Josephine Butler to her husband Rev George Butler

Scope and Content

She describes the scene when the 'ladies all came back early in high spirits, the Female Suffrage Bill having passed the 2nd reading by a majority of 33', and gives Mrs Bright's account of the scene in the House and in the Ladies' Gallery where Mrs McLaren, Mrs Peter Taylor and Miss Becker were individually moved. They were to have a discussion that day on the policy to pursue at elections, and the next day she was to address the meeting. Mrs Bright had written a paper on the use of the defence fund. [This was the 'Aid and Defence Fund' established by the National Association to help girls in the subjected towns to pay for legal defence or to escape from the area]. Relates that while Lord John Russell has always supported the Acts, Lord and Lady Amberley have joined their Association. The next day she has to go with a deputation to the Home Office to speak to Mr Bruce. Asks him to send on the letter to Harriet (her sister). These letters will be useful as 'part of the history of a great struggle'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thursday morning, 6 May [1870] No year but reference to Female Suffrage Bill dates it to 1870.

'The Female Suffrage Bill having passed the 2nd Reading by a majority of 33'

'The Women's Disability Bill' [official title] introduced by Jacob Bright passed the 2nd Reading with a majority of 33 in favour

(taken from Constance Rover, 'Women's Suffrage and Party Politics in Britain, 1866' 1914 App 11)

The date of this was 4 May 1870 (Wednesday). (JB's letter is dated Thursday morning, which by the calendar would be 5 May, which denotes an error on the part of JB in dating it 6 May). The Bill was rejected in Committee. Majority 126 against. Opposition by Gladstone

'Aid and Defence Fund' - A special fund to help women in the 'subjected areas' (where the CD Acts were in force) who needed legal aid against arrest, or money to help them to escape from the area

'I have to go with a deputation to the Home Office' - Mr HA Bruce MP was Home Sec 1869-73 and JB took part in 2 deputations from the Abolitionists to Mr Bruce when Home Sec: 6 May 1870 and Jul 1871

Biog: Mr Jacob Bright; Mrs McLaren; Mrs Peter Taylor; Miss Becker; Mr Bernard Hope; Mr Henley; Mr Francis Newman; Earl Russell; Lord and Lady Amberley; Sir W Jenner; HA Bruce.