Josephine Butler to the Priestmans

Scope and Content

Written from Ewart Park, Northumberland.

Returning to London 'next Monday' and aims to go to Switzerland in Feb.

'Also there is work to be done at Berne in connexion with the New Penal Code'. Work for her in the Canton de Vaud where an attempt is being made to introduce the Contagious Diseases Acts at Berne.

'I shall get M Minod's help with my book' ie 'Personal reminiscences of a Great Crusade'

The idea of writing the history of their crusade with the help of M Humbert and M Minod had come to Josephine Butler when she was on a visit to the Humberts at Neuchatel in 1892. (See letter of 13 Oct 1892 from Josephine Butler to James Stuart, 5 Nov and 24 Dec 1894).

'I had a request from Cardinal Vaughan (who is at Rome) to write personally to the Pope about our Cause, and he (Vaughan) will give my letter to the Pope...I have written a sweet modest pathetic letter!! If it ever reaches the Pope's hand, I feel pretty sure it will reach his heart too.' This was Leo XIII (1877-1903).

Refers to a 'horrible article in the New Review' by Mr Lilly advocating the Contagious Diseases Acts from the 'highest Christian standpoint'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Closely associated with the work of producing the New Penal Code in Switzerland were:

1. Ruchonnet, Louis (1834-1893) Swiss lawyer and politician President of the Confederation 1883 and 1890. Head of the Department of Justice 1884-1893.

In the 'Dawn' of Jun 1892 p 6 Josephine Butler wrote: 'he [M Ruchonnet] first of all the Prime Minister had the common sense to consult the women of his country concerning articles of the Code bearing on morality, and as to laws touching the interests of women. He asked their advice some years ago and again, lately, I believe he has consulted them'

(Also see letters of 2 Nov 1891 and 19 Feb 1891).

2. Bridel, Louis, Prof of Comparative Legislation in Geneva. In a speech Bridel made at the Federation Conference in London in Jul 1894 (reported in the 'Dawn' Aug 1894 p 27-28 he outlined the progress recently made in his country on the subject of the Civil Rights of Women one example of which was that in Geneva a society sprang up for the 'Reform for the Legal position of women'. He also answered the question why they should dwell so long on the civil rights of women when they were met to consider the abolition of the regulation of vice. (Compare Josephine Butler's views also on importance of women obtaining the vote).

'There is an attempt being made to bring the Contagious Diseases Acts into the Canton de Vaud!!'

This was an attempt made by the doctors in the Canton to introduce the regulations there. 200 ladies of the Canton led by Mme de Charriere protested against the proposal in an address to the Vaudois Med Soc. The members met for discussion of the subject on 19 Jan 1895 and after 3 hours of discussion the proposed regulation was rejected. For full accounts see the 'Sentinel' Mar 1895 p 40 and the 'Dawn' Feb 1895 p 4-6.

Also letters of 31 Jan 1895 and 13 Mar 1895.

See letter of Josephine Butler (from Rome) to M Minod dated 2 Jan 1894 in which she relates her conversation with Aicarde, legal adviser to the Vatican. (A similar account of this offer from Cardinal Vaughan is given in letter from Josephine Butler to Stanley Butler dated 24 Jan 1895)

Biog: M Minod, Mrs Tennant, Cardinal Vaughan, Pope Leo XIII, Miss Estlin