Josephine Butler to Miss Priestman and Mrs Tanner.

Archive Unit
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 3JBL/23/18
  • Former Reference
      GB 106 4023
  • Dates of Creation
      11 Jul 1884
  • Physical Description
      1 item

Scope and Content

Written from Winchester (dictated to James Stuart). Says she has had a meeting at Winchester of working men who have formed a committee meeting to settle a plan of campaign for the autumn. Need not now trouble themselves about the good or the bad in the Criminal Law Amendment Bill as it is to be dropped. Her friend will see in her article in the Pall Mall answers to some of her queries.

Administrative / Biographical History

11 Jul 1884 'I have had a meeting here of working men ...'(See letter of 7 Jun 1884 JB to Mrs Tanner) 'Criminal Law Amendment Bill.' On 31 May 1881 Lord Dalhousie moved in the House of Lords moved for the appointment of a Select Committee to enquire into the law for the protection of young girls. 10 Jul 1882 The Lords Committee published its findings and made its recommendations. 31 May 1883 Lord Rosebery presented 'A Criminal Law Amendment Bill' (to make further provision for the protection of women rights, for the suppression of brothels and other purposes). This embodied the recommendations of the Lords Committee. (It also contained Clause 12 to which JB objected. See Note letter of 20 Aug 1883 JB to Mrs Hinde Smith). It passed through the Lords, but was shelved in the House of Commons 'sine die'. Nothing more was done till 1885 when under pressure from public opinion roused by Stead's articles in the Pall Mall Gazette, the Home Secretary, Sir Richard Cross, decided to push through the Criminal Law Amendment Bill with a clause raising the age of consent to 16. 'You will see my article in the Pall Mall Gazette of yesterday.' In 1883 Stead became editor of the Pall Mall Gazette and in 1885 he made his notorious exposure of criminal vice in England under the heading 'The maiden tribute of modern Babylon'. The immediate result of which was the passing of the 'Criminal Law Amendment Bill' raising the age of consent from 13-16. Biog: WT Stead.