest opportunity for knowing all about the Club, so that you can make your decision.

I am so glad that you see what is the heart & essence of any social reform & are not satisfied with mere tinkering & palliating. It takes “a brain” to grasp that idea!

I have the greatest confidence in your ability. You see I know you not from a few conversations only. I knew your parents in their youth—& you as an infant raconteuse! So I have a background!

Also I know something of the difficulties & tests you have had to meet, & your courage & gaiety & unbreakable spirit win sincerest tribute fom me. It is not only brain but character as well as every other qualification—all are needed in this great fight against greed & aggression in High Places.

In fact, dear Naomi, you are just the colleague I should choose to have—if I had any choice in the matter.

My love to you. Yours. {2}

Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

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The letter has been marked at the head in red biro, ‘From Lady Pethick Lawrence’.

{1} 7th.

{2} The passage from ‘& gaiety’ to the end is marked in the margin with a line in red biro.

Copy of a circular letter by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

(Carbon copy of a typed transcript, with two handwritten corrections.)

Transcript

COPY OF A LETTER RECEIVED FROM MRS LAWRENCE
Dated Nov. 4, 1914, 1. a.m.

Election Night.

Although it is one o’clock in the morning, I must try before I sleep to get down some of the impressions of the evening. Miss Doty, whose article in the Century interested me so deeply, and her friend “Elizabeth” (Miss Watson) celebrated the first anniversary of their voluntary imprisonment by dining with me and taking us afterwards to the night court. On the way to the Court we mixed with the Election crowd—The streets were thronged. It was a superb night, the moon just past the full. We reached the Court about 9.30 and were taken to the front place where we could see and hear well. A case was being heard concerning two coloured women—a mother and a daughter. Two detectives, a white man and a coloured man[,] gave evidence of how they had entrapped the younger woman to take into her home first one and the other—The story of detective which was one infinitely shocking {1}—and what I have heard since about this business impresses me still further both with the futility of the system and above all with the terrible power placed in the hands of men against women—a power likely to lead to the most grave abuses. Both mother and daughter poured out a dramatic volume of words and gesture as they sat just in front of the judge, addressing their remarks to him as one would address a man in his office or study—no formalities at all. With what seemed to me extraordinary patience, (after my experience of police courts at home) the judge listened without interruption or comment. Finally he discharged the two women. This action was entirely in accordance with the inner verdict which I had pronounced, (for of course every member in the auditorium has his or her own views on every case)[.] Had I been Judge I should not have hesitated between the two sides—the women excited, voluble, indignant, tearful—and the men whom I would not, I felt as I scanned their faces, have trusted a yard. The Judge then retired to his sanctum and invited us to follow. We were introduced and a conversation ensued. We touched on the case. The Judge I found did not altogether believe the story of the women and was inclined to think them guilty. “But”, he said, “you see in this Court I am both Judge and Jury, therefore I have to give the accused the benefit of every doubt.” When he resumed his seat upon the Bench, he asked me to sit beside him. At the opening of the next case he said to the woman who had been just arrested, {2} “You must understand that you have a right to obtain the services of a lawyer, you have a right to telephone for your friends or mail for them free of charge. You can have your case tried now, or you can have it postponed. But you may have to pass the interval in the detention cells.” The woman elected have her case tried at once. It was a very trivial affair of ringing a house-door bell and causing annoyance to a tenant of the house. The woman denied the wish to annoy and promised not to ring the bell again and was discharged.

Being Election night and the police apparently otherwise engaged, no further cases were forthcoming and the Court rose till midnight. Usually there are many cases of soliciting, which as at home is a penal office {3} for a woman but not for a man. I was told by my friends that women who had to pass through the streets alone at night were constantly pestered by men, but there was no remedy; they just had to put up with it. As in England the legal tradition is that men have to be protected from the temptation of the woman who who† alone is responsible for the social evil. After the Session was over we had another interesting talk with Judge Barlow, who I am told is the best and most fairminded of all the judges, at the Night Court (as in the case of Judge Hoyt) {4} I saw the brighter side of the administration. He invited me to come again on some more typical occasion and was most friendly, reminding me very much of Tim Healy. He wore just a blase† graduate’s gown. I was then taken over the place, introduced to the prison or native police-court Matron, and allowed to enter the cells and to talk to the inmates. The whole place compares very favourably with our police court arrangements. I have not yet seen a prison, but from Miss Doty’s record, the prison conditions seem to be worse than our own.

One great feature of the Court is the total elimination from it of the police. The one or two officers are civilians. This reform dates from 1910. Judge Barlow confessed that he was very much averse to the change at the time, but that its results have been wholly good. Detectives attend as witnesses, but have no privileged status, and are treated exactly as other witnesses, by the Judge. In spite of their good points I am, as I said before, horrified at the methods of the detectives in hunting out prostitutes. In some cases they will take a woman into a saloon and give her drinks for a week, and will tempt her in every way to invite them home. They will confess to letting the women get them supper, to playing cards with them and staying from 11 till 3 a.m. After all this is done they will suddenly turn and arrest them and drag them into court. They have these women entirely in their power, and men being men it is inconceivable that they do not take advantage of their power when it suits them. I would not trust such men, placed in such conditions, one inch. On matters relating to morality and the judicial treatment of sex problems, New York seems to me to be worse than London—though some details of administration are better. The point of view is worse. It seems to me that the women of New York, speaking generally, are much too complacent with regard to this status of their sex in very many respects. We came back and mixed with the crowd again—learnt that Governor Glyn (Democrat) was out and Whitman (Republican) was in, and wondered how this would affect the position of our women comrades Commissioner Doty and Investigator Watson, both holding appointments under State patronage. Could not get any news of Suffrage States, so returned as it was half an hour over midnight already. These two women know New York through and through. If only I could find time to let them take and educate me for a week as they want to do! Miss Watson knows everything there is to be known about women[’]s labour conditions and wages in New York. She is the recognised expert investigator par excellence, and employed on all enquiry commissions. The point of view of both these women is identical with my own[,] while their knowledge of facts is perfectly wonderful. They are completely human in their outlook. We are already great friends and have several plans to carry out together, if time can be found. Truly this is a most fascinating world and I’m learning hard.

Greeting to all friends.
(Signed) E.P.L.

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{1} Altered by hand ink from ‘The story of detective [blank] was to me infinitely shocking’. The copyist evidently had difficulty reading the handwriting here.

{2} Comma substituted for full stop.

{3} A slip for ‘offence’.

{4} ‘as … Hoyt’ interlined. Brackets supplied.

† Sic.

Letter from Hugh Cecil to Lady Constance Lytton

23 Bruton Street, W.—In Mrs Pethick-Lawrence’s case the proper course would probably be to move the King’s Bench on the ground of informality in the proceedings rather than to ask a question in Parliament.

Letter from Mark Guy Pearse to F. W. Lawrence

28 Gordon Mansions (W.C.).—Is delighted by the news of his engagement to Vechan (Emmeline Pethick), and looks forward to meeting him.

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Transcript

28 Gordon Mansions.
June 13: 1901

Dear Mr. Lawrence

Vechan has asked me to meet you at 20 Somerset Terrace on Tuesday {1} at four o’clock. I want just to say how great a pleasure it will be to me.

You know something of our relationship—how all her life she has shared with me her thoughts, and her heart. I am glad that this has come to her & to you. I know that she has but one thought, one purpose, one prayer—it is that she may help you live to the highest and largest fulfilment of your best purposes. She accepts her position with almost an awe, seeing the greatness of your life’s possibility. Vechan can never be to me other than she has ever been,—a kind of holy trust. And to me it will be more than a joy, my blessedness if I can serve her still & serve you for her sake.

I am glad you are going to see her amongst the children. You wont know her until you have seen [her] there & amongst the old people of the workhouse. These children, brought up amidst all that tends to hardness & suspicion, find in her such a boundless trust, the atmosphere of such a gladness & sunshine that they are transformed as by a miracle of love.

God bless you. Take care of her whom I call still my Vechan. There is not in the round world another so strong yet so sensitive, so utterly independent yet so glad to be dependent where love is,—holding so much that is counted everything as so little, but all that makes the true life unutterably dear. God made you the happiest of men that she may be the happiest of women.

Yours heartily
M. Guy Pearse

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{1} 18th.

Biographical note on Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

Transcript

Biography of Mrs. Pethick Lawrence

Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence is known in many countries as a Feminist who played a leading part in the world-wide Suffrage Campaign before the War.

She often says she was born to take part in the great Movement of Thought, which in her life time has entirely transformed the Status of women in every sphere of life. At any rate she remembers that as a very young child, slighting references to women made carelessly, aroused in her a burning protest, and a desire to become their champion. This desire found outlet first in Social Service, including the founding (with Miss Mary Neal) of Maison Espérance—a Business for working girls with the 8 hours day—a minimum wage, and the many activities associated with it.

In the ear 1905 came the clarion call of the Militanti† Suffrage Movement. In 1906 Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence became Treasurer for the Campaign and during the next 6 years there was raised in one organisation, a fund of a Quarter of Millions {1} sterling.

Together with her husband she started the first Militant Suffrage Paper Votes for Women, which they carried on as co-Editors.

In 1908 she was arrested for attempting to speak in the Lobby of the House of Commons, after the refusal of the Government to receive a Deputation of Women (that had come to put their case) had been announced to them by the Police. Subsequently she was arrested twice for leading a Deputation to Parliament, and once under the old Conspiracy laws. In the latter case she was sentenced to 9 months and placed in the 1st division. The majority of her fellow suffragists in prison were not accorded the same treatment as political prisoners. They protested by the Hunger Strike, and she made common cause with them, was forcibly fed and subsequently released, having served five weeks of the 9 months sentence.

In the Autumn of 1914 a cable summoned her to New York to address a vast Suffrage Meeting in the Carnegie Hall. On that occasion she helped to inaugurate the campaign which two years later led to the political enfranchisement of the women of the State. Further she called up {2} the Women of America (this the greatest of the neutral Powers) not to become obsessed by the War spirit but to combine their allegiance to the principle of arbitration and to work for a real settlement rather than a fight to the finish. She travelled from the East to the West of America, speaking everywhere of the Solidarity of women as the Mothers of the human race and therefore the {3} natural Peacemakers. As a result of her campaign the Women[’]s Peace Party (afterwards the American Section of the Women’s International League) was formed {4} with Jane Addams as its president, and the two women sailed with fifty American delegates to take part in an International Conference of Women held at the Hague in April 1915. It will be remembered that this Congress representing 16 nations was unanimous in urging a Peace by Negotiation, and that a delegation appointed at the Hague was received by several Chancellors in Europe, by the President of the Swiss Republic and by the United States; it was also received by the Pope. On behalf of the women of the world this delegation pleaded for a continuous Council of Mediation and Reconciliation to be formed by the Neutral States, in order to conduct negotiations between the warring Powers, and if possible secure an understanding and a[n] agreement which would avoid a fight to the finish and its consequent devastation of the whole of Europe.

Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence has continued up to the present moment to work towards the Removal of all legal Restrictions upon the equality and freedom of the sexes, also towards and for the practical realization of the solidarity of the Human race (rooted in the Solidarity of women of all races as political {5} Mothers) which demands the abolition of Poverty and War.

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Carbon copy of a typed original, corrected by hand. ‘? About 1920’ has been added by hand at the top of the first sheet. A few mistypings which are not easy to represent in print or describe briefly have been corrected, as noted below.

{1} ‘of Millions’ mistyped.

{2} Perhaps a slip for ‘upon’.

{3} Mistyped.

{4} Altered from, or to, ‘founded’.

{5} Altered from ‘potential’.

† Sic.

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