James Stuart to Josephine Butler

Scope and Content

Written from Cambridge. Incomplete letter (first sheet only). Stuart recounts a conversation, which he had had with Fawcett [see note] in which they discussed the differences and similarities of the two causes primarily affecting women: Women's Suffrage and the cause for the Repeal of the CD Acts. In Fawcett's view the great difference was the strength of the religious impulse in the Repeal agitation, and that in his opinion this was so strong that 'nothing would stand against it'.

Administrative / Biographical History


'How very grand it is about the Quakers'

10 Nov 1873 Friends Repeal Association formed: £10,000 to be raised (Rough Record 259).

Subscriptions in aid of Repeal were announced to the sum of nearly £5000 - £10,000 in all is to be raised. (From 'Shield' Nov 29 1873 p 385). This also gives us an approximate date of the conversation between James Stuart and Henry Fawcett related in this letter

'in talking [with Fawcett] about women's suffrage about which he is not very hopeful'

Hopefully launched in 1866 with a petition of nearly 1500 signatures for the enfranchisement of women and introduced into the House of Commons by John Stuart Mill, the suffrage cause made little obvious progress for the rest of the century - converts to the cause were made but little impact was made on the House of Commons. Prime Ministers thought not personally hostile never could find time to give to the question and the majority of MPs remained anti-women suffrage

'I enclose a note of his [Mr Stuart] to me about Mr Fawcett'

Mr Stuart in a letter to JB [14 Nov 1873] related that he and Mr Fawcett (the blind MP and Professor of Political Economy of Cambridge 1863-1884 d.1884) had had a discussion about the differences and similarities of the two causes primarily affecting women, namely Women Suffrage and the Abolitionist cause. This arose out of the gift made by the Quakers of £5000 (with a ceiling of £10,000) for the Repeal of the CD Acts. He said 'where for instance would you find one small religious body subscribing for women's suffrage; that kind of thing alone shows how intense the feeling is' and again 'the strength of the religious impulse in that question is simply such that nothing would stand against it'

'Storks of Colchester in the matter of CD Acts'

See note in letter of JB to Mr HJ Wilson 5 Nov 1870

'to ... Pontefract you had a perfect right to go ...'

See note letters of JB to Mr HJ Wilson 23 Aug 1872. Henry Fawcett and James Stuart were both resident at Cambridge at this time; Fawcett was a Professor of Political Economy 1860 to his death in 1884; Stuart was a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and in 1875 was elected 1st Prof of Mechanism and Applied Mechanics'. (See Biographical index for further details)

Biog: James Stuart, Henry Fawcett, Sir HK Storks