Josephine Butler to Miss Forsaith

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter. Written from Hotel du Faucon, Lausanne

M. de Meuron [a member of the Grand Council of Geneva and an ardent Abolitionist] wrote to her from Geneva 'Nous descendons! Il y a des mauvais jours a venir pour Geneve'. This further defeat in the Grand Counseil de Geneve followed the overwhelming defeat of the Abolitionists when the question was put to the vote in a Referendum held in Geneva (22 Mar 1896). The brothel-keepers won. (See numerous letters of Mar 1896 dealing with the affair in detail). Josephine Butler proved correct when she prophesised that 'Geneva will take some steps down lower yet into the Abyss before she repents'. It was not until 1927 that the system was finally swept away.

'I have a great wish that you should speak at Birmingham'. This was a Conference of Repealers held at Birmingham on 13 Nov 1896 to protest against any revival of the Contagious Diseases Acts. A full report of the Conference was published as a pamphlet. (See 'Sentinel' Dec p 157)

'In Mr Stead's review of my book in the Oct Review ... He says bluntly and truly 'It is not a Purity Crusade, it is a revolt''. Referring to 'Personal Reminiscences of a Great Crusade' published in 1896. Josephine Butler was very pleased that Stead clearly saw that her work was not a philanthropic or moralistic issue but was based on the 'hatred of tyranny' which should produce a combative spirit to overcome it. (See also letter of Josephine Butler to Stanley [Oct 1896]

She wishes that Lady Henry might be encouraged to read his words. He questions whether Josephine is coming to the Birmingham Conference in Nov 1896; she has been struck down with a very bad chill and cannot move let alone talk. She is alone 'but people are always kind to me'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mr Edmondson's speech 'An enquiry into the causes of the great sanitary failure of the State regulation of social vice' was afterwards issued as a pamphlet.

(Rough Record no 774)

Biog: M de Meuron, Amelie Humbert, WT Stead, M Farron, Lady Henry Somerset