Josephine Butler to James Stuart

Scope and Content

Written from Hotel Bernerhof, Berne.

Tells him she is preparing to part with Hatty and then go on via Basle to Brussels. Though she cannot go out she sees many people and hears much news. She is very sad about her friends in Paris: it is a dreadful struggle and some may have to give their lives in the conflict between the Civil and Military. Guyot has been writing 'a series of very wise and able articles on the Fashoda affair' [she encloses one of his articles from a French paper]. Discusses the circular to the doctors from Brussels and their changing attitude to Regulation. She has met the man who is preparing the 'piece de resistance' on their side for the Geneva Conference the following year, for their discussion on 'Prostitution non pas un delit' M. Huber, President of the Commission for the unification of the Code is 'strongly in favour of repression and punitive measures against immoral women and men!!' In the elections just over in Geneva their party have lost three seats.

Administrative / Biographical History

'It is a dreadful struggle tho' not nearly over' This refers to the Dreyfus case, which started in 1894 and by 1896 had divided France into two irreconcilable factions. See note letter of 3 Feb 1898, JB to Mr Johnson.

'The Fashoda Incident 1898/9' See note about it in letter of JB to Stanley, 16 Oct 1898.

'That circular to the doctors from Brussels'

This was the preliminary announcement of a Medical Conference to be held in Brussels, Sep 1899. It roused much argument beforehand in the British Committee as to whether the Federation should take part in it officially because the general object was stated to be 'How Regulation can best be carried out'. JB therefore thinks it essential to learn something about the Conference in passing through Brussels.

'I have seen the person here ... who is preparing the 'pièce de resistance' on our side for Geneva next year for our discussion on 'Prostitution n'est pas un délit' This was preparation for the Conference held in Sep of the following year (1899) at Geneva. JB was nervous about M. Huber, who was strongly in favour of repressive measures against men and women, and was held in great esteem in Switzerland for his learning and character. However in the end things turned out better than he expected.

'Miss Forsaith told me about the Committee at 17 Tothill St and poor McLaren's resignation' This was Walter Stowe Bright McLaren, a warm supporter of the Abolitionists. The Committee was the British Committee affiliated to the International Federation. It was set up in 1886 when the National Association for Repeal wound up its affairs following the Repeal of the CD Acts. Sir James Stansfeld remained as Chairman of this Committee till 1893 when Mr WSB McLaren took over in order that Sir James might be set free to take his place on the Departmental Committee, which sat that year to take the evidence of Mrs Andrew and Dr Bushnell after their memorable visit to India. From this office he retired in 1898 but remained a member of the Committee till his death. He was succeeded by Henry J Wilson.

'When do you go to St Andrew's' In 1898 James Stuart was elected Lord Rector of St Andrew's University and gave the customary inaugural address.

'I am so grieved about good Mr Johnson having lost the sight of one eye' See note on Mr Johnson in letter of 30 Oct 1898, JB to Mr Johnson.

Biog: Guyot, M. Huber, M. Minod, Mr Johnson, Mr WSB McLaren, Mr HJ Wilson, de Meuron, Bridel