1. Dissatisfied with commercial processes available for making Morris and Co. goods, Morris had established in 1881 a factory for colouring prints, wallpapers, and stained glass in unused buildings at Merton Abbey, on the banks of the river Wandle, in Surrey. During many visits, he helped found and maintain a branch of the SL; though the Merton branch announced weekly Thursday committee meetings and Sunday discussions, Commonweal reports seem to indicate that it was not one of the more active branches. On Sunday 23 January, Morris spoke on 'True and False Society', a familiar lecture delivered four times the preceding year, and later reprinted in CW vol.23 pp.215-37 (see LeMorris Ch, p.307 no.9O). LeMorris Cal, p.260 lists Morris as previously scheduled to deliver an evening speech at Cleveland Hall, Cleveland Street, London, so the Diary indicates a change in plans.
2. Since it was largely tied to the precarious block-printing industry, the economy of the Merton area was heavily vulnerable to one of the severest depressions of the second half of the century, the Great Depression of 1886; this continued through the winter of 1886-87, began to recede slightly later in the year, and had finally lifted by 1890.
3. On Friday 14 January, during a visit to Norwich, London SL members Charles Mowbray and Fred Henderson were arrested, after a crowd of unemployed to whom they had delivered speeches smashed windows en route to the Guildhall to demand relief. Henderson was sentenced to four months in prison, and Mowbray, married and the father of five children, received nine months. On 23 January, Kitz, M, and the Merton socialists would have just heard the news of their indictment at the previous day's assizes.
The star Morris placed after 'Norwich affair' refers to the clipping of his letter on the subject to the Daily News, which he inserted facing the next page of his notebook.
4. Something of Frank Kitz's combative temperament may be reflected in the tone of the report he wrote for the 5 February Commonweal p48, on events of the preceding fortnight:
It will be a cold day for those who prey upon our vitals if we ever serve them as they serve us ... we can assure the humbugs and parasites of this neighbourhood that their dominion of cant will be strenuously attacked, and will be in danger of being destroyed.
5. The Merton Abbey Branch met at a workingmen's Club at 11 Merton Terrace, High Street; customarily such clubs were licensed to sell alcoholic beverages only to members.
6. Probably Morris obtained the Norwich Saturday papers on Monday 24 January; both The Norfolk News and Eastern Evening News for that day record the Judge's speech in great detail (NN p4 col 1; EEN p4 cols. 2-3); the Eastern Evening News' summary is about 2,000 words. The Judge's self-righteous tone explains Morris's reference to a modernised Castlereagh:
. . . there was no town where the working class were more cared for. . . than Norwich. . . He was happy to know that in this country there was no reason why anyone should starve. . . In most large towns there were always a certain numbers of loafers who would rather be idling on a very small pittance than be flourishing on handiwork... Now he hoped that the working men of Norwich would take warning from that which had happened.
7. M included a rather vitriolic note on Justice Grantham in the 'Notes on Passing Events' for the 29 January Commonweal.
8. With a circulation of 150,000 by 1870, the Daily News was London's chief Liberal newspaper and provided more information on London events than The Times. It was Morris's favourite newspaper. Its emotional, editorialising tone brought out responsive traits in his character, and he engaged in a daily struggle with its contents. Although of course he disapproved of its hostility to Socialism, he tended to accept its interpretation of predictions of parliamentary and foreign events.
9. Morris's letter, dated 22 January, appeared in the Daily News of 24 January under the title, 'Disturbances at Norwich', following an article, 'The Socialists and Unemployed' and preceding notices on the 'Trial of Socialists' (in Berlin) and 'Socialist Disturbances in Belgium'.
10. The brief paragraph stating that Germany will ask France the meaning of war preparations appeared on p.5 col.3, under the title, 'Germany and France/War Impending', and the alarmist article is the p4 editorial, cols.7-8, 'Peace or War'.
11. This is characteristic of a general apocalyptic optimism in Morris's interpretation of contemporary events during this period. In his hope that a general European conflict would aid the socialists, he resembled Prince Kropotkin, with whom he shared many speaking platforms and conversations during this period.
12. The Standard, a conservative morning paper, was already angry at its more successful competitor on 24 January; although it did not cite the Daily News by name, on p.5 co1.5 its European correspondent sermonised:
The responsibility for the war scare which has prevailed for the last two days ... rests, according to the leading Vienna paper, with the English Press alone. It is to the London papers, we are told, which are incessantly inciting France and Germany against each other ... that the panic and depression on the Exchange are due.
By contrast, the chief evening paper, the Pall Mall Gazette was reasonably laconic. Under the headline, 'Is War Impending Between France and Germany', p.6, it cited the Daily News' comments, and added in its news summaries on the same page, 'At Home and Abroad', the noncommittal statement: 'The Daily News gives prominence to a startling rumour that there is imminent risk of almost immediate war between France and Germany'.
13. At the time the Council consisted of Edward Aveling, H.A. Barker, E.B. Bax, Reg. A. Beckett, Thomas Binning, Henry Charles, A.K. Donald, W. Knight, Joseph Lane, Sam Mainwaring, Charles Mowbray, H.H. Sparling, Lena Wardle, Thomas Wardle, and Philip Webb.
*.* Aveling had been on a lecturing tour of some four months in America. (Morris's note)
14. As leaders of the League's parliamentary faction, the Avelings were Morris's chief opponents in League affairs. He may have disliked them; in a letter probably written in 1887 (Houghton Autograph file, dated 16 June, to 'my dear Charles', probably Henry Charles), he noted that even if the rival group took control, it would 'be burdened by the luckless Aveling and Mrs Eleanor who are not treasures for any association'. In January 1887 Aveling was 'luckless' since in their American tour of September-December 1886, he had created more than $2,000 of debts for the American SDF, and the London Daily Telegraph of 1 January and Evening Standard of 13 January had reported the news at home. In January the Avelings gave lectures comparing the conditions of the British and American working classes; eg, Commonweal records one by each given 26 January (29 January, p.38; 5 February, p47).
15. Throughout the period of the Diary, the committee of Joseph Lane, Henry Charles, and H .A. Barker reported contributions in Commonweal; by 5 March they had collected £25. Contributions by Morris of £1 each were recorded in the issues of 12 and 19 February.
16. Probably a false report, since neither the Norwich papers, the London papers, nor Commonweal mention such a large meeting or a petition on the matter. The 29 January Commonweal reports no information from the Norwich Branch, and the report for 5 February merely mentions that five 'well attended' meetings were held throughout the city the preceding Sunday (30 January, which would have been after Morris's entry), then adds the assertion: 'We are not daunted because our comrades Mowbray and Henderson are in Norwich Castle, but intend to work on all the more'. Surely a successful mass protest meeting would have inspired comment.
17. Earlier in the month, Charles Bradlaugh had begun a lecture series at the 'Hall of Science' entitled 'Socialism, its Fallacies and Dangers'. Morris is referring to Bradlaugh's statement on the first page of the National Reformer of 23 January:
Complaints have been made that there is not sufficient opportunity for discussion at the Hall of Science Sunday morning lectures of the objections stated by me against socialism. I am willing, if it is desired, to meet in formal debate - and on similar conditions to those in the Hyndman discussion - any representative selected by the Socialist Democratic Federation or the Socialist League. Two gentlemen have already intimated their desire to discuss. I must at present wait until some representative selection is made by the Federation or League, and until the question proposed for debate is reduced to writing.
18. Possibly in the sense of 'to smoke a pipe', as in OED meaning II.10.d. for 'straw': 'a slender kind of clay pipe'; the example cited is dated 1882.
19. At the time Earnest Belfort Bax would have had an additional motive for debating with Bradlaugh: see the unfriendly review of Bax's The Religion of Socialism in the National Reformer, 16 January 1887.
20. Morris was in this case too suspicious; the Bax-Bradlaugh debate was published in Commonweal later in the year, from 21 May-28 July. The oral debate never occurred. The AIISH Scheu collection contains H.A. Barker's letter of 26 January inviting Scheu to participate in the debate, Scheu's refusal of 27 January, a renewed SL Council invitation signed by Donald, Binning, Barker, and Wardle, and Scheu's reiterated refusal, on 4 February on the grounds that he had already accepted a speaking engagement for that date.
21. For many years Morris had maintained close ties with the South Kensington (now Victoria and Albert) Museum (SKM). In 1886 the museum's founder Henry Cole commissioned one of the firm's first important orders, for the Green Dining Room. Morris visited the museum repeatedly to gain ideas for his designs, the date of some of which can be correlated with specific museum acquisitions. During this period Morris served as the SKMorris's chief advisor for the purchase of tapestries, several of which were acquired on his recommendation.
22. Morris had argued for the purchase of the Flemish 'Tapestry of the Siege of Troy' (now in Victoria and Albert (V & A) Gallery 38, 6-1887), woven during what he considered the best period of medieval tapestry-weaving, the early 15th century. The 'Siege of Troy' was received by the SKMorris on 13 November 1886, and catalogued in early January. Since his early 20s, Morris's identification with heroic defeats in love and war had attracted him to the Troy legend; it appears in references in 'Sir Peter Harpdon's End' in The Defence of Guenevere and his dramatic fragment of the 18605, 'Scenes from the Fall of Troy'. Morris's interest in tapestry was reflected again in the same year by the firm's completion of 'The Forest', now in the V & A Museum.
23. The museum acquired a large number of Egyptian textiles from 1886-88, now in Rm 1OO, Case F, 'Late Antique and Early Medieval Textiles'. The classical textiles which Morris disliked may be the contents of approx. drawers 1-29, from the 3rd and 4th centuries; in the fifth- or sixth-century weaving of drawer 46, with its rose, pink, orange, yellow, dark blue, blue green, and purple threads, one can find a striking confirmation of the change he describes. For a description of these collections, see Alan S. Cole, A Supplementary Descriptive Catalogue of Tapestry-Wove and Embroidered Egyptian Textiles. Acquired for the South Kensington Museum between 1886 and June 1890, London 1891.
24. Morris frequently deprecated classical literature in general terms, but these comments from the author of The Life and Death of Jason, twelve classical Earthly Paradise tales, and translations of Homer and Virgil, should not be taken too literally; within the week he was working on his 'Odyssey' at Rottingdean; see entry for 3 February. In an 1885 list of his 54 favoutite books solicited by the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, he includes three Latin and six Greek titles, and odds grudgingly, 'Of course I admit the archaeological value of some of them, especially Virgil and Ovid'. His comments on the 'classical' should be read as a defense of romantic values in art and rejection of nineteenth-century academic preference for ancient and classical over medieval European culture.
25. On King Street.
26. George Wardle had been commissioned by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (see footnote 28) to visit Venice to investigate the restorations at St Mark's (see footnote 27). A report, signed by him and Professor Middleton and dated 24 May 1887, appeared in the 1888 SPAB Annual Report, pp.61-69.
27. Ruskin's Stones of Venice, 1851-53, had made St Mark's Cathedral one of the buildings most admired by British artists and intellectuals. At a protest meeting held in the Sheldonian Theatre in November 1879, George Street, the prominent architect for whom Morris had once worked, proposed a resolution against any alterations, and described St Mark's as 'the most exquisite piece of colour and architecture in Europe', and Morris gave a supporting speech. Despite an extended campaign to persuade the Italian government to curtail restoration, the government did 'finish up the whole thing there'.
28. In 1877 Morris founded 'anti-scrape' , The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, still in existence; a copy of G.F. Watts' portrait of Morris painted by Henry Holliday hangs over the library mantlepiece of its headquarters in 55 Great Ormond Street, WCI. At the time, Morris still served as one of its honorary secretaries, and the Diary may underplay the organising work which this required during the period.
29. 1886 and 1887 SPAB annual reports indicate that the two recently founded French branches of the Society were its most active continental allies. The report's hopeful assessments of more wide-spread continental interest - 'the zeal which is now beginning to be exhibited for the preservation of national antiquities, particularly in France and Germany' (1887 Annual Report) - contrast sharply with Morris's private exasperation.
30. In the previous July elections, Gladstonian Liberals suffered heavy defeat; the Conservatives won 316 seats, the Liberals 276, and 78 'Liberal Unionists', Liberals who had voted against their party on Home Rule, gave the Conservatives a strong majority of 394. Although long since disaffected with Gladstonian liberalism, Morris's Commonweal notes indicate that he enjoyed disagreeing with his former party.
31. As laws restricting free speech, 'gagging bills' were of crucial importance to the socialists. The Conservatives' Irish Coercion bill was passed as the Crimes Act of July 1887.
32. Since the Liberals had long been the dominant party and expected to continue to be so under the widened franchise, they still hoped for a return to power. As the leader of the anti-Home Rule Liberals, Joseph Chamberlain made two abortive efforts at conciliation with Gladstone in the early months of 1887, but when the second of these failed in April, the rift widened. Except for a three-year period 1892-95, the Conservatives were to continue in power until nine years after Morris's death.
33. The Conservatives had appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer the Liberal Unionist George Goschen. Goschen had insisted on the removal of Lord Iddesleigh from the foreign office, and when the old man died suddenly after taking leave of his staff, Goschen lost popularity, and was defeated by 11 votes in a by-election at Liverpool. Although the government was embarrassed, he was soon re-elected from the Conservative stronghold of St George's, Hanover Square, which remained his constituency for the next 13 years. Morris particularly disliked Goschen; in the week's Commonweal (29 January) he described a Goschen campaign speech as 'remarkable for emptiness, dullness, and twaddle'.
34. The Daily News did all it could to aggrandise the victory of the Liberal candidate Neville by 11 of 6,433 votes cast. By the "equal balance of the electorate," Morris of course refers to the slender margin of victory.
35. Even Morris may have felt this optimism a bit strained; note the next sentence's relief at his temporary suspension of newspaper commentary.
36. In 1881 Morris's closest friend Edward Burne-Jones and his family had bought the small 'North End House', near the sea at Rottingdean, four miles east of Brighton.
37. Morris's translation of the Odyssey, published in April and November 1887, is described by Geoffrey Riddehough in 'William Morris's Translation of the Odyssey', Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol.40( 1941) pp.558-61. Riddehough criticises Morris's use of saga mannerisms and other archaisms, but notes that 'actual blunders are remarkably few, if we consider the translation as the hurried spare-time work of an unusually busy man,' and respects 'an odd tendency to bring out the ancient meaning of a word ... '.
38. It is possible but unlikely that Morris is referring to the 14th chapter of his joint work with Bax, The Roots of Socialism, which appeared as 'The Transition from the Utopists to Modern Socialism' in the Commonweal of 5 February; the uneven and pedantic style of the chapter suggests Bax rather than Morris. More probably Morris alludes to an early draft for an article which appeared 19 February, 'Facing the Worst of It', in which Morris wrote of socialists' response to immediate frustration that: "it is well for us not to be too sanguine, since overwhelming hope is apt to give birth to despair if it meets with check or disappointment."
39. Morris may be intentionally laconic here. Jane Morris's trips abroad for health and companionship were expensive; in the 1870s they had been a serious financial burden, although by now he could afford them more easily. Moreover his family's absence may have left him somewhat lonely; Morris's letters indicate that he missed his daughter Jenny during her absences. Jenny was twenty-six and had suffered for nine years from seizures which signalled a progressively deteriorative muscular and brain disease; the Morrises hoped the trip would benefit Jenny's as well as Jane's health. 25-year-old May remained with her father, and Commonweal records her frequent activities for the SL; she served as a League librarian and contributed occasional literary notices and French and Italian news summaries to Commonweal. Letters preserved at the AIISH indicate that she also helped her father with SL correspondence.
40. Despite disclaimers, recent political events had frustrated him; see his outburst in the Cw's introductory 'Notes on News' for 5 February, responding to Chamberlain's appeal to constituencies to show gratitude for past services:
Gratitude to traitors and turncoats! Sham sentiment of the nineteenth century, you do indeed get into curious corners when politicians deal with you! ... the rule now is that when a man has got a reputation as a leader he may indulge himself in almost any shabbiness and sneaking ways ... always so long as he brazens it out, and keeps himself well before the public - advertises himself, in fact.
41. Since Randolph Churchill had just resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer (his replacement by Goschen had led to the Liverpool by-election) and House leader of the Conservative party, his lengthy, irritable, and mocking speech of 31 January (reprinted in The Times, I February, pp.6 and 7) elicited interest; he attacked his party for relying on a possibly fickle alliance with the Liberal Unionists and their House of Lords leader, Lord Hartington. Threatening them with future loss of power, he exhorted them instead to rely on 'good government' and insulted their new allies: 'I frankly admit that I regarded the Liberal Unionists as a useful kind of crutch'.
42. In contrast to its disapproval of a similar reaction the previous week by the Daily News, on 31 January the Standard's article, 'The Peace of Europe' (p.5 cols.5 and 6) asserted, 'The European situation is still regarded as most critical, there being a general apprehension that war between Germany and France within a very short time is almost certain'.
43. This was a four-week debate, 2, 9, 16 and 23 February, between Annie Besant and George Foote at the Hall of Science, 142 Old Street, City Road, EC, on the question, 'Is Socialism Sound?' Morris chaired the first session, Shaw the third. and revised texts of both debates were later published as Is Socialism Sound: A Verbatim Report. . . Revised by both disputants, Progressive Publishing Co., London 1887, along with the introductory remarks; Morris introduced the debate as on 'the question of the day'.
44. In 1886, Annie Besant left her 10-year association with Bradlaugh in order to campaign for a mild version of socialism. Her speech advocates 'scientific socialism', which she defines in contrast to 'utopian socialism' as a change in the economic order of society. Although her rhetoric is vague: 'I submit that Socialism is no longer a dream. It is a reasoned scheme based on political economy. It proposes to change our economic basis. It proposes to do this by rational and thoughtful argument, convincing the brain of man,' the shift Morris refers to may be shown in her belief that under socialism no private property in materials will be necessary for the production of wealth. (Is Socialism Sound, p.5)
45. Actually, it's hard to tell from his remarks that evening whether Foote advocated land nationalisation. Although he comments towards the end of his second address of the evening that 'Mrs Besant is a land nationaliser as well as I' (Is Socialism Sound, p.28), he has argued rather deviously that Herbert Spencer has claimed the right of all to access of nature, so land nationalisation is not a socialist idea (pp.16-17). Moreover, the state could rent land at unequal rates for different qualities of land, and so capitalistic risk and profit-taking would still be possible and even inevitable. He goes on to stress the need for unequal wealth on Malthusian principles, and as a reward for unequal talents. The effect of his remarks is to reduce 'land nationalisation' to a virtual redescription of the status quo. In general Foote uses declamatory generalisation and sarcasm to reduce his opponents' arguments to tautology or absurdity, and avoids debate on the desirability of socialism.
46. Although the Hammersmith Socialist Society Minutes (BL Add. MSS 45,891-93) indicate advance planning, the Chiswick Club debate hadn't been announced in the previous week's Commonweal, an unusual omission. C. Henry Mordhurst was one of the branch's steady propagandists in this period.
47. In his identification with the oppressed, R.B. Cunninghame-Graham was unique in the parliament of the day.
48. Outdoor Hammersmith Branch SL station, northwest of the Hammersmith underground station; see map of Hammersmith in 1887. Since Beadon Road doesn't appear on London ordinance maps for 1878, it may have been built shortly before; London survey records indicate that it was named in 1880. The Hammersmith Branch changed the location of its outdoor stations several times in an effort to maintain an audience; the Hammersmith Socialist Society Minutes record earlier attempts on King Street by Weltje Road and at the south of Hammersmith Bridge, and the selection on 4 April 1886 of a site in Beadon Road at the back of the Liberal Club.
49. Hyndman's talk is not mentioned in Commonweal. The 5 February Justice announced that on the 6th at 8 pm he would speak at the Chiswick Club on 'The Causes of Social Revolution' ,although for some reason the 12 February Justice omitted a report on the event.
50. Morris's letters to his daughter and wife during their absence are preserved in BL Add. MS. 45,339 (Jenny) and BL Add. MS. 45,338 (Jane). They seem to have returned on 16 May, for in a letter to Joseph Lane of that date Morris states that his wife and Jenny are returning home that evening (British Library 46,345), and Morris mentions their recent arrival in a letter to his mother dated 24 May (William Morris Gallery). On 3 June Jane Morris wrote Rosalind Howard that 'there is no doubt that Jenny has benefited in every way, her father is delighted with change in her, she is more like her old self than she has ever been since her illness began 11 years ago' (Autograph letter, Howard Castle Archive).
51. Council meetings were held at the League's offices at 13 Farringdon Road, EC.
52. G.B. Shaw's correspondence with the League secretary Henry A. Barker appears in his Collected Letters: 1874-1897, London 1965, pp.I64-66. Shaw seems to have felt concern over his role in the proposed contest:
Therefore, though for personal reasons I am anxious to avoid any course that may strain the friendly relations which Mr Bradlaugh's services to the people have established between him and my colleagues as wel1 as myself, I cannot refuse to accept ... Only let it be understood that I am not the chal1enger and that I did not volunteer for the defence. (9 February, pp.164-5)
53. The celebration of the anniversary of the Paris Commune was an important annual socialist event, held in 1887 on 17 March at South Place Chapel. In his Commonweal article of 19 March, 'Why we Celebrate the Commune of Paris' , Morris expressed his characteristic emphasis on creating achievement from failure:
I have heard it said, and by good Socialists too, that it is a mistake to commemorate a defeat ... The Commune of Paris is but one link in the struggle which has gone through al1 the history of the oppressed against the oppressors; and without all the defeats of past times we should now have no hope of the final victory.
54. Members of the Council elected for the first time in 1887 were James Allman, W. Blundell, C. Burcham, S. Cantwell, H.B. Tarleton, J.J. Graham, and A. Davis. Of these Allman was a tailor's presser, Tarleton was from the Hammersmith branch, and the remaining four were from North London.
55. The Commonweal of 5 February had announced that:
A meeting of the international revolutionists to protest against the Coming War will be held in Cleveland Hall, Cleveland Street, Portland Road, W., on Tuesday February 8, at 8 p.m. The chair will be taken by comrade Morris. Speeches will be made in various languages ...
and the 12 February issue printed a friendly report, noting that 'speeches were made in several languages by men of the different peoples' and that 'a strong resolution was unanimously carried' .
56. According to Commonweal, this was 54 Cleveland Street. near Portland Road Station (now Gt Portland Street Station); north of Soho, it was in an area with a large immigrant population, and the SL branch contained several exiles, including Victor Dave (Belgian), Henry Charles (German), and (before his departure to Edinburgh) Andreas Scheu (Austrian). It was strongly anti-parliamentarian, and by 'orthodox anarchists' Morris refers to the fact that they had not joined the successionist Autonomy Group (see footnotes 57 and 58).
57. A dispute between Victor Dave and a fellow member of the Whitfield Street Club of leftist exiles, a younger Austrian anarcho-communist Josef Peukert, led the latter and his associates in 1886 to form a separate Gruppe Autonomie (Autonomy Group), which met at 32 Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square (and later at 6 Windmill Street, Tottenham Court Road) and published Die Autonomie from 6 November 1886 until 22 April 1893. For an account of their personal and ideological differences and the resultant 'Bruderkrieg', see Andrew Carlson, Anarchism in Germany, Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow, 1972, chap.1O. Carlson sees Dave as maintaining an older, Bakuninist, authoritarian anarchism and Peukert as advocating a less hierarchical anarcho-communism, which emphasised voluntarism and mutual aid.
58. Hostilities had intensified when the Autonomy Group accepted the credentials of Karl Theodor Reuss, whom the Cleveland Hall people believed a spy, and whom the SL voted to expel on 10 May 1886. The Cleveland Hall group were right, and Reuss's testimony eventually led to the imprisonment and death of an important and devoted European anarchist, Johann Neve; this in turn gave rise to a painful series of charges and countercharges. Neve had been arrested on 21 February 1887, and Reuss confessed his guilt in October of the same year. Carlson's Anarchism in Germany (chap. II, 'John Neve and the Split in the Movement') skillfully unravels the complex and tragic deceptions, uncertainties, and conflicts which followed on this event. Anarchist factionalism has been frequently derided, but much of the information the anarchists needed for self-protection was unavailable to them, and was only recoverable decades later from police files.
59. After the departure of SDF members to form the SL in 1885, another defection from the SDF, this time of committed parliamentarians, occurred in 1886, when Hyndman's use of Conservative Party campaign money ('Tory Gold') became known. The seceding group called itself the Socialist Union and published a paper, The Socialist, but had disbanded by early 1887. James Macdonald, a prominent member, then returned to the SDF (Chushichi Tsuzuki, H.Morris. Hyndman and British Socialism, Oxford 1961, p.72); also see Macdonald's remarks in a Justice interview, July 11,1896, p.6.
60. Since in the 1880s almost every group which strongly disliked the current government defined itself as 'socialist' , it was inevitable that real political oppositions would appear between the Fabians, who were evolving into advocates of a strong state-planned centralised economy, and the anarchists, who advocated decentralisation, various degrees of mutualism, and the withering away of institutionalised government. For example, note the Fabian G.B. Shaw's letter to Henry Barker of the same month in which he binds himself to maintain against Brad1augh only:
That it is advisable to abandon the principle of individualism for that of socialism; and that this change of policy can be made effective only by complete resumption of the land, with a transfer of the existing capital of the country from its present holders to the state.
It is 'individualism', not class-antagonism, oppression of workers, or denial of self-determination that is the central focus of his attack (Collected Letters, p.166).
61. In October 1886 Peter Kropotkin and Charlotte Wilson had begun an anarchist journal, Freedom: A Journal of Anarchist Socialism, and its supporters were called the Freedom Group, with headquarters at 34 Bouverie Street, EC. Quail (p.57) states that although anti-parliamentarian, it shared with the Fabians an exclusiveness, middle-class constituency, and desire to permeate and organise other groups. Freedom was printed at the Commonweal press (27 Farringdon Road, EC), and was distributed along with their own publications at SL branch meetings; the Freedom Group maintained some membership in common with the SL (Quail, p.59). The SL anarchist David Nicholl wrote in Commonweal 16 years later that:
... neither Kitz, Mowbray, or I were particularly friendly [to the Freedom Group]. We looked upon them as a collection of middle class faddists, who took up with the movement as an amusement, and regretted that Kropotkin and other 'serious' people ever had anything to do with them. (3 October 1903, Quail, p.59)
62. In early 1887 Kropotkin apparently believed in the inevitability of immediate war (Woodcock and Avakomovic, The Anarchist Prince, London 1950, p.225), and he seems also to have heen hopeful that such a war might further a revolutionary uprising. His general position, as expressed for example in Memoirs of a Revolutionist, London, Swan Sonnenschein, 1906, pp.167, 252, 270-72, and 466-67), did not diverge greatly from views M advanced here in the diary, in the Commonweal article quoted in note 63 below, and in other expressions of his views on social rcvolution.
63. Morris viewed war as destructive of foreign and British working-class interests, and during his lifetime never advocated British involvement in a war. Early in his political career he wrote in an 1877 placard on the Turkish question (JI43, WMorris Gal) addressed 'To the workingmen of England':
There is danger of war; bestir yourselves to face that danger. . . for a hard matter it will be for most of us to bear war-taxes, war-prices, war-losses of wealth and work, and friends and kindred: we shall pay heavily, and you, friends of the working classes, will pay the heaviest.
In News from Nowhere the advent of socialism is accompanied by limited civil war, but there is no massive European struggle. Morris's contempt for British imperialism and militarism is also apparent in News from Nowhere's description of the anti-socialist government's general, 'who had won a certain sort of reputation in the disgraceful wars in which the country had been long engaged from time to time' (CW, vol.XVII chap.17 p.114). In his response to a recent London Peace Conference, in 'Notes on News', Commonweal, 26 July 1890 (p.235), Morris wrote that 'this violent war or modern times, and the preparation for it, is just as much a part of the present capitalist system as banking is, and can no more be dispensed with than that'. Even at peace, the European nationstates would maintain standing armies. 'To keep down the People!. . . Those only are really seeking peace who are seeking equality first'.
*. The butcher's shop was shuttered when the mob went by: they didn't stop there and he fired off his pistols twenty minutes after they had passed on: so Sir Ch[arles] Warren says.
64. On 8 February 1886, at a demonstration in Trafalgar Square, SDF speakers persuaded the crowd to move to Hyde Park, and en route members of the crowd smashed windows and looted. The incident intensified police surveillance at socialist meetings and led to the arrest of four SDF members, Hyndman, Champion, Burns, and Williams, for whom Morris and Bax offered bail. After a trial which the prisoners described as impartial (Justice, 17 April 1886), they were acquitted. Since the publicity surrounding the riots had stressed the possibility of revolution, the attempt to rerun the event would have created an expectation of escalated violence. The 5 February Commonweal discreetly avoided announcing the mass meeting, although once it had occurred, the 12 February issue expressed solidarity with those arrested (p.55).
65. The use of 'proclaim' in this context seems to have been fairly recent; definition 2e. of the OED reads 'To place (a district, country, etc.) under legal restrictions by proclamation: spec. under the provisions of the various Peace Preservation (Ireland) Acts of 1881 and following years', and the related meaning 2f. appears here, 'To denounce or prohibit by proclamation; to forbid publicly or openly'. The two examples of usage cited are from 1885 and 1887, both from the press. In its 12 February capsule summary of the meeting, p.55, Commonweal still placed 'proclaimed' in quotation marks.
66. Interestingly there were three Daily News accounts, the first the most accurate. On Wednesday 9 February, p.6 col 4, an article 'The Socialist Meeting' declared that the meeting had disbanded quietly, and reported without comment a report by 'The Central News' of a butcher's firing on the crowd. The Daily News' second account appeared on 10 February, p.3 col.3, under the title 'The Socialist Demonstration in Clerkenwell', and is inserted in the Diary, p.12. Five long paragraphs describe the mob's theft of £25 of meat, Mr Geering the butcher's firing of a pistol, spirited conversation between himself and the 'rabble', and his final defence of his premises with revolvers and an antiquated dagger. The tone now patronises the loquacious but valiant British shopkeeper. Still a third account, from the 'Press Associate', follows directly below in smaller type; this describes the smashing of windows in the shop of Mr Veering the butcher (note the different spelling) and others, omits mention of the butcher's firing on the mob, and assesses the total damage from window smashing as under £100.
67. Under the title 'The Disturbances at Clerkenwell' (p.8 co1.3), The Times for 10 February repeated the Daily News' account of 9 February almost verbatim. No wonder Morris laughed. Although the 10 February Standard reported 'The Socialist Riots' (p.3 col. 6), it cited the arrest of a coal porter but did not mention any butcher shop theft.
68. The Daily News' Friday 11 February retraction was a small paragraph on p.5 col 4, entitled 'The Riot in Clerkenwell' and followed by a letter 'To the Editor of the Daily News', reporting that the author had been directed to transmit the statement:
There is no foundation for the statement circulated that shops were pillaged on the night of the 8th inst. in Compton-street and Goswell-road, near Clerkenwell, or that meat was stolen from a butcher's shop in Compton-street. . .
The 11 February Daily Standard also carried the retraction (p.3 co1.3, under the notice 'The Clerkenwell Riot ').
69. Unidentified; Canon Ridley was chair; see LeMorris Cal, p.261 and Morris's engagement calendar on that date (BL Add. MS. 45,408).
70. The meeting of the Ways and Means Committee is absent from LeMorris Cal; it was probably held at the League office.
71. Since Morris was paying, they could afford more cheerfulness. Later in the year he estimated that he was losing £4 weekly on Commonweal alone, and in 1889 he estimated his total socialist expenses as £500 annually, including the newspaper (Glasier, pp.194, 201). Moreover his pessimism was wellfounded; E.P. Thompson notes that from December 1887 to June 1889 its circulation had fallen from about 2,800 to about 2,300 (pp. A60-62).
72. At the Chiswick Club; see his 7 February entry.
73. The Walham Green outdoor station was under the jurisdiction of the Hammersmith Branch; the 12 February Commonweal had announced a Mr Arnold as responsible for an 11.30am session on Sunday the 13th.
74. Andreas Scheu's autobiography Umsturzkeime doesn't mention the names or birthdates of his three children, who had been left behind in Austria when he and his wife separated upon his departure for England in 1870. Scheu had continued to support his family from London; by 1887 his daughter would of course have been at least 16 or 17, and could have visited her father independently.
75. leMire Ch, no.101, listed this as the first of three deliveries; the second on Wednesday, Feb. 16th, the third March 22nd. This speech was the second in a trilogy on 'England, As It Was, As It Is, and As It May Be'.
76. In 1883 John Carruthers had served the government of Venezuela as consulting engineer regarding the building of a railway from Puerto Cabello to Valencia, and he was now chief Venezuelan engineer for the London firm formed to construct the railway; later, from 1889 to 1891, he worked in Argentina.
77. The 19 February Commonweal, p.59, reported the meeting of 9 February at which the branch was formed in Walsall, an industrial town northwest of Birmingham. In a report in Commonweal of 26 February, 'Socialism in the Provinces', J.L. Mahon describes the chainmakers of Walsall and Cradley Heath as among the 'poorest paid slaves in this country', working 10-12 hours daily for 12 shillings a week, from which they were required to buy fuel for their forges.
78 The Glasgow branch's report in Commonweal, 19 February, p.61, spoke warmly of their success in 'Awakening the workers to a sense of the necessity of the Socialists' claim for a change in the basis of Society'.
79 An ardent advocate of work towards labour representation in parliament and a legal eight-hour day, H.H. Champion was the owner of the Modern Press, which printed Justice. In May 1887 he founded Common Sense, and later published the Labour Elector. In 1885, Champion's provision of money from an unidentified source for SDF candidates created the 'Tory gold' scandal when the probable source was revealed as the Conservative agent Maltman Barry.
80 Morris expressed his exasperation with SDF tactics on a number of occasions. For one such criticism of Hyndman's "aim. . . to make the movement seem big; to frighten the powers that be with a turnip bogie which perhaps he almost believes in himself. . . " see the biographical note on Hyndman.
81 The letter, in Shaw's Collected Letters, 1874-97, pp.164-65, concludes:
I presume that your executive has duly weighed the fact that I am a member of the Fabian Society only, and am not bound by the manifesto of the Socialist League.
82 12 miles south of central London, Croydon had a SL branch which met in Parker Road.
83 The first part of this article, entitled 'Scientific Socialism', appeared in the 26 February Commonweal, and was later reprinted in Socialism: Its Growth and Outcome, London 1895; in a dry and reductive style it explains Marx's definitions of 'commodity', 'exchange', and 'money'.
84 According to E.P. Thompson, R.F. Muirhead was a lecturer in mathematics at Glasgow University (Thompson, p.555). Glasier also comments on his courage in a letter in Commonweal:
It is greatly to the credit of our comrades R.F. Muirhead, MA and Arch McLaren, MA, that they bravely came forward and took chairs at the platforms, as they are both well connected and run seriously the risk of damaging their academic careers. (19 February, p.61)
85 According to The Times, Parnell's amendment to the Queen's address was offered on Monday 7 February; the vote was actually not taken on Thursday, but on Friday 11 February; as Morris reported, the measure lost by 106 votes, 246 to 352. By his references to its moderation, Morris may have meant its general petitionary tone; Parnell wishes
. . . humbly to represent to Her Majesty. . . that the remedy for the existing crisis in Irish affairs is not to be found in increased stringency of criminal procedure, or in the pursuit of such novel, doubtful, and unconstitutional measures as have been taken by Her Majesty's Government in Ireland, but in such a reform of the law and the system of government as will satisfy the name and secure the confidence of the Irish people.
86 LeMorris Cal, p.261.
87 It's hard not to interpret Philip Webb's socialism as motivated in part by loyalty to his closest friend. That such politics as he had may have been rather simplistic is suggested by the tone of his letter of 28 December 1884 from Florence (V & A Museum, Autograph):
. . . still no one must think that when capitalists are down on their marrow bones they will be for the people, they are a bad-bred lot, and the illgotten race must die out, for no good can come of them. . .
88 In a letter to Jenny of 18 February he speaks of having had an alarm of gout rather than gout itself the previous week (BL Add. MS. 45,339); when writing Glasier on 12 March he notes that he is not very well (Autograph, WMorris Gal).
89 Cf. Le Mire Cal, p.261; the club room was at the corner of Merton Lane and Fountain Place. His 18 February letter to Jenny comments:
Tomorrow I lecture to our Mitcham branch, a creation of Kitz's; a rather tough lot of honest but poor people; I shalI have to be as familiar and non-literary as I can be or they won't understand me. (BL Add. MS. 45,339)
90 I've been unable to identify the 'German from Wimbledon'. In contrast to Morris's depression, the Commonweal Mitcham branch report signed by S.G. noted enthusiastically that:
In the evening in our club-room, comrade Morris lectured to a very large audience on 'Monopoly', and met with an enthusiastic reception. Eden, Harrison, Gregory and others took part in the discussion. We closed as usual with singing. Four new members made.
91 Commonweal reported its opening on 24 October 1886; Frank Kitz's branch report for 20 October notes enthusiastically that:
Our Mitcham club room was a delapidated ruinous shed, which by purely voluntary efforts on the part of our Mitcham and Merton comrades, has been transferred into a comfortable club room. . . (p.247)
92 The 26 February Commonweal, p.71, recounted Allman's biased trial and spirited self-defence:
Allman pointed out the injustice of the police attacking only Socialists and no one else; and that it was only when a few working men bound themselves together to point out to their fellows how they were robbed that the ruling class put this old law into force. There were hundreds of meetings held every evening, not by Socialists, that really did cause obstructions, that were never interfered with, which showed the partiality of the police. Meetings were held three times a-week by a ranter five yards from where he was arrested for speaking, but the police only looked on.
Allman's heavy fine seemed a direct result of his two previous convictions; after hearing that Allman had been fined at Dod Street and Stratford, the judge Mr Hannay 'said that under those circumstances he would inflict the full penalty of 40s. or a month'. A Hyde Park demonstration was held on 28 March to celebrate Allman's release.
93 Commonweal, 26 February, announced that the Hackney Branch planned to hold a Sunday meeting in the Broadway (London Fields) to publicise the difficulties of socialist propaganda, and the 5 March issue reported that at the meeting speeches by H. Graham and David Nicoll were followed by passage of a resolution protesting at the sentencing of Allman, and supporting free speech.
94 Henry Charles's letter appeared in the 19 February Justice, p.3 and read:
Comrade, - In reference to the first of your Tell-tale Straws, pray permit me to correct your statement.
- John L. Mahon had not been sent as an emissary of the Socialist League to the Provinces.
- The principles of the Socialist League are now as they were at the formation of the League, opposed to Socialists adopting political action in the sense you understand political action.
- The deplorable fact that comrade Mahon has within the last six months somewhat changed his ideas does not necessarily induce aU other members of the Socialist League to follow suit.
I am, Comrade, yours fraternally,
95 Later in the year J.L. Mahon would become more clearly parliamentarian, but his Commonweal articles reporting the northern trip stilI emphasised the need for political agitation in a wider Socialist frame:
[Of Nottingham:) There is plenty of Socialist feeling in the town but the disorganised and dilatory way in which the propaganda has been conducted, has estranged this feeling from the Socialist bodies. The cause of this state of affairs is, in my opinion, that from the first the movement had too much politics and too little Socialism in it. The social and economic aspect of the propaganda was over-shadowed by the political: the result being that a very superficial and spurious kind of Socialism was spread abroad, that died out when the election heat cooled off. 26 February, p.69
Late in 1887 Mahon founded a North of England Socialist Federation pledged to work with both the SDF and SL; for a discussion of his activities, see Thompson, pp.464-79.
97 What exactly Morris feared from the anti-parliamentarian SL members (Lane, Kitz, Mowbray, Mainwaring, Nicoll) is not clear - perhaps more pronounced advocacy of demonstrations, strikes, violence, and open threats on the government. Anarchist sympathies within the SL were largely confined to London; provincial branches favoured more electoral and trade union activity.
98 On 'Money', Commonweal, 12 March, p.82
99 The speeches of Messrs Louther and Labouchere to which Morris refers appeared in The Times of 18 February.
100 Despite repressive measures and the imprisonment of its leaders, the Gennan Social Democratic party had rapidly gained adherents, claiming over 300,000 members in 1881 and over 1,400,000 in 1890. In an attempt to blunt its influence and justify domestic suppression of socialists, Bismark had introduced some limited social reforms and exploited supposed threats of war. J. Sketchley published an article 'Law and Order in Germany' in the 5 March Commonweal.
101 No reference to the Reading meeting appears in Commonweal
102 In a letter of 25 February to Jenny, Morris notes that he plans to entertain G.B. Shaw and Watts (Theodore Watts-Dunton) the next Sunday, 27 February, because the latter wanted to meet Shaw. Neither man is mentioned in the autobiographical writings, published letters, or standard biographies of the other, and the meeting seems to have been of little consequence.
103 Perhaps these essays evolved into Shaw's two contributions to the Fabian Essays of 1889. One of the latter, The Transition to Social Democracy, was written in 1888 while Shaw visited Kelmscott Manor.
104 The spring primrose became associated by Conservatives with the memory of Benjamin Disraeli's death on 19 April 1881; in 1883 the Primrose League was founded to support the Conservative Party principles.
105 This was the 27 February SDF parade, which went discreetly unannounced in the 26 February Commonweal
106 According to the 5 March Commonweal, she lectured on 'Authority and Revolt', and the branch report notices that 'The Anarchist theory underlying an interesting discourse was criticised by comrades Beasley, Carruthers, Morris, and Radford, who were mainly concerned with the difficulty of finding how the everyday affairs of a community could be conducted without the rule... of either majority or minority'.
107 The 27 February Edinburgh demonstration of the SDL and SL to express sympathy with striking Scottish miners was reported in the 5 March Commonweal, p.77.
108 On 13 February; see 19 February Commonweal, p.61.
109 Morris had expressed his views on the distracting effects of this agitation in a letter to Glasier of the preceding 16th August:
You will see that we are in hot water again with the police here, and for my part I think it a great nuisance. It is after all a side issue, and I grudge everything that takes peoples attention off the true economical and social issues which are the only things of importance. . . . (William Morris Gallery)
The collection of fines and creation of publicity to support arrested comrades had consumed much of the League's energies during the past year.
110 Morris had encouraged Joseph Lane to serve as the League's representative to a Paris congress of international socialists (letter to Lane, 17 February, 1887, BL Add. MS. 46,345). Morris paid the expenses of the trip. Like the British movement, French socialism was factionalised between anarchists, mutualists (Syndicalists), collectivists, and parliamentarians (Possibilists).
111 The Guesdist Parti Ouvrier, founded by Jules Guesde (1845-1922) in 1875-76, upheld orthodox Marxist collectivism in competition with Blanquist and Proudhonist factions. Guesde edited Egalite and was a close collaborator of Paul Lafargue, Marx's son-in-law. Presumably the Guesdists were especially cool to Lane as an anarcho-communist.
112 See Shaw's Collected Letters, pp.165-66.
113 This was Scientific Socialism - Conversion of Capital into Money, published in the 19 March Commonweal, p.I04.
114 It's hard to be completely certain what this was. Carruther's Political Economy of Socialism: Lecture Read Before the Hammersmith Branch of the Socialist League, is an undated 16-page pamphlet, listed in the National Union Catalogue as '1885?' If this date is correct, it seems strange that Morris would be learning of its contents for the first time in a conversation with his friend two years later. The pamphlet was reviewed by Commonweal on 20 September 1890, and listed there as published by the Hammersmith Branch SL, Kelmscott House, so it seems more likely that it was printed sometime between the dates of the Diary reference and the review. This pamphlet seems a more likely candidate for Morris' reference than Chapter 2 of the 1883 Communal and Commercial Economy, the contents of which were already published. Like Communal and Commercial Economy, The Policital Economy of Socialism contained the description of worker-as-machinery which attracted Morris.
115 Gustave Brocher, according to Quail (pp.16,48) a contributor to Henry Seymour's The Anarchist and an organiser of the London Social Revolutionary and Anarchist Congress of July 1881, was to lecture at the Hammersmith Branch SL on 24 April, on the Belgian 'rational socialist' Jean Colins; see Morris's final entry.
116 Argument between the Parnellites and the Government erupted on Thursday 3 March over the issue of Civil Service estimates of £30,960 supplementary pay for the constabulary of Ireland (The Times, 4 March, pp.6-8).
117 Devonshire House was the Piccadilly London palace of Lord Hartington head of the Liberal Unionist faction, and therefore a central Unionist meetingplace.
118 In the debate of 3 March, the government did threaten a harsher Coercion Bill. Under Balfour's guidance, the 1887 Crimes Act was finally passed during the summer.
119 Actually, Hicks-Beach announced his resignation on Saturday afternoon, and it was not reported in The Times until Monday 7 March. He resigned on the grounds that he needed cataract surgery; Morris's scepticism was probably unjustified, since he returned to Parliament after the operation.
120 Alexander James Balfour, the Conservative prime minister 1902-5, was then Secretary for Scotland and served as Irish Secretary from 1887-91. The Times was correct in its editorial of 8 March when it predicted that:
If we judge Mr Balfour's character aright, he will not shrink from the disagreeable duty of sternly enforcing the law. (p.9)
121 How We Live and How We Might Live, at Hoxton Branch, Labour Emancipation League, 2 Crondel Street, New North Rd, Hoxton, Le Mire Cal., p.261.
122 The 5 March Commonweal had announced a lecture by A.K. Donald on 'Political Economy from the Socialist Standpoint'. Both Donald's personal manner and his parliamentarism may have alienated Hammersmith Branch SL members.
123 The present issue of contention was whether the 1887 Conference would reverse its antiparliamentarism. Compare a letter from Philip Webb to Charles Faulkner, Tuesday 8 March:
I cannot say that my intellect is allowed to rust for last night at our Council meeting there was more cantankerous criticism than enough and more angry answer (sic) than would serve for a board meeting of a vestry. (WMorris Gal, J551)
124 Disputes over financial reliability and the contents and distribution of Commonweal resulted from and intensified Council debates on ideology. The Lane-Donald antagonism became yet more acrimonious later in the year. Amsterdam IISH letters record that Donald attacked Commonweal for dullness (7 July 1887, source R. Goldstein), and Lane accused Donald of pocketing £15 collected for the miners (Amst. 1295, source R. Goldstein).
125 The 19 March Commonweal reported the following Council resolution:
'That the speakers at Hyde Park invite the audience to keep within the railings so as not to obstruct the foot-paths; and that all members of the League attending such meetings be careful not to obstruct the foot-ways on such occasions'.
126 The 26 March Commonweal announced the Conference for Whitsunday, 29 May, at 13 Farringdon Road.
127 'Monopoly', at 23 Audrey St, Goldsmith Row, Hackney, Le Mire Cal., p.261, and checklist, p.309 no. 103. In 1887 this was a new lecture, which M delivered frequently during the next three years; it appears in CW, vol.XXIII pp.238-54.
128 Hubert Bland, a Fabian, had spoken on 'What State Interference Means'.
129 Morris was somewhat exasperated at the prospect of two disconnected trips north within a month's time; he wrote Jenny on 9 March:
I find, much to my disgust , that I shall have to make a flying visit to Edinburgh next Monday. It seems I made the appointment last year, and of course forgot about it, and they stupidly didn't remind me of it or I would have made my Glasgow visit which now comes off later fit in with it. However I don't mind except for the expense. A long railway journey with a book to read and Homer, and the window is a kind of rest to me after all; for I will not go by night, which is beastly. (BL Add. MS. 45,339)
At the time the Edinburgh trip took about 10 hours by train; according to Bradshaw's Railway Almanack for that year, Morris could have left from Kings Cross on the Great Northern Railway at 5.15 am and arrived in Edinburgh at 3.40 pm, and there were several alternate possibilities.
Free Tron Hall was at 4 Park Street; Morris lectured March 14th on "Socialism: The End and the Means," to a meeting sponsored by the Scottish Land and Labour League, chaired by the Rev. John Glasse. On Tuesday March 15th the Scottish Leader printed a lengthy report on p.7, col.5, "Mr William Morris on Socialism," including an approximately 1000 word summary of his speech. Morris spoke of the Unionist-Tory alliance as one founded on fear, then delivered his familiar prediction:
This change of parties would go on until there were none left but the Socialists on the one hand, and the haters of the people on the other. Then would come the struggle, and whatever form that struggle took, it would not be a long one. It would be sure to result in victory for Socialism, and upon that victory the new world would rise to crown the efforts of the past, and to stimulate to new efforts in the future. (Loud applause)
The Edinburgh Evening News published a similar report on the same day, p.2, col.3.
130 The Scottish Leader article had commented on the moderate attendance: 'The Audience, though not so large as the reputation of the lecturer might have led the promoters to expect, was by no means a small one' (p.7). The Edinburgh Evening News noted, 'There was only a small attendance' (p.2).
131 On the evening of 14 April Morris wrote Jenny that a meeting on 5 April had passed their resolution despite hostility,
. . . after a rather stormy debate, owning to the stupidity of a cut and dried opponent one Job Bone, who always opposes everything and is known in Edinburgh as the 'Bone of Contention'. (Letters, p.270)
A Commonweal report of an Edinburgh meeting on 18 March 1888 described a 'brisk discussion', in which 'the indefatigable Job Bone, a pillar of capitalism well known to Socialist lecturers, was severely handled' (Commonweal, 24 March).
132 This of course resulted from the strike by the Federation of Scottish Miners. On Friday 20 May, within a month of Morris's entry, the miners voted for negotiation - essentially an admission.of defeat. Here too the SDF's parliamentarism was popular with workingmen; Thompson contrasts Mahon's striking success when campaigning in eastern Scotland on a parliamentary programme, later in 1887, with the SL's loss of at least four provincial branches after the 1888 split over election campaigning (pp.462, 474).
133 Thompson considers the Rev John Glasse (not to be confused with the anarchist Henry Glasse) one of the League's few steady provincial allies (p.555). Several of Morris's letters to Glasse were reprinted by R. Page Arnot, in Unpublished Letters of William Morris, Labour Monthly Pamphlet, 1951 Series, no.6. According to Arnot (p.3), Glasse had been a member of the SDF before joining the SL. When visiting Edinburgh Morris stayed with Glasse and his wife at their home at 16 Tantallon Place, and he invited Glasse to visit him in London as the Edinburgh Branch's Conference delegate in May, 1887. Glasse declined, and after the Conference Morris wrote him a long letter defining his position. He seems to have considered Glasse a moderate ally, who was anxious above all to avoid another split within the League.
134 Cassell's Old and New Edinburgh (London 1887) describes Roslin, a town directly south of the city, as 'a retreat of rural quietness, and the abode of workers in the bleaching-fields and powder-mills' (p.352). The latter may be the 'manufactories' which Morris mentions. Bartholomew's 1912 Survey Atlas of Scotland, plate 62, shows a carpet mill and river nearby.
135 Cassell's guide notes that the chapel was founded in 1446, and quotes a historian who describes its baroque ornamentation:
It is impossible to designate the architecture of this building by any given or familiar term, for the variety and eccentricity of its parts are not to be defined by any words of common acceptation. (p.350)
136 Hatfield is about 30 miles north of London.
137 The International Celebration of the Paris Commune was held at South Place Chapel, Finsbury, EC, at 8pm. Despite the hostilities recorded by Morris's diary, Commonweal announced an impressive number of sponsors:
The Societies taking part are: Fabian Society; Socialist Union; Socialist League; International Workingmen's Clubs of Berners Street, Cleveland Hall, 49 Tottenham Street, and 23 Princes Square; Autonomie Group; Freedom Group; Scandinavian Group; and FrancoItalian Group.
Besides speeches in French, German, and Italian, in addition to those Morris mentions English speeches were delivered by Annie Besant, Peter Kropotkin, Joseph Lane, and J. R. Macdonald. The Times, Pall Mall Gazette, and Daily News all carried reports of the meeting.
138 Essentially Morris expresses here a more moderate form of the Pall Mall's criticism of Charlotte Wilson:
'The great fault of the Commune was that it tried to form a Government, a regular orderly Administration, with arbitrary powers; the great virtue of the Commune was that it brought men and women together into simpler social relations and truer brotherhood;' This [is a] literal quotation from the speech of a certain Mrs Wilson, who appears to be otherwise an estimable lady, at the meeting at South Place last night to commemorate the Commune. The Commune has certainly had many faults laid at its door, but this must be the first time that it has been denounced as an attempt at law and order. Citizen Donald seems to have been nearer the mark, from the Anarchist point of view. What the Commune wanted, he opined, was not less law and order, but more - in the shape of drill. (i8 March 1887)
139 Morris had been reluctant to speak in the first place, as he wrote Jenny on 17 March:
Today, this evening rather, is our meeting to celebrate the Commune; and I have to speak, which I don't quite like; because although it is proper and right to celebrate the day, one has by this time said all one has to say on the subject. (BL Add. MS. 45, 339)
140 The Branch didn't send a report of its meeting to Commonweal, but the issue of 26 March noted, p.104, 'Celebrations took place at many of the Branches of the Socialist League. . . '
141 Once a coach house, this extension to Morris's London home was earlier used by Morris for weaving, and now served as the Hammersmith Socialist League meeting place.
142 'Monopoly', LeMire Cal., p.262.
143 In the 26 March Commonweal Mahon published an enthusiastic report, 'The Miners Strike in Northumberland', signed Newcastle, 22 March.
144 This was the first sign of what would become, after the 1887 Conference, Mahon's organisation of a North of England Socialist Federation, independent of both SL and SDF. It was based on the SL constitution except for the advocacy of participation in parliamentary campaigns (Thompson, p.464).
145 On 5 May, Morris wrote Lane outlining his proposed motion(s):
This Conference endorses the past policy of the League in abstaining from parliamentary agitation and the advocacy of merely ameliorative measures,[*] and it believes that the policy of abstention should be steadily adhered to.
[*](or, sees no reason for changing that policy)
The letter continues, 'I conclude that you would vote for that if your hotter one were lost'. In a postscript he adds,
If that were lost I should move:
That it would be useless and mischievous to put forward a programme advocating an agitation for passing a series of mere ameliorative measures as we believe that such measures would not prove a solution of the struggle between labour and capital and would tend to hinder the progress of the Social Revolution. (BL Add. MS. 46,345)
146 Under the leadership of Annie Besant, the Fabians made an effort to form a Fabian Parliamentary League in 1887, but they did not begin serious campaigning for another couple years. See Paul Thompson, Socialists, Liberals, and Labour: The Struggle for London 1885-1914, London 1967, pp.139-40.
147 After the defeat of Lane's motion Morris elaborated on these views in a letter to Lane of 30 March:
I think it may at some future time be necessary to send men to parliament as rebels to it: but it is not necessary to educate people towards that, because by that time we shall be strong enough in numbers to send them with no great preparation: therefore we need say nothing about it now. Meanwhile I believe all palliative measures like the 8 hours bill to be delusive, and so, damaging to the cause if put forward by socialists as a part of socialism: though of course they will be put forward and carried at some time by some party, and we shall then have to take the good and the bad of them. But we should be clear that they are not our measures. I think the duty of the League is educational entirely at present; and that duty is all the more important since the SDF has entirely given up that side of things. (BL Add. MS. 46,345)
Underlying Morris's insistent anti-parliamentarianism is his conviction that political campaigns serve no such educational purpose.
148 On King Street, see Le Mire, Cal., p.262.
149 27 Haggerstone Rd, London, in Stan Shipley, Club Life and Socialism in Mid-Victorian London, Journeyman/LHWC, 1983, p.78.
150 Vandenhout is probably a misspelling for Vanderhout. The West Central News for 15 December 1877 reports a 'VanderHout' present at an International Labour Union Meeting; a 'Mr Banderhout' attended a Mile End Labour Emancipation League (LEL) meeting to protest Bradlaugh's exclusion from parliament; and Justice lists T. Vanderhout as a LEL speaker on 'Freedom in England' and 'Socialism' at Mile End Waste and Gibraltar Walk, Bethnal Green Road in 1884. At a 21 September 1885 SL meeting to protest the Dod St. arrests, a Vanderhout was listed present. The East London Observer of 29 August 1885 notes Vanderhout's statement at a Whitechapel suffrage meeting, and, on 14 August 1886, his speech in favour of a local board candidate. In 1886 Commonweal listed Vanderhout as speaking on 12 June forthe Mile End Branch on the Waste, and the 9 September Commonweal reported of a Mile End Branch meeting: 'Van de Hout, who acted as chairman, exposed the capitalistic cry of 'foreigners,' which socialist are so often met with'. In the November 1888 East London Observer J.S. Vanderhout was mentioned as participating in a fight between tailors and masters who were attempting to break up a meeting over sweating (I am indebted for these references to Stan Shipley). J. S. Vanderhout may also be the same person as I. S. Van der Hout, who played an important part in the First International in Amsterdam (1872). The adjective 'poor' may be clarified by a letter of 4 February 1887 from Van der Hout in the AIISH archives, which states that he is leaving to attend the funeral of his mother; after a visit to the continent to bury his parent he may have been lonely and depressed.
151 The Free Speech Demonstration was held at 3.30 pm in Victoria Park, under the auspices of the Hackney Branch SL, to celebrate the release of James Allman, who was one of their members. The Times included no notice; the Daily News mentioned it March 29th under the heading "Political Meetings" (p.3); H. A. Barker's notice in the April 2nd Commonweal reported speeches by M, Scheu, Sparling, Barker, Mainwaring, Lane, Davis, and James Allman, and passage of a motion protesting police interference: "The meeting throughout was enthusiastic, and cheers of welcome were given our comrade Allman" (p.111).
152 Commonweal announced C.J. Faulkner's 27 March talk on 'Inhuman Arithmetic', and Faulkner published an article in Commonweal under the same title in two installments on 30 July and 6 August 1887.
153 Morris's letter of 30 March to Lane comments on the resolution's purpose as a compromise:
Of course I consider the resolution to shelve the question (ie, to shelve the definite conclusion on it, for whatever happens it will certainly be talked about), as a compromise, which would allow latitude of opinion while it lasted. I hate compromises personally; but do not see how one is to be avoided at this crisis if the League is to go on and the Commonweal also. (BL Add. MS. 46,345)
154 Tom Bolas was a member both of the Hammersmith Branch SL and of the Fabian Society, for whom he had edited the Practical Socialist in 1886. Since the Fabians had just adopted their Parliamentary Manifesto, perhaps he wanted to remain at least neutral on the issue.
155 The 23 April 1887 Commonweal announced the formation of a Co-operative Store at the SL office, to sell groceries Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays after 8.30 pm; the last advertisement appeared on 16 July of the same year. Morris's objections would probably have been to the limited and palliative nature of co-operative merchandising as a cure for the injustices of capitalism; of course his limited agreement on the grounds that it would 'give our people something to do' might have applied equally well to limited electoral campaigns.
156 Morris wrote Lane the day he received his letter, urging him not to give up his employment and offering £5 to aid with expenses. In a portion of the letter marked 'private again', he promised, 'I am writing today to Maguire of the Leeds Branch to urge him and his branch to adopt the Compromise' (BL Add. MS. 46,345).
157 A member of the North London branch and SL council member for its first two years, Henry Charles became the Commonweal American correspondent, sending news of the Haymarket trials later in the year. Morris wrote him a letter dated 16 June (presumably 1887) describing the conference and new council members, and adding:
. . . meantime you can be comforted by thinking that we miss you, as we do very much.
His tone is one of speaking to an ally and fellow-anti-parliamentarian:
... the upshot is that we are very weak, and our work is increased very much, and not to croak, I fear it will be difficult to hold the League together even if the others don't capture it, which of course they will try to do.
In view of Quail's mention of Charles' later anarchist activities, it is interesting that Morris comments on anarchism to Charles as follows:
As to Anarchism, I am not an Anarchist as I understand the word, though I dislike the pedantry of the Collectivist leaders. (autograph, Houghton Library)
Charles seems to have returned to Europe before the end of the decade.
158 Two weeks later the radicals did just that, gathering 100,000 people in Hyde Park to protest the Coercion bill; see Morris's 27 April entry. In every April issue Cw's front page news featured a discussion of legislation on Ireland.
159 In order to arrive in time, Morris had taken the night train; he wrote May on 4 April:
I had a very comfortable journey down in a coupe: 2/6 to the guard ensured my sole holding of it; and my supper was splendid. The morning was beautiful and dawn broke before we got to Shap, so I had a good view of the mountains. (Henderson, Letters, p.268)
Of the open-air meeting at I pm, Morris wrote Jenny on 14 April:
Well I began operations by helping the ordinary open-air meeting in Jail Square (ominous name) which is just in front of a doleful openish garden called the Green: a meeting much like ours in London a good one of its kind... (Letters, p.269)
The Glasgow branch report to Commonweal notes:
After Glasier had spoken, comrade William Morris addressed the meeting, his concise and vigorous statement of the labour question being listened to with great attention and sympathy by the audience. (9 April, p.120)
160 His subject was 'True and False Society', a lecture which he gave several times in 1886 and 1887; see Le Mire Cal., p.262 and Checklist, no. 90 p. 307. The April Commonweal branch report emphasises the uniqueness of Cunninghame-Graham's presence:
The meeting was a unique one. For the first time in the history of Scotland a Scottish MP took part in a political meeting held on a Sunday, and for the first time in the history of Britain a British MP presided at a Socialist meeting. Although disclaiming the title of a Socialist, Cunninghame-Graham expressed himself deeply in sympathy with the aims of Socialists. (p.120)
161 No newspaper was published in Dundee in 1887 in which to search for references to this meeting. Morris noted to May, 'Dundee a good audience as to number but not the right thing' (Letters, p.268).
162 The trip from Dundee to Edinburgh had stirred memories; Morris wrote Jenny, 'You know one has about 20 minutes sea from Fife across the firth to Granton, whence of old time I set sail for Iceland' (Letters, p.270).
163 En route to Glasgow Morris had stopped to see a palace and church at Linlithgow, noting distastefully the 'feeble attempt at restoration' (Letters, p.270). The 16 April Commonweal reported cheerfully of the tea:
Over fifty persons were present. After tea Morris read the speech of John Ball, after which the evening was spent in songs, recitations, and speeches. (p.125)
To Jenny Morris noted that the party was 'rather slow; our Scotch friends not being very good at that sort of thing they are so shy' (Letters, p.270).
164 This was to be an 11 April meeting in support of the striking miners; see note 182 below. Morris had complained to May:
. . . here's a go!
I have been so bullied to go to Newcastle and speak at the miners' meeting so as not to let the SDF reap where we have sowed that I have given way and shall speak there on Monday. . . I don't like the job but it all comes in the day's work. .. (Letters, p.268)
165 Choral Hall, John McMunn presiding. Commonweal observed:
The meeting was not so large as was expected, owing probably to the miners being so much dispirited with the result of their recent strike. Those present, however, were entirely sympathetic, and a resolution in favour of Socialism, moved and seconded by the Secretary and President of the Hamilton miners, was carried unanimously. (16 April)
The Hamilton Advertiser gave laconic and obscure coverage at the bottom of p.6 col.2:
The lecturer received a patient hearing, but after he sat down the limited audience thinned somewhat, the invitation given to ask questions not being sufficient to induce them to stay. Some amusement was caused by the style in which a gentleman in the gallery argued with Mr Morris. . .
166 Stephen Mason was a Gladstonian Liberal MP for Mid-Lanarkshire from 1881-88.
167 In Good Templars' Hall, Paisley, he spoke on 'Socialism: the Way and the Means', see Le Mire Cal., p.263 and Le Mire Ch., no.94 p.308. Morris had first delivered this talk the preceding fall, and gave it 12 times between September 1886 and April 1887. The Radical Times of Paisley, which had just begun with its 19 February 1887 issue, published an enthusiastic article on 2 April heralding Morris's visit:
Unlike many critics he does not confine his ideas to mere theory, but has set about showing by his own handicraft what art in application to decoration should be. (p.7 col. 3)
The 9 April issue, its last, contains no reference to Morris's speech of 8 April. The Radical Times' short lifespan seems to have followed the fortunes of the strike. The Paisley Gazette gave no coverage; Le Mire cites a report which I have been unable to locate in the Paisley Daily Express (9 April, p.3).
168 Robert Cochrane, Provost of Paisley from 1885-88, was born in 1808, at the time of the Diary was 79 years old, and lived until 1897. A former weaver and chartist, Cochrane helped organise the reform procession of 9 May 1831, and was for many years Honorary President of the Paisley Liberal Club; he considered himself a lifelong radical, and attempted unsuccessfully to become a Liberal parliamentary candidate in 1880. He held local governmental positions from 1864-96, serving as ward representative, magistrate, Justice of the Peace, and Provost. His obituary described him as familiar with Scottish poetry, a good conversationalist, and possessed of 'a rare fund of reminiscence and anecdote'. (Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette, 26 June 1897; source, Daniel Cameron, Librarian, Local History Dept.)
169 The Cross, Coatbridge, see Le Mire Cal., p.263. The Coatbridge Express declined to comment on Morris's visit, and remarked under 'Local Topics':
This week the uppermost topic in Coatbridge has of course been the appearance, or perhaps the reappearance of the Choral Union of the burgh in a grand choral and orchestral interpretation of Handel's 'Messiah' ... (13 April, p.2 col.1)
The same issue reported the death of a miner in a pit accident, his body mutilated almost beyond recognition (p.1 col. 3).
170 Morris gave more details in his 14 April letter to Jenny:
There we ... had a good meeting only disturbed by a drunken Irish man, who insisted with many oaths on our telling him the difference between a Home-Ruler and a non-Home-Ruler, and swore by Christ that he would teach us Socialism he would: but the crowd soon put him down. All this we did by star and furnace light, which was strange and even dreadful. (Letters, p.271)
Commonweal euphemised the 'Irish drunk':
Some objections were offered in a very fair spirit by one of the audience, to which Morris replied. (16 April, p.125)
171 Commonweal estimated the Glasgow Green crowd at 1,000 to 1,200 (16 April), and Morris described them to Jenny as 'a large audience on the Green who were very sympathetic; but sadly poor and pinched they look as they well may'. (Letters, p.271)
172 Kropotkin had visited Glasgow in 1886, speaking under SL auspices on 27 November on the topic, 'Socialism: Its Growing Force and Final Aim'. Woodcock and Avakomovic (The Anarchist Prince, London 1950, p.2l3) list another trip in the early spring of 1887, but do not give a date; neither Commonweal nor Freedom make mention of it.
173 Surprisingly the 9 and 16 April issues of Justice omit mention of Hyndman's tour.
174 The bleakness of the collieries had impressed M:
Early the next morning we started off for the collieries, and alighted from the train in a wretched-looking country enough; not smoky, for alack the collieries are not working, but so waste and desolate looking like - well a 'back yard' on a large scale. The roads of course were black. .. (Letters, p.271)
Seghill is seven miles north-east of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Morris described it to Jenny as a collection of pitmen's houses. (Letters, p.272).
175 Characteristically Morris commented on the interior arrangement of the houses:
... most of them as we passed their open door showed a swell but ugly bedstead in the place of honour... (Letters p.272)
176 Misspelled by Morris as Blithe, this is about 13 miles north-east of Newcastle on the sea.
177 To Jenny he described the crowd at first as 'rather a draggle-tailed lot'. (Letters, p.272)
178 The contrast between sea and land had impressed him, as he recalled:
Blithe is a sea-port, and as we came in I could see the masts of ships there: and as we plodded on through the dreary (0 so dreary) villages, and that terrible waste of endless back-yard, we could see on our left hand a strip of the bright blue sea, for it was a beautiful sunny day. (Letters, p.272)
179 This was John Fielding, ardent recruiter for the S.D.F., of whom Justice remarked in its report on the meeting:
A great work has been done here and John Fielding deserves the highest credit for the determination and vigour which he has displayed under the most difficult circumstances. Branches of the Social-Democratic Federation are being formed under his auspices not only in Newcastle itself, but in all the mining villages round... (16 April, p.1 co1.2)
180 Morris had asserted,
Even these men that were dressed in blue with bright buttons upon them and white gloves (Voices: 'Out with them') - and those other men dressed in red, and also sometimes with gloves on their fingers, what were they: Simply working men, very hard up, driven into a corner and compelled to put on the livery of a set of masters. (Hear, hear, and prolonged hooting.) (Newcastle Chronicle, 12 April, p.4)
181 John Williams of the SDF had spoken to Newcastle miners at a gathering on 6 April; four days later, on 10 April, he was arrested and charged with 'riotous conduct' for speaking and selling Justice in a Hyde Park Sunday afternoon meeting.
182 Morris inserted the Newcastle Chronicle 12 April account into the Diary facing pp.44 and 45; the report gives almost 18 inches of coverage of Morris's speech and more than 20 inches to Hyndman's, but dismisses Donald in two inches. Morris's speech described the capitalistic system as war and warned that under capitalism one local strike would only lead to another; instead he advocated a general workingmen's strike:
He believed that that crisis would take the form, after they had made those claims which they would have to make, of the entire, complete, and immediate submission of their masters. (Newcastle Chronicle, 12 April, p.4)
The demonstration was sufficiently large to receive modest coverage in the London press; on 12 April brief articles appeared in The Times (p.8 col.5), Pall Mall Gazette (p.1O co1.2), and Daily News (p.6 co1.4), and the Daily Standard (p.3 co1.6); all but the Pall Mall Gazette mentioned Morris.
183 Joseph Cowen, the former Radical MP from Newcastle, had retired from Parliament the preceding year. Cowen had been briefly associated with Hyndman and paid the latter's bail when several members of the SDF were arrested on 8 February 1886. Morris had invited him to contribute to Commonweal, and in Cowen's answer of 15 November 1886, he declared his clear divergence from the Socialists:
.. . the paper you speak of, the Commonweal, I don't remember to have seen. I feel myself in a somewhat peculiar position with respect to your request. I am not a socialist and never was. All my inclinations and convictions are the other way. I have been, for many years, on friendly terms with most of the leading English and Continental Socialists, and when they have been claiming the right to be heard, I have been on their side. But I have never been able to see my way to assist in propagating their views. [I have helped Hyndman] with Justice more with the view of encouraging workmen to undertake the printing and publishing of a paper of their own, than out of sympathy with the doctrines they proclaim. (BL Add. MS. 45,345)
After the firmness of the letter, Cowen's cordiality may have been a mild surprise; Morris's description of the event to Jenny emphasises his friendliness:
... who should come up but Joseph Cowen very friendly and nice, I must say, and we had a talk, all we could in twenty minutes space. (Letters, p.273)
184 Morris had at first questioned the suitability of the location:
... it is a recreation ground and being Easter Monday there were lots of folk there with swings and cricket and dancing and the like: I thought it a queer place for a serious Socialist meeting. . . (Letters, p.273)
185 His private description reiterates the sense of fellowship which the meeting inspired:
... we had a crowd about us in no time and I spoke, rather too long I fancy, till the stars came out and it grew dusk and the people stood and listened still, and when we were done they gave three cheers for the Socialists, and all was mighty friendly and pleasant: and so back we went to supper and bed, of which I for one was glad enough. (Letters, p.273)
186 Compare Morris's wryly dispassionate interpretation later in the summer:
It is so bewilderingly irritating to see perfectly honest men, very enthusiastic, and not at all self-seeking, and less stupid than most people, squabble so: and withal for the most part they are personally good friends together. (Mackail, vo1.II, pp.184-85)
187 The meeting was held 24 April; see note 191.
188 For reports of the enormous 11 April Hyde Park Anti-Coercion meeting, see 12 April, The Times (p.9 cols 4-6) and Daily News (p.6 cols 3 and 4); the former estimated an attendance of 40,000-50,000; the latter reported 150,000, and described in addition the demonstrations of the SL and SDF. The 16 April Commonweal was of course pleased:
We have said that it was the largest ever held there, but this conveys no clear idea of its gigantic size; the reports of the bourgeois press of course vary and contradict one another in their usual stupid fashion, but even from them it is clear that over 150,000, probably near 200,000, persons were present in support of the meeting; while the lookers-on, all of whom seemed in sympathy, were quite beyond all hope of computation. (p.124)
189 Morris refers to the attack on socialist speakers by a Radical working men's crowd which had gathered on 23 July 1884 to protest the rejection of the Third Reform Act (County Franchise) by the House of Lords (see Letters, p.209).
190 In November 1886, the SL Council appointed a committee of Bax, Binning, Mahon, and Lane to draft a policy statement for the 1887 conference; the other three favoured a parliamentary position, but Lane wrote a minority report. Morris had previously discouraged him from printing his manifesto for circulation to the branches before the Conference, and had argued against the use of the term anti-statist (Letters 30 March and 16 May, BL Add. MS. 46,345).
191 In its 30 April issue (p.137 col.2), Commonweal printed an abridged report from the surprisingly sympathetic London Daily Chronicle:
The proceedings throughout were most orderly, and the attendance of about 40 or 45 constables, who stood in couples on the fringe of the gathering, seemed somewhat unnecessary.
Morris had moved a resolution, and his speech was well-reported (p.138):
This strike was simply one of the incidents in the great warfare of labour against capital, which the present system rendered it imperative for the working men to carry on... As long as there were employers and employed there would be war between them... The miners of the North were beginning to look at the matter from the Socialists' point of view, and as soon as the workers clearly understood that they must have their destiny in their own hands it would not be difficult to get rid of the present system.
Donald, Kitz, Wardle, and Mainwaring also made speeches.
192 In the 23 April Commonweal, Morris expressed similar doubts about the efficacy of anti-coercion agitation:
The popular opposition, respectable as it is, does not seem to be of that volume and energy which implies a threat of consequences beyond the ballot-box; and as to the vote, the agitation is discounted by the Tories because they know that a very large proportion of the agitators have not got it ... (p.132)
193 See note 115; as announced in the 23 April Commonweal, Brocher's talk was scheduled for 8 pm on 'Colins and his Philosophical and Social System'. See Colins biographical entry.
194 According to the 22 April Daily News, Monsieur Schnaebell, the special French Commissary at the Railway Station at Pagny-sur-Moselle, had been arrested by the German Police Commissary of Arts and taken to Metz; a debate ensued over whether he had been arrested on French or German soil. On 23, 25 and 26 April the Daily News continued to express worry over the possibility of war. Morris wasn't the only one confused about the spelling of the French Commissary's name; the Daily News alternatively spelled it Schnaebell, Schnaebele, and Schnaebel. Excitement abated after the prisoner was released on 29 April.
195 Compare Morris's final sentiment with the statements of his first entry; as so often, he exaggerated the immediacy of a threat of war. But by later in the year he was more sceptical:
The new Socialist law is no doubt a sign of progress, and may be a sign of approaching European war, though I decline to be any longer moved by war scares which are probably got up by statesmen-thieves or stockjobbing d[itt]o... (December 1887, The Present Outlook in Politics, LeMire, p.214)