Josephine Butler to Edith

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter. She feels deeply for Italy for so long under the oppressive heel of Austria, as also for the two royal sisters on opposite sides, one being married to the Crown Prince of Prussia and the other to the Prince of Hesse. Thinks she is too radical for her family, except Hatty; but she has a great admiration for Gladstone and is saddened by the fact that he is hated by many and misunderstood by many more.

Administrative / Biographical History

Wednesday [written during the Seven Weeks War between Prussia and Austria 15 Jun -23 Aug 1866]

Edith Leupold was JB's niece married to Ludwig Leupold a Swiss living in Genoa.

Date: Towards end of the 'Seven Weeks War' which lasted from 15 Jun - 23 Aug 1866, say 1 Aug which was a Wednesday

Edith Leupold was the daughter of JB's eldest sister, Eliza (b. 1819); she was married to a Swiss, Ludwig Leupold, a bank official, and lived at Genoa where she kept open house for her relations

'I cannot tell you how much I feel about Italy'

The movement in Italian national unity and independence (known as the Risorgimento) which started after 1815 was brought to completion between 1850 and 1870, chiefly through the astute diplomacy of Cavour. The defeat of Austria by the French in 1859 was followed by the foundation of the Italian Kingdom in 1861. The addition of Venetia to Italy in 1866 (following the Seven Weeks War) and of Rome in 1870 (following the Franco Prussian War of 1870) completed the movement

JB as an ardent reformer and liberal was naturally a keen supporter of this campaign for national unity and Parliamentary Government Italy

'We are both very much interested in your comments about Prussia'

This was written when the 'Seven Weeks War' was still in progress between Prussia on the one side and Austria and allied German states on the other. (It lasted from 15 Jun- 23 Aug)

The effective Prussian military machine supported by Bismarck soon crushed opposition and Prussia set up the new North German Confederation - JB praised Prussia 'who have fought very bravely and well'. She could not then have realised what this foreshadowed, but she did say 'I hope some good may come of it'

'The Crown Prince fighting on the Prussian side and the Prince of Hesse on the Austrian, and the two ladies, the Princess Royal and the Princess Alice of Hesse'

The Crown Prince was Prince Frederick William, nephew of Frederick William IV, King of Prussia. 25 Jan 1858 he married Victoria (1840-1901) eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Princess Royal of England. She thus became Crown Princess of Prussia

9 Mar 1888 the old Emperor William (King of Prussia and Emperor of Germany) died at Berlin, and the Crown Prince Frederick, then a dying man, succeeded to the Throne as Frederick III. 15 Jun Emperor Frederick died after 3 months on the throne, and William, eldest son of Frederick and Victoria succeeded as William II (1859-1941) German Emperor

Princess Alice, 3rd child and 2nd daughter of Q Victoria and Albert; born 25 Apr 1843; married Prince Louis (afterwards reigning Grand Duke) of Hesse; died 14 Dec 1878

'I am troubled at all my family's tory tendencies, except Hatty ... I am very much too radical as they would say for them'

'I have a great and real love for Mr Gladstone. It is true that he is much more liberal than formerly, but it is absurd to speak of him as being led by Bright ...'

Many people who knew both Gladstone and Bright had the opinion: RF Martineau - see his letter to HJ Wilson 28 Dec 1872 'We hear that there is no one in the whole world whose opinion has such weight with Gladstone as Bright'. Also in the diary of Sir W Hamilton ed by Bahlman - 27 Apr 1884; 29 May 1884 and 10 Apr 1883

In spite of Gladstone's unwillingness to commit his party either to Repeal of CD Acts or Woman's Suffrage JB remained a friend and admirer of the GOM. See letters of 8 Jul 1871 (circular letter JB to all friends Royal Commission Report of 1871)

23 Dec 1872 JB to H J Wilson

31 May 1898 JB to Stanley

Biog: Edith Leuopold; Ludwig Leupold; Frederick Crown Prince of Prussia; Victoria Princess Royal; Princess Alice of Hesse; Mr WE Gladstone; John Bright