Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-544b6db54f-6mft8 Total loading time: 0.407 Render date: 2021-10-16T16:34:31.327Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Home Rule, Radicalism, and the Liberal Party, 1886-1895

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2014

Extract

In 1887, Joseph Chamberlain wrote a letter to The Baptist in which he blamed the preoccupation of Liberals and Radicals with Home Rule for delaying social reform. “Thirty-two millions of people,” he complained, “must go without much-needed legislation because three millions are disloyal.” Early in the 1890s, socialists and militant working-class spokesmen sometimes took up this cry to express their discontent with the Liberal party. And in later years, the Liberal-Radical commitment to Home Rule provided one of the main historical explanations for the founding of an independent working-class party; thus the dampening of Radicalism supposedly caused by Home Rule has been regarded as the source of the most important political transformation of recent British history. In the words of G. D. H. Cole:

With Chamberlain's departure, and with the increasing preoccupation of Gladstone with Home Rule, the Radical impulses of the 'seventies had died away. Some attempt was made to revive them when it had become plain that Liberalism was in serious danger of losing its working-class support. But the attempt was made too late, and the Liberal ‘Newcastle Programme' of 1892 was only a very pale shadow of Chamberlain's ‘Unauthorized Programme’ of 1885.

D. A. Hamer, in a recent article, takes essentially the same view, with some modifications. The Liberals, he says, took up Home Rule in a deliberate attempt to paper over confusion and disagreement within the party over other policies. In the 1880s, the Liberal party tended to be dominated by “faddists,” who could not agree on the precedence to be given various reform proposals.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © North American Conference of British Studies 1974

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1. The Baptist, Feb. 25, 1887.

2. Cole, G. D. H., British Working Class Politics (London, 1941), pp. 8283Google Scholar.

3. Hamer, D. A., “The Irish Question and English Politics, 1886–1894,” Historical Journal, XII (1969), 511–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Hamer develops this thesis more thoroughly in his Liberal Politics in the Age of Gladstone and Rosebery (Oxford, 1972)Google Scholar.

4. Quoted in National Liberal Federation, Tenth Annual Report, 1887 (London, 1887), p. 48Google Scholar.

5. For Radicalism, see Heyck, T. W., “British Radicals and Radicalism, 1874–1895: A Social Analysis,” in Bezucha, R. J. (ed.), Modern European Social History (Lexington, Mass., 1972), pp. 2858Google Scholar. For Howell's career: Leventhal, F. M., Respectable Radical: George Howell and Victorian Working Class Politics (Cambridge, Mass., 1971)Google Scholar. For Howard Evans: Evans, Howard, Radical Fights of Forty Years (London, n.d.)Google Scholar.

6. Heyck, “British Radicals and Radicalism,” passim; Pelling, Henry, The Origins of the Labour Party, 1880–1900 (Oxford, 1965), p. 6Google Scholar; Tholfsen, Trygve, “The Transition to Democracy in Victorian England,” in International Review of Social History, VI (1961), 226–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Harrison, Royden, Before the Socialists: Studies in Labour and Politics, 1861–1881 (London, 1965)Google Scholar, passim. The bourgeois ideal, of which Radicalism was the epitome, is described very well in Perkin, Harold, The Origins of Modern English Society (Toronto, 1967), Chap. VI–VIIIGoogle Scholar.

7. The statistical procedure on which these conclusions are based is described in Heyck, T. W. and Klecka, William, “British Radical M.P.s, 1874–1895: New Evidence from Discriminant Analysis,” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, IV (Autumn, 1973), 161–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Lists of all Radical M.P.s, developed by using this procedure, can be found in the appendices of T. W. Heyck, The Dimensions of British Radicalism: The Case of Ireland, 1874–1895, forthcoming.

8. The Home Rule division is analyzed in detail in The Dimensions of British Radicalism, forthcoming, Chapter V, and in Heyck, T. W., “English Radicals and the Irish Question, 1874–1895” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1969), Chap. VIGoogle Scholar. See also, Southgate, Donald, The Passing of the Whigs, 1832–1886 (London, 1962), Chap. XVGoogle Scholar.

9. Chamberlain, Joseph, A Political Memoir, ed. Howard, C. H. D., (London, 1953), p. 228Google Scholar; Fraser, Peter, Joseph Chamberlain: Radicalism and Empire, 1868–1914 (London, 1966), p. 106Google Scholar; Garvin, J. L. and Amery, Julian, Life of Joseph Chamberlain (London, 19321969), II, 252Google Scholar.

10. SirJennings, Ivor, Party Politics (Cambridge, 1961), II, 202Google Scholar.

11. For Radical Unionist policy, see Hurst, Michael, Joseph Chamberlain and Liberal Reunion: The Round table Conference of 1887 (Toronto, 1967), passim, especially pp. 343 and 361–62Google Scholar.

12. Heyck and Klecka, “British Radical M.P.'s,” passim.

13. Berrington, Hugh, “Partisanship and Dissidenoe in the Nineteenth-Century House of Commons,” Parliamentary Affairs, XXI (Autumn, 1968), 338–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14. Cornford, James, “The Transformation of Conservatism in the Late-Nineteenth Century,” Victorian Studies, VII (Sept., 1963), 3566Google Scholar.

15. Burns, Hardie, and Wilson alike were known as socialists when they first entered the House. Burns turned out to be an orthodox Radical, and has been included here in the totals for working-class Radical M.P.s.

16. Morley, John, The Life of William Ewart Gladstone (London, 1903), III, 323Google Scholar.

17. Methodist Times, June 10, 1886.

18. The Baptist, June 18 and 25, 1886. Newman Hall, in a letter to the Fort-nightly Review, admitted that as a Nonconformist opponent of Home Rule, he was in a “small minority.” Nonconformists and Unionism,” Fortnightly Review, No. CCLXC, (Feb., 1891), 320–23Google Scholar.

19. Pelling, Henry, Social Geography of British Elections, 1885–1910 (New York, 1967), pp. 431–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

20. Ibid., p. 433.

21. British Library of Political and Economic Science, Harrison to Morley, July 24, 1886, Harrison Papers, Section A, Box 2.

22. The most recent biography of Morley is Hamer, D. A., John Morley: Liberal Intellectual in Politics (Oxford, 1968)Google Scholar. But perhaps the best evidence of Morley's weaknesses is in Scansky, Peter, Ambitions and Strategies: the Struggle for the Leadership of the Liberal Party in the 1890's (Oxford, 1964)Google Scholar.

23. Morley, John, Recollections (London, 1925), I, 323–24Google Scholar; McBriar, A. M., Fabian Socialism and English Politics, 1884–1918 (Cambridge, 1966), pp. 253–57Google Scholar.

24. Sommer, Dudley, Haldane of Cloan: His Life and Times, 1856–1928 (London, 1928), pp. 7677Google Scholar; Jenkins, Roy, Asquith (London, 1964), pp. 4546Google Scholar.

25. BM, Memoirs of Sir Charles Dilke, Dilke Papers, BM 44,932, f. 17; 44,933, f. 71; 43,940, f. 16. McGill, Barry, “Francis Schnadhorst and Liberal Party Organization,” Journal of Modern History, XXXIV (March, 1962), 25Google Scholar.

26. This was the so-called “new party,” consisting of Chamberlain, Dilke, L. L. Dillwyn, Joseph Cowen, Thomas Burt, John Morley and the Irishman E. D. Gray. BM, Memoirs of Sir Charles Dilke, Dilke Papers, BM 43,932, ff, 248–49.

27. A sample of Radical opinion is in BM, Henry Labouchere to Herbert Gladstone, July 9, 1886, Viscount Gladstone Papers, BM 46,016.

28. McGill, Barry, “Francis Schnadhorst and Liberal Party Organization,” Journal of Modern History, XXXIV (March, 1962), 29Google Scholar.

29. National Liberal Federation, Tenth Annual Report, 1887, pp. 2829Google Scholar.

30. Spender, J. A., Sir Robert Hudson: A Memoir (London, 1930), pp. 1721Google Scholar.

31. BM, A. Morley to Gladstone, April 21, 1892, Gladstone Papers, BM 44, 254.

32. These lists precede each of the annual reports of the N.L.F. For the organizational efforts: National Liberal Federation, Tenth Annual Report, 1887, pp. 1125Google Scholar; and Corder, Percy, The Life of Robert Spence Watson (London, 1914), p. 244Google Scholar; Watson, Robert Spence, The National Liberal Federation: From Its Commencement to the General Election of 1906 (London, 1907), pp. 6569Google Scholar.

33. Kellas, James G., “The Liberal Party in Scotland, 1876–1895,” Scottish Historical Review, XLIV (April, 1965), 514Google Scholar.

34. Times (London), Feb. 18, 1886Google Scholar.

35. National Liberal Federation, Tenth Annual Report, 1887, p. 26Google Scholar.

36. McBriar, , Fabian Socialism and English Politics, pp. 234–38Google Scholar.

37. The best discussion of London Radicalism in this period is Thompson, Paul, Socialists, Liberals, and Labour: the Struggle for London, 1885–1914 (Toronto, 1967), Chap. VGoogle Scholar.

38. Epstein, Leon D., “British Class Consciousness and the Labour Party,” Journal of British Studies, I (May, 1962), 136–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Pelling, Henry, Popular Politics and Society in Late-Victorian Britain (New York, 1968), Chaps. 1 and 6Google Scholar.

39. Pelling, , Origins of the Labour Party, p. 59Google Scholar; National Liberal Federation, Eleventh Annual Meeting, 1888 (London, 1888), p. 29Google Scholar.

40. National Liberal Federation, Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Meeting, 1891 (London, 1891), pp. 1820Google Scholar.

41. BM, September 10, 1888. Gladstone Papers, BM 44,295.

42. Lynd, Helen Merrell, England in the 1880's: Toward a Social Basis for Freedom (London, 1945)Google Scholar.

43. Reid, Andrew (ed.), The New Liberal Programme (London, 1886)Google Scholar, passim; The Speaker, Jan. 11, 1890, and April 2, 1892; Burt, Thomas, “Labour in Parliament,” Contemporary Review, LV (May, 1889), 681–82Google Scholar; Moulton, J. Fletcher, “What Mr. Gladstone Ought to Do,” Fortnightly Review, No. CCXIV (Feb., 1893), 265Google Scholar.

44. Reid, New Liberal Programme, passim; BM, Labouchere to Herbert Gladstone, Aug. 27, 1892, Vicount Gladstone Papers, BM 46,016.

45. See: Labouchere's motion in the House, Hansard, CCCXXIII, March 9, 1888, 763Google Scholar; Freeman, E. A., “The House of Lords and the County Councils,” Fortnightly Review, No. CCLVII (May, 1888), 599Google Scholar; Wallace, Alfred Russel, “How to Preserve the House of Lords,” Contemporary Review, LXV (Jan., 1894), 114–17Google Scholar; The Speaker, Dec. 5, 1891; Reid, T. Wemyss, “The Leeds Conference,” The Liberal Magazine, XI (July, 1894), 200–02Google Scholar.

46. Morgan, Kenneth O., Wales in British Politics, 1868–1922 (2nd ed.; Cardiff, 1970), Chaps. III and IVGoogle Scholar; Kellas, James G., “The Liberal Party and the Scottish Church Disestablishment Crisis,” E.H.R., LXXIX (Jan., 1964), 3146CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

47. Caine, W. S., “The Attitude of the Advanced Temperance Party,” Contemporary Review, LXIII (Jan., 1893), 4760Google Scholar; SirLawson, Wilfrid, “The Classes, the Masses, and the Glasses,” Nineteenth Century, No. CXVIII (Dec., 1886), 795804Google Scholar.

48. Morgan, , Wales in British Politics, pp. 143–44Google Scholar.

49. Arnold, Arthur, “The Land Transfer Bill,” Fortnightly Review, No. CCXLVII (July, 1887), 113–14Google Scholar; BM, R. T. Reid to Schnadhorst, Sept. 16, 1891, in Gladstone Papers, BM 44,295.

50. Star, Nov. 11, 1890; BM, Labouchere to Herbert Gladstone, March 31, 1888, Viscount Gladstone Papers, BM 46,016.

51. Williams, A. J., “A Model Land Law,” Fortnightly Review, No. CCXLIV (April, 1887), 558–72Google Scholar; Moulton, J. Fletcher, “The Taxation of Ground-Rents,” Contemporary Review, LVII (March, 1890), 412–20Google Scholar; The Speaker, Aug. 9, 1890.

52. McBriar, , Fabian Socialism and English Politics, pp. 187–98 and 234–42Google Scholar; Thompson, , Socialists, Liberals, and Labour, pp. 90111Google Scholar; Stuart, James, “The London Progressives,” Contemporary Review, LXI (April, 1892), 521–32Google Scholar; Massingham, H. W., “The Government and Labour,” Contemporary Review, LXIV (Dec, 1893), 770–75Google Scholar.

53. Haldane, , “The Liberal Creed,” Contemporary Review, LIV (Oct., 1888), 463Google Scholar.

54. Russell, G. W. E., “The New Liberalism: A Response,” Nineteenth Century, No. CLI (Sept., 1889), 498Google Scholar. See also: Atherley-Jones, L. A., “The New Liberalism,” Nineteenth Century, No. CL (Aug., 1889), 192Google Scholar; Hopps, John Page, “The Nihilisms and Socialisms of the World,” Contemporary Review, LVIII (Aug., 1890), 271–82Google Scholar; and Rogers, J. Guinness, “Nonconformist Forebodings,” Nineteenth Century, No. CCX1II (Nov., 1894), 790806Google Scholar.

55. Morley to Chamberlain, Feb. 8, 1888, quoted in Garvin, , Chamberlain, II, 515Google Scholar.

56. National Library of Scotland, Morley to Haldane, Sept. 28, 1891, Haldane Papers, MS 5903.

57. The civic gospel is discussed in Briggs, Asa, Victorian Cities (New York, 1970), Chap. 5Google Scholar.

58. Socialism and the Unemployed,” Contemporary Review, LIII (April, 1888), 561Google Scholar.

59. Haldane, , “The Liberal Creed,” Contemporary Review, LIV (Oct., 1888), p. 466Google Scholar.

60. Ibid., pp. 462–74; and Haldane, R. B., “The Liberal Party and Its Prospects,” Contemporary Review, LIII (Jan., 1888), 156–59Google Scholar.

61. Hamer, , Morley, pp. 255–70Google Scholar; Bradlaugh, Charles, “Regulation by Statute of the Hours of Adult Labour,” Fortnightly Review, No. CCLXXIX (March, 1890), 440–54Google Scholar; Burt, Thomas, “Mr. Chamberlain's Programme,” Nineteenth Century, No. CXC (Dec., 1892), 868Google Scholar; Harrison, Frederic, “The New Trades-Unionism,” Nineteenth Century, No. CLIII (Nov., 1889), 721–32Google Scholar; The Speaker, Nov. 15, 1890; BM, Arnold Morley to Gladstone, Sept. 24, 1890, Gladstone Papers, BM 44,254.

62. Haldane, R. B., “The Liberal Creed,” Contemporary Review, LIV (Oct., 1888), 468Google Scholar; and The Eight Hours Question,” Contemporary Review, LVII (Feb., 1890), 240–55Google Scholar.

63. See T. W. Heyck, “English Radicals and the Irish Question,” Chap. VI.

64. For example: BM, Labouchere to Herbert Gladstone, July 9 and 28, 1886, Viscount Gladstone Papers, BM 46,016. (The letter of July 28 quotes Schnadhorst to the same purpose.)

65. Examples of the different sides in the dispute: Haldane told Edward Hamilton that social and labor questions would be forced to the front as a result of Parnell's disgrace. (BM, Sir Edward Hamilton Diaries, Dec. 14, 1890, Hamilton Papers, BM 48,654.) Morley wrote Gladstone to keep Home Rule in first position. (BM, Morley to Gladstone, Dec. 31, 1890 and Jan. 2, 1891, Gladstone Papers, BM 44,256.)

66. National Liberal Federation, Tenth Annual Report, 1887, pp. 1725Google Scholar; Watson, R. Spence, The National Liberal Federation, pp. 6569Google Scholar.

67. National Liberal Federation, Tenth Annual Report, 1887, p. 9Google Scholar.

68. National Liberal Federation, Eleventh Annual Meeting, 1888 (London, 1888), pp. 69Google Scholar.

69. National Liberal Federation, Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Meeting, 1889 (London, 1890), pp. 610Google Scholar.

70. National Liberal Federation, Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Meeting, 1890 (London, n.d.), pp. 911Google Scholar; Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Meeting, 1891 (London, 1891), pp. 78Google Scholar; Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Meeting, 1893 (London, 1893), p. 6Google Scholar.

71. National Liberal Federation, Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Meeting, 1894 (London, 1894), p. 5Google Scholar.

72. National Liberal Federation, Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Meeting, 1895 (London, 1895), pp. 57Google Scholar.

73. James, Robert Rhodes, Rosebery (New York, 1963), pp. 71–76; 197–99Google Scholar.

74. For instance, Harcourt to Gladstone, July 16, 1892, quoted in Gardiner, A. G., The Life of Sir William Harcourt (London, 1923), II, 179Google Scholar.

75. National Liberal Federation, Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Meeting, 1894, pp. 6872Google Scholar.

76. See Morley's speeches reported in Times, June 15 and 20, 1892.

77. Nov. 16, 1886, quoted in Gardiner, , Harcourt, II, 12Google Scholar.

78. BM, Arnold Morley to Gladstone, Oct. 4, 8 and 15, 1887, Gladstone Papers, BM 44,253; National Liberal Federation, Tenth Annual Report, 1887, pp. 6775Google Scholar.

79. BM, Sir Edward Hamilton Diaries, April 25, 1888 and July 11, 1888, Hamilton Papers, BM 48,648 and 48,649.

80. BM, Hamilton Diaries, Nov. 6, 1888, Hamilton Papers, BM 48,649.

81. Morgan, , Wales in British Politics, p. 90Google Scholar.

82. Gladstone's speech at the Newcastle conference is quoted in National Liberal Federation, Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Meeting, 1891, pp. 100–15Google Scholar.

83. The same general conclusion, from a different perspective, is argued in Steele, E. D., “Gladstone and Ireland,” Irish Historical Studies, XVII (March, 1970), 5888Google Scholar.

1
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Home Rule, Radicalism, and the Liberal Party, 1886-1895
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Home Rule, Radicalism, and the Liberal Party, 1886-1895
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Home Rule, Radicalism, and the Liberal Party, 1886-1895
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *