Josephine Butler to Miss Forsaith

Archive Unit
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 3JBL/45/09
  • Former Reference
      GB 106 5389
  • Dates of Creation
      c.12 Feb 1901
  • Physical Description
      1 item

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter. Written from [35 Argyle Road, West Ealing, London W5]. Home of Mrs Terrell].

She writes with grief and distress at the accusation contained in a Swiss paper of an outrage carried out by 20 British Soldiers in South Africa on a burgher's wife. Mrs Fawcett has asked her to take it up. She is very weak and in pain but will at least write to Lord Wolesley. Does her friend know that 'Mrs Amos and Mr Cope [both in vigilance societies] are sending out broadcast their 'criticism' of my book [Native Races and the War 1900]' They have got the addresses of all my Federation friends abroad and sent it to them, as well as widely to all English members. JB's comments: 'This criticism is a trifle. I have not even read it.' Mr Hugo Tamm (Sweden) writes to her so kindly he thought the Amos pamphlet 'Not good spirit'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Saturday night [12 Feb 1901]

'35 Argyle Road' JB was staying at this address as shown by a letter she wrote to the Priestman sisters 14 Feb 1901. Date of this letter therefore most probably about the same time. It was the home of her great friend Mrs Terrell.

'Mrs Amos and Mr Cope are sending out broadcast their 'criticism of my book' This was called 'Native Races and the War'

It displayed a remarkable knowledge of the subject derived largely from Blue Books, Parliamentary papers and earlier histories. Her final summing up based on study of the past and shrewd assessment of the contending parties in S Africa in the present, was that 'for the native races the only hope of freedom and civilised development lay in a British victory and the establishment of government under British sovereign rule'. Hence her continued support for the War which earned her obloquy from the greater part of her colleagues and friends in the movement. The action of Amos and Cope was merely a particularly low down and despicable way of expressing the very strong feelings JB rouse by her support of the War. (For a more detailed account of the background to 'Native Races and the War' see E Moberly Bell's 'Josephine Butler' p 244-6

See also letter of 20 Jun 1900 and letter of 30 Oct 1901 on John Bellous who wrote in support of JB's views

Biog: Lord Roberts, WT Stead, Mrs Fawcett, Visct Wolseley, Mrs Amos, Mr Cope, Mr Hugo Tanner, Michael Davitt