Marx-Engels Correspondence 1851
Source: MECW Volume 38, p. 472;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913.
You'll have seen in the Kölnische Zeitung that I've made a statement refuting the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung’s nonsense [linking the arrests of the Communist League members in Cologne with information allegedly received by Baroness von Beck from Marx]. The gossip was becoming altogether too wild. The ruffians’ intention, in launching the recent series of prolonged attacks in all the German newspapers, was, I am quite sure, to place me on the horns of a dilemma. Either I must publicly disown the conspiracy and hence our party friends, or I must publicly acknowledge it, thus committing an act of treason ‘in law’. However, these gentlemen are too clumsy to catch us out.
On 29 September Weydemeyer sailed for New York from Le Havre. There he met Reich, who was also crossing the ocean to the Atlantic regions. Reich had been arrested with Schramm and reports that the police found Schramm in possession of a copy of the minutes containing the transaction which caused his duel with Willich, the minutes, that is, of that same evening when he insulted Willich and walked out of the meeting. The thing was written in his own hand and was unsigned. In this way the police found out that his name was Schramm and not ‘Bamberger’ on whose passport he was staying in Paris. On the other hand the minutes have added to the confusion of Messrs Chief of the City Police Weiss & Co. in that our names thus became mixed up in the dirty business. Since it was Schramm who committed this blunder, it is at least gratifying that this man of honour is himself being punished for it.
So the £160 sent from America has been used by Kinkel to go collecting in America in person, accompanied by his saviour, Schurz. Whether he’s going at the right time, in view of the present pressure on the American money market, would seem doubtful.
He chose the moment so as to arrive before Kossuth, and likes to imagine that he will have some opportunity of publicly embracing the latter in the land of the future and of seeing the legend ‘Kossuth and Kinkel!’ in all the newspapers.
On the strength of his clamour over the emancipation of slaves, Mr Heinzen succeeded in forming a new joint-stock company in New York and is continuing to run his paper [Deutsche Schnellpost] under a somewhat modified title.
Stechan — never trust a Straubinger — has been here for several weeks in Willich-Schapper’s retinue. While the fact remains that the letters he wrote to the cockroach Dietz are now in the possession of the Hanover police, Stechan has written an article for the Norddeutsche Zeitung in which he reports that Mr Dietz’s desk was broken into (quelle bêtise! [what stupidity]) and that was how the letters were purloined. The spy, as has now been established, was Haupt of Hamburg, who had long been in the service of the police. How fortunate that a few weeks ago I forestalled any overt moves in the Dietz-Stechan affair. As for Haupt, I've heard nothing more of him, and am vainly racking my brains to find some way of having a letter conveyed to him in person, for Haupt has got to declare himself. I've already tried to do so through Weerth but Haupt’s fellow lodgers always turned him away on the pretext that he wasn’t in. Que penses-tu de Haupt? [what do you think of Haupt?] I'm convinced that he isn’t a spy and never has been.
Edgar Bauer is also said to be here. I have not yet seen him. A week ago Blind and his wife (Madame Cohen) arrived to visit the exhibition and left again on Sunday last. I didn’t see him again after the Monday, and this because of the following absurd incident, which will show you how very much henpecked the wretched man is. Today I received a locally posted letter in which he announces his departure. Now, the previous Monday he had come to see me with his wife. Others present were Freiligrath, red [Ferdinand] Wolff who, be it said in passing, has crept back again all unobtrusively and has, moreover, married an English bluestocking, Liebknecht, and the luckless Pieper. The wife is a vivacious Jewess and we were laughing and chatting quite merrily when the father of all lies [i.e., the Devil — Dante] brought the conversation round to religion. She was showing off on atheism, Feuerbach, etc. I attacked Feuerbachus, but very civilly, of course, and in a most affable way. At first it seemed to me that the Jewess was enjoying the discussion which, of course, was the only reason why I had engaged in this boring topic. In between whiles my dogmatically obtrusive echo, Mr Pieper, held forth — but not exactly in a tactful manner. Suddenly I noticed that the woman was in floods of tears. Blind was casting sorrowfully expressive glances in my direction, she decamped — and was not seen again, ni lui non plus [and neither was he]. It was something the like of which I had never seen before in all my long experience.
Pieper has set sail for Frankfurt am Main with the house of Rothschild. He has acquired a most disagreeable habit of butting in on my conversations with other people in a very fatuous, pedantic tone.
What they have just learnt, they must needs teach others forthwith.
Ah me, what a short gut these gentry have!
The honourable Göhringer has sent me a summons for the 22nd of this month because of the old demand. At the same time the great man set off for Southampton to welcome Kossuth. It would seem that I am to pay for the reception ceremonies.
I have had 2 letters from Paris, one from Ewerbeck and one from Sasonow. Mr Ewerbeck is publishing an immortal work: L'Allemagne et les Allemands. Ranging from Arminius the Cheruscan (his actual words) to the year of Our Lord 1850. He asks me for biographical-literary-historical notes on 3 men: F. Engels, K. Marx and B. Bauer. The muck’s already printing. Que faire? I fear that if we don’t send the fellow any answer at all, he will spread the most arrant nonsense about us. Write and tell me what you think about this.
The most interesting thing about Sasonow’s letter at any rate is the postmark, ‘Paris’. How does Sasonow come to be in Paris just when things are so difficult? I shall ask him to explain this mystère. He, for his part, goes into long complaints about Dronke’s being a fainéant [lazybones] and allowing himself to be enjôler [cajoled] by a few bourgeois. He says he has translated half the Manifesto. Dronke had apparently undertaken to translate the other half but, because of his customary negligence and idleness, the whole thing had come to naught. This last is, indeed, just like our Dronke.
After the rejection by Mr Campe of my offer regarding the anti-Proudhon pamphlet, and by Mr Cotta and, later, Löwenthal of the one (transmitted through Ebner in Frankfurt) concerning my Economy, there would at last appear to be some prospect for the latter. I shall know in a week whether anything will come of it. It’s a publisher in Dessauf and through Ebner too. This man Ebner is a friend of Freiligrath’s.
I haven’t yet had a letter from the Tribune, which I have not so much as seen, but I don’t doubt that the thing is going ahead [publication of Engels’ Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany]. At any rate it’s bound to resolve itself in a few days’ time.
By the way, you must at long last let me have your vues on Proudhon, however brief. They are of particular interest to me since I am now in the throes of working out the Economy. Incidentally, during my recent visits to the library, which I continue to frequent, I have been delving mainly into technology, the history thereof, and agronomy, so that I can form at least some sort of an opinion of the stuff.
Qu'est ce que fait la crime commerciale? [How is the commercial crisis going?] The Economist is full of the anodynes, assurances and appeals which regularly precede a crisis. However, one senses its fear as it seeks to dispel the fears of others. If you happen to come upon the following book: Johnston, Notes on North America, 2 vols., 1851, you will find all manner of interesting information in it. For this Johnston is the English Liebig. An atlas of physical geography by ‘Johnston’, not to be confused with the above, may perhaps be had from one of Manchester’s lending libraries. It is a compilation of all the most recent as well as earlier research in this field. Costs 10 guineas. Thus not meant for private individuals. Not a word from our dear Harney. He would seem to be still living in Scotland.
The English admit that, at the industrial exhibition, the Americans carried off the prize and beat them at everything. 1. Gutta-percha. New materials and new industries. 2. Weapons. Revolvers. 3. Machines. Reapers, seed drills and sewing-machines. 4. Daguerreotypes, used for the first time on a large scale. 5. Shipping, with their yacht. Finally, to show that they are also capable of producing luxury articles, they exhibited an enormous lump of Californian gold ore and beside it a golden service of virgin gold.