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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.

Letter from Joseph Phillips to Alfred Lawrence

Newark.—Is sorry he was away when Lawrence was at Birmingham. Discusses his work on the Newark bridge and his relations with his colleagues, and refers to his travels around the country. Asks how Lawrence is getting on with his factory. The masters were unwise to close their works in response to the strike.

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Transcript

Newark.
24th January 1852

My dear Lawrence,

Your letter from Chester dated the 21st only reached me this morning, what a pity you should go to Birmingham and find me absent, doubtless you have felt somewhat disappointed.—I have been quite out of temper abt it all day.—Spiers was more fortunate in his visit to me here, & we spent a very pleasant evening together talking upon all sorts of subjects interspersed by a sprinkling of scandal of all our Friends & one or two in particular their doings & their folly!—I wish you had come on here and spent the Sunday {1} with me, that would have been your proper course of action & to say the truth when I heard a double knock just now & somebody ask if Mr. Phillips was at home, I half expected to see you walk in,—but it was only the resident Engineer of the Gt Northern line who came to ask me to dine with him tomorrow, & so my hopes of seeing you & my chance of getting my respected Umbrella back (an article of wh I am greatly in want of here) were completely crushed.—N’importe, I’ll make amends some other day at the present moment my feelings will not allow me to say more upon such a tender subject.

You are aware I have been fortunate enough to get the superintendance of this Newark Bridge and as it is of 260 ft span & contains upwards of 600 Tons of Iron it may be considered rather a crack job to have. Hitherto I have had the whole management of it at the Works, & here have been engaged in preparing the scaffolding & staging across the river for it to be erected upon, & which I can assure you is no little matter.

Pile driving at the best of times is not very delightful work but in the midst of Winter with such weather as we have had it has been really arduous. Snow, Wind, Rain & floods have all combined to hinder our progress so that, between the one & the other & the hostility of all the Bargemen navigating the river I have had enough to do, indeed Lawrence,—the cold blooded brutality of those Bargemen have nearly at times maddened me, the contempt they express for my person & for all them damned Railway people who stop an honest Man getting his livelihood, as they inform me all railway people do, is dreadful, & the most courteous salutation as they pass is to consign us all to the devil.—One morning I had 3 Piles, ea one representing a days Work for a gang of 8 Men completely shattered to atoms by a vessel either on purpose or by clumsyness, & to hear the fiendish shouts of laughter which burst forth from the crew as the vessel came smashing & crashing amongst our piles would have made yr heart ache Lawrence, as for me I have been for the last 2 Weeks quite hoarse with shouting & stiff in every limb from making frantic gestures indicative of my displeasure, at their obstinate conduct. I summoned a whole gang of them & got two fired & now am allowed to proceed in peace, but of course this measure has raised the hostility of the Trent Navigation Cy., before whom these Bargemen tell of their injuries, & I am threatened by the board with no end of damages for obstructing, during several days the navigation of the River, there are 6 sheets of Foolscap full of it, but I have not even looked into & don’t intend.—

These are my difficulties here, & then although this Bridge has been dawdling for months when our firm wished it pushed on, the Company have suddenly found out it is the only thing which delays the opening of the line thro,—& so Cubitt keeps bullying our people & they transmit his letters with sundry additions continually to me, & always requesting a very full report of the whole state of the Work by return of post.—

The last 3 days it has been blowing a perfect Gale & today is accompanied by torrents of rain so that [it] {2} is impossible to work; owing to the floods & the rapid stream caused thereby the rafts on wh are the Pile Engines are always under water at the best of times, the worst of the work is however not done & on Tuesday I expect to return to Birmingham for abt 10 days to superintend the proving of the Span of the Bridge now erected at the Works, & at which no end of Engineers are to be present.—Joseph Cubitt the Engineer of the line I like very much I have seen a good deal of him, as I conducted all the previous Experiments at the Works, both he & Fox always shake hands with me, wh although nothing abstractedly considered, is more pleasant than being snubbed, as I have upon some occasions felt myself by certain parties, nameless.—I fear you will think me very egotistical but really I have nothing but myself & my Work to talk of. I have not met an adventure for Months a very striking Circumstance & particularly denoting the absence of all female attractions &c in this part,—for the bye I did fall in love at Hull abt 6 Weeks ago, but it [was] {3} so long ago I had forgotten it. I did pay another visit there last Week but my inamorata {4} was not at home,—perhaps You may know the people The Messs Wade, Timber Merchants of Hull. I have bought all the Timber for this Bridge of them & went there to select it & agree abt the price, & whilst with them they entertained me with true Yorkshire hospitality, & one of the daughters is sweetly pretty.—

This Newark during the Winter is a wretched hole unless one has time & money for shooting, hunting, & visiting but the Town itself is remarkably slow, there are only 3 good things in the place, the Inn, the Church, & the library & newspaper room,—at the first of these I was so comfortable I stopped a fortnight, & the second I visited once, last Sunday, & the third I generally look into ea day,—as I am made an honorary member during my stay here,—which speaks more for the good sense of the inhabitants of the place than any other argument I could adduce.—

I like Lincoln very much, all Cathedral Towns have an air of respectability abt them, wh most Manufacturing towns are in in† want of, there are too lots of pretty girls & some little fun usually going on. The Gt Northern Hotel you will find, one of the best Houses in the Kingdom—& well appointed.—You do not tell me whether you have seen anything of Chester. I have always heard it spoken of as such a romantic old place that I have quite a desire to see it. Albert Smith I think speaks of it in one of his Works.—

How do you get on with your Factory? & are you fully at work?—all this I suppose you meant to form the topics of our Conversation at Birmingham.—I trust however you will let me know. I really am ashamed of my great negligence towards you, in not writing, making resolutions is you know in such cases usually of little consequence but really I will try to be better in future, & for my excuse hitherto you must bear in mind that I have worked harder this last 6 Months than ever I did in my life—you think, I might easily do that & without injuring myself?—Possibly so, but still I have really fagged—I wanted to get this Bridge & I had a good many competitors.—I am more fitted for out door Work than the office, and would rather meet tenfold greater difficulties, than those I have even enumerated before,—than be compelled to office Work, & in which I fear I should never particularly shine.—As it is here I am tolerably my own Master and do as I please. I suppose too by time the Bridge is finished I shall have become acquainted with most of the people round, as it is at present I only know the Engineer I dine with tomorrow what we shall do if it is a day like this has been I know not,—probably amuse ourselves by making faces at each other all the Afternoon.—You ask me what I think of the Strike,—perfectly agree with the Masters, but think they have not acted wisely in closing their Works.—To have let those Work who would & even to have taken on unskilled hands and taught them their trade, would in my opinion have done far more to have annihilated the amalgamated Society & with much less injury to the Masters than the closing their works,—for in the course of a few Months the men who held out would have found themselves supplanted by a fresh race, & thrown upon the trade as supernumerary hands—whilst the Shop being open would have afforded them a good opportunity of gradually going to work, & that way in my opinion the society would soon have lost the bulk of its members—As regards the expediency of certain friends of ours closing their Works, it appears to me the most absurd & suicidal plan wh could have been adopted, & my own idea is, they will find to their Cost they have been entirely duped, & that vanity & a love of meddling has urged them upon a course of which they know not the consequences.—Well I am sure I must be boring you with this insensate epistle & so I will say adieu,—& hoping to hear from you soon & with kind remembrances to your family,

Believe me,

Ever yr attached Friend
Joseph Phillips

P.S.—You are far behindhand in your address to me at Birmingham, I left there Months ago, ever since the woman cried into my vegetable dish because I spoke crossly whilst bringing the dinner one Sunday.—My present address there is | 21 George St. | Spring Hill.—

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{1} 21 January.

{2} Omitted by mistake.

{3} Omitted by mistake.

{4} This is evidently the word intended, but the spelling is unclear.

† Sic.

Carbon copy of a letter from F. W. Pethick-Lawrence to Walter Nash

11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London, W.C.2.—11 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London, W.C.2.—Sets out his view of the present state of the Labour Party (see 3/6), and extracts part of a recent article in which he urged the party to deal with particular issues rather than debate the merits of its left and right wings.

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Transcript

11, Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London, W.C.2. 23rd. June 1955.

Dear Nash,

Thank you very much for your cordial air letter of the 13th inst.,† I am not quite clear what it is precisely that you want me to tell you about the Labour Party, but I will give you my candid and confidential opinion. I think the Labour Party failed at the General Election to rouse enough enthusiasm for its policy to bring doubtful voters to the poll to support its candidates, also the admitted differences between leading figures sowed a certain amount of confusion.

I have just written an article for the July issue of the Contemporary Review in the course of which I say

“. . . . Some people may take the view that it should go more “left” and others that it should go more “right”. I agree with neither. In my view both wings of a progressive party are needed if it is to go forward successfully. What I regard as essential is that it should drop its shibboleths and face up realistically to the problems of modern life. It must be prepared to deal positively with such things as the rent muddle and house dilapidation, the wage structure and the question of differentials, the free-enterprise sector of the national economy and the profit motive, education and the so-called public schools, restrictive practices in industry both by masters and men. If it is prepared to tackle all these and similar problems boldly and effectively it will earn the respect of the thinking minds in all classes of society. . . . .”

With regard to the personal differences in the Party I gather that Attlee is now acceptable to all concerned and that the divergence is between Bevan, on the one hand, and Morrison and Gaitskell on the other. This divergence is partly political and partly a struggle for pre-eminence after Attlee goes.
I doubt whether this fully answers your question in the way you want, but if you desire more detailed information and will explain to me exactly what you want, I will endeavour to supply it.

With all good wishes,
I remain,
[blank]

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† Sic.

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

Brixton Prison.—Was glad to hear how she is. Refers to his own situation and activities. Supports her idea of conducting her own defence, and agrees that she should consult Lutyens about the rose garden.

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Transcript

Brixton Prison
8th March 1912

Dearest

I was glad to have your letter telling me how you were getting on. I was sorry to hear that you were all alone but at least you have the dear Sun for company. Our cell numbers as you see are not very different & our direction must be the same for the moon also came in at my window on Thursday morning {1}, but whether it came in this morning or not I do not know—for I was asleep. As you prophesied the second night was a very good one—& the old complaint has disappeared.

I went to chapel for the first time this morning & found it very stimulating; what a wonderful feeling of comradeship one has “with all the other sinners”. I do not think that if the carrot of the story were held out to us we should want to shake them loose like the old woman did in the fable.

I do not see any reason why you should not conduct your own defence, there are certain things which you can say far better than anyone else. This applies to the trial, assuming we are committed, and probably not to the police court proceedings; however we can discuss this when we meet.
I should certainly ask Lutyens to come and see you to discuss the rose garden—he ought to get on to it at once if the place is not to be cut up a second time.

I have hosts of books but I do not seem to have so very much time for reading; I have a visitor coming to see me every day—it was first rate to see Mort yesterday.

It is raining now so I do not know whether I shall be able to get any exercise this afternoon, but I have already had the better part of an hour this morning as I am allowed two a day.

When Aeneas was at Carthage & he & his comrades were having a distinctly odd time one of the party gave vent to the following remark “Haec olim meminisse juvabit” we shall have pleasure in looking back on this some day! Does not that rather describe our position?

All good luck to you

Your loving
Husband

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At the head is printed, ‘In replying to this letter, please write on the envelope:— Number 3408 Name Lawrence F. P.’, the name and number being filled in by hand. The word ‘Prison’ of the address and the first two digits of the year are also printed, and the letter is marked with the reference ‘C1/12’ and some initials. Strokes of letters omitted either deliberately or in haste have been supplied silently.

{1} 7th.

Letter from Diwan Mohanlall to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Lakhan Kotri, Ajmer.—Sends copies of his correspondence with Malcolm MacDonald recording his unsuccessful attempts to arrange a meeting with Pethick-Lawrence. Also encloses a brochure of speeches made when Dr Radakrishnan presented him with a commemoration volume, and asks Pethick-Lawrence to contribute a message for a revised edition.

Letter from Lord Casey to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Commonwealth Offices, Treasury Place, Melbourne, C.2.—Asks permission to use a letter he wrote to Pethick-Lawrence in his book (Personal Experience, 1939–46). Hopes to have a draft ready when he goes to London in March, via the United States.

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

Brixton Prison.—Is glad to hear she is getting on well. Duval and Evelyn Sharp have visited, and he has started learning Italian. Looks forward to seeing her on Thursday.

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Transcript

Brixton Prison
9th March 1912

Dearest

Thank you for sending me news that you are getting on all right, I hope by this time you have had your letters, this is the third I have written to you {1}. I am very well indeed & feel sure when you see me on Thursday you will think so too. I had a very pleasant visit from Duval yesterday aft[er]noon and from Evelyn Sharp this morning.

I have just started learning Italian, I have not got far enough yet to be able to say how I like it. I thought when I came here I should get through an immense mass of reading, but somehow there are so many things which take up time, that I do very little & of that a good deal goes in reading the newspapers.

We had a hymn practice this morning in chapel which I thought was good; some of the hymns & tunes were inspiring & refreshing.

I had my second exercise indoors yesterday afternoon as it was wet but today is lovely and I expect we shall get both outside.

It will be jolly to see you on Thursday {2} but mind! you have got to look as well as I do!

your loving
Husband.

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At the head is printed, ‘In replying to this letter, please write on the enve-lope:— Number 3408 Name Lawrence F. P.’, the name and number being filled in by hand. The word ‘Prison’ of the address and the first two digits of the year are also printed, and the letter is marked with the reference ‘C1/12’ and some initials. Strokes of letters omitted either deliber-ately or in haste have been supplied silently.

{1} Only one of the previous letters (PETH 6/110) has survived.

{2} 14th.

Letter from Lord Casey to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Commonwealth Offices, Treasury Place, Melbourne, C.2.—Has already agreed to submit a draft of his book to Norman Brook for governmental approval (see 1/115). Intends to submit copies of the text to publishers in London in April.

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