Suffragist Tax Resister Kate Harvey Imprisoned in Holloway

The Vote

From the issue of The Vote:

At Headquarters.

Our Trafalgar-square Demonstration on , is to be a great success. It is being advertised by the Caravan, which, covered with great banners, is parading some of the principal thoroughfares all this week; it is accompanied by a little band of chalkers and bill-distributers. The meeting is one of protest against the biased administration of the law and its treatment of women, as instanced in the two months’ imprisonment in the second division which Mrs. Kate Harvey is now undergoing at Holloway because of her refusal to pay her Insurance Tax and license for her manservant. We have a fine list of speakers: Mrs. [Charlotte] Despard, Miss Nina Boyle, Miss Amy Hicks, M.A., Miss Anna Munro, Mrs. M[argaret].W. Nevinson, Mrs. [Anne] Cobden Sanderson, Mrs. [Emma] Sproson, Mrs. Tanner, Mrs. [Isabel] Tippett, Mr. Harry de Pass, Mr. George Lansbury, Mr. H.W. Nevinson, Mr. John Scurr and Mr. Mark Wilks. Vote-sellers, literature-sellers, collectors, and banner-bearers please be at the office We hope every London member will attend the demonstration and bring as many friends as possible.

More from the same issue:

Mrs. Harvey’s Imprisonment.

The meeting outside Holloway Gaol, held from the Women’s Freedom League Caravan, was small and not particularly sympathetic. The speakers — Mrs. Hyde, Mrs. Despard, and Miss Boyle — were heard without very much interruption, but with little enthusiasm. The meetings at Bromley, on the other hand, held by the Women’s Tax Resistance and Freedom Leagues alternately, have been more than satisfactory. Miss Hicks and Miss Boyle, on and nights, secured excellent crowds on the Market-square, and were listened to with deep attention and quiet courtesy. These meetings will continue throughout Mrs. Harvey’s imprisonment. The caravan will continue its advertising campaign through London and the suburbs until ’s meeting is over; and the list of speakers for the demonstration is more than satisfactory.

The following resolution will be put to the meeting:—

That this meeting protests with indignation against the vindictive sentences passed on Voteless Women, and especially that on Mrs. Harvey; and demands that the Government accord equal treatment to men and women under the law and under the Constitution.

The arrangements are as follows:—

Platform 1. — Facing National Gallery.
Chair:Miss Anna Munro.
.— Mrs. Despard.
.— Mr. George Lansbury.
.— Mrs. Cobden Sanderson.
.— Mr. Harry de Pass.
.— Miss Nina Boyle.
.— Resolution.
.— Collection and Questions.
Platform 2. — Facing Strand.
Chair:Miss Amy Hicks, M.A..
.— Mr. John Scurr.
.— Miss Nina Boyle.
.— Mr. George Lansbury.
.— Mrs. Nevinson.
.— Mr. Mark Wilks.
.— Resolution.
.— Collection and Questions.
Platform 3. — Facing Pall Mall.
Chair:Mrs. Tanner.
.— Mr. H.W. Nevinson.
.— Mrs. Tippett.
.— Mrs. Sproson.
.— Mr. John Scurr.
.— Mrs. Despard.
.— Resolution.
.— Collection and Questions.

The Chair to be taken at .

Mrs. Despard’s letter to the Home Office asking for Mrs. Harvey’s release has elicited the reply that the Home Secretary can see no reason to intervene, and that he does not admit that “Queenie Gerald” is not still serving her sentence.

Mr. Harben has addressed the following letter to the Home Office:—

Newland-park, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks.

Dear Sir,— May I be permitted to appeal to you to use your power to secure a reduction of the sentence on Mrs. Harvey, who as a matter of principle has refused to pay the contribution due under the Insurance Act.

Justice can always afford to be merciful; unfairness is bound to fall back on cruelty for its support. While women are voteless in the hands of men, the sense of injustice is bound to arise among them; and that is all the more reason why a Government, which does not propose to remove that grievance, should be doubly careful to be fare in all other respects. Yet more persons have been imprisoned for political offences in the last four or five years than at any recent period in our history; and while the administration of the law is thus openly prostituted for political purposes, there is growing up in the public mind a contempt for the law so widespread that it has already had a damaging effect on public order, and will certainly lead to more serious consequences still.

I would ask you, Sir, what good purpose can possibly be served by such a sentence as this? Two months in the Second Division will cause considerable suffering to Mrs. Harvey herself; but so far from being a deterrent to her or anyone else, its effect will be exactly the reverse. The fact that the offences of Mrs. Harvey and Queenie Gerald are on the same level before the law will ring as a challenge to all decent men and women throughout the country to remove the poison from the springs of justice at all costs, and with the utmost speed. Were it not that cruelty to women has now become a Government pastime, and that the terrors of Holloway are so obviously the panem et circenses thrown to the creatures of Llanystumdwy, it would be impossible to suppose that in England such a sentence could be allowed to stand. ―I remain, yours faithfully,

(Signed) Henry D. Harben.

The Right Hon. Reginald McKenna, M.P.

Also from the same issue:

“No Taxation Without Representation.”

Miss Marie Lawson asks us to publish the following abridged account of her “snowball” protest, and to correct one or two errors in our last issue. “Latter” was printed for “former” in the second paragraph, and an impression was conveyed that the “snowball” letter was to be anonymous, which is not the case.

Mrs. K. Harvey, of Bromley, has been committed for two months in the second division for non-payment of a Government Tax and for non-compliance with the requirements of the National Insurance Act.

As a declaration against the tyranny of arbitrary taxation, Mrs. Harvey adopted the time-honoured protest of passive resistance — the only form of protest, short of actual violence, that is open to the women of this country. She had to choose between passive resistance and cowardly acquiescence. She chose the former and, as a result, now lies in Holloway Gaol.

You are urgently requested to assist the agitation for her release in two ways:—

  1. By sending a postcard to the Home Secretary, The Home Office, Whitehall, S.W., protesting against the severity of the sentence and demanding her immediate release.
  2. By copying this statement in full and forwarding it to at least three of your friends.

Printed postcards for collecting signatures in support of the protest can be obtained from Miss Lawson on receipt of a stamped envelope.