History's HEROES? 1876 - 1948

Princess Sophia Duleep Singh

Her world
  • A very English Indian and a royal favourite

    Sophia Duleep Singh was a princess whose family originally came from the Punjab in India at a time when the country was ruled as part of the British Empire. To understand her life it is important to also understand a little about the politics of the time. 

    The British Empire
    The British Empire had its roots in the late 16th century when England and the Netherlands began to challenge Portugal's monopoly of trade.  The East India Company drove the expansion of the Empire in Asia. Initially it focused on trade with the Indian subcontinent, as it was not in a position to challenge the powerful Mughal Empire, which had granted it trading rights in 1617.

    The Empire increases its power
    In the 18th century, as the Mughals declined in power, the East India Company gradually increased the size of the territories under its control, either ruling directly or via local compliant rulers under the threat of force from the British Indian Army.  

    The Foremost Global Power
    By 1817 the British Empire had surpassed that of the Netherlands, its biggest rival, and that of the French. Victory over Napoleon left Britain without any serious international rival.  By the time Victoria became queen, it was the largest empire in history and the foremost global power, and India was known as the Jewel in the Empire's Crown. 

    Opposition to British Rule
    There was, however, resistance to the expansion of the Empire. In India, for example, the Sikh Empire, one of the few remianing kingdoms, fought two wars against the East India Comany (in 1846 and 1849). The outcome of these wars was that the Sikh kingdom was brought under the direct control of the Empire.

    Maharaja Duleep Singh
    Sophia's father was the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire. He was the youngest son of the legendary 'Lion of the Punjab', Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He was crowned to the throne of Punjab in 1843 succeeding his half-brother, Maharaja Sher Singh. He was deposed at the age of 11 after the close of the Second Anglo-Sikh War and the subsequent annexation (incorporation into the Empire) of the Punjab on 29th March 1849. 

    A Favourite of the Queen
    Sophia's father converted to Christianity and was encouraged to travel to England, to avoid his supporters attempting to place him back on the throne. After his exile to Britain at age 13 he became Britain's first Sikh settler. He was quickly accepted by the British Royal family and was much admired by Queen Victoria. 

    The British Raj
    Trouble in India did not end with the Sikh Wars. In 1857 a mutiny of sepoys, Indian troops under British officers, grew into a wider conflict. The Indian Rebellion took six months to suppress, with heavy loss of life on both sides. Afterwards the British government assumed direct control over India, ushering in the period known as the British Raj, An appointed governor-general administered India and the East India Company was dissolved.

    The Maharaja returns to India
    In 1860 the maharaja was allowed to return to India. His mother, the Maharani Jind Kaur, was in exile in Nepal and he decided to bring her back to England. She died in England in 1863. He was allowed to visit India for the second time to bury his mother. On the way back he met Bamba Muller, a teacher at the American Presbyterian Mission school in Cairo, whose father was a German banker and whose mother was an Abyssinian Christian slave.

    Sophia's Mother
    The Maharaja had been seeking a Christian wife of Eastern origin and proposed to Bamba; however, his marriage proposal had to be done via an intermediary as the Maharaja did not speak Arabic, the language spoken by Bamba. They married on 7th June 1864 in the British consulate in Alexandria, Egypt. The prince made his vows in English, whilst Bamba spoke in Arabic.

    Elveden House
    In the 1863, Elveden House in Norfolk was purchased for the Maharaja by the India Office. He immediately fell in love with Elveden and the surrounding countryside of Suffolk and Norfolk. The Maharaja and his wife Bamba settled to redesigning and rebuilding the country house during the time their children were being born. 

    A country gentleman
    As a country gentleman in a remote part of Suffolk, he cultivated such passions as hunting and throwing grand parties, where the Prince of Wales and other English lords would join him. Queen Victoria became a friend of his whole family and was Godmother to several of his children including Princess Sophia.

    Growing up Amongst the Gentry
    Princess Sophia was one of six children born to the couple and grew up in this little paradise amidst the royalty and gentry of England. She and her siblings appear to have suffered no problems from being mixed race in such a white society; they had the patronage of the queen herself. We known little of her education but Sophia was likely to have had a tutor and an education typical of other wealthy British girls.

    Queen Victoria become Empress of India
    In the same year that Sophia was born, in 1876, Queen Victoria was crowned the Empress of India. As the century progressed British imperial strength was underpinned by the steamship and the telegraph (new technologies invented in the second half of the 19th century) allowing it to control and defend the Empire.

    Sophia's relationship with her father
    As the maharaja grew older his interest in Sikhism and his longing for Punjab increased. His expensive lifestyle required more funds than his pension provided. His requests for further funding were initially supported by Queen Victoria but not by the British government of India. Disappointed, he gradually distanced himself from the nobility, the queen and from his family, undertaking tours of France and Russia.

    The Loss of her Mother and Father
    Despite the wealth of her upbringing, as for all Victorians, contagious diseases were a constant threat. When she was 11 years old Sophia fell ill with typhoid. Her mother caught the disease trying to nurse her and died. Just two years after her mother's death her father married again in Paris. He had two further daughters from his second marriage and died in Paris in 1893, miles from the land of his birth, the Punjab, where he had always wished to be sovereign.

    The Queen's Patronage 
    Princess Sophia, as a goddaughter to Queen Victoria, maintained her patronage. In 1896, Sophia was given the grand, three-storey, Faraday House by her godmother, and an allowance of £200 a year for its upkeep. For Victoria this was not unusual; for example she was also patron to Miss Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a West African of Royal blood who had seen her parents killed by enemy warriors. At the age of eight, Sarah was brought to England and presented to Queen Victoria. Impressed by Sarah's intelligence and command of English, Queen Victoria took financial responsibility for her and sent her to school in Sierra Leone.  Victoria remained in close and regular contact with her throughout her life, just as she did with Sophia.

    Close Family Ties
    Sophia also maintained close ties with her siblings, living at the manor house, Old Buckenham Hall in Suffolk, near her brother, Prince Frederick, in 1896 rather than occupying Faraday House. Later in 1909 Prince Frederick rented the luxurious Blo Norton Hall in South Norfolk, and around the same time he bought the ‘Thatched Cottage' in Blo Norton for his sisters. Sophia also remained very close to her sister Catherine for the rest of her life.

    Society and Sophia
    As a wealthy young woman, Sophia's circle of friends and acquaintances would have been rich and varied. She met such well known dignitaries as Mahatma Gandhi at the Westminster Palace Hotel and visited India to meet her relations. She was also a woman of her time; she was introduced to the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1909 by Una Dugdale Duval, the debutante daughter of a naval officer. Una became famous for refusing to say ‘obey' in her marriage vows in 1912 when marrying Victor Duval, founder of the Men's Political Union for Women's Enfranchisement; this created a scandal. Inspired by such women, Sophia's main interest became the promotion of women's rights.

    Women's Social and Political Union
    Princess Sophia was just one of a number of wealthy women who were members of the WSPU; indeed it was often accused of being an organisation that served the middle- and upper-classes. Some members such as Christabel Pankhurst favoured limited suffrage: a system that would only give the vote to women with money and property. This stance was opposed by Sylvia Pankhurst and Adela Pankhurst. Annie Kenney was one of the organisation's few working-class members when the WSPU decided to open a branch in the East End of London. Annie joined Sylvia Pankhurst in London and they gradually began to persuade working-class women to join the WSPU. Princess Sophia was a passionate supporter of sufferage for all women whatever their status in society.


  • Repression and inequality in all walks of life

    The Victorian world into which Sophia was born had a romanticised ideal of womanhood. Whether married or single, Victorian women were expected to be weak and helpless, fragile delicate creatures, not capable of making decisions beyond domestic ones.

    Disempowered 'Saints'                                                Society had high expectations for Victorian women. They were meant to be of pure virtue, humble, submissive and obedient, bringing happiness to all around them. Few, however, could live up to this ideal. Women were meant to be almost saintly but they were saints with little power over how they lived their lives.

    Family Relations
    Women were regarded as 'possessions' by their family. Family wealth automatically passed down the male line but it was the woman who was expected to take care of her parents in case of illness, however prolonged. They had to manage the home. Sisters had to treat their fathers and their brothers as they would treat their future husbands. They were expected to defer to the man's decisions at all times.

    The Importance of Family
    Women such as Sophia were often dependent on their brother's affection because it made their future secure, in case their husband treated them badly or they did not get married at all. In Sophia's case, she was not reliant on her brother for money but her brother bought her and her sister cottages near to where he rented his house, which kept them together.

    Education
    Women were supposed only to learn the things necessary to bring up their children and to keep house. That's why subjects such as History, Geography and general Literature were important, but not Latin and Greek.  Middle-class girls had a basic education, usually given at home by a 'governess'. The governess was untrained and taught what she herself would have been taught: the 3Rs (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) with some History, Geography and a foreign language. Before the 1870 Elementary Education Act, most working-class women received no education at all, generally going out to work at around the age of 10.

    University
    It was thought unnecessary for women to attend university. Indeed, it was claimed that studying was against their nature and could make them ill. They were to stay only a little educated, but be ornamental and be subordinate to their husbands. It was this refusal to allow women an education that movitvated many feminists, such as Harriet Martineau.

    Employment/Career Options
    Unmarried women had limited ways of earning a living if they had no independent means and no family to support them: becoming a teacher, governess, nurse, midwife, writer or companion were really the only occupations seen as 'womanly'. 

    Working-class Women
    Working-class women needed to work until they married. They worked in low paid jobs: they could become domestic servants or work in the fields or the factories. A few became seamtresses, which had more prestige but little extra pay. Then, if they married and their husband could support them, they could leave to raise the inevitable family, otherwise they worked between pregnancies. In every other way, they were as subject to their husband's will as were all the other Victorian women.

    Marriage
    The proper career for a woman was marriage. A middle- and upper-class girl was groomed for the role. She should be able to sing, play an instrument and speak a little French or Italian. The qualities a young Victorian gentlewoman needed were to be innocent, virtuous, biddable, dutiful and have no intellectual opinion.

    Role in Marriage
    Once married her role was to bear a large family and maintain a smooth family atmosphere where a man need not bother himself about domestic matters. According to Mrs Beeton, she must organise, delegate and instruct her servants to keep the household running smoothly. She must organise parties and dinners to bring prestige to her husband and help his advancement. Her role as sick-nurse to family members would require a good temper, compassion for suffering and sympathy with sufferers. Neat-handedness, quiet manners, love of order and cleanliness were all qualities important for a Victorian woman to possess. 

    The Law
    The legal rights of married women were similar to those of children. They could not vote, sue, or own property. A husband was responsible for his wife and bound by law to protect her. She was supposed to obey him in all things.

    Property and Rights
    Any property or inheritance the wife brought was owned by the husband once she married, even if they divorced. Any income the wife had or earned belonged completely to her husband. He also had complete legal control of the children. He was able to dictate how and where they were schooled and what happened to them. He was able to refuse any contact between the mother and her children. It was not until the Married Woman's Property Act 1887 that women began to regain control of their own property.

    Challenging Victorian Values
    Despite the restrictions, some women were challenging the status quo, such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson who, in 1860, resolved to study medicine, an almost unheard-of thing for a woman at that time, and became England's first woman Physician. Elsie Bowerman who studied Law and was admitted to the Bar in 1924, was the first woman barrister at the Old Bailey. Frances Buss was a pioneer in women's education, including university education, and became the founding president of the Association of Head Mistresses in 1874. These are just a few examples, there were many more.


  • Risking life and limb to win the vote

    The movement for women's suffrage began properly in the 1870s when the national movement was founded. 

    The 1832 Reform Act
    The passing of the Reform Act in 1832 prohibited women from voting in elections. Until then, there had been no clear law preventing women from participating. The Reform Act extended suffrage (the right to vote) but used the word "male" instead of people. 

    Early Protests
    As early as 1818, Jeremy Bentham argued in favour of votes for women in his book 'A Plan for Parliamentary Reform'. Early women pioneers, such as Anne Knight, a social reformer, also began to speak out regarding women's rights. When women were prevented from participating in the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840, Anne Knight was outraged. She started to campaign for women's rights and in 1847 she produced what is considered the first leaflet for women's suffrage. 

    The First Association
    In 1851 the Sheffield Female Political Association was founded and delivered a petition to the House of Lords which demanded that women be given full voting rights. In 1865, the reformer John Stuart Mill was elected, and part of his campaign included support for women's suffrage. In 1866, he presented a petition, sent by writers and other prominent women such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Emily Davis and Harriet Martineau, to parliament demanding votes for women. 

    The Early Campaigns
    During the 1860s many local and regional campaigns began to draw in members. In 1867 the Manchester Suffrage Committee was formed and its secretary wrote campaigning letters to the Prime Minister and articles in The Spectator magazine. A similar London group also formed but this association soon split into the more Conservative group, who wished to take a more gentle and persuasive approach, and the Liberals, who favoured a tougher stance. Other groups started up in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

    A National Campaign
    In 1868, these local groups decided to pool resources and establish a national campaign. They founded the National Society for Women's Suffrage (NSWS). Its early days were marked by disagreements in the group over tactics to be used in the campaign. The breakthrough came in 1897 with the foundation of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) by Millicent Fawcett.

    The Suffragists
    For the first time, the many local groups were able to join forces to pressurise MPs and the government. These were the suffragists, and the campaigns were aimed at achieving women's suffrage through peaceful and legal means. They supported the introduction of Parliamentary Bills and held meetings to explain and spread their message. Princess Sophia's sister, Catherine, was a member of the NUWSS.

    Stronger Tactics Needed
    The NUWSS was meeting with little success and so, in October 1903, six women, including Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), which decided more militant tactics were needed as well as peaceful ones and adopted the slogan 'Deeds not Words'. They became the suffragettes.

    The Suffragettes
    The suffragettes drew up a suffrage bill, which Bamber Slack introduced to parliament but it was talked out (MPs made very long speeches so that it would run out of time). The women were angry and started disrupting political meetings, holding rallies and demonstrations, lobbying MPs and presenting petitions. 

    Arrest and Imprisonment
    Two women disrupted the Lord Mayor's Banquet. This soon led to arrests, which the women resisted, and imprisonment. Two women chained themselves to the railings outside the Prime Minister's house while the Cabinet was in session, so that they, and the crowd outside, would hear her impassioned speech.  The imprisoned women started to claim political prisoner's status, which was denied them, so they started hunger strikes and were soon released to prevent them dying and becoming martyrs.

    Sophia joins the WSPU
    During these times, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh became an active member of the WSPU. She played an important part in publicity campaigns and was seen distributing leaflets to bases around London, as well as selling 'The Suffragette' newspaper outside Hampton Court.

    Black Friday 
    Sophia was one of the those present with Mrs Pankhurst at Caxton Hall on 18th November 1910, the day that became known as 'Black Friday'. The Conciliation Bill, which would give voting rights to about 1 million wealthy, property-owning women, was given a second reading. The campaigners were confident that the law would be passed. However the Prime Minister Herbert Asquith decided that there would be no more parliamentary time for the Bill and it was dropped. 

    Mass Protest
    Furious, the WSPU sent a delegation of around 300 women as a deputation to the Prime Minister. When they attempted to run past the police, the unarmed women were physically stopped by them. Many women reported being assaulted and roughly manhandled, many were injured and over 100 were arrested. There was huge publicity and the event caused great embarrassment to the whole government and to the Home Secretary in particular, a young politician named Winston Churchill.

    A Hard-fought Campaign
    As the campaign continued it became more intense and those involved became more passionate about the cause. Some women, like Sophia, joined the Women's Tax Resistance League and started refusing to pay taxes. Others took to the streets, chained themselves to railings and even broke windows and damaged property. 

    Attack on Oxford Street
    In 1912, hundreds of women took to the streets of London. They attacked shops in Oxford Street, smashed windows and even threw stones at 10 Downing Street. 120 women were arrested. They had made no attempt to hide the hammers that they had used as they wanted the publicity of the arrest and imprisonment, to embarrass the government.  Once imprisoned the women continued to refuse to eat but by this time the prison authorities had introduced force feeding - a painful and dangerous process which left many of the women seriously ill.

    The Cat and Mouse Act
    Women prisoners continued to hunger strike and be force fed until 1913, when the government passed the Temporary Discharge for Ill Health Act, also known as the Cat and Mouse Act. This made hunger strikes legal and let the authorities release the prisoners if they became ill. They were then, once they were out of danger, arrested again for any charge that could be found.

    Emily Wilding Davison
    However harsh the campaign of hunger strikes had been, it was overshadowed by the actions of Emily Wilding Davison on 4th June, 1913. At the Epsom Derby, she walked out in front of the pounding hooves of the king's horse. She suffered terrible injuries and died in hospital four days later. Early claims that this had just been a terrible accident were refuted, when a piece of film clearly showed the suffragette walk onto the course and stand still in front of the galloping horse. Her funeral was a huge and moving event for the suffragettes.

    War and Victory
    In 1914, the WSPU suspended their activities when war was declared, on condition of the release of all women suffragettes in prison. They, like millions of other women, took on the jobs of the men fighting at the front. In 1918, women over 30 (with property restrictions) were given the vote. Women had to wait until 1928 before all of them over the age of 21 could vote. (In New Zealand, women had had the vote since 1893 - although they could not stand for parliament until 1919.)


  • Cruel cat and captured mouse

    The suffragettes quickly realised that being arrested brought a great deal of publicity; therefore many of their acts were committed deliberately to get arrested. However, publicity was lessening by 1905: newspapers were refusing to publish articles or letters written by supporters of women's suffrage.

    Arrest and Sentence
    The campaign to get arrested started after Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney interrupted Sir Edward Grey's Liberal Party meeting on 10th October 1905, in Manchester, by shouting demands for votes for women. They were forcibly removed and arrested on a charge of obstruction, when they were trying to talk to the crowds outside. Christabel, who had resisted arrest, was also charged with assaulting the police.

    Imprisonment
    The two women were found guilty and fined five shillings each. When they refused to pay the fine, they were sent to prison. This incident resulted in more publicity than a whole year's peaceful campaigning, and the suffragettes learnt the lesson.

    Choosing Imprisonment
    Incidents like Black Friday, when the police behaved roughly and brutally against unarmed women demonstrators, did reap the women positive publicity, but also caused much physical harm. That incident alone, it is believed, caused the deaths of two women shortly after. For many of the incidents in which suffragettes were involved, they were given the option of a fine or imprisonment. Despite knowing the hardships they were likely to endure, most, bravely, chose imprisonment as the better way of keeping the issue in the public eye. 

    Harsher Sentences
    The sentences became harsher as the suffragette's actions became more militant. Towards the end, Mrs Pankhurst was sentenced to three years' penal servitude, for damage caused to Lloyd George's newly built house (empty) at Walton Heath by a bomb; and another militant suffragette, who had attempted to set fire to a theatre (which was empty), was sentenced to five years' hard labour.

    Prison Conditions
    From 1905 until the start of WW1 in August 1914, about 1,000 women were sent to prison for their militant suffrage activities. During the first four weeks of imprisonment, the prisoner's time was spent in her cell, which was usually airless, and she was not allowed visits or letters from friends. After four weeks, prisoners were allowed to take needlework or knitting to the hall, which was more airy, and sit side by side, although talking was still forbidden. 

    Harsh Treatment
    When Emmeline Pankhurst was put in solitary confinement for six weeks and had to exercise in silence in a bitterly cold yard on her own, this silence was felt by her to be as much torture as the vermin and meagre food. In addition, the suffragettes were subjected to rough treatment at the hands of the wardresses. There were cases of them being hosed down with cold water for barricading themselves in their cell. Some even set fire to their cell in protest at their treatment.

    Political Prisoners or Criminals?
    Parliament ignored the treatment and hardships of these women (who were only looking for equality) and would not give an inch on the ‘votes for women' issue. The angry women believed themselves to be political prisoners, not criminals, and demanded to be treated as such - these demands were also ignored. In protest, the women took to hunger striking. At first, scared one of them would become a martyr and die in prison, the authorities released them, but then it was decided that the women should be force fed.

    Force Feeding
    Force feeding was done by prison warders in the women's cells, so they were alone. Most women fought against it and so were "held down by force, flung on the floor, tied to chairs and iron bedsteads," British Medical Journal 1912. The most common way of force feeding was to push a tube up through the woman's nose: "it was frightful agony, as my nostril is small," said May Billinghurst, who was disabled having been paralysed as a child. She was held down by three doctors and five wardresses.

    A Painful Process
    Mrs Mary Leigh told how the drums of her ears seemed to be at bursting point and there was a terrible pain in her throat and chest. as they pushed nearly two feet of the tube into her. Then a liquid composing of milk and brandy or milk and egg was poured down the tube, making the woman heave and gag: "Afterwards I was sick and had pains in my ears, throat and chest," she said. In one case the liquid went into the lungs of the suffragette and caused pleurisy.

    Inhumane Treatment
    The other favoured method for force feeding was via the mouth. If the woman did not open her mouth voluntarily, the wardress or doctor would try to make her do so by sawing the edge of a metal cup or instrument along her gums; the edge caused cuts and severe pain: Lady Constance Lytton described the process. "The pain of it was intense; he got the gag between my teeth, when he proceeded to turn it much more than necessary until my jaws were fastened wide apart, far more than they could go naturally,"  Again liquid would be poured down the tube, usually making the woman vomit, not stopping until the vessel was empty. Many women were left hurt and bruised physically and mentally by the brutality, inhumanity and degradation of the process. There was also no way they could rely on clean tubes being used each time - some were used over and over again for different hunger strikers.

    Cat and Mouse
    There was public outrage when news leaked out about the force feeding but the MPs in parliament were at first unmoved by the outcries of the press and public. Then, in 1913, the government rushed through the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act 1913. The Cat and Mouse Act, as it came to be known, made hunger striking legal. When the women became seriously ill, they were to be released. However, they should be re-arrested once they were well again.

    Re-arrest
    This led the government to claim that any harm, or even death, which the suffragette might suffer as a result of her hunger strike was her fault, not the government's. However, the authorities had much more difficulty than they thought in re-arresting the hunger-strikers. Many of them were helped by a network of suffragette sympathisers to elude the police and escape arrest. This became a public-relations disaster for the government. The fact that they could not get hold of the suffragettes to re-arrest them undermined their authority and turned public opinion in favour of the suffragettes. 

    Immoral Act
    The Act was seen as immoral in the way it appeared to play with the women, as a cat does with a mouse, and the cruelty of continuous releases and re-arrests turned public sympathy in favour of the suffragettes.


  • "No vote, no tax"

    Women in Britain were not allowed to vote in elections, or have a say in how the country was run yet they were expected to pay their taxes. The Women’s Tax Resistance League, which Sophia Duleep Singh joined in the early 1900s, was a direct-action group formed to highlight this injustice.

    The Start of the Campaign
    Dora Montefiore, in 1897, had the idea of setting up an association to oppose the payment of tax by women. However it took until 1909 to make the idea a reality and it was formally set up in Britain on 22nd October 1909, with the slogan, "No vote, no tax".

    An Age-old Tactic
    The idea of tax resistance was not a new one. In fact, refusal to pay taxes was an idea that many protesters and radicals had employed throughout history. During the American Revolution, the phrase "No taxation without representation" became the motto of the uprising against the British rulers. In 17th century England, John Hampden, an MP for the Cornish constituency of Grampound, strongly opposed the tax known as 'Ship Money' which was a tax levied by the king on coastal towns during war. Hampden became famous for his strong stand against this form of taxation and his statue now stands at the entrance to the central lobby at the Houses of Parliament.


    Resistance
    The WTRL's activities began in the early years of the 20th century. When it was at its most active, more than 220 women were involved in tax resistance. Their campaign continued until the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914. Some women did continue to resist through the years of the war, though most, including Emmeline Pankhurst and Sophia, gave up this form of resistance until the conflict was over, as a sign of support for the country.

    Seizures
    Sophia Duleep Singh was summonsed to appear in court in 1911 and 1913 for unwillingness to pay certain taxes and was fined for her refusal. In an attempt to deal with the refusal to pay tax fines, the government sent bailiffs to the resister's houses who seized goods and sold them at auction.  On at least two occasions goods were seized from Sophia Duleep Singh to pay the taxes and fines which she refused to pay. In July 1911, the bailiffs seized a diamond ring in payment for fines and court costs.

    Returning the Property
    The ring was taken to be auctioned at Ashford where it was eventually sold for £10 to Mrs Jopling Rowe, who immediately presented it back to Princess Sophia. It was reported that this kind act was greeted by much applause from the women in the auction rooms. Again, in December 1913, Sophia appeared in court for keeping dogs without a licence. A necklace worth £50 and a gold bangle were seized and auctioned at Twickenham Town Hall. Again members of the WTRL were present and bought the goods, returning them to the princess.

    Promoting the Cause
    These events were seen by the women as an opportunity to further promote their cause and they would make sure that demonstrations and protests were held at the auctions. These tactics eventually did the government more harm than good. The membership of the league included some famous names, amongst them the Duchess of Bedford, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, Flora Annie Steel, Charlotte Despard, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Beatrice Harraden.

    A Logical Argument
    In 1913 Beatrice Harraden said: "The least any woman can do is to refuse to pay taxes, especially the tax on actually earned income. This is certainly the most logical phase of the fight for suffrage. It is a culmination of the government's injustice and stupidity to ask that we pay an income tax on income earned by brains, when they are refusing to consider us eligible to vote."

    Sophia's Argument
    Sophia herself, when taken to court for non-payment of taxes said: "Taxation without representation is a tyranny... I am unable to pay money to the state, as I am not allowed to exercise any control over its expenditure..."


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