December 9, 1911, To the Editor of The Standard
Emily Davison’s religion was an important element of her life. She was an Anglican, and according to Gertrude Colmore’s biography, fond of singing hymns. Whether she adhered to a formal dogma or not, her writings make manifest that she was a spiritual thinker and really did believe that she was doing God’s work in helping the evolution of human culture. Her seemingly off-hand response to the prison authorities documented in the letter below belies her deep conviction about the divine authority at work she saw in the struggle for Woman suffrage.
Sir, –Mrs. M. A. Tipper says that what the woman’s movement needs is that it should have ‘a great religious ideal,’ for, she declares, ‘it would then cease to be a mere feminine movement, but would become a great human uplifting of our race, and, through our race, of the whole world.’ Mrs. Tipper has put admirably into eloquent words exactly what this movement is to the women who are fighting in it.
When I, together with others, took up the line forced upon us by indifference to our spoken protests, of rebelling against prison discipline, I was subjected to the usual category of questions put to every prisoner. Amongst them I was asked, ‘What is your religion?’ I answered, ’Votes for Women.’ ‘That is no religion!’ ‘Excuse me, it is mine and that of thousands of women.’ My words were quite true.
(Mrs.) [sic] EMILY WILDING DAVISON
31 Coram-street, W.C.