Josephine Butler to Miss Priestman

Scope and Content

Written from Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel. She and her husband were telegraphed for to go to their son George who had arrived from India with fever and had been put up at Toynbee Hall when delirious with a temperature of 105. She had now been with him for a week and he was now out of danger. Hopes to get him home soon. Has seen nothing 'of the late stirring events'. Criticises Balfour.

Administrative / Biographical History

17 Feb [1888] 'I was unable to see anything of the late stirring events ... how awful Balfour's game is.' Balfour succeeded Sir Michael Hicks Beach as Irish Secretary Mar 1887. A drastic Crimes Act was passed with a companion measure giving certain concessions to Irish tenants. In Aug the National League was proclaimed 'A sort of war' lasting nearly three years began during which Ireland was once more convulsed by rebel lawlessness and dragooned by arbitrary authority'. Two moments were never forgotten: the riot of Michels town at the opening of a prosecution against O'Brien 9 Sep and 'Bloody Sunday' in Trafalgar Square on 13 Nov. (Taken from Ensor England 1870-1914 p.178-) The prisons were full and JB's sympathies were entirely with those she regarded as the under dogs. Date: No date but [probably 17 Feb 1888 ] reference to William O'Brien and the Irish troubles with Balfour as Irish Chief Secretary, 1887] The Irish events date this letter as not earlier than 1888.