By the time when Hyndman approached the Marylebone voters at the 1880 General Election, he had already acquired some knowledge of the Socialist movement on the Continent through certain German acquaintances in London--some of them being the victims of Bismarck's anti-Socialist legislation. He came to know Rudolph Meyer, formerly Bismarck's private secretary, from whom he learned a great deal about the relationship between the German Chancellor and Ferdinand Lassalle, the aristocratic Socialist pioneer. Bismarck and Lassalle had had in common an interest in opposing liberal tendencies and in endeavouring to strengthen the authority of the State; and they had come to some sort of understanding, for a time at least. In 1880 Hyndman's friend George Meredith published The Tragic Comedian, a novel based on Lassalle's eventful private life; and this appears to have added to Hyndman's interest in the German Socialist.
Lassalle, who had stirred the German workers to organize themselves into an independent political party, was, as Hyndman remarked, 'essentially a national Socialist, who wished, above all things, to raise the Fatherland to a high level of greatness and glory. 'This national turn,' said Hyndman:
was . . . a help rather than a hindrance to an agitator who wished to rouse his countrymen from a long and apparently hopeless