Volume 21


November 1867-mid-July 1870

MECW Volume 21, p. 6


The International Workingmen's Association, 1867

The Minute Book of the General Council
February 1868


Council Meeting
February 4

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on p. 130 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Lessner in the chair.

In the absence of the Secretary Citizen Shaw acted as secretary.

Citizen Dupont payed £2 contribution for the Marseilles branch for 1867.

Jung stated that he had seen in the papers that the Geneva strike was over.

The Secretary of the Day Working Bookbinders had replied that his society could entertain no deputation as there were two on already and a monthly meeting could grant five pounds.

Members present: Huleck and Mrs. [Huleck], Jung, Dupont, Shaw, Lessner, Maurice.

Chairman [Unsigned]
J. George Eccarius, Secretary


Council Meeting
February 11

The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 130-31 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Shaw in the chair.

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



Citizen Jung read a letter from Geneva stating that the strike was over not altogether to the satisfaction of the men, but considering the unfavourable season they might have fared worse. The letter from London had not given much encouragement, but they thanked the Council for the steps that [had] been taken. Almost all the trades societies had now joined, and newspapers had been established in several places. They would soon send money.[1]

Belgium. The members hold. numerous meetings about co-operation, universal suffrage, and to organise opposition to the law of conscription and agitate for the abolition of the standing army. New sections have been established at Liege, Verviers, and amongst the miners of Borinage. The finances are in an unsatisfactory state; they have much expense, but have no doubt that they will be able to pay their contribution. They have also received a letter from Guillaume of Locle announcing that the compte rendu is at last ready, but will cost two francs.[2]

France. Citizen Dupont read a letter stating that the inquiry before the juge d’instruction was not yet ended. There had been but four domiciliary visits, this was not enough for the prosecution,[3] so the police had summoned all the members of the Committee, including one who had never accepted and never attended. The judge was of opinion that English names on the Council list of the I.W.A. were men of straw, that it was only the revolutionary refugees who gave instructions to their friends how to act. It was a secret society with a public platform. The Paris members sought to obtain the control over the French workmen for revolutionary purposes. Rothschild has received notice to quit. In default of any punishable offence the accused expect to be punished for their sentiments.

The Marseilles branch consists of 280 members.

Citizen Jung was instructed to send the translations of the circulars to Switzerland and to instruct the German Secretary of Geneva [Becker] to get them published in as many papers as he could.

It was further agreed that Citizen Dupont have the questions on the circular and some Congress resolutions printed for transmission to France.[4]

Citizen Lawrence gave notice that on that day fortnight he would move some resolutions respecting credit institutions for the working class.[5]

The Council then adjourned to Tuesday, February 18.

Members present: Dupont, Eccarius, Huleck, Mrs. Huleck, Hales, Jung, Lessner, Lawrence, Neal, Maurice, Shaw.

R, Shaw, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Secretary


Council Meeting
February 18

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on p. 132 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Shaw in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.


The Chaux-de-Fonds section has formed co-operative stores under the title of La Prevoyante and asks for the addresses of British manufacturers of shirtings, muslins, and other stuffs for women’s dresses, and Coullery adds that we should send patterns. All purchases made with ready money. Coullery wants to know whether London is asleep.

The Secretary [Eccarius] was instructed to communicate the substance of the letter to Rochdale Pioneers’ Co-operative Society.[6]

Belgium. The government wants 2,000 more soldiers and requires several millions for war purposes; the section has protested.

It was agreed that Maurice be paid £1 on account of rent.

Nomination. Mrs. Morgan nominated by Citizen Shaw, seconded by Citizen Huleck.

Citizen Williamsen, by Citizen Huleck, seconded by Citizen Morgan.

On account of the tailors’ general meeting[7] the Council adjourned to Wednesday, February 26.

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



Council Meeting
February 26

[The Minutes are in Eccarius’s hand on pp. 132-33 of the Minute Book]

Citizen Shaw in the chair.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.

Mrs. Morgan and Citizen Williamsen were admitted as members without a dissentient.

Citizen Milner presented credentials as delegate of the National Reform League and paid 2s. 6d. as the second half of the annual contribution for 1867. The delegate was admitted by unanimous vote.


A letter [was read] from the West End boot-closers, answering the questions[8] and offering to pay the first quarter’s contribution, but it must be fetched.

Mr. P. Shorrocks writes from Manchester that the workpeople in that town have little faith in London, but he will endeavour to get adhesion to the International and information for the report.


Report of Deputations

Citizen Huleck had an interview with the N. W. branch of the boot-makers, but the meeting was not numerous enough to decide the question of affiliation. Has no doubt they will join.

Citizen Jung was well received by the City Women’s Men. They joined, are 400 strong, and will send a delegate.

Citizen Lawrence had received a letter from the Corresponding Secretary of the International Tailors’ Union of America, in which the readiness is announced to enter into a tailors’ union extending throughout the world; the London tailors on the previous night had endorsed the sentiment and instructed their secretary to continue the correspondence[9] ; and Citizen Lawrence thinks if the most important passages of that letter be made known on the Continent it may induce other trades to follow.

Citizen Jung desires to hear the letter before any action is taken.

Citizen Lawrence gives notice that we call the attention of the Council to the subject at the next meeting.

The American Secretary [Shaw] was instructed to write to Mr. Jessup at New York with a view to obtain information for the report.

The Council adjourned at 10:30.

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

H. Jung, Chairman
J. George Eccarius, Secretary





[1] Jung read Dupleix’s letter to him dated February 4, 1868


[2] This refers to the publication of the Lausanne Congress Minutes stitched together with the reports submitted to the Congress: Rapports lus au Congrès ouvrier reuni du 2 au 8 septembre 1867 a Lausanne La Chaux-de-Fonds, impr. Voix de I'Avenir, 1867, 132 p. (Prix-80 centimes.) From the announcement in La Voix de l'Avenir No. 29, July 19, 1868, it appears that this pamphlet was sold at 1 franc 50 centimes.


[3] The entry made in the Minute Book is not exact. In the report of this meeting published in The Bee-Hive No. 331, February 15, 1868, this information from Paris is given as follows:

“The inquiry into the conduct of the members of the Paris Committee is still going on. M. Gonet, the juge d'instruction, does not know what to make of it. He is morally certain that the accused are no friends of the present regime, nor much in favour of the existing state of things generally, but the domiciliary visits, made at six o'clock one morning between Christmas and New Year’s day, have, instead of Fenian plots and plans, only yielded a few French copies of an address that has freely circulated, in different languages, for more than three years throughout the civilised world; and some letters from London containing strong expressions of opinions on various subjects. M. Gonet has come to the conclusion that there must be something behind the screen that the vigilance of the imperial spies cannot lay hold of. He maintains that the International Working Men’s Association in France is only a device to deceive the authorities, that n ames on the London Council are men of straw, the English am and that it is only the French revolutionists in London with whom the Paris sympathisers are in correspondence, and from whom they receive the secret instructions which the police cannot get at. In default of incriminating documents and indictable offences the men expect to be punished for their sentiments, and for what the imperial authorities may consider them capable of, if they had a chance of doing it.”


[4] The circular on collecting statistics for the General Council’s report and the appeal to the members of the International concerning preparations for the Brussels Congress, both approved by this meeting, were published in The Bee-Hive No. 331, February 15; La Tribune du People No. 3, March 29; La Voix de l'Avenir No. 12, March 22; Der Vorbote No. 3, March; Democratisches Wochenblatt No. 9, February 29, 1868.


[5] In the report of this meeting published in The Bee-Hive No. 331, February 15, the last two paragraphs are replaced by the following text: Secretary reported that all the circular letters had been sent cut, and that the Secretary of the London CigarMakers’ Association had already replied to the questions.”


[6] Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers — one of the oldest cooperative societies in England founded early in 1844 under the direct influence c.’ Robert Owen.


[7] The quarterly meeting of the Operative Tailors’ Protective Association, held on February 25, 1868 in Cleveland Hall, Fitzroy Street, approved the new rules drawn up by the Executive; according to these rules the association was reorganised on the pattern of the Amalgamated Engineers’ Society. the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, and similar big trade unions.


[8] This refers to the questions on labour statistics.


[9] The letter of Tacker, the Secretary of the Amalgamated Tailors’ Society of the U.S.A. and Canada, was read by Lawrence at a general meeting of the Operative Tailors’ Protective Association held on February 25, 1868




Marx - Engels