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Women's Suffrage Deputation.


(Pankhurst, Emmeline). Women's Suffrage Deputation. Received by the Prime Minister, Sir Henry
Campbell-Bannerman, on Saturday, May 19th, 1906, at the Foreign Office. London: National Union of
Women's Suffrage Societies, (1906).
8vo.; 16 pp.; wrappers; stitched and disbound, as issued.
Rare survival of the printed report of the first great women's suffrage demonstration in England,
published by the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.The WSS, together with a score of other
organisations, sent a deputation of 350 to the Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman to urge him
that the time was now ripe to grant of the Parliamentary franchise to women.
Sir Charles McLaren, M.P., introduced the deputation of ten women who each gave a speech. Emily
Davies, spoke first as representative of the Women's Suffrage Societies. She said she was one of the two
ladies who had the privilege of handing to Mr. John Stuart Mill the first petition in favour of women's
suffrage in 1866 and spoke of the changes that had since taken place, additions to the electorate, and the
improvement in the condition of women. "In view of all the facts, which I imagine no one will dispute,
we submit that the continued withholding from them of the Parliamentary vote had become not only a
glaring anomaly but an absurdity." Next to speak was Mrs. Eva McLaren who, speaking for the Women's
Liberal Federation, argued that to give political enfranchisement to women was the clear duty of a party:
"We ask the men of England not to delay longer but to grant a measure of justice which the women of this
country have every right to expert at the hands of a Liberal Government."
After several other speeches, Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst, representing the Women's Social and Political
Union, took the floor. Here we can see clearly the differences between the different groups and the more
militant stance that the Suffragettes were prepared to take: "A growing number of us feel this question so
deeply that we have made up our minds that we are prepared, if necessary, to sacrifice even life itself in
getting this question settled, or what is, perhaps, even harder, the means by which we live. We appeal to
you, sir, to make this sacrifice unnecessary, by doing in the present parliament this long-differed justice to
Campbell Bannerman gave his reply, rather limp, peppered with platitudes and as an old Liberal not really
on message. Kier Hardie gave a vote of thanks and after a few more speeches the meeting was closed but
not without both "cheers and hissing." After the meeting the deputation was joined by a street processions
of women workers followed by meetings at Trafalgar Square and Exeter Hall.
This pamphlet was evidently printed and circulated only a few days later once Cambell-Bannerman had
effectively quashed any hope of immediate enfranchisement.
OCLC records one copy only, at Cambridge.

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