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W.T. Stead to Mark Whitwill

(November 29, 1885)

Holloway Gaol (November 29, 1885)

My dear sir

I have been unpardonably long in acknowledging the [letter] of sympathy and appreciation which you were so kind to send to me as long ago as the 20th.

It's very wrong of me and I pray you to pardon me. I thank you so much for your kindness and I am very glad that the meeting….. ask for my release.

I am very happy working very hard and I am of the opinion that but for this blessed imprisonment of ours the conservative gvt would be very much tempted to revive the C.D. Acts.

Now however that they have declared that even a momentary touch of a woman even by a woman demands six months with hard labour - regardless of motive - for the person who touches and one month imprisonment for those who aid and abet, they cannot enforce the surgical violation of fallen women by threat of imprisonment for very shame.

So this trial and persecution will deliver us...

Yours...

W.T.Stead

Webmaster's note... This letter came from an album which was auctioned by Clevedon Salesrooms in September, 2001. The album, which also included letters from Charles Dickens, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Alexander Graham Bell, belonged to Victorian philanthropist and businessman Mark Whitwill, who ran a successful shipping agency in Bristol during the late 1800s. My thanks to Clevedon Salerooms for this contribution.