Notes for a speech by Millicent Garrett Fawcett

Scope and Content

Manuscript notes, thirteen sheets and four press cuttings. Notes for a speech at Leeds, 1 May 1917, about the Speaker's Conference. Talks about the question of the State register, and the reasons for it being revised. Not only a new register but also new qualifications needed, which in turn opened the whole question of franchise reform. Background to the setting up of the Speaker's Conference. Question of women's suffrage, and the change of public attitudes to it. Suffragists do not want gratitude or thanks for the work women have done in the war: 'this is our war just as much as it is yours; the country is our country as well as yours'. Cites Garvin, Asquith, Lloyd George, Northcliffe and other 'converts'. Reviews history of suffrage victories in Europe, then concludes 'A great wave of national feeling has swept over the country, an immense struggle in which women have borne their part in suffering and service. Trumpet call in Leonora Overture. Not as a party triumph - an immense step forward in human freedom.' Three press cuttings attached: 1. An advertisement by the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage, complaining that the suffragists are violating the political truce declared at the start of the war by rushing proposals to give women the vote through parliament; 2. 'Electoral Reform', Daily Telegraph 21 Mar 1917, report of the Speaker's Conference on Electoral Reform; 3. 'Mr Lloyd George's Greeting to the New Government', Yorkshire Post, 23 Mar 1917; 4. 'The Position of the Government', reprint from the Observer, 25 Mar 1917.