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9 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

y——————————— R LLOYD-GEORGE…

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y——————————— R LLOYD-GEORGE AND WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE. blSORDERLY SCENES IN THE ALBERT HALL. FULL ACCOUNT OF AN EXTRAORDINARY MEETING. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Lloyd George, was the principal speaker at a demon- stration in support of woman suffrage in the Albert Hall on Saturday, and owing to disturb- ances created by 60 or 70 women and three or four men out of (I, total audience of perhaps 8000 or 9000 persons, it occupied him two hours to de- liver what was probably not more than a 20 min- utes' speech. The body of the hall and the bal- conies were well filled, and over 300 stewards who wore yellow rosettes were distributed about the building. Some of the ladies, who had paid 5s or 2s 6d for their seats, as soon as they got to their places removed their hats and put on small white caps, and then, taking oif their cloak.5, appeared in the dress of Holloway Prison. The women who were in prison dress were quiet throughout the meeting. Thore were no police at ,the meeting itself, but there were many in the building and around it, and several mounted men guarded Mr Lloyd George's motor car both on his arrival and OIl his departure. THE CHAIRWOMAN'S APPEAL. Lady McLaren, who presided, moved the fol- lowing resolution:—"This meeting, speaking on bohait of the Liberal women of England, Wales, and Scotland, claims from this Government as a measure of justice long overdue the Parliamen- tary enfranchisement of women; and, further- more, this meeting, whilst heartily welcoming the announcement of the Primo Minister that he will introduce a democratic Reform Bill before the dissolution of the present Parliament, declares emphatically that no Reform Bill can be either democratic or just which does not extend to .w,omezi the franchise rights granted to men." Lady McLaren said she did not believe that the Liberals were going to betray them, and there- fore the Liberal women who were suffragists did not declare war upon the Liberal party (cheers). But if the Liberal Ministers did play them false, they would be iaced at the general election not only with the infuriated publi(cati--(Iauglit,-r)-tiot 4pnly with the wily tariff reformer, but with the righteous wrath of the women (cheers). But why should any one doubt this Government? Others had talked of temperance, but this Government had gripped the liquor traffic by the throat— (cheers)-and while others had talked of old-age pensions this Government had given them, and now there were 6igns that it was making for the harbour of woman suffrage. Lady Bamford-Slack seconded the resolution At this point a collection was made. Lady McLaren, in calling upon Mr Lloyd George, said:—"Stewards, may your gentle cour- tesy prove more forcible than force. Friends, members, only silence conquers nose and patience all things. Suffragette ladies, we commend our- selves unto your courtesy. Hear the message of a friend." So far there had been no interruption. A DOG-WHIP USED. Mr Lloyd George, who was received with great cheering, some hissing, and the singing of "He's a jolly good fellow," said, when he looked at that (demonstration he wondered how any one could doubt the political capacity of women, and when he heard the announcement of a collection in the 'middle of the proceedings before there could pos- 'fiihly be any accidents, before the arrangements of the meeting cculd be upset by the rising of a i Ca binct Minister A woman in the highest balcony interrupted 'the sentence by starting a speech of her own. fNot a word could be heard on the platform, but, i'udging by the way in which the speaker swayed er body and gesticulated, she spoke with feel- ing. She was allowed to go on for some time in [the hope, apparently, that she would .exhaust Iherseii, but when this became improbable two or Ithree stewards approached her. She flicked at them delicately with a new dogwhip, which they ,took from her with a little difficulty, and they aucceeded in ejecting her after a struggle. Her friends, who had distributed themselves in various farts of the hall in order to give an impression Of their number far in excess of what was after- wards shown to be the fact, shouted, "Oh, how lawful! Dreadful! Shame! shame! shame!" Mr Lloyd George: I hope it will be unneces- sary to turn any one out, and I would rather re- ¡¡¡" sume my seat (Voices: "Do")—than be the ca.use of any unnecessary violence. But before I do so I have one word to say. I am not here to ex- press any idle words of sympathy. I am hero as a C64inot Minister to declare the attitude of the Government and its intentions towards this problem. (A woman at the back of the platform. "Run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.") Proceeding, Mr Lloyd George said he would an- swer questions at the close of his speech, but he must be allowed to make his spcech in his own way. A woman in the body of the hall cried out, "Are you going to give us votes?" and there was great shouting. Mr Lloyd George requested op- ponents of the disorderly parsons not to shout in return, but to keep quiet. A young woman In the gallery then began to wail monotonously, "Deeds, not words; deeds, not words," and kept the meeting in an uproar for nearly ten minutes. At length the stewards carried her out. "AN EASY TRIUMPH." Mr Lloyd George, who had resumed his seat, was urged by many voices to "Go on," but he shook his head. Lady McLaren, however, who remained admirably calm to the end, nodded to him in a matter of fact way to begin again, and he obeyed. If there were any ladies there, he said, who would regard it as a triumph—(Voices: "Deeds, not words")—for the woman's cause to silence a Cabinet Minister who was putting in plea for that cause and declaring the intentions of the Government with regard to it, that triumph, he could assure them, would be very easily won, for his poor rhetoric was quite inade- quate Hero the shouting and screaming made pro- gross impossible. The only intelligible exclama- tion was "Sit down!" repeated a great many times. Mr Lloyd George again returned to his seat, and the organ was played for a few minutes. Coming to the front of the platform again, Mr Lioyd George, who was warmly cheered, said he was afraid his poor rhetoric was quite inadequate to cope with lunacy and hysteria. The disturb- ance broke out afresh, and the speaker stood at the table for some time unable to go on. "Why don't you resign from the Cabinet of apostates?" inquired a woman in the front. "Any question which may be addressed to me," Mr Lloyd George said drily, "I shall be very happy to an- swer at the close of my speech." "You have said that before," exclaimed the same woman angrily. "Said it before retorted the Chan- cellor of the Exchequer, "I have always done it." An elderly lady in the front row of seats from the platform was laughing by herself and ejacu- lating at regular intervals, as if she was playing the part of a salute, "We are to be put out for talking. We are to be gagged. We have no rights. We are slaves." Happily for her neigh- bours the mooting soon became too much for this lady, and she left voluntarily, laughing and ejacu- lating to the door. Mr Lloyd George, compara- tive silence having been restored, said lie had had a good many tries, but he would try again. llo wished to explain why he supported the cause of woman suffrage. (A voice: And send women to prison.") A man in the gallery, addressing Mr Lloyd George, attempted to make a speech, and had uttered a few sentences before he was bundled out. His ejection, like that of the women, was accompanied by the automatic protests, "How awful! IIow dreadful! Shame! Shame! Shame:" "We shall got peace and order gradu- ally by this process of elimination," Mr Lloyd George remarked. Another man exclaimed, "Turning them out ruthlessly," and several women in front—who, it may be noted, though they interrupted continuously, were only expostu- lated with from time to time—tried to howl the dowf). "Two more years of llolloway Prison cried a woman at the back of the plat- form, whose voice had been heard many times before. She fought the stewards who approached her with desperation, and obliged them to use a good deal of force in taking her to the door. "Brutes of men! brutes of men!" screamed a woman in the gallery. MORE EJECTIONS. "Well, now," said Mr Lloyd George, who had remained standing, and had watched the last scene with apparent pain, "I air. exceedingly sorry that all this should be necessary, and the more sorry because I think it is doing infinite harm to the cause of women. It leads people to believe that the women who do this sort of thing represent the. political c,11lacity of womanhood." (A voice: "So they do.") "Then, if they do, God help women." A disturbance was proceeding in the gallery, and Mr Nevinson, who sat in the body of the hail a few rows from the platform, called out something aud engaged in an rxpostub-tion with the stewards around him. "Now, Mr Nevin- son," exclaimed Mr Lloyd George, shaking his finger at him sternly, "you ought to know how to behave yourself." "I do behave," replied Mr Nevinson, "but I cannot sit still and see a lady I thrown out ruthlessly." "Well, if you cannot," Mr Lloyd George suggested, "you had better go out quietly." A woman in one of the boxes shouted, "If you have a declaration to make make it at once." "I really like the insolence of that," he retorted; and turning to the aud- ience, he said he would make another effort to resume. To a woman who exclaimed that ha should make another effort to pass Mr Stanger's Bill, he suggested that she should make an effort to restrain her hysteria. His was not a voice, ho proceeded, which could talk down the tunnels, and if the ladies really thought it was a triumph —"Why," asked a persistent interrupter, "do you address this meeting and sail under a hostile flag?" She was taken out, and Mr Nevison' stood up and again cried "Shame Shame He resisted removal, but not so vigorously as the women, and he was removed more easily, and II with less consideration, though no one was hurt. "They don't w,¡.nt votes—they want to stop them; that's what they are fighting for," a man shouted. Mr Lloyd George, resuming, said he would like to say a few words as to why ho was in favour of woman suffrage. Stopped by the uproar, he exclaimed, "Here, steward, there is another lady there who is anxious to be turned out;" and tho steward hurried to tho place indicated. He had never been able to discover, Mr Lloyd Goorge said, why men, as men, should be con- sidered fit to take part in the government of the Empire (screaming)-—while women, however cul- tured, however gifted (screaming a.ud cries of "Go on, George"), whatever their acccmpii,sh- ments or attainments might be, were treated as I if they were unfit for the elementary rights of citizenship. There were people—("Your words are an insult to women," began a woman who tried to make a speech. She was removed, and a man rose in one of the boxes and said, "I protest against the treatment as a Britisher." He was taken out. A banner, inscribed with the words "Rush the Cabinet" was stretched in front of one of the boxes, but was torn down by a number of women, and was seen no more. At the same time another woman, who had interrupted from the beginning, said, "Go to prison yourself Mr Lloyd George. You are a humbug. What about Mrs Pankhurst in prison? Aren't you ashamed of yourself?") Mr Lloyd George tried again to say he knew there were people when more screaming arose, and the militant suffragists near the platform repeated the familiar chorus, "Oh! how awful How dreadful! They have knocked her right down. Shame! Shame! Shame! You are not men." THE ORGANIST'S HUMOUR. There was so much uproar at this point that Mr Lloyd George had again to sit down. The organist, who had his back to the audience and was unable to account to himself for these pauses in the speech, suddenly demanded upon the organ "Oh, dear What can the matter be?" Sir Henry Norman came and spoke to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who E:eerncx! to express his willingness to make another attempt. Lady Mc-Laren said if there had been violence important message from the Government, and this would be the last chance the meeting would have of hearing it. Before he had spoken a sentence Mr Lloyd George was again silenced with screams and in- terruptions. "You have been talking long enough," said one. "Be a man," exhorted an- other. "Give us the message at onco and then we shall have quiet," suggested a third. There was a scuffle in the body of the hall in wiiich an umbrella could be seen to be playing an active part. A woman near the platform was eject:d after a ficrco struggle. Mr Lioyd George said tho disturbers of the mooting could not exasperate a great audience without some violence, and he was not going to be responsible for that. The uproar continuing, he sat down. Lady McLaren said if there had been violence it was because persons in the audience had taken the management of the meeting from the hands of its promoters. Mr Lloyd George would try to make his speech once more. Mr Lloyd George was advising the suffragists not to under-estimate the forces opposed to them when there was another disturbance. One man suggested that the interrupters were barmaids hired by the brewers, and another recommended those who wished to hear the speech to receive the interruptions in silence. Mr Lloyd George supported this recommendation, and ho thence- forth made excellent progress. He said the suff- ragists must convince the public, and he had oome there to assist in that process of education. With thai object in view he proposed to give the reasons which had driven him to the conclusion that it was fair, just. and equitable that the suff- rage should be granted to women. (A voice: "Give us a Government pledge; that's all we want.") He was going on to spetak of women's work when a man in one of the boxes began to scream, threw his arms about, and ultimately leapt over the ledge of his box as if to assault the two or three thousand persons between him and the platform. He fought quite as desperate- ly as any of the women, and escaping from the stewards, he rolled himself down the steps which lead up from the area to the higher seats. There was also some general disorder, and the manager of the hall went upon the platform and suggested that the meeting should be closed. INTENTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT. The speech, however, was resumed, and though there were more interruptions and more ejec- tions, Mr Lloyd George had not again to sit dow:i until he had finished. He wished to give reasons, he said, why he thought the present Parliament would come to the conclusion that women had a right to the vote and why be believed that con- ciusion would be incorporated in an Act of Par- liament. (A voice: "Lots of Cabinet Ministers have said that before.") Cabinet Ministers had never said so. That was the first time a Cabinet Minister had appeared upon a woman suffrage platform (cheers). ("You are not sincere, or you would resign as Mr Chamberlain did 0:1 tariff reform," a woman called out). Tho women, tho speaker proceeded, had shown the same adminis- trative and business ability as men, and they had taken equal advantage of modern educational facilities. Yet as citizens they wore not on a level with tho sandwich-man. That was indefensible, it was irrational, and it must come to an end (cheers). There was nothing- that exceeded the stupidity of that position except its arrogance. If Queen Elizabeth had been born to-day she— ((a voice "Would have been in Holloway Prison") —she would have been much too sensible for that she would net have been deemed fit for the right of citizenship which would havo been con- ferred upon her coachman. (A voice: "Please give -as the message.") He could not resist the note of entreaty in that last app0J.1. Even a man was amenable to persuasion, but he would not stand being bullied (loud cheers). The woman suffragists had with them the great majority of the Liberal party-a majority inside tho Cabinet and a majority outside; perhaps also a majority of the Conservatives; but there was a minority against it in both parties which was strong enough to prevent either party from taking up the question as a plank, of its programme. For the first time a Prime Minister had declared it to be an open question, not merely for h:s party, but for his Cabinet as well; and it was that de- claration which had enabled him (Mr Lloyd George) without the imputation of disloyalty to his chief or his colleagues to stand there and ad- vocate woman suffrage, and it was that declara- tion which would enable him and several of his colleagues to vote in the House of Commons for the inclusion of woman enfranchisement in the Government Reform Bill to be submitted to the present Parliament (cheers). WOMAN SUFFRAGE PROBABLE. The Prime Minister's declaration opened up tho greatest opportunity there had been for the, e' inscription of woman suffrage upon the Statute- book (cheers). The Prime Minister had pledged himself to bring in an Electoral Reform Bill. (A voice: "In the dim and speculative fut-tra. ) Not in the dim and distant future, but before this Parliament came to an end—and fhat was neither so dim nor so distant as some of them wished probably (laughter). The introduction of th4 Bill would be an indication that the Prime Minister had come to the conclusion that Parlia- ment should go to the country. Well, that was hot yet (cheers). Tho Government had a few ac- counts to settle before that—(cheers)—and they would demonstrate to the House of Lords that the Commons were not so impotent as the Lords imagined (cheers). The Cabinet was divided upon woman suffrage, but the Prime Minister -had said that if an amendment were moved to in- clude woman suffrage in the Reform Bill the Government could hardly resist it, because two- thirds of his colleagues in the Cabinet were in favour of it, and tho matter would be left to the decision of the House (cheers). That inevitably meant that woman suffrage would be included in the Bill, and that from that moment it would be part and parcel of a measure for which tho Government would be responsible. The only risk of defeat lay in the possibility of a reaction caused by tactics of violence and petty persecu- tion (cheers). A woman had reminded him of !■>■■■ —b MMil I ^IM M !■! Illl W——ihJ'MlBI imiirMmirir "ill—■■■ ft 1 the Prime Minister's conditions—that the enfran- chisement must be democratic, and that there must be a clear demonstration that women wanted the vote. (A voice: "How are we to prove it?") In the same way as the men had shown their desire for the vote. (A voice: "They burnt down prisons and everything; they shed blood.") That meeting was 0110 way, and the condition could easily be satisfied. In con- clusion ho declared that there could be no effec- tive social legislation until the women had boon given the vote (cries of "Where's the message?" which were drowned in loud cheers). It was twenty minutes to six when Mr Lloyd George litially sat down. The meeting had opened at 3, and he had started 10 speak at 20 minutes to 4. A VOTE OF CENSURE. Lady McLaren expressed her deep sorrow at the discourtesy with which Mr Lloyd George had been treated by interrupters who had been sent there by responsible leaders to attack one of the best friends of woman suffrage in the country (cheers). She called upon ail friends of fair-play in the hall to condemn the conduct of those people by rising in their places. Practically the whole audience rose and stood for a moment. "Oil the contrary," said Lady McLaren, and some 30 or 40 persons got up and cheered for Mrs Pankhurst. "The vote cf censure is carried by an overwhelming majority," Lady McLaren de- clared amidst cheers. On the proposition of Jliss Balgarnie, seconded by Mrs Stewart Brown, Mr Lloyd George was given a vote of thanks. Towards the close of the meeting a banner with the words "Be honest" was hung from a box, but after a struggle it was torn down by seine laches who thought it super- fluous, and there was then a prolonged tug-of- war for the' ultimate possE'ssion of it. Outside the hall a lady dashod through the polic towards Mr Lloyd George as he was entering his motor car, but she was smartly swept back upon the pavement again by an officer on horseback.

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