chapter  Chapter IV
The Formation of Fabian Policy: 1886–9
WithEdward R. Pease
Pages 26

The Society was fully constituted, and its destiny was controlled by the seven who subsequently wrote “Fabian Essays.” But it was a very small and quite obscure body. The Fabians realised from the first that no such revolution was likely to take place, and that constant talk about it was the worst possible way to commend Socialism to the British working class. The preparation of “Fabian Essays” for publication occupied nearly a year, and before dealing with it we must follow the history of the Society during that period. The Fabian plan of “Trade Option” was regarded as too moderate, and demands were made for a “Trade Exemption” Bill, that is, a Bill enacting a universal Eight Hours Day, with power to any trade to vote its own exclusion. The Eight Hours Day agitation attained larger proportions than any other working-class agitation in England since the middle of the nineteenth century.