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Letter from Sylvia Pankhurst to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

P.O. Box 1896, Addis Ababa.—Is glad he likes Rita, whose knowledge of languages, particularly those of her native Rumania, is very useful to Richard. Refers to her own prior interest in Rumanian literature.

(The date is that of the postmark.)

Letter from Richard Pankhurst to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

P.O. Box 1896, Addis Ababa.—His mother’s death came without warning, while her mind was still full of plans. He will publish the issues of the Ethiopia Observer already in hand, and then close it. Invites Pethick-Lawrence to contribute to a memorial issue. His mother will be buried with the victims of the Graziani massacre.

Extracts from a letter from L. V. (?) Barrett to Lady Betty Balfour

6 De Vesci Terrace, Kingstown, Co. Dublin.—Explains why she urged Lady Constance Lytton to oppose militant action by suffragettes.

(Marked ‘Copy’ and ‘Extracts’. Annotated by the recipient. The initials of the signature are transcribed as ‘L. V.’, but query whether the writer was Rosa Mary Barrett.)

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Transcript

COPY
Extracts.

6, De Vesci Terrace | Kingstown Co. Dublin. Jan 13. 1912

(From a Snobby suffragist: the pencil comments are Betty’s)

Dear Lady Betty Balfour,

I had today a long letter from your sister Lady Constance, it was most kind of her to write & I fear I hurt her feelings by asking her to use her influence at this critical moment in the cause of the suffrage, by discountenancing such scenes as at the City Temple or raids on shops in the Strand etc. I know what damage to the cause has been done by these things, & as one who has worked & fought for women’s suffrage for 30 years {1} I feel the greatest discretion & wise counsel is now necessary. I have such an intense admiration for yr sister & her heroism {2} that it pains me to differ from her. Of course I may be wrong but men do feel very differently to women on this action of the Women’s Social & Pol. Union

Yrs v. sincerely
L. V. Barrett {3}

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{1} Interlined in pencil: ‘greatest justification of militancy I have said’.

{2} Interlined in pencil: ‘I sd Why for her & not all the militants’.

{3} The closing salutation and name are at the head of the sheet.

Draft of a letter from Lady Constance Lytton to Millicent Garrett Fawcett

(Place of writing not indicated.)—Questions her public expression of confidence in Lloyd George with regard to a referendum on women’s suffrage. Objects strongly to remarks by Arthur Henderson indicating that his consent to the conference resolution is conditional on the abstinence of women from violence.

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Transcript

Dec 3. 1912.

Dear Mrs. Fawcett,

Many thanks for several letters. I have been ill—incapacitated in bed—or would have answd you sooner. Baby nephew {1} is happily out of danger. Brother Vic was due home about Feb 14 but I hope may come before that.

I gather from your public utterances of renewed confidence in Mr Lloyd George that you have silenced his recent suggestion that the H. of Commons should be put up to move that no W. Suff. measure should be passed without a referendum, that the Govt should then refuse the referendum but accept the proposal as regards W Suff. thus clearing a way for the Ref. Bill to go thro’ without V. for W. I understood this from the acct you read me of interviews with Mr Lloyd George. I understood from your comments that this suggestion, coming direct from Mr Lloyd George[,] had shaken your confidence in him. It seems strange to me that you should be counselling your audiences to a reliance you no longer share.

Thankyou for passing on the remarks of Mr Arthur Henderson. (You do not mention his name but I gather the letter you quote was from him).

My first impression was—What a pity if his consent to the resolution was conditional, that he did not say so at the conference. If he had added a rider “provided there is absence of violence on the part of women themselves.” It would have sounded so consistent, so reasonable, so generous. Does he think it would have been greeted with a round of cheers by those representatives of labour men who, in spite of their votes, in spite of their party[,] hold {2} off to stand for their interests in Parlt, in spite of their financial resources—so much greater than those of women—& the power that always accrues to these (power of combination, of education, of social & pol. influence) yet have recourse to violence at every election, at every strike, on every occasion when their interests are seriously frustrated, & this violence is injurious both to property & human beings in a way never attempted by women.

And what did Labour men do to ensure fair play for women in 1832, 1867 & 1884, through all the long drawn struggle of over 40 years during which there was no question of “violence” of any kind on the part of the women. When “militancy” began in 1906–1909 when again there was no violence from women what did the Labour party (as a party) do to secure V. for W. should be made a Govt measure {3} [,] that women’s deputations should be recd, that they should not be imprisoned, that if imprisoned they should be treated as pol. offenders.

When women hunger strikers (surely that is not “violence”?) {4} were fed by force, with barbaric cruelty, during weeks & months of imprisonment, what did the Labour party men do then to prevent this barbarity—on the bodies of women who had fought for the very liberties the Labour Party excite {5} to uphold? I have been told they passed a resolution of thanks to Jane Warton {6} because being disguised as a workg woman I showed up class injustice. Why could they not stand out themselves for their helpless women comrades? Only a thousand men in Dundee who gathered together outside the prison where the first hunger strikers were in Scotland & proclaimed their determination that this horrible thing should not be done in their town,—that was enough to prevent forcible feeding through the whole of Scotland.

When after the last Genl Election when the Labour members held the Govt. in the hollow of their hand—when the women fighters cried a truce—what did the Labour party do to secure either a Govt. measure or the passing of a private Bill for women—When Mr. Henderson as a Member of the Adult dep. to Mr Asquith in the autumn was greeted with the information that the Ref. Bill wd contain no Votes for W. only more votes for men—how did he repudiate that. If he & his party had acted with loyalty to the women then (No Votes for Women[,] no Home Rule, no Budget, no W. disestablishment is all they need have said) there wd. have been no need for any more fighting on the part of women.

And these good gentlemen—some of them—venture upon this afterthought of a condition to their present good will. I only hope they will say it not only to you in a private letter—But at their public meetings.

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{1} Probably Alexander Edward John Bulwer-Lytton, Viscount Knebworth.

{2} This word is indistinct.

{3} These two words are indistinct.

{4} The brackets round these five words, which occupy a whole line in the MS, have been supplied.

{5} This is the apparent reading.

{6} Lady Constance Lytton’s pseudonym.

Letter from Christabel Pankhurst to Lady Constance Lytton

11 Avenue de la Grande Armée, Paris.—The WSPU will review and sell Lady Constance’s book (Prison and Prisoners). Emphasises the need for the WSPU to remain independent and points out the tendency of other organisations to draw on the energies of its supporters.

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Transcript

11 av de la Grande Armée | Paris.
2nd Feby 1914

My dearest Con,

Many thanks for your letter.

We will indeed have a notice of the book {1}—That is all arranged! Also of course we shall sell sell it at L.I.H. {2} & in the various WSPU shops here and there.

How glad you will be when the book is really out!

I wonder if you noticed in the Suffragette an article on Inner Policy. That gives you the key to much tht you may have heard and seen.

The Union has passed through difficult seas during the past two years and more and more difficult will our course become.

Your pilot may puzzle you often, but there is a chart believe me and we work & steer by that.

In one’s personal life there is I am sure you have felt an essential something to be guarded against the World’s assaults and endeavours to make one other than oneself. So it is with a Union. The WSPU if it is to complete the work it has begun must conserve its character & independence & peculiar virtue. Politically it must remain uninfluenced in the slightest degree by the Govt & the Liberal Party. The people who have guided it must guide it to the end using their best & therefore free judgment—so many people are ready to advise & “control” even at a certain point!!

These principles dictate our actions always.

Another point—there is too great a tendency upon the part of other organisations new & old to draw upon the energies of W.S.P.U. supporters. Concentration is the watchword for us! There are other women in plenty for the other organisations. The W.S.P.U. people shd not divide their energies.

All these sayings lead me to this point tht it is better for Mrs M’Leod who is a pillar of the V for W Fellowship to serve tht individedly.

I feel this particularly strongly in this case, because she was one who at the time of the separation had not faith and was really difficult. She will be I am sure more contented in the long run if she concentrates on her own society.

This letter is for your eye alone.

They will be seeing Mrs M’Leod & arranging matters.

How I should like a talk with you! In the meantime I may assure you that the inner policy as it is called has behind it all the conviction & prompting tht were & now are behind the militant policy itself!

We have come to a point at which a Union otherwise conducted wd succumb to the influence & indirect attack of the enemy. It is the hardest time for us who bear the responsibility for sometimes we have to seem unkind to former friends. That is worse than having to fight the Govt! With love

Yrs ever
Christabel Pankhurst

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The word ‘that’ is abbreviated four times as ‘tht’. Full stops have been supplied at the end of two sentences.

{1} Lady Constance Lytton’s Prison and Prisoners.

{2} Lincoln’s Inn House, the headquarters of the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Letter from F. W. Lawrence to Annie Lawrence

Bombay.—Is on the way to see Booty in Mangalore. Refers to his sightseeing at Gwalior and Agra and his activities at Bombay.

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Transcript

Bombay.
Feb 24 98

My dear Annie.

I am just passing through Bombay on my way down to see Booty in Mangalore, & I was very pleased on my arrival to find a letter from Harry awaiting me. I had been expecting you to mention your trip abroad, & as you had not done so, was beginning to suppose you were going later in the year.

I am sending this home to 75 {1} to get forwarded, as Harry only says you will arrive at Nice next Saturday, & I don’t know whether you are going to make a really long stay there.

You will have had most of my news of my sight seeing in my last 2 letters, since then I have visited Gwalior a native state, where there is a magnificent fort, I drove out to it, & then went up it on an elephant & was shown round.

I think I mentioned the Taj at Agra in my letter to Harry, I was able to get a little model of it which I have packed off home to Mama, but I am very much afraid whether it will arrive safe.

This afternoon I have been out to see the Bombay Astronomer whom I met at Sahdol; he showed me all over his meteorological & magnetic instruments.

I have also been to see Prof Muller to whom I had a letter of introduction from Prof Marshall of Cambridge. He has taken up an immense number of subjects[,] practically all mine & a lot beside; he was 21st wrangler, & also took the history tripos, has done a good deal of natural science, church history, law, Political economy, knows several languages, paints, photograps†, & collects shells, stamps[,] relics of prehistoric man; & finally has done fabulous things in connection with the plague having at one time been made—as it were—“dictator” over a large section of Bombay!!!!!

What is my little list compared with that?

Ever Yours in excellent health
Fredk W Lawrence

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{1} 75 Lancaster Gate, his mother’s home.

† Sic.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

20 Somerset Terrace, W.C.—Encloses items (copies of a manifesto?) for distribution to friends and relations.

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Transcript

20 Somerset Terrace, W.C.

Dear Mr Lawrence,

I am relying upon your energy & influence to get rid of the enclosed {1} amongst your friends & relations in the West End!

Yours sincerely,
Emmeline Pethick

19 May 1901

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{1} Perhaps copies of a manifesto? See PETH 7/81–2.

Letter from Sir Francis Low to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

East India Association, 193 Temple Chambers, Temple Avenue, London, E.C.4.—Asks him to chair a meeting of the Association, at which Professor Rushbrook Williams is to give an address on ‘The New Phase in Indo-Pakistan Relations’.

Letter from John Galsworthy to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

10 Broad Walk, Buxton.—Comments on the presentation of spiritual union between men and women in fiction.

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Transcript

10. Broad Walk | Buxton
Oct 10. 1917.

Dear Mrs. Pethick Lawrence

Thank you for your fine letter. It’s a most awfully intricate and difficult subject, and maddening to make clear by letter. Poetry is such a different medium that I think it does not serve for analogy; and Rolland I don’t care for (unfashionable as that is). Do you know of any figure in fiction stretched to full spiritual growth, in any setting but that of tragedy. The nearest approach I know to the presentation of full spiritual union between man & woman in real art is Pierre & Natasha in Tolstoi’s War & Peace; and how very flat the ending of that great book is! The same may be said of Levin & Kitty in ‘Anna Karenin[’]!

Henry James tried it in ‘A Portrait of a Lady’ but he left an ending which may be read either way; &, whichever way you read, it tells us nothing. Full spiritual development in happiness seems fated to be anti-climaxic, I suppose because it means Nirvana of which nothing can be said.

Some day we’ll talk about it perhaps.

Yours very sincerely
John Galsworthy

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