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self the right to own and control labour," and that "experience has demonstrated the utility of concentrated effort in arriving at specified ends." For this For this purpose the "International Industrial Assembly of North America was formed. Its chief object was "to use every honourable means in our power to adjust difficulties that may arise between employers and workmen, to labour assiduously for the development of a plan of action that may be mutually beneficial to both parties; to use our influence to discountenance strikes, except when they become absolutely necessary, and to devise the best means of supporting such organisations as may be driven to the necessity of resorting to such means to force a recognition of their rights." That this support was intended to be more than merely nominal is derived from the following clause: "In order to create a fund for the practical benefit of any organisation of workingmen which may be struck by the capitalists unjustly, this assembly may at any stated and regular meeting levy a per capita tax of five cents on every organised workingman through the various trades' assemblies of America and to be kept in their treasuries subject to the order of the International body."

The principle of conciliation was affirmed in the words of a special resolution proclaiming the right of the workingmen to be the judges of the value of their labour and that as "the creators of wealth they are entitled, equally with capital, to a fair and equal participation in its benefits, . . . but while thus clearly defining our fundamental rights, as a measure of courtesy and mutual confidence, we would recommend in the adjustment of wages, as a preliminary step, consultation with employing capitalists, with a view to the adoption of a scale of wages which may be mutually satisfactory to both parties."

The other resolutions relating to trade union action were one recommending that the various trades' assemblies should cmploy, in order of precedence according to the date of their organisation, salaried travelling organisers, subject to orders from the International Assembly; one urging that the local trades' assemblies come to the aid of the sewing women; and one offering support to the members of the Chicago Typographical Union, recently discharged by the proprietors of the Chicago Times, and affirming that this effort was the result of a combi

nation of capitalists, known as the Northwestern Publishing Association, to break up the typographical union. 41

Attention was also given to legislation, and the trades' assemblies were urged to work for laws prohibiting the store-order system and abolishing the competition of prison labour. They were also "to agitate the justness to all who labour for support that eight hours should constitute a legal day's work."

The movement for consumers' co-operation was highly recommended and the trades' assemblies were advised to establish stores for groceries and provisions. 42

The next meeting of the international assembly was set for Detroit, in May, 1865, but the meeting did not occur.

The exclusive prominence given by the convention to trade union action reflects the prosperous conditions of industry and the prevailing success of local trade unions in securing higher wages. Less significant is the form of organisation adopted for the International Industrial Assembly. The plan proposed in the Louisville call, looking forward to a mixed organisation of trades' assemblies and national trade unions was evidently abandoned, for the convention made no provision for the representation of the existing national trade unions, to say nothing of aiding in the establishment of new ones. The local trades' assembly was to be the only unit of organisation, each assembly having one vote in the international assembly. The Chicago Workingman's Advocate, commenting upon the Louisville convention, found the International Industrial Assembly superior to the national trade union because "there are thousands of mechanics and workingmen on this continent who never have been, and never will be, represented in an International Union of their particular branch of Labor," and because it was less expensive to support.+3

Thus the American labour movement in 1864 found itself little further advanced in the form of organisation than the movement of the thirties. The national trade unions which

41 This association was organised pri marily as a news agency similar to the Associated Press, but evidently it performed functions of an employers' association, at present performed by the American Newspaper Publishers' Association.

42 A resolution was also passed urging

upon the workmen of the country the duty of sustaining Fincher's Trades' Review, the Workingman's Advocate, and the Buf falo Sentinel, and censuring the Chicago Times for its persecution of the members of the typographical union.

43 Fincher's, Oct. 22, 1864.

were in existence in 1864 were unable to compete with the trades' assemblies for the honour of establishing a national federation of labour. They were too few in number, too weak, and too much occupied in their struggle with employers' associations.

While the Louisville convention was clearly an attempt of the scattered trades' assemblies in the country to form a national federation on a purely trade union basis, an effort was made to inoculate it with politics, although this does not directly appear in the proceedings. The following occurs in Whittier's report to the Boston Trades' Assembly, from which we have already quoted: "Considering that there were some objectionable sections in the Constitution as adopted, and frankly stating that the Boston Assembly would object to being hampered with anything of a political character on the eve of a presidential election, the vote was reconsidered and on my earnest representation, the objectionable features were stricken out." 44

The political tendency was evidently represented by Blake, the delegate from Chicago and publisher of the Workingman's Advocate. He had read the majority report of the committee on constitution in which Whittier must have found the objectionable political features, and, after a prolonged discussion, the minority report, presented by Whittier, was adopted by the convention, and the majority report was not printed.

The Louisville convention brought no practical results, mainly because the organisations that composed it did not yet feel the pressing need of a national federation. The movement for higher wages was carried on almost universally with success by the local trade unions assisted by the local assemblies. In view of this success the need of favourable legislation, which two years later forced the formation of the National Labor Union, was not yet felt. At the same time, there was no necessity of a national agency for the purpose of deciding jurisdictional disputes an important function of the American Federation of Labor at a later time because the sphere of action of each trades' assembly was well defined by geographic boundaries and the jurisdictional disputes arising between the trade unions in each city could be settled by the trades' assembly. This ac

44 Boston Daily Evening Voice, Dec. 80,1864.

counts for the lukewarm attitude of the trades' assemblies toward the idea of a national federation.

There was yet another cause. The Philadelphia Trades' Assembly, the strongest in the country, refused to send delegates to the Louisville convention. When the letter from the Louisville assembly, inviting delegates to meet in their city, was presented to the Philadelphia assembly, a committee composed of Sylvis, Fincher, and Graham was appointed to consider the matter, 45 but the committee apparently never reported. The reason is not difficult to guess. Sylvis and Fincher were officers of the two strongest national trade unions, the moulders', and the machinists' and blacksmiths', and a national organisation with a trades' assembly as its unit could not appeal to them. After the convention, the Philadelphia assembly adopted the view that, since the local assemblies possessed only advisory powers, the delegates to the international assembly had overstepped their powers in providing for the levy of a tax upon members of local unions. 40


Following the upward sweep of prices, workmen had begun toward the end of 1862 to make definite preparations for distributive co-operation. They endeavoured to cut off the profits of the middleman by establishing co-operative grocery stores, meat markets, and coal yards. The first substantial effort of this kind to attract wide attention was the formation in December, 1862, of the Union Co-operative Association of Philadelphia. The prime mover and the financial secretary of this organisation was Thomas Phillips, 7 a shoemaker who came

45 Fincher's, June 4, 1864.

46 Fincher's, Oct. 22, 1864. This view was not entirely correct, because the assembly of Rochester was empowered to levy strike assessments.

47 Thomas Phillips was born in 1833 on a farm in Yorkshire, England. At the age of sixteen he became apprenticed to a shoemaker in a small town in Lancashire, where he soon joined the union of which his boss was secretary. He also joined the Chartist movement. In 1852 he bought his liberty before his term of sp prenticeship was over and came to Amer.

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to city working at his trade, engaging in a strike as a picket during the first year. He was active in organising his trade and became interested in co-operation upon reading Holyoake's History of Co-operation in England. He started in Philadelphia the first co-operative association in America, the Union Co-operative Associa tion, on the Rochdale plan. This association failed in 1866 after it had branched out, contrary to Phillip's advice, into four stores.

Phillips was closely identified with the Knights of St. Crispin, the national union of the shoemakers which existed from

from England in 1852, fired with the principles of his brother craftsmen, the Rochdale pioneers. One year after the Philadelphia store was opened Phillips could write: "One of the brightest spots on earth to my vision, is the little dingy onestory co-operative shop, 917 Federal Street, Philadelphia. Its very reticence throughout the day and through all but three nights in the week, is pleasing to me. . . . They adhere to the rigid old Rochdale system."

Starting in this small way, the pioneer Philadelphia experiment expanded with several small branches in various parts of the city. Toward the end of its second year, it planned, although it never carried into effect, a series of wholesale distributing centres including country storehouses for farm products and city wholesale establishments for direct distribution to its retail stores.

Meanwhile Phillips, over the name of "Worker," contributed to the columns of Fincher's Trades' Review, the national labour weekly, a series of enthusiastic letters in which he explained the Rochdale plan and enlarged upon the possibilities of co-operation in America. Twice during the first year, to meet urgent demands for information, Fincher's Review found it necessary to reprint in full the rules of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers' Society, then beginning its twentieth year in England. Letters of inquiry poured in upon the editor from all parts of America, and before the end of 1863 notices of the organisation of similar co-operative grocery stores had been received from Buffalo, New York; Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania; and from Lawrence

1867 to 1878, and especially in the work of furthering productive co-operation. He favoured a co-operative factory open to all Crispins rather than one controlled by a small group. His idea prevailed and the enterprise began with $20,000 capital, each member having to pay in $200 at $1 per week, the profits to be divided between the interest on capital, labour, and custom. After four years, partly as a result of the opposition of the disappointed Crispins who desired a limited group in control, the enterprise failed. Phillips was organiser of the Sovereigns of Industry in the late seventies and at an earlier date he had been the first shoemaker to join the Knights of Labor. He was elected to represent his local in District Assembly 1, and was placed in charge of the labour column which the organisation se

cured with the daily Public Record, at a salary of $1,000.

In 1876 Phillips became president of a co-operative company started by the local assemblies of District Assembly 1. At the same time he was engaged in the Peter Cooper presidential campaign. In 1887 he ran for mayor of Philadelphia on a labour ticket. In 1889 he was elected president of the Boot and Shoe Workers' International Union.

While still working in a Philadelphia shoe factory, he presented, in 1905, his valuable collection of rare labour papers, including a complete file of Fincher's Trades' Review, to the University of Wisconsin Library. He died in 1916 at the age of eighty-four.

48 Fincher's, Dec. 3, 1864.

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