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Source 2B is from the minutes of Kirkwall Town Council in 1886. It shows discussion of a letter asking the Town Council at Kirkwall to show its support for a franchise bill in 1886.


1. What did the writers of the letter want Kirkwall Town Council to do?

2. How did Kirkwall Town Council respond to the letter?

3. How useful is source B2 as evidence of the methods used by suffragists to get the vote in the late 19th century?
Orkney Archives, Kirkwall Town Council Minutes, p276
At a monthly meeting of the Town Council of the Burgh of Kirkwall held in the Town Hall there on Wednesday the seventeenth day of March Eighteen hundred and eighty six years.

Present Provost Reid, Bailies Peace and Williamson, Dean of Guild White, Treasurer Spence, Messrs J. Smith Peace, R.G.W. Irvine, D. MacPherson. Mr Heddle and W. Work. Provost Reid in the chair.

The minute of last monthly meeting was read and approved. The meeting again took into consideration the representation of the Convention of Royal Burghs referred to in minute of last monthly meeting when the clerk read another letter which he had received from the Town Clerk of Elgin as well as a circular from the Town Clerk of Arbroath on the same subject, and it was unanimously agreed to take no action in the matter.

Bailie Peace moved that the Council resolve to proceed with the appointment of a representative elder to the ensuing General Assembly of the Church of Scotland but said motion not being seconded it fell to the ground.

The Clerk read the following letter from the Secretary of the Edinburgh National Society for Women's Suffrage:- "Edinburgh National Society for Women's Suffrage, 13 Raeburn Place. March 6th 1886. To the Town Clerk of Kirkwall, Sir, I have the honour to forward to you a Copy of a Bill for extending the Parliamentary Franchise to Women, which was read a second time in the House of Commons on Friday the 19th February ultimo, and which it is hoped may pass the remaining stages during the present Session of Parliament.

I beg that you will be good enough to communicate the same to the Council of Kirkwall at their next meeting, and ask them to consider the propriety of Petitioning Parliament in favour of a measure which affects the interests of so considerable a portion of their constituents. I am, Sir, your obedient Servant (Signed) Eliza Kirkland, Secretary. I beg to call your attention to the fact that the Edinburgh Town Council has already petitioned in favour of the Bill."

When it was moved by Bailie Peace, seconded by Bailie Williamson and unanimously agreed to that the Bill therein referred to be allowed to lie on the table for further consideration.
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