International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
March 1866

Tuesday, March 6

No heading. The minutes are in Fox’s hand on pp. 109-11 of the Minute Book.

President Odger in the chair.

Cremer announced the receipt of a letter from Sir George Grey refusing to receive a deputation from this Association anent the treatment of the Irish state prisoners.

Fox stated that he had drawn up a statement of the arguments and facts which he read and proposed that it be signed by the President and sent for publication to the editor of the Commonwealth.

Lessner seconded the same. Carried unanimously.[177]

Citizen Dupont proposed, Jung seconded, the election of Citizen Lafargue, one of the expelled students of Paris,[178] as a member of the Central Council. He was elected unanimously.

Fox then made a speech in French informing of his election and of the unwonted pleasure the Council had in receiving him among them.

Citizen Lafargue replied in suitable terms.

Citizen Louis Wolff then brought before the Council the article written by Jung in the name of the Central Council and published in the Echo de Verviers.[179] He complained of the introduction of his name into the controversy as Vésinier had not mentioned it and of the statement that he and his Italian friends did not enjoy the confidence of the working men of Italy. It was false to say he had ever been at Naples. He further alleged that there were four falsehoods concerning Mazzini, viz., that the réglements were not drawn up by him, that he did not know of Marx’s Address and, lastly, that had he known of it, he would have opposed its adoption. Fourthly that Mazzini did not oppose the translation of the Address but only objected to certain passages therein amounting in all to 9 or 10 words.

Citizen Jung defended his letter and said that the Italian Socialists had no confidence in Wolff & Co.

Wolff rejoined that the word “Socialist” was nowhere used, and that there were no Socialists in Italy in the French sense of the word.

After a discussion in which Citizens Cremer, Odger, Weston, Howell, Le Lubez, Fox, and Eccarius took part, the following resolution was passed (with two dissentients):

“The offensive expressions with regard to an eminent writer of Latin race written in the name of the Central Council in reply to Vésinier’s attack on the Association and published in the Echo de Verviers, having arisen through a misunderstanding, the Central Council willingly withdraws such expressions and also any expressions of similar character in relation to Citizen Wolff and his friends."[180]

On the motion of Citizen Fox it was ordered that not less than 3,000 copies of the address for funds be printed.[181]

The Council then adjourned to the 13th.

[unsigned. The last line is in Cremer’s hand]

Central Council Meeting
March 13, 1866

The minutes are on pp. 111-12 of the Minute Book. The first four paragraphs are in Cremer’s hand, the rest are in an unknown hand. The concluding two paragraphs are written by Fox on a separate piece of paper marked 6, apparently the last sheet of his rough copy.

Citizen Eccarius in the chair.

The reading of the minutes of the previous meeting was postponed by common consent.

The Reform Conference

Citizen Fox gave a report of the International Association’s deputation to the Reform Conference so far as he and Citizen Shaw were concerned.[182]

Eccarius confirmed the accuracy of the same.


Citizen Jung made a report of the doings in that country. [183]


Citizen Dupont asked for credentials for some of his correspondents in France.

Citizens Marx, Wolff and Mazzini

Citizen Marx made a speech in reference to the proceedings at the previous meeting. He said it was not true, as Major Wolff had stated, that Mazzini had written our Statutes. He, Marx, wrote them after discussion in Committee. Several draughts were discussed, Wolff’s draught among the rest. On two points they were quite distinguished from each other. Marx spoke of capital oppressing labour. Wolff wanted centralisation and understood by Working Men’s Associations only benefit societies. Mazzini’s statutes were printed at the time of the conference in Naples. It could hardly be true that Mazzini had seen Marx’s Address before it was printed as it was in Marx’s pocket, unless Mazzini saw it after it had been put in Le Lubez’s hands and before it had been taken to the Bee-Hive.

Again Mazzini wrote to Brussels, to Fontaine, a letter which was to be communicated to the Belgian societies, in which he warned them against Marx’s Socialist views. This was stated by De Paepe at the conference.

Major Wolff was not a member of the Council. Major Wolff ought to have sent a letter informing the Council that he intended to prefer his complaint. He [Marx] protested against the proceedings at the last meeting in the name of himself and the other Continental secretaries. He desired a note of this to be taken as it might be brought before the Congress at Geneva.

Le Lubez said there were two documents [one] of which was not exclusively Marx’s, something was taken from Mazzini’s manuscript. He explained how Vésinier’s mistake arose; he insisted that Major Wolff was a delegate of the Italian Society at our Board.

Dupont protested against the attitude of the Central Council and against its resolution. He admitted the error of fact in Jung’s letter about Major Wolff being at Naples.

Citizen Orsini asserted that there were Socialists in Italy and that Mazzini held a reactionary attitude towards science. Charles Cattaneo and Ferrari were Socialists.

Fox made a speech in which he stated that he was not a worshipper of Mazzini as a European leader, neither did he think that the majority of the British members had any decided leanings in that direction.

The meeting then adjourned.


Council Meeting
March 20, 1866

The minutes are in Shaw’s hand on p. 113 of the Minute Book.

Citizen Eccarius in the chair.

On the motion of Citizen Dell, seconded by Citizen Buckley, Citizen Shaw was elected pro tem. the secretary.

The President having stated that the minutes of the last meeting could not be read in consequence of Citizen Fox being engaged at the Reform League.

Citizen Jung said: he was sorry the minutes of the last meeting could not be read because Citizen Orsini who was about to start for America was anxious that what he had said regarding Mazzini should not be misconstrued as he had the greatest respect for Mazzini.

Citizen Jung then said that Citizen Orsini would leave letters of introduction to the leading Socialists of Spain, Portugal and Italy; also, that he had recommended a friend who, when he became a member of the Council, would act as secretary for Italy.

Citizen Dell, the Financial Secretary, presented Citizen Orsini with 24 books of the Laws of the Association for him to distribute on his travels.

Citizen Jung read extracts from Swiss correspondence and expressed a strong desire that the Standing Committee should resume its weekly sittings.

Citizen Buckley was then appointed to wait upon Citizen Cremer to obtain the proof-copy of the Council’s appeal to the societies and to forward the same to the printer.

The meeting then adjourned to March 27th.


Council Meeting
March 27

The minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 114-15 of the Minute Book.

Citizen Eccarius in the chair.

Citizen Shaw Secretary pro tem.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed on the motion of Citizen Jung, seconded by Citizen Lessner.

Citizen Buckley having reported that he had not been able since the last meeting to get the proof-sheet of the Council’s appeal from Citizen Cremer, it was proposed by Citizen Jung and seconded by Citizen Lessner:

That President Eccarius be empowered to get 5,000 copies of the appeal printed as soon as possible. Carried.

Citizen Dupont read a letter from Lyons asking for 100 cards and complaining at not having received per return of post an answer to a letter sent to him on the 15th of March, which letter he (citizen Dupont) had not received.

Citizen Jung read extracts from the German journal of the Association as follows: that during the month of February 67 new members had joined the Geneva section of the Association; that new branches had been formed in the following places, viz., 1 in Pinneberg (Schleswig-Holstein), 1 in Solingen (Rhenish Prussia), 6 in Wustegiersdorf (Prussian Silesia), 1 in Aubonne (Swiss Land), 2 in Peterswaldau, 2 in Langenbielau, 1 in Emsdorf, the last 5 being situated in the weaving districts of Silesia.[184]

The tailors’ strike was then introduced by Citizen Hansen who said that Mr. Poole of Saville Row intended to get men from the Continent to supplant those on strike.

It was then proposed by Citizen Shaw and seconded by Citizen Lucraft:

That the Continental secretaries be instructed to inform their respective correspondents, with a view to keeping Continental workmen away from London during the struggle now pending.[185]

Citizens William Ayers and William Gardner paid 1. 2d. each for Rules and cards for 1866.

Citizen Dupont proposed and Citizen Jung seconded that Citizen Lafargue be appointed secretary for Spain.

The sum of 6d. was paid to President Eccarius to pay the postage of letters to Germany on the tailors’ strike.

Citizen Le Lubez wished to know what had been done on the resolution of the Council on the 6th of March which authorised the withdrawal of certain statements published by the Council in the Echo de Verviers.

The President said in answer that the Council had at the following meeting repudiated the whole affair as being irregular and that the matter would be brought before the Council again shortly.

The meeting then adjourned to April 3rd.