International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
May 1866

Meeting of Central Council
May 1, 1866

The minutes are in Cremer’s hand on pp. 123-26 of the Minute Book.

Citizen Carter in the chair.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

Citizens Jung and Dupont proposed that Citizen Giacomo Trani be elected secretary for Italy. In proposing Citizen Trani, Citizen Jung eulogised Citizen Trani’s devotion to the principles of liberty and the cause of progress generally.

Citizen Longuet, [here a clipping from The Commonwealth, No. 165, May 5, 1866, is pasted into the Minute Book] the Secretary for Belgium, read from the Brussels Tribune du Peuple an exhortation to the wireworkers of Belgium not to engage with the London master wire-workers at the present time.[192]

Citizen Fox laid upon the table copies of the St. Louis Miner and Artisan containing extracts from the London and Continental organs of the Association. [The clipping ends here]

Citizen Dupont read a letter from De Marckel of Granville, Manche, asking for the names of those who desired copies of the Congres Ouvrier.[193] He had been visiting the workmen in their dinner-hour making propagandism for the Association. He had assured them that the Association was not political but that all was fair and above board. He expected to be successful in his locality.

Citizen Lafargue [here and further on in these minutes Longuet’s name was recorded originally instead of Lafargue’s] read a letter from Prudhomme of Bordeaux asking where he should send the money received for members’ cards. Lafargue was instructed to advise him to send it to the Central Council.

Dupont read a letter from Fribourg (Paris) stating the Paris Administration were opposed to the further postponement of the Congress for the following reasons:

1. That the September conference had given a solemn pledge to Europe to convoke the Congress in May.

2. That very many were waiting for the assembling of the Congress which would decide them as to giving in their adhesion to the Association.

3. That three months’ delay will not make the Association and might destroy it. In Paris they had begun to prepare for the election of their delegates, as yet they could not say how many would be elected but they might at all events count on a score. The delegates would carry with them a complete plan of organisation for the Association as well as the results of their deliberations on the proposed questions. They were glad to hear of the progress the Association was making in England and finally they did not believe that the convocation of the Congress on the 4th of June would interfere with the prestige of the Association. The letter concluded by referring to the correspondence from the provinces as being indicative of a desire for the assembling of the Congress on June 4th but if the Central Council determined to postpone the Congress for three months, they in Paris must make the best of the decision.

Citizen Lafargue said he thought Fribourg exaggerated somewhat the injuries that would arise from the postponement of the Congress. The decision of the Central Council might cause a panic in Paris but such would not be the case in many other parts of France where the Association had only just begun.

Dupont thought the Lyonnese would be favourable to the further postponement of the Congress; he judged so from past correspondence.

Jung thought it essential to decide when the Congress should be held. Supposing that it was decided to further postpone it, he feared we must override the views of our Parisian friends. He would prefer August to September as in the latter month men generally would be too much engaged to attend.

Some of the Council having expressed a desire to (if possible) convoke the Congress on the anniversary of the Association, viz., the 28th September, Citizen Jung replied and expressed fears that such date would be almost fatal, but he would propose the first Monday in September as the day for the assembling of the Congress.

Citizen Maurice seconded the proposition[194] which was carried unanimously.

The Announcement to the Continent

Marx proposed, Fox seconded: That the secretaries of the respective nationalities announce as quickly as possible to their correspondents the above decision. Carried unanimously.

Nomination of Councilmen

Citizens Frank Robert and Ralph Dutton were nominated by Cremer and Lessner.

Report of Standing Committee

The Secretary then brought up the report of the Standing Committee adjourned from the last sitting of the Council, but as the Council had decided to postpone the Congress, the immediate adoption of the propositions from the Standing Committee had been obviated and their further consideration was again adjourned with the exception of the two following which were carried unanimously on the proposition of Cremer and Le Lubez:

“That each member of the Central Council hold himself in readiness to visit organised bodies to induce them to join the Association and to contribute towards the expenses of the Congress.

“That all societies sending delegates to the Congress must pay the expenses of the delegates.”

Report of Deputations

Jung gave report of his and Citizen Lafargue’s visit to No. 2 Lodge of Operative Bricklayers. They had been most enthusiastically received and had received promises of support. The members had also expressed surprise that they had not been waited on before.

Cremer reported that he had waited on the City of London Ladies’ Shoemakers who were compelled to adjourn from pressure of business. Consequently he did not get a hearing but they had invited him to their next meeting and promised him a hearing. Cremer also reported that he had made arrangements with the Secretary of the Day Working Bookbinders for a deputation to wait on their next meeting. [here three lines from a report in The Commonwealth, No. 165, May 5, 1866, are pasted into the Minute Book.]

Citizen Dupont stated that the French branch in London of the International Association had resolved to form a co-operative association.

The Tailors and their late Strike

Lessner reported that as a number of German tailors had been imported into Edinburgh and as it was currently reported that some of the London employers were making arrangements to bring several here, the German tailors resident in London had formed themselves into a committee and wished to co-operate with the Council of the International Working Men’s Association to checkmate the designs of the employers and their agents which they had in Germany.[195]

Marx stated that if Lessner would send him the facts, that he would directly communicate with the German papers. [196]

The Council then adjourned.

G. W. WHEELER, Chairman

Meeting of Central Council
May 8, 1866

The minutes are in Cremer’s hand on pp. 126-29 of the Minute Book.

Citizen Wheeler in the chair.

The minutes of the former meeting read and confirmed.

Election of Councilmen

Citizens Ralph and James Dutton were elected on the proposition of Citizens Cremer and Lessner.

Nominations for Councilmen

A. Haufe. Nominated by Citizen Lessner.

J. D. Prior. Nominated by Citizen Cremer.

Secretary for Poland

The General Secretary asked for instructions on the above question as another edition of the Address and Statutes were being printed and as the present nominal secretary for Poland [Holtrop] had not attended the Council for months; he wished to know if his name was to be allowed to remain as secretary.

Citizen Marx proposed Citizen Bobczynski.

Citizen Fox seconded the proposition. Carried unanimously.

American Secretary

Citizen Fox was elected secretary for America in place of Citizen Leon Lewis.


Citizens Jung, Dutton and Cremer were elected to wait on the Amalgamated Engineers’ Council.


Citizens Wheeler, James Dutton and Hales to wait on Bookbinders.

To Coopers

Cremer, Dupont and Jung.

Report of Deputations

Jung reported the result of his visit to No. 1 Lodge OBL. [Operative Bricklayers] They had warmly received him and had promised to urge on their Executive the necessity of sending a delegate to the Congress.


Dupont read a letter from Lyons. On the 30th of April they had held a meeting at which 210 members attended, ‘when five members were elected to attend the Congress. A committee of 5 was also elected to consider and report on the various questions in the programme. They wished to know whether they were to retain the money they received for members’ cards till the Congress, or if they were to send it to the Central Council. They hoped soon to have from 2,000 to 3,000 members in Lyons. They had lately received a request from Villefranche for permission to open a new branch there.

Citizens Fox and Hales proposed:

That the Lyonnese be requested to send to the Central Council one-fourth [here the words “one-third,” originally written down, were changed to “one-fourth"] of the contributions they receive for members’ cards.

Citizens Marx and Jung proposed:

That Citizen Dupont write to the Lyonnese telling them they are at liberty to use the money they have in hand if they do not obtain sufficient to pay the expenses of the delegates by voluntary contributions.

For Fox’s resolution — 6. For amendment — 8.

Amendment carried.

Citizens Howell and Cremer proposed that all branches of the Association remit to the Central Council not less than one-fourth of the money they receive from members’ contributions.

Amendment proposed by Marx and Jung:

That the question of branch contributions to the Central Council be referred to the Standing Committee except the case of Lyons.

For resolution — 5. For amendment — 4.

Citizen Jung in the absence of [Here a clipping from The Commonwealth, No. 166, May 12, 1866, is pasted into the Minute Book] the secretary for Italy [Trani] read a letter from Citizen Canessa, of Genoa, the editor of a working men’s paper in that seaport. It gave an account of the federation of working men’s associations in Genoa, and expressed a desire for further information concerning the principles and procedure of the International Working Men’s Association.[197]

Citizen Jung laid copies of the last number of the Vorbote on the table and read extracts from its monthly bulletin. From this it appeared that fifty-three members had joined the Association in Geneva in April last, and notice of adhesion had been received from the following recently founded sections, namely, [in] Biel (Canton Berne); [in] Lausanne (Canton Vaud); in Grafrath (Rhenish Prussia); in St. Imier, a mixed body of German and Latin race; in Porrentruy (Canton Berne). The mixed (Teutono-Latin) section of Chaux-de-Fonds had increased [by] sixty in April last, and the pure Latin section by forty-five members.[198]

The same Secretary announced that the Central Committee of Geneva had received the following letter from Gaspare Stampa, of Milan, in the name of the Central Committee of Italian working men’s associations[199]:

The word “Jung” is in handwriting.

“Milan, April 1866 “Respected Committee, — The fraternal bond of the Italian working men’s associations was formed in Naples in October 1865,[200] and at the same time a committee was appointed to bring this union to the general cognisance, and to set it into operation according to the resolution sent herewith.

“Our aims are your aims, and the more extensive our relations, the more powerful is our life.

“The Central Committee, whose organ I am, would not be doing its duty if it did not claim your co-operation. The death of Professor Savi in Genoa, who was one of the most indefatigable propagandists of the working class question, as well as the distance from each other of the members of the Committee, who live in different places, have been in this, the first year of our existence, the cause of much hindrance to our work.

“We hereby give our full and entire adhesion to your programme, and we beg you at the same time to gladden us with your fraternal intercourse, and to send us your organ the Vorbote, in order that our Moniteur [Il Giornale delle Associazioni Operaie Italiane] may make use of its important and praiseworthy contents.

“In the name of the Central Committee,

“Fraternally yours,

Gustav Stampa. [an error; should be: Gaspare Stampa; newspaper clipping ends here]

The General Secretary read correspondence from the Darlington Shoemakers expressing their deep interest in the Association and promising future support. Also from the Darlington Tailors sending in their adhesion and 5s. Citizen Fox gave notice that at the next meeting of the Council he should call attention to a passage in the last letter of Citizen Engels[201] which passage involved the question of nationalities. [here a clipping from The Commonwealth, No. 166, May 12, 1866, is pasted into the Minute Book]

Excursion to Ireland

Citizen Weston brought before the Central Committee the project of Mr. Lilley, to form an excursion party of 300 persons to Ireland in July or August next. As this body had at heart the amelioration of the relations between the English and Irish peoples, he thought it was opportune to bring the matter to their notice. Mr. Lilley had communicated with the manager of the London and North-Western Railway, who had responded favourably to Mr. Lilley’s overtures. [The newspaper clipping ends here]

The Council then adjourned.

President Pro Tem.

Meeting of Central Council
May 15, 1866

The minutes are in Cremer’s hand on pp. 129-30 of the Minute Book.

Citizen Shaw in the chair.

The minutes of the former meeting were read and confirmed.

Branches and their Contributions

Citizens Marx and Jung proposed:

That the resolution with regard to the branches sending one-fourth of their income to the Central Council be rescinded. Carried unanimously.

Election of Councilmen

The following were unanimously elected as members of the Council:

Citizen Haufe proposed by Lessner and Hraybe;

Citizen J. D. Prior proposed by Cremer and Fox.

Auditing Accounts

On the motion of Citizens Carter and Hales it was agreed that the Standing Committee were to audit the accounts.

New Branches

The following were admitted as affiliated branches of the Association:

The Darlington section of the Amalgamated Tailors, 62 in number.

The Darlington section of the Amalgamated Cordwainers, 60 in number.

Report from Standing Committee

The Committee recommend:

That for the future all resolutions passed at the Central Council be translated to the Continental members. Carried unanimously.

Continental Reports

Citizen Marx read extracts from Leipsic journals[202] cautioning German tailors against coming to England to supplant the English tailors who were on strike.

The minutes abruptly end here, unsigned. Page 131 of the Minute Book is blank.

Meeting of Central Council
May 22, 1866

The minutes are in Cremer’s hand on pp. 132-34 of the Minute Book.

Citizen Le Lubez in the chair.

The Secretary [Cremer] stated he had been disappointed in [not] receiving from Citizen Fox some report of the proceedings at the last meeting, and it was unanimously agreed to defer reading the minutes till the next meeting.

Reports from the Continent

Citizen Jung read extracts from the Vorbote which stated that £7 10s. had been sent by a Social-Democrat [Stumpf] in Rhenish Prussia to the Geneva section towards the expenses of the Congress.[203]

Correspondence. Switzerland

Citizen Jung [here a clipping from The Commonwealth, No. 168, May 26, 1866, is pasted into the Minute Book] read correspondence from Geneva. The bootmakers of Geneva, owing to the low price of their wages, the increase of rent and every necessary of life, had resolved to ask for an advance of wages. They presented a tariff to the masters. The men have applied to the Geneva section of the International Association, asking them to inform the men in other countries.[204] The Geneva Committee have informed the men of Paris, Lyons, Switzerland, and Germany, and they hope we on our part will do the same. [the clipping ends here]


Citizen Dupont read a letter from Citizen Tolain complaining about the Congress being postponed and stating that the result would, he feared, be very injurious to the Association.

After a great deal of discussion on the question and the contents of the letter, Cremer and Shaw proposed:

That after considering at the instance of the Paris Administration the question of the postponement of the Congress the Central Council cannot see any reasons to induce them to depart from their decision, viz., to convoke the Congress on the 4th of September next.

English Correspondence

Citizen Dell read letters containing remittances from Nottingham Cordwainers, Wolverhampton Bricklayers, Dewsbury Cordwainers, Birmingham Cordwainers, Tunbridge Wells do, Cheltenham do.[205]

The General Secretary read letters from the Engineers and Cabinet-Makers.

Citizens Lubez, Dutton and Shearman were appointed to wait on the Stratford Lodge of Bricklayers. Citizens Weston, Hales, Jung and Dupont were appointed to wait on Cabinet-Makers’ Society.

Reports of Deputations

Citizen Jung gave a report of a visit to the Coopers’ Society.

Citizen Lafargue thought a report ought to appear weekly in the Commonwealth of the doings of the Council.[206]

Citizen Dell thought there ought to be a division of labour. He would propose Citizen Shaw as minute secretary with Citizen Jung to assist him in translating foreign correspondence.

Citizen Buckley seconded the proposition. Carried unanimously.

Citizens Haufe and Hansen reported the result of their mission to Edinburgh in connection with the importation of German tailors to supplant the Scotch tailors; they had succeeded in making propaganda for the Association.[207]

Report from Standing Committee

Cremer brought up the report of the Committee. They recommended that as there were liabilities to discharge, that a ball should be held at Cambridge Hall.

The Council did not endorse the proposition which fell through.

The Committee also recommended that cards and Rules be left with the secretaries of societies that are waited on by deputations. Agreed to.

They also recommended that each member of the Central Council take 6 cards each and try to dispose of them. Agreed to.

Citizen Dupont nominated Citizen Amédée Combault as a member of the Central Council.

The Council then adjourned.

GEO ODGER, President

Central Council Meeting
May 29, 1866

The minutes are in Cremer’s hand on pp. 134-35 of the Minute Book.

President Odger in the chair.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

Nominations for Councilmen

Citizens Harry and Harvey proposed by Cremer, seconded by Dutton.

Do. Joseph Jayet proposed by Dupont and Lafargue.

Election of Councilmen

Citizen Amédée Combault proposed [by] Dupont and


Reports of Deputations

Citizen Weston reported result of visit [to] Alliance Cabinet-Makers; very enthusiastically received and requested to attend again on 30 inst.

Citizen Dutton reported result [of visit to] Stratford Bricklayers; had been well received, and arranged with Citizen Shearman to attend another Lodge on Saturday next.

Reports received.

Extracts from Public Press

Fox read extract from the International Journal[208] approving the principles of the Association and urging its claims on the American workmen.


Citizen Dupont read letter from Citizen Fribourg requesting a copy of the minutes in reference to the postponement of the Congress.

Citizen Jung undertook to translate the minutes and forward them to Paris.

Letter read from the La Gironde[209] showing that Citizen Bouzet was appealing to the men of that department to join the Association.

Citizen Le Lubez read extracts from the Courrier Français[210] containing sentiments which he considered too liberal to enable that paper to live long under the present French Government.

The publisher of La Rive Gauche having asked for information concerning the Association, Citizens Fox, Cremer and Jung were appointed to forward said information for publication in that journal.[211]

Amalgamated Carpenters

A suggestion for sending a circular to the members of the above was referred to the Standing Committee.

The Conference Programme

It was resolved that the discussion of the above be commenced at the next sitting.

The Council then adjourned to June 5th.