Marx and Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung July 1848

The Ministerial Crisis


Source: MECW Volume 7, p. 199;
Written: by Marx on July 8, 1848;
First published: in the special supplement to the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 39, July 9, and in Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 40, July 10, 1848.


Cologne, July 8.[147] With great tenacity, the Hansemann Ministry postpones its dissolution by a few days. The Finance Minister especially seems to be too patriotic to leave the administration of the exchequer in unskilled hands. From a parliamentary point of view the Ministry was dissolved, and yet it continues to exist in fact. It seems that it has been decided in Sanssouci to make one more attempt to prolong its life. The Agreement Assembly itself, on the point of administering the death blow to the Ministry at any moment, recoils the next, frightened by its own desires, and the majority seems to surmise that if the Hansemann Ministry is not yet a Ministry to its liking, a Ministry to its liking would at the same time be a Ministry of crisis and of decision. Hence its vacillations, its inconsistencies, its wanton invectives and its sudden turns to remorse. And the Government of Action with unshakeable, almost cynical equanimity, accepts this borrowed, humiliating life which at any moment may he called into question and which only feeds on the alms of weakness.

Duchâtel! Duchâtel! The inevitable demise of the Ministry, laboriously postponed by only a few days, will be as inglorious as its existence. Tomorrow’s edition will present to our readers a further contribution to the evaluation of this existence by our Berlin #correspondent. We can summarise the agreement session of July 7 in a few words. The Assembly teases [hänseln — to tease] the Hansemann Ministry, it takes pleasure in inflicting partial defeats upon it; the Ministry bows its head half smiling, half frowning, but at the leave-taking, the High Assembly calls after it: “No harm meant!” and the stoic triumvirate Hansemann-Kühlwetter-Milde murmurs in response: Pas si bête! Pas si bête! [we're not that stupid!]