Josephine Butler to Stanley Butler

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter. Written from 15 Great Queen Street, Westminster. They are preparing for a great farewell for their American friends, Dr Kate Bushnell and Mrs Andrew who had gone to India at the request of the Abolitionists to enquire into whether the Repeal of the law authorising Regulation was being observed in the cantonments. She gives an account of the scene in the Departmental Committee set up to enquire into the Report of the American ladies, as related to her by Mr Stansfeld, George Russell and the lawyer counsel, all on the Committee. The evidence was irrefutable and Lord Roberts could only plead ignorance of what was going on. He publicly stated that he regretted this and offered an apology to the ladies concerned for doubting their statements. Josephine Butler's judgment on the protagonists was 'I believe Chapman is a devil. Lord Roberts has been very careless.' A good piece of news at the end: 'The Government is going to pay us back £700 or £800 to pay the ladies expenses in India etc.'

Administrative / Biographical History

On her way from Cheltenham to her home at Balham she is staying the night at Charles Parker's house at 15 Great Queen Street, Westminster.

'we are saying a great farewell today to our American friends' These were Dr Kate Bushnell and her friend and fellow worker Mrs Andrew, who had agreed to go out to India at the request of the Abolitionists to investigate whether the repeal of the law authorising Regulation was being observed there. The two ladies spent the winter of 1891/2 in India visiting the cantonments. Their findings were that the Repeal of the CD Acts in 1886 by the Imperial Parliament was widely disregarded by the military authorities in India and that they continued to authorise brothels for cantonments wherever there were units of the British army. On their return to England the ladies reported their findings in 'A Statement of Facts'. A small Departmental Committee was then set up to take evidence; GWE Russell, the Under Secretary, was appointed Chairman, and James Stansfeld and HJ Wilson, the representatives of the House of Commons, while Sir Donald Stewart and Sir James Peile represented the Government of India. The first witnesses were the two American ladies; Lord Roberts denied that there was any foundation for their statements. This letter reveals the outcome. (See also letter of 17 Apr 1893, JB to Stanley.)

'having seen George home from the funeral'

This was the funeral of Aunt Elizabeth - Mrs George Annett Grey. (See letter of 21 Aug 1893)

Biog: Dr Kate Bushnell, Mrs Andrew, GWE Russell, HJ Wilson, Charles Parker, Lord Roberts, General Chapman QMG, James Stansfeld, General Stewart, Dr Nevins