27. November, 12, 1912, To the Editor of The Irish Independent, “A Suffragist’s Warning”
While the leaders of the Irish Nationalist cause in Parliament (the Home Rule Party) were on the cusp of success, they retreated from supporting woman suffrage in Ireland. Davison’s letter of Nov. 12th, addresses the retreat by pointing out how much support the suffrage movement had among the people of Ireland, using specific examples, in her characteristic fashion.
Sir, –In the course of the debate on Mr. Philip Snowden’s amendment to the Home Rule Bill, taken last Tuesday, both Mr. W. Rock and Mr. Lansbury uttered a solemn warning to the Irish Nationalists that in behaving treacherously to the women’s cry for freedom they were betraying their own highest principles, and that for so doing they would reap exactly what they had sowed themselves. There are already signs for those who can read them that such a warning is justified, and they are all to be read in Ireland herself.
First and foremost, the action of the Irish magistrates, who on two separate occasions have refused to endorse the ‘cat and mouse’ game that the Government has been playing with Miss Gladys Evans [imprisoned in Mountjoy for setting fire to an empty theatre], shows unmistakably that the Irish nation itself will be no party to the Government’s disgraceful treatment of those who are fighting for freedom.
Secondly, the action of the jurymen in petitioning the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to release the four Irish Suffragists who last July were given the vindictive sentence of six months for the smashing of Government glass as a protest against Mr. Asquith’s talking about Home Rule for Ireland whilst refusing to include Irish-women in the Bill, is a pretty clear indication of the feeling of the average Irishman in the matter, and should afford a very strong warning indeed to Mr. Redmond of the way the wind is blowing.
Lastly, there is the fact that although the two Irishwomen, who were arrested on Wednesday night for breaking windows at the Custom House, Dublin, were originally charged with doing damage to the amount of £5, yet when brought up they were merely found guilty of doing 12s 6d. worth of damage, which they were condemned to pay, with a fine, in the course of a week.
Signs of the times are to be found, too, in England, but for him who runs and can read the signs of the times in Ireland are writ clear and large. Had not Messrs. Redmond and the Nationalists better pay a little more attention to them?
EMILY WILDING DAVISON
Longhorsley, Northumberland, Nov. 8, 1912