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Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

In the train for Boston.—Discuss the results of the American suffrage elections, and her plans for her return to New York. Suggests Fred should come out in January.

(Letter-head of the Women’s Cosmopolitan Club.)



Nov. 6
In the train for Boston.

Dearest—When I get to Boston I am going to cable to you {1} about results of Woman Suffrage & my own arrangements. While I write we know that Montana & Nevada have won—but there is still doubt about Nebraska & the two Dakotas. At first the news was that Suffrage had been turned down in all the States. Even in Ohio however W.S. obtained 600,000 votes.

I shall also be cabling that it is impossible for me to get home for Christmas. I want you to write & tell me that you would like me to go ahead. {2} Things are beginning to open out, and I am making many delightful friends. The lecture campaign is just beginning to materialize. I am fixed up for West Virginia on Dec 8th Philadelphia Dec 10. & there’s an invitation for Dec 15.

Then everything is now developing in New York for my return. I have several sets of friends in New York. One is a delightful set of workers, with just a bare economic independence living in apartments at the tops of buildings without lifts—& meeting at a Dinner Club at nights for one square meal a day. These men & women including investigators, inspectors, {3} commissioners & artists are perfectly delightful people & they know everything about the conditions of the people in New York. Now when I return in December I want to take an apartment in one of the Hotels down their end of the city—(Washington Square,) & give up a whole week to letting them educate me. They are also dead keen on this plan. They are warmhearted vital people & one or two of them have become very much attached to me. Then there is the fashionable set who have me every day to luncheon or to dinner. I shouldn’t let on that I was in New York, till I have done my week in Washington Square. But I shall want at least another week for them. And all this is in addition to the Campaign of my own. I think I could get a lot of articles later if only I had time to write them, as well as speaking engagements.

Someday, I shall get such a longing for home, that I shall refuse to take on a single new engagement & shall rush back. But till I get that overwhelming compulsion, I want you to say—“Go ahead, {3} make friends, widen your bounds of knowledge, do your work. & I will be quite happy doing my work & living my life.” {2}

I do think, dont you, if would be a pity to turn my back on so much that I may never have the chance of getting again. I am so splendidly well & much more physically alive & fit than is usually the case. So far, the climate has been simply perfect—not one cloudy or wet day. All glorious sunshine & colour. People are so sweet & kind to one too. They cant do enough. The country through which we are passing is lovely—the Autumn colouring is wonderful. {2} Against the blue sky with white clouds the effect is almost unbelievably brilliant. I could tell you so much if I had time. But it is so difficult to find a spare minute. Susan is finding friends too & lots of encouragement both for her literary & her dramatic work. She may easily find advancement here. She is in no hurry to return. We get on together fine.

I only want to know that you are having a good time & not feeling lonely. Then there wont be one drawback.

Suppose you were to come out in January—we might then have a time together in one of the charming smaller hotels of New York, & give some little parties & return some of the hospitalities that have been given to me. What do you say to this proposition?

Lots of love to you, my own dear Mate. Kisses from
Your own Patz

Will you send me a few copies of that old article of Shallard’s {4} about Anna Carrol† whose plan of campaign was adopted by Northern American army in 1864


Letter-head of the the Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street.

{1} Followed by a superfluous full stop.

{2} Full stop supplied.

{3} Comma supplied.

{4} Reading uncertain.

† Sic.

Letter from Louisa Garrett Anderson to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Paul End, Penn, Bucks.—Comments on his letters from the United States. Asks him to help find work for Miss Kerr and to provide introductions for Mrs Balfour Duffus, who is going to America to raise money for the London School of Medicine for Women. Recalls his contribution to the suffrage movement.



Paul End, Penn, Bucks.
28 Dec. 25.

Dear Mr Lawrence

How good of you to find time to write to me—also to send me a copy of y[ou]r v. interesting “letters” from U.S.A. I read them with great interest as I had travelled over a large part of y[ou]r route—& especially the conclusion interested me. How are we to bridge the mental gap between ourselves & the American people?

They think us effete.

We find them extraordinarily youthful—crude—conservative etc. etc. all the things that the young are.

Yet civilization demands that America & England shd understand one another—hold together & lead the advance. How is it to be done? It is difficult to bridge a gap of years in individuals—& in peoples the difficulty is far greater.

I wonder if you & Mrs Lawrence have kept in touch with {1} Miss Kerr or if she has seen you lately. If so please forgive me for butting in. You will remember her in the General Office in the great days of the Union. Afterwards she lived in Cornwall with her friend, Mrs May, who now has died. {1}

Together, they managed with Mrs Mays small income—but with her death, it is imperative that Miss Kerr shd. obtain paid work. Before she joined the Union she had a typerwriters office in the city. She is an educated woman[,] an excellent organizer & a good secretary but no longer young.

Her temporary address is Miss Harriet R Kerr at 21 Osnaburga Street London WC.2. If you or Mrs Lawrence shd. be able to help her to find a post it w[oul]d be v. nice.

Then there is another point—the London School of Medicine for Women celebrated its jubilee last year & collected enough money to endow one chair, Physiology, I think. It badly needs endowment for two others i.e. another £40.000 or thereabouts as scientific work ever becomes more costly & it is not possible for the students to meet the expense.

The council of the School is going to send Mrs Duffus to America in February or March of this next year. She is a very agreeable person & is genuinely keen about women’s status & education etc. She is in need of introductions to suitable people—i.e. those who might themselves give her donations or might pass her on to others who could.

She is not going to hold meetings or to appeal for small sums, but she wants to try & find people like Miss Doty who could & would give on a big scale if they really cared.

The chair for which she is appealing is to be Named after the first Medical Woman, Elizabeth Blackwell, an American. {1}

Again can you or Mrs Pethick Lawrence help us with introductions.


I rejoice that you shd be in the H. of C. & that you shd find it so interesting & well worth while. As you do it, I am sure it is.

In the days of struggle, you & the few other men who sacrificed with both hands to help, helped more than any women were able to, for your comradeship wiped out the sense of bitterness that must have come in if the struggle had been “women against men”. Luckily it never was allowed to be that.

I shall remember to the end of my life, & with deepest gratitude, all that you personally did & were during those very active years.

Please forgive this long letter. {1}

With my greeting

Yrs sincerely
L G Anderson

My affectionate remembrances to Mrs Lawrence please


The word 'with' is generally represented by a shorthand symbol. Letters omitted from words abbreviated by superscript letters have been supplied in square brackets.

{1} Full stop supplied.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street (New York).—Sends a circular letter and gives an account of her dinner with the Wells. Will arrange her future engagements herself, as Feakins has proved unsatisfactory. Refers to the political climate in America, and her own state of mind. Was unable to speak to Wells about Fred's book.



Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street
Nov. 5

My Dearest. I enclose a circular letter giving a description of the way we spent Election night. I think the friends I enumerated before, might like to see it.

I dined last night with Mr & Mrs Wells. Several other people were present & we had a delightful evening. {1} Harrison Rhodes a play-writer was there & invited me to get on my hobby-horse & ride it, so charmingly & pressingly, that I could not refuse. He identified himself completely with my posi-tion. The others were so tremendously anti-German that they could not see anything further beyond crushing the Hohenzollern out of existence—(I mean I think this was really their position though they were very charming to me.) Mr Wells is a most delightful person—he “frankly adores” E. R. (as he said.) Harpers Magazine of which Mr Wells is Editor, is altogether different from Harpers Weekly to whom I gave an article yesterday. {1} H.W. is edited by Norman Hapgood whom I have met twice. Last night the Century wrote to me for an article. I dont know if I shall have time to get it written.

I haven’t seen or heard from Feakins for a week & he has got all my letters & communications. He has turned out most unsatisfactory. I am trying to get my arrangements back into my own hands now.

The weather is like August. {1} I am wearing the very lightest clothing I possess.

New York America is strangely Conservative & reactionary. on† the other hand there are great personalities that stand for progressive ideas.
The American that I have met & heard of so far is practically solid for the Allies—& chafing against the national attitude of newtrality†. The Press is solidly anti German.

I am enjoying myself very much—have more invitations than I can fit in, & every day his its full programme. I have not however very much hope of getting anything really done.

Every now & then a great longing rises in my throat for you & home, Peter, Mascot—the Common & the Midland {2} woods. But I think of the next thing then & bustle off. I haven’t had English letters since Sat. Now its Thursday & I am hoping to get a mail before I leave for Boston tomorrow. Great love

Ever your Patz

I had no chance yesterday of mentioning your book. I think if you want me to do anything definite in the matter, I had better see Mr Wells & speak to him about it, on my return to New York about 1st few days in December.


{1} Full stop supplied.

{2} Reading uncertain.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street (New York).—Has been writing articles, giving interviews, and discussing her ‘War and Women Campaign’. Refers to forthcoming engagements. Christabel Pankhurst is lying low.



Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street
Nov. 3

Dearest. Just a line to say that I am very well & very busy. This morning I am writing articles for “Harpers”, & for The Survey. And giving material to reporters & interviewees also. One wants a day 36 hours long.

The weather is lovely—friends are delightful. Interests are many & there are vistas of work that could be done. One thing leads to another. Even yet I have no cut & dried plan. {1} Feakins is out of town for days & only makes flying visits to New York. He has rather broken down over my arrangements, but not I think through his own fault. In the meantime he ties me up from answering my own invitations from Suffrage Societies—& going ahead with my own programme.

But I am so busy here that I dont much care. I am seeing people every day & talking my War & Women Campaign & a new kind of organization is getting itself born. Lots of people—men & women quite outside Suffrage Movement are getting very keen.

But of course new things take time & have to encounter obstacles & difficulties. I speak in Boston. Nov. 8. Washington Nov. 15. Have several unfixed invitations & am going to Hull House to stay with Miss Addams. {1} I expect great things from that. I feel absolutely uncertain as to time of my return. If War & Women Campaign is still-born, I should like to fulfil my engagements which (including invitations not yet accepted) {2} would take me up to about Dec 8th & get home for Christmas—but if that new organization passes successfully through the various stages of its initiation then I should like to stay on into the New Year.

Unless you want me to come home, I should like to settle down to this piece of real constructive work. Of course I wouldn’t dream of staying, if it were merely to enjoy myself & have a good time. At any moment of course, the idea may be turned down as impracticable & then I should get a boat straight away & cable to you that I was on my way home. But the knowledge that you can join me whenever you want to, makes me feel that it is all right to go cautiously ahead, & seize any opportunity that may present itself of getting a few constructive ideas launched upon the world if I can.

I am sending you the Century with Miss Doty’s article. {1} You might pass it round. {1} Dorothy especially would be interested as she knows Miss Doty. I am sending a separate copy to Con Lytton. Susan is writing an article on the Police Courts for V.f.W. C. P. is still here in New York lying very low. “Waiting till Mrs P. L is gone” they say. She doesnt come across my path the very least. In great haste

With lots of love. Ever yours

Sent off circular letter yesterday about morning in Children’s Court.

[Added at the head:] Going to dinner with Mr & Mrs Wells tomorrow night. (E. Robin’s) {3} friends


{1} Full stop supplied.

{2} ‘including … accepted’ interlined; brackets supplied.

{3} Closing bracket supplied.


Circular letter by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street (New York).—Sends news of her activities in the United States.



Circular letter.

Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street

Nov. 2.

Well! Since I landed at New York on Monday a week ago, I have not had a dull minute. I’ve really been thrilled all the time. So far, I have not begun to sort up my impressions at all—I am much too taken up with receiving them.

This morning I was invited to attend the Children’s Court. {1} Judge Hoyt is the permanent Acting Judge in this Court. He is the grandson of Chase, {2} who was a Member of Lincoln’s Cabinet, a man, thirty-five years of age—Conservative in politics but in this matter of reform an enthusiast. He has been educated to his present position by Miss Doty a solicitor & barrister who at present holds an official position as one of the Prison Commissioners. Arriving at the Court, seats were placed for us beside Judge Hoyt who explained the cases to us & handed us the wonderful dossiers supplied with each little offender—giving all details as to parents, character of home, school-record—health record—standard of living & every conceivable fact to be ascertained with regard to the child, his conditions & surroundings.

The Judge has a personal talk to each child brought before him & encourages the child to talk to him & to confess his fault. {1} If confessed, he can deal with the matter without any formality. If the offence is denied, the procedure of a trial with witnesses has to be gone through—but it is very informal—the group stands right in front of the Judge—face to face—& there are no police to be seen, unless it is the officer who has arrested the culprit, then he comes up to give his evidence like anybody else & goes away again as soon as his witness is ended. The Parents of the child stand just within call—and the Probation Officers who have first won the confidence of the children, stand beside them to encourage them or to confer with the Judge.

There are 26 Probation Officers attached to the Court, besides missionaries of very denomination—there is also a Guild of “Big Brothers” which the Judge himself has founded—each Big Brother taking voluntary friendly charge of some wayward little brother & trying to pull him through the critical period of his life.

Every child is put under probation for a certain number of months, only in very hopeless cases is he (or she) sent to a Reformatory—as the Judge holds that almost any sort of a home is better for a child than a semi penal institution. The parents are visited & helped by sympathy & advice. About 10,000 children pass through this Court per annum & the greater percentage of these turn out well under the system. A new Children’s Court is now being built—here the Judge’s bench is begin done away with entirely, & he will see every case alone—in conference with probation officers, parents etc. Waiting rooms are large airy & comfortable & a special waiting room is set aside for Mothers with babies. We saw 7 cases dealt with in an hour & a half. Most of these were remanded—or were being dealt with at a a second or third hearing after being thoroughly investigated in the meanwhile.

In one case a little boy was arrested by the police intolerantly & in an ill judged way. The small boy gave his version of the story to the Judge, obviously sincerely & truthfully, & his word was taken & the boy was discharged quite kindly & left the Court. Judge Hoyt is very proud of the record of the Court for the last four years. Speaking to Miss Doty he said. We have done this thing between us. “You educated me & I have educated the Court.” {1}

He would like to have Miss Doty as Assistant Judge to deal especially with the girls. But that would need a Bill being passed in the Legislature, as Women Judges are not yet admitted into the scheme in New York State. There is some hope of such a Bill being passed before very long.

We returned to lunch with Miss Doty & had a most thrilling talk. Before taking up the duties of Prison Commissioner—Miss Doty went to prison for a week as an ordinary criminal. No one knew of her identity except the Head Commissioner who sent her to Sing Sing Prison under the escort of two police officers. Some of her stories of prisoners were simply wonderful. One about a man who was executed for a murder, (in her opinion the man was innocent of the charge) was the most touching I ever heard. They made a compact together to use his story to help save “the kids” & he was writing this story for her up to the very moment that he was taken from his cell for execution. Many other stories she told us till we had to tear ourselves away to keep the next appointment. Tomorrow is the anniversary of her voluntary imprisonment & she is dining with us & we are going together afterwards to the Night Courts, to see how New York attempts to deal with its women prostitutes.

Subsequently today I had an interview with Miss Mullholland who is trying to get a Bill introduced in the Legislature to alter the law that deprives American women of citizenship upon their marriage with aliens. This she thinks will be taken up & passed owing to the women’s votes in the Western States.

Tomorrow the Elections will take place & we shall know how many more Suffrage States are to be added to the record.

This letter only deals with a few hours out of one day. And every day is full.

My own work is going on all the time too. And when I am not listening & learning—I am talking & laying down the law!

I am going to Boston, Washington & Chicago shortly. At the latter place we are invited to stay with Miss Jane Addams at Hull House.

Now I must go. Love & greeting to the circle of dear friends at home.

Emmeline Pethick Lawrence

Yesterday was a typical day. Here is my Diary—

10. a.m. Interview—Mrs Chapman Catt
1.30 Luncheon[.] Miss Lewisohn & friends.
4.0 Tea. Miss Doty & a large circle.
6.30 Dinner. Miss Stanton Blatch.


{1} Full stop supplied.

{2} Salmon Portland Chase (1808-1873). Judge Hoyt was the son of Chase’s youngest daughter, Janet, known as ‘Nettie’.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street (New York).—Has met Mrs Wells and has been asked to write an article for Harper’s. A preliminary committee has been set up to promote an ‘international commonwealth’. Suggests Fred should come to the States when his book is finished.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street (New York).—Has given a speech at Miss Wald’s settlement and prepared her speech for Friday. Christabel Pankhurst’s meeting was not a success. Discusses plans for her tour.



Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street
Oct 29 {1}

Dearest. I’ll begin a letter now, as it will have to be posted tomorrow to go by the Saturday Mail. I shall send you a week-end letter by cable after the Meeting: so you will have that news before you get this letter. I have made a very rapid recovery & everybody has been angelic. {2} I havent missed anything important. {2} I was bundled out of bed into my clothes & into a taxi to attend a Dinner & Reception afterwards at Miss Wald’s Settlement on Tuesday night—put on a bed in a dark room between the events—made my speech with which everybody expressed themselves delighted & bundled back into a taxi before the people left their chairs. Yesterday Mrs Blatch’s Dinner in my honour was postponed till next week—& I had a quiet day in my room to save my throat for Friday. My temp: was still nearly 100 yesterday. This morning I felt much better & got up & went downstairs to breakfast. For I must harden up a bit for Friday. My temperature is now normal & I feel I need fresh air & exercise. I have been so frightfully much drugged with aspirin & pyramidon to bring down temperature, that I feel dazed & numbed—& I must get back to more normal conditions. {2} I have written out my speech & a typist is making 20 copies of it—& I shall send you one. If you like to abridge it or publish it as it stands, you can (but I dont see any occasion). {2} “Votes” is too small now for the reproduction of speeches—& for a pamphlet we have no audience unless one develops in the meanwhile. The Harbens might like to see it—and some of my friends including Mary Neal & Doctor Chapman & Elizabeth Robins. I have not at present had any new light upon the war from the American Papers. All the opinion I have read, or encountered is on the side of the Allies. If there is any German sympathy it is lying low. {2} Nothing illuminating! But remember all I have seen of New York is three days inside my bedroom.

The weather has been perfectly lovely the whole time—clear & blue with brightest sunshine.

My friends here are very warmly reminiscent of you. Miss Wald (the Jane Addams of New York) in introducing me on Tuesday night spoke your name saying you were honoured & admired over here with deepest recognition of the stand you have taken & the work you have done.

I hear on all sides of disappointment in C.P.’s meeting on Saturday. Alice Wright didnt go—the Lewisohns came out in the middle. Mrs Blatch says the tickets were pressed upon people, she was given a box & entreated to come—& all her friends who were there tell her the same story. The Hall was only half full. The only thing that saved C.P. from acknowledged failure ws the mercy of the reporters whom she captivated. They all described her as a lovely young girl of twenty three!—a marvel for her age!


Have just been out for a short walk up along 5th Avenue to Broadway & back. The Club gives on Lexington Avenue on one side, the entrance being in East 40th St. Its the nicest place, (barring Clements Inn & The Mascot) in which I have ever stayed. Both S. & I have a bathroom & dressing room as well as a bed-sitting room to ourselves—& the appointments, & facilities are absolutely perfect.

I am booked up with a delightful programme ahead—though a very easy one. But I will tell you of these events as they come off. I am not able to tell you of any fixtures outside New York yet—there have been many “nibbles”—but I think things are hanging fire until after Friday. Everybody of course wants to get me for nothing & our previous correspondence in connection with our tour is rather embarrassing. People write & say “you said you would be willing to help a Suffrage Society”. {2} November is a frightfully awkward month as I told you—& C.P. & A.K are a complication because they are ready to go anywhere for their expenses & hospitality. Feakins still thinks if I could give him time, he could get me a fine tour—but he is being cut into every way by the present concatenation of circumstances—& I have not promised him December. I do want to know if you would be very grieved if I did send you a cable later, to say I should like to stay on over Christmas. I may never feel the least inclined to do it but you cant say anything in a cable when you do send it—that is why I want to know before the possibility crops up, what your feelings on the matter are. Its much too early to form any judgment yet—but if my speech does catch on—& I think you will consider it a speech that might catch on—opportunity might occur to go further & further West—possibly to the Coast even. Friends & hospitality I should find everywhere. {2} People are overwhelmingly hospitable & warm. Dont say anything about this to anybody else please as the suggestion might not crop up at all.

If you want to know what I feel—well—frankly I should like it immensely. I find that you need not work any harder than you choose—you {3} have only to say what you want & what you dont want. Its “play” to me after the W.S.P.U & compared to Emergency Corps. And I want to know much more of the people who interest me enormously.

There is nothing to bring me back to England except you. So if you will either join me or be happy & content without me, I shall feel free if it ever comes to a choice!

Susan had her letters brought on in the Franconia by arranging with the Purser, she hasnt got them yet, & I dont think the boat has arrived. I have not yet received any English mail. Love to all friends. A hug for my old Sweetheart. Ever your own



{1} This day was a Thursday.

{2} Full stop supplied.

{3} Preceding dash supplied.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street (New York).—Is recovering from tonsilitis. Discusses the plans for her lecture tour, and refers to the kindness of her hosts.



Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street
Oct 27. 1914

My dearest. Just a little postscript to my letter yesterday. The doctor came yesterday as soon as I had posted it—& I was bundled into bed—reporters were sent away & the receiver taken off my telephone!

Susan was suddenly transformed from secretary into nurse—a part she plays most excellently. The unpleasant symptoms began at once to yield to the treatment & I feel quite on top of them already. Tonsilitis is the name of the malady.

Though I haven’t been in New York twenty four hours, I feel I am going to like it immensely & am going to have a simply ripping time. My lectures are not yet arranged owing to various hitches—that I neednt explain. But I saw Feakins yesterday & we got on very well. {1} I like him as a business man very much. He thinks my fee a very moderate one, & would have taken me on at 250—at the same time, things are very awkward just now. 1. Shortness of time for arrangements. {1} (2.) People financially hit by the war. (3.) November given up to the Elections & campaign in full swing everywhere—nobody any time to take on anything till they are over. (4.) C.P. {1} & Annie Kenney speaking, & queering the pitch. So far as I can find out neither of the above are bothering to make any business arrangement.

If I am having a good time & am asked by Feakins to give him a chance by staying over December, would you object? I dont want you to be or to feel deserted, but since the voyage is such an ordeal—(it was 7 days sheer purgatory this time) it seems a pity now I am here, not to stay if I’m wanted. Should it suit your work or your plans to come out here later on, I believe you would enjoy it, for I am quite sure I am going to have many friends here. I cant tell you how sweet & kind everybody is to me. The only person with whom I cannot “blossom” is Mrs S. Blatch. Its a case of “didn’t like her”. But I am not going to let that stand in the way! She can be very very useful to me & I mean to please her, & do her credit. There is a crowd of splendid girls, like the Lewisohns & Alice Wright. And numbers of interesting men & women who are inviting me to their homes. My quarters here are perfection—absolute comfort & harmony—no ugly luxury—just like the dear Lewisohns themselves. I found beautiful roses in my room & a sweet note from them. But they came after I had been bundled to bed yesterday & Susan had been instructed by the doctor to keep everybody outside. I shall send you all the cuttings I can get before post time. You might send them on to V. f. W. {2} & perhaps Miss Offley will afterwards collect & keep them. Your very happy comfortable & lucky



{1} Full stop supplied.

{2} Christabel Pankhurst.

{3} Votes for Women.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street (New York).—Has arrived at New York, and is recovering from the effects of the voyage.



Oct. 26th Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street

It was a perfectly exquisite morning when we rode in to dock about 10 o’clock. Such a jolly group of dear girls were there to greet me. The Customs Commissioner came & bowed & welcomed us & passed our baggage without formalities. This is a charming place & we are very happy. Susan is a perfect brick. She has taken everything over—makes my engagements, plays the dragon—refuses to allow too many people to make appointments. I have turned all the business over to her. I have had a heavy day with reporters. The voyage played the dickens with my internal machinery & believing I am doing what you would all tell me to do I have just got Susan to ring up a doctor she knows who is coming right along to see me. I found I had a temperature of nearly 103 so thought it no good going on as though I were feeling fit. I am hoping that he will set me up on my legs almost immediately. I’ll write a note again tomorrow to you which [you] {1} will get by the same post I hope[.] All love, dearest. This note is for you alone. I love you very much. Always your own


oh I must tell you about the cablegram. As soon as I got in I sent off the message Jordan passed! Allelulia!† Wife. {1} In the evening a messenger came to say that the censor refused to pass it. He had never heard of Jordan, and knew nothing about “the promised land”—so I told him to go back & alter the message to “Arrived safely. Hooray!” in which form (I suppose) you received it.


{1} Omitted by mistake.

{2} Full stop supplied.

{3} Cf. PETH 8/3.

† Sic.

Biographical note on Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

(Carbon copy.)



Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence is of Celtic stock. Her forbears lived in Cornwall, {1} the rock-bound peninsular to which in ancient days came the intrepid Phoenician mariners to mingle their blood with the aboriginal inhabitants. But her father, a Bristol merchant, made his house in Weston-super-mare and she herself responded to the call to come to London to be a “Sister” in the West London Mission under Hugh Price Hughes and Mark Guy Pearse.

It was not until she was nearly 40 years of age that the little band of militant suffragettes unfurled their banner of revolt and at Keir Hardie’s suggestion sought her help. In a spirit of dedication she yielded to the entreaties of Annie Kenney, {1} the mill girl who had come from Lancashire with £5 in her pocket “to rouse London”.

Her Cornish love of freedom, her passionate anger at injustice, her sense of shame at the humiliating status of women, her desire to befriend the weak and oppressed all combined to force this choice upon her. She consented to become the treasurer of the new movement. Instinctively she realised that she was setting her foot upon an uncharted path. But she certainly could not have forseen† into what strange and unconventional ways it would lead her.

In fact she was on seven separate occasions to see the inside of His Majesty’s prison. She was to go through the hunger strike and to suffer the painful indignity of forcible feeding. As a treasurer she was to raise a campaign fund of over a quarter of a million pounds and to become known as the most seductive beggar in London. In all this she was sustained by a strong inner sense of mission; and she was fortunate in having what was denied to many others of the suffragettes, {1} the active support of her men folk—her father, her husband and other relatives and friends.


The file number ‘2069’ has been written at the top of the first sheet in pencil.

Biographical note on Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence


Biography of Mrs Pethick Lawrence

Mrs Pethick Lawrence realised when quite a child the very deplorable position of unprotected women in this country, {1} especially those who belong to the working class. Upon the completion of her education she offered her services to the West London Mission then controlled by the Rev. Hugh Price Hughes and became one of the “sisters of the people”. She helped to found and organise the Esperance Club for working girls which has since established a reputation all over the country for its revival of folk dance and song.

Incidentally she had to do with many sad and difficult cases of human misery and she was often appealed to by the police on behalf of unfortunate women. In connection with these cases she attended Police Courts and became responsible to the magistrate for the woman prisoner in the dock.

After five years work in the West London Mission she went to live in a block of artisan buildings and tried the experiment of how much a working girl could live upon. She decided that the minimum was 15/- a week, whereupon she started with her friend Miss Mary Neal a co-operative dress-making establishment which paid its workers a miminim† wage of 15/- a week for an eight hour’s day. Several other schemes have been launched with her co-operation, including a holiday hotel for working girls at Littlehampton. Her marriage in 1901 did not put an end to any of these interests and the last twenty-two years of her life have been devoted to the social service of the community.

But every attempt at social and economic reform only drove more deeply home her conviction that so long as women were politically outside the pale of citizenship, the necessary leverage to life {2} working women and girls out of the morass was lacking.

In 1906 she became the first National Treasurer of the Women’s Social and Political Union. In the October of that year she suffered imprisonment for taking part in a protest in the lobby of the House of Commons. In 1909 she was arrested for leading a deputation for the purpose of presenting a Petition to the Prime Minister. In 1911 she was again imprisoned for a repetition of this offence. In 1912 she was arrested on a charge of Conspiracy and sentenced to imprisonment. On this occasion she adopted the Hunger Strike as a protest against the prison treatment and was forcibly fed. In the October of that year she was requested by Mrs Pankhurst to resign from the W.S.P.U. as Mrs Pankhurst had decided upon a development of the militant policy and did not want to be hampered by a Committee.

Great pressure was put upon Mrs Pethick Lawrence to found another Suffrage Organisation. To this she responded by forming the “Votes for Women” Fellowship—not a Suffrage Society, but an association of co-workers and Fellows to further a common enterprise, namely the establishment of the paper “Votes for Women” as the expression of the Suffrage Movement in its wide catholicity of ideal and purpose.


Carbon copy of a typed original. ‘About 1912’ has been added at the top of the first sheet by hand, as well as the file number ‘2069’.

{1} Comma supplied.

{2} A slip for ‘lift’.

† Sic.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

20 Somerset Terrace (Duke’s Road, W.C.).—Comments further on the difference between their political positions, particularly with regard to the South African war. Will see him when she gets back from Littlehampton.

(Dated Thursday.)



20 Somerset Terrace
Thursday Evening

Dear Mr Laurence.

There was something in your letter this morning that touched me very much—I know what you say is true—yours is the disadvantage. But isn’t it the more necessary to stop you & ask you to consider before you come even in your thoughts or wishes, a step nearer to me—or state anything further?

Oh I dont want that there shall be many words. How can I say it most directly? The question goes so much deeper than argument: no I dont hold those crude notions about Capital nor those about Socialism. There isn’t a point touched upon in your long letter that would stand between us—I haven’t any fixed theories either, I am learning—comparing—balancing. {1}

Will you allow me once and once only to go straight for your position. We must come to it. But I am dreadfully afraid of hurting you. I am horribly afraid of letters for one thing—when there is a heart that can be hurt. Words are such a poor medium. Will you believe that if I were looking at you saying these things that I have to fling out in black, I could take ever bit of the hardness there may seem to be, out of the words.

You believe that you may compromise for good reasons on a moral issue. I believe all such compromise to be deadly.

Place, position & any sort of purchased power are dust and ashes to me compared with the integrity of one man’s soul.

If I were to bear your name, I should be prouder of this essential quality of your manhood, than of any triumphs—any {1} honours—that you could achieve. What has this to do with the immediate question? It is not easy to show it in a few words—

But you must try to put in the links, I must try to be definite.

Take for instance the foremost issue of the coming election—the “khaki” election. To me—(it has been a bitter realization)—to me this war is no war in the strict sense of the word: it is organized murder for robbery. It is the story over again of Naboth’s vineyard {2}—only instead of a king’s crime it is a nation’s crime. You are not responsible for the crime—you deplore it—but as a party man with an end in view you must condone it. Yes I know it is only shutting your eyes a little—only not investigating—you who are to be a leader in social reform—and this has been the foremost question of the hour for 12 months!

I can hardly tell you the actual facts, that you have not studied, you say. (I mean I wouldn’t say it if you hadn’t.) For you are a pledged man. There is a sort of sense of honour that would silence me—for what can you do? You have given your word to your party. You are consenting. It is only a little deadening of the clear child-like senses—a dimming of the sight. But that is why we are where we are today. There are few, {3} very few malignant or unscrupulous men, but—the average man has his price! And that is why the few unscrupulous men have their enormous power. They know this & they are able to play their game. This is their whole creed & faith. It is all very subtle, very specious. The price is a varying one—low in some cases, high in others, {3} but it comes to the same thing. This is the taint—the secret of all social corruption.

This is only one instance—only a little part of a big question. Over & over again the situation will recur—and you will have committed yourself more deeply to a party that hasn’t soul enough to keep its body for long above ground: only fit for decent burial in Conservative ground: its enthusiasm—its living essence has gone; & left the body of expediency which is sure sooner or later to fall into nothingness.

These things have been hard to say—I cannot write more.

After all it does not cost me nothing. It does not cost me nothing to forbid the entering into my life of a possible great joy.

I am going away tomorrow—my address will be c/o Mrs Arnold, Trafalgar House, Littlehampton. {4} But do not write unless it is necessary. When I come back I will see you. I have done a frightful amount of thinking & must let the matter rest a while. You see you have been weeks, {3} perhaps months making up your mind before Tuesday. {5} I have had all that ground to cover in a few days & nights.

Sister Mary will be at home next week. If you want to talk over your own affairs with anybody, I dont know who could be of more use. She is most absolutely trustworthy & as true as steel—& eminently practical. I only say this—because I know there comes a point when thinking alone becomes confusion.

I thank you for your letters—they have touched me very deeply

Yours sincerely
Emmeline Pethick


{1} Preceding dash supplied.

{1} Cf. 1 Kings 21. 1–16 and My Part in a Changing World, p. 122.

{2} Probably the house in East Street later known as the Green Lady Hostel.

{3} This fixes the date of Lawrence’s proposal.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

(Place of writing not indicated.)—Describes her voyage to Egypt.



Sunday. Nov. 6

Beloved. Are your wishes, magicians? Why did you not tell me before you had this power to make smooth & radiant the way for those whom you love. All the days have been blue & serene—with lovely light, & all the nights sparkling with stars. The scent of Mimosa or of sweeter & more heavenly flowers has come morning by morning across the golden pathway of the risen sun & the great circle of life has been bounded only by the sky. Yes, the sea is wonderful, & to live in its breast & to feel the pulse & the breath of its being is wonderful. It brings a great forgetfulness—a release from personal life, a sense of the great stretch of universal being. It is Sunday, the sun nearing the horizon in the west, & another day will soon have passed—& all too soon this dream of contentment will be over. It has been quite unbroken. We have been just living in the warmth & light, almost grudging the hours of sleep, so sweet & dreamless & happy with the lullaby of the waves & the rythmic† pulse of the great heart whose throbbing speeds us on. We have been quiet, partly because the passengers are a somewhat sober lot, but perhaps because we have not gone out of our way to know people—there seems hardly time, for we shall be in port on Tuesday. They are not attractive, & oh so sordidly clothed; the women I mean. Motley flannel blouses on dark nondescript skirts, regardless of any sort of colour harmony—not one speck of brilliant beautiful colour—except in the lascar sailors! their scarlet caps & blue linen tunics are quite a relief. Mine is the only white suit, I have been so glad of it, I put it on the first thing & have worn nothing else except in the evening—& Marie & I have flaunted our orange & crimson scarves! The ‘officier’ I told you about {1} who came & sat down by us at breakfast turned out to be the Captain—he is such a nice man—an Irishman—I like him very much—he read prayers this morning. Last night at 11 o’clock we passed Stromboli & from its peak, red flames darted up to the stars at intervals. So you see we were not without our 5th of November fireworks.

At 2 o’clock this morning I woke with that fresh alertness, one owes to perfect sleep; & looked through my port hole, & saw that we were going through the Straits of Messina—we were very near; the mountains of Italy (at least the coast-line looked mountainous in the starlight) rose up against the sky like a land of imagination & dreams.

I said this morning I should like to take a picture of Marie in her berth in the morning, with the sparkle of delight in her eyes—looking in her excitement quite pretty. She & Hetty are very happy & we are all splendidly well, with great hunger! This is certainly a voyage “made easy for young beginners”. I must not expect that it will be always like this—must I?

The time that could be spared from the sea, & perhaps more time than ought to have been spared, has been given to my most fascinating book—“The Garden of Allah” {2}. You ought to bring it for the voyage. I don’t know whether you will get on with it; you will find the same physcholigal† detail that tried your patience rather in Felix {3}—but if you once get through that, I think you would get absorbed. I think it is quite one of those books that may be called “a miracle”. To me, it is quite superhuman, in truth & power & charm. Sentence by sentence it is a delight; one reads the very words again & again from sheer delight in them.

Sunday evening.

Never in my life have I known quite this sense so continued, of being lulled body & soul: laid to sleep in the arms of a great motherhood, as perhaps in the days before the memory was awake—so satisfied, as you say, it is “an eternity”, for “time” is not, nor past, nor future—only the song of the sea & the song of life. It is almost as if one had passed out of the body—I mean at times, when one sits hour after hour in the dark loath to stir or break the spell. I think of all I have left as if they belonged to another life—and of you as if you were coming coming† to me from the other side. We get a long evening—for we go down to dinner at 6 o’clock, as there was no room for us at the ordinary dinner at 7.30. It suits us well—we have the deck to ourselves from 7 o’clock till 9—it is par excellence the hour for dreams.

I heard some people talking today who have a very wretched cabin. “And we booked in June” they said. They are going to New Zealand & are hoping to change & get better berths at Port Said! How lucky we are! If we were on the other side of the boat, we should be very hot: but we could wish for nothing better in any way. We have no “places” except for dinner; breakfast & lunch are served during certain hours, & one just sits down where there is room. This means a new neighbour every time & rather tells against making friends. Some sports are arranged for tomorrow. But for such a very short voyage one wants nothing but—heaven!

I think of you & Carry tonight at The Sundial. How I hope you are having a good time & a ‘real’ time together. And dear Podger! You will have got my letter from Marseilles I hope. I keep thinking that you will be just where I am now in 5 weeks time. I could sail round & round the world for ever & aye, if the sea were always as it is now, & if you were always coming in 5 weeks’ time! I was so glad to get your dear telegram, it just came as if to say that you had prepared & made all this glory—& your darling letter—there never was such a fellerie† as you! Oh I want you to have all this rest & cessation, that we are having now & afterwards out there, an awakening, a revelation—the baptism of heavenly fire from the lands of the ardent sun.
Do you remember Swinburne’s lines from his Songs before Sunrise—

Out, under the moon & stars!
Out under the ardent sun!
Whose light, on prison bars
And mountain heads, is one.
Our march is everlasting, till time’s march is done! {4}


All too soon is our voyage coming to an end. Presently there will be packing—money-changing, bustle & then a train journey of 4 or 5 hours—landing us in Cairo about midnight. This part of the journey has been “bliss”, may the next part, as Marie says, not be “blister”! No—the fascination of Egypt together with a kind of awe & terror, the awe of the unknown & yet the near—grows upon one. Surely, surely the desert out there holds some gift for me & for you! How one longs for the power of song. At night in the dark looking out from the deck, I have thought what it would be to be able to sing, like the nightingale in Summer nights—it seems unnatural to be so dumb. In the life to come, there will be new powers of expression given to the soul. I begin to understand the conception of “Nirvana”. The wonderful East! One begins to——

Well, well, enough! There is a Burmese gentleman on board; he has been teaching us a little Arabic, & has given us his card—so that if we ever go to Burmah——

Where shall we not go? Oh Schatz what will be the end? Hetty was telling me wonderful things today out of a book called “The Dawn of Astronomy” by Sir Norman Lockyer—these old temples were so built that on one day of the year, the sun or the star in whose honour they were built shines right in to the inner shrine—the Holy of Holies. You could get it out of Mudie’s {5}—wouldn’t it be rather a lovely book for the journey.

But I expect you will not have much time for reading. We went in for the Sports yesterday—but did not get any prizes. I expect you will come to me laden with trophies. I am afraid we rather grudged the time! I want you to bring me Swinburne’s “Songs before Sunrise”, if you will—it will set me in tune for Mazzini: they are all inspired by Mazzini & the awakening of Italy.

I promised to lend Mac. my fiddle. It is at The Mascotte. Next time you go to Holmwood will you bring it back. I want you here now. Beloved, dearest, dearest, I am ever yours, ever yours, your Woman.

P.S. I am sending you the first two sheets of my Journal, {6} which I want you to circulate please. Marie said when she saw me writing to you, “What a waste it seems, all that for one man!!” She is developing into quite a ‘rascal’.

You might let Mary Neal see this Journal before fo[r]warding to Mother.


A few alterations have been made to the punctuation of the original.

{1} Presumably in the letter from Marseilles referred to later in this letter, which is not extant.

{2} A novel by Robert Hitchens, first published in 1904.

{3} Probably Felix Holt, by George Eliot.

{4} A slight misquotation from Swinburne’s poem ‘A Marching Song’, from the collection Songs before Sunrise (1871), dedicated to Giuseppe Mazzini, who is referred to later in this letter. The published words are as follows:—

“Out under moon and stars
And shafts of the urgent sun
Whose face on prison-bars
And mountain-heads is one,
Our march is everlasting till time’s march be done.”

{5} i.e. Mudie’s circulating library.

{6} PETH 7/147, which in fact comprises three sheets.

† Sic.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to the Women’s Social and Political Union and F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Holloway Prison.—Is encouraged by news of their fund-raising and by the progress of the paper (Votes for Women). Urges them to make a success of the Albert Hall Demonstration and to wear the Union’s colours at all times.

(Written on a printed form. A piece of paper was pasted over the second message, which was copied out on another sheet (7/166).)



Holloway Prison. March 26th 1909.

My dear Friends, & Fellow Members of our beloved Union.

I send you greeting & love. I am with you constantly in thought & spirit & desire. Very soon I shall be with you in the flesh. I have felt & I still feel the support of your thoughts & good wishes. You must know that I have not seen a newspaper since I came here. I am very ignorant as to how the world is wagging. In Holloway “nobody knows nothing” so it would be quite useless to ask questions. Knowing nothing can be carried to a fine art. But across the night of oblivion glorious flashes of good tidings have come to me. One was the Report sent for my signature. Great was my satisfaction to know that we had raised the whole £20,000 during the year. That we should be very near to our mark, I felt sure, before I came here, but “Oh the little more, & how much it is; The little less, & what worlds away.” {1} In our Union we pride ourselves on attaining our standards! Another great joy to the heart of your Treasurer was to hear the sum raised in donations & promises during Self Denial Week. Eight thousand pounds is a good start at the beginning of the new financial year towards the fifty thousands we mean to realize unless we get the vote before the end of next February. I seem to hear some of you gasp “Fifty thousand pounds”! I will tell you how it is to be raised. We have proved, have we not, that we ourselves are good for £20,000? We gave our utmost last year, we shall go on giving our utmost. The remaining £30,000 has to come from a public not yet touched. And what we have to do without a moments delay, every one of us, is to go about everywhere preaching the gospel of Votes for Women & bringing as many people as we can into the Movement. Especially must new people be brought by all our members to our great Meetings. And now I come to the main point of this letter which I write to you from my prison cell. I have a great great wish. And if I tell it to you, I know that you will fulfil it. I want the Albert Hall Demonstration on April 29th to be the greatest success, the most magnificent triumph that our Agitation has ever yet achieved. I beg every member in London to make the success of this Meeting her individual responsibility & to concentrate from now all her energies upon it. Take the tickets & sell them to friends. Let each one be responsible for a certain number & for their value in cash. If you cannot sell them all in the usual way, persuade some wealthy friend to purchase tickets which can be given to those who cannot afford to buy for themselves. But make up your mind that you will dispose of 6, 10, 20 or 50 tickets, as the case may be. The occasion is a particularly significant one. Women suffragists from every civilized country in the world will be representing their respective organizations, at the International Suffragist Congress in London. And this Albert Hall Meeting is to give them welcome in the name of the Women’s Social & Political Union. They have most cordially accepted our invitation to be present, & a certain number of seats have been reserved for them. It is also a Demonstration, in honour of all our members who have suffered imprisonment for the sake of women’s emancipation. They will come from the North & the South, the East & the West to the centre of reunion in the Albert Hall. They will wear their prison dress. Seats immediately behind the speakers will be reserved for them. Many interesting developments will be revealed as time goes on. It is to be a field day of the Militant Movement. I am allowed only one sheet of paper for this my one monthly letter. I would say more about this matter, but space forbids. Will you, dear women in this Union, {2} read into my brief words all that my heart could wish.

I want to tell you how delighted I am that the Paper {3}—our Paper—is developing so rapidly. I hear it has reached 21,000 already. I hope it will reach 25,000 before I come back. That will be another joy. My Three Wishes! How splendidly they have been carried out. With all my heart I thank you all.

Oh to see our flag again! To salute the colours! My eyes yearn for them. I comfort myself with the thought that my prison dress is green, my prison cap is white. Would that my apron were purple. My library card is faintly purplish! But one lives on small things in Holloway. And how ones perceptions & appreciations are intensified. How one learns the meanings & the values of the ordinary blessings & beauties of life which one is so apt to take for granted. Colour, music, sun & stars & above all human friendship & social intercourse. Wear the colours always, if not for your own sake, then for the sake of those who are in prison. I am convinced that wearing the colours is one of the best ways of attracting strangers to this Movement. Curiosity & interest once stimulated, you know how quickly the rest follows. A large number of the deputation who went to prison with me, were quite recent converts, who a few short weeks ago would have scouted the possibility of going to prison. Ours is such a wonderful Movement. Nothing seems too much to hope, too great to believe & expect. I must say Goodbye to you. When you read this letter of mine, there will be only two more weeks to pass before the joy of reunion is ours. Meanwhile, as I sit here in my prison cell, I know that in the world outside, it is Spring time. Life is pushing its way through the clods. Life is rising like a tide through stem & branch, soon to overflow & bring a flood of beauty over the face of the world. Yes & there is a stirring of new life in the heart of the human race & especially in the heart of the world’s womanhood. I feel it in our Movement, I see the blossoming of new hope, new faith, new love, new courage, new energy. I know that in the cycle of the world’s life, a new Spring is coming, {3} has indeed come. This knowledge is my great joy. It is the joy which we all share & which none can take from us. We will give body & soul & all that we have to minister to this new life. We will accomplish the purpose to which we have been called. Yours in the strong bond of fellowship which unites us all in this Movement.

Emmeline Pethick Lawrence.

Dear Husband. Truly there is some great power of love working for us. Dear Marie’s visit was quite wonderful. For the first time I really felt a bit strained today. The sight of Marie broke the tension & I am quite right now. I almost felt as though the dear dear Daddy {4} sent her. He said his spirit would be with me. Can we doubt that all will be well always? Can Chris as well as Freda ride with me on the 17th. I should love to have them both. Marie tells me how Chris has felt it. Give my love to all my dear circle of relations & friends. My heart’s love to you dearest.

E. P. L.


The letter is written on a printed form. The details entered by hand include, besides what is printed above, the prisoner’s number (2141) and name, and a reference number. There are a few later annotations, which were evidently made in the process of preparing the text for printing.

{1} A quotation from Browning’s poem ‘By the Fire-Side’, varied slightly.

{2} Comma supplied.

{3} Votes for Women, launched in February 1907.

{4} Mark Guy Pearse.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

20 Somerset Terrace, W.C.—Sends a paper by Mary Neal, a manuscript about the opening of their first show-room, and Forman’s translation of The Nibelung’s Ring. Expresses some ideas on education, and sends news of the Club.



20 Somerset Terr., W.C.

Dear Mr Lawrence,

I am thinking of writing a book and calling it “Imaginary Conversations with a Matter of Fact Man”. If I do, you will perhaps cease to be plagued with books and papers! But in the meantime will you read this little paper {1} of Sister Mary’s before it goes to the Publishers. I would like to know what you think of it, and so would she. Of course we do not get much criticism from our own circle!

I was turning out my old papers yesterday, and I found this ancient-looking M.S. I do not know why I send it to you, but something makes me want to send it. It brings back our opening service in our first little show {2} room. We were all there, and I had to take the service. There is something very sweet about those memories of the earliest days; we were all so young!

And I am sending the book too, {3} the story of the magic of the gold, the power and the curse of the ring. I am not going to say very much because it is too big. But I am sure there are some things in it that you will like. The whole story of Brunhilda, and the boy-hero Siegfried, so unconquerable in his youth and fearlessness, and yet so unseeing. So wholly regardless of all his possession except his sword:

“In a sword I wrought
are all my riches—” {4}

If I could have anything to do with education, I should of course have the children fitted for their work by the usual technical instruction, but their education for life should be by the old Greek method, games and stories. There should be no precept, but vision. The only idea of morality should be “the King in his beauty”, {5} to whom loyalty should be not duty but living impulse, for whom death itself could be sweet, and life uncalculating.

Talking of children, I wish you could have been present the other evening at a little party that the children gave to me and a few friends. They got up the entertainment entirely by themselves, and the most amusing part was the stage-directions and audible asides. They did Sleeping Beauty, and when the little Sleeper opened her eyes before the psychic moment, great was the irritation of the Prince; she was thrust back on the conventionalities with a vigorous poke and a loud whisper: “Not yet, you silly”!

Pett Ridge came an hour too soon for dinner last Monday evening! {6} So he had the privilege of seeing the preliminary operations! I think he rather enjoyed it! I really won’t waste any more time gossipping, but will rather remain

Emmeline Pethick


{1} On socialism. See the next letter.

{2} Probable reading.

{3} Alfred Forman, The Nibelung’s Ring: English Words to Richard Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen, in the Alliterative Verse of the Original, first published in 1877.

{4} The words are from Act I of Götterdämmerung, as translated by Forman (The Nibelung’s Ring, p. 286).

{5} Isaiah xxxiii. 17.

{6} 28 January. See PETH 7/67.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

20 Somerset Terrace (Duke’s Road, W.C.).—Offers to criticise his article, and suggests he talk with Norman Franks. Is disgusted by the sentimental reaction to the death of Queen Victoria. Refers to their guests for dinner.



20 Somerset Terr.
28 Jan. 1901

Dear Mr Lawrence,

We must try to bear up! We are quite used to seeing our bulwarks (against old ladies and other enemies) walking off in all directions! And yet we manage somehow to hold the fort! Seriously, we are not discouraged—neither are we optimistic; while we are alive we go on, voila tout!

I am glad about the book; yes, do send the article when it is ready and I will criticize unmercifully. I know what you mean; we don’t want something merely academic but something dynamic. This is your subject. I think you ought to have a talk with Norman Franks. He knows a great deal experimentally. He nearly lost his life sticking on for 3 years in Rothwell Bgs: {1} and is most keen on the subject. I am sure he would be delighted to see you any time at 59 Eastcheap.

I cannot help being disgusted by the sentimentalism run riot amongst us. {2} There is something real, as you say, something great in the way the ends of the earth have been united in their loyalty to one woman, {3} who was personally worthy of the great ideal which she represented, but it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, who found herself growing so small that she began to be drowned in her own tears and had to swim through to dry land. Besides, sentimentalism is the death of real feeling and we lose everything including our own self-respect.

Thanks for the little book that you sent me; it is full of the sweet reasonableness and light of the writer, but I always miss the battle-cry:

“Fall battle-axe & clash brand!
Let the King reign.”! {4}

I am going to send you one of my books, one of which I never tire, that never loses its absolute fascination for me. I don’t expect you to like it, so don’t go against the grain to read it. But if you do read it perhaps I might be able to tell you why I accept Wagner and reject Tolstoi.

Shall I tell you for whom we are cooking the dinner today: Mr Pett Ridge, Mr Dunbar Smith {5} and Mac, and the Lady Katherine Thynne (or “Miss Bath”) {6}.

The wife May has a Boys’ Club, so we have to do dishing up and all. She is still as great a source of pleasure and amusement as ever. Her latest is in reference to Mr MacIlwaine coming while we were out:

(Sister Mary, soliloquy) “I suppose he went back to his work”
(May (in her most clucking style)) “Didn’t look much like work!—the way he flopped ’isself down!”

By the way, you have a principle against answering invitations, nicht wahr? Und der Herr ist auch in Deutschland gewesen, und er spricht wohl Deutsch. Also, leben Sie recht wohl.

Ihre höchst, etc.
Emmeline Pethick


{1} Rothwell Buildings, in Whitfield Street, St Pancras.

{2} The reference is to the national mood following death of Queen Victoria on the 22nd.

{3} Above ‘human being’ struck through.

{4} A conflation of two lines repeated several times in Tennyson’s ‘The Coming of Arthur’ (one of the Idylls of the King): ‘Fall battleaxe, and flash brand! Let the King reign’, and ‘Clash battleaxe, and clash brand! Let the King reign.’

{5} Arnold Dunbar Smith, who, together with Cecil Claude Brewer, had designed the Passmore Edwards Settlement. He was later employed by the Pethick-Lawrences to build a cottage near their house in Surrey as a guest-house for London children. See My Part in a Changing World, p. 132.

{6} Lady Katherine Thynne was the second daughter of the 4th Marquess of Bath. She married the Earl of Cromer on 22 October this year.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick to F. W. Lawrence

20 Somerset Terrace (Duke’s Road, W.C.).—She and Cope commend the positions taken up by Lawrence in the enclosed document, but do not think he should submit it to Chamberlain.



20 Somerset Terrace.
14. 7. 00.

Dear Mr Laurence.

I have carefully read & considered the enclosed & have shown it to Mr Cope & consulted him upon it; we are of the same opinion: You have taken up impregnable positions. Nothing could be better or more to the purpose. There is, as far as our judgement goes, {1} nothing to add or take away.

At the same time I find that he feels as I do—that it is an undesirable thing that you should submit this to Mr Chamberlain or should see him. Not that I have now the smallest fear that you will be moved from these positions: But I do not think it is a fair thing. I do not think it is desirable that you should commit yourself to Mr Chamberlain in this way—especially in writing. In an interview you will be at a great disadvantage. Your position to Mr Chamberlain is one of very acute criticism. It is necessary to criticise a public man’s motives & to doubt at certain times his good faith. But it is impossible when talking to a man to impute motives—or challenge his good faith. Thus a great part of your objection must be concealed & your argument weakened. However I only put this in this way, so that you may weigh advantages and disadvantages. Whatever you decide to do, it will be the right thing—for you. You only can judge. This is written in great haste in a few snatched moments—but it has not been hastily considered.

Yours sincerely,
Emmeline Pethick


{1} Comma supplied.

Account of a visit to Germany, by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

(Carbon copy, with a handwritten alteration. Undated.)



On Sunday October 5th, the German Parliament House in Berlin was filled to overflowing with a great gathering of people, who met to celebrate the memory of the friends of peace in all lands, and especially of those who had devoted themselves in life and in death to the furtherance of international understanding and friendship.

The speakers were Dr. Frithjof Nansen (Norway) Senator Henri La Fontaine (Belgium) Senator Ferdinand Buisson (France) Herr Paul Loebe (Leader of the German Social Democratic Party and late President of the Reichstag) and myself as representative of England and also of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom which is now established in 33 countries. Every speech was received with great enthusiasm and ardent desire for Peace permeated the spirit of the meeting.

There is a great movement of reconciliation growing rapidly between the German and French women and also between the youth of both countries. The German women have collected money to build a Reconciliation House in the North of France which will consist of a library, public halls, and club rooms. The German Youth Movement has arranged with the inhabitants of the devastated areas to send its qualified members in large numbers to rebuild with their own hands the houses of the peasant land owners. The French working women of Paris have received 300 children from the Ruhr into their own homes. A procession of French children marched through the streets carrying little banners inscribed “German children and French children are brothers and sisters” and the German children were met thus at the station loaded with flowers and gifts and brought home in loving triumph. Those women whose homes were too small and overcrowded to take an adopted child, give or collect 30 francs a month for the support of some particular child in the Ruhr with whom a correspondence is carried on, and many hundreds of children in the distressed areas are supported in this way. Not the money only, but gifts of clothing and good things find their way by post to the adopted little ones.

I addressed a great meeting of one thousand young men and women in Berlin organised by the German Youth Movement for Democracy and Worldwide brotherhood and peace. A young man told the story of how he had walked through France (for as he had no money he could not travel in any other way) to attend the recent International Peace Conference organised by the French Youth Movement. As he was at last, after many days, nearing the place of meeting he was met by an old French peasant woman, of whom he enquired the way. “Are you going to the young people’s Peace Conference” she asked. He pointed to his badge. “Over there” said the old woman solemnly pointing to a military burial ground in the distance, “lie my three sons.” “Over there” replied the young German student, “lie my three brothers.”

The old woman bent down and gathered some earth in the palm of her hand. Showing the dust to him and touching it, she said slowly, “Earth! The same earth covers my three sons and your three brothers,” then lifting herself and pointing upward she added, “Heaven—the same heaven is over us all.”

In company with Marcelle Capy (French) and Gertrud Baer (German) I went from town to town speaking about International Brotherhood. Magdeburg is a large town famed for its iron and steel industry two hours by express train from Berlin. There we met an audience of over three thousand men and women. They listened in intense silence with occasional bursts of applause, and when the meeting was over many of the audience walked with us to our train and gave us a send off with cheers.

Frankfurt, Heidelburg, Rastadt, Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Offenburg, Schopfheim, Stuttgart, Goppingen, Dresden were amongst the towns visited, and there were many more invitations that could not be accepted. Everywhere we found the same eager response.

The German and French people are far more deeply concerned with the subject of peace than we in England are. Listening to their impassioned words I realised that speaking comparatively we know little in England of the miseries and devastations, physical and moral—of war.


A few typing errors have been silently corrected.

{1} i.e. ‘had’.

Biographical note on Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

(Carbon copy. Written to accompany an article by Mrs Pethick-Lawrence, about the time of her visit to South Africa in 1930.)



Mrs. Pethick Lawrence. Biographical notes.

Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence[,] writer of the following article, recently made a tour in South Africa and was brought in touch with many of the leaders of public opinion in this country. She was known in advance by many South Africans as a prominent leader of the Women’s Movement in Great Britain. She was a colleague of Mrs. Pankhurst in the Women’s Social and Political Union, and is the President of the Women’s Freedom League. Her husband is in the present British Government and holds the office of Financial secretary to the Treasury.

Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence is one of the founders of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom which she mentions in this article. This League has its headquarters in Geneva and has national branches in twenty-six countries and correspondence centres in a further sixteen countries where branches are not yet formed. All her life she has been deeply impressed with the wast[e]fulness of war and irrationality of war. In her opinion war never settles any question, on the contrary it unsettles everything. During the Boer War, her husband was Secretary of the Conciliation Committee.

Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence was an intimate friend of Miss Emily Hobhouse, and while in this country she renewed her old friendship with women like Mrs. Ex-President Steyn who worked with Miss Hobhouse to mitigate some of the horrible conditions brought about by the Boer War


‘? 1930’ has been added by hand at the top of the first sheet, together with the file number ‘2069’.

Biographical note on Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, by F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

(Carbon copy, with handwritten corrections. This note was prepared in connection with a broadcast in Australia.)



Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence is well known all the world over as an ardent champion of liberty and as an opponent of war and all other antagonisms of race, class, or sex which threaten the freedom of the human spirit.

One of her earliest recollections is of the great fight which her father put up in Weston-super-Mare for the right of free speech over a Salvation Army case; and his ultimate victory [in the Beatty v Gilbanks judgment] {1} establishing an important tradition of liberty made her very proud to be his daughter.

When she was only eight years old she fought her own first battle for democracy. At her school a barbarous and antiquated rule forbade the pupils to speak to the domestic servants in the house. Emmeline Pethick broke this rule and was “sent to Coventry” for a whole week as a punishment. On another occasion, when one of the head mistresses was relating to the girls with great approval an assault made with rotten eggs upon the late Henry Bradlaugh, she horrified the school by protesting in the presence of the lady and before them all that Bradlaugh’s atheism was preferable to the kind of Christianity that resorted to such cowardly persecution.

In her teens her spirit was fired to a sense of injustice by the reading of many books such as “Adam Bede”, Goethe’s “Faust”, {2} and “The Story of a South African Farm”.—Later in life Olive Schreiner the author of the latter was to become one of her intimate friends.

Determined to do her part she enlisted as a “Sister” in Mrs. Prior Hughes’ West London Mission. In these {3} days the working girls of London had no holiday at all during the year except Sundays and bank holidays. “Sister Emmeline” personally visited a number of employers and persuaded them not to sack their girls if they absented themselves for a week in the summer. Of course they got no wages but Sister Emmeline herself took them away into the country.

Later she and another sister founded the Espérance Working Girls Club which became famous through introducing the old Morris Dances into every county of England.

It was during a performance by the Esperance Club that she first met her future husband, and their common Cornish heritage at once drew them together. The guests at the wedding included the old women of St. Pancras Workhouse, the members of the Canning Town Men’s Club, and Mr. Lloyd George then known mainly as an opponent of the Boer War. After marriage they decided to unite their two surnames of Pethick and Lawrence and for a time their interests were absorbed in the London Evening paper of which Mr. Lawrence was the editor.

But it was not long before the militant suffrage movement with its insistent challenge to Authority was to claim all their attention. The name of Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence coupled with those of Mrs. Pankhurst and “Christabel” was on everybody’s lips. Six times she faced arrest and imprisonment, once going through the hunger strike and being forcibly fed. As Treasurer of the W.S.P.U. (Women’s Social and Political Union) her speeches at the Royal Albert Hall, London, were famous and her success was demonstrated by the gathering of no less than a quarter of a million pounds for the movement.

She and her husband edited the weekly newspaper “Votes for Women” which rapidly attained a large circulation. It chronicled at one time two hundred meetings a week on behalf of the organisation & reported that at a demonstration in Hyde Park the audience had been estimated by the Times newspaper in the neighbourhood of half a million.

On one occasion when Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence was announced to take the chair at a meeting from which it was intended that women should start a march to the House of Commons, a body of students broke into the hall for the express purpose of preventing the meeting. Mrs. Lawrence came in and mounted the platform and addressed the students. She told them that as men who had already secure[d] the rights that women were struggling for she was confident that their sense of fair play would not allow them to stand between women and their freedom, and she called upon them one by one to withdraw. So great was the power of her personality that they went out row by row and the meeting took place as originally arranged.

On another occasion addressing the jury in a law court she explained and defended the militant methods of the suffragettes in the following words:—“This great movement is, as you heard counsel for the plaintiff say, gathering momentum every day like a great flood. Now, when a tide is dammed back it overflows, and inevitable destruction is wrought. But men do not argue with a flood; they do not put the responsibility on the flood; they put the responsibility upon, and they argue with, those who have dammed back the stream and prevented it from flowing in its ordinary channel.”

“The Story of the progress of the human race is the story of the birth of great moral ideas, new ideas that have pushed their way into the common life, either by the process of evolution or by the process of revolution. Evolution is the natural and the right process, but there have been occasions in history, as you know very well, where the process of evolution has been obstructed by those who held the sceptre or rule. That is the position at the present moment.” Mr. Justice Darling who tried the case said at the opening of his summing up that hers was the “most eloquent speech he had ever heard in that Court”.

During the years of the great war Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence used all her powers as a speaker and writer to urge upon her countryment the need for securing a Peace by negotiation and reconciliation rather than one dictated by victories on the field of battle.

Summoned to the U.S.A. in the Autumn of 1914 to address a vast suffrage meeting in the Carnegie Hall (inaugurating the campaign which two years later led to the adoption of the women’s vote throughout the whole of the United States), she made a tour of that country speaking both on questions of peace and of women’s disabilities. Largely as a result of her campaign the American section of the Women’s International League was formed with Jane Addams as its President; and the two women sailed with fifty American delegates to take part in the International Conference of Women held at the Hague in April, 1915.

Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence strongly disapproved and protested against the terms of the Versailles treaty which she clearly foresaw contained the germs of future trouble in Europe. After the war was over she travelled over the Continent and was the first English person to address meetings in the principal cities of Austria. She also spoke in the Reichstag in an international conference.

Many parts of the British Empire have secured visits from her. In Canada, India, and South Africa she has held many public meetings. On more than one occasion she has hoped to come to Australia to return the visit of Miss Vida Goldstein, but so far circumstances have always intervened to prevent her.

During recent years she has continued to urge the claims of peace and disarmament and to champion the right of the married women to the choice of her own nationality and the character of her employment. In all her activities Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence has had the active support of her husband who was Financial Secretary to the Treasury in the late Government in England.


At the top of the first sheet is written the file number ‘2069’ and the following note: ‘Compiled by F.W.P.L August 1934 & sent to Mrs Littlejohn in Australia for a Broadcast in Sydney.’

{1} The square brackets were added in pencil.

{2} Closing inverted commas supplied.

{3} This should probably read ‘those’.

Letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.—Reflects on the colourfulness of Indian life. The mission are awaiting the results of their statement, and he has made his broadcast and addressed the press.—(Later.) Jinnah threatens not to answer for three or four weeks, but others have made encouraging signs.



Office of Cabinet Delegation, The Viceroy’s House, New Delhi
May 18. 46

My own very dear Beloved.

I have had to say to myself tht it is no good letting my heart or my head be obsessed with the idea tht I want to be home for 26th May. I came out here to do a certain job & I have just got to stay till it’s finished; & that’s that. As soon as it is finished I shall come home as fast as I can, you may be sure, to be with my old love again, & the day I come back & see you whatever it be according to the calendar will be our 26th May—our 45th anniversary!

I am so delighted to hear in your letters of how full your days have been with pleasurable activity. It is music in my ears; for I do so love to know tht you are enjoying yourself.

As for me my life here is full of colour & experience. Colour on the physical plane. The powerful sun, the flaming trees, the flashing birds, the darting chipmunks & lizards. The trees are red (Gold Mahar), gold (Cassia Sistilla) & apple-blossom tinted (Cassia Nodosa). Colourful personalities Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Wavell, {1} to say nothing of people like Meliscent Shepherd, Mrs Naidu, Agatha Harrison & our own delegations & the secretaries.

So far in all the “changing vicissitudes of this mortal life” I have been upheld to keep my balance & my health. I eat well, digest well, sleep well & remain unfretted, remembering as Maud {2} said in Kashmir tht it is nt I that am doing it but He.

So my beloved I am patient & I am sure you will be also to await the day of our recession when it comes in His good will. I do not think it will be so very long before the work is finished here but it is still quite impossible to say.

Our D-day has come & gone, & we are awaiting its result. Our message {3} has not so far evoked any violent antagonism. I have made my broadcast, {4} addressed my press conference, met individual editors & so far it has been sunny weather. All this may be dashed at any minute but let us at any rate bask in the sunshine while it lasts!

Evening. As I anticipated, some clouds have darkened the sun & Jinnah threatens not to give us an answer for 3 or 4 weeks! {5} I really don’t know what to make of it. But there are still many encouraging signs. Brailsford, Sapru & many others have sent us delightfully enthusiastic congratulations. At the moment it looks as if Congress will come in. I see Lord Samuel spoke some very kind words about me in the H of Lords on Thursday May 16. I hope you got a copy.

And so my darling, my true heart, my beloved, my dear Wife I send you my love & blessing for May 26.

Your very own loving Boy.


There are a number of irregular abbreviations, including ‘tht’ for ‘that’.

{1} Comma supplied.

{2} Maud Coote.

{3} The statement by the Cabinet Delegation and the Viceroy, published on the 16th. See Transfer of Power, vol. vii, No. 303.

{4} See Transfer of Power, vol., vii, No. 303. Comma supplied.

{5} See Transfer of Power, vol., vii, No. 322. The word ‘weeks’ is underlined three times.

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