Josephine Butler to Miss Mary Priestman

Scope and Content

Written from Balham

'The winter has been a terrible experience'

Josephine Butler's letters describe this winter as bitterly cold and how little the 'jerry-built houses', such as hers, kept it out. Also 'the awful sufferings of the poor people' (See letters dated 31 Jan and 11 Feb)

Charles is still at home but since he left Mozambique he has been receiving no salary and he will have to take some job, probably one connected with mining in Western Australia. Glad to be at a distance 'from Cecil Rhodes and his chartered Co.' George is now almost himself again.

'I am rather full of thought and business about the Colmar Conference already. The letters I get from semi-Germans. These are rather heartbreaking.'

The Conference took place on 18-20 Sep 1895. Colmar, the capital of Alsace, was recently annexed by Germany after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

In spite of forebodings, the Conference was successful.

'I am rather full of thought and business about the Colmar Conference'

Josephine Butler feared the 'weight of German opinion and German prejudice' which found expression in the idea of Penal measures against vice which would only operate against women.

'The Germans are cruel to women'. She is very anxious therefore to have 'a large strong group of faithful women from all countries who will stand in the breach' at Colmar.

Comments 'how dreadfully sad it was about the suffrage bill and it seems to have been through the wretched egotism of a woman'

Administrative / Biographical History

'Annie' She was a maid with the Butlers in Winchester and stayed on with Josephine Butler when she had to move on the death of the Canon. Annie was with her at Balham. (See letter of 13 Oct 1892, which mentions Annie and Josephine Butler abroad).

From list of bills etc. presented in the House to do with Women's Suffrage

In: Constance Rover 'Women's Suffrage and Party Politics in Britain 1866-1914'

App II p 220

'1895 WSB McLaren obtained a place for a Resolution and C Macdona (C Rotherhithe) a hopeless place for a bill'

Result: Resolution had to be withdrawn as Macdona refused to withdraw the bill.

Biog: Miss Forsaith, Mr Cecil Rhodes, Mrs Smyttan, Miss Bragg