Josephine Butler to Stanley Butler

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter. Written from Wimbledon, (George's house, where she was for the birth of George's son, Horace on 2 Feb 1898).

She is pleased as she is allowed to nurse the baby when Nurse is busy. Comments on the Zola trial then in progress; she finds 'some curious things' in the newspapers she gets daily from Paris: such as that the Jesuits support the anti-semitic movements and that there are signs of the hatred of the Jews extending to the Protestants, 'I mean that the Jews and the Protestants are hated alike'. She finds Miss Humbert a great help to her, '[she] is very humorous and cheerful... She and George get on capitally'. She is quite puzzled to understand the success her little 'Storm Bell' has had. 12,000 copies have been disposed of at their London Office alone, but there is still a strong movement for restoring the CD Acts. She would like to know what he thinks of Lady Henry Somerset's recantation.

Administrative / Biographical History

' ... she [Mia] is getting on very well.'

This referred to the birth of Horace on 2 Feb, George and Mia's 1st son and 2nd child.

'How exciting this Zola trial is becoming.'

Zola (1840-1902) the French novelist was committed for trial for his famous article 'J'accuse', indicating the persecutors of Dreyfus; he was found guilty and given a jail sentence.

'I had a touching little note from Madame Dreyfus, poor lady.'

See also letter of 5 Feb 1898 in which she mentions 'a grateful letter from Madame Dreyfus in Paris in reply to one I wrote her expressing my sympathy for her husband's 4 years of martyrdom.'

For summary of Dreyfus case see note letter of 3 Feb 1898, JB to Mr Johnson.

'Lady Henry Somerset's recantation'

In 1897 Lady Henry speaking as President of the British branch of the WWCTU [World's Women's Christian Temperance Union] declared herself in favour of Regulation in a letter to Lord George Hamilton (Sec of State for India) and a letter to the Times.

Then when she discovered the feelings she had roused she wrote a 2nd letter to Lord George withdrawing what she had said in the 1st. But the damage was done, especially on the Continent where as JB pointed out the Times was the source of all information about JB.

See Rough Record:

21 Apr 1897 no. 844 Lady Henry Somerset's letter to Lord George Hamilton published in 'Times' which gave the 6 propositions.

8 Feb 1897 no. 956 Lady Henry Somerset's 'retraction' appeared in some of the daily papers.

Also letter of 1 Jul 1897 JB to Miss Forsaith.

'Miss Humbert is a great help to me.'

This was Amelie Humbert, daughter of Prof Humbert (Continental agent of the Federation) who often came over to help JB in her secretarial work for the Federation. With 3 languages, youthful energy and a warm enthusiasm for the Cause, Amelie was indeed a valuable aid to JB.

'Storm Bell'

This was the successor to the periodical 'Dawn' which ran from May 1888 - Oct 1896. 'Storm Bell' was a monthly newspaper written almost entirely by JB and ran from Jan 1898 to Jul 1900.

'I never believed that horrid scheme was hers. It was Harold Frederic's.'

Harold Frederic was an American journalist, who 1st became known to her by his cable from London about the Lady Henry Somerset affair.

See letter of JB to James Stuart 24 Nov 1897 and in another letter JB to Mr Clark 30 Nov 1897 she says: 'Maurice Gregory has run Mr Harold Frederic to earth at last, and I am waiting to know the result of the interview.'

Frederic applauded Lady Henry's action in supporting regulations for the Indian army as inspired by 'common sense, patriotism and wise humanity' and maintained that the Convention at Toronto had supported the same policy. (For further details see the 'Shield' Dec 1897 p.59)

'Hetha' was the 1st born child of George and Mia born 26 Jul 1896.

Biog: EECA Zola, A Dreyfus, Madame Dreyfus, Lady Henry Somerset, Harold Frederic