Marx-Engels Correspondence 1867
Source: MECW Volume 42, p. 505;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.
Of course our correspondence with Wilhelmchen requires caution. As I have already told you, his narrow-minded one-sided singleness of purpose was his good fortune and the secret of his effectiveness in the Reichstag. Unfortunately however that will only work once, and the publication of his speeches — to say nothing of Kugelmann’s letters — shows that it had gone too far. Now we have the little paper to boot, in which his household words are recorded in black and white and are then laid at our door — then the Customs Union parliament, and therewith certainly a disgrace for us unless Wilhelmchen is given some instruction. With his egregious talent for making blunders, much was to be expected there, and may be still. No doubt we can only protect him from the most serious blunders, but his Viennese address and his friendship with the Federalists, i.e. Grün!! is already dreadful enough. I can therefore only put 2 chief considerations to him: 1. to regard the events and outcome of 1866 not simplement negatively, i.e. not as a reactionary, but critically (which he will admittedly find difficult), and 2. to attack Bismarck’s enemies just as much as the man himself, as they are equally worthless. You observe how beautifully he has already compromised himself with Grun et Co.; what a fine triumph that would be for Bismarck if we or our people concluded an alliance with that rabble! Well, we shall just have to wait and see what transpires.
The Clerkenwell folly was obviously the work of a few special fanatics; it is the misfortune of all conspiracies that they lead to such acts of folly because ‘we really must do something, we really must get up to something’. Especially in America there has been a lot of bluster amongst this explosive and incendiary fraternity, and then along come some individual jackasses and instigate this kind of nonsense. At the same time, these man-eaters are for the most part the greatest of cowards, including that man Allen who already appears to have turned Queen’s evidence. And then the notion that you can free Ireland by setting fire to some London tailor’s shop!
Have you read the Russians’ warning (Russian Invalid) that the alliance between France and Austria makes peace in Europe impossible because it prevents a solution to the German, Italian and Eastern questions? Very nice. Bismarck and Gorchakov now appear to be about to take the offensive.
Your friend Lippe has been sacrificed to the shades of the dispossessed — his dismissal was the price for which the National Liberals are dropping their opposition to the 25 million for the Guelphs and the house of Nassau.
Best regards to the Ladies.