Suffragettes January 30 1913




The majority of the Suffragists who were arrested on Tuesday night were taken before Sir Albert de Rutzen at Bow-street Police Court yesterday. Mrs. Flora Drummond was the first defendant to be dealt with.

Mr. Muskett, who prosecuted for the Commissioners of Police, said that the defendant was one of the leaders of the Women’s Social and Political Union. As the Magistrate already knew the Franchise Bill was recently dropped by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. Shortly after the announcement was made, the defendant, on behalf of the Union, asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to receive her and other women, as a deputation, at the House of Commons at eight o’clock on Tuesday evening. Several letters passed between her and the Chancellor’s Secretary, and she was informed that Mr. Lloyd George could not receive a deputation at the House at the time mentioned, as he was otherwise engaged. He offered, however, to see her and one or two other women at his office at eleven o’clock on Wednesday morning. That offer was declined. On Tuesday evening a meeting of the women was held at the Horticultural Hall, Westminster, and they decided to go to the House of Commons at once. At about eight o`clock the defendant left the hall at the head of about twenty other women. They were allowed to pass through the police cordon and were escorted to St. Stephen’s entrance. They then made an effort to enter the House, and it became necessary to take some of them into custody. He was sorry to say that on the same evening other Suffragists were arrested for wilfully breaking windows.

Superintendent Wells said he was present at the meeting at the Horticultural Hall. The women declined to accept the offer of Mr. Lloyd George to see some of them in the morning. The Defendant – Rather. Continuing, Superintendent Wells said that Chief Inspector Rogers, chief of the police stationed at the House of Commons, told the women that the Chancellor of the Exchequer declined to see them until the morning. They were not satisfied, and tried to force their way through the police. Witness told them that unless they went away they would be arrested. The absolutely refused to go away, and the defendant and to hers were taken into custody. When the defendant was arrested she shouted to those accompanying her: “Smash windows, and damage property.” The arrested women were taken to Cannonrow Police Station, and at eleven o`clock they were liberated on bail.

Police-constable Clancey said the defendant struggles very violently, and tried to force her way into the House.

The defendant (to the Magistrate) – As we are generally treated as criminals I should like to have the privilege of addressing you as a criminal. I do not want to be interrupted. You must not tell me that what I have to say has nothing to do with the matter. You yourself have something to do with it. You are all in the game. I mean you are all playing a game resembling chess. You are the hirelings and we have to fight you all. We are all sorry for you, for perhaps you are the victims of this state of things. When I reached the cordon of police at St. Margaret’s Church I was in a terrible state. As I turned from the Horticultural Hall I was badly twisted by a policeman as I can prove if necessary. The agony of the twist sent me into a dead faint, and anyone acquainted with me knows that I am not a woman who often faints. The policeman let me drop like a log, face downwards, on to the pavement. Perhaps he did not realise what he was doing. Miss Sylvia Pankhurst turned me over and I came out of the faint. Then I was met by a police officer, who asked me how many women I wanted to attend with me as a deputation. I replied “About twenty.” If it had not been for the pain I was in I should have said “All the lot.” “All right,” said the officer, and we went on. At the Strangers` entrance Chief Inspector Rogers read the message I had got from Mr. Lloyd George’s secretary by telegraph. I had already told Mr. Lloyd George that it was not fair, or honest, or right not to receive the whole of the deputation. It would not have been fair to the other women for a few of us to have a private interview with him. There was another reason for wanting to see him that night; a number of the women desired to go home this morning. We offered to go in and wait for him. We wanted to do the thing properly, and surely he could have seen us at some time during the night. He had promised to received a deputation, and not a few of us privately, but he did not keep his promise. I therefore refused to go back. I feel that the Government have insulted us abominably, and there is nothing for it but war to the knife. You (the Magistrate) have got to do your dirty work like the rest of them. I am speaking very straight, and I have reputation for that. Probably you have made up your mind what my sentence is to be. Whatever it may be make up your mind that you have got to face a good deal or you and Mr. Lloyd George must resign your posts and be straightforward men. You have had us before. Don’t you think the whole thing is a farce? Of course you know it is a farce. Be honest for once, and tell Mr. Lloyd George that you refuse to do his dirty work.

Sir Albert de Rutzen said it was a great pity that the defendant and the women with her did not go away when they were requested to do so, knowing that Mr Lloyd George would see them in the morning. The orders given to the police were perfectly correct, and the women ought to have done as they were told. As the defendant had committed no damage she would only have to pay a fine of 40s, which included 7s. 6d.,, the fee charged by the doctor who saw her at the police station.

The Defendant – A fine? I shall pay no fine. You will get no money out of me.
Sir Albert de Rutzen – In default you will be imprisoned for fourteen days in the second division.
The Defendant – You ought to be ashamed of yourself. The first division I want.
Sir Albert de Rutzen – I have nothing more to say.
The Defendant – Well, you know what it means. It means a hunger strike.



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