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Letter from Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

India House.—Accepts an invitation to the unveiling of a memorial to Christabel Pankhurst. Agrees to write a letter regarding her feelings and those of many Indian women towards Christabel Pankhurst’s work, but points out that Indian women derived their impetus to progress not from their British sisters but from the freedom struggle under Gandhi.

Letter from Sushama Sen to Lord and Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Anjali, Simla-4.—Refers to their previous meeting at the celebrations organised by her late husband, P. K. Sen, for the centenary of the birth of Keshab Chandra Sen. Offers to send them a copy of her husband’s history of the Brahmo Samaj (Biography of a New Faith), and refers to his and her own political careers. Would like to meet the Pethick-Lawrences while they are in India.

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

Brixton Prison.—Looks forward to seeing her on Thursday, and reflects on the privilege of playing a part in the present struggle (the suffrage movement). Refers to his visitors and his activities, and discusses Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico.

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Transcript

Brixton Prison
19 March 1912

Dearest

It is very good to know that I shall see you again on Thursday & in the meantime I have the confidence that you are well & content. I feel very deeply how great is our privelege† that we are able to play our part in this great struggle fraught with so much hope & blessing for the human race.

I had a visit from Rev Hugh Chapman this morning; he gave me a number of ideas which I prize; he is also going to send me a book by Lecky wh† he says he knows I shall like.

I have just finished reading Prescott’s “Conquest of Mexico”—what a wonderful story it is! Though all the tales of bloodshed & barbarity are rather horrid reading, it is wonderful to realise that Cortes landing in Mexico with a total army of about 400 or 500 men suceeded† in winning battle after battle & ultimately entering the capital itself without any reinforcements. And that his final conquest of the whole country was acheived† with only two or three times this number of Spaniards. He was opposed not only by the Indians but by his own countrymen & had disaffection to face inside his own ranks as well.

Brother Jack {1} came to see me yesterday & brought me a little book on Bergson’s philosophy; I have been wanting some time to read about this.

Tomorrow I am to have another visit from Mort.

Owing to the wet weather we have had to have a lot of our exercise inside lately, but the wing is large & there is a good deal of room for a walk; but this afternoon we have had a lovely walk in the sunshine outside. I keep pegging away with my Italian & hope really to have learnt a lot before I come out, I am also starting to get a more thorough grip of French.

With dear love

Ever Your own
Husband.

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One folded sheet. At the head is printed, ‘In replying to this letter, please write on the envelope:— Number 3408 Name F. P. Lawrence’, 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} John Herbert Greenhalgh.

† Sic.

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

87 Clement’s Inn, W.C.—Expresses his love and admiration for her, and his sense of the honour of taking part in the forthcoming trial.

(With an envelope labelled ‘My most precious possession’, etc., which formerly also contained 6/80.)

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Transcript

87 Clement’s Inn, W.C.
April 25. 12

My great beloved

I have it in my heart to write to you of many things—to tell you, beloved, how glorious it is to have you for wife, to tell you how beautiful to me is your majestic spirit, to tell you that in the calm grandeur of your bearing in the exquisite poise of your head in your sublime pride I find my ideal of the perfect woman.

Beloved we are very near to a great day, the greatest that we have seen in our lives. To me it seems that an honour such as conferred only on a few men & women in many centuries is about to be conferred upon us. We are to stand where the great & noble have stood before us all down the ages. We are to be linked up with those who have won the everlasting homage of the whole human race. If next week you & I were to be crowned king & queen in the presence of an adulating people how paltry would be our honour in comparison!

It is supreme joy that you and I will stand there together. It is the complete and perfect expression of that faith to which we by our travail are giving birth.

Lastly, it is good that we shall have by our side that great woman who is our friend & who of all women in the world we would most wish to have with us in that hour.

I am, beloved,

The one who has chosen you & whom you have chosen as
Everlasting Mate.

Letter from Edward Carpenter to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

Millthorpe, Holmesfield, near Sheffield.—Explains why he does not support the immediate granting of universal suffrage to British women.

Transcript

Millthorpe, Holmesfield, near Sheffield
12 Oct 1916

Dear Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence

Do excuse my long delay in replying to yours of the 28th ult:, but I find it very difficult to keep up with my correspondence!

Of course I remember you very well and have often wished to meet you again, but our paths do not often cross.

With regard to the Adult Suffrage question, though I certainly favour it for Men in this Country I am quite doubtful whether it is wise to open the Vote out so rapidly & suddenly for Women—who so far have had little or no experience in the matter, and of whom we have so little experience as to how they will act. Considering the enormous preponderance of Women in numbers, combined with the fact that the mass of women at present (and in this Country) are so easily swept up, as one’s experience shows, by any specious and glib-tongued man(!)—as by clergymen, ministers, titled folk and the like—and might easily with a little scheming be taken in flocks to the polls—I think the experiment on the proposed scale is at least a little rash.

Of course I am speaking of the working class women I know, up here in the North, and of the middle class women generally. What I say does not apply to the ‘advanced’ women—but then what proportion are they of the population—1/10th or 1/100th or 1/1000th?

I should feel quite differently in the U.S. for instance where the general level of alertness & education is greatly different from here; and I have a good hope that even here the rising tide may make the universal suffrage feasible in what people call “the near future”—but you see I am cautious, and think we ought to hasten slowly.

At any rate you understand that though I appreciate much the invitation to join the National Council for A.S. I do not feel at present disposed to do so. Though I wish the movement all success—esp[ecia]lly in its educative rôle—I do not feel drawn just now to give my time & energy to it.

Excuse my rather hasty & halting explanations, and with the expression of my gratitude to you for the good work you are doing in the cause of Democracy—believe me

Yours very sincerely

Edwd. Carpenter

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