International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
January 1865

Central Council Meeting
January 3, 1865

The minutes are in an unknown hand on pp. 20-23 of the Minute Book.

Mr. Eccarius in the chair.

The Secretary [Cremer] read the minutes of the former meeting, which were confirmed on the motion of Mr. Dell, seconded by Dr. Marx.

Dr. Marx handed in a German translation of the Address and Rules of the Association and stated that 50,000 copies had been circulated in Germany[25]; he also stated that a branch of the Association was being formed in Switzerland.[26]

A discussion then took place with regard to the non-appearance in the Bee-Hive of the address to Mr. Lincoln, and the following was then proposed by Mr. Buckley, seconded by Mr. Odger:

That the Editor of the Bee-Hive be written to requesting him to publish the address in the next issue.[27] Carried unanimously.

Mr. Fontana then handed in the following address:



The Association instituted for mutual progression amongst the Italian working men residing in London give their full approbation to your aims and method. They enter your compact and pledge themselves to the fulfilment of the duties contained in it. A bond of union has been formerly established at the recent working men’s congress at Naples between most of the Italian working men’s associations. A central direction has been elected and we have no doubt that what we now do, will be done at no distant period by that central direction for the bulk of our Italian confederate brothers.

To establish a general practical brotherhood, a general unity of aim amongst the working men of all nations, to promote everywhere and on the same basis their moral, intellectual and economical improvement, to embrace according to opportunities afforded all the important questions affecting the condition of working men, from taxation, electoral reform and political rights to mutual relief societies, co-operation and educational institutions (for this must be your aim), is no doubt a bold attempt fraught with difficulties requiring time and a persisting unconquerable activity on our part; still it is a grand moral and truly religious aim. It elevates our tastes from the inferior narrow ground of local interests to the higher principle of common aspirations for general interests; it points out the dawning of a new era which will cancel inequalities, compulsory ignorance, the present wages system, and [which will promote] the substitution of equal duties and rights for all, true national education and the association system for producing and consuming. It is the thing to be attempted and therefore we do join you. May our union last for ever!

The Council of the Italian Working Men’s Association of Mutual Progress: D. Lama, President. G. P. Fontana, C. Setacci, Vice-Presidents. A. Vaccansi, Treasurer. G. Geninazzi, F. Fenili, F. Solustri, Gintini, Biloschy, Velati, Councillors. Dr. G. Bagnagatti, Secretary.

After the reading of the above Dr. Marx resumed the adjourned debate on the address which it is proposed to send to the National Government of Poland, and in a very able historical resumé argued that the traditional foreign policy of France had not been favourable to the restoration and independence of Poland. The address of Dr. Marx was pregnant with important historical facts which would be very valuable in a published form.[28]

Mr. Fox in reply stated lie did not defend the foreign policy of modern France; all he contended for was that the foreign policy of old France had been favourable to the independence of Poland.

The following was then proposed by Mr. Jung, seconded by Le Lubez and unanimously adopted:

That the views expressed in the address concerning the French foreign policy towards Poland not being borne out by historical facts, that it be amended so as to accord with the truths of history.

It was then unanimously agreed to invite Messrs. Beesly, Grossmith, Beales and Harrison[29] to the soirée which is to be held on the 16th inst.

The meeting then adjourned to January 7th. [The last sentence is in Cremer’s hand. Apparently an error. See minutes of the next meeting.]

J. G. ECCARIUS, Vice-President
W. R. CREMER, Honorary General-Secretary

Central Council Meeting
January 10, 1865

The beginning of the minutes is in Cremer’s hand on p. 23 of the Minute Book.

Vice-President Eccarius in the chair.

The minutes of the former meeting having been read, were confirmed on the motion of Mr. Dell, seconded by M. Le Lubez.

The following address from the three German working men’s societies in London was then read by the Secretary.

Here a clipping from The Bee-Hive Newspaper, No. 170, January 14, 1865, is pasted into the Minute Book.

To the Central Council of The Working Men’s International Association

Fellow Workmen,

The Londoner Arbeiter Bildungs-Verein, 2, Nassau Street, Soho, at a general meeting, held on the 4th January, 1865, and attended by the delegates of the two kindred societies in the East and South of London, passed the following resolution: “That the three societies, the Londoner Arbeiter Bildungs-Verein, the Teutonia, and the Eintracht, as an affiliated body, join the International Working Men’s Association as one society.” The Londoner Arbeiter Bildungs-Verein was founded on February 7th, 1840, and is consequently a quarter of a century old. During the first years of its existence it was in constant communication with the Socialists and Chartists of this country. From 1846 to 1848 the French Social-Democratic Society, the Fraternal Democrats, and this Society, were united under the same roof. It was by means of these international communications that this Society was enabled to fulfil a great mission — that of propagating amongst the German working men those principles and ideas which agitated England and France at a time when all public discussion of social and political questions was next to impossible within the confines of the German Confederation. We have thus acted as interpreters between the East and West of Europe; we have contributed our mite towards removing the delusion amongst the working men of Germany, that Constitutional Government and the rule of the capitalists are synonymous with the welfare of the people. We hail with joy the prospect of an enduring international union between the too long estranged working classes of the different countries of Europe, being convinced that nothing but the combined action of the working men of the whole of civilised Europe will ever be able to resist the combined action of all the oppressors of Europe.

On behalf of the Eintracht, W. Vogt, L. Loeber, O. P. Kessler.

On behalf of the Teutonia, A. Klinker, A. Lorenz, H. Konter.

Arbeiter Bildungs-Verein, Gocht, President; P. Van Hofen, Secretary; Schmelzer, Treasurer.[30]

It was then proposed by Mr. Whitlock, seconded by M. Le Lubez, and carried, “That the three German Societies, having subscribed to the principles of the International Association, be admitted, as affiliated societies, and the delegates from them take their seats as members of the ,Central Council.”

A deputation from the National League for the Independence of Poland, and representatives of the National Government of Poland,[31] were then received, their object being to consult the Central Council as to the propriety of holding a public meeting to commemorate the Polish Revolution of 1863. Mr. E. Beales, on behalf of the National League, and Captain K. Bobczynski, as a representative of the Polish National Government, addressed the meeting, followed by Messrs. Fox, Dunn [Dell], Whitlock, Holtorp, Eccarius, Le Lubez, Jung, Cremer, Bolleter and Carter, all agreeing that the independence of Poland was of paramount importance to the peace and liberties of Europe.

It was then proposed by Mr. Lucraft, seconded by Mr. Eccarius, and unanimously adopted, “That should the Polish Committee call the meeting, this Association pledges itself to assist by all means in its power ‘the commemoration of the glorious, though unsuccessful, Revolution of 1863.”

The Sub-Committee were appointed to act in conjunction with the Polish Committee and the National League to carry out the above resolution. [The newspaper clipping ends here. The last sentence is in an unknown hand.]

The Council adjourned to January 17th.

J. G. ECCARIUS, Vice-President
W. CREMER, Honorary General Secretary

Central Council Meeting
January 17, 1865

The minutes are in an unknown hand on pp. 24-25 of the Minute Book.

Mr. Eccarius in the chair.

The minutes of the previous meeting having been read, Mr. Holtorp complained that a protest he had made at the last meeting was not inserted in the minutes.

The Secretary said he had no recollection of Mr. Holtorp having made a specific or positive protest but if he wished it should be inserted in the next minutes. Agreed to.

The following is the protest referred to:

That J. E. Holtorp do protest against Captain K. Bobczynski and his companions who attended the meeting of the Council on January 4th [an error, the meeting in question was on January 10] as being the representatives of the Polish Democrats or of the National Government of Poland.

Mr. Wheeler proposed, Mr. Le Lubez seconded:

That the minutes with the protest added be confirmed. Carried unanimously.

Mr. Lubez then proposed, Mr. Whitlock seconded:

That the best thanks of the Council be given to the German chorus and the Italian band for their attendance and performance at the soirée. Carried unanimously.

Mr. Jung proposed, Mr. Wheeler seconded:

That the Council thank the ladies who assisted at the refreshment department. Carried unanimously.

Mr. Fontana then proposed, Mr. Aldovrandi seconded, that Mr. Le Lubez be appointed provisional corresponding secretary for Belgium.

Mr. Le Lubez reported that Mr. Nusperli, Morgan, Odger and himself had attended a meeting at Greenwich on the previous Sunday evening and there was a prospect of a good branch being established there.[32]

Mr. Morgan having reported that several shoemakers’ societies would meet on the 30th of this month, deputations were appointed to wait on them to join the Association.

The meeting then adjourned.

J. G. ECCARIUS, Vice-President
W. CREMER, Honorary General Secretary

Central Council Meeting
January 24, 1865

The minutes are in Cremer’s hand on p. 25 of the Minute Book. The heading and the first sentence are in an unknown hand.

Mr. Eccarius in the chair.

The minutes of the former meeting having been read, were confirmed on the motion of Mr. Dell, seconded by Le Lubez.

Correspondence was read from Switzerland in reply to a communication which Mr. Jung had forwarded[33]; by Dr. Marx from the Compositors’ Society of Berlin, also from the General German Working Men’s Association, both expressing their entire concurrence with the principles of the International Working Men’s Association and regretting that there were legal impediments which prevented them from becoming affiliated members of the Association, but promising to send representatives to the congress.[34]

Dr. Marx also read a very interesting letter from the military commander [J. Weydemeyer] of St. Louis,[35] and a ‘letter from M. Tolain having reference to the position they occupied in Paris in relation to International Working Men’s Association.

A discussion then took place concerning certain statements or rumours in regard to M. Tolain, and it was agreed that before any cards of membership were sent to Paris that the truth of such rumours should be investigated.[36]

The following was then elected on the Central Council: Mr. Thomas Donatti proposed by Mr. Dell, seconded by Odger.

Dr. Marx then proposed and Mr. Whitlock seconded:

That nominations for the Central Council shall be made at least a week previous to the election, such election to take place in the absence of the candidate, and that the person to be elected shall before his nomination have taken a card of membership. Carried unanimously.

The Council then adjourned to January 31st.

J. G. ECCARIUS, Vice-President
W. R. CREMER, Honorary General Secretary

Central Council Meeting
January 31, 1865

The beginning of the minutes is in Cremer’s hand on p. 26 of the Minute Book.

Vice-President Eccarius in the chair.

The Secretary read the minutes of the former meeting when Citizen Marx stated there was a slight error having reference to the German Working Men’s Association.

The error having been rectified, the minutes were confirmed on the motion of Mr. Whitlock, seconded by Citizen Fontana.[37]

A discussion then took place regarding the period when the subscriptions of members should begin and end when Citizen Marx proposed and Citizen Whitlock seconded: That subscriptions begin on the First of January and end on the 31st of December.

Citizen Cremer then proposed and Citizen Fontana seconded: That those who have been elected members of the Central Council but have not taken out their cards of membership by the 1st of March next, shall after that date be considered as excluding themselves from the Central Council.

The Secretary read a letter from the American Embassy in reply to the address from the Central Council to Mr. Lincoln; the reply was as follows:

The continuation of the minutes is in an unknown hand on pp. 26-29 of the Minute Book.

Legation of the United States
London, 28th January, 1865


I am directed to inform you that the address of the Central Council of your Association, which was duly transmitted through this Legation to the President of the United [States], has been received by him.

So far as the sentiments expressed by it are personal, they are accepted by him with a sincere and anxious desire that he may be able to prove himself not unworthy of the confidence which has been recently extended to him by his fellow-citizens and by so many of the friends of humanity and progress throughout the world.

The Government of the United States has a clear consciousness that its policy neither is nor could be reactionary, but at the same time it adheres to the course which it adopted at the beginning, of abstaining everywhere from propagandism and unlawful intervention. It strives to do equal and exact justice to all states and to all men and it relies upon the beneficial results of that effort for support at home and for respect and goodwill throughout the world.

Nations do not exist for themselves alone, but to promote the welfare and happiness of mankind by benevolent intercourse and example. It is in this relation that the United States regard their cause in the present conflict with slavery, maintaining insurgents as the cause of human nature, and they derive new encouragement to persevere from the testimony of the working men of Europe that the national attitude is ‘favoured with their enlightened approval and earnest sympathies.

I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,

Charles Francis Adams

W. R. Cremer,
Honorary Secretary of
The International Working Men’s

Citizen Marx then read an extract from the St. Louis Daily Press eulogistic of our Address and Rules and expressing their regret at not being able to publish the whole.[39]

Citizen Le Lubez read correspondence from Citizen Fontaine, the Secretary of the Universal Federation in Belgium. The communication stated that on the 11th of February the Federation would decide as to joining the Association. It also stated the Address and Rules had been translated and circulated, and asked for 500 cards of membership.[40]

Citizen Le Lubez proposed and Citizen Wheeler seconded, that Citizen Fontaine be the corresponding secretary (pro tem.) in Belgium. Carried unanimously.

It was then proposed by Citizen Le Lubez, seconded by Citizen Marx, that Citizens Wheeler and Cremer be deputed to attend the Council of the Universal League to ascertain if the Sub-Committee having been locked out of their meeting place was by the authority or sanction of that Council.,

Citizen Whitlock proposed and Blackmore seconded, that a stamp be provided as the seal of the Association. Carried unanimously.

Citizens Kaub, Lessner, Eccarius, Le Lubez, Jung, Cremer reported their attendance on organised bodies. They had been everywhere courteously received and all had promised to further consider the question.,

The Secretary then introduced the question of the suffrage, stating there was an attempt being made to organise a meeting for manhood suffrage and he thought the Council ought to watch the preliminary proceedings and for that purpose would propose that a deputation be appointed to attend the preliminary meeting which will be shortly held.[41]

A long discussion took place in which Citizens Marx, Whitlock, Wheeler, Le Lubez, Carter took part. Citizen Wheeler seconded the resolution which was carried unanimously.

The following were then elected as the deputation: Citizens Carter, Eccarius, Odger, Lubez, Whitlock, Cremer, Wheeler and Dell.[42]

It being stated that Citizen Dick, a member of the Central Council, was leaving for New Zealand, Citizen Carter proposed, Citizen Wheeler seconded, that Citizen Dick be appointed as corresponding secretary for that part of the world.

The meeting then adjourned to February 7, 1865.

J. G. ECCARIUS, Vice-President
W. CREMER, Honorary General Secretary