Josephine Butler to 'Dear Friends' [the Miss Priestmans and Mrs Tanner]

Scope and Content

Written from Neuchatel

'I shall hope to be able to preside at it [Ladies' National Association Meeting] on the 11 Jun'. Discusses possible speakers. Mr Stuart wrote to her about 'the threatenings in England' (concerning the alleged increase in venereal disease among the troops in India published in newspaper articles, letters to 'The Times' etc . It all led to requests for re-introducing the Contagious Diseases Acts, especially in India.)

'he [Mr Stuart] told also of the new Army Sanitary Report, just out'. Report reaffirms that they cannot advocate a return to the Contagious Diseases Acts.

'Yes, I will write to New Zealand in the name of the Ladies' National Association and myself ... It is a comfort to have that victory.'

'I should much love to be present at the Friends Repeal movement on the 21 May. That is always a rest to me.'

Josephine Butler did not make it that year (see photocopy of letter dated 29 May from Josephine Butler from Calais)

Administrative / Biographical History

Full account of Ladies' National Association's meeting given in the 'Sentinel' in an article headed 'British Women and the typical crime of legislation' Jul 1896, p 83.

Article in the 'Sentinel' of Jul 1896, p 81, commenting on the Report of the Committee appointed by the Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland on the State Regulation of Vice, states:

'Commencing with the remarkable Report of the Army Sanitary Commission, which is the highest medical authority in the British Empire, and which has again and again reported against the re-institution of the Contagious Diseases Acts on sanitary grounds ...'

'The premier of the New Zealand Parliament speaking at Christchurch on 7 Feb. [stated among and then prints] that the removal of an objectionable and shameful statute would be insisted on next session.'

('Sentinel', May 1896, p.56)

But Mr Seddon met with a reverse

(see 'Sentinel', Oct 1896, p 132)

In Jul the Repeal Bill was introduced again by Mr Seddon, passed almost unanimously by the House of Representatives but rejected by the Legislative Council by 27 to 11. Article in the 'Sentinel' (Mar 1896, p 31) by Dr Birkbeck Nevins, entitled 'The sanitary futility of the Contagious Diseases Acts proved from official statistics' (a letter addressed by Dr Birkbeck Nevins to the Editor of the 'Auckland Star').

Biog: Sir James Stansfeld, Mr Stuart, Mr Walter McLaren, Mr and Mrs HJ Wilson, Miss Whitehead, Miss Forsaith