Suffragettes January 31 1914


The militant Suffragists have only themselves to thank if in the future their tales of their sufferings in prison for the sake of “the cause” are received with polite incredulity. The letter from the Bishop of LONDON, published in another column, shows that even the most circumstantial and harrowing descriptions of Suffragists martyrdom may have no relation whatever to the truth. A short-time ago the bishop was waited upon by a deputation from the Women’s Social and Political Union, who implored his assistance on behalf of a Miss PEACE, a prisoner in Holloway Gaol, who was supposed to be undergoing the most terrible torture at the hands of the officials. There seemed to be no question as to the barbarity of the treatment meted out to her since a fellow-prisoner had herself heard the unfortunate victim crying out in an agony of pain. According to the statement of this witness, she was awakened by a shriek, which was followed by loud, heartbreaking moans. Then a door was slammed and voice of suffering was stilled, which seemed to show that the torture-chamber was a padded room. Next morning this lady again heard people go to the same cell, and once more she had to listen to the terrible cries of pain. In fact, according to her account the shrieks and moans were to be heard twice a day during the time she was in prison. In corroboration of her tale she added that her taxi-driver had tears in his eyes as he helped her into her house. Whether he was thus affected by her highly-coloured narrative of her experiences, or whether he had himself heard through the prison-walls the pitiful sounds of the fell work that was being done within, is not explained. But, in any case, the BISHOP felt that it was his duty to investigate the case. The first point he noticed was that the building in which the supposed victim lay was some three hundred yards from the place in which the other lady, MISS ANSELL, had been confined, and that there were thick walls and a courtyard between the two. The shrieks and moans must have been exceptionally loud if they had been heard over this distance. But, as a matter of fact, the tortured prisoner, when questioned on the subject, stoutly denied ever having shrieked or ever having been placed in the padded cell. The BISHOP observed, further, that her face was fully rounded and showed no signs of emaciation or distress. She had no complaint to make of her treatment in prison. Her only grievance was that she had not been released under the new Act, as the other prisoner had. Such a release, as the HOME SECRETARY reminded the BISHOP in an interview, an only be granted on grounds of health, and, of course, only confers a conditional and temporary freedom. But Mr. McKenna repeated a previous assurance that if the prisoner would give a binding undertaking to refrain from further outrages she could at once secure an absolute release. In other words, she has only to pledge herself to refrain from breaking the law in order to bring her term of imprisonment to an end. It is difficult, therefore, to see that she has any just cause of complaint on this head. As for the heartrending account of brutal, unbearable, and persistent torture that was supposed to be shattering the health of the prisoner, it is not, as the BISHOP dryly remarks, “borne out by the facts of the case.” It should be remembered that this is not the first occasion that the militant Suffragists have circulated tales of outrage suffered by themselves or their sympathisers which have been proved to be purely fictitious. There was the case of the male supporter who was supposed to have given his life for the “Cause.” The story was that he had been so severely handled while being expelled from a meeting that he had succumbed to his injuries. After much hysterical writing in the Suffragist Press it was discovered that the individual in question was alive and well in Canada, and had never even been present at the scene of his martyrdom. The Suffragists, we understand, claim that in qualities of mind they are infinitely superior to mere men. So far as the power of imagination is concerned, their claim seems to be well founded.

THE MORNING POST JANUARY 31 1914 …….. Militants and Forcible Feeding – Bishop of London’s visit to Holloway – Fears not borne out by facts

THE MORNING POST FEBRUARY 2 1914 …….. Militants and Forcible Feeding – The Bishop of London “In Blinkers”

THE MORNING POST FEBRUARY 10 1914 ……. Bishop of London’s second visit to Holloway – The Screams Explained

THE MORNING POST FEBRUARY 11 1914 ……. The Bishop of London in Disfavour



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