[Butler] to HJ Wilson

Scope and Content

Photocopy of extracts from private letter 'may be read by Friends of the Cause but not printed' photocopy not in JB's hand.

Written from 280 South Hill Park Road, Liverpool.

JB explains that those who abstained from voting were for the most part 'the moral and religious part of the Constituency' [i.e. the Nonconformists bodies who would in the ordinary way have voted for Sir Henry Storks as the Liberal]. The women were determined to prevent Storks from representing their town 'the first election in our day in which woman's influence has been powerful'. She herself addressed 200 women in a Hall with the mob shouting outside, but she got away by a back door without being molested. She thought that one result of this election was that 'The Home Office is hurrying on the Royal Commission [to look into the working of the CD Acts. It met on l Dec 1870 with an earnestness it has not hitherto evinced.'

Administrative / Biographical History

'Every woman in the Kingdom is his [General Storks] enemy until he repents of deeds done in Malta and the Ionian Isles' - Sir Henry Storks (General) had been commanding officer, Malta 1864-1865 where he had administered Acts for controlling VD 'to his complete satisfaction'. These were not the English CD Acts the first of which had been passed in 1864, but a special ordinance of the Malta Legislative Council passed in 1861. In 1870 Storks stood as a Liberal candidate for Colchester, which was a protected town and came under the CD Acts. The Abolitionists took action and got Dr Baxter Langley, a Liberal, to stand in support of their principles. The split vote gave the seat to the Conservatives and so defeated Storks

'The Home office is hurrying on the Royal Commission now' - Josephine and her friends had been working throughout the year to arouse public opinion against the CD Acts. (Founding of LNA and its Manifesto, a flood of petitions and resolutions to Westminster, etc.) The response of the Government was to appoint a Royal Commission to enquire into the working of the Acts. The Commission was announced in May, but not appointed till Nov 1870.

1 Dec 1870 Committee first met;

18 Mar 1871 JB called to give evidence;

13 May 1871 Commission ended its sittings;

7 Jul 1871 Report published;

13 Feb 1872 Bruce's Bill introduced;

15 Jul 1872 Bruce's Bill withdrawn;

Biog: Sir Henry Storks; Mr Baxter Langley; HJ Wilson (1833-1914) business man, Sheffield, Secretary Northern Counties League