Marx-Engels Correspondence 1868

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 154;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1931.

London, 7 November 1868

Dear Fred,

Thanks for the £5.

I (and the whole household here) are very worried because of the typhus raging in your parts. It is so contagious. Please report again soon on the status rerum.

It will be impossible to stop that damned Borkheim, whom I shall be seeing today, printing your 2 articles (those about Bakunin’s manifesto to the Slavs). However, I shall only tell him that you are an old personal friend of Bakunin, so that the business may under no circumstances appear in a context insulting to the latter. Borkheim takes himself completely au sérieux and really believes he has a political mission to fulfil. He is translating for me the main passages from a Russian book about agrarian disintegration, and has also given me a French book on the subject by the Russian Schédo-Ferroti. The latter is very much mistaken — he is altogether a very superficial fellow — in saying that the Russian communal system came into existence only as a result of the ban on peasants leaving the land. The whole business, down to the smallest detail, is absolutely identical with the primaeval Germanic communal system. Add to this, in the Russian case (and this may be found also amongst a part of the Indian communal systems, not in the Punjab, but in the South), (1) the non-democratic, but patriarchal character of the commune leadership and (2) the collective responsibility for taxes to the state, etc. It follows from the second point that the more industrious a Russian peasant is, the more he is exploited by the state, not only in terms of taxes, but also for supplying provisions and horses, etc. for the constant passage of troops, for government couriers, etc. The whole shit is breaking down.

I regard Dietzgen’s exposition, in so far as Feuerbach, etc., in short his sources, do not peep through, as entirely his own independent achievement. For the rest, I agree with everything you say. I shall have something to say to him about the repetitions; it is his bad luck that it was precisely Hegel that he did not study.

The great Weber on behalf of ‘German Association for Revolutionary Agitation, etc.’ has held a meeting together with the French Mayers under Pyat’s chairmanship and with other vagabonds, at which they instructed the Yankees in an address to intervene in favour of the Spanish Republic.

Our Negro, Paul Lafargue, had the misfortune that the French would not recognise his English diploma; they want to make him run the gauntlet of five new examinations, instead of the maximum 1 or 2 as he expected.

Mrs Laura sends you her compliments.


K. M.