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Executive Committee

The officers and committees of the CRA and its auxiliaries were the movement’s core activists. The 45 Executive Committee members during the CRA’s existence tended to be Nonconformist, Liberal, university-educated, London- based, middle-aged, and male (Table 4.1). The absence of women was unusual; the APS Committee had included women for many years, and the Anti-Slavery Society opened its Committee to women in 1906.[1]

The CRA leadership was relatively young. In 1905, Morel turned 32 and the Executive Committee’s median age was 51. With an age range of 31 to 74, the group could draw on the experience of Brooks (71), Hodgkin (74), and Fox Bourne (68) and the energy of the men in their 30s such as Morel, Samuel, and John Harris. Three-fifths of the Executive Committee were in their 40s and 50s, many approaching the peaks of their careers. This age structure gave the CRA an advantage over the older leadership at its sister humanitarian organizations.[2]

Apart from Morel, Dilke, Fox Bourne, Samuel, and a few others, religious influences were strong among the Executive Committee. Of the men whose religious affiliations were available, just over half were Nonconformists and just under half Anglicans. None were Catholics. Among the 19 Nonconformists, five were Quakers active in overseas humanitarianism. Most of those with identified affiliations were deeply committed to and motivated by their religious beliefs.

Liberals dominated this ostensibly nonpartisan organization. The party was more receptive than the Conservatives to international humanitarian concerns and to the causes espoused by politically active Nonconformists. Local Liberal groups asked for Congo speakers and the party’s leadership made independent representations to Grey regarding Congo reform.[3] Of the 33 Executive Committee members with clear political affiliations, 82 percent were Liberals. A handful of Conservatives, a Liberal Unionist, and the Labour Party’s Ramsay MacDonald gave the group a multiparty fig leaf.

By occupation, 11 committeemen were clergy, providing a strong but not dominant religious element. Businessmen were the next largest contingent, with three retired bankers, five merchants, and three manufacturers. Five aristocrats were politically active men with government experience, though Aberdeen and Listowel did not attend meetings. Five men were professional writers or editors, including the novelist Sir Gilbert Parker. The others were lawyers, professors, secretaries of philanthropic organizations, professional politicians, and a retired military officer. Guinness, an MD, could be considered clergy though he was not ordained. The committee was largely middle class, mostly on the upper side of that class.

Table 4.1 CRA Executive Committee members, 1904-13

Name

Age in 1905

Religion

William A. Albright

51

Quaker

Joseph G. Alexander

57

Quaker

Edward N. Bennett

37

Anglican

Dermot Bourke, Lord Mayo

54

Anglican

Henry Richard Fox Bourne

68

Harold Brabner

42

Edward W. Brooks

71

Quaker

Travers Buxton

41

Presbyterian

R.J. Campbell

38

Congregationalist

Francis Channing

64

Francis Chavasse

59

Anglican

John Clifford

69

Baptist

Robert Collier, Lord Monkswell

60

Sir Charles Dilke

62

C.M. Douglas

40

Alfred Emmott

47

Anglican

Francis W. Fox

64

Quaker

T.L. Gilmour

46

Henry N. Gladstone

53

Anglican

Harry Guinness

44

Nonconformist

J. Hamilton-Gordon, Lord Aberdeen

58

Presbyterian

William Hare, Lord Listowel

72

Anglican

John Harris

31

Baptist

Donor?

Political party

Occupation

Yes

Manufacturer

Yes

Liberal

Law

Liberal

Journalist*

Yes

Cons.

Lord-Political

Liberal

Humanitarian

Law

Yes

Liberal

Manufacturer

Yes

Liberal

Humanitarian

Yes

Clergy

L-Radical

Law, academics

Yes

Bishop

Yes

Liberal

Clergy

Yes

Liberal

Lord-Political

L-Radical

Politician*

Yes

L-Radical

Professor*

Yes

Liberal

Manufacturer*

Yes

Liberal

Banker

Yes

Liberal

Journalist

Yes

Liberal

Merchant

Yes

Missionary Leader

Liberal

Lord-Political

LU

Lord- Political

Liberal

Clergy

Name

Age in 1905

Religion

Donor?

Political party

Occupation

Thomas Hodgkin

74

Quaker

Yes

Liberal

Banker

Henry Scott Holland

58

Anglican

Yes

Liberal

Clergy

John Holt

64

Nonconformist

Yes

Liberal

Merchant

Silvester Horne

40

Congregationalist

Liberal

Clergy*

Thomas Law

51

Methodist

Clergy

Scott Lidgett

51

Methodist

Yes

L-Radical

Clergy, politician

William Lygon, Lord Beauchamp

33

Yes

Liberal

Lord-Political

Ramsay MacDonald

39

Unitarian

Labour

Labour politician*

EB. Meyer

58

Baptist

Yes

Clergy

E.D. Morel

32

Anglican

Yes

Liberal

Humanitarian, editor

Sir Gilbert Parker

43

Anglican

Yes

Cons.

Novelist, politician*

Herbert Samuel

35

Jewish

Yes

Liberal

Banker*

John Shakespeare

48

Baptist

Clergy

Harold Spender

41

Liberal

Journalist

Col. J.G.B. Stop lord

67

Yes

retired Military

John St. Loe Strachey

45

Anglican

Yes

Cons.

Editor

Francis Swanzy

51

Anglican

Yes

Merchant

Edward Talbot

61

Anglican

Yes

Bishop

Austin Taylor

47

Anglican

Cons.

Shipowner

Charles Trevelyan

35

Liberal

Politician

Robert Whyte

49

Presbyterian

Yes

Merchant

L.R. Wilberforce

44

Anglican?

Physics Professor

Notes: * indicates an MP any time 1904-13. L-Radical=Liberals (Radical wing), LU=Liberal Unionist.

The Executive Committee’s composition realized Morel’s hope that the movement could fuse overseas humanitarianism, the religiously led activism of the Nonconformist conscience, and the philanthropic side of the world of commerce. The CRA claimed with some justification that its top echelon bridged political, sectarian, class, and geographic divisions, albeit in a token sense for some groups and not at all for Catholics.

  • [1] BFASS Committee minutes, 6 October 1905, Brit. Emp. s.20 E2/12:1354.
  • [2] Nworah, Humanitarian Pressure-Groups, 658.
  • [3] Hudson to Morel, 11 October 1906, F9/13.
 
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