International Peace Congress

International Peace Congress,[1] or International Congress of the Friends of Peace,[citation needed] was the name of a series of international meetings of representatives from peace societies from throughout the world held in various places in Europe from 1843 to 1853.[2] An initial congress at London in 1843 was followed by an annual series of congresses from 1848 until 1853.[2]

London, 1843

The first International Congress was held in London at the suggestion of Joseph Sturge and on the initiative of the American Peace Society in 1843.[2][3] The host was the London Peace Society.[3] 294 British, 37 American and six Continental delegates attended.[1]

Brussels, 1848

Elihu Burritt organized the Congress of 1848,[4] the first after the French Revolution of February 1848.[3] It was chaired by Auguste Visschers, a Belgian lawyer and philanthropist.[3] The participants met at Brussels in September of that year. Among the delegates were Cobden, Thierry, Girardin, and Bastiat. The congress adopted resolutions urging limitation of armaments and the placing of a ban upon foreign loans for war purposes.

Paris, 1849

One year after Brussels, the Peace Congress met in Paris from 22 to 24 August 1849, with Victor Hugo as president [3] The proceedings were published by Charles Gilpin. Among the speakers were many of the chief philosophers and politicians of the time, including Frederic Bastiat, Charles Gilpin, Richard Cobden and Henry Richard [5] William Wells Brown was invited to speak against slavery. Hugo introduced the concept of the United States of Europe.[6]

Later congresses

Through the next decade, more congresses were convened in various cities:[2]

  • 4th congress: Frankfurt am Main (1850)[7]
  • 5th congress: London (1851), co-inciding with the Great Exhibition.[8]
  • 6th congress: Manchester (1852) Here Richard Cobden and John Bright took part in the discussions.
  • 7th congress: Edinburgh (1853)

The series was terminated by an interval of wars during which the pacifists were unable to raise their voices.[2]

See also


  1. Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Peace Society" . Encyclopedia Americana.
  2.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Barclay, Thomas (1911). "Peace". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. Durand, André (31 October 1996). "Gustave Moynier and the peace societies". International Review of the Red Cross. 36 (314): 532–550. doi:10.1017/S0020860400076129.
  4. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Burritt, Elihu" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  5. Peace Congress, 2d, Paris, 1849. Report of the proceedings of the second general Peace Congress, held in Paris on the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th of August, 1849. Compiled from authentic documents under the superintendence of the Peace Congress Committee. London, Charles Gilpin, 1849. Available online at The Internet Archive also available in formatted style at David Hart's webpage Archived 19 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Alan W. Ertl Toward an Understanding of Europe 2008 Page 61 "The French novelist and publicist, Victor Hugo used the concept of the United States of Europe, eg, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1849."
  7. The Proceedings of the 1850 Congress were published by Charles Gilpin and are available online through GoogleBooks
  8. The Congress was reported in The Advocate for Peace (Sept/Oct. 1851) pp. 125–128.