International Workingmen’s Association 1865
From the Minute Book of the General Council


Source: MECW, Volume 20;
First published: in Russian, in Generalny Sovet Pervogo Internatsionala. 1864-1866 and 1866-1868, 1961 and 1963.

January 3, 1865

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 [253]; he also stated that a branch of the Association was being formed in Switzerland. [...]

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.

Mr. Fox in reply stated he 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.

January 24, 1865

Correspondence was read [...] 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.

Dr. Marx also read a very interesting letter from the military commander [J. Weydemeyer] of Si. Louis,[254] 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.[255]

January 31, 1865

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 Ist of March next, shall after that date be considered as excluding themselves from the Central Council. [...]

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.[256] [...]

[The Bee-Hive Newspaper, February 4, 1865 has:

“Dr. Marx also read an extract from the St. Louis Daily Press (America) approving the Address, and rules of the International, and regretting their limited space would not allow the entire publication of the Address, which, however, they printed in part, in proof of the deep interest which the Association has excited. It may be mentioned that hundreds of cards have been sent for from Paris, Belgium, &c. and, although in some places on the Continent working men are prohibited from openly, associating together for such principles as the International has in view, vet even in those places they are exciting themselves to find some plan whereby they may affiliate themselves to the Association without coming within the power of the law.”]

The Secretary [Cremer] 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.

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.[257]

February 7, 1865

Citizen Cremer gave the report of the Sub-Committee; they recommended to the Central Council the following:

[1] That separate cards be issued to societies forming the Association, such cards to be of a general character stating that the society whose name it bore had affiliated itself to the International Association;

2nd. That all the money subscribed in England for individual cards be sent to the Central Council, but if any branch of the Association shall incur any legitimate expense, the Central Council may, if they deem it judicious, grant a sum for the liquidation of such debt;

3rd. That our Continental brethren be supplied with cards at Is. each, which sums to be sent to the Central Council.

They were proposed by Citizen Cremer, seconded by Citizen Marx and carried unanimously. [...]

Citizen Marx then proposed and Citizen Wheeler seconded, that Citizen Lefort be appointed as our literary defence in Paris. Carried unanimously.

February 14, 1865

Citizen Marx then stated that a branch of the International Working Men’s Association had been formed in Manchester, he also read a letter from Mr. Ernest Jones on the subject of manhood suffrage.[258]

The letter was fully discussed.

Citizen Marx also read an extract from the German Star’ which stated that the Swiss were interesting themselves on behalf of the Association and that a meeting of the Republican League and French Swiss Society had been held; they had accepted the rules and would form branches throughout Switzerland with a central council in Geneva.

February 21, 1865

On the motion of Whitlock, seconded by Citizen Marx, Citizen Le Lubez then read some correspondence from Paris which referred to unpleasant proceedings having taken place there, and as it was generally agreed that it would be difficult to settle the differences by correspondence, it was decided on the proposition of Citizen Whitlock, seconded by Fontana, that Le Lubez be sent to Paris to investigate the differences existing between Citizen Lefort and Citizen Fribourg.

Citizen Marx proposed, Citizen Lessner seconded, that Mr. Schily be appointed to co-operate with Citizen Le Lubez in settling the differences.’ Carried unanimously.

It was also agreed that the delegates be invested with power to act as circumstances may determine.

February 28, 1865

Citizen Marx read correspondence from Manchester regarding the suffrage,[259] he also stated that he had withdrawn from any connection with the Social-Demokrat.

March 7, 1865

Citizen Fox then read to the Council the report of the Committee and the resolutions recommended by it in reference to the imbroglio in Paris.[255]

It was agreed to consider the resolutions seriatim. [here follow s the text of the five resolutions on the conflict in the Paris section drawn up by Marx on behalf of the Standing Committee — volume 20, pp. 82-83 — and record of the discussion on each of them.]

March 14, 1865

Citizen Le Lubez read a letter from Citizen Lefort. He also stated ‘It was a mistake to suppose he had been or was now in arts way prejudiced in favour of Lefort or Tolain. He also read a letter signed by Citizens Bocquet, Denoual, and himself, protesting against the former decision of the Central Council in turning out Citizen Lefort, and another letter signed by Citizens Bordage, Leroux, Denoual, Bocquet, and himself, protesting against the appointment by the Central Council of anyone not a Frenchman as the delegate to the Administration in Paris.

Citizen Marx stated the protest was unnecessary as fie, Citizen Marx, was certain that Citizen Schily would not accept the appointment if there was the slightest opposition to him: it was against Citizen Schily’s wish that he had been elected.[264]

The President suggested the re-opening of the whole question. This was opposed by Citizens Howell, Kaub and Cremer.

The following resolution was then proposed by, Citizen Weston. seconded by Citizen Morgan and carried unanimously:

That the Central Council having the fullest confidence in Citizen Lefort, earnestly requests him to retain the card of membership he has in his possession and hopes that he will use his great Influence to form a branch in France.

Citizen Weston gave notice of the following propositions for discussion at the earliest opportunity:

Ist. Would not an advance of wages of any particular section of industry be secured at the cost of the other sections.

2nd. Would not the supposed advantages of a general rise in wages be negatived by the corresponding advance in prices.

April 11, 1865

The situations of corresponding secretary for France, also for Belgium, having become vacant consequent on the resignation of Citizen Lubez, Citizen Jung proposed, Morgan seconded, that Citizen Marx be corresponding secretary pro tem for Belgium.[265] Carried unanimously.

Citizen Marx proposed, Citizen Cremer seconded, that Citizen Dupont be appointed corresponding secretary for France. Carried unanimously. [...]

Citizen Marx stated that one of the 32 members who had met recently in Paris had been prosecuted by the French Government for publishing a pamphlet.[266] [...]

Citizen Longmaid proposed and Citizen Marx seconded:

That the Secretary write to those members of the Central Council who have not taken their cards of membership and inform them that unless they do so on or before April 25, that they will be considered as wishing to withdraw and their names will accordingly be struck off the roll of Councilmen. This resolution was considered by the Central Council necessary inasmuch as complaints had been made that a former resolution of a similar character had never been communicated officially to absentee members.

The resolution was carried unanimously.

It was then agreed to that the proposition of Citizen Weston on the question of wages’ should come on for discussion on May 2nd and that members of the Association were eligible to attend the discussion, also that any member of the Central Council is at liberty to introduce a friend.

April 25, 1865

Citizen Wheeler proposed, Citizen Marx seconded, that Continental corresponding members be ex officio members of the Central Council. Carried unanimously. [...]

Citizen Marx read a letter from Ernest Jones on the suffrage, [268] he also read a letter from Citizen Fontaine asking for a declaration of principles. Questions in said letter referred to Sub-Committee. [269] He also read a letter from the compositors at Leipsic referring to their strike and expressing a hope that the London compositors would assist them. [270]

Citizens Fox, Marx and Cremer were deputed to attend the Compositors’ Society.

May 2, 1865

Marx gave a report from Paris stating there were changes about being made there in the Administration which when made would be fully reported to the Central Council. [271][...]

Cremer referred to the assassination of President Lincoln and proposed that an address should be drawn up and sent to the American people expressing the views of the Central Council on recent events in America, more particularly referring to the murder of Mr. Lincoln.

The resolution was seconded by Lucraft and carried unanimously.

Weston then read a portion of his paper on the question of wages; the remainder was adjourned to the next sitting.

May 9, 1865

Citizen Fox read a letter from Citizen Vinçard who had been appointed on the Paris Administration, stating that the state of his health would preclude h ‘m from accepting the appointment, also expressing his best wishes for the success of the Association and regretting that he could not assist to make it so.

Jung proposed, Marx seconded:

That the General Secretary write to Citizen Vinçard thanking him for his past services and hoping that he will, as far as [is] consistent with his health, do his utmost for the interest of the Association. Carried unanimously.

Citizen Marx read the address to President Johnson in reference to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Cremer proposed, Weston seconded:

That the address be adopted, written on parchment, signed by the Central Council and transmitted to President Johnson through the United States Legation. Carried unanimously.

Citizen Howell, who had been appointed to attend with Citizen Cremer the Reform Conference in Manchester on the 15th and 16th of May, having been elected by the Reform League as its secretary and being deputed by that body to attend said conference,[272] his appointment from this Council was therefore on the proposition of Citizen Wheeler, seconded by Citizen Marx, cancelled and Citizen Odger was elected in his stead.

Citizen Fox proposed, Bolleter seconded:

That Weston’s question for discussion stand adjourned to Saturday, May 20th, at 8 o'clock, the entire sitting to be devoted to the discussion. [273] Carried unanimously.

May 16, 1865

Cit. Marx stated that he had sent to the New-York Tribune a copy of the Society’s address to President Johnson. [274] He also mentioned that there had been an immense public meeting in Geneva in regard to the assassination of the late lamented President of the United States; that the Society’s correspondent, Philipp Becker, had spoken at the same, and remarked upon the international character of the meeting.

Cit. Becker then proceeded to state that the Working Men’s International Association was at the head of the new movement for popular rights,[the electoral reform movement in England] which statement was received with cheers by the meeting.

May 23, 1865

Citizen Weston resumed the adjourned debate on his proposition regarding wages. He was followed by Citizen Marx who opposed Citizen Weston’s views as did Citizen Wheeler, after which Cremer proposed the adjournment of the debate till the 30th. Carried unanimously.

May 30, 1865

Citizen Marx recommended that the Council should concentrate its efforts upon promoting the success of the Working Men’s Congress to be held in Belgium this year.[275]

June 6, 1865

Citizen Marx stated that when Citizen Weston’s propositions are again discussed he should read a paper in reply, and propose a series of counter-resolutions.

June 20, 1865

Citizen Marx then read a part of his paper in reply to Citizen Weston’s propositions on the question of wages.

Citizen Weston thought that in the part of the paper read by Citizen Marx nothing had been advanced or proved which in any way affected the principles he affirmed.

Citizen Cremer thought Citizen Marx had given two or three practical illustrations or rather facts which completely destroyed the positions affirmed by Citizen Weston.

The question was adjourned till June 27th at 9 o'clock. Citizen Marx will then read the latter part of his paper and propose a series of counter-resolutions.

June 27, 1865

Citizen Marx then, after recapitulating the principal points in the first part of his paper which he had read at the last sitting, proceeded to read the latter part, at the conclusion of which Citizen Cremer said there were many who would like to have both papers — of Citizen Weston and Citizen Marx’s reply — printed, but he hardly knew how the expense was to be met.

Citizen Weston questioned the correctness of the statement contained In Citizen Marx’s paper having reference to agricultural labourers.

On the motion of Citizen Eccarius the debate was adjourned to the next sitting to be opened by Citizen Eccarius.

July 4, 1865

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

Citizen Vox 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.[276]

September 12, 1865

A discussion then took place as to the forthcoming conference taken part in by Marx, Weston, Lubez, Cremer, and on the motion of Citizen Lubez, seconded by Mantz, the further consideration of the question was adjourned till the 19th inst., the meeting to be special for the consideration of the conference.

September 19, 1865

Citizen Marx announced that no delegates from Germany would attend the conference, but that a report of the doings in Germany would be sent him which he would read to the conference. [282] He had also sent [a letter] to Ernest Jones asking him to be present and speak at the soirée.[283]

October 3, 1865

The question as to the publication of the doings at the conference was then discussed.

Citizens Carter and Lubez proposed that Citizen Marx be requested to compile the report of the conference proceedings. Carried unanimously.

Tuesday, November 21, 1865

The Secretary for Germany [Marx] stated that, in view of the sudden demand for cards that had arisen at Paris, he and the Secretary for Switzerland [Jung] had guaranteed the printer for the cost of preparing 2,000 cards, of which number 1,000 should be sent to Paris, 500 reserved for the French province and 100 reserved for Germany. He desired the sanction of the Council to this arrangement.

It was moved by Citizen Morgan and seconded by Wheeler and carried nem. con.: “That we sanction the arrangement made by Citizens Marx and Jung with the printer of the cards and that the allotment of them be as proposed by Citizen Marx.”


Citizen Marx stated that on his proposition it had been resolved at the conference that a report should be drawn up of the transactions of the Association for the first year of its existence.

He now advised that the resolution for preparing such report be rescinded on two grounds: (1) because the French delegates had already published a report, (2) that its publication at the present moment was not opportune and should be delayed until May.[288] He had, however, communicated copies of the resolution and programme to our correspondents in Belgium and to Citizen Jung.

The resolution for drawing up a report was accordingly rescinded.


The Secretary for Germany said he was glad to be able to report that our Association was at length making headway in Germany, where it had obstacles to overcome greater than those which existed in France.[289] Steps were being taken to form branches in Berlin, Mayence and Leipsic by men for whom the speaker could vouch. These societies would probably be represented at the Geneva Congress.

Tuesday, November 28


In the regretted absence of the Secretary for Switzerland, Citizen Marx stated that Citizen J. Ph. Becker had issued a proclamation to the German Swiss, concerning the Association, portions of which he thought should be translated and published in our report.[290] In it, it was announced that the branch societies in Switzerland were about to issue a paper in German and French which would be the organ of the Association in that country. [reference to the Journal de l'Association Internationale des Travailleurs and Vorbote.]

December 26. Boxing night!

Citizen Le Lubez laid on the table the first of a projected series of attacks on the policy of the Central Council published in the Journal de Verviers (Belgium).[291]

Citizen Marx made some observations in defence of the Council.


Footnotes from MECW

253 In view of the of the Polish of the Central Council of the International resolved at its meeting of November 29, 1864 to issue an address to the Polish people on behalf of the British members of the International Working Association. Peter Fox, a Council member and leader of the British National League for the Independence of Poland, was instructed to write it. A journalist, Fox, however, shared the naive belief of many at that time, and also trade-union leaders, in the of Western ruling circles, in particular the Bonapartist Second Empire in France. The address submitted by Fox alleged that the traditional policy of France was favourable to Poland’s The address led to a discussion at the meeting of December 6 and at the Central Council’s meetings of December 13 and 20, 1864 and January 3, 1865.

Marx took an active part in the discussion. He criticised Fox’s report at the Sub-Committee’s meeting of December. 6, of which he informed Engels in a letter. on December 10, 1864, and at the Council’s meetings of December 13 and January, 3. Marx showed, particularly in his speech on January, 3, 1865, that the French ruling circles, both under absolutism and under. the bourgeois regimes right up to the time of Napoleon III had always sought to exploit the Polish question in the selfish interests of the ruling classes and that their policy was not favourable to the cause of Poland’s independence, of which the sole defenders were the representatives of the revolutionary proletariat. Marx’s arguments made the Central Council adopt a decision to enter the appropriate amendments in Fox’s address.

When preparing his speeches, Marx collected, in December 1864, material for his polemics with Fox and then used it for the draft speech published here. It reproduced in more concise and polished form the greater part of Marx’s preparatory material, but the history of Franco-Polish relations was brought only to 1812. Marx elucidated their later development in his speeches, in particular on January 3, on the basis of preparatory material in which then. history was traced up to 1848. The corresponding small part of the MS with preparatory materials is published in this volume, see Speech on Poland. Words and expressions, crossed out by Marx, and the vertical lines drawn by fruit in the left margins of the MS, usually opposite quotations, are not reproduced. Some paragraphs are numbered by Marx, the rest (in brackets) by the editors. Obvious slips of the pen in the dates have been corrected without Continent.

The reference is to the Inaugural Address of the Working Men’s International Association” published in Der Social-Demokrat, Nos. 2 and 3, December 21 and 30, 1864, under the title “Manifest an die arbeitende Klasse Europa’s”.

The German translation of the Address was made by Marx.

254 A reference to Joseph Weydemeyer’s letter (if January 2, 1865 in reply, to Marx’s letter of November 29, 1864, in which Marx wrote about the foundation of the International Working Men’s Association. Weydemeyer was glad to beat the crews and informed Marx of his intention to publish rite Inaugural Address of the Association in the local workers’ newspaper, St. Louis Daily Press, as well as in the democratic newspaper World.

255 Early in 1865 a conflict arose among the Paris members of the International: a group of Proudhonist workers headed by Henri Tolain and Charles Limousin, on the one hand, and, on the other, a French lawyer and bourgeois republican Henri Lefort, who claimed to be the founder and leader of the International Working Men’s Association in France. Those close to Lefort accused Tolain and other members of the Paris Administration of being in contact with the Bonapartists (Marx and Engels exposed this insinuation in the statement to Der Social-Demokrat). Nevertheless, wishing to draw into the International the workers grouped around Lefort, Marx supported the Central Council resolution of February 7, 1865, on Lefort’s appointment as “Counsel for the literary defence” of the International in France. Those present at the meeting of the Paris Section, however, lodged a protest against this decision, and sent Tolain and Fribourg to London on February 28 to speak on this point at the Central Council meeting. The Council referred the problem to the Sub-Committee which discussed it on March 4 and 6. Marx proposed a draft resolution which has survived in his notebook. When Marx drew it up, he tried to protect the French organisation of the International from attacks by bourgeois elements and to strengthen the leadership of the Paris Section by bringing in revolutionary proletarians.

This draft formed the basis of the relevant Central Council resolutions adopted on March 7, 1865 (published below). The resolutions also criticised certain Proudhonist dogmas defended by members of the Paris Administration.

The text of the resolutions has survived in the Council Minute Book and as a handwritten copy which was appended to Marx’s letter to Engels of March 13, 1865 and also contained the private instruction to Schily.

The document was published in English for the first time in The General Council of the First International. 1864-1866, Moscow, 1962.

The proposal temporarily to postpone the sending of membership cards to Paris was made by, Marx at this meeting as his letter to Engels of January, 25, 1865 indicates.

256 A reference to the editorial in a January issue of St. Louis Daily Press; the same issue published excerpts from the “Inaugural Address of the Working Men’s International Association”. Marx received the newspaper from Weydemeyer on January 31, 1865.

257 A discussion ensued on the participation of the Central Council’s delegation in the preliminary electoral reform conference to be convened in the London Tavern on February 6, 1865 by a group of radicals. The conference was to prepare a larger meeting to be held in St. Martin’s Hall on February 23, 1865 with a view to founding a mass organisation for the reform campaign.

The British trade unions took an active part in the general democratic movement for the second electoral reform in 1865-67.

In the spring of 1865 the Central Council of the International initiated, and participated in, the setting up of a Reform League in London as a political centre of the mass movement. The League’s leading bodies — the Council and the Executive Committee — included the Central Council members, mainly trade-union leaders. The League’s programme was drafted under Marx’s influence. Unlike the bourgeois parties, which confined their demand to household suffrage, the League advanced the demand for manhood suffrage. This revived Chartist slogan secured it the support of the trade unions, hitherto indifferent to politics. The League had branches in all the big industrial cities. However, the vacillations of the radicals in its leadership and the conciliation of the trade-union leaders prevented the League Iron] following the line charted by the Central (General) Council of the International. The British bourgeoisie succeeded in splitting the movement and a moderate reform was carried out in 1867 which granted franchise only to the petty bourgeoisie and the upper layers of the working class.

The minutes of the meetings do not reveal the character of the debates and the content of Marx’s speech. However, his letter to Engels written on February 1, 1865 shows that he managed to convince some Council members who objected to participation in the preliminary conference and the mass meeting to be convened by the radicals to give up their sectarian views. Marx proved the importance of the workers’ joint action with the radicals in the reform campaign and, moreover, explained the terms on which an effective bloc with them was possible (recognition of the demand for universal suffrage, and participation of Central Council representatives in the leading bodies of the mass reform organisation which was being established). The tactical platform proposed by Marx “as approved by the Council.

258 Marx based his first information on a letter from Ernest Jones dated February 13, 1865. He then read Jones’ letter of February, 10, 1865 in reply to his own letter of February 1. In the latter, which has not survived, Marx outlined a plan to draw the broad sections of British workers into the electoral reform movement under the leadership of the Central Council. In his reply, Jones expressed his agreement with the measures outlined and stressed, in particular, the need to put forward a slogan of radical reform in contrast to the moderate programme of the liberal National Reform Union in Manchester.

259 Marx read a letter to him from Ernest Jones of February 25, 1865. Jones had written about the success of the reform movement in Manchester and welcomed the mass meeting in London on February, 23 which declared the formation of the Reform League. He invited delegates of the League to Manchester to take part in a mass meeting in support of the demand for universal suffrage.

264 Schily informed Marx of his refusal to accept the appointment as the Council’s official representative on the Paris Administration in a letter dated March 20, 1865.

265 Marx acted as Corresponding Secretary for Belgium, while remaining Corresponding Secretary for Germany, until November 6, 1866, when these functions were entrusted to the Council member Alexander Besson.

266 Marx meant Charles Longuet, editor of the democratic weekly La Rive Gauche which published the International’s documents (it began to appear in Paris on October 20, 1864). Longuet was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment for publishing articles against the Second Empire, and the paper was banned as of March 12, 1865. Publication was resumed on May 14, 1865 in Brussels and continued until August 15, 1866.

268 A reference apparently to one of the two letters Jones wrote to Marx, on April 22 and 24, 1865, in which he informed Marx of the headway being made by the electoral reform movement in Manchester.

269 It soon became clear that Leon Fontaine, a Belgian democrat, had not established contacts with the workers, although he was empowered to do so, and had taken no steps to publicise the International in Belgium. In the letter, which Marx read at this meeting, Fontaine tried to justify his inactivity. The first section of the international in Belgium was founded on July 17, 1865 with the participation of the Belgian socialist Cesar De Paepe.

270 Late in March 1865, the Leipzig Compositors’ Union declared a strike in reply to the employers’ refusal to meet the compositors’ demand for higher wage rates. It involved nearly 650 people. On April 15, the Berlin Compositors’ Union, of which Wilhelm Liebknecht was one of the leaders, sent a letter to the Central Council asking it to support the Leipzig compositors. This letter is quoted in the report of the given Council meeting published in The Bee-Hive Newspaper, No. 185, April 29, 1865.

271 Marx communicated the news about the reorganisation of the Paris Administration on the basis of Schily’s letter to him of April 27, 1865. As a result of the reorganisation, the Administration strengthened its ties with workers and drew several new members, among them Louis Varlin and Zefirin Camelinat, into its activities.

272 The national Reform Conference, sponsored by the liberal National Reform Union, was held in Manchester on May 15 and 16, 1865. Most of its delegates were representatives of the bourgeoisie. They refused to include the demand for universal manhood suffrage in the conference’s resolutions as proposed by the International’s Central Council member Cremer, who was supported by Ernest Jones and some delegates of the radical Reform League.

The leading bodies of the Reform League (see Note 257) — the Council and the more narrow Executive Committee — were elected at the end of March 1865. The Executive included six Central Council members (Cremer, Leno, Nieass, Odger, Howell and Eccarius). Howell was elected the League’s honorary secretary. In view of the forthcoming conference in Manchester, the League issued an address to the working classes to campaign for manhood suffrage.

273 An extraordinary meeting of the Central Council to discuss problems raised by Weston was held in the evening of May 20. The minutes of this meeting are not extant. In a letter to Engels, dated May 20, 1865, Marx gave the substance of Weston’s views and his chief objections to them. As can be seen from the letter, Marx considered it important to counter Weston’s erroneous theses with a scientific theory on the questions concerned, and to explain in popular form several basic propositions from his own economic teaching. Marx did not therefore confine himself to opposing Weston at this and subsequent meetings, but prepared a special report which he read in the Council on June 20 and 27, 1865.

Marx’s was report read at the Central Council meetings on June 20 and 27, 1865. Being a further step in the elaboration of his economic theory, it was at the same time, thanks to its popular form, a model of how to present such material to advanced workers.

274 Written by Marx, the Address of the Central Council was printed in the New-York Daily Tribune, No. 7536, June 1, 1865, under the heading “To Andrew Johnson, President (if the United States”. The heading was preceded by the words: “The Working Men of Europe to President Johnson”.

275 The Provisional Rules of the International Working Men’s Association envisaged the convocation of a congress in Belgium in 1865. However, Marx soon realised that the local organisations were not yet strong enough and that the International as a whole was not ready for a congress. He managed to convince Central Council members of the need to convene a conference in London, instead of a congress, on July 25, 1865. The Council approved the report of the Standing Committee on this question.

276 On July 11, 1865 the Central Council did not discuss this question. On July 18 the desire was once again expressed to publish the materials of the debate in the press, in particular in the columns of The Miner and Workman’s Advocate.

However, the report of the debate was not printed. The German refugee Karl Kaub made an attempt to resume the discussion of the question at the Council meeting on August 15 when he read his paper refuting Weston’s theses. This was the last report on the subject recorded in the Minute Book of the General Council.

282 On September 11 Marx wrote to Wilhelm Liebknecht in Hanover inviting him to attend the London Conference of the International as a delegate from Germany. Liebknecht replied that he would not be able to come but would send a report on the working-class movement in Germany.

Liebknecht’s report in English was not, however, read by Marx at the conference because it devoted too much attention to Marx personally, as he himself explained to Liebknecht in a letter of November 21, 18(35. The report has survived in manuscript form (see The General Council of the First International. 1864-1866, Moscow, 1962, pp. 251-60).

283 A reference to the ceremonial evening to celebrate the first anniversary of the International to be held on September 28, 1865 in St. Martin’s Hall, London. It was part of the London Conference programme. Jones had promised to attend, but was unable to leave Manchester.

288 By decision of the London Conference, a congress of the International Working Men’s Association was initially to take place in Geneva in May 1866. Later the convocation was postponed until September.

289 For the reactionary laws in Prussia prohibiting workers’ organisations to join the International, and for the Lassallean leaders’ opposition to this, see Note 230. Early in 1865 Marx proposed individual membership which enabled German workers to circumvent these laws. The International Association’s members in Germany got in touch with the Central Council directly or through the German Section founded by Johann Philipp Becker in Geneva. This is how the contact was established with the workers in Mainz, Berlin, Solingen and other towns. Marx based his communication to the Central Council meeting about the headway being made by the Association in Germany on Liebknecht’s letter to bun of November 16 and on one from Theodor Metzner, Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt of November 13, 1865.

290 The appeal to the workers of Switzerland to join the International was issued by the German Section in Geneva in November 1865. Art abridged version in English was published in The Workman’s Advocate, December 16, 1865.

291 On December 16 and 18, 1865 the Belgian democratic newspaper L'Echo de Verviers, Nos. 293 and 294, published an anonymous article which gave a distorted picture of the Central Council’s activities and the work of the London Conference of 1865. Its author was the French petty-bourgeois republican Pierre Vesinier, a refugee in Belgium and the spokesman for petty-bourgeois elements in the French branch in London who opposed Marx and the Central Council. This branch was founded in the autumn of 1865 and included, besides petty-bourgeois refugees (Le Lubez, FéIix Pyat and others), proletarian elements (Eugène Dupont, Hermann Jung and Paul Lafargue) who later broke away from its petty-bourgeois wing.

Vésinier’s article was discussed in the Central Council on December 26, 1865 and on January 2 and 9, 1866. On the instructions of the Council, Vesinier’s slanderous attacks were refuted by Hermann Jung, who was helped by Marx to write a letter to the editor of L'Echo de Verviers.