International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
March 1868

Council Meeting
March 3

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 133-33a of the Minute Book]

Citizen Jung in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

The Secretary [Eccarius] reported that the New London Society of Basket-Makers had paid their first quarter’s contribution for 300 members. The Kendal shoemakers had paid their annual contribution for 40 members. Letters were read from the Lynn branch and the Secretary of the Birmingham Trades Council referring to the circulars.[256]

Citizen Jung read extracts from the Voix de l’Avenir from which it appeared that the building trades of Geneva are trying for a rise of wages of 10 per cent upon the present average of 3 fr. 60 c. per day.[257] A letter from Belgium in the same paper states that several important societies have joined and others are about to join the Association. A co-operative society of agriculturists is preparing to emigrate to America and to establish a communistic colony there.[258] The Belgian section intends to issue an address to the British workmen about the Fenians.[259] The Belgian section is stated to be 4,000 strong.

In Zurich a proposition has been carried into law for the canton, by the agency of the members of the Association, that no measure carried by the legislature can have the force of law until approved of by a vote of the electors. Citizen Huleck announced that he had made overtures to the portmanteau- and trunk-makers, and that the society’ was ready to receive a deputation.

It was agreed that a deputation consisting of Citizens Milner, Lessner, and Jung he sent.

Citizen Huleck stated on behalf of Citizen Morgan that a shoemaker had presented himself to the Cordwainers’ Association pretending to be delegated by a Paris society but having no credentials: he would move that the French Secretary [Dupont] be instructed to make inquiries. Agreed.

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

The Council adjourned at half past 10.

H. Jung, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Secretary

Council Meeting
March 10

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 133a-33b of the Minute Book]

Citizen Jung in the chair,

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

A letter was read from Paris about the trial of the members of the Paris Committee. The hall had been filled by the members of the Association. Various questions had been asked of the members of trades societies. Citizen Chemalé had demanded to know the indictment; the judge had refused unless the accused would employ lawyers, which they had refused to do. The writer of the letter supposed that the result was known in London, which was not the case. A new committee had been elected on the previous Sunday consisting of Bourdon, Varlin, Malon, Combault, Mollin, Humbert, Landrin, Granjon, and Charbonneau.

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

The Council adjourned at 9 o’clock.

H. Jung, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Secretary

Council Meeting
March 17

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 133b-33c of the Minute Book]

Citizen Shaw in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting not being ready, the reading of them was postponed to the next meeting.


A letter from Coullery was read in which he complained of hearing no news from London; the circular was not in the last number of the Voix de l’Avenir. Application was made again for patterns.

The Secretary [Eccarius] undertook to write to Halifax.

The section had made an appeal to the clerks and railway officials to form an association and join, which they seemed inclined to do. Police officials not wanted.[260] The engravers have joined the Association, and the German section wants to amalgamate with the French.[261] At Basle, a new branch was to be opened.[262]


The deputation had been well received by the trunk-makers; the question was to be brought before the next general meeting.

Citizen Lawrence was then called upon to open the discussion of which he had given notice. He said the credit question was rather a difficult subject to approach. He was hardly prepared to propose anything practical. The question ought to be discussed in all its bearings and the conclusions arrived at embodied in resolutions. The object was to offer increased facilities for co-operation. There were two kinds of co-operation: that of retailing the products bought wholesale, and the other of production. The former was carried on with ready money and required no credit, but the latter required credit in the course of production. All the other classes of producers could give a marketable value to their produce by means of securities and credit before the produce itself was ready to realise its market price. The trades societies and others of known wealth and acknowledged integrity ought to make their business to guarantee the paper of solvent co-operative societies. An insurance society upon the principles of Lloyd’s would enable co-operative societies to obtain credit without trouble. Without credit co-operative production would not acquire the dimensions it was destined to attain. To bring the question fully before the working classes he would move the following resolution: “That the subject of credit societies for the assistance of productive co-operative societies be considered by the Council with a view of issuing an opinion on the matter from this Council to the working classes.”

Citizen Neal seconded the motion. He thought the matter was worth taking up. There were difficulties to contend with, but these things must be taken up by someone. They might appear utopian at the outset but, if perseveringly advocated, they [would] succeed in the end. He alluded to [the] enormous amount of wealth produced annually and its unequal distribution, as detailed by Leone [Levi] and Baxter [Langley], and said it was hardly conceivable that [the] wage-receiving class, a large number of whom were organised and accumulated large sums, should hand these sums over to the rich who used them for their own purposes. He believed that this money could [be] applied for the redemption of the oppressed. The capitalists had gained their position by the organisation of their credit institutions and the working classes could not do better than imitate them.

Several members having spoken in favour of the motion, it was unanimously carried, and the debate adjourned.

Members present: Buckley, Eccarius, Huleck, Mrs. Huleck, Jung, Lawrence, Lessner, Neal, Milner, Maurice, Mrs. Morgan, Shaw.

H. Jung, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Secretary

Council Meeting
March 24

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 133c-33d of the Minute Book]

Citizen Jung in the chair.

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


The Secretary [Eccarius] read a letter from Citizen Walton on the credit question and another from Nottingham acknowledging the receipt of the circular, Rules, and Addresses.[263]

Citizen Jung read extracts from the Voix de l’Avenir about the building trades. They want to discuss their differences with their employers. They require a reduction in the number of the hours of labour from 12 to 10 hours and an increase of wages per hour.[264]

Citizen Hales stated why his society had not replied to their circular; the questions had been discussed, and he would furnish the conclusions next week.

Belgium. A co-operative society is to be established at Brussels. L’Union, a working men’s association, has joined the Association.

Members present: Buckley, Eccarius, Hales, Huleck, Mrs. Huleck, Jung, Lessner, Mrs. Morgan, Maurice.

R. Shaw, Chairman J. George Eccarius, Hon. Gen. Sec.

Council Meeting
March 31

[An error in the original: “March 30” instead of “March 31.” The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 133d-33e of the Minute Book]

Citizen Shaw in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

Mr. Burns of Halifax sent 12 stamps to be enrolled as a member of the Association. In his reply, to the letter concerning the patterns to Chaux-de-Fonds he stated that none of the productive associations were sufficiently advanced in their business transactions to undertake it and he advised the Council to communicate with Mr. Owen Greening of Manchester. He also suggested the establishing of an international co-operative agency.

Citizen Lucraft volunteered to write, and the Secretary [Eccarius] was also instructed to write.

France. A letter was read from Rouen enclosing eight shillings as contribution for 100 new members. The branch is prosperous and rapidly increasing. Preparations are being made to publish a periodical. The correspondent wants to be put in communication with some English spinners.[265]

An application was received from Avignon for the authorisation of [a] new branch.

Citizens Dupont and Eccarius were appointed to investigate the enclosed rules of the appellants and to grant the application if they consider it advisable.

From the Paris section it was announced that they would continue as if nothing had happened and if the government felt inclined to persevere in the prosecutions they would furnish more victims.

Extracts were read from the Voix de l’Avenir to the effect that a lock-out of building trades had taken place at Geneva. The condition put by the capitalists is renunciation of the Association.[266]

Many lying statements were read from English papers, which gave rise to a long conversation. Deputations were appointed to wait upon trades societies and the Secretary instructed to write to some to ascertain when and where deputations would be received.

The Secretary agreed to draw up a statement of the facts of the case to be sent to all the daily papers and submitted for approval on Friday evening.[267]

The Council adjourned at half past 11 o’clock.[268]

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

R. Shaw, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Secretary