Mrs. Gonne Declines a “Doubtful Privilege.”
All Suffragists know the devoted service of Captain Gonne to the cause of justice for women; they will be interested to hear of the plucky fight which Mrs. Gonne is making on behalf of her husband, with regard to his recent tax resistance protest. During his imprisonment, she sent a telegram, giving the facts of the case, to His Majesty the King through his private secretary. A reply informed her that petitions to His Majesty, must be submitted through the Home Secretary. To this, her reply is that she declines “the doubtful privilege” she would rather die first! She asks for a faithful officer, who has nobly borne His Majesty’s Commission, and is “struggling to keep his King’s Honour as untarnished as his own,” the right to present a petition through a military officer approved by His Majesty. She awaits the result. We echo her declaration to the King’s private secretary, that things have come to a pretty pass, when the only use England has for an honest and courageous gentleman is to break his back and fling him into prison. Capt. Gonne’s serious injuries are due to the violence of Liberal stewards in ejecting him from meetings at which he has protested against a Liberal Government’s injustice to women; it is those who are under the sway of Mr. McKenna who discharged him, cripped as he is from Lewes gaol, after a forty-eight hours’ hunger strike, and sent him, in a state of collapse on a two hours’ railway journey involving two changes. Surely the refinement of cruelty and a near approach to tragedy. With Mrs. Gonne we ask of His Majesty: Is the sacrifice of an honoured officer’s life necessary in the denial of justice to women?
The Political Outlook.
The passive resistance, or defiance, policy of the League has been successful also in so far as the non-payment of tax and insurance contributions goes. The Government, however, has not taken proceedings against the League in respect of these omissions, and it is strongly doubtful whether it ever will. In so far, therefore, as the final climax is avoided, the policy remains ineffective. Methods of extending and reinforcing this policy must be discussed, and the League must make up its mind to action more drastic and resolute if resistance to the increasing loads of taxation laid on women without their consent is to be rendered sufficiently striking and useful. Insurance inspectors call at Headquarters office, and threatening-looking documents arrive, but the Government plainly avoids the final issue, or is unwilling to give the advertisement of a serious prosecution. If the pace is to be forced, it is from our side that the provocative action must come.