International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
May 1867

General Council Meeting
May 7th

[The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 78-81 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Eccarius in the chair.

Members present: Jung, Lessner,. Maurice, Dupont, Bobczynski, Yarrow, Cohn, Reaveley, Dell, Odger, and Shaw.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed as read.

Frederick Card was elected a member of the Council on the nomination of Citizens Shaw and Dell.

The Secretary stated that since the last meeting he had

written to brass finishers at the Cheshire Cheese, Mount Pleasant, Clerkenwell, to receive a deputation from the Council. He had also sent them a copy of the following letter to the Postmaster-General.

International Working Men’s Association
Central Council Rooms, 18, Bouverie
Street, E. C. May 3rd, 1867

My Lord,

I am directed to respectfully request your Lordship to be good enough to receive a deputation on the subject of international postage from the Central Council of the above Association.

The Council would take it as an additional favour if your Lordship would appoint a day as near the middle of the present month as possible for the above purpose.

I am, My Lord, very obediently

R. Shaw, Secretary[137]

He had also written to five branches of the Amalgamated Bakers’ Union enclosing [the] Rules and Address and solicited them to become affiliated to our Association. He drew the attention of the Council to the fact that the Bakers’ Executive met at the Working Men’s Hall, Harp Alley, Farringdon Street, every Tuesday night and he was instructed to communicate. with that body.[138]

Jung said he had received a letter from Basle containing the prices of silk-weaving, as requested by the Coventry silk-weavers, of which the following is the translation:

In accordance with Your desire I hereby send you a summary of the wages paid in the factories. For the so-called weft 17 centimes are paid for 100 threads; a day’s wages is 1 fr. 3 centimes. The average wages used to be 1 fr. 8 centimes per day. Piece work. Nos. 29 to 46=10 reeds, 300 to 320 shuttles per inch, 24 francs and 73 centimes a piece. Nos. 29 to 46=8 reeds, 200 shuttles per inch, 18 francs and 50 centimes a piece. Nos. 21 to 40=8 reeds, 7 times (something incomprehensible to the translator) 21 francs a piece.

Nos. 14 to 36=10reeds, double shuttle, 200 picks per inch, 17 francs and 25 centimes a piece — a piece is equal to 120 staves. With 13 hours’ work a day, at the very utmost, only 2 staves can he made in a day, and the wages never exceed 10 fr. a week, it is indeed more frequent that a fortnight’s hard work only amounts to 15 fr. Not only reduced prices, but bad silk has contributed to bring about his deplorable state of things.

Formerly 20 centimes were paid per 100 threads; and with good ilk 25 fr. could be earned in a fortnight; now the earnings are commonly from 8 to 10 fr. — on rare occasions 12 fr.

The Secretary was ordered to send a copy of this transaction to Coventry.

Citizen Jung also read a letter from Geneva which stated that a new Council had been appointed there and he names of Dupleix [and] Card were absent from the list of councilmen. He also read a letter from Chaux-de-Fonds requesting that the following subject should be put on the programme of the next congress, viz., “Slackness of Trade. Its Causes and Remedies.”[139]

Jung read (on behalf [of] Dupont) a letter from Lyons. he said letter requested the Council to forward the address of the Lyonnese to the German working men through the German newspapers; the subject of the address was

threatened war in Germany, and it was ordered to be sent to Citizen Marx through Lessner.[140]

A letter was read from Brussels stating that the chiefs of the firms in the tailoring trade had signed a tariff agreeable to the men and that on the 21st of April large meetings of tailors, cabinet-makers, marble-polishers, and dyers had been held on the wages question.[141]

A letter was read from Chemalé of Paris stating that The tailors had gone to work at an advance of 10 per cent stead of the 20 per cent for which they struck. The 10 per cent was accepted by a small minority in the first ace, and the Government withheld their authority for

The holding of a meeting of the trade. Consequently the strike committee had resigned and given up the contest.[142]

This letter stated that the Paris Administration had spent £7 in propagandism and that was the reason why they had not sent their 3d. contribution to the General Council. It also suggested that a certain number of delegates from various sections should assemble five days before the opening of [the] Congress for the purpose of arranging matters so as to save the’ time of the delegates when assembled in congress. The letter stated that a new branch had opened at Amiens, that the rope-makers of Paris had been on strike six weeks, and that the turners’ branch of the bronze-makers’ trade was not yet settled. The bookbinders of Paris were desirous of fraternising with the bookbinders of London if any of them went over to the exhibition.

The President (Odger) then drew attention to the vote of the Council in reference to the resolution moved by him at a meeting of the Reform League and, having stated that the resolution was meant simply to thank Count Bismarck for giving the vote to the people of Germany and not involving his general policy, the Council expressed themselves as perfectly satisfied with this explanation; and, on the motion of Shaw, seconded by Yarrow, it was agreed that the explanation should be sent to the International Courier for publication.

The Council then adjourned.


General Council Meeting,
May 14th

[The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 81-83 of the Minute Book]

Members present: Odger, Fox, Eccarius, Jung, Yarrow, Dupont, Dell, and Shaw.

Citizen Odger in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

A letter was read from the West End Ladies’ Shoemakers’ Society requesting the payment of the £10 loan. The Secretary was instructed to answer the letter.

A letter was read from the Block-Printers’ Secretary complaining at the Council for not having raised them money to support their strike. The Secretary was ordered to answer the letter.

A letter was read from the Postmaster-General declining to receive a deputation from the Council on the subject of international postage, but at the same time he would be happy to consider any written statement that might be sent to him.

Fox undertook to write a statement on the subject at his earliest convenience.

A letter was read from Mr. Applegarth stating that he had assisted to form a branch of our Association at Lynn in Norfolk. He requested the Council to communicate with the secretary of the branch.

The Secretary was instructed to thank Applegarth for his services and open up correspondence with [the] branch at Lynn.

The President gave in the name of G. B. Stewart, of 89, Irish Street, Dumfries, as a man who would open a branch of the Association in that part of Britain.

The Secretary said that he had written the letters as directed at the last meeting; he had also written letters and sent reports of the Congress to Professor Beesly, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Walton, the Executive of the Bakers’ Union, and the affiliated societies.

Jung then moved and Dupont seconded:

That the reporter of the Commonwealth be admitted to report the proceedings of the Council. Carried unanimously.

Jung on behalf of Dupont read a letter from our correspondent at Bordeaux, stating that he had money to transmit to London and inquiring what were the best means of transmitting it. In the name of his section he thanked the working men of London for what they had done for the bronze-workers and tailors of Paris. He also read a letter from Citizen Vasseur of Marseilles. He wrote in the name of a number of working men of Marseilles and its suburbs, who desired to form a branch there.

The matter was left in Dupont’s hands.[143]

Jung read several paragraphs from the Tribune du Peuple relating to workmen’s associations in Belgium and the part that our Association was taking there.[144] He also reported his attendance upon the brass finishers, but did not get a hearing.

On the question of removing the sittings of the Council, it was proposed by Eccarius and seconded by Fox:

That the sittings of the Council be not removed and that the use of the office be offered to the London Trades Council at Is. per week; carried.

Henry Dodd, of 26, Caroline Street, Camden Town, W., took up a card of membership and paid Is. 2d.

The Council then adjourned.


General Council Meeting
May 21st

[The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 83-84 of the Minute Book]

Members present: Eccarius, Lessner, Carter, Jung, Hales, Dell, Coulson, Odger, Buckley, and Shaw.

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

Letters were read from Professor Beesly and Mr. F. Harrison thanking the Council for forwarding to them the report of the Geneva Congress.

Jung read a letter from Paris which stated that a branch of the Association had been established at Algiers.[145] It also stated that if any societies were going to the exhibition, word should be sent to that effect so as to enable the Parisians to give them a right hearty welcome. The letter again mentioned the necessity of sending delegates and essays to Lausanne not later than the 26th of August. Jung read a letter from Locle which contained a remittance of 17s. 6d. for 73 members and requested that the subject of phonography should be placed upon the programme for discussion at the next congress.[146]

Odger then gave notice that at the next meeting he should move that a series [of] meetings be held for the purpose of discussing labour questions; the meeting then adjourned.


General Council Meeting
May 28th

[The Minutes are in Shaw’s hand on pp. 84-86 of the Minute Book]

Members present: Odger, Eccarius, Lessner, Dupont, Jung, Dell, W. and J. Hales, Shaw, Buckley, Card, Maurice, and Yarrow.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

A letter was read from Mr. Walton of Brecon thanking the Council for sending him a report of the Congress of Geneva, and a letter was read from John Kane, Secretary to the National Amalgamated Association of Malleable Iron-Workers, stating that he had inserted the letter of the Secretary in their monthly circular with suitable comments of his own, and that he would send a copy to the Council and in the meantime he would join the Association individually.

Citizen Maurice brought a letter from the London Tailors’ Executive Committee which solicited the Council to use their best efforts for the purpose of obtaining money for the tailors from the Continent of Europe and America.[147]

Jung said that Dupont had spoken about the matter some [time] ago and thought such action should be taken, but he (Jung) had declined to take any steps in the matter, because he thought that the tailors seemed desirous of doing their own work, but now they had applied to the Council, he would move “That the secretaries for the Continent and America write to their correspondents for monetary aid for the London tailors.”

Dupont seconded the motion which was carried unanimously.

Jung on behalf of Dupont read a letter from Algiers stating [that a] branch had been formed [there].

He also read a letter from Fuveau near Marseilles stating that there were 300 members in the branch there and that they expected 500 shortly.

Jung at the request of Dupont again drew the attention of the Council to the points urged in Chemalé’s letter which was read last week, viz., the advisability of sending delegates and essays to Lausanne five days before the assembling of [the] Congress; the said delegates to prepare the programme for the Congress.

In referring to the first article of the Bye-Laws agreed

Or to at the last Congress,[148] it was found that the production of the Congressional programme was left entirely with [the] General Council and, after some discussion, it was agreed on the motion [of] Citizen J. Hales:

That a committee of three draw [up] an appeal to the

societies in and out of affiliation inviting them to take part in the coming Congress, and also that the said committee draw up the programme for the Congress.

The appointment of the committee was postponed until the next meeting.

The next point that was urged by Jung was that the societies affiliated to the Association should be informed of Chemalé’s desire, viz., that any societies or members thereof who were about to visit the French exhibition should send word to the Paris Administration so as to enable them to give the Britons a right hearty welcome on their arrival. On this subject, a general instruction was given to the Secretary to mention the matter in his correspondence.

President Odger then stated that, at a meeting of the London Trades Council held on Friday evening last, it was agreed that [a] series of meetings should be held in London for the purpose of debating Labour questions, and he invited the assistance of the Council to carry out that object. It was proposed, seconded, and carried unanimously that Citizens Jung and J. Hales co-operate with President Odger and Mr. Edgar of the Trades Council for the purpose of arranging the said meetings.[149]

The Council then adjourned.