William Morris

The Radical Union

Source: Liverpool Mercury, Monday 17 January 1881, p. 8
Note: MIA has not yet found a text of Morris' two motions
Transcription and HTML: Graham Seaman
Last updated: April 2022

An adjourned meeting of the members of the Liberal committee appointed at a conference held last August at the Westminster Palace Hotel, to take action respecting the "habitual obstruction by the House of Lords of pressing reforms demanded by the nation," and of other metropolitan Liberals, was held on Saturday evening at 26, Regent-street, London, to decide on creating an independent political organisation and to approve an address to all the Liberal clubs and associations throughout the country.

Mr. James Deal, chairman of the committee, presided, and said the first question they had to decide was whether they should continue their agitation. The last meeting they adjourned for a week, to see if something would happen to clear the political atmosphere. A good deal had happened during the week, and the sooner they took shape as a league the better. (Hear, hear.) Then they must have a title, and he should suggest the "Radical League." When they put forth their address with some strong objects embodied in it, they might ask the co-operation of the Liberal associations throughout the country. (Hear, hear.)

A discussion on the title took place. and in the course of it, it was pointed out that there existed a body called the Radical League, which had a small Clerkenwell following, and that it would be better that the titles of the two bodies should not clash. Eventually, on the motion of Mr. Herbert Burrows, seconded by Mr. Fordham, it was resolved to call the organisation -'The Radical Union," Mr. John Noble then read the address drawn up by the sub-committee, composed of Messrs. William Morris, Davidson, W.R. Cremer, and himself. It dealt with the obstruction offered to useful measures of reform by the House of Lords, and indicated those which it was proposed should be energetically agitated for. The address was adopted on the motion of Mr. Noble, seconded by Mr. Davidson. and referred back to the sub-committee for revision.

On the motion of Mr. W. Morris, seconded by Mr. Insull, it was resolved to petition the House of Commons in support of Mr. Labouchere's motion respecting the hereditary principle of the House of Lords. The chairman observed that they could probably get fifty or sixty members of Parliament to sign the address. Mr. Grant believed that members of Parliament conceived that on this subject of the House of Lords there should be an outside organisation first on the question. When that organisation took form and strength it would be time enough to ask their co-operation. Mr. W.R.Cremer said the movement would gain strength if the Lords offered obstruction to the Irish Land Bill, and then they could go to the country for support. In the meantime they should send their address to 10,000 or 12,000 representative men throughout the kingdom. For himself, he thought the council of the Workmen's Peace Association would allow their correspondents to assist in the circulation of the address.

The chairman said that very soon they would have a federation of all the political clubs in London. A committee had been appointed for that purpose, and when it was effected there would be created a powerful political body, and that body, he felt certain, they could get to co-operate with them. (Cheers.) It would be well to call together a conference of all Liberal bodies. Mr. W. Morris thought they should first address the Liberal organisations and ask their adhesion to the programme of the Radical Union.

After the transaction of some routine business, a vote of thanks was given to the chairman, and the proceedings closed.