Josephine Butler to Mrs Wilson

Scope and Content

Written from 270 South Hill, Park Rd, Liverpool. Gives directions about the work of the Agents. Mr Stansfeld has been their guest for nearly a week and has become a dear friend to them; 'he is heart and soul with us in our cause'. She will be glad to see him in Opposition when he will be better able to fight their battles [see note]. Stansfeld told her of a letter Childers had had from Mr Edmondson and HJ Wilson [see note]. Mr Stansfeld was not satisfied with Childers' reply.

Administrative / Biographical History


Date: 'Mr Stansfeld has been nearly a week with us'

In a letter from JB to Mr HJ Wilson dated 29 Oct 1873 she writes: 'Mr Stansfeld comes to us tomorrow for a very quiet visit. We are going to talk over many political and social subjects'. Monday, the day given, would therefore be 3 Nov 1873

'I don't know whether he will always be able to avoid the deteriorating influence of Office, and I shall be glad to see him in Opposition, when he will speak more and fight our battles'

Stansfeld held the office of President of the Poor Law Board in Gladstone's Cabinet (he succeeded GH Goschen in 1871).

Parliament was dissolved on 24 Jan 1874, a General Election followed in which the Conservatives secured a majority of 83. JB's hopes of Stansfeld were fulfilled. He announced his adherence to the Repealists on 4 Oct 1874 at the Annual General Meeting of the LNA at Bristol and 1st spoke on Repeal in the House on 23 Jun 1875. Thereafter he spoke frequently when Repeal Bills were presented and finally when Sir Harcourt Johnstone retired from the Commons in 1880 he took over the Parliamentary leadership of the campaign for the repealers.

'Mr Stansfeld told me about a letter Childers had had from Mr Edmondson, and 'someone in Sheffield' I suppose that was Mr Wilson'.

This had to do with the riotous scenes that took place at the Pontefract by-election where the sitting member HCE Childers sought re-election on his appointment as 1st Lord of the Admiralty in Aug 1872. Complaints as to the conduct of the election and the violence of some of his supporters were made to Mr Childers. For further references to the Pontefract by election see letter of 17 Feb 1873

Biog: H Bligh (Agent), Mr Stansfeld, Mr Childers, Mr Edmondson