International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
July 1867

Council Meeting
July 2nd

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 91-92 of the Minute Book]

Citizen J. George Eccarius in the chair.

On account of the absence of the Secretary, Citizen Fox read the Minutes. They were confirmed as read.


Citizen Jung read a letter from Geneva complaining about the inactivity of the General Council respecting the Congress programme. It also stated that the Peace Congress [the Congress of the League of Peace and Freedom] to be held at Geneva was so arranged that the delegates who would be sent to Lausanne could attend accomplish a twofold mission.[163]

Vienne. A letter was read announcing that the branch sent [a] 60 fr. gift and 40 fr. loan to the tailors of don on strike. The branch numbered 600 members and might have numbered 1,000 had it not been for the want of carnets. The branch was likely to send two delegates to the Congress.[164] They had applied for permission to print the Rules, but the government authorities had refused. They demand 50 copies more of the Congress report. Citizen Marcheval of Vienne requested to be authorised to open a branch at Annonay, which was unanimously given.

International Penny Postage

Citizen Fox gave notice that on the following Tuesday he would present his written statement to the Postmaster-General.

Citizen Fox complained that a member of the French branch, Citizen Besson, had misconducted himself at the Public meeting held under [the] auspices of the German Arbeiter-Bildungs-Verein to commemorate the insurrection of June 1848. After some conversation the question was adjourned till July 9.

Citizen Fox called attention to the rapid progress of productive co-operative associations in America.

Members present: Citizens Fox, Law,[165] Eccarius, Dupont, Keller, Cohn, Lessner, and Maurice.

The meeting then adjourned to Tuesday, July 9.


Council Meeting
July 9

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 92-95 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Jung in the chair.

Citizen Eccarius stated that he had taken notes of the last meeting but had left them at his house.

A letter was read from Citizen Shaw in which he stated that having not been able to obtain employment in London, he could not continue his functions as General Secretary. There being no alternative his resignation was ac

accepted, and on the proposition of Citizen Marx, seconded by Citizen Lessner, a vote of thanks for the services rendered by Citizen Shaw, while in office, was unanimously, carried.

Appointment of a General Secretary

Citizen Fox proposed, Citizen Buckley seconded, that Citizen J. George Eccarius be appointed Secretary of the Association. Carried unanimously.

A letter was read from Mr. Arthur Miall requesting a written statement respecting the rent due to him.

Citizen Fox proposed, Citizen Lessner seconded, that 2 10s. be paid to Mr. Miall. Agreed and the Secretary instructed to pay it.


America. Citizen Fox read [a] letter from Mr. Sylvis, President of the Iron-Moulders’ Union,[166] U.S., in answer an appeal on behalf of the London tailors on strike. Mr. Sylvis stated that his Union had done a good deal in the way of warring against the capitalists. It had extended $35,000 during the past and $40,000 during the present year and had now 2,000 members out of work. It had resolved to turn its attention principally to establishing co-operative foundries, which was the only effectual mode of dealing with the labour question. They had several foundries in full blaze and more would be erected. Their funds were too low to grant relief, but he would see what could be done in the shape of voluntary contributions. It also contained information about a labour convention to be held next month at Chicago.

Fox was instructed to write to Mr. Jessup, the organiser of the convention.

Italy. Citizen Jung read a letter from G. Dassy in Naples complaining that his former letters had not been answered, and he asked for the Rules of the Association.

Citizen Carter was instructed to reply.

France. Citizen Dupont announced that the bronze-workers of Paris had voted a gift of £10 and a loan of the same amount to the London tailors on strike. The Bordeaux branch had sent £1 12s. to the tailors and £1 Ss. contribution to the Council. At Fleurieux-sur-Saône and Rouen public meetings were to be held in support of the tailors.

Citizen Dupont inquired about the publication of the Geneva Congress report in pamphlet form.[167]

The Secretary was instructed to invite Citizen Collet to attend the Standing Committee on Saturday, July 13.

Castelnaudary. Complaints were being made about police restrictions, but promises made to do the best to organise the Association.

London. A letter was read from the manager of the Commonwealth requesting payment for the advertisement.

It was agreed to discontinue the advertisement.


Amalgamated Engineers. Citizen Jung reported that Citizen Odger had not kept his appointment, and in consequence of that his own presentation had been delayed to such a late hour that but a very brief statement could be made, and the Council of the Engineers had adjourned without a decision. The Secretary was instructed [to write] to Mr. Allan. The Secretary was also instructed to write to the London compositors and the brass finishers.

General Affairs

Citizen Marx proposed and Citizen Lafargue seconded that the following be the first Congress resolution:

On the practical means by which to enable the International Working Men’s Association to fulfill its function of a common centre of action for the working classes, female and male, in their struggle tending to their complete emancipation from the domination of capital. Agreed.

Citizen Eccarius read the subjoined address which was unanimously adopted. It was further agreed that 300 [copies] should be printed for circulation and that Citizen Lafargue should render it in the French language and bring it before the Standing Committee on Saturday, July 13.

Respecting Citizen Besson’s misconduct it was agreed that he should attend the Standing Committee [on] July 13, and the Secretary was instructed to write to him.

Citizen Fox brought his written statement to the Postmaster-General before the Council. Citizens Eccarius, Jung, and Carter, all of whom waited on the Postmaster of Switzerland, suggested some additions which Citizen Fox readily accepted and stated that he would complete the document in the course of the week.[168]

The meeting then adjourned.

Members present: Buckley, Carter, Dupont, Eccarius, Fox, Jung, Lessner, Marx, Maurice, Stepney, Lafargue, Yarrow, and Zabicki. [Here a copy of the leaflet, printed in connection with the Lausanne Congress, is pasted into the Minute Book]

Address of The General Council of The International Working Men’s Association.

To The Members and Affiliated Societies

Fellow Working Men, — According to the reports we have received from time to time — our Continental members are very persevering in propagating the principles rid extending the ramifications of our Association, particularly in Switzerland, where most of our branches are actively engaged in establishing benefit and credit funds, and co-operative societies of production in connection with our Association; the progress of the British section has been greatly interfered with by the Reform movement. As the Council looks upon the political enfranchisement of the working classes as a means to complete their social emancipation, it was but natural that the British members should take a leading part in the Reform agitation and that our affiliated societies should, for the time being, throw their whole weight into the balance against reactionary phrase-mongers and malignant obstructives to bring matters to a crisis. However, now that the heat of the agitation has subsided, that no more monster demonstrations have to be organised, and the time appointed for the meeting of the second annual congress is drawing near, it is high time that those who have absented themselves during the height of the contest should resume their seats at the Council board, and our affiliated branches should make an effort to lend us a helping hand. The aims of our Association are not ephemeral; our labours will continue to absorb the attention of the working population until wages-slavery has become a matter of history. What the lot of the labouring population would be if eveything were left to isolated, individual bargaining may be easily foreseen. The iron rule of supply and demand, if left unchecked, would speedily reduce the producers of all the wealth to a starvation level, since in the actual condition of society every improvement of the productive powers, every abridgement of manual labour, tends but to lower wages and increase the hours of toll. Surely the labouring poor, the producers of all wealth, have a human, an inherent, a natural claim to participate in the fruits of their own toil, but this claim can only be enforced and realised by the union of all. Sectional efforts are of little avail, and partful successes are but short-lived. Nothing short of a thorough union and combination of the work-people of all countries can achieve the satisfactory solution of the labour question. Much has already been done in that direction, but more remains to be done. The periodical meeting of the representative men of the different countries has the effect of removing time-honoured national antipathies, cementing friendship, and smoothing the path for a common mode of action towards a common end. We therefore appeal to you to do what is in your power to send as many representatives of the British branches as possible to the ensuing Congress our Association, which will assemble on Monday, Sept. 2nd, 1867, at Lausanne.

According to the Regulations passed at the first annual Congress, every branch is entitled to send a delegate. Branches numbering above 500 members may send a delegate for every full 500 members. Branches that do not consider it advisable to send delegates of their own may contribute towards the expense of delegates representing groups of branches.

The principal questions to be settled by the Congress are:

1. On the practical means by which to enable the International Working Men’s Association to fulfil its function a common centre of action for the working classes, male and male, in their struggle tending to their complete emancipation from the domination of capital.

2. How can the working classes utilise for the purpose of their own emancipation the credit which they now give to the middle classes and the government.

An early reply stating your decision is requested,

By order of the Council,

George Odger, President J. George Eccarius, Gen. Sec.

16, Castle Street, East London, W., July 9, 1867.

[The text of the leaflet ends here. The Minutes are unsigned]

Council Meeting
July 16

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 96-97 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Jung in the chair.

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

General Reports

The General Secretary [Eccarius] reported that he received a letter from John Kane, Secretary of [the] National Association of Malleable Iron-Workers, announcing the intention of that body to join.

The Secretary of the Engineers had sent rather an evasive answer, and promised to lay the case before the General Council of the Engineers.

The Secretary of the London Trades Council asked for a deputation to attend the annual meeting of that body.


Switzerland. The people of Geneva identify the Sheffield outrages and trades unions with the International Association.[169] The section desired a refutation, but as the Geneva papers had only reproduced extracts from the British journals, it was agreed not [to] do anything in the matter.

Extracts from a leading article in the Voix de l’Avenir were read pointing out the fact that Maximilian, the imperial invader of Mexico, had proclaimed sentence of death, which had been executed within 24 hours of its promulgation, against every Mexican that shall be found fighting for his own country against a foreign intruder; and the official press of Europe, in the face of such facts, dared to extenuate his monstrous crimes.[170]

France. The French Secretary [Dupont] handed over £2 as part of the annual contribution of the Lyons branch. The Lyons branch asked to be authorised to form a central committee for the Rhone Department, which was unanimously granted.

The members of the Lyons branch were very hard up, and might only be able to send one delegate to the congress. To be able to hold periodical meetings they had resolved to register themselves as a co-operative association, but were not silly enough to believe that their savings would emancipate them from the domination of ---al. They had prepared a form of cards and projects sales that would be in harmony with the laws.[171] A new branch had been established at Villefranche, Citizen Chas--- Secretary, which would send a delegate to Lausanne.[172] Another had been established at Castelnaudary. Schettel received all the numbers of the Courrier; [they] would gladly subscribe but were too poor. The Voix de l’Avenir was their organ, [but they] were rather more --al than it.[173]

General Business

Report of Standing Committee. Citizen Besson justified conduct: (1) by asserting that at French meetings one could surrender his place to another; (2) that he had not understood the chairman; (3) that he did not consider it a fault to raise a discussion; (4) that he owned he had been much excited.

Citizen Fox on bringing up the report objected to various points and gave notice of [a] motion to take it into consideration at a future opportunity.

A written statement to the Postmaster-General was agreed to, and it was resolved that it should be signed by secretaries.

Citizens Marx, Cohn, Fox, Dupont, and Eccarius were appointed as the deputation to attend the annual meeting of the London Trades Council on Thursday, July 25, 1867, Bell Inn, Old Bailey. [174]

It was agreed that the Congress programme should be discussed during the month of August.

Members present: Cohn, Buckley, Eccarius, Fox, Dupont, Jung, Lessner, Mrs. Law, Keller, Maurice, Yarrow, Zabicki.

The meeting then adjourned to Tuesday, July 23.


Council Meeting
July 23

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 97-99 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 he had received a letter from Mr. Dodson, the Secretary of the Amalgamated Cordwainers, [stating] that the rule — which [enabled] his Executive to grant £5 towards the Congress fund last year had been rescinded by the Conference of 1867. The Amalgamation had never affiliated itself, which had been stated on one occasion to a deputation.

The Secretary asked leave to write to the London Working Men’s Association, which was agreed [to] after some discussion.


America. Citizen Marx had received letters: one from New York announcing the affiliation of the Communist Club, which rejects all revealed religion and every [doctrine] not founded upon the perception of concrete objects. It advocates the destruction of individual property, the equality of all persons, and its members bind each other to carry these maxims into practice.[175] The other matter was from a kindred association at Hoboken, N. J., also announcing its adhesion. It called upon the Council to send documents, and spoke of the great danger there was of the working men of America being traduced by the professional politicians — the greatest rascals under the sun, who were advocating working men’s measures to retain their places. Senator Wade had made an almost communistic speech the other day, but had explained it away before a bourgeois audience.

[Here a clipping from The Working Man No. 18, July 27, 1867, pasted into the Minute Book]

Citizen Marx called the attention of the Council to a Parliamentary Blue Book, “Reports by Her Majesty’s Secretaries of Embassy and Legation on the manufactures and commerce of the countries in which they reside, 1867,” which the following is an extract[176]:

“During the first eleven months of 1864 the imports into Belgium of raw cast iron were 7,200 tons, of which 5,300 were British; the corresponding period of 1865 they rose to 18,800 tons, of which 17,000 tons were British; and in 1866 they rose to 29,590 tons, of which 26,200 tons were British. On the other hand, the exports of Belgian cast iron during the first eleven months of 1864 amounted to 24,400 tons, 17,200 tons of which went to France, 5,900 tons to England; whereas in the corresponding period 1866 they did not amount to more than 14,000 tons, of which 0 tons were exported to France, and only 241 tons to Great Britain. The exports of Belgian rails have also fallen from 75,353 tons, during the first eleven months of 1864, to 62,734 tons in 1866. The following is an exact statement, in a tabular form, of the quantities of iron and steel of all sorts imported into Belgium from at Britain, and of Belgian iron and steel exported to Great Britain during the first eleven months of 1866, as compared with corresponding period of 1864.

Imports into Belgium from Great Britain.
First Eleven Months18661864
Ore and filings01
Raw, cast, and old iron26,2115,296
Hammered iron (nails, wire, etc.)1,0311,777
Wrought iron255203
Steel in bars, plates, and wire3,2191,227
Wrought steel5220
Exports from Belgium to Great Britain.
First Eleven Months18661864
Ore and filings1,7685,555
Raw, cast, and old iron2415,920
Hammered iron (nails, wire, etc.)6,7279,436
Wrought iron120
Steel in bars, plates, and wire5056
Wrought steel165

The results may be briefly stated thus: — whereas in 1864 (taking the first eleven months of the year) Belgium supplied England with 20,979 tons of iron and steel, in 1866 she only sent 8,817 tons, whilst the exports of British iron and steel to Belgium rose from 8,528 tons in 1864 to 31,289 tons in 1866.”

It would be recollected that some of the middle-class newspapers had last year raised an outcry about the pernicious effects of the Trades Unions, that their doings were driving the iron trade from this country into the hands of the Belgian ironmasters. None of the papers that had raised that outcry had even mentioned the appearance of this Blue Book, much less stated its contents.

After the transaction of some routine business the Council adjourned to Tuesday, July 30, 16, Castle Street, East, W.

[The newspaper clipping ends here.]

Switzerland. The Geneva section had adhered to the programme of the Peace Congress.[177] The radical bourgeois committee of Fleurier called upon the radical bourgeois committee of La Chaux-de-Fonds to fight — against the Social-Democratic tendencies of the International, which tended to overthrow social order and caused hatred between different classes.[178] The watchmakers were availing themselves of the International organisation to put a stop to [a] system by which the capitalists paid their workmen at long intervals, and charged discount if the workmen drew money on account.[179]

Italy. Citizen Carter stated that he [had] written as directed but that he had only sent the first four numbers of the Courrier containing the Congress reports.

Citizen Eccarius nominated Citizen Neal, President of the City Branch of the Tailors’ Association, to become a member of the Council.

Citizen Fox announced that he had received an appeal of the Labour Congress Committee in America.[180]

Citizen Marx proposed, Lessner seconded:

That our Congress programme be published in the Courrier Français, that no branch has a right to put forth a programme of its own, that the Council alone is empowered to draw up the Congress programme, and that the General Secretary be instructed to send the Council programme to the Courrier and communicate the foregoing resolution to the Paris Committee. Agreed.[181]

Agreed that the balance-sheet to September 1867 be appended to the Congress report.[182]

Citizen Fox was commissioned to inquire about a room in Cleveland Hall.

Agreed that branches that wanted the Congress report in pamphlet form should send an instalment of the money.[183]

Citizen Fox announced that a Social Science Association had been formed in America.

The Council then adjourned to July 30.

Members present: Buckley, Carter, Dupont, Eccarius, Fox, Jung, Lessner, Law, Marx, Maurice, Keller, Stepney, Williams.


Council Meeting
July 30

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 99-101 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Carter in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The General Secretary [Eccarius] reported that Alfred A. Walton had written that he was prevented [from] going as a delegate by the publication of his book Our Future Progress. He sent five shillings to the Congress fund.

The Coventry ribbon-weavers had inquired about the particulars of going to Switzerland with a view of sending a special delegate.

Mr. Kane, the Secretary of the Malleable Iron-Workers, was going to try what he could do for the Congress fund.

The coach-trimmers, The Globe, will consider the question about the Congress fund.

The Curriers’ Society had consented to entertain a deputation on August 1.

The Eintracht, a German club in Whitechapel, had voted 10s. to the Congress fund,[184] and the tailors of Bremen had sent £4 10s. for the tailors on strike.

The Polish branch announced by letter that it would appoint a Polish exile resident in Switzerland as delegate to [the] Congress[185] and contribute according to its means to the Congress fund. It sends two years’ contribution.

Citizen Neal was unanimously elected as a member of the Council.


France. Citizen Vasseur, the Marseilles correspondent, wrote from Fuveau, a coal-mining village about 30 kilometres from Marseilles, that the capitalists of that place were doing all in their power to turn the miners, about 500 in number, against the International Association. He and a few friends did all they could on the other side and he would not leave before establishing a branch. Tolain had placed the Courrier Français at his disposal, which was a great assistance. He asked the French Secretary to write an encouraging letter to Marseilles to keep the spirits of the members up.

Citizen Talbot of Caen announced in his letter that Longuet was with him, that his branch would send a delegate to Lausanne, and that he would send a guinea for the Council.[186]

A letter was read from Eugene Benière, of Neuville-sur-Saône, announcing that a delegate would be sent to Lausanne, and that the branch was in favour of the Peace Congress.[187]

Report of Deputations

Citizen Fox had made inquiries about the Cleveland Coffee-Room. It was only free [on] Wednesdays and could be had for half-a-crown a week.

Citizen Cohn objected, as Wednesday meetings would be tantamount to his exclusion, because the committee of his society met that night.

The question was adjourned.

Citizen Cohn gave a report of the proceedings of the London Trades Council who had [taken] up the entire evening with a quarrel between the Council and some branches of the Amalgamated Carpenters. [188] The meeting stood adjourned to August 3, and he volunteered to attend again. Citizen Hales was appointed to accompany him.

Citizens Hales and Eccarius were appointed to. attend the curriers’ delegate meeting on August 1.

Citizen Marx gave notice of [a] motion that the Peace programme be taken into consideration on the 6th of August.

Citizen Carter gave notice that at the next Council [meeting] he would move that four delegates to the Congress be appointed. The Council then adjourned to Tuesday, August 6.

Members present: Buckley, Carter, Cohn, Dupont, Eccarius, Fox, Gardner, Hales, Keller, Lessner, Marx, Maurice, Shaw, Zabicki.

Citizen Isard, a member of the French branch, was authorised to act as agent of the Association in the United States.