186 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 2 MARCH 2020
The meeting duly took place. On the agenda was the item “Proposal (as
set out in Un souvenir de Solférino) for the formation of permanent relief
societies for aid to men wounded in action”. The members initially showed
little enthusiasm for what they perceived as an initiative far removed from
the immediate concerns for their city.
Moynier, a mettlesome and experienced lawyer, who chaired the meeting,
recounted his discussions with Dunant and reported his agreement to
set about putting the appeal in Un souvenir into practice. Moynier had
recently represented the society at the international welfare congresses in
several European capitals. He had listened to a reading of Florence Nightingale’s
paper, “The Sanitary Service in the Army and Its Reform under Lord
Herbert”. Dunant’s project had caught Moynier’s imagination and he could
see a way to implement the project. He turned the minds of the members
until they began to feel that they had in hand an international mission,
which it was their duty to promote.
Present at the meeting was General Dufour, who had but recently quelled
a domestic rebellion amongst the cantons of Switzerland. Dufour had read
Un souvenir and had commended Dunant on his initiative. Also in attendance
was Dr. Louis Appia, who had lately invented a stretcher for evacuating
those wounded in battle. He had been present at Solferino and served
as a field doctor. He had written many articles published in Geneva journals
about amputations he had witnessed, the incidence of tetanus and the
effect of new drugs he had seen used (chloride of iron, curare and chloroform).
He was an expert, but he recognized the inadequacies of medical
care, though he accepted it as a natural consequence of war.
Dr. Théodore Maunoir, a close friend of Dr. Appia, was a physician in
practice in Geneva. A Calvinist, like most of the others, he, with Dr. Appia,
was engrossed in the development of medicine and surgery.
THE COMMITTEE OF FIVE
The meeting ended with the appointment of Dufour, Appia, Moynier,
Maunoir and Dunant as a special committee of five (the “Committee of
Five” or the “Committee”) to study Dunant’s proposals with special reference
to the attachment of corps of voluntary aids to armies in the field.
Dunant was keen to enlist the support of Le Beau Monde. He felt, correctly,
that they needed the patronage of the potentates (the kings, queens and
princes), not only to lend plausibility to the initiative, but also as a source
of financing. General Dufour, in particular, had an appreciation of the lift
that such patronage could give to an endeavour that might otherwise thin
away into insignificance and oblivion. Though the Committee of Five spent