Josephine Butler to Miss Priestman

Scope and Content

Written from Wimbledon. She is just bringing out an issue of the 'Dawn' as she does not like it to lapse for another quarter [See Note]. Included in it are a few words on suffrage; she thinks they should no longer be tongue-tied because dear Mrs Backhouse does not want women's suffrage [See Note]. Little Josephine has just left her to join her parents after being with her for nearly two years. Tells of the difficulties with Putnam over publishing her book about her husband. Gives a list of hotels at Bern for her friends to choose from. Says how grateful she is to her friend, Mrs Helen Clark, for the cheque she sent her which is helping her with heavy doctors and nurses bills after her long and severe illness [See Note]. Speaks again of her husband's biography: it is not a 'Religious Biography' at all in the conventional sense. 'There is too much about dogs in it for that! And about fishing and shooting. But it is the portrait of a sweet and just man, such as are wanted sorely in the world'.

Administrative / Biographical History

'I am just bringing out a number of the 'Dawn' ... as I don't like to let it lapse another quarter.' Owing to JB's severe illness which had prevented all work for the first four months of 1892 the 'Dawn' had not appeared at the end of the 1st quarter of 1892. This no., Jun 1892 followed on that of Dec. 1891. Among other things, it advertised the forthcoming meeting of the Federation at Bern. Partly because of her continued ill health, it had been decided that 'there should be no regular conference this year, but that an important and enlarged meeting of the Executive should be held in Switzerland this autumn.' ('Dawn' Jun 1892 p 6).

'It would be an advantage to have it out in the dull autumn season after the General Election, when the papers would review it for want of other matter.' This refers to her book on her husband which she had now finished but could not find a publisher who would take it on.' Fisher Unwin 'likes it but does not live to publish a book with so much Christianity in it! While Putnam was put off after consulting 'old fogies' at Oxford who were entirely ignorant 'of his part in social and political matters'. That is why she explains that 'it is not a 'Religious Biography' at all in the conventional sense. There is too much about dogs in it for that! and about fishing and shooting.' The Biography was finally published by: 'Bristol, Arrowsmith, London, Simpkin Marshall, 1892'.

The 'General Election' was held in Jul of that year and resulted in a return of the Liberals. Gladstone's 4th Cabinet was formed in Aug.

'Mrs Backhouse' She and her husband, Edward were great supporters of the cause both in word and money, so JB was naturally anxious not to offend. He died in 1888.

Biog: Mrs Backhouse (widow of Edward), Mr Thomasson, B Jowett, Mrs Helen Clark