International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
August 1867

Council Meeting
August 6

The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 101-03 of the Minute Book.

Citizen Jung in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The General Secretary [Eccarius] reported that Citizen Howell had sent 2s. 6d. to the Congress fund and applied for a letter of introduction to the Paris members.

The board of management of the Coventry ribbon-weavers had referred the subject of sending a delegate to the Congress to a meeting. of trade delegates which would take place in a few days.[189]

The Alliance Cabinet-Makers had written that the pressure upon their funds had been so great that it was impossible to grant anything for the Congress. The organ-builders had sent their annual subscription [of] 2s. Id., but could not give anything towards the expenses of the Congress. The Arbeiter-Bildungs-Verein was going to hold a summoned meeting to see what could be done about the Congress. The Executive of the Amalgamated Carpenters and Joiners had agreed to an annual contribution of £2 leaving it optional for the branches to affiliate themselves separately.[190] The delegate meeting of the Curriers’ Society had received the deputation favourably, but, according to a letter of the Secretary, the question would have to be submitted to the members for decision.


France. A letter was read from Citizen Toutain, Conde (Calvados), stating that there were only four members left, that they had sent 5 fr. to Citizen Fribourg, and that [they) would unite with the Caen branch to send a delegate. Citizen Marcheval wrote from Vienne (Isère) that the question of sending a delegate was being discussed.[191] He stated that he wanted some Congress reports. He wanted to go to Annonay and required to show something. A letter from Citizen Suire at Nantes announced that the Congress reports as well [as] the address and invitation to the next congress had been received. Many of the former members had not renewed their annual contributions fearing that, as the Association was political, it might get them into trouble. It was very difficult to make propaganda at Nantes. There were many benefit and charitable institutions and the people were on the whole very religious. Anyone who asked for money to accomplish anything was looked upon as a rogue. The writer had been disparaged by people who had formerly been his associates.

Citizen Dupont stated that with much trouble he had succeeded to get the Congress address and programme published in the Courrier de l’Europe. He also received an invitation for the Council to send a delegate to the cooperative congress to be held at Paris on the 16, 17, and 18 of the present month.[192]

Citizen Fox announced that he had received an Address from the Labour Congress Committee, U.S., and .that by this he had discovered that the. address he formerly had, was wrong. The Chicago Work[ing]man’s Advocate had published several parts of our Congress reports and stated in [an] article on the ensuing Labour Congress in America that one of the questions to be decided was the advisability of sending a delegate to the International Congress in Europe to prevent the inundations of work-people brought over by the capitalists from Europe to depreciate the value of labour, and to bring about an understanding between the working people of the two. continents.[193]


Citizen Hales stated that he had attended with Citizen Cohn the London Trades Council, but that the other business had taken up the whole evening and the question of the Congress had not come up for discussion. There would be no other meeting before the Congress.

Citizens Hales and Jung were appointed to attend the brass finishers’ meeting next Monday.

Citizen Carter proposed, Citizen Yarrow seconded:

That Citizen Howell be asked to attend the co-operative congress at Paris as delegate of the Council and Citizen Dupont furnish him with credentials. Unanimously agreed.

The question about the Cleveland Coffee-Room was again adjourned; Mrs. Law volunteered to make inquiries whether it could not be had on Tuesdays. Citizen Maurice was instructed to inquire about the Franklin Hall.

Citizen Carter proposed that four delegates be appointed and that whatever money might come in should be equally divided amongst them and that they should be requested to advance the remainder.

After some discussion the motion was withdrawn.

Citizen Hales then proposed and Citizen Lessner seconded:

That the money be given to the delegates according to the number of votes; that is, he who had the highest number of votes should receive the first £10 and so in rotation as far as the money that might come in would reach. This resolution was carried by 7 against 5 votes.

It was then agreed that four delegates be appointed; that the nomination should be proceeded with at once and the ballot take place on Tuesday, August 13. Citizens Jung, Odger, and Shaw declined to be nominated. The following were nominated: Citizens Carter, Dupont, Eccarius, Fox, Law, and Marx.

The meeting then adjourned to August 13.


International Working Men’s Association

The Minutes are in the form of a clipping, pasted onto p. 104 of the Minute Book, from The Bee-Hive No. 305, August 17, 1867, carrying a report of the General Council meeting of August 13.

The ordinary weekly Council meeting was held last Tuesday evening, August 13. [the words “August 13” are in handwriting]

Citizen Jung in the chair.

The Minutes. of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The General Secretary [Eccarius] reported that he had received notice that the two societies of basket-makers were going to have a special meeting, when the question concerning the delegate to the International Congress would be decided.[194] The Chelsea branch of the Amalgamated Carpenters and Joiners had passed a resolution urging upon the Executive Council of that Association the necessity of taking the votes of all the members for or against affiliating the entire body to the International Association The Executive of the Amalgamated Tailors’ Association had agreed to propose the affiliation of that association as a substantial resolution at the next conference; they were not permitted by their rules to grant any assistance to the Congress fund.

The French branch had appointed Citizen Dupont as special delegate to the Congress, and the Arbeiter-Bildungs-Verein[195] would appoint a special delegate in the course of the ensuing week.

The Berlin cigar-makers had sent 25 thalers for the tailors on strike.

Citizen Hales announced that the Elastic Web-Weavers’ Association had granted £1 to the Congress fund.

It was then agreed that the balloting should be proceeded with.

Citizen Marx stated that he was not in a position to go to the Congress this year, and must therefore withdraw.

As Citizen Dupont was already appointed by, the French branch, the ballot simply turned upon which of the proposed delegates should have the preference in case the means should prove insufficient to send the four.

While the balloting was going on, Citizen Marx called attention to the Peace Congress to be held in Geneva.[196] He said it was desirable that as many delegates as could make it convenient should attend the Peace Congress in their individual capacity; but that it would be injudicious to take part officially as representatives of the International Association. The International Working Men’s Congress was in itself a peace congress, as the union of the working classes of the different countries must ultimately make international wars impossible. If the promoters of the Geneva Peace Congress really understood the question at issue they ought to have joined the International Association.

The present increase of the large armies in Europe had been brought about by the revolution of 1848; large standing armies were the necessary result of the present state of society. They were not kept up for international warfare, but to keep down the working classes.[197] However, as there were not always barricades to bombard, and working men to shoot, there was sometimes a possibility of international quarrels being fomented to keep the soldiery in trim. The peace-at-any-price party would no doubt muster strong at the Congress. That party would fain leave Russia alone in the possession of the means to make war, upon the rest of Europe, while the very existence of such a power as Russia was enough for all the other countries to keep their armies intact.

It was more than probable that some of the French Radicals would avail themselves of the opportunity to make declamatory speeches against their own Government, but such would have more effect if delivered at Paris.

Those who declined putting their shoulders to the wheel to bring about a transformation in the relations of labour and capital ignored the very conditions of universal peace.

He ended by proposing, “That the delegates of the Council be instructed not to take any official part in the Peace Congress, and to resist any motion that might be brought forward at the Working Men’s Congress tending to take an official part.”[198]

Citizen Keller stated that the delegate of the French branch had already received instructions to that effect.

After some observations by Citizens Fox and Eccarius the resolution was unanimously agreed to.

The result of the ballot was: — Citizen George Eccarius, 1st; Peter Fox, 2nd; James Carter, 3rd; Mrs. Law, 4th.[199]

On the motion of Mrs. Law it was agreed that the next meeting, on Tuesday, August 20th, be held at the Cleveland Hall Coffee-Room.

The subjects to be discussed are the annual report and the Congress programme.

The meeting then adjourned.


International Working Men’s Association

[The Minutes are in the form of a clipping, pasted onto p. 105 of the Minute Book, from The Bee-Hive No. 3006, August 24, 1867, carrying a report of the General Council meeting of August 20]

The General Council met on Tuesday last, August 20, [the words “August 20” are in handwriting] in the Cleveland Hall Coffee-Room, where the regular Tuesday night’s meetings will be held in future. There was a muster of members who have lately devoted their energies entirely to the Reform movement; now that the bill has become law they will resume their seats at the Council board.[200]

Citizen Jung occupied the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The General Secretary [Eccarius] reported that the London cigar-makers had voted £1 Is. to the Congress fund, and the West End ladies’ boot-makers £5. The Coventry ribbon-weavers had appointed a special delegate, and Citizen Alfred A. Walton, of Brecon, had announced his intention of representing the National Reform League, of which he is the President.

The Swiss Secretary [Jung] announced the formation of a branch at Berne.[201]

The French Secretary [Dupont] read a letter from the miners of Fuveau, who have established a branch. He also announced that the Rules of the Association had been printed in Algiers.

The Secretary for America [Fox] read a letter from Mr. W. J. Jessup, Vice-President and orderly officer of the National Labour Union for the state of New York, of which the following is an extract:

“It gives me the greatest pleasure to acknowledge your welcome letter and accompanying papers, for which favour please accept my most sincere thanks. I have long desired to open correspondence with the working men of England, and have written two or three letters with that end in view. The Corresponding Secretary of the National Labour Union is very dilatory in answering. As an officer of the National Labour Union I exceedingly regret that your kindness in furnishing report and information relating to the Geneva Congress has not been reciprocated on the part of our Corresponding Secretary, as I hold it as a matter of great importance that the working men of both the old and the new countries should be in close communication in relation to the labour movement, as I believe it will prove of mutual benefit to all. I much regret that the day will be too fat advanced when our national body meets to take action upon sending a delegate to the Congress at Lausanne. I would much like to see the working men of the United States represented therein. I shall take much pleasure in complying with your request to inform the Chicago Congress of the assembling of your Congress on September 2nd. I shall also take the liberty in making my report to that body to read your letter, believing it of sufficient importance to make it public. I desire to assure your General Council that, having been elected delegate to Chicago from the Working Men’s Union of this city,[202] I will immediately on my return write them full information as to the action taken by the Union, and will forward such papers as contain the fullest account of the proceedings. My official term as Vice-President will terminate with the sitting of the Union. I would like to maintain our correspondence in my other official position as President of the New York State Working Men’s Assembly, or Corresponding Secretary of the New York Working Men’s Union, and will be at all times happy to exchange documents relating to the labour question. I recognise the necessity of frequent intercourse between our two bodies, and if I hold an official position therein another Year, I will do all in my power to maintain such intercourse, and will willingly furnish any information in my power that you or the General Council may desire, or exchange papers or documents of interest. Many of the trades of San Francisco are on strike against an increase of hours of labour, having been employed on the eight hours’ system the past nineteen months.”

The General Secretary then read his draft of the third annual report of the Association, which, with an additional paragraph about the action taken by the Council respecting international penny postage, and some verbal amendments, was agreed to. It appears from this report that the British section of the Association had been increased by the affiliation of ten organised bodies. In France, seven new branches have been established, and one in Algiers. In Switzerland several trades societies, as well as co-operative and political societies, have been affiliated.

The special report of the Secretary for America was also agreed to.

A conversation then arose about some of the Council members that were appointed at the last Congress, but have not put in an appearance for some time, nor paid their annual contributions.

It was resolved, “That the names of all members of the Council whose contributions are not paid by Tuesday, August 27th, be struck off the list of Council members.”

As the evening was too far advanced, the discussion of. the Congress questions was adjourned to Tuesday next.


Council Meeting
Tuesday, August 27

The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 106-07 of the Minute Book.

Citizen Shaw in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The General Secretary [Eccarius] reported that the United Society of Journeyman Curriers had announced their affiliation and the secretary had paid the entrance fee. The London basket-makers paid their annual contribution and 12s. 6d. to the Congress fund.

The balance-sheet was then read, and Citizens Maurice and Hales appointed as auditors.

Upon the proposition of Citizen Fox, seconded by Citizen Marx, it was resolved that the Congress delegate should receive £12.

Citizen Fox read a letter from the Postmaster-General in answer to the memorial sent by the Council, in favour of a reduction of international postage. The Postmaster-General concurred in the views expressed in that document.[203]

The special report of the American Secretary was read and adopted.[204]

Discussion of the Congress Questions

The regular payment of contributions was considered to be of the utmost importance, as one of the practical means to enable the Association to fulfil its functions.

Citizen Hales thought the Council should depend less on trades unions and enter more into a general propaganda to attract the foremost thinkers in the various localities.

Citizen Fox thought we have local agents in various places.

Citizen Carter maintained that with the exception of our interference in strikes we had done nothing and neglected everything regarding the practical application of the great principles of the Association.

Citizen Fox mentioned that it was owing to the International that the Polish question had been kept alive.

Citizen Odger said we required discussions upon the most important questions of the day to attract public notice and make our meetings more entertaining, which would increase our funds and enable us to carry out our principles. There was not sufficient publicity at present.

Citizen Marx was rather against turning our Association into a debating club. We had made considerable progress abroad and had obtained a good standing in France. For weeks together none of the British members except Fox, Shaw, Carter, and Buckley, had come near us. He was not against discussing great questions.

Citizen Odger thought special meetings might be held for particular questions.

Carter, Mistress Law, Hales, and Fox spoke in favour of debates.

It was then proposed that a special meeting be held on Thursday to discuss the second question, which was agreed to.


[Special Meeting]

[No heading and no date. The meeting was held on August 29.
The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on p. 107 of the Minute Book]

At the special meeting the balance-sheet was adopted.[205] Citizen Walton and Citizen Swann, the provincial delegates announced at former meetings, were present.

Citizen Walton paid the entrance fee and the annual contribution of the National Reform League, and Citizen Tatschky the contribution of the Arbeiter-Bildungs-Verein.

[Cit. Fox entered into a lengthy statement about the Bank Charter Act and the Currency Laws and Citizen Walton made some remarks upon the general questions of credit. As there was no eagerness manifested to enter upon the real merits of the question respecting the funds of trades societies, the meeting terminated with a few good wishes for the success of the deliberations of the Congress by Citizen Shaw who occupied the chair.]

This version was rejected on the motion of Citizen Fox and the following substituted by himself:

Citizen Fox spoke on the credit question and in a lengthy statement showed that the currency laws of Great Britain impeded the growth of popular credit associations in these islands.

Citizen Walton spoke on the general subject of credit. No one else took part in the discussion and the meeting adjourned.