Josephine Butler to 'Dear Friends, Miss Forsaith and Mrs Terrell

Scope and Content

Photocopy of a letter. Written from [Wooler, Northumberland]

Saying that she will now tell them about her beloved sister's family, and their present misfortunes; following on the death of her brother in law and sister [in 1900] a certain official of the Bank, called Bourgignon, gained a great ascendancy over the employers and others connected with the Bank. When this man died a year ago he left a letter saying 'he had falsified all the accounts, and that they had been living on other capital of the Bank and on the deposits of some thousands of depositors! This means complete ruin to that beloved family. It involves also several cousins and other relatives.' The brothers are selling everything they have that will sell (two country houses, town houses, and an office. The third son George had their Swiss home, La Gordanne left him; he has let it and has given two thirds of the rent to his brothers. Thekla, the one daughter is living at Neuchatel...her husband has left her...and she does all the work of the house herself. She had heard that Thekla had attended every séance of the Conference. She was to take Mr Stuart 'to see the Gallery where there is a portrait of my dear niece Adela Grey, whom I was with when she died in the house of the famous painter Paul Robert.'

The eldest son John has been offered the post of Manager of a Branch of the Bank in Rome called the 'Credito Italiano' to be opened in Naples. The salary will be a small help to the family. In the meantime he keeps on all his voluntary charitable works inherited from his father. Refers to Miss Ackroyd who through special spiritual communion has received a diverse message for her : 'I chose her for War'.

Administrative / Biographical History

'She [Thekla] has attended every séance of the Conference last week'

This was the Jubilee Conference of the Federation held in Neuchatel 26-29 Sep 1905. Thekla the only surviving Meuricoffre daughter had recently been deserted by her husband and left with 4 children to bring up. She had settled in Neuchatel where she could get free and good education for the children

'my dear niece Adela Grey'

This was a daughter of JB's brother Charles.

In the 'Dawn' of 1 Jan 1891, p 13 she addresses 'A Familiar letter to my friends' from Le Reid, Bienne, Switzerland, in which she says 'I came to Switzerland at the end of Oct [1890] having to objects in view, one to be with my niece Adela Grey, my brother's child, motherless and ill; apparently dying; the other to try to do a little work in the cause of Federation. [See also letter of JB to her son 29 Nov [1890]

[Adela is staying in the house of the artist Paul Robert and looked after by his daughter Berthe who 'loves her [Adela] so much that she cannot bear the thought of losing her ... she nurses her night and day']

'The house stands on the edge of a pine forest on the slopes of the Jura and belongs to Mr Paul Robert, an artist, engaged then on a series of paintings destined for the walls of the large new museum at Neuchatel. He has been working at them for some years

Biog: Meuricoffre family; John; Fred; George; Thekla; Miss Ackroyd