THIS book is an attempt to assess the political career of H. M. Hyndman, the Socialist pioneer. In the days of his prime, when Socialism was a newly-organized but vigorous political enthusiasm, it was more identified in the popular mind with Hyndman than with William Morris, or Bernard Shaw, or Keir Hardie, who were all his contemporaries. On the Continent his eminence among British Socialists was even more readily accorded. Sombart described him as one of the 'Church Fathers' of Marxism, along with Karl Kautsky, August Bebel, George Plekhanov, Jules Guesde, and Antonio Labriola.1 But his form of Marxism, adapted as it was to some at least of the social and political traditions of his country, lost favour after his death, as the Communists and the non-Marxist Socialists divided the Socialist world between them. As a result Hyndman himself has long been neglected and consequently often misunderstood by later generations. There have been no biographies except for the uncritical works by Rosalind Travers Hyndman, his second wife, and by F. J. Gould, his enthusiastic disciple.2 His own memoirs, in two volumes, are both entertaining and valuable, but they are wanting in accuracy and completeness. Further, the official history of the S.D.F.3 is also very incomplete and strongly partisan. An attempt to re-examine his political career, therefore, seemed justified if a fair estimate were to be made of his life and work.
The sources--especially the unpublished materials-- essential to this study are so scattered that the work would have been almost impossible to undertake without the help____________________
H. W. Lee and E. Archbold, Social-Democracy in Britain ( 1935).