Josephine Butler to Miss Forsaith

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter. Written from [Cheltenham].

She feels the cold horribly but it is nothing to the sufferings of the poor. Emphasises the need at the moment for 'fresh and strong spiritual life in our Cause, else it will go down'. She bewails the deadness of the churches and wishes they would take the parable of the Good Samaritan to heart and as 'one of our Lord's most bitter rebukes to the churches'. 'The churches in this correctly Evangelical Cheltenham disgust me' She then relates how she discovered that the rooms on the floor below her had been taken by 'a professional high class prostitute'. The landlady got her to leave. JB felt better, followed her up and found her in a home of ill fame patronised by gentlemen, the house being protected as much as a 'maison toleree'. Further the slums of Cheltenham would be a disgrace to London or New York. Not a voice is raised about all this except 'one most humble minister of Lady Huntingdon's Chapel' who came to see her. Her brave remark to him was: 'We must try, Mr Foster, to lay a train of gunpowder here, and perhaps God will put a spark to it some day!'

Administrative / Biographical History

13 Dec [1902]

'Lady Huntingdon's Chapel'

'Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion'

This is a Nonconformist denomination in England founded by Selina, Countess of Huntingdon in the middle of the 18th century Calvinistic Methodist in Theology, most of its 37 chapels are affiliated with the Congregational Union

Huntingdon, Selina Hastings, Countess of (1707-91) daughter of Earl Ferrers she married in 1727 the 9th Earl of Huntingdon. In 1739 she became a Methodist and was one of the most important and influential disciplines and supporters of Whitefield and the Wesleys (Hutchinson's News 20th cent Encyc)

'I think the Education Bill will be a useful, tho' disagreeable dynamite to the Churches'

The Education Bill was introduced in Mar 1902 and became law on 20 Dec

'It made county and county borough councils the local authorities for all secondary and technical education. It gave them the same position for elementary education too ... It brought under the new authorities not only the board schools but the voluntary schools ... Public money was thus made available for the first time to ensure properly paid teachers and a standardised level of efficiency for all children alike ...' (Ensor England 1870-1914 p 356)

'Did you read Pastor Mosel's powerful words in the 'Bien Public' A periodical (French language) Neuchatel 'established in the interest of practical work for moral reform, prevention, rescue etc. on the principles of the Federation'. In 1884 the 'Journal Bien Public' became the property of Mme Humbert, who assumed the direction of its without any regular help excepting that of members of her family. Shortly after her death [in 1888] a rearrangement of all her business took place ... Neuchatel continues to be the centre of the work for the Journal, and the ladies committee who direct it have decided to entrust the editors help to my daughter Amelie ... From article by M Aime Humbert on 'The Abolitionist Press of the Continent, in the notes of progress in Switzerland'

In the 'Dawn' Aug 1888 p 15