Mr John Connington to Mrs Butler

Scope and Content

Written from 124 High St, Oxford. He regards expediency as the permanent rule in extending the franchise, not justice and personally he does not like to commit himself to an opinion till the matter has been more ventilated.

Administrative / Biographical History

'I have been asked before now to sign the petition you speak of': The 1860s were a great time for Petitions on all kinds of subjects but especially those connected with the raising of the position of women. Committees were formed all over England to further these aims. The Butlers moved to Liverpool in 1866, and JB as well as doing social work among the down and outs of Liverpool in workhouse and slums, was President of the North of England Council for promoting the Higher Education of Women (NECPHEW); and was among the 1500 signatories of the petition for the enfranchisement of women presented by JS Mill to the House on 7 Jun 1866

The passing of the Contagious Diseases Acts of 1866 and 1869 altered all this. Josephine received the 'Call'. She gave up all her educational work and from 1869 devoted herself to a campaign to overthrow the state regulation of prostitution, involving as a first step the repeal of these Acts.

She never however dropped her strong opinion that the Vote was all important for women because unless they had that power men would never pay any attention to their protests; in such little time as she had to spare for public affairs she kept up her connection with suffrage societies

John Conington was Professor of Latin, Oxford University. The Butlers were resident at Oxford 1852-1857 and during that time kept open house to the University society, then predominantly male

Biog: John Conington; Charles Parker