Tax Collector Storms Barricades at Brackenhill

The Vote

From the issue of The Vote:

Rally in Force!

After eight months of masterly inactivity, during which time Mrs. [Kate] Harvey’s locked gates, bolted doors, and defiant posters, “No Vote — No Tax!” have preached at Brackenhill, Bromley, their practical lesson to all passers-by of the injustice of taxation without representation suffered by women at the hands of a Liberal Government, the authorities at Bromley evidently endeavoured to give Mrs. Harvey a birthday surprise. That they were just one day too soon was a mere masculine blunder. On , after she had left Brackenhill for town, the attack on the barricades was successfully made with files and crowbars, and the “Dauntless Three,” the tax-collector, the bailiff, and a policeman found themselves in possession, representing the majesty of the law of the land, which takes women’s money without consent, and thinks that all is well. We congratulate our good friend on the long fight she has made, and especially that, in the midst of the inconveniences of barricades, she carried on her magnus opus of the organisation of the International Suffrage Fair. Members — particularly those who live in or near London — have now an opportunity of showing their gratitude to Mrs. Harvey in a way which she will deeply appreciate. Let them rally in force at Brackenhill on the day of the sale and demonstrate the strong support which is behind our brave tax-resister. It is injustice which turns women into rebels; for such earnest workers as Mrs. Harvey and Mrs. [Isabel] Tippett, who made a spirited protest at Stowmarket on , recognised by the State as citizens, are ready to render the help of which the State stands so badly in need, but is too prejudiced to make possible. We trust that Mrs. Harvey’s eight months’ protest will be the last that she will be required to make, but we know that she, with the great army of rebel women, will resist until votes for women become a reality, and, as citizens, women taxpayers have a right to call the tune for which they have long paid the piper. Information will be obtainable at Headquarters as soon as the date of the sale is fixed.

Also from the same issue:

Tax Resistance.

The Bromley Barricade Broken.

After being barricaded since , an entrance was forced into Mrs. Harvey’s home, Brackenhill, Bromley, on , by Mr. Croome, a bailiff, bearing a distress warrant, and accompanied by a tax-collector and a policeman. Mrs. Harvey had left home for town shortly before the arrival of the three men, who filed the chain on the garden gate and used a crowbar to force the back door, as the servants, acting on Mrs. Harvey’s instructions, refused to open it. Distraint was levied on the dining-room furniture. The date of the sale is not yet known, but later in the week Headquarters will be able to supply information. London members, and others in London on a visit, are urged to make a special effort to attend in force to support Mrs. Harvey in her splendid protest against taxation without representation.

Mrs. Tippett’s Protest at Stowmarket.

The Court, police, and general inhabitants of Stowmarket, on , had an exciting and vigorous incident of an unusual character. The principal case in the police court was the summons against our esteemed fellow member of the N.E.C., Mrs. Isabel Tippett, for non-payment of a dog tax. The Court was crowded with men and women, including Mrs. [Lila] Pratt, secretary of the Ipswich Branch, and Mrs. Foster, secretary of the Woolpit Group of the W.F.L. When the other cases had been disposed of, Mrs. Tippett was called. The gentlemen on the bench appeared much more nervous than the defendant, who promptly pleaded “Not guilty.”

After asking permission from the magistrates, who were too perturbed to offer any opposition save an occasional feeble interjection, Mrs. Tippett proceeded to call their attention to the delay in any action being taken, and that the whole case was grossly illegal, as women were not persons in the legal interpretation of the term. On this legal point, she called Miss Anna Munro as witness for the defence. Miss Munro cited the Scottish Graduates’ Test case, carried eventually to the House of Lords, where, with all the might of the greatest judicial court in Great Britain, it was upheld that women were not persons.

The clerk replied that sometimes women were persons and sometimes not, but in the matter of default of payment of a dog tax, magistrates and clerk unanimously decided, after due consultation, that Mrs. Tippett was a person. Mrs. Tippett then made a few further remarks, but was interrupted by the chairman, who said that women’s suffrage must not be dragged into it; whereupon Miss Munro reminded him that he had transgressed, and not the suffragettes, on this occasion. The Bench then retired to consider their verdict. The chairman, Mr. Prettyman, announced that the defendant had been found guilty, the penalty 10s. and costs. Mrs. Tippett thereupon, announced that she would not pay, and had no goods which could be distrained, and mildly suggested that they should commit her to prison in default. This plan, however, they refused to entertain, and proclaimed the court closed.

A protest meeting, with banners and placards, “No Vote, No Tax,” was held shortly afterwards in the Market Square. Miss Munro presided over an increasing and interested audience, which received Mrs. Tippett most cordially as she gave an eloquent and forceful explanation of the protest, the necessity for such action and of the policy of the Women’s Freedom League. Miss Munro followed, and replied to a considerable fire of questions at the close of the meeting. There is no doubt that protests such as this up and down the country create a deep impression, and bring home our message to the average elector in a truly forcible fashion.

Anna Munro.

Also from the same issue:

Women’s Tax Resistance League.

On , Mrs. [Adeline] Cecil Chapman will have goods sold for tax resistance at the Broadway Auction Rooms, Walham green Station, at A joint meeting of protest of the Women’s Tax Resistance League and the New Constitutional Society for Woman’s Suffrage will be held at Kelveden Hall, Fulham-road, opposite Parson’s-green-lane, at Speakers: Mrs. Cecil Chapman, Mrs. [Anne] Cobden Sanderson, Mrs. [Myra Eleanor] Sadd Brown, Mr. J. Malcolm Mitchell, and others. Friends are invited to join the procession, which forms up at , at Kelveden Hall, and marches to the Auction Rooms.