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    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 59

    CHURCHILL, Sir Winston Spencer (1874-1965). Letter signed ('Winston S. Churchill') to Victor, 2nd Earl of Lytton ('My dear Victor'), Home Office, 16 March 1910, marked 'Dictated' at upper margin, 3 pages, 8vo, bifolium. Provenance: Victor, 2nd Earl of Lytton; and by descent.

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    CHURCHILL, Sir Winston Spencer (1874-1965). Letter signed ('Winston S. Churchill') to Victor, 2nd Earl of Lytton ('My dear Victor'), Home Office, 16 March 1910, marked 'Dictated' at upper margin, 3 pages, 8vo, bifolium. Provenance: Victor, 2nd Earl of Lytton; and by descent.

    THE ABUSIVE TREATMENT OF IMPRISONED SUFFRAGETTES. Churchill's letter accompanied an official response (no longer present) to an enquiry from Lytton about the treatment of his sister [the suffragette Lady Constance Lytton] in prison earlier that year: 'It has cost me much anxious thought, and I feel sure I can trust you to realize the difficulties of my position'. Churchill's first idea had been to ask a doctor to examine Lady Constance's heart 'in order to see whether its present condition afforded ground for believing that two months ago any reasonably careful medical examiner should have detected the weakness'; but he has been advised that the lapse of time means that no present examination could be the basis for action, and he is at loss for further courses of action.

    Lady Constance Lytton had already been imprisoned early in 1909 for her suffragette activities, but her powerful connections ensured lenient treatment and early release on the pretext of her heart trouble: 'In early 1910 she decided to test the existence of class differences in the treatment of suffragist prisoners, and assumed the dress and name of a working woman, Miss Jane Warton, for a further protest in Liverpool. She was imprisoned in Walton gaol, went on hunger strike, and was this time force-fed eight times before her release, with no medical examination. Her account of her imprisonment, delivered to a mass meeting at the Queen's Hall on 31 January 1910, did much to bring the practice of force-feeding to an end' (ODNB). The experience seems though to have had a severe impact on her health, and she had a heart attack later in the year, followed by a stroke two years later which left her paralysed.


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