Josephine Butler to Stanley Butler

Archive Unit
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 3JBL/35/25
  • Former Reference
      GB 106 5320
  • Dates of Creation
      28 Mar [1896]
  • Physical Description
      1 item

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter. Written from Lausanne

She replies to his questions as to whether Geneva is really worth all this trouble 'such a vile hole and corner place' as it is, when there are such large countries in Africa and Australia with 'their powers of expansion and better morals'. The battle fought at Geneva was one of principles and 'it does not matter how small the theatre on which the drama of principles is played out ...principles are vital for all times and all places'. The same question will have to be fought out by all these countries, but she cannot go and help the moral development in these vast continents. She can help Geneva and show what has so deeply corrupted it. But there are many fine people there as she has learnt in the last five weeks.

'Did you read about the horrors of Dr Peters and the German generals in Africa ... Bebel made a splendid speech in the German Parliament against these men.'

Details about German control of east Africa

Administrative / Biographical History

Dr Carl Peters took the lead in obtaining a sphere of influence for the Germans on the east side of Africa where the Sultan of Zanzibar had shadowy rights over an enormous coastline. He formed a German East Africa Co and obtained a charter for it. Bebel was a leader of the German Social Democratic Party and was elected to the Reichstag. None of the European powers who took over large sections of Africa and formed trading companies were considerate about the rights of the natives, and the Germans and Belgians in particular were notorious for brutalities. Bebel led the protests in the Reichstag against these men.

Cyril Butler was the eldest son of Spencer Percival Butler, a younger brother of the Rev George. See letter about his engagement to Mary Pease 22 Dec 1892.

Biog: Ferdinand August Bebel, Dr Karl Peters, Cyril Butler