International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
December 1866

December 4

No heading; the Minutes are in Fox’s hand on pp. 41-45 of the Minute Book.

Vice-President Eccarius took the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

Jung stated that the Standing Committee requested Shaw to accept the post of minute-taker.

Shaw said that it was highly probable that he should have to leave London to find work, but he did not decline the office pressed upon him.

Fox who acted as secretary for the evening then read a letter from Lord Stanley, dated November 29, informing him (Fox) that he (Lord Stanley) had requested Lord Cowley to inquire into the case of Jules Gottraux and the papers taken from him.[72]

Application for Rent

Fox further stated that Mr. Arthur Miall had applied for the quarter’s rent due last Michaelmas.[73]

The Council ordered the consideration of this matter to be postponed as there were so few members present.

Basket-Makers and the Belgians

Fox recommended that Derkinderen should obtain from the leading basket-makers a written confirmation of the promises they made to the imported Flemings in the presence of himself and Derkinderen. The General Council were the natural guarantors of this promise.

In reference to the address of the Hatters’ Society Lee promised to obtain it and transmit it to the General Council.

The Polish Celebtration of November 29

Fox stated that himself and Eccarius had been present as invited guests at the dinner given by the Poles at Gzechowski’s Hotel de Pologne, 1, Nassau Street, Soho. Illness had prevented Marx from attending.

He then laid down his office of General Secretary.

The United Excavators’ Soirée

Jung and Carter gave in their report of their evening’s doings on the 29th. They had attended by invitation the above soiree at the Temperance Hall, Cherry Garden Street, with two friends and had had a pleasant time of it.[74]

Carter took a note of the blooming beauty of the young women of the excavators’ families.

Swiss News

Jung had heard from Dupleix during the week, the letter and the November Vorbote having arrived as merchandise in a box for which he had to pay 6s. 10d. The Lyonnese had informed Dupleix that no letter had been received by them from Dupont, which default they attributed to the French post-office authorities. The Lyonnese were quite opposed to the Parisian proposal to raise a subscription for the unwillingly idle workmen. The money would only get into the hands of the Bonapartists. Many hundreds, however, were anxious to emigrate to America and commence the manufacture of silk there.

Jung here requested Fox, as Secretary for the United States, to make a note of this, and Fox said he knew a good channel for publishing this fact in the United States.

Jung continued. A letter from Becker in the same box announced the formation of numerous branches in Germany. Becker had also received a letter from a Genoese member of our Association, [apparently Canessa] which stated that the annual congress of Italian working men’s associations was to have been held at Palermo, but the disturbances of which that city had been the theatre forbade the execution of that design. The said congress would probably assemble at Venice before the close of this year, and one of the chief subjects for discussion would be the expediency of adhering to this Association.[75]

From the Standing Committee

Jung said that the Standing Committee had met on the previous Saturday.

Orsini had returned from the United States and had made a statement thereat. Orsini had had interviews with Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, and Horace Greeley who had all joined our Association. Wendell Phillips said he could give the proceeds of one of his lectures to the Association, when he was authoritatively informed of the purposes to which the money would be put. Orsini had no doubt some 3,000 to 4,000 francs could at once and easily be procured from the United States. James Stephens, the Irish Republican leader, had joined our Association.

The Standing Committee proposed that new credentials should be issued to Orsini, who was returning to America in January 1867.

Jung further stated that, through some neglect, Orsini’s name was not inserted among the printed list of the General Council.

The Council ordered this omission to be repaired on the next occasion of printing the list of the General Council.[76]

The Standing Committee further requested the delegates to the Geneva Congress to meet together to settle the form in which the Minutes should be printed and to confirm the accuracy of the draft of them which had been made.[77]


Jung pressed upon the Council the desirability of sending a copy of the balance-sheet to the Amalgamated Carpenters’ and Bricklayers’ societies respectively.

Shaw said he had been unable to extract the balancesheet from Cremer, who had failed to keep his promise to forward it to him (Shaw).

Mazzini’s Attitude towards the Association

Orsini, who had just entered the room, desired to state the substance of an interview of several hours’ duration which he had that morning with Joseph Mazzini. The whole of that time had been devoted to conversation concerning the Association. Mazzini acknowledged that he had been deceived by the reports of Wolff, Lama, and others. Mazzini claimed that for 35 years he had preached the abolition of wages-slavery and the right of the workman to participate in the profits of his work. That, for all that, he did not concur in every sentiment given utterance to in the original Address of the Association.[78] That he was ready to enter into a debate concerning the principles of our Association; that he would be happy to receive a deputation from the General Council to talk the matter over with him at his private house; that he could not attend Bouverie Street on account of the infirmity of his health, and that he disavowed any responsibility for anything that might have been said by Wolff or others concerning himself.

Letters to Friends in America

Orsini requested Fox to write a letter to six German and French politicians whom he named and whose addresses he gave to Fox to inform them of the objects for which the Council stood in need of funds.

Fox undertook to write, as requested, immediately.

Communications with France.

Dupont, on being interpellated, stated that he had received not a single letter from France.

The £4 from Switzerland

Fox requested Jung to account to Shaw for the £4 he had in hand from Geneva.

The Council then adjourned.


Council Meeting
December 11th

The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 45-46 of the Minute Book.

Citizen Eccarius in the chair, Shaw secretary.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read. Confirmed.

Dupont read a letter from the Paris bookbinders consisting of men and women who had joined the Association; the writer said it was a happy thing that the Association was in existence in order to resist the importation

of foreign workmen as in the case of the basket-makers. [Chemalé] Varlin said that no letter had been received from Dupont for six weeks. Fribourg, Chemalé, and others had written, but had received no answers. The letter contained a variety of addresses for Dupont to write to, so as to evade the police; it also requested Dupont to state in each letter that he wrote the date of the last letter he had received.

A letter was read from the tailors of Paris, thanking the tailors of London for their address and promising to help when need might occur.

A deputation was present from the Coach-Trimmers and Harness-Makers’ Society, held at The Globe, North Audley Street, Grosvenor Square. They were anxious to know something about the principles of the Association. They were supplied with the Laws which they partly read, and then said they would bring the matter before their society on the quarterly night which would be on the first Monday in February.

A deputation was promised to be sent to them on that night.[79]

Mr. Lee then gave in the address of Hatters’ Society as follows: Anchor and Eight Bells, Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey. The secretary’s name is William Harrison and he works at Christies’s in the same street.

Me. Lee also stated that in consequence of the suspension of the work of Messrs. Warings, the Belgian navvies were almost starving. He had been making inquiries and he had found that Warings’ agent had told the Belgians that they could earn from 5 to 6 francs per day whereas they had only been able to earn from 2s. 4d. to 3s. 6d. per day. The agent had also promised them 25 francs each for travelling expenses as well as food, but they had had neither, and as none of them could produce a written agreement, it was impossible to do anything with Messrs. Warings for breach of contract.

Jung said he had received a letter from Geneva, stating that much progress had been made in the Association since the Congress. The watchmakers had joined in great numbers.

Lawrence, Secretary of the Tailors’ Society, sent an apology to the Council for his non-attendance. He should like the meeting-night changed. The subject of changing the night was discussed with no result.

Jung drew attention to the Trades Council meeting which would take place on the 12th.

The names of the deputation were read over; all that were present were requested to attend.

The meeting then adjourned.


Council Meeting
December 18th

The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 47-48 of the Minute Book.

Citizen Jung in the chair, Shaw secretary pro tem.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

Jung reported that the deputation had attended the Trades Council on the 12[th] instant, but the meeting was adjourned until the 19th, on which date the Council would be heard on the first opening of the business.

The members of the deputation were strictly enjoined to attend.[80]

Correspondence from France

Dupont stated that the two letters that he had sent to Lyons on the 2nd and 24[th] of November had arrived safe, but the carnets had not arrived although they had been sent three weeks ago.[81] He also read extracts from the Courrier Français[82] which were favourable to the Association, as well as the programme for electing the new Administration of Paris which would be decided on the 13th of January 1867.

Correspondence from Switzerland

Jung stated that great activity was being displayed in Switzerland by the Association. A meeting had been held at Locle, on the 25th of November. A branch was opened, a committee appointed, and a large number of members made; besides a large number had joined other branches of the Association.

Jung also said that [a] branch of the Association was being formed in Clerkenwell.


Van Rijen reported that he had translated the Rules and Address and made arrangements for the publication of them in a Dutch newspaper.

Marx reported that Revue des deux Mondes and Revue Contemporaine had been commenting on the doings of the Association, and, although they did not agree with the objects of the Association entirely, still they acknowledged it to be one of the leading events of the present century. Marx also said that the Fortnightly Review[83] had been commenting on the matter.

Celebration of the Polish Insurrection of 1863

Citizen Bobczynski said he understood that the Council intended to celebrate the Polish Insurrection on the 22nd .of January 1867. He should like to know what form it would take.

After some discussion it was agreed:

That a tea-party and public meeting should take place under the auspices of this Association and the Polish Society. Music to accompany the tea-party. Addresses to be delivered and resolutions submitted to the meeting, and that the Standing Committee prepare the programme and submit it to the Council on its next meeting.

The Council then adjourned until January 1, 1867.