Josephine Butler to [Miss Priestman]

Scope and Content

Written from Winchester. To say that 'there seems a probability of the lovely Trio appointed to frame a Bill (Lord Hartington, Sir William Vernon Harcourt and Lord Northbrook) basing it upon the existing Prisons Acts'. Asks her friend to summon a Committee, to consider a draft of a Manifesto declaring what principles they will not accept and claiming equality as between men and women. They should also send an official letter of thanks and congratulation to Mr Stansfeld and to thank Mr Hopwood, Mr Fowler and those who spoke.

Administrative / Biographical History

[Wednesday] Apr 25 [1883]

Lord Hartington was first appointed Secretary for India in Gladstone's 2nd cabinet; then in 1882 he succeeded Childers at the War Office. Sir William Vernon Harcourt was Home Secretary. Lord Northbrook was 1st Lord of the admiralty. 'There seems a probability of the lovely trio [see above] appointed to frame a Bill ... basing it upon the existing Prisons Acts.' In this JB proved to be right. (RR no.451) 28 Jun 1883. 'Lord Hartington moved Bill to amend the CD Acts and to authorise detention in Hospital. (Bill withdrawn).' (See 'Shield' 7 Jul p.192). (RR no.452) 5 Jul. Lord Hartington moved 'Detention in Hospital (No.2) Bill'. Withdrawn on 26 Jul. 'Send a letter of thanks and congratulation to Mr Stansfeld signed by all our Executive Committee.' Mr Stansfeld had succeeded on 20 Apr in getting the resolution against the compulsory examination of women passed in the House of Commons. He had already ruined his political career by openly compromising the cause both inside and outside the House. Biog: Lord Hartington; Sir William Vernon Harcourt; Lord Northbrook; Mr Stansfeld; Mr Hopwood; Mr Fowler.