On 22 August 1849 a privately sponsored peace congress opened in the Salle de Sainte Cécile in Paris. In the chair was Victor Hugo, assisted as vice presidents and secretaries by a team of men from Britain, the United States, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Several of these men, such as Richard Cobden, were members of the legislatures of their respective countries: others were prominent clergymen and philanthropists. Seated before them were delegates from a slightly wider range of countries which in that blissfully Eurocentric era were deemed to represent the world. They had been brought together by an invitation sent by the London-based Peace Congress Committee to well-known individual sympathizers, peace societies, religious bodies, philanthropic and other civic groups. The business before them consisted of a series of propositions advocating international arbitration, general and simultaneous disarmament, a congress of nations, an international court, and various measures designed to facilitate international communication. This peace congress was the second in a series of four convened between 1848 and 1851 in Brussels, Paris, Frankfort and London to co-ordinate and develop various pressure-group activities which had gained momentum during the late 1840s in Britain and the United States.