Josephine Butler to 'Dear Friend' [Miss Priestman]

Scope and Content

Written from London. She first rebuts the charge of narrowness; she herself was brought up a Wesleyan, not Church of England, and her 'mother was a Moravian'. The Convention is primarily devotional but the Friends have put in two great evening meetings so as to embrace all those who themselves object to join in a devotional conference. She hopes Mr Stansfeld will speak at one of the evening meetings. She herself secured Sir John Pope Hennessey as a speaker when she went to him the day before as one of the 'deputation' from the Friends [see note] Some churchmen refuse to take part in 'anything of a devotional character' but not 'my husband's cousin Canon Battersby, a saintly man' [see note]. Mr Shaen has been invited.

Administrative / Biographical History

Wednesday [17 Jan 1883]. This and 3 other letters undated dealing with the Friends' Convention were in the period shortly before the Convention opened at Devonshire House, Wednesday Jan. 24 1883. The date therefore of this letter could be the Wed. before the opening, i.e. 17 Jan. (For Notes on the Convention see JB to Miss Priestman 10 & 11 Nov 1882. For accounts of Committee meetings see letters of 10, 11, 13, 20 Nov 1882.) 'I was brought up a Wesleyan.' In a letter (copy) from JB to Maurice Gregory from Cheltenham, 16 Mar 1902, she relates some of her childhood's religious experiences in the Border country where she was brought up, which ranged from Wesleyism with their humble meeting houses to the Irvingites who set up a church at Barmoor near them. 'My mother was a Moravian.' The Moravians originated from some followers of John Huss (15th century) but persecution scattered them into small secret sects and it was not till the 18th century that they established themselves in Saxony and became well known all over Europe (and later America) for their educational and evangelising work. 'At the same meeting Sir John Pope Hennessey is to speak.' This was a public meeting held during the Convention (24 & 25 Jan) at Exeter Hall and members of all denominations and Free Thinkers were invited to speak. JB related that 'I went to him as a 'deputation' from the Friends yesterday, and he accepted gladly. He is a Roman Catholic, brought up in the School of the Jesuits, and a most noble man'. 'Canon Battersby, a saintly man, gladly accepts however to preside at one of the devotional meetings and to speak.' Canon Battersby was one of the co-founders of the famous Keswick Convention in 1875 so he was accustomed to inter denominational movements. But 1882 was his last Keswick; on the opening day of the Keswick of 1883 he died. 'My sister and I are again alone.' This was Mrs Garston JB's elder sister who since her husband's death in 1873 had come to London to live. She helped her sister in her work and JB often stayed with her when up for Committees, etc. Biog: Miss Estlin; Mrs Thomas; Mr Shaen; Mr Stansfeld; Sir John Pope Hennessey; Lucy Wilson; Canon Rawlinson; Canon Battersby (Rev Dundas Harford Battersby); Mrs Lucas; Mrs Steward.