"Suffrage Certain to Come, Verdict of English Actor Part 1," Oregon Journal, January 12, 1912, 10.
SUFFRAGE CERTAIN TO COME VERDICT OF ENGLISH ACTOR
J. Forbes-Robertson Says Men Afraid to Have Women Vote—Does Not Defend but Excuses Militants.
“This great movement is as sure to pass through the civilized countries of the world as we are gathered here this afternoon.” Said J. Forbes-Robertson, the noted English actor, in an address on woman’s suffrage delivered at the home of Mrs. Coleman Hirsch to a large number of Portland’s leading men and women yesterday afternoon. “There will be no stopping of it. You might as well try to stop the wind from fretting the trees on the hillsides. Woman’s suffrage is sure to come.”
Direct from the conflict which is being waged so vigorously by the women of England, Mr. Robertson, who is a strong supporter of the contention that the women have a right in the privilege of the ballot, gave the society folk of Portland an insight into the hardships the militant suffragettes of England have had to endure in their efforts to further their cause.
“I cannot defend the militant suffragette, but I can understand and excuse her,” he said. “She thought if she did drastic acts her cause would get some notice by the newspapers, but if she contented herself by holding meetings and discussing the constitutionality of the question, she wouldn’t even get so much as a paragraph.”
All Classes Enlisted
“All classes of women are enlisted in the militant movement. Along with the poorer classes are those who enjoy wealth and ease. All classes, numbering more than 1000, have been imprisoned, but their spirit has not been broken. Many have been sent to prison many times. This has not been for self advertisement. These women realize it isn’t funny to go to prison for six or eight weeks, but they do it for the cause.”
As one good effect of the women going to prison, Mr. Robertson said deplorable, unspeakable, insanitary conditions were found in the prisons and which, through the efforts of the women after they were released, have been remedied to a very large extent.
In defense of the militant suffragette, as he said they were called, he asked his hearers to look back upon any movement for the emancipation of mankind. He said there always were many who became tired of slow methods who adopted militant methods.
Says Man Has Done Worse.
“What is good for the goose is good for the gander,” he continued. “Man has done what the women are now doing, only man has done worse.”
The speaker said the anti-press of England greatly exaggerated the stone throwing and other rough methods said to be in vogue among the women fighters for the cause. He said the women were compelled to endure slander and vilification, but they did it and when trouble arose they went to jail instead of paying their fines.
He bitterly denounced Mrs. Humphrey Ward, a woman of wealth and influence, for her opposition to woman’s suffrage. He said nearly all of the women of the official class of England were against the movement because they were already in positions of influence and were afraid of losing some of their influence if all women were given the right to vote.
“I can understand male opposition to woman suffrage,” he cried, “because some men think that their throne in the home is in danger. They are frightened at their wives. They are afraid to give their wives equal privileges with themselves.”
He congratulated all women because of the support given the movement by J. M. Barrle, the novelist and playwright, and George Meredith, the novelist. He laid great stress upon their support because of the wonderful understanding and insight into woman’s nature.
“You cannot call upon women to pay dues and taxes without giving them the right to vote,” he said. He said women had more conservative tendencies and were more religiously inclined than men, and that these qualities were of inestimable value to the race.
“Woman suffrage is but a little key that will open such a wide door and let in flood of light throughout the world,” he said. “If you believe in it, it is your duty to stand on the platform whenever opportunity offers, and declare yourselves for this great movement. You must be fearless.”
Following Mr. Robertson’s address a reception was held in his honor. Mrs. Hirsch was assisted in receiving by her daughters, the Misses Ella May and Clementine Hirsch. In the dining room Mrs. Helen Ladd Corbett, Mrs. J. Wesley Ladd, Mrs. L. Allen Lewis and Mrs. Holt C. Wilson presided at the table. Assisting about the rooms were Miss Louise Burns, Miss Jenn Mackenzie, Miss Katherine MacMaster, Mrs. Thomas Robertson, Miss Frances Wilson and Mrs. J. Andre Fouilhoux.
The occasion brought many new recruits into the ranks of the Portland Equal Suffrage league of which Mrs. Solomon Hirsch is president, Mrs. Grace Watt Ross vice president, Mrs. J. Andre Fouilhoux secretary, and Mrs. Frances Wilson treasurer. Among those who pledged their support to the cause yesterday were the Misses Ella May and Clementine Hirsch, Mrs. James Canby, Mrs. Leroy Parker, Miss Cornelia Cook, Dr. Esther Pohl, Miss Minole Russell, Mrs. C. A. Barnes, Mrs. Alf Kilngenberg, Mrs. Charles Gould, Miss Alice Strong, Mrs. Sarah A. Evans, Mr. and Mrs. George H. Mays, Miss Josephine Smith, Miss Polly Hewett, Mrs. Laura A. King, I. N. Fleischner, Mrs. William T. Foster, Mrs. G. E. Reed, Mrs. Evelyn Wilson, Julius B. Moler, Mrs. F. M. Rothchild, Miss Genevieve Thompson, Mrs. George T. Willett, Mrs. Robert Strong, Mrs. A. A. Morrison, Miss Jenn Mackenzie, Mrs. Henry Jones, Miss Elizabeth Cadwell, C. S. Jackson, Mrs. T. B. Trevett, Miss Lucy Trevett, Wells Gilbert, Mrs. C. S. Jackson, Mrs. Carroll Hurlbut, Miss Marlon Jackson, Mrs. Edmund L. Devereaux, Mrs Thomas Robertson, Mrs. F. Frledinnder, Miss Henrietta Ellot and Clifton McArthur.
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