1.4 111 V ^V- ' \








Continuing the Story of his Life Times Guy Aldred describes the prosecution of Rose Witcop and himself in 1922 for the publication of Margaret Sanger's Family Limitation which was Intended to make BIRTH CONTROL knowledge available to young adults of the working class.

The Author also tells of his marriage to Rose Witcop which caused quite a sensation in 1926.





NO TRAITOR'S GAIT! The autobiography of Guy A Aldred, published in monthly parts; Cr 4to 24pp. Illustrated. 6d. each part. Subscription for twelve consecutive parts, post free, 8/$d. o-

It is customary the.se days for labour leaders, real or alleged, to write autobiographies. Capitalist publishers, and the Capitalist press, welcome these works on the ground that the writers have "mellowed" with age. This means that they have developed servitude of mind, and have acquired good banking accounts. Guy Aldred describes them as " . . poor. sick, cowardly creatures, mistaking their sickness for greatness."

Guy Aldred has not mellowed with age. As the tone of this autobiography shows, he has been strengthened by experience, and still expresses the vision and ideals of his youth. Hence the title, No TRAITOR'S OAIT! It Is a challenge, not a retirement: for this record 1$ written on the battlefield — not at the base, far removed from operations.

Guy Alfred Aldred was born in 1886. Before he was sixteen years of age he was active on the public platform as a Boy Preacher. Over half-a-century ogo he became a Socialist and he has worked unceasingly in the cause of Socialism ever since.

His story is not one of personal advancement. In fact, much of his propaganda has been a denunciation of careerists and pai Uamentarlsm, which gives careerists their opportunity. Guy Aldred believes his criticism has been justified for . . the careerist*/' he says, "in their cowardly greed have destroyed the workers' struggle."

The writer has not restricted his opposition to the political careerist. He has been equally severe on the theologian and the militarist.

The field of activity has been, of course, in the wider setting of historical events which have shaken and reshaped the world during the past fifty years

We read of the young Guy Aldred in conflict with the religious and political exponents of Victorian ideas. We read of his imprisonment when he was only twenty-two years of age for defending the cause or Indian freedom. We read of his stand against war in 1914; of his four courts-martial: of revolts in prison; of hunger strikes and solitary confinement.









Foreword to Volume 111 page 436

Author's Apology page 437

Preliminary Explanation page 438

47. Birth Control: Magistrate's View page 439

48. Resumed Hearing page 441

49. Sessions Appeal Fails page 442

50. Victimisation and Marriage page 451

SI. Margaret Sanger page 452

52. Birth Control Pioneers page 455


The Author in 1919 Frontispiece

Communist Weds page 443

.Marriage Certificate and Press Reports

p<iges 444- 445

To Save Wife from Deportation

Guy Aldred Married page 448

Rose Witcop Obituary and Death Certificate page 449

Margaret Sanger page 453

"Sew Generation League" Handbill page 455

"Family Limitation" Adverttsment page 456

foreword to 3

I started the publication of No Traitor's although the Strugg*e must go on and is Gait In 1956. I expected to tell the Mary In more critical than em, I must relax a little, twelve monthly parts and so have It com- So I shall record from now on not so completed in 1957. 8uch was not to be! pleUly tn chronological order, but only

The story was too big to cover In twelve roughly keeping to the or<ler of when It hap-parts of the size that I could publish. Then pened. It will be;possible, however, for some-poverty made It impossible to use my press, one else. If lie Or ahe Is Interested, to dis-My premises were rendered useless by the cover easUy lhe* date iof tills or that event, prevailing conditions of town-repianning. and so. to restore'the order of sequence In

The old Strickland Press had to make way the telling. I am afraid if I keep too strictly for the new university that is now being *o original planning I shall defeat the built I had to salvage what 1 could and move purpose of the record: I want the biography to a smaller place leaving mid the wreckage ^ be as thorough as possible, both as a logi-of the old demolished building much of the cal description of mytthinking. and a record equipment that had helped me to aend The of events. I want N*T.Q. to be not lust a van-Word around the wcnrld. One way and an- *ty or an egotism or whatever anyone wisher other the publication was delayed. Then to to atyle it by way of 'description. I want it our comrade Ethel MoCDanald came a long not to be merely a record of my thought and and painful illness *ttHQfc ended in her struggle, with an emphasis on the possessive death. Her passing made a frett difference to 1 want'It to be a useful account of the

the effectiveness of .our wwk. into this sod moment in which -I, played a part and of atory I will not go the times /in which I lived.

My first klea was to arela*e the evolution -of Jn 1h*t, I hope *o succeed. Perhaps this

my thought and eocotence. recall 4m- third volume, when completed, will conclude prisonments. pollttca, and resistance to the story, authority, in chrqnKglcai Sequence of

occurrence. I have 3*4 the Inundation in 1 ***** ^is opening part of

that form. But I propose to depart a little Vo,Ume Three'th* *P<*oqv I published in the

from this recording of ^what happened I am b*tZn61Ume of Two. It did nob

now coming on seventy seven years of age to th« Publication before bind-

and the years have taken a toll of me. For ng"

sixty years I have beon an untiring propa- GUY a. ALDRED

Sandist and I have never had a holiday. Now, X3?aft**w, June 12, 1963


(Preface to Second Bound Volume)

Many tiring* have happened to thwart the achievement of my purpose since I planned the publication, in serial monthly parts, of my autobiography under the title of No Traitor's Gait. My idea mi to publish not no much an account of my life a* or the evolution of my thought and reaction to my environment. I hoped to complete the task In ta-e'vc parts Mil found this to be Impossible. And 50 a second volume wat planned.

The first twd?e number* have been bound together in book form. This volume U out of print. Of the second volume, only si* part* hiw; appeared. Publication was interrupted by the terrible death of my Toyal and tireless comrade. Ethel MacDonald. Then came Glasgow town planning and (he compulsory removal from the Strickland Press premises, without compensation, in George Street.

I now bring- these six parts together In a second volume. The number Is limited and I hope that h win have a speedy circulation.

f am continuing: the story in a third volume. This wiU consist of twelve parte and the first number wfll be issued before Christmas lttt. Alter that, a further part win appear each month. In these days of expensive printing:, the price is sraaU, and 1 hope that comrade* wiU buy each part a* it come* out. The work k a biography than it Is i history of the radical. Freetkouffht, Socialist* and Communist movements. It Is a straightforward description of the evolution of ray thought and I (a tone Is that of Anarchism and the eifita struggle. I have ih> sympathy with the intellectual petty bourfeois Anarchism that wraps Its cloak of scholasticism around its precious understanding and despbes the sordid realism of misery that is the lot of the common people. Even when, thanks to hire purchase, the working man and woman feel better-off, their Insecurity remains, and ike poverty-stricken smallneea of their council house* is a mockery of circumstance.

Rex v. AkJred. an account of two of my trials for sedition, should be considered part of this work. And it will be bound up with this volume.


Glasgow. September 2ft, 1563


It Is my Intention to add a commentary on tlx alleged marriage proceeding tiefore the Sheriff al and the cremation service at Colder** Green, Both ceremonies were, to my mind, false, hypocritical. and reeking with cant. The first was imposed by the State and the police. Added falsehood was supplied by the relatives and friends of Rose. They Involved perjury and conveyed an entirely wrong impression of the relations between Rose and myself.

I do not belter* In, and have never believed In. what Is termed with stupid humbug pre-marital set Intercourse Our friendship before we set up houiekeepfng at Shepherds Rash wo* one of courtship. Two young people in love. We were most correct, not to please anyone else or society but becauae we felt that was the right personal behailour.. We went through no ceremony bat we entered on * sober and responsible association. Despite ray early days of poverty, I met the rent and was responsible for folding all house-JkM expenditure. That came either direct from me or my work, or, when I was Imprisoned, from friends who helped me. Their support continued and I maintained Rose and her household at Richmond Gardens till several weeks after slic had broken with me. It was a sober—and responsibly—relatlonahlp. The cremation service was. to my mind, a wicked sham



*7 did that," says memory; 44/ could not have done that," saps my pride, and remains irrevocable. Eventually—the memory yield*.


The best way to dcscribc the birth control agitation and- the prosecution of Rose and myself is to reproduce the press reports of the time:

The Kensington Sews for Friday, December 22, 1922. reported:

THE STATE AND THE FAMILY Alleged Obscene Pamphlet Raid by Scotland Yard Detectives

At the West London Police Court on Wednesday afternoon, summonses were heard by Mr Boyd against Guy Aldred, Rose Aldred (or Witcop), and John William Fawcett, all of Richmond gardens Shepherd's Bush, to show cause why certain obscene books found at that address "for the purpose of sale and gain" .should not be destroyed.

The defendant Fawcett, at the outset of the case, stated that he was only the occupier of the house and had nothing to do with the matter; he asked that he should be dismissed from the case and that the Press should not report his name. . . .

Mr Vincent Evans, who was prosecuting for the Director of Public Prosecutions, stated in reply to the magistrate that the defendant Fawcett was only the occupier of the house where the^e books were discovered.

The magistrate observed that in that case there was no reason for proceeding with the case against Fawcett, who would be dismissed.

Mr Evans proceeded to state that on Monday, the 18th a search warrant was granted, and on the 19th Det.-Inspectors Miles and Klrchner, of New Scotland Yard, went to Richmond gardens, and, after a search, found 1.720 copies of the book or pamphlet entitled Family Limitation. The detective officers seized the books and took them to Scotland Yard, ond the prosecution now asked that an order should be made for the destruction of the books.

Aldred: The summons was only served on us at half-past twelve today, and I ask for an adjournment so as to show that the books are not in any sense obscene.

Magistrate: Probably it would be Jn your interests If the evidence for the prosecution should be given today so that you may know what case you have to meet.

Mrs Aldred: Far from these books being obscene they are works of great public importance.

Magistrate: I have to be satisfied that these books are of such a nature as to constitute the publication a misdemeanour, in which case I can make an order for the destruction of the books.

Evidence was given by Det,-Inspector MUes, who stated that on Tuesday he, accompanied by Det.-Inspector Kirchncr, went to Richmond gardens, and, proceeding to the first floor flat, saw the defendant Rose Aldred. He told her who they were and showed her the search warrant. She read it and said, "You won't find anything indecent here. You may And a few communist book3." He searched the flat and without much difficulty found 1.720 copies of a book or pamphlet called Family Limitation. On a printed slip at the end of the book was the following: "This document has been supplied at the special

request of-, who has declared that he

or she is over 21 years of age and considers that artificial limitation of the family is justifiable on both individual and national grounds, and wishes to know the various hygienic methods of family limitation and undertakes to keep It out of the hands ot unmarried persons under the age of 21 years."

Magistrate: Does that printed slip appear in all the copies? Witness: Yes, sir.

Continuing. Inspector Miles said that Mr* Aldred said: "I take the full responsibility for the possession of the books, and if anyone has to answer the matter I hope It win be me and not Mr Aldred." Referring to *


Aldred: As far as you Know Bernard might have supplied those books without the knowledge or myself or Mrs Aldred? Witness: I can't say.

Aldred: Is it your suggestion that these books only become obscene if circulated without the printed slip being filled in with the name of he purchaser, in which case they are not obscene?

Magistrate: That Is a question for me to decide.

In reply to Mrs Aldred. the witness acknowledged that no obstacle was put in his way whett he served the search warrant.

Referring to one of the letters produced by the witness, Mrs Aldred asked, "Wasn't that letter written in such a way as to suggest that It was written by a person connected with a Welfare Association?"

Witness: As a matter of fact I wrote that letter and I had nothing of that kind in my mind when I wrote it.

On this evidence the magistrate adjourned the ca*e for 21 days.

A similar report appeared in the West London Observer.

The Daily Herald for Thursday, December 21, 1922 published a somewhat shorter report. I make the following excerpt from this account:

COURT AND 4FAMILY LIMITATION* Proceedings After Seteure of 1,720 Copies Family Limitation, the treatise on birth control, by Mrs Margaret Sanger . . . was the subject of summones at West London Court yesterday. . . .

Mr Aldred said the book could not in any sense be regarded as obscene. . . .

The magistrate (Mr Boyd), In adjourning the case for 21 days, said the question was whether the publication of this book, having regard to the circumstances in which it was ____________________published, was a misdemeanour.

Aldred (cross-examining): You have do The Olasgow edition of the Daily Herald for

evidence of other letters than those sent by the same day headed Its report: the police asking for the book being sent by

private persons? BOOK SEIZED

Witness: No letters except those produced Shettleston's Communist Candidate Appears here today. in Court


gentleman, a Mr Bernard, who was engaged in putting the slips in the books, Mrs Aldred said, "He has nothing to do with the matter.* Witness took possession of the books and conveyed them to Scotland Yard. On Dec. 7th, said the Inspector, he had called at Richmond gardens and had seen the same Mr Bernard, and obtained from him on that occasion a copy of the book, for which he paid Is. When the book was handed to him the printed slip had been filled up in the blank space with his (inspector's) name.

Magistrate: Give evidence as to what happened.

Witness said that he knocked at the door and the man Bernard answered it Witness said, "I want the Bakunln Press," and the man said "Quite right. What do you want?" He said he wanted to purchase a book called Family Limitation. The man said "Oh, yes, by Margaret Sanger, what is your name?" He replied "Miles". The man left htm and, returning in a moment or two, handed him a copy of the book, for which witness paid Is. He said to the man, "You a«ked me for my name, what is that for?" and he replied "Oh. It Is only to enter in the book — a mere matter of form." Witness said, "I have never had to give my name before in buying a book. I suppose it is all right or is it something that shouldn't be printed?" He said "Oh, no, but Scotland Yard are always on the look out. and they have got very busy over certain books, so we have to be careful." Witness asked If the books were printed there and the man said, "They are printed at our head office in Glasgow — this is only a branch."

In reply to Mr Evans, the Inspector said he made no declaration when he bought the book such as was set out on the slip, nor was any question put to him as for whom or for what purpose the book was required. The witness added that he afterwards caused four letters to be sent from different addresses asking for the book, and in response copies of the book were sent



The author writes very well and clearly, and the whole tone of the publication is on a high level.

National Health. Nov. 1924


The Times for January 11, 1923. reported the resumed police court hearing fceaeath the heading:

A BOOK ON BIRTH-CONTROL Destruction Ordered The concluding portions of The Times' report read:

Mr Harry Myers, for the defence, argued that there was nothing in the book which was obscene. It was written by a woman of refinement and education, and the ideas advocated therein were those which could be found in many medical books. Its object was to explain to ignorant women how they could avoid large families.

Evidence for the defence was given by Sir W. Arbuthnot Lane, consulting surgeon tx> Guy's Hospital, who said that tn his opinion the book was one that ought to be in the hands of every young person about to be married. He saw no harm in it.

Mr Harold Cox, who was also called for the defence, satd it was a "gross injustice" to call the book obscene.

The Magistrate — Would you put such a book in the hands of a girl or boy of sixteen? — All over London you see books of a lustful tendency, and there is nothing to prevent a boy or girl buying them. This is a book written for the edification of poor, ignorant women to teach them how to limit their families.

The Magistrate observed that he had to consider not- only the pamphlet or book itself, but the manner of its publication. It had been said with truth that dirt was only matter in the wrong place. The eminent persons called for the defence had stated that the only object of the book was to give persons of a certain age necessary information and advice on the subject 'f birth-control. That, no doubt, was true, but the whole question was whether such lnformat4on had been published indiscriminately. He was of opinion that publication had been indiscriminate, and therefore he should direct that the books be destroyed.

Notice of appeal was given.

The Morning Post published an almost identical report, with similar headings.

The Westminster Gazette published a factually tdentical report beneath the headings:


This variation in the headlines was important as it emphasised the difference between the approach of the magistrate to the question and that of the surgeon.

The interesting point about these reports was the careful determination with which my defence was ignored. The press had decided that it should not be known publicly that I conducted my own defence and made my own Indictment of impertinent authority.

I wrote to the papers protesting but only the West London Observer and the Daily Herald noted my protest.

The Daily Herald, January 12.1923 account read:

THE BIRTH CONTROL CASE Mr Guy A. Aldred, . . . writes to say that he was not defended (as stated In the Daily Herald) by Mr Myers.

"I conducted my own defence ... By my cross-examination I elicited that the magistrate held all circulation (of the book) to be indiscriminate. . . If the absurd decision is upheld on appeal I shall challenge the Director of Public Prosecutions to proceed against me before a jury."

On January 11, the Daily Herald expressed its sympathy with the defence in the manner of its report. Its headlines were challenging and the opening paragraph of its report was in italics. The account, with captions heading, read:

LATEST ATTACK ON BIRTH CONTROL Magistrate, in Face of Experts, Orders Destruction of Book

Despite the evidence of Sir Arbuthnot Lane, the famous surgeont Mr Harold Cox> ex-MJ\, and Dr Drysdale, the West London Magistrate (Mr Boyd) yesterday ordered the destruction of a book on birth control on the ground that it was obscene.

Then followed the textual repcrt as in ether papers.

The Daily News report was very useful. Headings read.

BOOK TO BE DESTROYED Doctors Justify Information on Birth Control The West London Observer and the Ken-sington Sews reports cf the adjourned police court hearing were almost Identical.

The Daily Sketch tor Thursday, January 11, 1923, headed its report boldly:

FEWER CHILDREN Magistrate Orders Book to be Destroyed

"INDISCRIMINATE SALE" Eminent Surgeon on the Value of the Publication On January 17, 1923, the Daily Herald published this item concerning the appeal: BIRTH CONTROL CASE APPEAL


The Daily Herald is Informed that the appeal by Ouy Aldred and Rose Witcop-Aldred, against the order of the West London magistrate for the destruction of copies cf Mrs Margaret Sanger's well-known book. Family Limitation, will be based on three grounds:—(lVThat the book is not obscene; (2) that Its publication Is for the public good, and Its sale Is not Indiscriminate; (3) that the magistrate misdirected himself both in law and fact Mr Aldred wll conduct his own case at the Sessions, and prominent counsel has been engaged for Mrs Aldred.

Without waiting for the appeal to be heard. The Star, London, for January 11, 1923, published an important leaderette. It recalled the trM of Ch.irl^s Brrdl-ug'i and Annie Besant in 1877, and discussed at some length the need for Pirth Control knowledge.

It is a serious matter that books should te destroyed by taw which Sir Arbuthnot Laner Dr C. V. Drysdale, a^d Mr Harold Cox (editor of the Edinburgh Review) give evidence are not obscene, but contain ir formation which in the public Interest fhoultl be widely spre. d.



A good pamphlet and gives trustworthy in-fonnaton. . . . Rose Witcop has done good service in reprinting Margaret Sanger's pamphlet.

—Plbbs Magazine November, 1924.

The Pall Mall Gazette and Globe, February 9, 1923, report read:

LIMITATION OF FAMILIES Problem Discussed in Court EMINENT DOCTOR'S VIEW Sequel to Order to Destroy a Book

Sir Arbuthnot Lane, consulting surgeon at Guy's Hospital, gave evidence before Mr A. J. LawrJe, at London Sessions, today, in support of an appeal against a decision of the West London magistrate ordering the American book Family Limitations to be destroyed.

He stated that in hts opinion limitation of families was not subversive of the morals of •oclety.

He described the misery consequent upon the frequent birth of children to the poor as "terrible", and added: •'I cannot understand why the poor should be deprived of the knowledge richer people posses " . . .

Sir Richard Muir appeared on behalf of the respondent magistrate, and Mr Lort Williams. K.C., MP., and Mr St. John Hutchinson for Rose Witcop Aldred.

Guy Aldred conducted his own case.


Sir Richard Muir ?aid the order that the publication be destroyed had reference to a pamphlet called "FamUy Limitation".

The publication had been frequently advertised with the statement that the age of persons desirous of obtaining it mast be stated.

A number of letters were written for the book, none stated the age of the person, but

—-Continue* on par* 44*





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A Persona! Statement

Once more it Is necessary to make a person*! statement, in view of the announcements broadcast in the ordinary press. I have no wish to obtrude toy private business on public discussion. I have no desire to screen it from the world's scnitiny.

In January 1908, I contractcd a union with Rose Witcop No sanction was asked from Church and Sutc. In May 1909^ a son was born of this union.

During our association the authorities regarded the union as common law marriage, known to Scots law as habit and repute. Accordingly they treated her as a British subject. She was born in Russia and came to London at the age of five.

Recently the authorities changed their attitude. Tbey refused to recognise that a persort entering this country as a child thirty years ago, has a right to consider herself a domiciled citizen of this country. Tbey ordered her to register as an alien and so menaced her with deportation.

Allbo all relationship had ceased between us two years previously, she came to Glasgow with a view to proceeding against me in the Court of Session fo* dfeLirator of marriage- That would have been the proper course to take, since the Court would have deckled that a past relationship constituted marriage* It would have been the law's recognition of a fact that had existed. That is very different from me

— Continued from ptge 442

the money required was enclosed.

The book was forwarded and contained a declaration to be signed by the owners that they were over twenty-one years of age, but that form of declaration was useless, because none of the persons who had written and obtained the book gave their ages.

TWO INTERPRETATIONS "This declaration," said Sir Richard, "shows that the publishers considered It was Improper for the book to get Into the hands of persons under twenty-one years of age, or else they knew it was against the law.

The declaration itself condemns the indiscriminate publication of the document, while. *t the same time. It was being published Indiscriminately."

saying I wish to enter on the marriage relationship with her today.

This way of proceeding involved a long delay. The Scotland Yard authorities would give no undertaking to stay their powers under tne Altos' Act, pending such action being taken. With great reluc-tance, tlicrcfore, since I do not believe in marriage or union by legal ceremony, [ consented to irregular marriage before the Sheriff. This secured her status as a British subject.

I do not believe in the law of husband and wife, I do not believe in a woman taking a man's, name and nationality But since she does so under exist' ing law, I considered my former comrade's protection ftom dq>nrta»ion a duty. I regard the entire proceeding as technical—and cumpulsory only to achieve this end That it should be so I coniider grotesque.

I hare not asked the law to let rne live with bei'. I did that for many >ears without legal permission-I supported her and my son and averred that the law was not necessary to bind people bound by ties of affection.

We parted at the Sheriffs chambers and each 'took a different way.


—Reproduction of the front of THE COMMUN'K (Second Series) Volume On* Number Shu February. 1926.


8ir Richard Mutr proceeded to relate what happened when, an Inspector of police purchased the book from Aldred.

The Inspector was asked his name, the explanation being that -It Is only to enter In the book."

Mr Lort Williams objected that that part of the evidence was inadmissible.

Sir Richard replied that It must be admissible. "The whole case," he said, "is that this sale was Indiscriminate and that this man was the agent for the purpose of indiscriminate sales......:. 5s*


Mr Lort Williams's objection was not upheld, and Sir Richard completed the sentence, stating that the Inspector was told by

Aldred "That it was a mere matter of formT '•And that is the whole thing/' said Sir Richard. "It was a mere matter of form with the letters and everything else."

PASSAGES READ IN COURT Sir Richard proceeded to discuss whether or not the publication was an obscene publication, and one that could be regarded as subversive of the morals of society.

8ir Richard drew the Court's attention to a number of passages, and said:

"In my submission these passages are obscene In the vulgar sense of the word. It is raid that persons of clean mind wiil see no obscenity, but there are people who are not possessed of clean minds. Some of both sexes might read one of the passages for the very obscenity which, in my submission to this Court, it contains, and for the matter of that the subject under discussion In the passage hss nothing whatever to do with the limitation of families."

Inspector Mires, answering Mr Lort Williams, said that when he called he saw no public display of the book.

As far as he knew it could only be obtained from the address of the appellants.

WELL-KNOWN SURGEON'S VIEW Sir Arbuthnot Lane, consulting surgeon at

Guy*? Hospital, called for the defence said:

"My life has been spent among the poor, and the misery of these multiple pregnancy case? Is untold and terr ble." . . .

SET OUT DECENTLY The pamphlet, 'Tamlly Limitations" in his opinion, set out decently and properly and in a clear manner the methods to be applied. It not g> further than was necessary, and hi% could not understand any sane people objecting.

A certain practice was making hundreds of women unhappy, and it was necessary they should understand their own physiology,

"SHEER NONSENSE" In cross-examination, sir Richard Mulr put to the witness a number of published opinions of medical men that birth control was a danger to the race and against nature's laws, and Sir Arbuthnot replied that in his opinion they were sheer nonsense.

In re-examinatton the witness said that medicine and surgery were also against nature's laws.

Replying to Mr Lort Williams, witness was discussing methods applied in connection with birth control, when Mr Lawrie intervened, saying:

"We cannot sit here and decide whether birth control Is a danger or an advantage. We have to decide whether this pamphlet deals with birth control in an Indecent manner."


Mr J. St. Loe Strachey being called as the next witness. Sir Richard Muir objected that he was an inadmissible witness.

Mr Strachey had nothing to do with medicine. He was a gentleman of literary eminence, who was to usurp the functions of the Court. . . .

Mr Lawrie: If you are going to call people to say how much the working people want this instruction, we shall be here for months and years. The place for that sort of thing Is the House of Commons. The witness Is not an expert witness, and he Is not admissible.

Mr St. Loe Strachey left the witness-box, and Mr Lort. Williams addressed the Court

The appeal was dismissed, Mr Lawrie giving leave to state case. If wished, to High Court.

My desire was to appeal to the High Court and to conduct the appeal in person. But Ro*e had other ideas and objected. I gave way to her wishes.

The Evening Standard, London, report was much the same in its account.

Similar accounts of the proceedings were published in the Evening News, London, same date, and other evening papers.

The Daily Mirror, for February 10, published a picture of Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, describing him as "the famous surgeon". and directing attention to his evidence in defence of the birth control publication.

The Star, Times, Daily Telegraph, Morning Advertiser, Daily New, Daily Herald, People, and West London Observer, Westminster Gazette. all emphasised the good intentions, in the opinion of Mr A. J. Lawrie, Deputy Chairman of the London Sessions, of the defendants.

The Morning Advertiser report read:

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Rate Witcop

B. April 9, 1»0, Kiev; D. July 4, London,

We reprint the following obituary notice from the Freethinker, for July, 17th, 1932 :


"On Wcdoajkl*y> July IT. (ho remain* of Witcop Aldred were cremated tt GoJder* Green Crematorium. Death took place on July 4 at the early age of forty-three jear* Mtow'mg an operation f*r appe.ndic.it ir. She 1«M an Active life, and was well known in tb# .Socialist and Birth Control Movement*. Although not a. member of tho *ho w*a a convinced and life

long freethinker. Perhaps the bent tribute to the e*teera in which she and her vork were held, waa the very large number of friends who packed the chapel at the Crematorium. A Secular Service w«s conducted by Mr. tt. tt. Koaetti."

We set up housekeeping with our comrade, Rose Witcop, at 103 Thorpebank Road, Shepherd's Bush, on January 7th, 1907, Trior to th.it she had been an active member of the o

Yiddish Anarchist Club, in Jubilee Street, Mile £

End, and had joined the Communist Propaganda ^

Croups Tve organised in 1906. During our 5

imprisonments—in 1909. for alleged Indian ft

sedition,, and 1916-19 for resisting militarism— £

our comrade maintained the propaganda, and ~

became editor of our organ. The Spur. After &

■our release from Barlinnic, in 1922, our interests *

grew apart, although we were prosecuted 1

together for issuing Margaret Sangcrs' pamphlet *

on Family Limitation in 1923. A year later wc parted company. But when the authorities 3

threatened our comrade with deportation in 1926, •on the ground of her Russian birth, she came to Scotland. We considered it our duty to contract an irregular marriage before the Sheriff, which we did at Glasgow, on February 2, 1926. The "marriage" we registered (if marriage means mating) had begun in 1907 and ended., so far as compatability was concerned, in 1921. The certificate was. in fact, a divorce; in law, *'a marriage."

We made a statement on the subject to the x»rcss and in the Commune. Death recalls not the separation Imt the years of loyal struggle and comradeship. Our Anarchist comrades intend to pay a tribute to our comrade's memory in Freedom. Wc need say no more. The living finger has written and moved on.

We were present at the cremation with our son, Anncsfey. We turn to our work for Socialism and Freethought with a mind possessed by many memories.

•See Note on pa«e 4W



Their evidence was excluded, though the evidence of a pollco inspector that the book was "obscene- was apparently regarded as admissible.

Reynolds Newspaper, for Sunday, February 11, 1923, headad its report:


Reynolds report Included this item: RULED OUT

Mrs Agnes Kerr, a certified nurse, ot Ber-mondscy. was giving evidence as to the effect of the pamphlet on poor people, when Sir Richard Mulr objected that her evidence was inadmissible, which was upheld.

The Birth Control Review, New York, published a number of letters on this case in its issue for February 1923. on pages 29 and 30

It also published a succinct account of the police court proceedings, and the following letter to Margaret Sanger written by Ettie A Rout:

My dear Mrs Sanger,

Re Prosecution of Your Pamphlet Family Limitation

This case came on lost Wednesday, January 10.1923. in the West London Police Court (Miles v. Aldred). . . .

In order that there may be no misunderstanding as to the nature of your pamphlet Family Limitation, I submitted a copy or it to the following medical authorities: Sir Wm. Arbuthnot Lane. Bart. C.B., M.S.. Consulting Surgeon to Guy's Hospital, etc.; Sir H. Bryan Donkin. M.D., (Oxon), F.R.C.P.; and Sir G Archdall Reld. K.B.E., M B, C M.. F R.S.E.; and I have received the following joint-letter from them:

30 December, 1922.

Dear Miss Rout,

We have carefully read the pamphlet by Mrs Margaret Sanger, which has been termed "obscene" in the charge made against Mrs Rose Witcop Aldred. We are unanimously of opinion that the charge of obscenity is without any foundation.

(Signed) W. Arbuthnot Lane.

H. Bryan Donklin.

G. Archdall Reld.

The Spectator for January 27, 1923. pub-lUhed an editorial, stating that:

We . . . feel little doubt that the intention was to do gDod, not harm, to the community, that the purpose cf the writer was essentially moral and humane. . . The magistrate had, of course, to decide th* case on what he believed to be the law. We do not agree with him, but If he should unfortunately be upheld on appeal we hope that corrective legislation will follow.

The Nation & The Athenaeum, for January 27, 1923, published a letter from Bertrand Russell:

Sir.—The prosecution of Margaret Sanger's pamphlet. Family Limitation, by the Public Prosecutor, on the ground of obscenity, demands more publicity than it has obtained. Margaret Sanger is well known, not only in America, but throughout the world, for her fearless attempt to spread knowledge on this important matter. Her pamphlet (which I have read carefully) is as free from obscenity as any medical text-book, plain language being necessary if information is to be given. If it is condemned, all treatment of birth control in print will be rendered Impossible.

In the West London Police Court Guy and Rose Aldred (who printed and published the pamphlet in this country) were ordered to destroy ail copies of it. No evidence of obscenity was given. The only evidence for the prosecution was that of a policeman who, acting under Instructions, had written various letters, one saying his wife wanted the pamphlet. others saying that he was a woman who had been at a birth control meeting, and that he and two friends desired copies of the pamphlet On the first page of the pamphlet is a declaration in the following terms: "This booklet Is supplied at the special request of . . who has declared that he or she Is over twenty-one years of age. and considers the Artificial Limitation of the Family Justifiable on both individual and national grounds, and wishes to know the various Hygienic Methods of Family Limitation, and undertakes to keep it out of the hands of unmarried persons under the age of twenty-one years." Believing in the bona fides of the supposed married man. &c., the defendants s?nt the pamphlet to the policeman without first exacting the signature of this declaration. This was the wh^le case for the or~s*cution . . . Yours Ac

31. Sydney Street, S.W.3.

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell sent a similar letter to the Daily News. That journal published it in its columns for January 20.

Reynolds News, for January 14, 1923, said: A PRUDISH MAGISTRATE

The action of the West London magistrate in ordering the destruction of a well-known book on birth control, on the ground that it is "obsceneis yet another instance of the curious way In which many occupants of the Bench interpret their functions.

Men like Sir William Arbuthnot Lane and Mr Harold Cox offered public testimony which went directly counter to the magistrate, and the former said that he thought it should be in the hands of every young couple going to marry; while the latter asserted his opinion that the magistrate's description was a very great injustice. We submit that the names of either of these men is of much greater weight and their opinions of much greater value than those of Mr Boyd.

We hold that if ordinary men and women want to know about these things, there should be freedom to give facts as are to be found in such books. For those who can pay a sovereign or more there is no difficulty — then the price makes the books "decent".

There are many shops in the West End whose obtrusive indecency is a real eyesore and a disgrace. If Mr Boyd wants to do real public service, let him turn his attention to these. Books such as thoee in the case under notice lie cannot have destroyed without infringing a public right. And that is the business of no magistrate.

The New Generation. February 1923, said:

THE CASE OF THE ALDREDS ... Mr and Mrs Aldred have appealed, and it Is therefore impossible now to discuss the merits of the case. We are free, however, to discuss the manner in which it was handled* and to praise those who had it in charge. Mrs Aldred was ably represented by Mr Myers, a solicitor, but the outstanding feature of the case was the way in which Mr Aldred conducted his own defence. It took us back to the days when Mr Bradlaugh used to astonish the world with his wonderful speeches in court. Mr Aldred's manner was full of dignity and confidence, and he omitted nothing that could possibly have helped his case, and said nothing that could hinder it.

Elsewhere in the paper, the New Generation said:

PRESS SUPPORT A pleasing sign of the times is the greatly awakened interest of various newspapers. Reynolds' Newspaper and the Daily Herald have both done excellent work in connection with the Daniels and Aldred cases.




While admitting that man actually lives by habit, I hold that it is better for him to live by the exercise o] will

K. Bosz

The writing of this autobiography has been pears of Rose Witcop's connection with The a slow work owing to the fact that I have Spur as editor from June 1914 to February tried to record events in order of their 1921, when Rose ceased all editorial associa-happening. I have tried to trace my thought tion with the paper. In 1923 she identified development also in the flow of Its develop- herself completely with Margaret Sanger's ment. Re-reading the two volumes already birth control agitation. I was involved in issued, I seem to have muddied the story, these charges but actually had very little to Sometimes I put the cart before the horse do with the publishing although I approved which is not exactly logical or scientific re- of the work and it was published by the cording. The Daily Sketch illustrated ac- Bakunin Press both in Shepherds Bush and count of the dismissal of the Birth Control Glasgow. The West London prosecution fol-Appeal on page 405 affords factual evidence lowed in February 1923. During the followtng of the truth of this comment. year Rose decided that the Shepherds Bush

On pages 404 and 405 a full account ap- address should be considered hers only. By



various arguments she persuaded me to confine my propaganda to Glasgow Until she found a new address, which she did in Sinclair Gardens. Prom here she conducted a Birth Control activity, and in the main dropped her Anarchist association. I understand, however, that she continued to go to some Freedom Group meetings. She wrote to me very little at this time, and i am not very clear as to her political associations. I did know of her Birth Control activities. With this I did not agree only because it seemed to me to degenerate into a money-making racket. Whilst I think that the Government was to blame for this abuse of neo-Malthu-sian pronaganda I was still opposed to back-court surgery. ,

My association wfth Hose Witcop linked me with Rudolf Rocker, the leader of the Jewish Anarchist movement in the tost End of London. who lived with MiUy Witcop, the eldest sister of Rose. This made her s ispect to the authorities for she visited her sister a lot at Dunstan Houses, Stepney, where Rocker and MiUy lived in the midst an Anarchist colony. During my 1909 imprisonment the authorities did not treat Rose too badly and accepted our association as marriage.. But Rose had to work for and care for our son. Anneslcy, who was only about two months old at the time of my arrest.

In 1914, Just prior to World War I, I took up the case of Margaret Sanger who was pioneering Birth Control In the United States. She came to London and stayed with us for a time. She became great friends with Rose and they planned widespread birth control propaganda. Margaret was devoted to-this cause rather than to Socialism.

I disappointed all my friends by taking in the equal Importance of Frecthought, Socialism and Neo-Malthusianlsm.

From 1914 onwards I championed Margaret's struggle but not with the same devotion as Rose did. 1 thought Anarchism and Socialism of chief Importance, and included Birth Control and Atheism in my propaganda. >

My imprisonments for anti-militarism and war resistance, 1816-1919, threw great responsibility on Hose. Mllly Witcop was interned for war resistance. Rudolf Rocker was arrested as an enemy, although he had lost his German nationality, and was an enemy of Kalserism. And Rose was tlircatened with imprisonment for refusing to .go through a ceremony of marriage, although there was no legal bar to such. Also there was no doubt that she was entitled to claim marriage under Scots Law of Irregular Marriage both by Declaration and Consent and by Habit and Repute.

This victimisation of Rose became very great In 1924 to 1920, when she took uo Birth Control activity with groat energy after the police prosecution.

The story of Rose's struggle during these imprisonments and between win be recorded in this volume.

My admiration for Rose in this matter of Birth Control advocacy did not ccase because our lives had. ended domestically, f objected to her victimisation.


Parenthood should be regarded a$ a fine commission, a noble trust, a splendid assignment, and it can be so considered only when it becomes a conscious responsibility.

—Margaret SANGKK

On pages 397 and 401. and between, I refer to my association with Margaret Sanger. Some light is thrown on that association by Margaret in her autobiography, published by Gollanz, London. 1939.

Margaret also refers to her meeting in Glasgow, organized by the AnU Parliamentary Communist Federation, and Comrade-Jane H. Patrick, formerly Secretary of the Glasgow Anarchist Group, which later united with the Glasgow Communist Oroup. As a result of the activity of the Communist Group, grouos were established in East as well as Central Glasgow, and all over Scot-


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thick In spots that the ground was azure, long twilights when the lavender heather .faded the hills into purple. . . .

Fourth of" July, Sunday, we had a noon meeting on the Glasgow Green. Nearly 2,000 shipyard workers in caps and baggy corduroys stood close together listening in utter, dead stillness, without cough or whisper. That evening I spoke in a hall under Socialist auspices, Guy Aldred acting as chairman. One old-timer said he had been a party member for eleven years, attending Sunday night lectures regularly, but never before had he been able to induce his wife to come; tonight he could not keep her at home. "Look!" he cried in amazement. "The women havo crowded the men out of this hall. I never saw so many wives of comrades before."

The men were there, partly through curiosity to hear the American and partly through interest in the subject, ready to fight the ancient battle of Marx against Malthas. Efforts of the English Neo-malthus-ians to introduce birth control to tha masses had been hampered not only by the opposition of the upper classes, but more specially by ths persistent hostility of the orthodox Socialists. .....

When I ended. Quy Aldred asked: "Now .are there any questions?" Afer a few somewhat Irrelevant ones, silence fe!l; confronted by their own philosophy they couid see it. One man Anally rose, "We'd like to hear what the Chairman thinks of all this Does he believe birth control will do what the lady speaker claims for it V Apparently they were waiting for their cue. But Guy Aldred was not to be drawn. After giving him an opportunity to express himself they plunged In and said their say. Even some women who bad never been on their feet before got up to tell dramatic, vivid, personal stories.

I interrupt Margaret's story: —

The Spur, September 1920. was edited temporarily by me. In that Issue I publish^ Impressions From Berlin by Rose, written from Neuk61in, August 24. 1920. Rose had edited the August issue So that I edited only one Issue. It was my intention to edit the October issue, but Rose arrived back in time to take it over. She resumed the editorship In October 1920. and published her "Mixed Impressions" from Munchen, dated September 12, 1920.

The October issue also published her article ' Lessons from Munich", which described a Communist Party meeting she had attended in Munich. Rose Witcop saw the hotel In which Rosa Luxembourg was trapped On her way to see Erich Muhsam in prison she saw from the t^ain the spot where fcarl Liebknecht met his fate at the hands of law and order. She visite^ Muhsam's house and saw "the vicious huimrar of authority". Muhsam defined his position clearly:

"I believe in the dictatorship of the proletariat, not the dictatorship of parties/' ,

Margaret resumes:—

Berlin w&s cold and. dark when Rose Witcop and I about elevian at night, arrived at Neukolin, a special proletarian section of the city. The train was late, an unusual state of things in efficent German}', but this was the period of her greatest dlsorgan-atlon. The telegram which had been sent to Rose's sister and brother-in-law, Milly and Rudolph Rocker, had apparently not been delivered; nobody met us. There were no taxis, no carriages, no lamps, no lights In the windows to relieve the pitch darkness A sleepy, disgruntled porter led us across the street to an insignificant hotel. He knocked at th* door; a head popped out of a window above. "Two ladies want to stay overnight." The proprietress said she could give us nothing to eat, but that we could have a room..We accepted gladly, climbed up a ladder into the same bed, piled high with feather mattresses above and below us, and settled ourselves to a comforting sleeo after the long and tiresome Journey.

This ends my quotation from Margaret's autobiography.

On pages 429-431, Vol. II. N.T.G., I detail the evolution of Rose Witcop's close association with Margaret Sanger. Margaret, a young nurse and the mother of two children, at the time I championed her cause in 1914, could not have expected her propaganda to be recognised throughout the world as it is today. In 1919 to 1926, the powers that be were most hostile to Birth Control propaganda.

• Horror Is felt still at the clearly stated right of wom?n to know about sex. Notwithstanding this obstacle to useful and wise knowledge. Margaret Sanger has conquered.

The number of women being aided, Jn New York alone, rose annually from 10,000 In 1923, to 100,000 in 1945. Later figures showed an increase of over 5,000 women more per year deciding to space their children. In 1935 the Margaret Sanger bureau published a special scientific Journal, The Journal of Human Fertility.

Margaret 8anger did not need much encouragement once she started her campaign. When she came to Shepherds Bush aho was determined but not very hopeful of success. I am quite sure her discussions with Rose Witcop enabled her to retain her determined attitude and to develop a more optimistic outlook.



It is not so very long ago that the theory science as a result of a higher regard for the of birth control ivas regarded by the great purpose of marriage. . . . What is left to be majority of the public as something on a par overcome is the attitude of mind which pro-with witchcraft—if not worse. Birth control tests against the knowledge being put with-is now, however; regarded as a beneficent in reach of the working-class mother.

—Rose Witcop in John Bull Jacuary 3, 1925

Every day a new cityful of people arrive on this planet. Every year the pace of arrival increases and the time of departure is delayed. In about two hundred years' time there will be only three square feet of space for every inhabitant on the globe; and this uncomfortable condition of standing-room will cover deserts, Jungles, forests, and mountain tops. So a recent study by the United Nations informs us. The report also reveals that there are more people alive today than were born between the death of Jesus and the signing of American Independence. ,

The problem of over-population Is not new. It has merely, like most modern problems, taken on a global scale. There have always been empty spaces on the world's surface, but there have always been places of over-density as well. These have been around the centres of civilisation: the river valleys of the Euphrates, the Tigris, and the Nile: and in the confined City States of ancient Greece. The problem in these places, in these ancient time?, was a social one and was dealt with in a social manner. It was the lawful custom to expo3e unwanted babies to the will of the gods. In Grcece the infants so destined were placed in remote regions; and if the gods did not favour them with a loss dire fate they were devoured by wolves. In Egypt they were put in a wicker basket and set adrift on the Nile. What Rods favoured Moses who allegedly suffered this fate I cannot say. but it was Yahweh that he later favoured and elevated



ESSEX HALL, Essex Street, Strand, W.C,


OrjM«*J kf lh«


134. Victoria Str*«t. WMtminatar, 1W4.

Chairm&A: t. A. BROAD, Eaq., M.P.



Mia* E. S. DANIELS (the Welfare Worker dismissed . by tbc Ed moo ton Council for giving Birth Control advice). Mr. GUY ALDRED. Dr. C. V. DRYSDALE.

Mr. R. B. KERR (Hon. Secretary, Tht K«« OtncMion Leagve).

HANDBILL (reduced to two-thirds size) issued by the New Generation League In 1923

to Supreme .Command ot the Jews, and as a later legacy, God of Christendom.

The problem of Birth Control that concerned modern advocates was somewhat <UfTerent. It wras not so much social as individual. It was the plight of the many-times pregnant woman. Centres of population were not river valleys as such, nor City States, but know, although Carlile had discussed methods before then. But Carlile could only urge elementary remedies because of the lack of medical knowledge. in those days. He advocated the use of. crude mercury, which was superceded later by other methods.

There was still a great deal of pioneer work to be done when Margaret and Rose em-





(HmndbooK for Worhing Mothers)

Give* in simple languages the knowledge that every working nxothor ahould have of bow to limit her family.

32 pages Price SIXPENCE. By post 7*d.

From ROSE "WITCOP 31 Sinclair Garden*, Kensington, Loudon, W.14

—Freethinker advertlsment, March 22, 1925

over-crowded cities, the product of the in- barked on their campaign. That they went dustrial revolution, where a woman might mno it wholeheartedly is seen by some of the spend her life In a succession of child-bear- advertisements which I reproduce in this log. The regard which the Enlightenment study. A handbill was issued by The New had brought for the individual as a human Generation League to announce the meeting being could not ignore the suffering and of protest against the suppression of Birth slavery of a large section of the populace Control knowledge. Actually Rose never ac-who were the victims of ignorance. Infanti- <*Pt*I suppression of Family Limitation. dde-even if it were not rcpellant to the She published a third edition from Rich-modern mind- was obviously not the answer. mond Gardens, London, and also used the Abstinence, or self-control were not feasible. phWBOw address. Bakunin House after she The only answer was some manner of artifl- h,fd br?*e" ™th w*thin a few months cial control she Polished another edlton from Sinclair

Gardens, Shepherds Bush, and a little later One of the first advocates of control of yet another edition from Sheohsrds Bush conception was Francis Place, who had Road where she established a Birth Control rather a large family for a birth control clinic. She favoured direct action In this pioneer. Then there was Richard Carlile, who matter and sneered a little at my belief In favoured Birth Control knowledge being the assertion of ray Constitutional Right as spread largely as one phase of his stand for a Citizen to publish and to obtain and study the Free Press. He believed in the people and such knowledge. She withdrew not a line of the right of the people to know. Charles the booklet which the Crown had claimcd Bradlaugh and Annie Besant made a more was obscene. Her challenee was never ac-dfrcct stand on the right of the people to cepted. and it might be said that she won.

NOTE: Tt»e obituary Notice <m pare in reproduce* from TUB COUNCIL. Joly-Aucost 1S32. A mis-Hint the date 1*07 Instead of 1)09 when R«*e and I set np ho»v-keeping tOfCOMT.

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