Alfred Webb: the Autobiography of a Quaker Nationalist by Marie-Louise Legg


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Alfred Webb ( 1834-1908) was anything but a typical Home Ruler. The son of a radical Quaker printer and publicist, he brought a rare breadth of vision and moral courage to the campaigns for Home Rule and land reform. His parliamentary career was limited to five unsettling years marred by the bitter split over Parnell’s leadership; but Webb played a key administrative role in every major nationalist organisation from Butt’s Home Government Association to the United Irish League. Webb’s wide-ranging radicalism was evident in his early involvement in the anti-slavery movement and his later associations with anti-colonial struggles outside Ireland. His contribution to Irish nationalism was soon forgotten, but his presidency of the Madras National Congress of 1894 is still remembered in India.

Written in longhand shortly before his death, Webb’s reflective yet circumstantial autobiography offers fresh perspectives on Irish and Indian nationalism. The editor’s introduction further unveils the unique career of an influential moralist negotiating the murky waters of nationalist politics.

Marie-Louise Legg books include Newspapers and Nationalism: The Irish Provincial Press, 1850 – 1892 (1998)

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