International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
April 1868

Council Meeting
April 7

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on p. 133e of the Minute Book]

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The Secretary [Eccarius] read letters, [one] from Mr. Owen Greening stating that the co-operative societies were not sufficiently advanced to supply the goods required, but he would send patterns from other sources and would be glad to give his office in London for an international agency. The other from Birmingham promising a report.

Jung read a letter from Switzerland respecting the lockout. The masters have tried to provoke disorder but in vain. They had called a meeting of German Swiss to sever them from the French-speaking ones, but after four hours’ discussion and speeches the German Swiss could not be gained.

The Genevese had sent a. delegate who had brought some papers from which it appeared that the masters were not as unanimous as had been asserted.[269]

A deputation had attended the Council of the Amalgamated Carpenters and Joiners and had been well received.

At the bookbinders, through a mistake, the case could not be brought forward.

At the French branch [in London] signatures were obtained amounting to 30s. a week.

In Paris Varlin has published an appeal.

In Switzerland the societies are doing their best.

Members present: Buckley, Dupont, Eccarius, Jung, Lessner, Milner, Maurice, Shaw.


Council Meeting
April 14

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on p. 133f of the Minute Book]

Citizen Shaw in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The Secretary [Eccarius] announced that the West End ladies’ boot-makers would receive a deputation on the 20th. The West End cabinet-makers had replied they were too poor to grant anything for the Genevese but they would pay their subscription. These were all the answers received to nine letters.

Citizen Jung read a letter from Geneva showing that great provocation had been used to incite a quarrel and disorder [so] that the Federal Government might interfere.[270] The writer approved of the action taken by Citizen Varlin at Paris.

Another letter from Varlin to the Geneva delegate stated that £60 had been obtained from one society and £80 from another. £20 had been received from the Amalgamated Carpenters in London. Varlin had inserted an appeal in the Opinion Nationale in the ‘name of the Association and signed by himself on behalf [of] the new committee.[271]

The Rules and platform of the Social Party of New York were received.[272]

Citizen Jung had been well received by the cigar-makers and also by the elastic web-weavers who granted £5, voted unanimously. He had also written to the Voix de l’Avenir, a fortnight ago, but it [had] not yet been inserted. The same notice, which appeared in the London papers of Saturday, of the termination of the Geneva dispute appears in the Voix de l’Avenir.[273] The men will in future only work 11 hours a day with a rise of 10 per cent upon the former wages per day.

Citizen Lessner reported that he had had to combat some objections, at the Trunk-Makers’ Society. The secretary prevaricated a good deal, and it was at last resolved to join, but not to take effect before July.

Citizen Hales reported that he had written to several trades societies in the provinces to join.

Members present: Buckley, Eccarius, Hales, Jung, Lessner, Milner, Maurice, Shaw.


Council Meeting
April 21

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on p. 133g of the Minute Book]

Citizen Jung in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

Letters were read from the Bund Deutscher Manner[274] announcing that £1 had been granted for the workmen of Geneva; another from the Secretary of the Sunday League respecting the hiring of an office,[275] and one from the Secretary of the Coach-Trimmers announcing the withdrawal of that society.

Upon the proposition of Citizen Lessner, seconded by Citizen Milner, it was agreed that the Secretary should

write to the coach-trimmers to inquire for the reason of their withdrawal.

The Secretary was instructed to write to Mr. Morell and state what kind of accommodation was required.


Citizen Jung had received a letter on Friday which stated that the masters had thought that the men would refuse the terms proposed, which would have put them in a false position. Instead of opening their shops on the 13th, most of the masters refused to take back their men.[276]


Attended the Hatters, was well received and had no doubt that something would be done if a written statement was sent.

The City Women’s Shoemakers do not meet till a fortnight’s time. The City Men’s Men numbering about 150 members will discuss the question of joining. It was proposed that £2 be given to the Geneva workmen, which was carried.

Citizen Lessner had sent circulars to several German societies, the result of which was that the Arbeiter-Bildungs-Verein had subscribed £1 11s. 4d.; £1 3s. from the Hanoverians, other sums were got elsewhere.

Marseilles. The branch has written to Dupont how to act under existing circumstances. The old committee had resigned, a new one has been appointed, but in case the Council desires the old committee to resume they are willing to do so.

The Council thought the matter ought to be left to the discretion of the members of Marseilles.

A letter from Citizen Chemalé of Paris stated that he had appealed against the decision of the court; the appeal will be heard on the 22nd. A member of the Association had absconded from Paris with various sums belonging to co-operative societies.

An appeal has been published to the Paris workmen to aid the Genevese, signed by delegates of various trades of Paris.[277]

The members of the I.W.A. in Belgium have furnished the prosecuted miners with counsel.[278]

Members present: Buckley, Dupont, Eccarius, Jung, Huleck, Mrs. Huleck, Lessner, Milner, Maurice.

Geo. Odger, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Secretary

Council Meeting
April 28

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on p. 133h of the Minute Book]

Citizen Odger in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The Secretary [Eccarius] reported that the organ-builders and coach-makers had consented to receive deputations in favour of the Genevese. The No. 1 Lodge of the O.B.S. required eight blank cards. The Secretary [having stated] that new cards were wanting, the question was postponed.

A report on the condition of the poor of Birmingham, sent by Mr. Mac Ral, was received.

Citizen Jung read some extracts from a Belgian paper, the Tribune, showing that the coal-[owners] had reduced the wages while they divided 15 per cent net profits. Many of the soldiers had shot over the heads of the people. A medical practitioner and his son had rendered great assistance to the wounded. A committee from the International was getting up evidence for the prisoners.[279]

The People’s Union of Anvers has joined, and the Free Workmen of Verviers have voted to join.

A letter from Locle stated that the Congress report was ready, that the cost was £25 and [that] Citizen Guillaume wanted to know whether the Council could pay it at once.

Citizen Eccarius stated that the Council was not in any way responsible for the expense, the printing having been undertaken at the instigation of the French-speaking delegates. The Council was only responsible for a certain number of copies.

Citizen Jung was instructed to reply to that effect.

A pamphlet on the Geneva lock-out came to hand, which costs 3d.[280]

Paris. The bronze-workers have only reimbursed the French branch and the tailors in London. Elsewhere they have paid off more, in all £800.[281]

Chemalé’s appeal has been adjourned. The new committee meets without concealment; the government does not know what to do.

The newly established branch at Avignon requires a recognition that may be published; they will do everything publicly.

The Lyonnese complain that they have received no answers to their letters.

The Council adjourned at 11 o’clock.

Members present: Buckley, Eccarius, Jung, Milner, Lessner, Maurice.

The Schweizer-Gesang-Verein sent £1 6s. for Geneva; the City Men’s Men of the Shoemakers paid their contribution — £1 14s. 2d.

Benjamin Lucraft, Chairman
J. G. Eccarius, Secretary