Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 January 2014
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.
1. The Baptist, Feb. 25, 1887.
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. 28–58Google 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.
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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.
14. Cornford, James, “The Transformation of Conservatism in the Late-Nineteenth Century,” Victorian Studies, VII (Sept., 1963), 35–66Google 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.
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.
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.
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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.
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. 11–25Google 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. 65–69Google Scholar.
33. Kellas, James G., “The Liberal Party in Scotland, 1876–1895,” Scottish Historical Review, XLIV (April, 1965), 5–14Google 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.
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41. BM, September 10, 1888. Gladstone Papers, BM 44,295.
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50. Star, Nov. 11, 1890; BM, Labouchere to Herbert Gladstone, March 31, 1888, Viscount Gladstone Papers, BM 46,016.
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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), 790–806Google 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.
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.
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.)
68. National Liberal Federation, Eleventh Annual Meeting, 1888 (London, 1888), pp. 6–9Google Scholar.
69. National Liberal Federation, Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Meeting, 1889 (London, 1890), pp. 6–10Google 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. 5–7Google 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. 68–72Google Scholar.
76. See Morley's speeches reported in Times, June 15 and 20, 1892.
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. 67–75Google 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.
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.