Josephine Butler to Mr Naish

Scope and Content

Written from Hotel Couttet, Chamonix, Savoy, France She speaks of the 'secret Commission of the Pall Mall' [see note], which exhausted her so that her husband insisted that she had a break abroad. She misses the 'energetic spirits of Mrs Kenway and her ladies in Birmingham'. It is her conviction that unless those who work for the Cause have the Christian faith and love they achieve nothing vital.

Administrative / Biographical History

26 Jul [1885] 'Mr Naish' was Hon Sec of the MCEO. 'my six week's work with the Secret Commission of the Pall Mall.' This was a specialist body of men and women set up by WT Stead (members of his reporting staff, officers of the Salvation Army, and the handful of friends) to form his 'Secret Commission' on prostitution in the West End. JB with her son George was an active member of the Commission. The fruits of this enquiry were published as a series of articles in the Pall Mall Gazette issued 6-9 Jul under the heading of 'The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon' giving a detailed account of all the honours he and his helpers had witnessed. The amendment of the Criminal Law was in its last stages rushed through Parliament. It received the Royal Assent 14 Aug 1885. [All this] 'had taken so much out of me that my husband was afraid I might break down.' As JB wrote in a letter to Miss Forsaith (5 Jun 1885) 'there is no need for anyone to press upon me the reality of Hell, as the Calvinists did with stony hearts. For I have been in Hell.' Biog: Mr WT Stead; Mr Kenway; Mr Naish; Mr Jesse Herbert; Mr Airey; Mr Martineau.