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ism was not extended any farther westward, and Virginia still continued to be the most southerly State.

The following list of 61 trade unions is presented in the chronological order in which the union notices appeared in Fincher's Trades' Review, between June, 1863, and November 25, 1865.

Machinists and Blacksmiths, Moulders, Carpenters and Joiners, Painters, Plasterers, Printers, House Carpenters, Cabinetmakers and Carvers, Tin Plate and Sheet-Iron Workers, Tailors, Upholsterers, Bricklayers, Garment Cutters, Shipwrights, Tinsmiths, Coopers, Steam Boiler-makers, Boiler-makers and Shipbuilders, Varnishers, Sparmakers, Shoemakers, Cigar makers, Fancy Chair Makers, Freestone Cutters, Wheelwrights, Curriers, Engineers, Collar Makers, Horseshoers, Labouring Men, Druggistware GlassBlowers, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Seamen, ShipCarpenters and Caulkers, Granite Cutters, Window Glass-Blowers, Gilders, Brush Makers, Coach Makers, Harnessmakers, Boot and Shoemakers, Bookbinders, Brass Founders and Finishers, Sewing Machine Operators (Women), Axemakers, Pattern Makers, Trunk and Bag Makers, Saddlers, Gas and Steam Fitters, Saddle and Pad Makers, Stove Mounters, Marble Cutters, Puddlers, Iron Rollers, Morocco Finishers, Plumbers, Hat Makers, Ship Painters, Ship Fasteners, Heaters, and Ship Joiners.

These unions were scattered over a wider territory than had ever before been organised, and the numerous and general efforts at organisation justly deserve to be called a "movement"; for not only did they comprise every trade, but the various trades in the more important localities soon gave concrete expression to the prevailing sentiment of the solidarity of labour and federated into trades' assemblies.


The local trades' assembly, and not the national trade union, was the common unit of labour organisation during the period

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of the War. Transportation by rail, which had established a national market for industries producing a standardised commodity like stoves, had not yet consolidated the markets of a very large number of industries. In these competition remained substantially local and called for a merely local union. Another factor was the novelty of organisation itself and the difficulty in establishing connections with fellow craftsmen in other cities, due to insufficient channels of communication. This was later amended to a large degree by the trade union directories printed in the labour press.

The first trades' assembly of the war period was organised in Rochester, New York, in March, 1863. Boston and New York followed in June of the same year. Albany, Buffalo, Louisville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and San Francisco likewise had trades' assemblies by the end of 1863. At the end of the War, trades' assemblies existed in every important industrial centre. The trade assembly endeavoured to do for the local trade unions what the American Federation of Labour is at present doing for the national trade unions. The powers of the assembly were merely advisory, but since the membership was made up of the most influential men in every local union, the influence of the assembly was great. The assemblies carried no strike funds 10 and distributed no strike benefits, but served as publicity agencies in case of strikes. They aided the striking union in the collection of funds, and through connections with assemblies of other cities counteracted the efforts of employers to hire strike-breakers from outside the strike area. Another important function was the organisation of boycotts, known then as "non-intercourse." A delegate to the St. Louis Trade-Union League wrote of the methods of that organisation as follows: 11

"We do not propose to do this [to aid labour against capital] by pecuniary aid, but by the moral force of numbers and active sympa

1866 a House Carpenters' Trades' Union in Washington, D. C., as an exception to the rule. Speaking, however, of unions of single trades in the generic sense, they were frequently referred to as trade unions or even trades' unions. Thus Fincher speaks of "National Trade Unions" and the directory of trade unions (local, national and trades assemblies) which ap

peared in the paper was headed "Trades' Union Directory." When the trades' assemblies created, in 1864, the International Industrial Assembly, it was sometimes referred to as "The International Trades' Union."

10 The Trades' Assembly of Rochester was an exception to the rule.

11 Fincher's, Nov. 28, 1868.

thy. To illustrate: We will suppose a boss tailor refuses to pay the prices established by the Tailors' Union. It is the duty of the tailors to inform the general society, through its delegates, of the facts in the case, whereupon it becomes the duty of the delegates from each of the other Unions composing the general society, to inform their particular organisation, and each member of all the societies is then under obligation to refuse to patronise the shop so refusing to pay the established rates, and to counsel their friends to do the same. In this way we expect to bring an influence that no proprietor can ignore."

Throughout the period of the War, the number of strikes was comparatively small, considering the incessant readjustment of wages to prices. The number of strikes mentioned in the three leading labour papers was 38 in 1863, affecting 30 trades; 108 in 1864, affecting 48 trades; and 85 in 1865, affecting 46 trades. In numerous cases the mere organisation of a union was sufficient to secure the demands.

The trades' assemblies devoted their main efforts to the work of organisation and agitation. They appointed special agents to form trade unions in the unorganised trades; they also agitated the idea of organisation at mass meetings called for this purpose. The trades' assembly further assisted in the establishment of co-operative stores, frequently appointing special agents to set the business on foot. The assemblies of Albany, Boston, Chicago, and Troy were instrumental in the establishment of such stores as dealt in groceries alone. In addition to this, the Troy Assembly also maintained a "workingmen's emporium," which was well patronised by the union men. Free libraries and reading rooms were established by the trades' assemblies of Chicago (German), Philadelphia, and Troy. The trades' assembly also was an organisation for lobbying." When a bill, directed against picketing, was introduced in the legislature of New York in the winter of 1864, the trades' assemblies of New York, 12 Brooklyn,18 and Buffalo 14 passed strong resolutions and saw that the bill was defeated. 15


12 Fincher's, Apr. 16, 1864.
13 Ibid., Apr. 23, 1864.
14 Ibid., Apr. 16, 1864.

15 Sylvis explained to the moulders' convention in Chicago in January, 1965, that the primary object of this bill was to de

feat the moulders' and machinists' unions at Cold Springs, N. Y., which were on strike against R. P. Parrott, a shot and shell manufacturer for the army. The strike was broken up through the inter

The support of the labour press was regarded as an important duty by the trades' assemblies. Frequent references may be found during the later issues of Fincher's Trades' Review to the aid received from various trades' assemblies. In St. Louis, the trade union league subscribed $1,000 toward the establishment of the St. Louis Daily Press. 16 The Boston Daily Evening Voice and later the Chicago Workingman's Advocate were also aided by the assemblies.

The proceedings of the Philadelphia Trades' Assembly have been much more fully preserved than those of any other, and a survey of its history will give an idea of the career of the average organisation.

The Philadelphia Journeymen House Painters' Association seems to have taken the initiative in bringing about the organisation of the assembly. In September, 1863, the members of this union offered the use of their newly erected hall for meetings of all trades. At the first meeting on October 27, nine trades were represented and Jonathan C. Fincher delivered an address on "Combination." Combination." At a second meeting held on November 10, six additional trades were represented, but it was decided to effect a permanent organisation at the next meeting to which all the various trade associations in the city were to be invited. At the same time it was announced that the federation of all trades would bring together 30,000 organised workingmen.1 At a meeting held on December 8, the trades' assembly was organised, but the adoption of a permanent constitution was delayed for several months.


At a meeting held January 12, 1864, resolutions were adopted urging the immediate establishment of a library and free reading room, the support of Fincher's Trades' Review, and the necessity of securing a charter. 18 At the same meeting the strike and boycott policy was defined in the following resolution:

"That the different organizations herein represented, be requested to report to the Trades' Assembly all grievances that can in any way be affected by public opinion: and where the complainants make

vention of the militia. Fincher's, Jan. 14, 1865.

16 Boston Daily Evening Voice, Jan. 17, 1865.

17 Fincher's, Dec. 19, 1863.

18 There is no evidence that the matter of incorporation was ever brought before the assembly again.

good their claim to the general sympathy of their fellow workingmen, the Trades' Assembly shall request of the various Unions represented, that they adopt a specified course of action, calculated to secure the success of their brother workmen, either by expression of opinions, non-intercourse, or in event of a severe struggle with capitalists, pecuniary relief." 19

The constitution, which was finally adopted at a meeting on March 8, 1864, recognised only the power of recommendation and provided for the admission of three delegates from each organised trade. The expenses of the organisation were to be paid from annual dues of $10 from each local union having more than 200 members; $8 from each local with a membership of less than 200 and more than 100; and $5 from unions with less than 100 members. Intoxication, or the use of profane or indecent language, subjected the offender to a fine and to expulsion from the meeting. A by-law expressly provided that "no subject of a political or religious nature shall at any time be admitted."

At the first election in April, 1864, W. B. Eckert was elected president and John Samuel, vice-president.20 James L. Wright was made treasurer.21 and William H. Sylvis and Jonathan C. Fincher were elected to the board of trustees.

Within a year from the date of its organisation, the assembly represented twenty-eight local trade unions and was the strongest trades' assembly in the country.

It has been shown how the trades' assembly mirrored and focussed the labour movement during this period. Each assembly with its affiliated trades was a world in itself, maintaining but loose and irregular diplomatic relations with the other thirty or forty similar worlds. No serious attempt was

19 Fincher's, Jan. 23, 1864.

20 John Samuel was a druggist-ware glass-blower, born in Wales, Feb. 3, 1817. He came to America in 1832 and served his apprenticeship in Philadelphia. He took part in the general strike of 1836 in Philadelphia during the fourth year of his apprenticeship. In 1857, he organised the glass workers in Philadelphia and vi cinity. Later he became a member of the editorial staff of Fincher's Trades' Review. After that time his chief interest was the encouragement of co-operation. He was placed at the head of the co-operative board of the Knights of Labor in the

eighties. In 1907, at the age of ninety,
he presented his collection on trade union-
ism and co-operation to the University of
Wisconsin. He died in 1909.

21 Wright was born in Ireland in 1816 of Scottish-Irish ancestry and came to Philadelphia in 1827. In 1836 he became a member of the tailors' benevolent society; in 1854, manager of a large clothing house; in 1862, he helped to organise a garment cutters' association of which he was president for many years; and in 1868, with six others, he founded the Knights of Labor.

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