Marx-Engels Correspondence 1868

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 26;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1931. Marx’s note appended to the letter was first published in: Marx and Engels, Works; Second Russian Edition, Moscow, 1964.

London, 4 May 1868

Dear Fred,

This morning I received enclosed letter and cutting from Schweitzer. Since he addresses himself to me as workers’ representative of one of the most industrial districts, I must naturally reply.

My view is that the Germans can stand a reduction of the protective tariff on pig iron and that the manufacturers of other articles are also exaggerating their howls. This view is based upon a comparison of the English and German exports to neutral markets. Enclosed, by way of example, a note on exports to Belgium.

At the same time, in my opinion, the point is to exploit this question in the interests of the party, without, however, procuring any new reliefs to the English.

My proposal would therefore be:

1. No reduction of tariffs before a parliamentary enquête into the state of the German iron-mining production and iron manufacture. This enquête should not, however, be confined, as the bourgeois gentlemen desire, simply to chambers of commerce and experts but should, at the same time, include the workers’ conditions in these branches; all the more so since Messrs manufacturers are ‘demanding’ the protective tariffs solely ‘for the protection’ of the workers, and have in addition discovered that ‘the value of iron’ consists only ‘of wages and freight’.

2. No reduction of tariffs before an enquête into how the railways misuse their monopoly, and before their freight (and passenger) tariffs are controlled by legal regulations.

I would like your view immediately, and also immediate return of the enclosures.

Very nice that your home-town chamber of commerce should bemoan the growing power and menace of the International Working Men’s Association.


K. M.