E. Belfort Bax

Ferri and the Woman Question

(1 March 1902)

Ferri and the Woman Question, Justice, 1st March 1902, p.6 (letter).
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Dear Comrade,

I think anyone who compares the tone of Mr. Robertson’s fiery letter with my own which called it forth will be reminded of nothing so much as Sir Anthony Absolute’s exhortations to his son the Captain to “Keep cool, sir.” If anyone has done Mr. Robertson an injustice it is his friend “D.B.M.” My criticism was avowedly based upon her article, my “inferences” from which I contend were perfectly obvious and natural and certainly not “angry.” If Mr. Robertson had himself been a little cooler he would have seen that even the allusion to the term “mediaevalism” as a “nasty name” was made more in jest than in anger, although I admit I cannot consider Mr. Robertson’s attempt to fix a word of this sort upon thinkers who, whether right or wrong, are every whit as up to date as himself, as a particularly strong or courteous line of argument; and the threat as to reprisals in the matter of “characterisations” contained at the close of the second paragraph of Mr. R.’s letter I confess sent a cold shiver through me, and I only recovered my equanimity on reading the para next following in which the writer fires off at my head four samples of this wrath to come. I then felt reassured and can invite Mr. Robertson to “shoot away” in this kind to his heart’s content if it amuses him. I am sending for Mr. Robertson’s article and promise him to carefully peruse it, after which I will either repent and be converted or may possibly do my humble best, while avoiding “characterisations,” to argumentatively dispose of him in an English and perhaps Continental Socialist organ as well. He may find me “unscientific,” for I notice that to the feminist mind the recognition of any fact, or inference from fact which can possibly be construed as insufficiently complimentary to the ladies is “unscientific.” This, of course, I can’t help. I should say in conclusion that I have always had the greatest respect for Mr. Robertson in his literary and public career, and am only sorry he should have taken my remarks, directed as they were against the “Woman’s Rights” cultus in general, as involving any personal slight on himself.

As regards Mr. Roe’s letter, I have to point out a misquotation. I wrote “noisy feminist section of the party,” not “noisy feminine” section. Many feminists are men, and for aught I know some of them may be among those men of whom Mr. Roe tells us he knows them to be fools. Mr. Roe should not presume that I consider women as out of place in the party, for I do not.


Yours fraternally,
      E. Belfort Bax


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