Josephine Butler to Miss Forsaith

Scope and Content

Photocopy letter. Written from Hotel de l'Univers, Brussels

'I do not know whether it will come to the mind of committee to start a business organ of our Abolitionist work. It seems to me highly important to have one'

See note for Letter of 12 Mar 1897, Josephine Butler to Mr Johnson about reviving the 'Shield' which had stopped publication soon after the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts In 1896.

The Stuarts are leaving Cairo on 24 Feb and expect to be in London by end of the first week in Mar. Thinks it would be desirable to have a Committee meeting which includes Mr Stuart and herself as there is a need to concentrate all their forces if they are to defeat their opponents.

She would also like to press for 'a business organ of our abolitionists work' to be started.

'I was impelled to give up the 'Dawn'' [which ran from 1888-1896] but she could undertake for any organ to supply items of Continental news. 'Mr Gregory's 'Sentinel' is of some use; but it embraces opium, drink and other questions as well as ours'

'The new Federal Code of Switzerland'

Josephine Butler had been writing about this new Code for the last 6 years. See letters of 11 Feb 1891 and 19 Feb 1891. Regards it as 'an event of the first importance'. It was discussed before and at the Conference of the Federation at Berne Sep 1896. See note dated 27 Jul 1896. Also see account of the speeches made on the subject of the Conference in the 'Dawn' Oct 1896 esp p 16.

Josephine Butler refers to the 'United Service' meetings where the Pro Acts people seem to have been very weak. With regard to their furtive attempts at regulating vice outside of an Act of Parliament, that will call for vigilance on our part.'

'My heart is on fire for Greece'. In Feb 1897 1,500 Greek troops under Colonel Vassos landed in Crete with orders to hoist the Greek flag in defiance of Turkish sovereignty. Until Sep 1898 the island was a source of perpetual trouble to the Powers. (Ensor, England 1870-1914 p 257)

Administrative / Biographical History

'The Dawn'

This was a quarterly newsletter which Josephine Butler produced from May 1888 to Oct 1896.

For references to 'Sentinel' with notes see letters of 7 Nov 1886; 15 Jan 1887; 20 Oct 1887; 27 Feb 1888. It was the 'Journal of the Association in the Improvement of Public Morals' and ran from 1879 to 1900.

The Pro Acts Association was originally started in 1868 by doctors led by Dr Berkeley Hill who advocated the Continental system of control of prostitutes; 48 branch associations were established and all the leading doctors were enthusiastically in favour of its tenets.

(For an account of this movement see: 'Life of James Stansfeld' by JL and Barbara Hammond pp 132-4)

The opposition to the Acts carried out by Josephine Butler and her associates through the Abolitionist Societies resulted finally in the Repeal of the Acts in 1886.

In 1893 Josephine Butler noted 'danger signals of a renewed agitation in army, medical and official circles which finds exponents in the medical papers and occasionally in the general press'

(See article in the 'Dawn' 1 Jan 1893 p 7)

Also accounts of speech made by L Bridel at the Conference in London 12 Jul 1894 (see 'Dawn' Aug 1894 p 27).

See also biographies of Louis Ruchonnet, Louis Budel and Stoss.