Josephine Butler to her friend [Miss Priestman]

Scope and Content

Written from 5 Cautley Ave, Clapham Common [home of sister, Mrs Thomas].

Discusses distribution of her pamphlet 'Truth before everything'; they had 9000 copies printed and perhaps they had better have a 1000 more. There was a debate on their question in the House, but no report appeared as it was after midnight and all the reporters had gone home; some friends who were there said the Mr Stuart spoke splendidly and showed up the Government. Charles is much better.

Administrative / Biographical History

'I do not think I can improve upon Miss Estlin's sketch of dear Mrs Nichol'

This was Mrs Elizabeth Pease Nichol of Edinburgh daughter of Joseph Pease of Darlington who died Feb 1897. She was on the executive cttee of the LNA 1870-86 and involved in all the social reform movements of the time. (For further details see Biog Index)

'Miss Forsaith says that 'Truth before everything' has not been sent systematically to any of the Committees you name ... It has been largely asked for by people who got a single copy at St Martin's Hall'

The long standing disagreement between Josephine and Lady Henry Somerset came to a head when Lady Henry speaking as President of the British Branch of the WWCTU declared herself in favour of Regulation and wrote a letter to Lord George Hamilton, which appeared in the Times (21 Apr) which embodied 6 propositions outlining a scheme for Regulation 'more repellent than that previously in force'

JB being unable to attend the meeting called by the LNA to consider the situation wrote a letter to be read out at the meeting and this was finally reproduced in her pamphlet 'Truth before everything'. It was a repetition of principles well known and often expressed by her but it showed clearly that age and infirmity had in no way abated 'her passion for justice and the fury of her indignation against those who would exploit the defenceless'

The reference to the 'St Martin's Hall' was to the annual meeting of the LNA for 1897 held there on 9 Jul. The main subject of discussion was India, the physical condition of our army, and above all, to JB the women of India.

(The Shield Jul 1897 p 25).

'There was a debate on our question in the House on Thursday' [5 Aug]

(For a report of this see the 'Shield' Aug 1897 p 34)

'So now the CDA system is re-established in India'

This was brought about by the repeal in India of the Act of 1895. This was printed out by Stuart in his speech in the House (see above).

JB printed it out with the to her obvious corollary: 'We shall have to fight'

Biog: Mrs Elizabeth Pease Nichol, Lord George Hamilton, Mr Stuart, Miss Estlin