The Football Association


November 10, 1863
When this association was formed a short time since, it was agreed that the honorary secretary, Mr. Ebenezer Cobb Morley, should communicate with some of the public schools in order to ascertain their opinion upon the desirability of forming, and obtaining their co-operation in the association.

Accordingly on Tuesday evening, November 10, a somewhat numerous and influential number of gentlemen representing the clubs, who put down their names as willing to become members, assembled at the Freemason’s Tavern, Great Queen-street, Lincoln’s Inn-fields, at seven o’clock, but did not, be it observed, proceed to the despatch of business with fitting punctuality.

Mr. Arthur Pember, the president, occupied the chair, supported by the following clubs and representatives: –
Barnes, Mr. Ebenezer Cobb Morley and Mr. T.D. Gregory;
Crystal Palace, Mr. J. Turner;
Royal Naval School, New-cross, Mr. F. Brand and Mr. W.P. Johnston;
N.N. Kilburn, Mr. A. Pember;
Kensington School, Mr. L. McIver and Mr. J.A. Redgrave;
Forest, Leytonstone, Mr. J.F. Alcock and Mr. A. Mackenzie;
Percival School, Blackheath, Mr. A.C. Fawke and Mr. G.W. Shillingford;
War Office, Mr. C. Hawker;
Blackheath, Mr. F.M. Campbell and Mr. F.H. Moore.

The minutes of the last meeting having been confirmed, the president said that it would probably be in the recollection of the members that at the last meeting the hon sec had been requested to write to the public schools, and probably he would at once report any proceedings he had taken, and the result.

Mr. Ebenezer Cobb Morley said that he had, in pursuance of the instructions of the last meeting, written to the several schools of Rugby, Eton, Winchester, Harrow, Westminster, and Charterhouse, and begged to read the replies he had received: –

“Rev. F. Rendall’s Harrow, N.W., Saturday, Oct. 31.

“Sir, I am directed by the Harrow School Philathletic Club to ask you for further particulars as to the objects of the Football Association, and of the advantages to be gained from joining it. I should, therefore, be glad if you would send me the printed prospectus of the association, if such exists, or, if otherwise, to communicate with me by writing on the subject.

“I shall be most happy to forward you a copy of the rules of the Harrow game, of they are of any use to the committee.

“The head master directs me to say that under no circumstances could he allow the representative of Harrow to attend the annual meeting if such meeting were held during the Harrow School term, – I am, sir, your obedient servant,

“Charles Gordon Browne, ‘Captain of Harrow School’.”

Accordingly (said Mr. Morley) I again wrote in reply, and received the following answer.

“Sir: I should have answered your note before, but was prevented, and you will therefore allow me to apologise. At present Harrow is not willing to join the Football Association. We cling to our present rules, and should be very sorry to alter them in any respect. Therefore we will remain at present as lookers on, till we can judge what appears to be done.

“I am, &c., Charles Gordon Browne.”

Mr. Ebenezer Cobb Morley then read the following reply from another of the six schools written to: –

“Foundation, Charterhouse, Oct. 29, 1863.

“Sir: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your communication yesterday, and to inform you that I am directed to state that Charterhouse cannot, as yet, be included amongst the clubs who form the Football Association.

“Believe me to be, yours faithfully, ‘B.F. Hartshorne, captain of Charterhouse Eleven.”

The president wishes to observe that, having recently read the laws in use at Charterhouse, he had found them very simple, and doubted not that if two of the other public schools would join, that then the Charterhouse would do likewise.

The Hon Sec then read as follows: –

“St Peter’s College, Westminter, Nov 6.

“Sir: I beg to thank you for your communication with regard to the Football Association, but I have also received a letter from the secretary of the Public Schools Club in which a meeting of the captains of the Public School Elevens is proposed.

“I think therefore that it would be more desirable for me to wait till after that meeting before I return you any definite answer.

“I am, sir, faithfully yours, W.W.C. Lane.”

Mr. Morley said that he had also received another letter on the subject of the association, but not from either Rugby, Eton, or Winchester. He then read the following letter from Lieut-Col the Hon H.H. Clifford: –

“Sir: Seeing in the Times that a Football Association is being formed for the purpose of settling a code of rules for the regulation of the game, I beg to forward for your information some of the rules which we drew up for an Officer’s Football Club at the camp, and when you have drawn up your rules I shall feel greatly obliged to you if you send me a copy.

“Quarter Master General’s office, Aldershot.”

The president said that, with regard to the letter that had been received from public school, the association had hardly thought they would leave their own rules at once on the formation of the association.

The hon secretary had not himself anticipated it, but he did think that when any of them had to play on a neutral ground against a club that adopted the association laws they would see the advantage of one recognised code, and most probably ultimately adopt it.

However that might be, if 20 or 30 clubs joined the association, their acquiescence in one code would surely be sufficient authority in the game (hear, hear).

The revised rules of the association were then agreed to, as published in our advertising columns this day.

The consideration of the laws was then proceeded with, but so little was definitely done that we withhold a report until the code is complete, when we shall give it in extenso.

The adjournment was fixed for Tuesday, Nov 17, at 6.30 p.m., exact time.
(Source: Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle: November 14, 1863)

FA rules 1863

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