Works Frederick Engels 1871

Statement by the General Council Concerning Alexander Baillie Cochrane’s Letter to the Editor of The Eastern Post

Source: The Eastern Post, No. 163, November 11, 1871;
Transcribed: by Tony Brown.

Sir, — A letter appeared in The Times on October 31st on the International, signed Alexander Baillie Cochrane, which I ask space to reply to in your columns. In the first instant, Mr. A. B. C. is

“ignorant whether Mr. Odger is still president of the English branch of this society.”

Ever since September, 1867, the office of president of the General Council of the International, which Mr. A. B. C. calls the English branch of this society, has been abolished. It is well-known that after the publication of our manifesto on the civil war in France (in June last) Mr. Odger withdrew from the General Council.

Having read some continental gossip about the composition of our conference of delegates, held in London last September, Mr. A. B. C. applies this information to the public meeting held in St. Martin’s Hall, on the 28th September, 1864. At that meeting,

as the writer in The Times of October 27th correctly stated, the provisional council of the International Working Men’s Association was elected, but not “Mr, Odger elected president, Mr. Cremer and Mr. Wheeler, Secretary” as Mr. A. B. C. says.

Mr. A. B. C. then proceeds to prove the trustworthiness of his information by the following “authentic document”

Firstly —

“The red flag is the symbol of universal love.”

This authentic document is nothing but the preamble of one of the innumerable forgeries, lately published, in the name of the International by the Paris police, and disowned at the time by the General Council.

Secondly —

“The programme of Geneva, under the presidency” (it is rather hard to make out how a programme can be under a presidency) “of the Russian Michael Bakounine was accepted by the General Council of London, July 1869.”

This programme of Geneva is nothing else but the statutes of the “Alliance de la Démocratie Socialiste,” of Geneva, already quoted in Jules Favre’s circular on the International. Now, In reply to that circular I stated, (see The Times, of June 13th) the General Council never issued such a document, On the contrary, it issued a document which quashed the original statutes of the Alliance.

I may now add that the conference, lately held at London, has finally disposed of the Alliance, founded by Michael Bakounine, and that the Journal de Genève, this worthy representative of the party tenets of Mr. A. B. C., has taken up the defence of the Alliance against the International.

Thirdly — Mr. A. B. C. pulls out of his bundle of “authentic documents” some garbled extract from private letters written by our friend Eugène Dupont, long since published by the Bonapartist ex-procureur Oscar Testut. Before Mr. A. B. C. set out for the Continent in search of this “trustworthy information,” it had already gone the round of the English Press.

Mr. Alexander Baillie Cochrane calls our society “infamous.” How am I to call a society which instructs the business o law-making to that same Alexander Baillie Cochrane?

I am, Sir,
Yours obediently,

John Hales,
General Secretary
International Working Men’s Association 256, High Holborn