Mr HJ Wilson to Mr Stansfeld

Scope and Content

Copy of letter [very faint]. Written from Pitsmoor, Sheffield. He tells Mr Stansfeld about the money raised for a gift to Mrs Butler two years ago which helped her very much and they hoped for the same thing now [see letters about her recent illness]. The rest of the letter devoted to Burgess who has worked under him for 9 months and against whom he can make many criticisms.


Henry J Wilson

North-Counties League


6 Jun 1875

Dear Mr Stansfield

Two years ago we did the same thing for Mrs Butler; she was a great deal too grateful; and we believe it really helped very much to do her good. We got £60 I think. I say we, but really Edmondson got most of the money as he is doing again

[12 lines too faint to read]

I remembered a note of yours half apologetic, saying you were really not wealthy or you would give more to the Federation; and I knew with your feeling about dear Mrs Butler you could not decline if it were mentioned to you; -- now there you have the whole case.

As to Peter Taylor I imagine Edmondson wrote to him because we had seen a very kind note of his to Mrs Butler, very pleasant indeed, strongly urging her to rest. I should suppose it would be indicated that it was quite a private matter. He thinks it should be given with the names of contributors. It was not so last time, but I do not think it very important. However I enclose his note.

It was private enough last time, only 16 of us in the secret, and her note of thanks was sent round the 16, as well as a very kind note of Mr Butler's in reference to the matter.

I began a note to you a few days since in consequence of some communications from Burgess in which he first wished me to see you with him about the so-called working men's movement, and then went off to see you, I think, before my reply reached him, at all events very hurriedly. And now he writes that you see no force in my criticisms and wish the thing to be pushed forward. As my criticisms are not in existence in writing, and Burgess is the person who would least of anybody wish them to be plainly put, of course you have not heard them, and in any case you would not have dismissed them in the way he described. So that doesn't trouble me at all and needs no remark. But if he has been to you for something like an endorsement you ought to know the affair is not so much a spontaneous outburst of [---] as a question of LSD and that others of the best friends (?) of our cause agree with me in thinking that in that direction as well as in others we are in no slight danger from the calculations of our 'permanent officials'! I know Burgess better than anyone else does; he was under me for nine months; while I gladly recognise his points I have not said what I have above, hastily, or inadvisably, or without the facts before me, though it is impossible to write it all.

It is a very unhappy thing that the movement is so weak in having no well administered headquarters, which makes these numerous Leagues and local associations needful. However I hope that we may be able to talk such matters over some day, and that in the meantime no great harm may result.

I remain, Yours very truly, Henry J Wilson

Administrative / Biographical History

'Two years we did the same thing for Mrs Butler'

i.e. raised money among friends to enable her to have a good holiday. For letters about this in 1873, see 28 Apr 1873 RF Martineau to HJW; 3 May 1873 Mr Edmondson to HJW; 8, 9, 19 May 1873 Mr Edmondson to HJW; 26 May 1873 JB's letter of thanks.

Biog: Mr Edmondson; Mr Stansfeld [MP for Halifax; in 1875 took the Presidency of the British and Continental Federation for the abolition of State regulation everywhere]; Mr Peter Taylor; Mr Burgess (Agent)