International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
April 1867

General Council Meeting
April 2nd

[The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 68-69 of the Minute Book.]

Citizen Eccarius in the chair.

The Minutes of the two previous meetings were read by Fox and Eccarius and confirmed.


Jung reported that he had waited upon the hatters at Gravel Lane on last Friday. They would state what they would do on next Friday week. He also stated that he had waited upon the curriers and tin plate-workers but should wait upon them again. The engineers had not done anything, because they had not received any of their loans yet. The bricklayers’ money had not. yet arrived at Paris.

Dupont stated La Voix de l’Avenir contained an article on the bronze-workers’ lock-out.[124]

Carter called attention to the engine-drivers’ strike and said we had fallen short of our mission in that case’

Dupont said he had waited upon the committee at 31, Bridge Street, Strand, as soon as he heard of the affair and communicated with the Continent that same day [the words “communicated with the Continent that same day” have been inserted in Fox’s hand in place of the crossed-out words “offered to do what he could in the matter"].[125]; some sharp discussion followed, and Jung and Dupont were appointed to do what they could with the engine-drivers’ committee to forward the objects of this Association.

Several demands for the payment of debts were then read by the Secretary.

It was then moved by Fox and seconded by Yarrow that £1 3s. 7d. be paid to Citizen Collet for Courriers supplied to the Council. Carried nem. con.

It was also moved by Fox and seconded by Jung that £1 10s. be paid to Mr. Leno on account of printing. Carried nem. con.

The payment of the advertisement in the Commonwealth was postponed on the motion of Citizen Jung.

The meeting then adjourned.


General Council Meeting
April 9th

[The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 69-71 of the Minute Book.]

Citizen Jung in the chair.

The Secretary was absent, and no Minutes of the previous meeting could be read.

Fox was appointed minute-taker for the evening.

Fox brought up a resolution from the Standing Committee to the effect that a balance-sheet be made out and the accounts be audited.

Agreed to nem. con.

Hales asked for a report of the Congress for his society, and Cohn requested that copies of the Courier containing a translation of the Parisian Mémoire[126] be furnished to his society.

It was ordered that a note of these requests be made in the Minutes.

Hales thought that the Courier should be pushed amongst the affiliated societies.

After a short discussion the subject was adjourned until next week, and Fox undertook [to] ask Collet to attend.

George Druitt was nominated as a member of the Council. 2s. 2d. was paid to Fox as subscription from Lawrence and Druitt.

A delegate from the Coach-Trimmers’ Society held at The Globe, North Audley Street, Grosvenor Square, paid £5 entrance fee for his society to join the Association.

Dupont read a letter from Fribourg (Paris) stating that the French trades had advanced something like £4,000 to the bronze-workers. It stated that the lock-out was at an end, but that 17 of the most active members had been excluded from the shops.

The Chairman then reported that the cigar-makers had voted £5 which had been sent to Paris. Also that bricklayers’ money had not yet arrived in Paris. He then asked: now [that] the lock-out was at an end, could he canvass trades societies for money?

Cohn and Hales replied that so long as 17 men were locked out, the lock-out could not be at an end, and Jung declared himself satisfied by this response from two representatives of [the] English trades unions.

Citizen Cohn stated that the cigar trade was very slack. It would be worse; before it was better. One-seventh of their men was out of work. Still Belgians, Dutch, and Hamburgers were coming over here and suffering greatly. They were working at very low prices having no other alternative but to starve. He said a very skilful Hollander was working for Is. 9d. per hundred while he, Cohn, was getting 3s. 6d. per hundred for the same kind of work. He requested the Dutch, Belgian, and German secretaries to inform their countrymen of the sad state of things, and when there were not more than 25 men out [of work] belonging to the society, the Continentals might come, and welcome.

It was ordered that the above matter be attended to a: once.[127]

Fox then proposed William Hales as a member of the Council.

Dupont and Jung were appointed to wait upon the tin plate-workers, Black Jack.

Cohn and Jung were appointed to wait upon the Hatters’ Committee.

The meeting then adjourned.

Members present: Maurice, Fox, Cohn, Hales, Bobczynski, Zabicki, Buckley, Jung, and Dupont.


General Council Meeting
April 16th

[The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 71-72 of the Minute Book.]

Members present: Jung, Maurice, Lessner, Hales, Lafargue, Dupont, Collet, Fox, Shaw, and Cohn.

Fox read the Minutes of the previous meeting and they were confirmed.

Fox proposed and Maurice seconded William Hales as [a] member of the Council. Carried.

Maurice proposed and Dupont seconded George Druitt, President of the London Tailors’ Society, as a member of the Council. Carried.

A letter was read from the Reform League requesting a delegate to attend at the Sussex Hotel on the 17th instant to receive a memorial tablet in commemoration of the Reform demonstration of February 11th, 1867. Citizen Collet was appointed to receive the tablet on behalf of the Council.

Fox read a letter from Mrs. Harriet Law on the subject of “Women’s Rights” and expressed his opinion that perhaps Mrs. Law would go to the Congress at Lausanne if solicited. By mutual consent Fox undertook to write to Mrs. Law asking her if she would be willing to attend the Council meetings if invited.

Dupont read a letter from Paris. It expressed regret that the tailors’ deputation from London to Paris had not been introduced to the Paris tailors by the Paris Administration of our Association.[128]

Maurice stated that the London Tailors’ Executive had no time to consult us previous to sending their deputation to Paris, and moved that a deputation be sent to the tailors’ meeting at the Alhambra Palace on Monday the 22nd.[129] This motion was seconded by Citizen Cohn and Citizen Dupont, and Collet and Jung [the words “and Jung” are written in Fox’s hand between the lines] were appointed as the delegates to attend.

Jung reported his attendance on the tin plate-workers, Black Jack, and the hatters, Prince and Princess, Gravel Lane. The hatters had lent £10 to the bronze-workers of Paris. They required a written statement of our objects to send round to their shops before they could do anything towards becoming affiliated to our Association.

The payment of secretary for the labours of the office was adjourned to the next meeting by common consent.

Lafargue (on behalf of Marx) said that the resolution moved by Odger at one of the Reform meetings conferring a vote [of] thanks upon Count Bismarck was calculated to injure the credit of this Association.[130] He therefore demanded that [the Minute Book has the word “resignation,” which, judging by the context, should be crossed out] a vote of censure should be passed upon Odger. [then follow the crossed-out words “as the President of this Council"]

A discussion ensued which ended in instructing the Secretary to write to Odger requesting his attendance at the next meeting.

Courrier International and International Courier

It was proposed, seconded, and carried unanimously[131]: “That this Council recommends the International Courier to the various affiliated societies as the best representative organ of the principles of the Association and that this recommendation be communicated in all correspondences.


General Council Meeting
April 23rd

[The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 73-75 of the Minute Book.]

Members present: Citizens Jung, Maurice, Fox, Collet, Lessner, Dupont, Lafargue, Zabicki, Dell, Carter, Eccarius, Shaw, and Buckley.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The Secretary read a letter from John Sutcliffe of the Block-Printers’ Union. It stated that they had 90 men on strike against the introduction of the cheap labour of women and asked for pecuniary assistance as their trade was very much depressed and they were unable to meet their outlay.

Citizen Dell moved and Lessner seconded:

That the Secretary write for a statement of facts, and point out the mode of application which is generally made to the Trades Council of London for pecuniary assistance. Carried.

Citizen Collet reported that a Continental subscriber to the Courrier International had written to him requesting information about the Association with a view of joining and opening a branch.

The Tailors’ Meeting

Citizen Collet reported that himself and Jung attended the tailors’ meeting at the Alhambra Palace. Jung was introduced as the President of the late Congress of Geneva and was received with immense applause. He pointed out to the meeting that if the I.W.A. could, last year, prevent the tailors of Paris from supplanting the men of London, it could do the same thing with the men of Belgium

and Germany this year. Consequently the master tailors would only be wasting money by sending to those countries for men. Collet also addressed the meeting, and Eccarius said that Collet’s speech had made him a most popular man amongst the tailors of London.

It was then moved by Maurice and seconded by Collet:

That the Council make a special point of sending deputations to all trade meetings possible. Carried.

Engine-Drivers and Firemen

Jung reported that with Dupont he had had an interview with [the] Engine-Drivers’ Secretary respecting this Association. He was to wait upon the Executive as soon as he received a letter from the Secretary.

Citizen Eccarius then took the chair. And Citizen Jung proposed and Citizen Lafargue seconded that the Secretary be paid for his office. Carried.

Jung then suggested that a special fund be created by voluntary contributions for the purpose of paying the Secretary, and the following members subscribed at once, viz.:

Lafargue — 1s. Collet — 1s.

Maurice — 2s. Carter — 6d.

Dupont — 2s. Dell — 1s.

Jung — 3s.

making a sum total of 10s. 6d.

It was then proposed by Citizen Lessner and seconded by Citizen Fox that the Secretary be paid 10s. per week. Carried.

Lafargue then introduced the subject of Odger proposing the vote of thanks to Count Bismarck at a Reform meeting; after some discussion in which several members took part, the following resolution, proposed by Citizen Lessner and seconded by Citizen Lafargue, was carried unanimously.

Resolved, “That inasmuch as Citizen Odger has proposed a resolution at the Council of the Reform League thanking Mr. Bismarck for what he had done for the democratic cause in Germany; and inasmuch as Citizen Odger is President of the International Working Men’s Association, the General Council feels it to be its duty to repudiate any solidarity with the said resolution and with Citizen Odger’s speech in support thereof."[132]

Mr. Moller stated that the Coach-Trimmers’ Society, meeting at The Crown, Broad Street, Golden Square, had decided to become affiliated to this Association. He paid over 10s. on behalf of the society, Fox then gave notice that on next meeting-night he would move that deputations be appointed to wait upon the Postmaster-General on international postage.

The meeting then adjourned.


General Council Meeting
April 30th

[The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 75-78 of the Minute Book]

Members present: Citizens Eccarius, Lessner, Jung, Fox, Lafargue, Hales, Collet, Maurice, Carter, Dell, Buckley, and Shaw.

Citizen Eccarius took the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and after being amended were confirmed.

The Secretary [Fox] read a letter from the Curriers’ Society anent their quarterly meeting. He was ordered to answer the said letter and express regret that it had come to hand too late for the Council to attend.

A letter was read from the Commonwealth office asking for the payment of the account due for advertisement.

It was then proposed, seconded, and carried that £1 be paid on account of advertisement in the Commonwealth.

It was also proposed, seconded, and carried that Citizen Collet be paid 11s. 3d., the balance due for the printing of the French carnets.[133]

The Secretary stated that since the last meeting he had written to the Hatters’ Society, to Mr. John Kane of 21, Hood Street, Gateshead, Durham, [to] the Secretary of the Northern Iron-Workers’ Association and to Mr. Woodhatch, the Secretary of the Liverpool Cigar-Makers, 66, Copperas Hill, Liverpool, asking them to use their influence to cause their societies to join the Association. He also stated that he had written to Mr. John Sutcliffe, the Secretary of the Block-Printers, as directed at the previous meeting.

Carter drew the attention of the Council to the fact that [he] himself and Jung had not yet received the £1 due to each of them on account of their expenses to the Geneva Congress.

.it was proposed by Citizen Dell and. seconded by Citizen Collet that the claim of Carter and Jung be the next that is paid.

Jung read from the April Bulletin of the Lausanne Section[134] a paragraph which stated that very few sections had paid their 3d. contribution towards the expenses of the General Council, and in consequence of this default the General Council had been impeded in its task of bringing out the report of the Geneva Congress.

Jung also read a letter from Besson, the Belgian Secretary, which also had a letter enclosed from Vésinier.

Citizen Eccarius read the programme of the working men’s party of Germany from the Vorbote[135] which was as follows:

“The working men’s party adheres to the maxim that the oppressed of all European countries without distinction of creed, state or race are by their interest bound to unite and render each other mutual assistance.”

Citizen Fox drew the attention of the Council to the American, a new democratic journal which had just reached its 5th number.[136]

In answer to a question about the rent of the office, Citizen Collet made an offer of a room at his place of business at about £6 per year.

Fox moved that the subject be referred to the Sub-Committee, which was agreed to accordingly.

Citizen Collet read the following letter which he had written.

[a page of the printer’s proofs of Collet’s letter in The Working Man No. 6, May 4, 1867, is pasted into the Minute Book]

To Edmond Beales, Esq., M. A., President of the Reform League


I am sorry, I was not in time at the last delegate meeting to hear your statement about the measures the Executive Committee of the League had adopted to carry out Mr. Cremer’s motion, as they had been requested to do on the previous Wednesday.

I find from the “organ of the Reform movement,” the Commonwealth, that you stated that “the Council of the League, voting upon the resolution of last week, had decided upon holding not a promenade, as it first intended, but a bona fide meeting in Hyde Park on the 6th of May next,” and that, “if any riot or disturbance ensued, the blame must rest on the Government.” I find it also stated that Mr. Bradlaugh said that “the League had not only called the meeting in Hyde Park, but meant to hold it there, come what might. On this occasion they would not only demand admittance to the Park, but enforce that admittance if require&’.

I hope, Sir, you will allow me to make a few remarks on this important subject.

I hold that the people have a right to meet in the Park, but I hold also that before such a serious issue as a defiance to the authorities is raised, men should be prepared to act as men and not as bombastic children.

When I proposed some time ago a promenade in Hyde Park on Good Friday I felt convinced that the Government would not, and could not, prevent the people from going into the Park individually and would not even interfere, if, once there, the people held a meeting.

Some of my friends have tested the question and it has been proved that I was right.

Now I believe that when the delegates voted for Mr. Cremer’s motion on the 17th inst. their impression was that the same course should he adopted.

From what I have quoted above, from the Commonwealth, it would appear that you, with the Executive, are determined to call forth a demonstration similar to that of July last and that if the authorities adopt the same course they did then, either an appeal to force must be the result, or Reformers would have once more to retire. I believe that it would be, not only unpolitic, but criminal to bring the question to such an issue as this, and I will give you my reasons:

If the people of this country. are really prepared to join issue with the Government, then they have something better to do than to fight their fellow-men of the army and the police about the question of admittance into the Park.

However important the question of the right of meeting may be, if to settle it force must be resorted to and blood spilt, then the people must be prepared either to submit or to destroy the present political fabric.

I think they are not yet ripe for such an issue, and therefore I say that it would be unwise and criminal to necessarily produce violence and bloodshed, to no practical purpose.

Suppose that the Reformers were even to force their way into the Park, what then? Do you think that the Government would stop there?

What if they bring armed force against you? Are you prepared to meet them?

What if Parliament were to pass a bill forbidding meetings in the parks, would you then turn Parliament out?

I conclude by urging upon you to use your influence upon your colleagues of the Council to reconsider a decision, which I do not think they were empowered to take, by the delegates, and simply to invite the Reformers of London to go individually to the Park, avoiding anything that might have the appearance of a defiance, which they are not prepared to support effectively.

When the time comes, if unfortunately it ever should come, that force must be used, I hope the people of this country will be wise enough to discriminate between those who really are their enemies and those of their own ranks and blood whose interests are the same as theirs, although they may for a time be in the ranks of the army or of the police.

It is not against men obliged then to earn their livelihood that the working men ought [to] turn their wrath. I hope they will have more sense than to do that, and that they will strike the evil, at the root.

I am, Sir,

Yours respectfully,

Joseph Collet

[the newspaper text ends here]

A long discourse ensued upon it without any opposite opinions being expressed.

Frederick Card, on the motion of Shaw, seconded by Dell, was nominated as a member of the Council.

It was then proposed by Citizen Fox and seconded by Citizen Lessner:

That the Secretary write to the Postmaster-General and ask him to receive a deputation from the Council on the subject of international postage. Carried.

The meeting then adjourned.