Suffragettes March 11 1913







Five militant Suffragists attempted yesterday to throw petitions into the State Coach, in which the King and Queen were being driven to Westminster for the opening by his Majesty of the new session of Parliament. They chose as their point of attack the part of the Mall nearly opposite St. Jame`s Palace and Marlborough House, where a dense crowd had collected kept in position by lines of police and Guards. Each of the women had in her possession a copy of a petition, which was in the form of a roll decorated with ribbons of the Suffragist colours. Just as the Royal carriage, a minute or two after leaving Buckingham Palace, had reached the spot the women made a rush forward. A number of the bystanders and policemen, however, caught some of them just as they were passing through the line of Guards, who were keeping the route, but one or two of them succeeded in getting to close proximity to the carriage. They attempted to throw the petitions into the carriage, but were stopped in time. The King and Queen turned their heads in the direction from which the disturbance came, but paid no particular attention, and the procession passed on.

The women were arrested and taken to Cannon-row Police Station. At first they refused their names and addresses or an account of themselves. They were interviewed however by Superintendent Quinn, of Scotland-yard, with the result that they consented to give this information. They, however all refused to state their ages. The women, who were charged with wilfully obstructing the police gave their names as follows: Miss Dorothy Smith, Mrs. Lilian Dove Willcox, Miss Kathleen Paget, Miss Gertrude Vaughan [described as an authoress], and Miss Grace Stuart [described as an artist]. All gave their address as Lincoln’s Inn House. They will be brought up at Dow-street to-day.

There was some commotion outside the London Pavilion yesterday on the occasion of the weekly meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union. There was a fairly large crowd of men and boys outside the building and an extra force of police was needed to keep order. Apart from some jeering and hustling, however there was no serious disturbance. Mrs. PANKHURST presided over the meeting, and referring to the opening of Parliament by the King said there was no doubt whatever that one very important and difficult piece of business with which Parliament would have to deal was the question of what to do with the demand for woman suffrage, and how to deal with the agitation carried on by the Women’s Social and Political Union. In order to lessen the difficulty some women had that afternoon tried to present a petition to the King. [Cheers.] But so strange was public opinion, or what was called public opinion by the newspapers, that that perfectly constitutional action was said to be an insult to the King. All through the history of this country the fact had been recorded that from time to time persons suffering from grievances had presented petitions to the Monarchy, but never until 1913 had the presenting of petitions to the King been described as an insult. When women agitated to get constitutional rights strange things happened, and their actions, even when historically correct, when carried out by men, were described in a most extraordinary way. An attempt was being made by members of the Government and by other interested politicians to draw the King and Queen into this quarrel which the women had with the Government [/2Shame.”] They wished to dissociate the quarrel from the King and Queen. The presenting of the petition had for its object the calling of the attention of Parliament and the country to the situation. If the Liberal Government liked to take upon itself the shame and odium of passing repressive legislation, they would have to take upon themselves, in addition to that shame and odium, the ignominy of failure. [Cheers.] They might pass an Act of Parliament to give the authorities power to take away their money. The women would find ways of dealing with that. They might play cat and mouse with them and have them in and out of prison. That would also fail. [Cheers.] Until April 1 she could not say how this movement was to be carried on, but she wished to bring home to that audience what lay behind the movement and what had nerved women to face the ordeals to which they were exposed.

The Rev. G. HERBERT DAVIS [Hereford] and Miss ANNIE KENNEY also spoke.
In answer to questions, Mrs PANKHURST said she hoped to present at their Albert Hall meeting on April 10, but if she could not be present in person she would be with them in spirit. Her daughter Christabel was very well, and working very hard for the movement. All her leisure time was spent in educating the public in France. There was no news of her daughter Sylvia or of her comrades in Holloway who were hunger-striking. Miss Lenton was progressing slowly.

When Mrs. Pankhurst left the building she was loudly hooted by a crowd of men and boys, and as her motor-car moved off the door was pulled open, but Mrs. Pankhurst quickly closed it and rode safely away.




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