Open Letter from Josephine Butler

Scope and Content

No address.

JB enters 'a protest...against the women who have taken the side of evil, and I will do it in my own single name, that no one may feel implicated in it . It is my mistake to think that she sent the news to Continental countries about the defection of some distinguished women; Lady Henry Somerset's letter was in the Times and the Times is everywhere read abroad. Far from being unimportant the 'defection of certain English women is powerful on the Continent, and our abolitionist friends are shaken in their inmost souls by it' and await an explanation. The leader of the anti-abolitionist party in Geneva (responsible for the outbreak of 22 Mar 1896) is daily writing in his widely circulated paper the 'Genevois' of 'The reversal of England's mad abolitionist policy' and 'is glorifying poor Lady Henry Somerset's name as the Saviour of the reputation of English women'. Under such circumstances she feels it would be wrong to remain silent and pretend they were still a united womanhood, and she as the head of this special movement on behalf of womanhood must make this protest.

Administrative / Biographical History

'She has been misled and so have the Court Ladies and Princesses'

(See note letter of 18 May JB to Miss Forsaith)

'I am asked ... to give her [Lady Henry] time to recant'. Her letter of retraction was written 27 Jan 1898

Biog: Lady Henry Somerset, Mr Pierson, M Faron (Ed of the 'Genevois')