The International Workingmen's Association, 1872

The Hague Congress

Extracts from letters Concerning Bousquet, Marchand, etc.
compiled by A. Serraillier

Translated: by Richard Dixon & Alex Miller, for Progress Publishers, 1976.
Transcribed: by

This document is made up of excerpts from letters written by French correspondents in which they expose the intrigues of the Alliance members on the eve of the Hague Congress. These excerpts were selected by the Corresponding Secretary for France, Auguste Serraillier, and signed by Paul Vichard, member of the Investigation Commission. The document was sent to Lucain, who at that time was working on the Commission's report. Marx and Engels made use of these excerpts in writing The Alliance of Socialist Democracy and the International Working Men's Association.

Abel Bousquet

1st letter.

"You may count on Citizen Abel Bousquet's absolute devotion to the social cause. He is a member of the Batignolles les Ternes Section and is perfectly well known to citizens Malon, Lefrancais, Cournet, Bazoun, etc., etc.

"He is Chairman of the Socialist Committee of Béziers."

Signed -- A. Callas

2nd letter -- November 13, 1871 -- arrived 2 days later.

"...convinced that our mutual friend, Citizen A. Callas, has been badly let down in that this citizen relied on M. Bousquet, Chairman of the Electoral Committee of Béziers, and the latter is most unworthy of this, since he is secretary to the Central Police Commissioner of Béziers....

"That Citizen A. C. has been contemptibly deceived and that steps should be taken at once;

"That it is important for the International Working Men's Association to consist of workers, not policemen.

"In agreement with Citizen Callas, who has recognised the mistake of which he was the victim, we shall ask Citizen Serraillier to regard as cancelled the last letter sent to him by Citizen Callas and, moreover, we shall ask him, if it can be done, to have M. Bousquet expelled from the International.

"By authority of the socialist democracy of Béziers -- J. Canutis -- Henri Françis, Ales Azam -- Pagés Urbain -- Prunar -- Gilles.

"By authority of the socialist democracy of Pezenas -- A. Callas."

See the issue of La Emancipation for December 19, 1871 in which this person is publicly denounced. In another issue of this newspaper, Malon signs a reply in which it is stated that he does not know this gentleman.

See a letter from Toulouse denouncing A. Bousquet as a brigadier in the security police; also a letter sent to The Hague, and another one from Narbonne confirming this denunciation and signed by J. Martin.

Louis Marchand

Extract from a letter by the corresponding secretary of Bordeaux dated November 24, 1871 in reply to a letter denouncing the intrigues of the Jura members.

"Bordeaux has Only very indirectly participated in the various movements mentioned by you. Some of us (I am omitting the names for the time being) are closely tied up with the Paris delegate who, we suppose, at present belongs to the Alliance. After a complete fiasco in Bordeaux and his return to Switzerland, the delegate obtained from one of us a duplicate of our records. Row was it handed over to him? This is what we are going to investigate. What purpose did it serve? The rumours about which you have been telling us. For your information, we have never ceased to have the same ideas as the General Council."

Extract from another letter from Bordeaux signed by Charles Daussac and dated November 22, 1871.

"...accompanied by a policeman and by a man named Louis Marchand who had come, it was said, from Bordeaux to organise a coup and then bring about its failure. (I quite liked this Marchand for his air of calm dedication, but I'm writing to you, citizen, about what I heard, not about what I liked.)"

P.S. dated November 24 (in the same letter):

"Today, the 24th, I have learned details about L. Marchand's stay in Bordeaux which confirm the first story I heard about this. According to these facts, if they are accurate, this man obviously belongs to the police.

"He is the Louis Marchand who is now secretary of the society of refugees in Geneva."


"On May 17, a certain Brousse, resident in Montpellier, stopped off in P. under pretext of paying a visit to one of his female relatives, but in fact to engage in propaganda for the dissidents.... Towards one o'clock in the afternoon, he met some of our members.... Unfortunately, I wasn't warned soon enough to unmask this scoundrel who had come to sow discord amongst us. Two friends of mine in Montpellier had warned me 7 or 8 days previously that this gentleman had tried to make contact with them. They also told me that this rogue, this urchin, in a word, is nothing more than the scapegoat of the ex-editor-in-chief of Les Droits de l'Homme of Montpellier, J.G. [Jules Guesde], who, in his turn, is the errand boy of the persons you know.

"This Brousse has a very bad reputation in Montpellier.... And these are the kind of agents our rivals are using!!"

Letter signed -- J. Merlhac
authorised representative


Montpellier, June 7, 1872

"The man named Brousse, a medical student in this city, has written several times to Citizen Guesde at Geneva, who has referred him to Citizen Serraillier in London.

"This M. Brousse, student, is, it is true, a sincere republican, as he has shown in a number of instances, but he is not a man of action. When arrests were being made in Lyons, on the rue Grolée, this gentleman, who was chairman of the Radical Committee, ran away in fright. I can give you the names of people who will confirm this.... As he was chairman of the Radical Committee, which he deserted in such a cowardly manner, he enjoys a certain amount of influence. -- This is Guesde's man."


Montpellier, August 15, 1872

"I must tell you that in the Montpellier Section a split has been caused by the said Brousse who is in correspondence, as you know, with Guesde and others from Geneva. He has gone to visit some of them in order to prevent them from paying the supplementary contributions and to keep the status quo until after the Hague Congress....

"The Montpellier Section of the Southern Committee has decided:

"1. The said Brousse having acted disloyally in provoking a split in the heart of the Montpellier Section;

"2. The aforementioned Brousse having prevented some fifteen persons from paying their subscriptions in order to prevent the sending of a delegate from Toulouse to the Hague Congress;

"3. We have unanimously decided to request Citizen A. Callas, delegate for the Montpellier Section, present at the sitting, to demand the expulsion of the said Paul Brousse, student, from the International Working Men's Association for malpractice and for having sowed discord in the Montpellier Section.

Delegate A. Callas
Members of the Southern Committee
Coutans, Ln. Lapeyssonnier, Gironis

"P.S. Brousse and the others paid their subscriptions at the last moment."

Bousquet, Gondres, Bacave

Toulouse, July 14, 1872

"... By the way, I have finally picked up the main thread of the intrigues of our political adversaries, and I have discovered that their most active accomplices in the Hérault Department and elsewhere were Bousquet from Béziers and Gondres from Narbonne. You are, I believe, perfectly well informed about the first; as for the second, you know him also for having recommended to you another scoundrel of the same kidney, Bacave by name, from Perpignan. Furthermore, Gondres is known at Narbonne as a police informer; according to some, he worked, so it is said, for Raynal, ex-prefect of the Aude."


During the events in Narbonne, he was subjected to investigation in Dijon on orders from the Montpellier public prosecutor's office, for which he was acting as informer. He was then arrested, for appearances' sake, committed to trial in Rhodes, and acquitted.

From there, he went at Perpignan as police agent and is now serving with the Carlists in Spain.

Extract from a letter from Pezenas, March 27, 1872.

"...After I had explained the purpose of my visit, I was told that another traveller engaged in the same propaganda had already presented himself three or four days previously, furnished with full authority from Geneva."


Toulouse, June 23, 1872

"... Counter-agents from Geneva are working furiously to disorganise our clientele.... If you do not immediately provide me with the means to fight them in an effective way, the responsibility for it will devolve solely on you....

J. Merlhac


Toulouse, 26 June, 1872

"... For my part, I am doing everything humanly possible to achieve this, and if I bump into obstacles from time to time, it is to them that I owe it.

;"Three or four days ago, they (the dissidents) seat one of their emissaries here to try the ground. This emissary, who carries a Russian passport, had talks with the said Duportal and some of our members and, apparently, advised the latter to ask me if I was furnished with a card or booklet stating that I was a member of the Association. They allegedly told him: 'He is endowed with sufficient powers by the General Council.' 'That is not enough,' he is reported to have said. 'It's easy to obtain the powers about which you are telling me.' This individual left for Geneva yesterday evening."


Toulouse, August 2, 1872

"... I have discovered, or rather one of our people has tracked down here, in the rue de Lis, a Jura Committee consisting of republicans of all types. This committee, according to the information supplied to me, has the sole aim of opposing us at the next Congress...."

Authorised representative

St. Martin

Here is a letter from Paris left with the commission. It begins "The Malon split etc..."

Avignon, August 24, 1872

Paris, August 11, 1872

"...I was visited yesterday by Citizen Lev Mechnikov who, among other things, invited me to join the Jura Federation. This proves that the Jurassians are working with determination and that we must be on our guard."


Paris, August 14, 1872

"The Jura Federation is taking vigorous action; it has had some success in Spain, in Barcelona, and is trying to get a foothold in France. I need no further proof other than the visit from this Russian sent from Switzerland to get me to break with the General Council and join the Jura Federation. When these scoundrels have to deal with real people, they will find that they are wasting their time."

And now here is a summary of the St. Martin affair which was mentioned earlier. It goes without saying that I am leaving it to you to classify the various communications when summing up. My only request is for the suppression of names, whether these of signatories or those of cities where the Jura Federation has been active. As you well realise, I am only releasing the names to the Commission in order to relieve it of the responsibility later. You have 4 letters of mine, and, not knowing the dates, I am refraining, with reason, from mentioning them here; but I feel that I should advise you to publish, from the mandate, the extract given by B. Malon and contained in one of them. Anyway that is your concern.

Summary of the correspondence from Chamoux in Avignon concerning B. Malon.

"On March 10, 1872, I (Ed. Chamoux) met Royannez to ask him for information on the procedure for organising groups. He didn't want to tell me anything, and I never did find out why. I can only say that the person with whom Royannez was staying was a certain Esteve, a correspondent of B. Malon. This Esteve is a man who lives at various people's expense. After having told me, as did his wife, that he had given B. Malon's address to this St. Martin, he read me a letter from Malon without wanting to give me any explanation concerning what I wanted to know. Three days later, Royannez and Esteve looked me up in Avignon to discuss a newspaper which Royannez wanted to found, and I then met St. Martin, who repeated to me that he had I B. M.'s address and that he was going to enter with the latter into very regular correspondence; I made a mental note of this without saying a word. As long as he didn't make any fuss, I kept quiet; but this didn't last long. As soon as he started doing the rounds and banging the big drum, I went after him in order to give battle and was even joined in my campaign against him by some of his friends.

"And this is the individual whom M. B. Malon has honoured with his confidence.

"Under the Empire, M. St. Martin lived in Apt and then in Avignon, where he practised, and still practises, the profession of lawyer. In 1866, he applied for a post with the Ministry of the Imperial Court and the Fine Arts. In 1869, he was a contributor to the Démocretie du Midi and was fined 800 francs for defaming the sub-prefect of Apt. Subscriptions were collected among the republicans of Apt and Pertuis (Vaucluse) to pay the fine, but St. Martin, instead of using the subscriptions to clear up his fine, judged it more convenient to pay for a little trip to Paris at the workers' expense, and in order to avoid a scandal they were forced to renew their subscription. On September 4, St. Martin's chief preoccupation was to get himself appointed consultant to the prefect at Avignon. In this post, he distinguished himself for his absolute servility to the prefect, M. Pouyade, under whom he was, in actual fact, merely an errand boy. On the advent of the Commune, he accepted the movement, but after the May days in 1871 he asked the Versailles government, which a month previously he had called a murderer, to appoint him sub-prefect.

"In connection with this M. St. Martin, I have proof written in his own hand.

"In the name of all the members of the departments which I represent, I support his expulsion, if the occasion arises."

Received by Edouard Chamoux


Avignon, August 29, 1872

"...The said St. Martin has left for Geneva to see Malon...."

"In May or June, the said St. Martin edited a newspaper called l'Ordre, at Avignon, in which he told the truth to the famous Thiers. But at the same time, he asked him for a post as sub-prefect. We have letters written in his own hand."

My dear Potel, when referring to the records of the Commission, you will be able to establish the main thread of the whole business. I don't consider it necessary to give you extracts from letters or newspaper articles Originating from the London "Section of 1871" with which the Jurassians had established close relations, thanks to the friendship of Avrial, Theiss, and Camelinat with Malon, and especially thanks to their ignorance about the aims of the latter. When I think of the trouble which these vermin gave me for a year in France, I very much regret that the Congress did not come down more heavily by punishing more of the guilty ones. Be that as it may, in the publication of the Inquiry, as I think you will be publishing the names of the voters, I want the motive for my abstention to he quoted when Engels asked to stay where he was. I attach all the more importance to this, since I am convinced that Malon is even worse than was shown by his conduct in the Alliance affair. His behaviour during the siege, his attitude on March 18, his acts even under the Commune, all make me repudiate him for his past and suspect him in future. In a word, he's a had lot.

Talking of had lots, we had a Congress called by Vésinier! You have no doubt heard the report, hut here is something that will enable you to judge the true worth of this doubtful representation, in which two out of three chairmen are known to belong to the police. B. Landeck took a friend of his there who had no mandate. When, during verification, those who had no powers were asked to withdraw, L.'s friend was about to leave, cursing, L. said to him solemnly: "Authorise yourself, as at the Hague Congress!" and so he was authorised -- no one could he more revolutionary than that. On the other hand, the "Section of 1871" refused to send its representative, since it did not want any solidarity with the newspaper la Fédération, official organ of the Federatist Council, denounced in France as Bonapartist and, to the émigrés, as engaged in espionage -- the difference is not very great.

But if, the "Section of 1871" refuses to keep in further communication with the Federalist Council, it has nevertheless welcomed M. Van den Abeele in its extraordinary sessions, convoked to receive the sacred word of the Belgians! I don't know the result of these negotiations, but I do know something unworthy of a good man and even more so of a group, section or federation, namely that M. V. den Abeele has just said here that the accounts of the old General Council are not in order and that the sums paid by the Belgians do not appear in them, especially those sent for the refugees of the Commune. This behaviour needs no comment. We are waiting for them to be called to account and the day will come, I hope, when they are given no mercy.

With sincerest greetings,
A. Serraillier

[The rest is in P. Vichard's handwriting.]

I confirm the authenticity of the extracts from the documents used.

London, September 23, 1872
Paul Vichard

Monday morning.

Our friend S. is just finishing the extracts from the documents used, and I am forwarding them to you in haste.

Paul V.