E. Belfort Bax

The Queen’s Hall Meeting

(13 July 1901)

The Queen’s Hall Meeting, Justice, 13th July 1901, p.6 (letter).
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.


As one who was on the committee of the Queen’s Hall meeting, I must beg leave, even at this late hour, to protest against certain statements made by some of our comrades in Justice representing the meeting as having been “run” by the Liberal and Radical Party, and hence as having had no claim on the services of Social-Democrats.

  1. The committee was solely a committee of persons as such (not representatives of organisations or parties) united on one platform only, viz., detestation of the national South African crime and the advocacy of restitution. Because Mr. Byles or Mr. Conybeare were members of the committee it no more represented the Liberal Party than because I was on it it represented the SDF.
  2. Among the very first persons written to to take part were comrades Hyndman, Quelch, and Burrows. Hyndman, after his first conditional refusal, received a second more urgent invitation. Democratic and Socialist bodies were invited later on to join in their official capacity.
  3. It is not true, however, that it was not until threats appeared in the Financial News that their co-operation was solicited, as it was decided that this should be done from the first.
  4. The resolution in the original form was adopted by, I believe, 6 to 4, myself, of course, voting with the minority far “independence.” It is, however, only fair to the majority to say that they expressly deprecated (as I understood) being any the less in favour of independence than ourselves, their only object in advocating vagueness in the official resolution being to secure unanimity in the adoption of the resolution. At the same time, it was agreed that an unofficial motion for “independence” should be put as a “friendly” amendment by the chairman, as, is fact, happened.

I may say in conclusion that while I heartily concur in the traditional tactics of the SDF for maintaining our body strictly intact as against the Radicals, yet I am none the less convinced of the necessity, if we are to be an effective political force, of our being ready to co-operate with the better elements among the Radicals on special occasions. It is from these that many useful recruits are likely to come in the future, and the policy of the perpetual snarl is not precisely calculated to strengthen our position (“in my humble judgment,” as H.M.H. would put it).

Again, is not this eternal squabbling as to who should have the most kudos out of services rendered a little bit childish and contemptible? It was undoubtedly outrageous of Reynolds to claim the glory for its Democratic League when, as everybody might have known, the bulk of the stewards were SDF men. But as a member of the committee observed to me, it is ridiculous to blackguard the committee on account of the sins of W.M. Thompson, of which it was entirely innocent. – Yours fraternally,


E. Belfort Bax


Last updated on 15.6.2004