International Working Men’s Association

The Minute Book of the General Council
July 1865

Central Council Meeting
July 4, 1865

The minutes are in Cremer’s hand on p. 60 of the Minute Book.

Vice-President Eccarius in the chair.

On the Secretary reading the minutes of the former meeting, a slight correction was made in reference to the Continental corresponding secretaries. The minutes were then confirmed.

Citizen Fox stated that the ruling of the debate in the House of Commons last night had confirmed what he had asserted at the last sitting of the Central Council.[109] He also stated that he had not been able to obtain the requisite information as to the manufacture of tulle but he hoped the General Secretary would do so on his visit to Norwich.[110]

Citizen Dupont had received a letter from France which he thought could be better considered by the Sub-Committee. Referred accordingly.

Citizen Jung presented the Association with a copper plate which had been designed and executed by Citizen Richard Cottam gratuitously.[111]

Citizen Marx proposed, Citizen Cremer seconded, that the Central Council thank Citizen Cottam for his generous gift. Carried unanimously.

Citizen Eccarius resumed the adjourned debate on Citizen Weston’s propositions, arguing against Citizen Weston’s views.

Citizen Fox slightly differed with Citizen Eccarius as to the continued intellectual progress which Citizen Eccarius asserted had been made by mankind.

Citizen Carter altogether ignored the statistics of political economists and preferred to look at and judge man by what we knew of him.

Citizen Kaub proposed the adjournment of the debate till the next sitting. Carried unanimously.

The Council then adjourned to July 11th.

President [unsigned]

Meeting of Central Council
July 11, 1865

The minutes are in Cremer’s hand on p. 61 of the Minute Book.

The President [Odger] in the chair.

Citizen Fox in the absence of the General Secretary read the minutes of the previous meeting which were confirmed.

Citizen Dupont read a letter from the Association’s correspondent in Lyons [Schettel] acknowledging the receipt of 400 cards, desiring further information concerning the tulle manufacture and announcing that the strikes in Lyons had terminated unfavourably to the men who had been compelled to succumb for want of the means of subsistence. He hoped their failure would teach them a lesson and show them the necessity for organisation.

On the proposition of Citizen Jung the Council then adjourned till July 18th.

President [unsigned]

Meeting of Central Council
July 18, 1865

The minutes are in Cremer’s hand on p. 61 of the Minute Book.

The President in the chair.

Citizen Fox in the absence of the General Secretary read the minutes of the former meeting which were confirmed.

Citizen Dupont laid before the Council a letter from Citizen Fribourg in relation to the Congress.[112]

On the proposition of Citizens Eccarius and Dell it was resolved that the consideration of that matter be deferred till the next sitting when the report of the Sub-Committee was expected and that the Secretary be instructed to summon a general meeting.

The President spoke on the subject of reporting the debate on the Weston propositions. He believed that the Miner would open its columns to a full report of the same, the debate being now over.[113]

Citizen Fox delivered his views on the questions raised by Citizen Weston, after which the Council adjourned to July 25th.

President [unsigned]

Summoned Meeting of the Central Council
July 25, 1865

The minutes are in Cremer’s hand on pp. 62-65 of the Minute Book. The whole of the first part up to the declaration about the postponement of the Congress has been recopied on a separate sheet of paper and pasted over the old text on p. 62.The President [Odger] in the chair.

Citizen Fox who during the temporary absence of the General Secretary had been acting in his stead, stated that he had not been able to write out from his notes the minutes of the last sitting. It was therefore agreed to read them at the next sitting.

Citizen Fox brought up the report of the Sub-Committee.[114] The report with some additions and slight alterations was adopted in the following form:

Report of the Sub-Committee on the Questions of a Congress and Conference as Amended and Passed by the Central Council at a Summoned Meeting on the 25th of July, 1865

In consequence of the urgent representations of our French and Swiss correspondents who call upon the Central Council to take some steps in fulfilment of the pledge given at the time of the foundation of the Association that a congress would be held in Brussels in the present year to discuss questions of general interest to the proletarians of Europe, your Committee have taken the whole subject into their consideration and submit to you the following series of proposals:

1. That it is not possible to assemble a congress in Brussels or London at the present time. In lieu thereof we propose a conference which shall assemble in London on Monday, September 25th.

2. That the following declaration be published in the Continental and British journals which are favourable to our cause: [the insert ends here]

“The Central Council of the International Working Men’s Association announce that they have resolved on postponing the convocation of a general congress of working men at Brussels or elsewhere for three reasons:

“1st. Because they have felt the advisability of having a preliminary conference with a few delegates from their principal branches on the Continent touching [on] the programme which ought to be laid before the said congress.

“2nd. Because in Britain the reform movement, the general elections and the industrial exhibition and in France the strikes have absorbed the energies and attention of the working classes to such an extent as to have retarded the maturity of the Association.

“3rd. Because during the present year the Belgian Parliament has passed an alien act of such a character as to put an end to the project the Association had entertained of holding a congress, or to any they might have entertained of having a conference in the capital of Belgium.”

3. The conference is to be constituted in this wise: two delegates from every central administration are to be invited, also two from Lyons. The cost of the travelling expenses of the delegates will be borne by their constituents. Their costs in London will be defrayed by the Central Council.

4. As to the ways and means of defraying these costs, the Committee have received the generous offer from Citizen Jung that he will board and lodge the delegates from Switzerland. For the rest the Committee recommend:

1st. That the members of the Central Council renew their annual subscriptions in the month of September previous to the assembling of the conference.

2nd. That the General Secretary be instructed to appeal to the secretaries of the societies who have already joined the Association to exert themselves to sell cards of membership to their individual members for the sake of meeting the outlay of the conference.

3rd. That the members of the Central Council be recommended to take cards on sale, paying to the Council the amount of the same in ready money recouping the immediate outlay from the produce of the sales.

5. The Committee propose that the Central Council should adopt and submit to the conference a certain programme[115] which was amended and passed in the following form by the Central Council: [Here the approved text of the programme, recopied in Cremer’s hand, is pasted over the original minutes on p. 64 of the Minute Book]

1) Questions relating to the Congress.
2) Questions relating to the organisation of the Association.
3) Combination of effort by means of the Association in the different national struggles between capital and labour.
4) Trades’ unions, their past, present, and future.
5) Co-operative labour.
6) Direct and indirect taxation.
7) Reduction of the number of the hours of labour.
8) Female and children labour.
9) The Muscovite invasion of Europe and the re-establishment of an independent and integral Poland.
10) Standing armies, their effects upon the interests of the productive classes. [The insert ends here]

6. Preliminary sittings of the delegates to be held with the Committee, the definitive sittings with the Central Council.

7. On the 28th of September a soirée will be held for the three following objects: 1st, to commemorate the founding of the Association; 2nd, to do honour to the Continental delegates; and 3rd, to celebrate the triumph of federalism and free labour in America.

The soirée to consist of a tea, speaking, conversation, and dancing.

In reference to the question of the Muscovite invasion of Europe Citizens Whitlock and Merriman argued in favour of placing it at the bottom of the programme. It being a political question, they would prefer to keep it apart from the others which were of a social character. Agreed to.

Citizens Weston and Leno proposed that the question of taxation be struck out not because they did not conceive it to be important but because they thought the programme sufficiently extensive without it. They would prefer to debate one or two questions thoroughly rather than half consider a large number.

Three only voting for the amendment, it was declared lost and the question of taxation remained part of the programme.

As an addition to the question of [the] Muscovite invasion Citizens Merriman and Whitlock proposed the following:

The relation of the papacy to the political welfare of Italy and the civilisation of the world. For the addition — 8, against — 12; lost. [here several lines are pasted over with a new text]

Proposed by Citizens Lubez and Holtorp:

That the question of education as embodied in the French programme[116] be embodied in the programme of the Central Council. For — 6, against — 11 (lost), the majority voting against the question because the programme was already sufficiently extended.

Citizens Cremer and Eccarius proposed that the question of standing armies as suggested in the French programme be embodied in ours. For — 12, against — 5. (Carried.)

Citizens Leno and Jung proposed that the question .... [the insert ends here, in the middle of the sentence]

Citizens Cremer and Eccarius proposed that at the soirée on the 28th of September next:

That in addition to celebrating the foundation of the Association and welcoming the Continental delegates that we celebrate the triumph of the federal cause and congratulate the American people on the abolition of slavery. Carried, one voting against.

The programme as amended and altered and in the form as read above was then put from the chair and carried.

The General Secretary stated that having been recently in Norwich, he had made all possible enquiries as to the locality where tulle was manufactured but could not get any information on the subject, but of this he was certain it was not manufactured in Norwich.

The Council then adjourned to August 1st.

J. G. ECCARIUS, Vice-President