Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cat and Mouse and Hunger Strikes




From the Website of the UK Parliament.

I am off to Montreal's McCord Museum today to look at the work of one Frank Randall Clarke Montreal journalist. Like Edward Beck of the Montreal Herald (my grandfather's nemesis) he is a British-born Journalist, but a journalist who learned his trade on the shop floor, starting his career at 8 years old at the London Daily Mail. Clarke moved to Montreal in 1908 and got work at the Star and the Witness.

So Clarke was like my grandfather, too. Jules Crepeau of my ebook Milk and Water started working at Montreal City Hall at 8 and worked his way up to be Director of City Services.

I am visiting the McCord because Frank Randall Clarke was married to Sarah Nell Kenney, the oldest sister of militant suffragette Annie Kenney.

I was re-reading My Own Story last night, Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst's autobiography, written in the thick of things and she mentions Miss Kenney a lot, her ambition, her sweet voice.

Miss Annie Kenney confronted Mr. Winston Churchill apparently.



Anyway, her sister, Caroline, came to Montreal in 1913 - and of this I have pretty good proof.

And I have pretty good proof too that she helped launch the Montreal Equal Suffrage League, a rival suffrage organization to the better known Montreal Suffrage Association, which was launched exactly 100 years today.

In a short bio online of the Kenneys, it is claimed that Caroline (like all her sisters in Britain) was a suffragette.

It is said that Caroline helped hide suffragettes during the Cat and Mouse phase of the Movement.

I read up about the Cat and Mouse phase. It was all about the hunger strikes. Churchill didn't want martyrs created by suffragettes dying in prison, so he created this impromptu law where sick suffragettes would be taken out of Prison and kept under guard at a safe house and then returned to prison when well.

It all started with a speech by Emmeline saying she didn't want to die, but she would if she had to.

The law was proposed in March 1913 and came into being in April.

So if Mrs. Caroline Kenney helped harbour suffragettes, she had to do so in May, 1913 or the portion of 1914 before War broke out because it seems she was in Montreal from June to December 1913, at the very least.



Cat and Mouse didn't work well. The suffragettes in house arrest often escaped with the help of other suffragettes and clever schemes.

On such suffragette, interviewed on the BBC claims while she was in house arrest a group of other suffragettes, all dressed in black and wearing thick veils descended on the house and then all left at the same time, confusing the policemen guarding the house. (Like a scene from a movie, but then the suffragettes were very theatrical.)
Of course, she was one of them.

The Kenneys were working class suffragettes, with Annie being the most high-profile. (She was also the prettiest. Was this a coincidence?)

The WSPU claimed that it was the lower class suffragettes who were force fed in prison...that they were treated much worse.