Miss Christabel Pankhurst
THE MILITANT SUFFRAGETTE
I cannot help thinking to-night of the manyhundreds of meetings that have been held in thiscountry in defence of the principle of women's en-framchisement.How many times have noble wo-men poured forth their very soul in an appeal forpolitical justice.How many times has such an ap-peal been made，and made to ears that were deafand unheeding.It is well for us all to rememberthat we are engaged in no new movement.Therewere those who came before us，pioneers of fortyand fifty-six years ago，who began the agitationfor woman suffrage.They worked well，theyworked devotedly，and yet，after all those years ofhard work，women have not yet got the Parliamen-tary vote.
Suffragists of old times made a mistake whichexperience—theirs and our own—has taught us toavoid.They relied too mucn upon the justice oftheir cause，and not enough upon their own strongright arm.It is because we have realized that thepolicy of persuasion，and of argument，and of talkhas failed that we have undertaken the new mili-tant campaign，which I believe，and I think youbelieve，is so very nearly at a successful end.When men begin an agitation like ours，they are，of course，open to all kinds of criticism and attack，but I do not think that the very dangerous and dif-ficult form of attack is brought to bear againstthem that is brought to bear against us.Men arenever told that they are hysterical，and that theydo not know what they are doing.They may betold they are violent，they may be told their actionis reprehensible，but people are usually willing toadmit that at least there is method in their mad-ness，and that，as there is a limit to human en-durance，if men are very much oppressed，theyhave a right to revolt against oppression.We inthis woman's movement，on the other hand，havebeen accused of not having thought things out，andof simply running along in a headstrong fashionwithout knowing where we are going or why we dogo.
No，my friends，we did not undertake thiscampaign in any light or heedless spirit.We knewwhat we had got to face；we knew we had to facedanger，sheer physical danger.We knew well thatin what we did we ran the risk of imprisonment.Now，that is a very serious thing.Imprisonment iswhat you reserve for those who are preying uponsociety，those who are enemies of the body politic；imprisonment is the worst thing you have to offerthem，and yet we knew full well that we，whowere trying，at any rate，to do our duty to otherpeople，must realize that for us this fate was instore.We knew that we should have to meet thebitter attack of the party politician—and I thinkthere is no form of attack which is more ve-nomous，which is more unscrupulous—and as wewere women，we had to face another thing，wehad to face censure as being unwomanly，as beingunladylike（you know，that is thought worse thanbeing unwomanly），as being，well，unconvention-al and ridiculous，and all the rest of it.
I assure you that if there were not a greatthing at stake，we should all of us prefer to followa course of life which would not expose us to thedifficulties of which I tell you.But think what is atstake.Human liberty.The most priceless thingthere is，the only thing that is worth fighting for，the only thing that is worth paying for.We arefighting for that.We are fighting for the emanci-pation of women.The emancipation of men wasbegun long ago，and men are now working out their salvation，although they will never see it infull measure until the women，whose brothers andwhose partners they are，see their emancipationtoo.We are working for the bread of women，weare working that women may not go hungry，weare working for what is even more important—weare working for the dignity of women.
Now，I am going to speak to those women here who want the vote，but don't agree with ourmethods.I ask them，why do you hold aloof，whydo you not believe in the methods，and why，if youbelieve in them，don't you practise them？Becauseneither from you nor from Cabinet Ministers do wewant sympathy.No，what we want is action.Wewould rather have you marching along with us sideby side than we would have your cheers or yoursupport or your praise.We do not look for that；we do not want you to come and say that we havedone well；we want you to come and do with us.Why then do you not throw yourselves into thisagitation，why are you not ready for prison？Youshould not see prison through other people's eyes，you should go there yourselves if you think that wehave done well to go there.You know the oldmethods of working for the vote are futile，and notonly futile，but humiliating，unworthy of you.Isay any woman here who is content to appeal forthe vote instead of demanding and fighting for it isdishonouring herself.Is the price too great？Can-not you make the necessary sacrifice？I can tell youthat we who are prepared for it take a great joy init.Why，the womem in this Union are the happiestpeople in the world.We have the love of our com-rades，we have the respect of our enemies，wehave the support of the people.We have somethingto live for，and we are going to do somethingworth doing.We are sorry for the people who gothrough their lives achieving nothing，leaving theworld no richer than they found it.Those peopleare poor indeed；those people we pity.As for us，we have the glorious pride of being made the in-strument of those great forces that are working to-wards progress and liberty.
Now，the rightness of revolt，the rightness ofour militant methods，does not depend upon suc-cess.You may resist injustice and fail，or seem tofail，and still you have done right.When you areconfronted by oppression，when you are confront-ed by the forces of evil，then you must go and dobattle against them Unless you believe that mightis right you must agree with what I ssy.And Iwant you to believe that even if we had no hope ofsuccess，even if we thought our militant campaignwere destined to failure，we should go on with it.We should go on with it while life was ours，weare going on with it；so long as we live we are nev-er going to renounce this struggle.But we are go-ing to win because we have right on our side.No，you must not forget that“thrice armed is he thathath his quarrel just，and he but naked，thoughlocked up in steel，whose conscience with injusticeis corrupted.”Well，my friends，there is greattruth in those words，and I think you will admitthat our quarrel is just.Why，even the enemy hasto admit that.We could never win if we were notin the right，but because we are in the right we aregoing to win.
Well，I have been telling you why we adoptour methods；I have been trying to explain to youthe frame of mind in which we are，and the reasonswhy we have taken to these methods，and what themethods are.If you read the leading articles insome of our newspapers，you would think ourmethods were Russian methods，or even worse.You really would suppose that we were the mostdangerous set of people，and the most violent setof people that have ever been seen.The fact is，however，that we are singularly mild-indeed，weare just as mild as we can be，consistently with do-ing our duty.We do not want to go an inch fartherthan the Liberal Government drive us，because wedo not want to waste our forces；we do not want tooverstep the mark by a hair's breadth，and we havenever done so.We go to by-elections，and work a-gainst the Government.Surely that is not very un-constitutional or very violent.Our protests at pub-lic meetings have been very effective，but they in-volve no danger to life or limb—unless our own.As I say，these protests don't involve any physicaldanger to our Cabinet Ministers，yet they producea marked impression.Ministers are simply terri-fied.They hide from us behind locked doors.Theygo in secret nowadays.They dare not run the riskof meeting women even in a railway train.Haveyou read the Daily News to-day，and seen the ac-count of Mr.Lloyd George's attempt，not only tokeep women out of his meeting，but to escapethem？Well，if he were the Czar of Russia going a-mong his subjects，it might be natural.Why thisfear？Why not trust the people？They are decidedlyafraid of women in these days—and then you saythat women cannot pursue militant methods withsuccess.The proof of the pudding is in the eating，and I know this—they are more afraid of one Suf-fragette than they are of 5，000 men.
Then we go on deputations to the House ofCommons.What is there wrong in that？Men areconstantly having deputations，and I have neverheard of a men's deputation going to prison yet—but we have to go to prison.I wonder how it isthat you do not see that instead of our being vio-lent，violence is used against us.We have notcaused Mr.Asquith to languish for a single day ingaol—it is he who has vicariously attacked and im-prisoned us.We are very sorry to have to give allthis trouble；we would rather militant methodsshould cease，and they would cease if we were tohave the vote.Now，how simple it all is.Can'tyou understand that the Government have broughtthese troubles down on their own heads？We arenot responsible for it—they are responsible.Donot waste your sympathy upon them，my friends.It is all their own fault.If they would give us thevote，they would have no more trouble from us.
I call on the men who are here to-night to joinforces with us，to help us to overcome the Govern-ment which at the present moment is the greatestobstacle in the path of human progress.If men'seyes are still shut to these truths，yet neverthelessthe women are awake，and the women have thepower；they have the absolute power to gain theliberty which they want；they have the power andthe capacity to seize this indispensable weapon ofreform，which in their own interests，and in theinterests of the country that is dear to them，theyought to have，and which they speedily will have.