Josephine Butler to Miss Forsaith

Scope and Content

Letter 8 of 8 The Geneva Struggle

Typed copy.

Written from Paris

Tells of her visit to Berne in connection with the annual Conference of the Federation to be held there in Sep. She thinks that the German mode of thought ie that of depending on the State for everything, prevails too much in German Switzerland, and is anxious lest this should lead to modification of the new Federal Code on these moral questions.

'I had heard that Mr. Stoss ... who has charge of the Penal section of the new Federal Code ... had modified the articles of the Code on these moral questions at the suggestion ... of the Zurich Committee and in a wrong sense.'

For other letters dealing with this subject of the Revised Penal Code of Switzerland see: 11 Feb 1891; 19 Feb 1891; 12 Jul 1894 and with biographies of Louis Ruchonnet; Louis Bridel and Stoss.

'The 'Battle of Geneva' was at several points connected with political matters which have served to give it a more extended interest ...' Geneva alone among the Cantons has the system of proportional representation. On 22 Mar that the Droit d'Initiative was exercised for the first time by the people. The events of the 22nd have raised the question of the 'Suppression du Budget des Cultes', ie the separation of the National Church from the State.

The remainder of the letter is devoted to the tale of Isabelle Kaiser, the daughter of a Federal Colonel already known to the Butler family. She was then the only survivor of the family, except her mother and was herself dying of Tuberculosis. Inspired by the conflict at Geneva, she had written a moving poem entitled 'Gloria Victis' which was first published by Albert Thomas in 'The Signal'. Josephine Butler describes the visit she paid to the dying girl and gives the impression: 'she so young, learning and hoping and loving and so wonderfully gifted.'

Administrative / Biographical History

Berne - the Federal Capital of Switzerland, seat of Parliament and the various Ministries.

Biog: M. Stoss, Louis Bridel, M. de Meuron, Isabelle Kaiser