International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
June 1868

Meeting of The General Council
June 2 at 256, High Holborn

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand oil pp. 135-37 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Odger in the chair.

The Minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

Citizen Cohn paid six months’ contribution for the London Cigar-Makers’ Association, £1 9s.

The Chairman read the agreement with the Sunday League.

Citizen Johannard was unanimously voted a member of the Council.

Citizen Jung. Belgium. When the Belgian minister asked the Chamber of Deputies for the renewal of the alien law he spoke of the International Association as stirring up

discontent in Belgium. The Belgian branch has replied to his statements.[290] The Brussels Committee had called a public meeting at Charleroi to enjoin the miners to form a trades society and join the International[291]; a section was established. The Free Workmen of Verviers have joined.[292]

Citizen Jung proposed the following resolution:

1. Considering, that the Belgian Parliament has just prolongated for three years the law by which every foreigner

may be expelled [from] the country by the Belgian executive government;

2. that the dignity of the I.W. Association is incompatible with the meeting of the Congress at a place where they would be at the mercy of the local police;

3. that Article 3 of the Rules of the I.W.A. provides that the General Council may, in case of need, change the place of meeting of the Congress;

the General Council resolves that the Congress of the I.W.A. do assemble in London on the 5th of September, 1868.[293]

Citizen Dupont seconds it.

Citizen Cohn thought that the decision might be postponed to see whether or not some other place could be found.

Citizen Odger urged to insist upon attempting to hold the Congress there, to raise the question in such a manner that it could be taken up in the House of Commons. He thought that a few might be sent when the time came to make preparations for the Congress to see what the government would do.

Citizen Jung had no objection to an adjournment but was determined to press the resolution next week. We could reckon upon no favour. from any government, and a discussion in the House of Commons might come too late and be of no avail.

Paris. From Chemalé. The new committee has been sentenced to three months’ imprisonment and 100 fr. fine to be paid within a month. Chemalé’s appeal has not yet been heard. Chemalé separated himself from the rest to try the legal question whether the correctional tribunal had jurisdiction over him. The question having [been] decided against him he will have to submit to the sentence; his case will come on June 5, 1868. He wants to know what the Council is going to do about the meeting of the next congress. Thinks he shall come to London. A monthly review is to be established.[294] [On] April 27 a second domiciliary visit was made at his place.

Citizen Besson announced that he had received £4 contribution from Belgium and that 8,000 miners had joined the Association at Charleroi. The miners are very eager to hear something of the General Council. The Belgian papers which inserted the address to the miners[295] were sold in thousands in the mining districts. They want the address. of our American Correspondent. The Committee wishes to know whether we would receive the seven papers which are in favour of our Association, that the Council may see what they are made of.[296]

Citizen Jung proposed that the address of our correspondent in America be given to the Belgian Secretary for transmission to the resident Americans of Brussels and that in our next correspondence we mention the fact to our American correspondent. Seconded by Besson. Agreed.

The papers to be received.

Members present: Besson, Cohn, Dupont, Eccarius, Jung, Johannard, Huleck, Mrs. Huleck, Lessner, Mr. Morgan, Maurice, Odger, Shaw.

Geo. Odger, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Secretary

Council Meeting
June 9

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 137-39 of the Minute Book]

Members present: Buckley, Hales, Johannard, Lessner, Mrs. Law, Mrs. Morgan, Huleck, Mrs. Huleck, Odger, Maurice, Jung, Lucraft, Milner, Besson.

Citizen Odger was unanimously appointed to take the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The Secretary [Eccarius] announced that he had received 7s. 6d. for cards sent to Number 1 Lodge of the Bricklayers’ Society and a letter from the Secretary of the Engineers [Allan] stating that no conference will be held this year but that the subject of our letter will be laid before the General Executive when it meets. He also corrected some errors made in the verbal statements of the contents of two letters from Brussels.

Citizen Jung announced that a branch had been formed at Nyon in Switzerland[297]; he also read the following list of s[ections]....

[The Minutes break off here; the end of p. 137 is left blank, evidently for the purpose of listing the 23 Geneva sections. The Minutes are continued on p. 138 of the Minute Book]

Adjourned question of the Congress.[298]

Citizen Jung thought that it would be better to postpone the question for another week and ask the opinion of the Belgian section.

Citizen Odger reiterated his former opinion and thought our best course would be to abandon the resolution. He was of opinion that two men should be sent when the time came and if it was forbidden it would do more [to] strengthen the Association, while a temporising policy would weaken it.

Citizen Jung said he cannot possibly withdraw the resolution. In the event of Odger’s advice being followed there would be no congress.

Lessner. Would remind the Council to consider what they have to decide; the Council would be held responsible for the consequences. The money would be wasted.

Odger replied that instead of wasting money it would be economised. In the event of two men being sent and sent back the Congress could still be held in London; it could not result in a breaking up of the Association. They might imprison the men for a few days; this would not break up the Association.

Eccarius said that [the] duty of the Council was to see that the Congress was held. It could not be held at Brussels under existing circumstances nor did [he] believe that it would be a success in London. He was in favour of having the advice of the Belgian section.

Odger thought it would be bad policy to ask the Belgians and to let them know that we have an intention not to hold the Congress at Brussels.

Jung said that if the Congress was not removed, the Belgian Government would wait until the Congress assembled, and we would have to send the delegates home or provide the means to bring them to London.

Lucraft. Did not believe that the question could be tested in the way proposed. The government would wait till the Congress was together. if we forced it, we might put the Belgians in a wrong position. A small congress in London would be quite as influential abroad as one held in a smaller place. The London press went through all the world. We should ask the opinion of the Belgians.

Odger recapitulated his view and spoke against asking the Belgians’ advice.

Mrs. Law. It seems the general opinion [is] to test the question if we had the means. To test this point ought to be part of our business; we should not throw it upon. any section; and [she] is against asking the Belgians.

Hales is in favour of removing the Congress without asking the Belgians. If a more central place could be found on the Continent, let it be held there; if not — in London. The former congresses were Continental congresses, then let us have an English one. Thinks it is idle to hope anything from the British Parliament. If we violated Belgian laws we would have to stand the consequence.

Odger. If the Congress meets, there will be some talk; if it is stopped, there would be some talk too. The raising of the question would be worth more to us than the Congress.

Dupont. The duty of the Council is to see that the Congress do take place; the Rules provide for doing so. We are responsible if the Congress do not take place. The Belgian law has been renewed for the purpose of preventing the Congress, it is a French law.

Lessner says a noise will be of no use.

Milner. Thinks the main idea is to hold the Congress without interruption. There has not yet been a fair chance of fully expressing what the International is to accomplish. To contest the right of holding it, is to lead us off our track.

Hales looks upon the Congress. as something more than [a] talking match. It is to elucidate opinions and to come to a common understanding.

Huleck. The point raised is a better representation of the British elements. After the defeat in Belgium we would have a better congress here.

Vésinier. the Belgian law against foreigners is not new. It enables the government to expel a foreigner as soon as he lands. The only freedom that is unlimited in Belgium is the liberty of meeting. Wants the Council to ask the Belgians. If the French delegates said anything in Belgium they would be taken up on coming home; they will be served the same if they go to London. The English and Americans would probably not be molested.

Agreed that the Belgian Secretary be instructed to write to Brussels and ask the opinion of the Committee there.

Citizen Limburg was admitted as delegate of the Arbeiter-Bildungs-Verein.

Copeland [was] nominated by Mrs. Law, seconded by Hates.

H. Jung, Chairman

J. George Eccarius, Secretary

Council Meeting
June 16

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 139-40 of the Minute Book]

Members present: Buckley, Besson, Dupont, Eccarius, Hales, Huleck, Stepney, Mrs. Huleck, Jung, Lafargue, Johannard, Lessner, Marx, Maurice.

Citizen Jung in the chair.

Minutes of the previous meeting read and confirmed.

Citizen Copeland was unanimously voted to become a member of the Council.


June 9, Paris. Slowness of legal proceedings and much business [are] pleaded as an excuse why no official announcement has been made of the last trial. The condemned are to be held solidarily responsible for the fine. They have appealed against the sentence. The letter is signed by the whole Committee.[299]

Belgium. The Carpenters’ and Joiners’ Association of Antwerp and the Affranchis[300] of Jumet have joined. Two large meetings have taken place, one at Brussels, the other [at] Liege; the middle-class press denounced our Association. The Paris correspondent of a paper belonging to the Peace League has written an article on our Association and says that everything nowadays becomes international.[301] He blames the French Government for its prosecution.

The answer to a letter from Brussels urges that the Congress be held in Belgium and that the existence of the Association in Belgium depends upon it.

Citizen Besson proposed that two numbers of the Bee-Hive [be exchanged] against the Belgian working men’s papers. Seconded by Dupont. Agreed.

Adjourned Debate

Citizen Marx. When I proposed three weeks ago that the Congress should be moved, several things which have since transpired were unknown. The law against foreigners is a general law. The minister has provoked us to resistance by declaring that the Congress should not take place. Our section has declared it shall meet in spite of the government, and it is for us to back them. I therefore withdraw my resolution.[302]

Citizen Johannard said that he had altered his opinion but desired that instructions be given to all the delegates not to leave such as may be meddled by the police in the lurch but to offer a joint resistance.

Citizen Dupont said that but for a letter which he had received from De Paepe he would still have adhered to his former resolution, but the French themselves are willing to go to Belgium and the Belgians promise them protection.

Citizen Maurice raised the question of making some compensation to the Secretary.

Citizen Hales proposed that accounts be audited. Lessner seconded.

Citizen Johannard proposed as an amendment that the Secretary receive 15s. a week, objection being made on account of the state of the funds.

Citizen Hales withdrew his former proposition and proposed that the Secretary be paid £5 in a lump and that a further grant be made when the funds permit it.

Lafargue proposed as [an] amendment that £5 be given now for past services, and 15s. a week after.

Citizen Johannard assents to Lafargue’s proposition.

Hales’s proposition was carried unanimously.

H. Jung

Council Meeting
June 23

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on p. 141 of the Minute Book]

Members present: Buckley, Copeland, Dupont, Eccarius, Cohn, Jung, Huleck, Mrs. Huleck, Lessner, Mrs. Law, Marx, Maurice, Johannard, Hales, Limburg, Stepney.

Citizen Jung in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The Secretary [Eccarius] read a letter from Citizen Shaw dated St. Leonard’s on the sea. Citizen Shaw tendered his resignation as Treasurer and American Secretary.

Citizen Marx proposed and Lessner seconded that the resignation be not accepted. Unanimously carried.

The General Secretary to officiate as American Secretary during Shaw’s absence.


A letter was read from Algiers stating that the branch established there was at an end in consequence of all the members but one having left for France. The writer complained that workmen were brought over from France to work against his friends. The Paris prosecutions were mentioned as a cause of discouragement. He requests to be informed of all that.

Germany. Dr. Reincke, a member of our Association, had been elected by the Rhenish workmen to the North German Parliament and made there the proposition that the Parliament have the right to appoint commissions of inquiry. The proposition was rejected and he has in consequence resigned. When elected he promised to push the social question and, not being able to fulfil his promise, he resigned.[303]

The compositors of Leipzig have written many letters to the Paris compositors, only one of which was delivered. This letter stated that national differences must be left to the possessors of wealth, for the wages-slaves such differences must not exist.[304]

Switzerland. The shoemakers of Geneva have opened their business.[305]

Proposed by Citizen Maurice, seconded by Citizen Hales, that a deputation be sent to attend the celebration of the anniversary of the insurrection of June. Agreed.

Members proposed: Hales, Jung, Lafargue, Copeland, Mrs. Law, Cohn. Carried.[306]

The Secretary raised the question of inviting delegates from the Labour Reform Association in America.

Citizen Marx proposed, Lafargue seconded, that the Secretary be instructed to invite delegates from that association. Carried unanimously.[307]

A conversation then arose about the drawing up of the Congress programme and an address to the trades societies.

Citizen Copeland proposed and Citizen Marx seconded that Citizen Hales draw up a draft of an address and present it at the next meeting. Citizen Lafargue to do the Continental part. Agreed.

The meeting adjourned at a quarter to 11 o’clock.

H. Jung

Council Meeting
June 30

[The Minutes we in Eccarius’s hand on p. 142 of the Minute Book]

Members present: Buckley, Copeland, Dupont, Eccarius, Jung, Johannard, Lessner, Marx, Lafargue, Stepney, Mrs. Law, Limburg.

Citizen Jung in the chair.


Belgium. The Belgian section declines to be responsible for a letter of Vésinier which has appeared in the Cigale. If the letter was published with the knowledge of the Council, it is an imprudence. If without the knowledge of the Council, it is highly reprehensible on the part of Vésinier who has no business to publish the transactions of an executive meeting of the Association. They also protest against the animus shown against some of the members. They do so to leave no doubt, since it might be considered that the section had something to do with the publication. They are also going to publish a protest in the Cigale.[308] They acknowledge the services rendered by Vésinier amongst the miners.

Dupont proposed, Hales seconded, that an extract from the Minutes of the 9th be sent to Brussels. Agreed.

Citizen Jung stated that Lloyd’s contained a paragraph announcing a new strike at Geneva.[309]

Report on the Address to the Trades Societies

[Lafargue’s was read] Both drafts were read and Citizen Copeland appointed to fuse them into one.

The Council adjourned at 10:30 o’clock.

H. Jung, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Secretary