Josephine Butler to Elizabeth

Scope and Content

8pp. Giving an account of the Eton Conference on Education that lasted two days and included a ceremonial dinner on the Friday with 200 guests, masses of gold plate and a flunkey behind each couple. The chief discussion was on the study of Modern Languages and its importance compared with the Dead Languages. "Georgina Butler (Montagu's wife) was like the Queen of Sheba', Georgie said she had ''no spirit left in her'' after seeing the grandeur of the reception at Eton, so far beyond what they can do at Harrow. They spent Saturday night and Sunday with the Montagu Butlers at Harrow [he was headmaster there 1859-85] Then instead of going home from London where she had two days of business, they went to see Eliza Masson [a sister of Josephine Butler] and spent Christmas with her. Various other members of the Grey family were there also and friends. Note in JB's writing asking for the letter to be sent on to Charlie and for C to send it to Aunt Hatty..

Administrative / Biographical History

'Elizabeth': This was Elizabeth Jane, daughter of Henry Morton and the second wife (m. 1858) of George Annett Grey of Milfield who was an elder brother of Josephine. 'I saw Hannah and Mary for half an hour at Fanny's last Tuesday.' These were two of the four daughters of George Annett Grey by his first wife Elizabeth Boyd, who died in 1856. They were born respectively in 1845 and 1856. 'Fanny' was Mrs Frances Smyttan, widow of the Rev George H. Smyttan. She had lived with her father, John Grey of Dilston at the end of his life and was with him when he died in 1868. After that she had helped JB in her work in Liverpool in connection with her 'Home of Rest' for outcast women. Georgina Butler (Montagu's wife) Montagu Butler, Head Master of Harrow from 1859-85, married Georgina Elliot in 1861. They had five children. 'Mrs Ridding wife of the Head Master of Winchester George Ridding, Head Master Winchester 1866 till 1884, when he was appointed Bishop of Southwell. Laura Elizabeth was eldest daughter of Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selborne. 'Eliza Masson.' This was JB's eldest sister, who had been widowed twice. Her daughter Edith had married a Swiss banker Leopold and lived at Genoa, where her house was always open to her relations. 'Eliza had her three Governesses with her, and Constance and Adela Grey and Fanny Smyttan.' Constance and Adela were daughters of Charles Grey, JB's brother and therefore her nieces. Adela was sent out to Switzerland some time in 1890 in an attempt to cure her of consumption, and JB describes a visit paid to her on the slopes of the Jura. In it she speaks of her as 'my brother's child, motherless and ill; apparently dying.' She was the child of Charles Grey, whose first wife, the mother of this girl, was Emily (née Bolton) who died in 1864. The second wife, Eliza Jemfrey, was not sympathetic to her step-daughter and JB quotes from 'a cruel letter' (from Mrs Grey) scouting the idea of Adela being ill. (The first letter was one printed in 'The Dawn', 1 Jan 1891, p.13 'Familiar letter to my friends', Le Reid, Bienne, Switzerland, and the second letter was one from JB to 29 Nov [1890]. Good wishes for the New Year sent by Josephine to the household of her brother George Annett Grey: George Annett Grey of Milfield (1815-1886) ?Peter: Christian Margaret b.1860, wife of George Grey (second son) m. 1878, heiress of George Grey of Middle Ord. ?Annie, married 1872 to eldest son, John George Grey (perhaps meant for Anna Maria). Letter sent on as JB requested to 'Charlie' signed EJ Grey (i.e. Elizabeth Jane, see note at beginning). Biog: Mrs Smyttan; Montagu Butler; George Ridding and his wife Lady Laura; Eliza Masson; Adela Grey; Constance Grey.