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Letter from Jessie Kenney to Lady Constance Lytton

Hôtel du Golfe, La Guimorais, St Coulomb, Ille-et-Vilaine, France.—Discusses her plan to train as a wireless operator at the Wireless College at Colwyn Bay, and asks her to act as a sponsor. Shares family news.

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Transcript

Hotel du Golfe | La Guimorais | St Coulomb | Ille-et-Villaine | France.
Sept 13. 1921.

Dearest Lady Conny,

I am writing to ask if you will very kindly do something for me.

I am to be admitted to the Wireless College at Colwyn Bay where I am going to train as a Wireless Operator and at the same time to study for my London Matric. I have already applied to the Principal and he has accepted me.

But each student is required to supply the following:—

(a) Certificate of birth

(b) Particulars filled up on enclosed form

(c) Letters from two persons of British parentage, and of standing, signifying that the applicant is the person described on the birth certificate—that the particulars on attached form are correct—and that the applicant and his† parents are of good character.

I am enclosing my birth certificate and the form referred to above which I have filled up—so that you can see all is in order. Both my father and mother are dead as I think you know.

There are two people I should like to have as sponsors for my entry into the wireless world. One is yourself and the other is Professor Bickerton (President of the Royal Astronomical Society) who was a good old supporter of ours in our good old fighting days and he has been more than encouraging to me in my new quest.

I should be therefore so glad, dear Lady Conny, if you would send me a letter which I can forward on to the Principal with the enclosed form and birth certificate.

I have decided after all not to go to Australia as things seem very unsettled out there. Also I find that before I can do anything in wireless it will be necessary for me to take a degree and I am working to this object. And if one is to take a degree in Science it is better to take it in this country of course. Colwyn Bay has an excellent and mild climate, and so one can work and study there without detriment to one’s health. My two good and generous sisters in New York are helping me financially for my first year’s training.

Women are not being trained as Wireless Operators and special facilities are being given to me because of my enthusiasm in the matter and my keenness to go ahead in the cause of scientific work. The Prime Minister has sent me a little note wishing me success, and if it had not been for this I doubt if I should have been accepted. So you can gather from this that I am helping to blaze another trail for women and I hope to prove worthy of all the confidence and faith that has been put in me. One thing I feel so strongly about in this affair is that one is never too old to start anything. It seems to have astonished quite a few people that I should wish to go in for scientific work at the age of 34 and begin studying for a degree in science now. But I feel just as I did when I began work in the Suffrage Movement, and one is as young as one feels—isn’t one?

I wonder how you are keeping. I saw the notice in the Press and the leading article about your dear mother’s birthday {1}. How devoted you must all be to her and how proud she must be of all of you. I do wish you could have met my mother. You would have loved her. She was a wonderful and good woman. Whenever any of us are in doubt or trouble we always feel her presence and influence near. In life she always specially watched over the weak one and the one needing help and she seems to do this still.

You will be pleased to hear that Annie’s little baby boy {2} is perfectly lovely and is so happy and good.

I am enclosing a stamped addressed envelope. I am staying at the above address for a little holiday—It is a little hotel in an out of way spot in Brittany, and one that has been visited by many Suffragettes.

With love & all good wishes

Ever yours,
Jessie Kenney.

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{1} Edith, Countess of Lytton, celebrated her eightieth birthday this year.

{2} Annie Kenney’s son Warwick.

† Sic. 

Letter from Lady Constance Lytton to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Homewood, Knebworth, Herts.—Sends £1 for the Votes-for-Women Fellowship, from the proceeds of her book. Her brother and other lords will refuse to take part in the next Government unless it gives votes to women. Thanks him for his kind comments about her book. Has been unwell. Praises Mrs Pethick-Lawrence’s Dublin speech.

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to Lady Constance Lytton

Endean, East Walpole, Massachusetts.—Has sent an article by Madeleine Doty. Miss Doty and her friend Elizabeth are the two foremost friends she has made in America. Has sent Fred a copy of the resolution being submitted to the meetings. Money is being sent from Boston to the Women’s Emergency Corps, and she is meeting Dr Katharine Davies, the Commissioner for Reformatories, in New York on Wednesday.

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

Women’s Cosmopolitan Club, 133 East 40th Street (New York).

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Transcript

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[.] 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[.] 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) {1} 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 construc-tive 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[.] You might pass it round[.] 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
Patz

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† friends

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{1} ‘including … accepted’ interlined. Brackets supplied.

Sic.

Letter from Christabel Pankhurst to Lady Constance Lytton

11 Avenue de la Grande Armée, Paris.—Sends a copy of her reply to Lord Lytton on the Lords debate. Commends the strategy of contrasting the Government’s treatment of the WSPU with its treatment of militant Ulster unionists.

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Transcript

11 av de la Grande Armée | Paris.
14th May 1914

My dearest Con,

Lord Lytton was kind enough to write to me about the debate and his impressions of it. You may be interested to see a copy of my reply.

More & more & more one sees that the way to win is to get the Govt wedged between militancy & the impossibility of punishing militancy—in short—to create the Ulster situation over again.

Now there is no help that is any use from the practical point of view that does not fit into that scheme. It is all very well to rejoice over the sympathy & understand[in]g shown in the Lords, but the House of Commons was sympathising & understand[in]g in the year 1870!

Sympathy & understand[in]g are a snare unless they are pounded into something more definite in the shape of an Act of Parliament.

You know, anti-militancy does affect the reasoning faculty adversely. People who are most rational & logical & enlightened when other political movements are at stake suddenly lose their bearings when the question of how to get votes for women comes uppermost.

You will see how the General {1} & Mrs Dacre Fox have been throwing the search-light upon the contrast between the Govt’s treatment of themselves & Carson & Lansdowne.

The W.S.P.U. leaves them all far behind doesn’t it.

The anti-militant ladies simply don’t come into anybody’s calculations these days. Why can’t they see & become a force by adopting a sane policy?

I am sure that you feel proud and happy when you read of our fighters’ exploits.

You and I, the Exiles, have a very joyful life in that sense have we not!

So very sorry I am dearest Con, to hear you have been ill again. I hope it has passed now.

You wrote of my dog the other day. She is indeed a little beauty, full of intelligence & affection. It is years since I could have a dog and to have this one is a joy.

As for my home here, it is to me just like a room in Lincoln’s Inn House. Outside I feel is not the Avenue de la Grande Armee, but Kingsway[.] In the next rooms are the organisers.

And yet it is Paris too—the beloved Paris that I really will & must come back to from time to time.

Imagine how one loves a place—delightful in any case—which has been one’s haven!

I am immeasurably happy in being here and in the thought of being some day—perhaps soon—back in London.

Back in London will be when the vote is won—not before. That might be so very soon if everybody wd do their best[.]

The barriers are so slight—the opposition so weak.

It is the weakness of pro Suffragists that is the enemy now.

But fighting is victory so it is well whatever happens.

When I go home one of the very early things I shall do is go & see you!

My love to you
Christabel Pankhurst

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{1} Flora Drummond.

Letter from Christabel Pankhurst to Lady Constance Lytton

11 Avenue de la Grande Armée, Paris.—The Lords debate on Lord Selborne's Bill has demonstrated the link between the militant women’s movement and militant Ulster. Deplores the continuing persecution of women and the Government’s attempts to silence prominent suffragettes.

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Transcript

11 avenue de la Grande Armée | Paris.
7th May 1914

My dearest Con,

The really important thing in the Lords Debate is the recognition that the WSPU & Carson & Bonar Law—Militant Ulster in fact—stand in the same boat!

That was the one thing for good that really counted in a practical sense.

On the other hand there is the Liberal cry that one knew would be raised tht “the rejection of Lord Selborne’s Bill by the House of Lords illustrates the profound anti-feminism of the Unionist Party”[.] See leading article from “Daily Chronicle” enclosed.

It seems to me tht the matter having been brought to the present point, it cannot rest there. What next do Suffragists in the House of Lords intend to do! The Archbishop of Canterbury[,] the Bishop of London & Lord Lytton could get us the vote now if they cared to do it. But of course Lord Lytton does not agree with the Bishop of London about Ulster & ourselves.

How can they as suffragists—as men—allow the coercion & persecution of women to go on while concession is being made to Ulster men whose militancy means bloodshed & the death of hundreds if not thousands of human beings.

Have you heard that Mrs Drummond and Mrs Dacre Fox have both been summoned to appear at Bow St on account of “inciting” speeches?

This means illness & suffering—sheer torture for both of them. And there are Carson & Bonar Law & all the rest, free & unharmed!

Mrs Dacre Fox is expected at Bow Street on 14th May—a Thursday. The General threw her summons away & so we don’t know the date named in it.

The Government are trying to silence our powerful speakers. They will probably arrest several organisers—But there are always people ready to step into the breach[;] surely the last two Raids have taught them that.

We laugh at their Raids except for the pain & danger they mean to the ones taken.

Let us hold fast to tht admission tht women’s militancy & Ulster militancy are in their truth & essence one & the same & shd be dealt with in the same way! What are these men going to do!

Thank goodness we can win without them anyhow—by the sheer fact of being able to create an intolerable situation! Women winning their own freedom. Glorious thought!

My very best love to you.
Christabel Pankhurst

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The word ‘that’ is abbreviated a few times as ‘tht’.

Letter from Christabel Pankhurst to Lady Constance Lytton

11 Avenue de la Grande Armée, Paris.—Discusses the progress of the suffrage movement in the light of the forthcoming debate on Lord Selborne’s Bill, observing that women’s respect for men is rapidly diminishing and that suffragist men have not done enough to promote the cause.

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Transcript

11, Avenue de la Grande Armee, | Paris.
1st May. 1914.

Dearest Con

I am so very glad to have your letter this morning.

You will see that in the Suffragette I have written something about Lord Selborne’s Bill. All the reasons which we have urged against the introduction of the Bill I need not repeat here. It has been introduced and the debate is to take place next Tuesday and there it is.

The important thing now seems to be to take the opportunity afforded by this debate to remind the Government and all anti-Suffragists in every Party that women’s enfranchisement is inevitable. The utmost the anti-Suffragists can do is to delay it; prevent it they cannot. The question for them to consider is whether they gain anything by delay. In my opinion, they lose, and not only do avowed anti-Suffragists lose, but men as a whole lose very seriously by the maintenance of the Suffrage agitation.

The change in women’s attitude towards men that has taken place in the last twelve months is amazing. It means in itself a revolution. The women whom the politicians know are perhaps the same as ever, or pretend to be so, where their opinion of men is concerned. But these women are, in a sense, a class apart. They do not represent the main body of their sex—the great mass of women of all classes who are far removed from the not very elevating influences of the political game as it is played by men politicians at the present time.

Men used to have a great prestige with women. That prestige is disappearing now. More and more, women are regarding men not as equals, but as inferiors. In the past women were very much in ignorance concerning men’s moral standards and the suffering caused to themselves as the result of those moral standards being so deplorably low. I will not say that the denial of the vote is producing a sex war because there always has been a sex war. But what is happening is this, that whereas the sex war was waged on one side only, ie. by men, women are now learning to defend themselves. In their humility, Suffragists themselves used to realise that women had been weakened by the result of subjection and needed the training that freedom gives, but now they are also realising that the men have suffered far more as a result of the subjection of women, and have been utterly degraded and demoralised by it. A contempt for men, as men are today, is becoming very, very prevalent amongst women.

Generally speaking, men, if they are not immoral are weak. That this is so is shown by the fact that although there are multitudes of men who believe in women’s enfranchisement, they do nothing effective to win it, and are most timid and half-hearted in their criticism of the hideous exploitation of women by men that is going on every day. It ought to be clearly understood by Suffragist men, as well as by anti-Suffragist men, that opposition to votes for women and faint-hearted support of votes for women are regarded by thinking Suffragists as being rooted in immorality. A man who gets up and opposes the enfranchisement of women is regarded as being an immoral man. No doubt there will be an outcry at this statement, but that is what women think and they are not given now to making any secret of their thoughts. Some of the men may try to cite cases of clean living men who believe that women should not have the vote. They will find it very hard to do so, and if they succeed they will be doing nothing more than producing the exceptions that prove the rule.

The responsiblity of Suffragist men is really as great as that of the anti-Suffragist men. They must consider whether they want the sex war to go on or whether they do not, because if it goes on it will certainly get keener, and will in future involve women who are not involved today. What do the men Suffragists who counsel patience and non-militancy imagine women think when they read the remarks about “blackmail” made by Members of the Government in the House of Lords when the Bishop of London’s Bill for raising the age of consent was being discussed the other day? It is very obvious that this Bill proposing to protect girls until they are eighteen is hated by a great many men, and that the Government mean to do their best to water down if not to defeat the Bill in question.

What every W.S.P.U. member is saying now is “Thank God we did not get the vote when militancy began, because the campaign of the last few years has been such an education to us.” “If men are like this” they say, “then it is dangerous for us not to know it.” We have lived in a fool’s paradise but have escaped from it now. The fight we are making against the apathy of some men and the opposition of others are strengthening us. We are ready to go on with the present fight for an indefinite period of time. We are just getting into our stride. We are just beginning to reach new bodies of women. If we get the vote tomorrow we shall of course rejoice with all our might, but we realise that if we do not get it for a long time, the years that will be spent in fighting will be some of the most fruitful in the history of the woman’s movement. And the wonderful thing is that every year as it goes by is greater in its achievement and more full of educational experience than any year that has gone before. Realising what has been gained by militancy, we are positively sorry for the women in other countries who have got the vote without fighting for it. We want, when the vote comes, to be able to say that we got it ourselves—not that men gave it to us, the reason for that being that men need the lesson that our victory on those terms will give them. Think, too, how much more the women of future generations will appreciate the vote when they realise that it has been fought for and won by women, and not merely handed over as a gift by men.

I am glad to say that it is being more and more realised how scandalous it is for Carson and his friends to be allowed to commit “grave and unprecedented outrages” (to use the words of the Prime Minister) while mother and all the other active militants are persecuted. The argument that the cases are not parallel is not taken seriously by the general public. People realise that Ulster militancy and Suffragist militancy are essentially one and the same thing whatever superficial difference there may be.

I do hope that you will get better and stronger now.

With love
Christabel Pankhurst

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 he has finished his book; Susan is happy to stay.

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

Weston-super-Mare.—Thanks him for letting her see Mark’s letter, and reflects on what she has learnt recently about Fred’s love for her. Refers to some of her activities at Weston, and advises the expected time of her return to London.

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Transcript

Weston-S-Mare
Dec. 3. 1924

Dearest.

So many thanks for your letter, and also for letting me see Mark’s beautiful letter to you. Every word of it is intelligible & illuminated to me, because Mark & I have been going through the same country & have been learning a new language—and you are one of those who can be utterly trusted. We need not fear that unawakenedness that unconsciously turns & rends the giver of divine things.

In fact, dearest, you are shining and our eyes are opened. You have no idea how much I have been learning lately, of myself, of you & others, & of you especially. I know now that your great redeeming Love to me has been my defence & safety which I have been living in this life of time & space. You said to me once—“I have fought for you”, and I realize now how tremendously true it is. You have been the Divine Saviour of my soul & mind in this life. And now I love you because you first loved me. All this goes on in the world beneath the world of appearances & daily life which we live so happily together. When our eyes are open, we can enter heaven while in the body as Blake did. But this can only be by continual forgiveness of sins—that is to say that a river of water must wash the shore of every moment’s life, washing out all sins (i.e. separations) as they arise—our own & those of our dear ones—which are the only sins that really matter as far as we are concerned!—Heaven is moment to moment forgiving one another our sins—or at least that is an essential condition of our life there.—Well darling—that is only a language—a new language that both Mark & I have been learning. It is not any new truth, & it is nothing that you do not already know & beautifully express in your own language & in your daily attitude to life.

I have had a perfect time here—enjoying every moment. The weather is lovely. We went for a most beautiful motor ride yesterday morning—then I went up to tea with Mother, while May kept an appointment, & we all had supper at St Huberts, & a more delightful family party I have never had. Nance said Angels were in the room, & so indeed it seemed. We were all very merry.

I arrive tomorrow at Paddington 2.15. So glad Campbells are coming on Thursday night. We will have a very nice party. Great love old darling & love from all.

Your own Patz

I have just read Mark’s letter again. It is a perfectly wonderful letter. Please keep it or give it to me to keep. Such letters if eventually published, would bring untold emancipation to many struggling in the toils of self-righteousness.

Extract from a letter from Lady Betty Balfour to Lady Constance Lytton(?)

Fisher’s Hill, Woking, Surrey.—Responds to comments on women’s suffrage by Bonar Law and others, and reports on her meeting with Maud Selborne.

(In an unidentified hand.)

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Transcript

Bets to Mother

Copy| Extracts

Fishers Hill: Woking: Surrey. Sat Jan. 27. 1912.

… I am bitterly disappointed in Bonar Law as reported in the Times—but Gerald says he is sure he said Womanhood suffrage which would have been better {1}. I have not looked in the Standard yet. Times sentence on Belfast seems to be ludicrously inconsistent with their anti-militant attitude, but Gerald wont see it. I thought the “Votes” article on Catholic Emancipation most striking as a parallel. Do read it.

Maude† (Selborne) was quite charming to me. She is working Suffrage very hard locally & she too is on her Hampshire Education Committee—we talked that too. About Referendum she agrees with me that Grey did not mean what he is supposed to have to have meant. It was only in answer to a question—& he meant “Oh! If the H. of Commons press for a Referendum, that is a new question”—just as he might say “If the H. of Commons cease to want W.S. the situation is changed.” But G. saw in the paper yesterday that Lloyd George too is coming round to the Referendum. This in the face of his former strong statements! I cant yet believe it.

Maud says we shant get one {2} Conservative to vote against Referendum, because they are keen to get it tried, realising that the machinery once established it cant be refused for other questions. But she believes if it were to be put in the form “Are you in favour of women who pay rates & taxes having the vote?” we should win.

She told me of a row she has been having with Pole Carew (Gen[era]l Sir Reginald) on Suffrage. She really is a splendid worker on her own lines—& she says Lady Willoughby (De Broke) is first rate.

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{1} The reference is to Bonar Law’s address to a large political meeting at the Albert Hall the night before, as reported in the The Times. The relevant passage is as follows: ‘The first item on their [the Government’s] programme is manhood suffrage, which I venture to say was not mentioned before the election by any single member of the Government. And it is not manhood suffrage only. It may be woman suffrage as well. The Prime Minister has told us that woman suffrage would be a disaster, and in the same breath he says that he is ready to be the instrument for perpetrating that disaster. Has ever British statesmanship fallen so low?’ (The Times, 27 Jan. 1912, p. 10.)

{2} Reading uncertain.

Letter from Lady Pethick-Lawrence to Agnes Harben

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

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Transcript

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

My dear Agnes,

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

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

With love,
Ever yours,
Emmeline

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

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

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

Letter from Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence to Naomi Lutyens

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

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Transcript

Fourways. Gomshall.
Dec. 10. 1942

My very dear Naomi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My love to you. Yours. {2}

Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

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

{1} 7th.

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

Copy of a circular letter by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence

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

Transcript

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

Election Night.

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

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

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

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

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

{2} Comma substituted for full stop.

{3} A slip for ‘offence’.

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

† Sic.

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