August 15, 1912, The North Mail , “Feminine Logic”
The article and responding letter below exemplify Davison’s propensity to engage attitudes which she deemed mistaken or dangerous. The title of the article in The North Mail is provocative in itself, while the tone is condescending. Davison’s reply is an example of her focused corrective responses. She draws a fine, but traceable distinction, and explains it by using a word unknown even to editors of newspapers. All in all, given her love of verbal jousting, and her sense of humour, a “victory” for Emily Davison.
The latest manifesto issued by the Women’s Social and Political Union is even more illogical than those which have preceded it—which is saying a great deal. The authors of it say that the militant suffragists desire it to be clearly understood by Mr. Chuchill that they are certainly the women to dare and suffer all things in resistance to the tyranny of disfranchisement imposed upon them by the Government.
This means, if it means anything, that women are voteless because the present Government have disfranchised them. It is hardly possible to conceive of a more flagrant misuse of words.
Response. Saturday, August 17, 1912 To the Editor of The North Mail, “Women and the Vote”
Sir, –In your notes on ‘Affairs of Today’ under the heading ‘Feminine Logic’ you demonstrate very clearly the truth of the adage that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
In criticising the W.S.P.U. application of Mr. Churchill’s own words in reply to Mr. Bonar Law to women in claiming that they will certainly ‘dare and suffer all things in resistance to the tyranny of disfranchisement imposed upon them by the Government,’ you assert that ‘this means if anything that women are voteless because the present Government have disfranchised them.’ This would be as you term it ‘a flagrant misuse of words’ if it were not that you yourselves are guilty of a ‘terminological inexactitude.’ The writer of the notes has evidently confused the two terms: ‘Disfranchisement’ and “Disenfranchisement’ in a way that he would not have done if he had carefully studied his own language. For whereas the term ‘Disenfranchisement’ clearly bears the meaning of ‘the act of enfranchising’ owing to the interpolation of the affix ‘en,’ which has a crescive [i.e. growing, enlarging] meaning, the term ‘Disfranchisement’ simply implies ‘the lack of or want of the franchise.’ Yours, etc.
EMILY WILDING DAVISON
Longhorsley, S.O. Northumberland
August 15, 1912