International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
October 1866

Council Meeting
October 2nd

The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 9-14 of the Minute Book.

Lessner in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed with the alteration suggested by Citizen Carter.

The Secretary [Fox] asked for and obtained the permission of the Council to insert in the Minutes of September 18th a portion of the statement made by Eccarius which [he] had omitted, but which on reflection he thought was important.

Fox brought forward the claim of Mr. Miall on the Council for rent due and that we should henceforth stand to him in place of the Industrial Newspaper Company.[17]

It was decided to pay the quarter’s rent due last midsummer.

There being nothing in the Treasury the Treasurer [Dell] advanced the quarter’s rent by way of a loan.

Fox having asked the Treasurer what had become of the £5 received last week through the hands of Marx, the Treasurer replied that £6 had been paid to cover the unpaid expenses of the Geneva delegates.

Carter complained that he had been unfairly treated, the agreement was that all the delegates should share and share alike. Now although the other delegates knew that his expenses had been greater than theirs, owing to his having to travel by mail trains, yet he had only received £8 while the others had received £10.

Jung made an explanation. He animadverted on Cremer’s conduct in reference to procuring tickets before starting. He stated that he had advanced Cremer £2 in Geneva and had to borrow £4 from a friend. He offered to refund his own £2 balance.

Carter declined with thanks. He did not desire to make a personal attack, but only to show that an equitable rule had been infringed in reference to him.

Dell observed that Cremer had received £10 12s. Id. or 12s. Id. more than any other delegate.

Report of Deputation to Model Pattern Makers

Citizen Whitehead said he and Citizen Weston had waited upon the model pattern makers. They were well received, but complain ed that Mr. Cremer had not notified the advent of the deputation to the society. They wished that copies of [the] Rules be sent to them. They would summon a special meeting to consider the question of joining. Citizen Whitehead added, that it was necessary that some definite instructions should be given to delegates with respect to contributions from societies.[18]

Amalgamated Carpenters and Joiners

The Secretary said he had received a letter from the secretary from this society announcing their readiness to receive a deputation from our body on Tuesday evening at 8:30.

Jung, Lessner, Lafargue, and Fox were appointed to attend on this society.[19]

The question then arose, what instructions should be given to the deputation in reference to the terms upon which societies should be admitted.

Carter alluded to the Rules adopted by the Geneva Congress, which required 3d. per member for the expenses of [the] Central Council. Carter contended that affiliation and membership were two different things and that the Congressional Rules applied only to the latter.

Marx, on the authority of the Minutes, contradicted Carter and said that the Congress refused to recognise any affiliation as distinct from membership.

Shaw moved and Lassassie seconded:

That the delegates to the carpenters and joiners be instructed to ask for a levy of 3d. per member for the exceptional expenses of 1866 and 1867.

Fox moved an amendment and Marx seconded:

That the delegates be instructed to say that they will issue cards of subscription to the said society in the following proportion: one card for every 3d. subscribed.

Jung suggested that a minimum of Id. per head be asked for.

Carter argued that Lawrence had said that 1d. would be too high. He would prefer ½d. per head.

The amendment of Fox was carried on a division by 8 to 6.

Fox then asked Jung and Carter if they would move their minimum proposition as an amendment to his proposition, if put as a substantial motion, but they declined, and it was agreed that the whole subject must be reargued, that the present decision was only provisional.

Brussels Letter

Fox read a letter from Vandenhouten, the Secretary of the Brussels section, complaining of the laches of Citizen Longuet, who had never informed the Brussels section that he had been elected Corresponding Secretary, nor had he ever corresponded with them.[20] The Brusselers also complained that they had never been informed of the date of the Congress, consequently they were unable to be present or to send papers. They knew Lafargue and in consequence were more surprised than they would otherwise have been at his silence.

Marx defended his conduct while secretary and carried the war into the Belgian camp.

Le Lubez spoke in defence and glorification of the Brussels section and contended that they had been shamefully neglected.

Lafargue defended Longuet and himself. The nomination of Longuet was known in Brussels because it had been attacked in the Espiegle.[21] Longuet had corresponded by means of announcements in La Rive Gauche[22] which was received and read by the Brussels section. The date of the Congress had been given in the address of the Association which had been published in the Tribune du Peuple.[23] Longuet did not know the address of the Brussels men.

Carter and Dupont both stated that they had heard Fontaine of Brussels say in this room[24] that he was appointed delegate to the Congress at Geneva. He had never professed ignorance of the date.

Le Lubez stated that Longuet knew the address of the Tribune du Peuple which was the organ of the Brussels section.

Fox remembered an act of laches on the part of Longuet which had come to his knowledge. The resolution this Council came to in reference to the apology due to the Italian delegates had never been communicated to the Echo de Verviers,[25] the consequence was that the Italian delegates had not resumed their seats at our Board.

Jung declared that he had given Longuet the address of the Brussels men, and told him to forward the resolution to the Echo de Verviers. He proposed that a letter be written by Lafargue explaining the hitch of the’ past and promising amendment for the future.

Lassassie seconded the motion.

Appointment of Correspondent

Dupont solicited the appointment of Andrew Marchet as correspondent for Bordeaux and the Arrondissement of Lesparre in place of another correspondent who has withdrawn.[26] Appointment made accordingly.

Dupont then stated the result of his visit to Lyons. How the Lyonnese members were divided in two parties, one desiring to make their section chiefly political, the other exclusively social in their tendencies. He also visited Fleurieux-sur-Saône and other places where we had branches; many of the members in these parts were cultivators of the vine, and he was surprised to find the faith reposed in the Association by these men. He also visited Vienne and found a co-operative cloth manufacturing company and flour mill on the cash principle and a co-operative grocery and bakery.

Dupont then read correspondence from Vienne, asking for their carnets or titles of membership. He also read a report on the state of industry in that place especially referring to the hard lot of the factory women in that place’s branches of industry.[27]

Jung on behalf of Dr. Coullery asked if it would be allowed to form a section exclusively of women.

The unanimous resolution was that it was permissible.

Collet, a member of the Association, said that he was willing to insert reports of our doings in his paper Courrier International,[28] reserving to himself the right to comment upon them if he should think proper.

Dupont gave notice of [a] proposition to bring before the Council in favour of organising working men’s excursions from Britain to the Paris Exhibition of 1867[29] under the conduct of the International Working Men’s Association.

The meeting then adjourned.


Council Meeting
October 9th

The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 14-17 of the Minute Book.

The Vice-President [Eccarius] in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

Cremer demanded the right of making a personal explanation in reference to the 12s. Id. he had received more than the others. He reminded the Council that he and Jung had stayed longer in Switzerland than the others and had had more expenses. The money he had received did not cover his out-of-pocket expenditure. He had not demanded anything for his time.

Carter restated his grievance.

Jung offered to refund one pound to Carter. Suiting the action to the word, [he] took out his porte-monnaie, but what passed subsequently in regard to this escaped the Secretary’s notice.

Lafargue stated that he had replied to the Belgian correspondent.

Jung stated that a member of the Association [Gottraux] coming from Geneva to London who had been entrusted by Citizens Dupleix and Becker with four parcels of documents belonging to the Association had been searched on the French frontier and had the four parcels taken from him.[30] He read a letter from Giuseppe Dassy of Naples stating that he had been appointed a delegate to the Geneva Congress by the Working Men’s Association of Cerignola, but that he had received his commission too late to avail [himself] of it; at the conclusion he said that if the Council desired to correspond with General Garibaldi he would deliver the letter with his own hands and send back the answer.[31]

The Secretary [Fox] read a letter he had from Mr. Applegarth, the Secretary of the Amalgamated Carpenters, thanking the Council for the deputation that had been sent to that body, for the agreeable and instructive entertainment they had afforded to their audience. He also read an extract from Becker’s opening speech at the Geneva Congress as reported in the Vorbote and observed upon its openly atheistical character.[32] He also read from the Journal de Geneve of September 14th, a conservative middleclass paper, a tribute to the truly cosmopolitan spirit which pervaded the Congress. He also brought before the Council a subscription sheet for the imprisoned Vésinier.[33]

Deputation from the Hairdressers’ Early Closing Association

32, Glasshouse Street, Regent Street

The deputation stated that their trade was engaged in a struggle for early closing on Saturday afternoons. Several middle-sized employers were bringing over men from Paris to fill the places of those men who had been called out of the recalcitrant shops. The deputation prayed the Council to use its influence at Paris to frustrate the evil designs of these masters.

Carter, Marx, and Lawrence spoke in response, pleading the Council to use its best efforts in the direction mentioned.[34]

Importation of Tailors

Lawrence stated that an Edinburgh master declared at the late Master Tailors’ Congress that £400 had been spent in bringing over tailors from the Continent during this summer. Many of the importations still remained behind in the neighbourhood of the Scottish capital affecting the labour market there. Stewart, another master, boasted on the same occasion that he had brought over a live cargo of tailors who had hustled the guts out of the Newcastle strike.[35]

On the motion of Jung the General Secretary was ordered to write to Dassy, and to Garibaldi through Dassy.

On the motion of Marx the General Secretary was ordered to write to the French Ministre de l'Interieur complaining of the seizure of the Association’s papers and requesting that they be restituted.

Citizen Dupont read a letter from Citizen Fribourg of Paris asking for the Minutes of the Congress to enable them to publish a report of the Congress.

Marx protested against the latter step, inasmuch as the duty of publishing an account of the Congress was devolved by that body exclusively on the Central Council. Further, the Parisians had kept their Mémoire[36] in violation of the Congressional order, which ordained that this and other documents should be handed over to the Central Council.

The General Secretary was ordered to write to Fribourg in this sense.

Affiliated Societies

Marx brought up a report from the Standing Committee to the effect that societies be taxed Id. per head per year. The General Secretary suggested that Jung should now report the conversation which took place on this subject with the Secretary of the Amalgamated Carpenters’ Society, which was to this effect: viz., that 3d. per head laid down by [the] Congress would cost their society £93 15s. which they never would pay. The compromise suggested by Fox and adopted by the Council fared no better.

Cremer stated that when the 3d. proposition was before the Congress, the British voted for it as a means of extracting money from the Continentals; but with a mental reservation taken by the said delegates not to apply it at home to, associations.

Lawrence said the scheme of the Standing Committee would drive away societies from the Association. His society even at ½ d. rate would have to contribute £14 11s. 3d. To carry [out] this would be a hazardous experiment, the country branches knowing little or nothing of the Association. He argued that there was the London Trades Council to support, and also the National Trades Alliance.37 This Association should not put the screw on too tight. It had better be satisfied with small grants.

Cremer had a plan which he thought deserving of consideration. He moved the adjournment of the subject to give him an opportunity of bringing it forward, which was not seconded.

Hales moved that the contribution be ½d. per head.

Weston spoke in favour of a fixed sum and in opposition to Lawrence’s idea.

Jung seconded Hales’s proposal. To carry out the voluntary principle would cause an immense waste of time on our part.

Dell spoke in the same sense as Weston.

Marx accepted Hales’s proposition, but suggested that the words “not less than” should be inserted before the words “½d.”

Weston and others objected to this suggestion of Marx’s and it was not pressed.

Hales’s proposition was then carried.

The meeting then adjourned.

The names of the members who voted for the ½d. levy: Cremer, Dell, Weston, Hales, Buckley, Lawrence, Massman, Lessner, Gardner, Marx, Hansen, Maurice, Eccarius, Fox, Dupont, Lafargue, Carter.


Council Meeting
October 16th

The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 17-20 of the Minute Book.

Vice-President Eccarius in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The names of those who voted for the resolution of October 9th were ordered to be appended to the Minutes.[38]

Citizens James Dutton and Whitehead desired to have their names added to the list as approving of the resolution come to by the Central Council.

Weston moved and Jung seconded:

That the Secretary read over the aforesaid resolution for several weeks in succession in order to give an opportunity to as many members as possible to adhere thereto. Carried nem. con.

The Secretary [Fox] mentioned Mr. Miall’s application to become his tenants-in-chief instead of the Industrial Newspaper Company.[39] Nothing was done on this point. He also spoke about the cards and carnets; also, of the necessity of definitively constituting the Standing Committee.

Citizen J. Dutton moved that the Standing Committee be appointed for three months from the date of [the] Congress. Seconded by Carter and carried nem. con.

The following members were added to the Standing Committee, viz., Carter, Whitehead, and Lawrence.

Le Lubez asked leave to bring a personal matter before the Council. In the number of the Travail, dated September 30, a co-operative paper published at Ghent, it was stated in a full report of the Congress that one member had been ,excluded from the Central Council by a unanimous vote, having been guilty of calumniating the Parisian delegates. Le Lubez said that if his information was correct, the vote for his exclusion was not unanimous; the London delegates, having spoken against the exclusion, abstained from voting. He demanded that the Council should protect him from this misstatement of the Travail.[40]

After Carter, Eccarius, Cremer, and Jung had stated what took place on this point at the Congress, Carter moved and Shaw seconded:

That the matter be referred to the Standing Committee. Carried nem. con.

Weston mentioned the debt due to Mr. Leno for printing, which was of long standing.[41] No action was taken on this point.

Cremer brought forward his motion which had been approved of by the Standing Committee; it was:

That a deputation be appointed to wait on the Trades Council to solicit them to use their influence to get the trades societies connected with them to join this Association. Carried nem. con.

Cremer, Whitehead, Jung, and as many other members of the Council that could attend were appointed as a deputation.[42]

Cremer reported that [the] coach-makers were likely at their ensuing general meeting to join the Association.

Appointment of Secretary for Holland

Jung moved that Jacques Van Rijen be Corresponding Secretary for Holland. He recited his accomplishments.

Dupont seconded the motion. Carried nem. con.


Jung read a letter from Switzerland, asking for [the] rules and reports of the principal co-operative societies of Britain.

He was referred to Henry Pitman, editor of the Cooperator.[43]

Dupont laid on the table correspondence from Bordeaux, Fleurieux-sur-Saône, calling upon the Council to provide carnets.[44]

Carter moved and Shaw seconded:

That Dupont be instructed to take this matter in hand and see to their being furnished. Carried nem. con.

Dupont read a letter from Fribourg of Paris, arguing that they had a right to print their own essays at their own expense. He also desired Dupont to send over copies of the Constitution [The Rules] and the amendments as agreed to at Geneva, as he wanted them for the carnets they were about to issue.

The Chairman cautioned the Council from acceding to the latter part of the letter as the Parisians after issuing carnets would never send us a sou.

Fox agreed with the Parisians as to their right to publish their own essays.

The Council instructed Dupont to refuse Fribourg’s request as the Council would furnish the carnets.45

Exhibition of 1867

Dupont deferred this question until the next meeting.


Jung urged the Council to proceed with this question without delay.

The Council then adjourned.


Council Meeting
October 23rd

The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 20-23 of the Minute Book.

Citizen James Dutton in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

James Lee and Richard Overton presented their credentials from the United Excavators’ Society as delegates thereof to this Council. They paid the entrance fee of 5s., and stated that when they had obtained their yearly returns they would pay the halfpenny levy.[46]

On the motion of Carter Lee and Overton were accepted as members of the Council.

The Secretary [Fox] brought up our relations with Mr. Miall, and it was resolved that we put ourselves in the place of the Industrial Newspaper Company on the terms proposed by Mr. Miall.[47]

The Secretary mentioned the fact that in the Syllabus of the lectures of the Working Men’s College, the President was delivering a course on the History of Europe in the sixteenth century. He then read aloud the ½d. levy resolution, and it was acceded to by Mr. Williams. He gave the address of the Hatters’ Society to Mr. Williams, who undertook to see the secretary and sound him on the subject of a deputation. He also read an extract from an American journal stating that some Frenchmen, Hungarians, and Poles in the United States had sent a joint deputation to James Stephens,[48] and were collecting subscriptions for the Irish Republican cause.

Buckley spoke of the want of a Minute Book.

The Secretary stated that if permitted he would purchase one out of the money he had in hand.

No objection was made to this.

The Le Lubez Affair and The Travail

The Secretary [Fox] brought up the report of the Standing Committee on this affair.

They found that the Minutes of the Congress stated that the ostracising resolution was passed unanimously; on inquiring whether the Minutes were correct in so stating, Jung, the Chairman, stated that he put the “Contre” and that no hands were held up in response; that as to abstentions from voting he had declared at the commencement of the Congress that no notice could be taken of these unless a demand was made that such abstentions be inserted in the Minutes. No such demand was made by anybody as the Minutes showed. Citizen Carter had also given evidence before the Committee and had stated that the London delegates purposely and deliberately abstained from voting because they knew they were to be outvoted prodigiously. The Standing Committee therefore concluded that the report in the Travail was literally correct. There were indeed the speeches of Odger and Cremer which were in favour of Le Lubez [and] which were recorded in the Minutes. Those delegates might do as they liked in the matter, but they could, under the circumstances, do nothing.

Carter gave the reasons of the London delegates not voting.

Marx and Jung spoke.

Weston thought the London delegates did wrong in abstaining from voting. He agreed in the conclusion come to by [the] Standing Committee.

Dell thought the resolution of ostracism against Le Lubez gave evidence of great narrowness of mind. He believed Le Lubez to be a thorough. republican and he hoped that the members would sign an address expressive of their sympathy for him.

The report of the Standing Committee was accepted nem. con.[49]

Carnets and Continental Secretaries

The Secretary stated that Citizen Dupont had arranged to get the carnets executed.[50]

Jung said a secretary for Italy was wanted and proposed Carter for that office. Carried nem. con.

The extraordinary power of nominating a secretary for Belgium was conferred upon Dupont.

Report from the London Trades Council

Jung, Cremer, Whitehead, and Carter waited on this body at its last meeting,[51] and the result would appear in the periodical reports of the Council and would be laid before a general delegate meeting on November 28th.

Jung said that a member of the Trades Council objected to being affiliated with an unskilled body like the Excavators.

Citizen Collet attended on behalf of the National Reform League of Denmark Street, Soho.[52] On the motion of himself and Mr. Harris it had been decided that that body should consider the propriety of joining. The discussion would come on next Sunday, after 8 o'clock. He desired the presence of a deputation.

Jung, Weston, Carter, and Fox were appointed as the deputation.

Exhibition of 1867[53]

Dupont brought up from the Standing Committee his proposal for the Association to take in hand the business of providing, by means of their correspondents in Paris, for the travelling, boarding, and lodging at a fixed tariff [of] British working men and others desiring to visit the said exhibition. He had opened these proposals to the Parisian delegates at the Congress, and they were ready to co-operate heartily with the Council. The Standing Committee recommended that a special committee be appointed for carrying out this plan and had appointed himself, Cremer, Whitehead, Lucraft, Carter, and Lessner.

The report and appointment of the Standing Committee were adopted.

Carter proposed that the question of helping working men who desired to become exhibitors be referred to the special committee.

Dupont seconded it, and it was carried nem. con.

The Edenbridge Riot between English and Belgian Navvies

On the interpellation of Citizen Weston, Citizen James Lee, the Secretary of the United Excavators’ Society, made the following statement. He had made inquiries on the spot [further the Minutes are in an unknown hand on pp. 23-24 of the Minute Book] concerning the origin of the “difficulty” between the Belgian and the English navvies, and he found that it did not arise from a jealousy of the Continental labourers as such. Messrs. Warings, who had brought the Belgians over, gave notice to the English navvies to quit the huts in which they were living and which they had built. Now, as the English held that their huts were castles, they became irate and assaulted the Belgians. The quarrel was not one of wages or nationality; as had been represented, but one of house and home. Mr. Lee further stated that he had conversed through an interpreter with the Belgians who considered that they had been completely “gulled” by Messrs. Warings’ agents who had represented that they would receive from four to six francs a day, whereas they only receive three francs a day for which they must fill 18 waggons a day instead of 15, which is the average amount. Messrs. Warings are demanding from the poor Belgians more than any other contractors in the Kingdom are demanding from the native navvies. The consequence of this has been that many of the Belgians have found that they could stand neither the climate nor the work and have returned. The others would return if they had their passage money.

The United Excavators’ Society, being above national prejudices, is not only willing but desirous to enroll the remaining Belgian navvies among its own ranks, and the Belgians seem well disposed to accept the proposals made to them by the agents of the said society.

The meeting then adjourned.


October 30

No heading; the Minutes are in an unknown hand (with corrections made by Fox) on pp. 24-25 of the Minute Book. The last lines on p. 25 are in Fox’s hand.

Vice-President Eccarius in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The Secretary [Fox] read a letter from Citizen Le Lubez which complained of the conduct of the London delegates to Geneva and suggested that his friends should present him with an address.

Delegate From the Basket-Makers

Samuel Brighting, a delegate from the Old London Society of Basket-Makers, which meet at the Bell Inn, Old Bailey, was now heard.

He stated that the masters were threatening to import Belgian workmen. He asked the Council to use its influence to circumvent this dodge. He declared that he was empowered to affiliate his society to a new Association.

The Belgian and Hollandish secretaries [Besson, and Van Rijen] were instructed to communicate with their respective countries.[54]

Mr. Brighting stated that the master who was engaged in hiring the Belgians was Frederick George Packer of New Cross.

On [the] motion of Shaw and Whitehead Citizen Brighting, after having signed the application for admission, was elected a member of the General Council.

Gas Fittings

The Secretary mentioned the matter of the gas fittings and bell work. Mr. Miall wished the International Association either to pay the bill or pay 10 per cent of the amount, ,viz., 16s. per annum.

On [the], motion of Whitehead and Dell the latter alternative was adopted unanimously.

The Secretary then read an alteration in the form of advertisements in the Commonwealth,[55] which met with the approval of the Council.

Report of Deputation to the National Reform League[56]

The Secretary brought up this.

He said that Carter, Weston, Dupont, and himself had attended the National Reform League, which meets at the Eclectic Institute, Denmark Street, Soho, on Sunday last. He stated what passed. He was questioned by the members as to the terms of admission and reserved the subject for the consideration of the General Council. The point was, could a political party like the National Reform League be allowed to enter on the same terms as the trades societies?

Shaw, Dupont, Carter, Whitehead, Hales, Dell, and Weston delivered their opinions on this question, and it was ultimately referred to the Standing Committee to report to the next meeting.

Lyons Chômage

Dupont read a letter of Fribourg, inviting the General Council to solicit [further the Minutes are in Fox’s hand] general subscriptions throughout Europe for the Lyons sufferers, but as the attendance was so small, he would adjourn the matter until next week.

Hales spoke of the feeling of the men of Coventry in reference to the French ribbon and lace trade and also of the state of trade at Coventry.

The meeting then adjourned.