Josephine Butler to Mrs Tanner

Scope and Content

Copy of incomplete letter. Written from Liverpool. An account of the 'presentation of our great Petition' so large that 'it required two or three men to get it hoisted on the top of a cab at Euston'. When it got to the House 'MPs came swarming in to look at it'. Blind Mr Fawcett said to his boy who leads him 'Take me to the large petition I want to feel it' and he felt it all over'. Mr Duncan McLaren and Mr Candlish took it into the House.

Administrative / Biographical History

'The presenting of our great Petition'

This Petition known as the 'monster Petition' was signed by women only and presented to the House of Commons by JB and friends on 4 Apr 1871. (For opinions of the Press on 'the monster Petition' see 'The Shield' 8 Apr 1871 p 452)

'Mr Cowper Temple and others of the Royal Commission were there and came up to me ... to talk about it' - Cowper Temple was an active politician especially interested in education and philanthropic work. (He has gone down in history as the author of the Cowper-Temple clause in the Education Act of 1870 which insured unsectarian Bible teaching in the new State schools)

In 1880 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Mount Temple and confined himself entirely to philanthropic activities. He was a devoted friend of the Canons and visited him on his return home in 1886 after his severe illness abroad. (See 'Life of George Butler' p 422)

'Blind Mr Fawcett' - Blinded as the result of an accident out shooting but carried on with his work as a Professor at Cambridge and an MP

Biog: Miss Estlin; Mrs Pennington; Mr Duncan McLaren; Dr Lyon Playfair MP; Mr Cowper Temple MP; Mr Candlish MP; Mr Fawcett