Josephine Butler to Miss Mary Priestman

Scope and Content

Written from Neuchatel

Hopes to get home soon after Whit. Went to Berne for a week to arrange things about their Sep Conference. Increase in her correspondence owing to the stir in Switzerland [over the defeat of the Abolitionists in Geneva on 22 Mar and the shocking scenes which ensued]. Puzzled as to why English newspapers have paid no attention to it when it was noticed so largely throughout Europe. But she does not see it as a reverse, for 'the wicked and obscene triumph of the Tenanciers (brothel-keepers of Geneva) has opened the eyes of many people to the corrupting effects of that shameful institution.'

'What a conclusive pamphlet Mr Edmondson's last one is!' This was entitled 'Understood but not expressed', a review of certain existing regulations (in the alleged 'interest of the public health') on the continent of Europe and in some British Colonies, to which is appended an important memorandum by the British 'Army Sanitary Commission'

'I am not surprised about Mr Balfour's action about the Suffrage Bill. I never thought him a very true man...I agree with you that we need a holy rebellion on the part of women' Speaks of a meeting of 'high class mothers' to talk to them about their duties to their children. 'I am going to speak strongly to them about their sons'.

'I cannot be back by the 21st, the Friends' Abolition Day.'

That was the annual meeting of the Friends' Association, held on 21 May. (See note, letter of 27 Apr 1896)

'... my correspondence which has been much increased by the stir in Switzerland.'

See letter dated 23 Mar 1896 'My terrible letter IV from Geneva'

The defeat at the Poll and the riots which followed (Mar 1896)

'with kind love to Margaret' - Mrs Margaret Tanner nee Priestman

'my poor sister' - Mrs Smyttan (Fanny) who died in 1895

Administrative / Biographical History

Notice of Edmondson's pamphlet in the 'Sentinel' states: 'Mr Edmondson quotes largely from leading supporters of the system of State Regulated Vice, in order to show the true inwardness of the evil principles of the system.'

(The 'Sentinel', Jun 1896, p 79)

Biog: Mrs Meuricoffre, Mr Edmondson, Mr Balfour, Mrs Richardson of York, Mr Lunn, Mrs Smyttan, Cecil Rhodes, Miss Humbert, Mrs Amos Sheldon