[Josephine Butler] to [unknown]

Scope and Content

Not addressed to anyone or signed. Not in Josephine Butler's writing. Extract of letter from Mrs Butler on Belgian denials. She describes how on her return home from Paris in the late autumn of 1880 she found an official notice from the Home Office summoning her to appear before a magistrate to answer the charges she had made against Belgian police officials, of gross ill treatment of young girls in Brussels, published in May 1850. JB obtained the evidence from a Belgian detective who turned King's evidence and substantiated her case.

Administrative / Biographical History

The letter begins: 'As soon as I reached home I found that George had received official notice from the Home Office that 'I was to be summoned before a Judge ... to answer to the things I have said concerning Belgium in a letter to the Shield ...'For note on the position, see next page, which gives date for this letter. The International Federation Conference was held for the year 1880 in Genoa, 17 Sep 1880. JB was present but was then delayed in Paris by a bad cold. There she met the Belgian detective who had been in the Belgian Police des Moeurs, and, formally, disgusted 'with the corruption of police practices' resigned and turned King's Evidence against his superiors, Schroder and Lenaers. His accusations were in writing and he was willing to stick to them. JB was able to produce this evidence when she was summoned to appear before the Magistrate Mr Thomas Stamford Raffles. Further evidence supporting the trade in English girls was the enquiries made by Alfred Dyer and George Gillett at the request of the Society of Friends in 1880 (see Note to letter of May 1881 signed by Josephine Butler and James Stuart). Also, early in Feb 1880 several letters appeared in some of the London papers on this subject from Alfred S. Dyer with corroborative letters from others. A reply to the charges was made by Lenaers in 'The Standard'. (See 'Shield', 6 Mar 1880, p.32.) The deposition on oath of Josephine E Butler was made before Thomas Stamford Raffles, Esq., J.P., on the 8 Nov 1880. Letter written a few days before the 8th say 3rd. The events leading up to the Belgian action were given in GW Johnson's editing of 'autobiographical memoirs written by Josephine Butler in 1909 (p.167): 'Josephine Butler published in May [1880] a statement making definite charges of gross ill-treatment of young girls in Brussels, and these charges were substantiated in a deposition on oath made in response to a formal application by the Belgian authorities under the Extradition Act. Some months later she sent a copy of her deposition to the editor of 'Le National' in Brussels, intending it merely to be used in connection with evidence, which he had to give before a commission then sitting on the subject. He however published it in 'Le National' and it created a great sensation throughout Belgium.' Biog: Schroder, Deputy Commissioner; Lenaers (Commissioner in Chief to the Brussels Police); Lord Granville; Thomas Stamford Raffles; Splingard, Alexis; Dr Nevins; Constance Grey.