International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
December 1865

December 19, 1865

Unsigned. No heading. The minutes are in Fox’s hand on pp. 89-91 of the Minute Book.

Vice-President Eccarius took the chair.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The Minute Book

Citizen Fox brought before the Council the unregistered state of the records of our three last meetings and begged that the Council would take action therein.

After some conversation Citizen Dell moved, Lessner seconded, and carried nem. con.: “That Citizen Fox address a letter to the late Secretary [Cremer] requesting him to leave with Mr. Corbett the Minute Book of the meetings of the Central Council.”

Change of Location

President Odger stated that a room could be had in Bouverie St. for £10 per annum, that its expenses might be shared with the Workman’s Advocate Company. A general feeling was expressed that it was highly desirable that the Association should possess a continuously accessible location.

Citizen Dell was appointed to make the necessary arrangements with the Industrial Newspaper Company for taking this room.

Secretaryship and the Cards

In consequence of the vacancy of the office of general secretary to the Association and the difficulty of getting the cards of membership stamped which had arisen therefrom, it was resolved on the motion of Citizen Marx that henceforth the Continental secretaries would stamp their own cards, that the said cards should not be numbered and that the said secretaries should give receipts only for the gross number of the cards they received.

Citizen Fox repeated the assurance he had formerly given that it would be impossible for him to accept the office of secretary.

Citizen Dell then mentioned the name of a friend of his who, he thought, would be willing to undertake the office. it was accordingly agreed to adjourn the question of electing a secretary until Dell had spoken with his friend.

Continental Correspondence

Citizen Marx stated that societies in Basle and Zurich had joined the Association. Also a benefit and a co-operative society connected with the Association had been formed whose seat was in Geneva.[143]

Citizen Dupont read a letter from our correspondent at Condé-sur-Noireau of Calvados, dated December 6, complaining that he had not received any cards. Also one from Citizens Limousin and Fribourg giving reasons why they had not sent money to London for the cards and asking that full confidence and entire liberty be accorded to them until the Congress.

The Propaganda

Citizen Jung made an appeal to the British members to be up and doing to collect money for the Congress and declared that the dolce far niente [delightful idleness] of the British members paralysed his efforts among his own countrymen in London and Switzerland.

President Odger observed that working men’s spare political energies were absorbed in the agitation for manhood suffrage and the ballot.

Citizen Fox. replied that the reawakening of political life among the London masses was a symptom of favourable augury for the Association. He was ready to address a trades’ society once a week for the purpose of collecting money for the Congress.

Citizen Morgan recommended that [copies of the] address[144] should be furnished to the trades’ societies before any deputation was heard, in order that those bodies might be forewarned and have the subject in their programme for the evening.

Finally Citizen Odger undertook to prepare a list of the societies which it would be most advisable to apply to.

Standing Committee

Citizen Jung moved that the Standing Committee resume its sittings, [here in the Minute Book the words “but as the motion was not seconded, it fell to the ground,” originally written, are struck out. The correction was made following the discussion at the Council’s next meeting] but on the statement of the Chairman that this was a point to be settled by the Standing Committee itself, the mover withdrew his motion.


December 26. Boxing night!

No heading. The minutes are in Fox’s hand on pp. 91-94 of the Minute Book.

Present: Citizens Shaw, Marx, Jung, Cremer, Fox, Le Lubez and a friend introduced by the last named as a member of the newly formed French branch of the Association.[145]

Citizen Shaw was appointed chairman.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed, a slight alteration being made in the last paragraph of the same.

The Numbering of the Cards

Citizen Cremer thought that the Council should reconsider their resolution of December 19, in reference to the non-numbering of the cards. He argued that the number was a protection against fraud. New cards should be issued every year with fresh numbers.

After some discussion Le Lubez moved and Marx seconded that the cards just obtained from the printer be numbered by the numerical printing machine.

Citizen Cremer having undertaken to look after that matter on the following day, the motion was carried unanimously.

Stamping of Cards

Cremer thought the stamp should be fixed at the new room in Bouverie St. where any correspondent could use it. That was a better arrangement than having it in anybody’s private dwelling. He made a motion that it be fixed in Bouverie St. Seconded by Jung and carried unanimously.

Room in Bouverie Street

Cremer reported that the Industrial Newspaper Company had taken a room in Bouverie St. at the rent of £10 per annum and was willing to admit the Association as a co-tenant or sub-tenant at the rent of £5 per annum. Cremer proposed that we close with this offer.

This proposition was carried unanimously.

Audit of Accounts

Cremer introduced the subject of the audit of our accounts. He recommended that the next audit include down to the Ist of January 1866.

A motion to this effect was made and carried.

Raising of Funds for the Congress

Fox thought that the remarks of the Secretary for Switzerland [Jung] at our last meeting ought to be heeded. He had accordingly drawn up an appeal to the working men of Great Britain which he proposed to issue in the name of the British members of the Central Council and which should be printed and sent round to the trades’ societies before receiving a deputation from the Council. He then read the address.

Cremer then delivered his opinions on the mode of raising the funds required and on the address. He pledged himself to exert his influence to raise them. The address should be printed in circular form and sent to the trades’ societies in sufficient numbers to allow of their being delivered to every individual member. An address merely sent to the chairman would not reach or act upon the members. Also subscription-lists should be printed with a notification that the receipts would be acknowledged in the Workman’s Advocate.

The address of Fox was referred to the Standing Committee which appointed Sunday at 2.30 p.m. in Cleveland Hall coffee-room to assemble.

Journal de Verviers

Citizen Le Lubez laid on the table the first of a projected series of attacks on the policy of the Central Council published in the Journal de Verviers (Belgium).[146]

Citizen Marx made some observations in defence of the Council.

Organ of the Association in French Switzerland

The Secretary for Switzerland laid on the table a copy of No. 1 of the Journal de l'Association internationale des travailleurs pour la Suisse romande.