Saturday, July 20, 2013

Today -100: July 20, 1913: Of censorship, poisoned hatpins, the draft, protectorates, and fake suffragettes

After a deputy of the Russian Duma attacks the government’s anti-Jewish policies, the Tsar’s Imperial Council bans the Duma discussing any subject not put before it by the government.

Seattle Mayor George Cotterill bans The Seattle Times, which he blames for yesterday’s riot. He says it garbled its report of the speech by Navy Secretary Daniels, causing the sailors to think they had permission to attack Wobblies and Socialists. However a judge issues an injunction and the paper prints as normal (he also reverses the mayor’s order to saloons not to open). Rear Admiral Alfred Reynolds refuses a request by city authorities to restrict shore leave.

Portland, Oregon ordered lesbian IWW activist Dr. Marie Equi to leave the state after she gave a free-speech speech. She didn’t, so they charge her with inciting a riot and assault with a deadly weapon, to wit a hatpin. She had threatened to stab any cop who tried to arrest her with a hatpin dipped in poison. She did scratch a cop, but evidently neglected the poison.

The French Parliament votes to expand mandatory military service from two years to three.

Secretary of State Bryan informs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of his plans to turn Nicaragua into a protectorate, presumably to keep the neighborhood of the Panama Canal “stable.” Bryan is proposing a new draft of the treaty which the Taft administration began negotiating: Nicaragua gets a large loan and the US gets a veto over Nicaragua declaring war on anyone, or signing treaties, “That the United States should have the right to intervene at any time to preserve Nicaraguan independence, or to protect life or property,” 99-year-year leases on naval bases, and dibs on building a canal.

British Chancellor David Lloyd George and Attorney General Rufus Isaacs were enjoying the weekend as guests at a country estate, all very Downton Abbeyish. They were out playing golf when suddenly three women dressed in WSPU colors approached them. They looked around in alarm for the detective bodyguards all cabinet ministers now have to keep disorderly women away from them, but they were nowhere to be seen. One brandished a suffragette flag at Lloyd George, who cowered until he realized that the women were his and Isaacs’ wives and their hostess, playing a little practical joke. LG was not amused.

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