Suffragettes July 11 1913

THE MORNING POST JULY 11 1913

THE FIRE AT SIR W. H. LEVER’S BUNGALOW

At Liverpool Police Court yesterday Edith Rigby, wide of Dr. Rigby, of Preston was charged with committing an outrage at Liverpool Exchange on Saturday. The woman though warned by the Stipendiary Magistrate that what she said might be used against her, made a long and remarkable statement. She said she planned the outrage herself, and carried it out without any aid. It was not authorised. She wanted it to be realised that when women were driven to those desperate measure how comparatively easy it was for them to get explosive and place them in public buildings. Of course if she had been minded to do evil she could just as easily have caused an explosion which would just as easily have caused an explosion which would have hurt a large number of people, and for days before she walked about wishing most devoutly that it would not hurt anyone, unless it was herself. She had been asked by the “kind and efficient officers” what grievances she had against the Cotton Exchange. This grievance – that the great cotton industry in Lancashire was built up, if not entirely, very mush on women’s labour. The merchants were willing to buy and sell and get power and wealth out of the labour, while the women were denied the vote, denied citizenship, although they were paying taxes all the time, either directly or indirectly. That was a knock at the door, the first one of the king. She thought hitherto the merchants had not cared about it. She preferred to give herself up, because, under the “cat-and-Mouse Act” the Government were doing to death “one of the greatest women in the land,” and if they were going to kill her that was a warning. They could kill her under that same Act. When she had gone there would be a hundred other women, better women, to take her place.
The Stipendiary Magistrate order a remand until next Monday.
Prisoner – I have another statement to make about another so-called fire. I want it to be told to the King and Sir William Lever. I understand Sir William Lever is a vigorous man in all he does; he is an opponent of Women’s Rights. I want to ask him whether he thinks his property on Rivington Pike is more valuable as one of his superfluous house to be occasionally opened to people and used occasionally, or as a beacon lighted for the King and country to see, that there were some insupportable grievances for women? I don’t know whether Sir William Lever has the same sense of spiritual values as he has of material ones; but if he has he realises that, valuable as all that was piled together in that house, it was still more valuable that women should have the right to help to remove some of this human sickness from England, and that they should help to remove different standards in laws established as to moral uncleanness for men and women in England. As an opponent of Women’s Suffrage, I want to ask Sir William Lever this question – Whether his house was more useful as it stood, or more useful as it is now, as a beacon of the injustices which some of the best women feel and can support no longer?
The Magistrate – I think what you have to say has no bearing on the question of a remand.
Prisoner – It has this bearing: I lighted the fire alone that night. I walked there and did it alone.

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