International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
January 1868

Council Meeting
January 21, at 16, Castle Street, East W.[241]

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on p. 127 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Shaw in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.


Citizen Dupont stated that he had not received any direct communication from Paris, but that a letter received by the French branch here showed that the regular correspondence on both sides must have been seized by the police. The Parisian members who have been summoned to give an account of themselves will employ no lawyers.

Citizen Jung read a letter from Geneva appealing for help for the engravers and jewel case-makers who are on strike. The strike had taken place with the consent of the Geneva Committee.

The French Secretary [Dupont] was instructed to write to the Paris bronze-workers and inquire whether they had repaid any and what loans to the English trades societies, and solicit them to refund the money as soon as they could, as the non-payment might prove an obstacle to raising funds for the engravers of Geneva.

Citizen Jung then proposed and Citizen Dupont seconded that members be appointed to go on deputation. Carried.

Citizens Dupont, Jung, Lessner, Morgan, and Shaw were appointed, Citizen Shaw to be the secretary of the deputation.

Citizen Neemeier was admitted as delegate from the French branch.

Citizen Meyerson was nominated to become a member of the Council by Citizens Jung and Lessner.

Mr. and Mrs. Huleck were nominated by Citizen Morgan, seconded by Dupont.

it was then agreed that the following questions be submitted to the affiliated societies for discussion:

1. Organisation of credit. Co-operative exchange. Paper money from a practical point of view.

2. Machinery and its effects.

3. Technical and comprehensive education.

4. The advisability of drawing up a programme of rational education.

5. Land, mines, canals, highways, and railways; ought they to be private or public property and worked for the benefit of private individuals or for the profit of the community.

6. The policy of strikes and courts of arbitration.[242]

The Council then adjourned.

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

R. Shaw, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Secretary

Council Meeting
January 28

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 128-29 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Shaw in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

Election of New Members

E. Meyerson, Huleck, and Mrs. Huleck were elected as members of the Council.

Louis Lefeuvre was nominated by Citizen Dupont and seconded by Citizen Jung.


Citizen Dupont related that a bookbinder having come from Geneva to Paris and required funds to commence work, the Paris bookbinders had, upon the recommendation of the Geneva section, made the necessary advances. It was the first case of international credit.

Citizens Tolain and Chemalé had baffled the juge d’instruction by demanding distinct overt acts to be brought forward on the part of the prosecution.

In Belgium our members endeavoured to resist the conscription.

The French branch announced that it had resolved to celebrate the anniversary of the February revolution on the 24th, in Cleveland Hall.[243]

Report of Deputations

‘The Shoemakers’ Executive had inserted the statement respecting the Geneva engravers’ strike in their monthly report.

Citizen Jung was well received by the shoemakers in Fetter Lane; he thought they would [do] something.

Citizen Shaw found nobody at the King’s Head. Lessner was ill.

Citizen Dupont protested against the resolution to have only two names printed on the Rules.[244]

It was agreed that 1d. be charged for the Rules, but a copy sent free to each secretary.

The following circular[245] was adopted to be sent to the secretaries and members of the Association.

[Here a clipping from The Bee-Hive No. 331, February 15, 1868, containing the circular and the address, is pasted into the Minute Book]

Citizens, — As the General Council intends issuing a report on the present state of the working population, you are desired to furnish whatever authentic information you may be able to procure respecting the state and the condition of the work-people of your respective localities, if possible within a month. The secretaries of the affiliated trades societies will oblige by answering the following questions: — 1. The name of society? 2. The number of its members? 3. What are the customary hours of labour? 4. What is the customary rate of wages? 5. 1s employment constant or fluctuating,? 6. What number has been out of work during the last three months? 7. Are those in work fully employed? 8. Has any advance or reduction of wages taken place within the last five years? 9. Has co-operative production been tried, and with what success?

The Council will esteem it a favour if, in addition to answering these questions, they can give any other information, either about their own or any trade in particular, or of the state of the working population in their neighbourhood in general, and whether any special endeavours are being made to improve the condition of the poor and with what success.

The following address has also been sent in the form of a circular letter:

To the Members of the International Working Men’s Association.

Fellow working men! With the view of eliciting an unmistakable expression of opinion from the great body of the members of the International Working Men’s Association, the last Congress recommended the Council to submit to you the following questions for deliberation, and we solicit your favour to return your conclusions respecting them at the earliest opportunity.

1. The practicability of organising a system of credit and co-operative exchanges — facilitated by the use of paper money — amongst the various associations of working men.

2. What are the effects of the use of machinery upon the condition of the labouring poor?

3. The advisability of drawing up a definite programme for the technical, and a comprehensive secular education of the children of the poor.

4. The land, mines, canals, highways, railroads, etc.; ought they to be the property of private individuals and worked for their personal profit, or would it be expedient to convert them into public property and work them for the community at large.

5. The policy of strikes, and the advisability of insisting upon the establishment of the courts of arbitration.

It will depend upon the answers returned to these questions, whether any of them shall form a part of the programme of the next congress to be held at Brussels in the first week of September next.

By order of the General Council of the International Working Men’s Association,

R. Shaw, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Hon. General Secretary

N.B. — Secretaries of trades societies and others who may be desirous of assisting in the furnishing [of] material for the intended report, are invited to send whatever they have to communicate to the Secretary of the International Working Men’s Association, 16, Castle Street, E.W., London.

[The newspaper clipping ends here.]

Citizen Jung consented to go as deputation to the bookbinders.

Members present: Dupont, Eccarius, Huleck and Mrs. Huleck, Jung, Lessner, Morgan, Maurice, Neemeier, Shaw.

R. Shaw, Chairman
J. George Eccarius