Josephine Butler to Stanley Butler

Scope and Content

Photocopy of incomplete letter. [Written at her sister Hatty's house, La Gordanne Pres Perroy]. No date but reference to the publication of 'Personal Reminiscences of a Great Crusade' which occurred in c. Oct 1896

'Stead wrote to me to say he was putting the review in the 'form of a character sketch''

This was the review of 'Personal Reminiscences of a Great Crusade' by Josephine Butler, published in 1896; an account of the movement for Abolition of the Contagious Diseases Acts between 1869 and 1886.

The review '...was not so bad as it might have been. One thing not grasped which was pleasing: 'that the Cause for which I have worked is not a 'Purity Crusade' nor a morality crusade...It was and is a revolt against an aggressive opposition to a gross political and illegal tyranny. Lady Henry Somerset and her following never see this...'

'... excitement about the Government going to bring back the Contagious Diseases Acts ... What an insanity it is of Lord George Hamilton's'

There was a great increase in venereal disease reported by the Army medical officers in India following the abolition of compulsory medical examination in 1895. Lord George Hamilton favoured the reinstatement of the Acts in India; Regulationists in England sent a petition to the Government for restoration of the Contagious Diseases Acts (abolished in 1886 in England).


A Declaration was issued by the Ladies' National Association dated Nov 1896 'in view of a revived demand in certain quarters for the re-establishment of the Contagious Diseases Acts in India etc.', stating once more their undying opposition to the system of regulated prostitution embodied in the English Contagious Diseases Acts (1866-1869) which were repealed in 1886.' It was signed by Josephine Butler, Honorary Secretary, and Margaret A Tanner, Treasurer, and the Officers of the Central and Branch Committees and other supporters. ('The Dawn' Oct 1896)

Administrative / Biographical History

Biog: WT Stead, Lord George Hamilton, Lady Henry Somerset