Marx-Engels Correspondence 1851

Engels to Marx
In London

Source: MECW Volume 38, p. 263;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913.

Manchester, 8 January 1851

Dear Marx,

Herewith post office order for £1, particulars as before. My buyer — our clerk — having apparently paid out a great deal of late, seems anxious not to take too much money from the firm all at once. He is rather reluctant — I don’t press him overmuch, cela se conçoit [as is understandable] I myself have been involved in very heavy outlays as a result of my trip to London, otherwise I would gladly send you the whole amount; as it is, I must for today confine myself to fulfilling the obligation of an ordinary consignee and send you half the amount in part payment. The second half will follow — at the latest — in the early part of February, perhaps sooner; as soon, that is, as the firm sends my old man a letter containing the payments made to me.

Jones was up here and bearded his opponents at a public meeting in their own den. Leach and Donovan opposed him. The debate, however, wasn’t quite what I had expected. Petty stratagems on both sides; much chronique scandaleuse [gossip] which partly made up for the absence of some of London’s amenities. On Jones’ part, superiority of rhetorical talent. Leach, on the other hand, tremendously imperturbable but at times abysmally absurd. Donovan, a common, intriguing, local panjandrum. Jones, by the way, because of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung and my presence, was compelled to proclaim himself a Red Republican and supporter of the nationalisation of landed property, while Leach, on the other hand, took his stand as the wholehearted representative of the cooperative societies, insofar as they reject political agitation. These societies, incidentally, would now seem to be very numerous in Lancashire, and Jones and his friends are afraid that, if some sort of alliance were formed between them and the Chartists, they would gain control of the Chartist movement. This circumstance explains many of the concessions Harney thought fit to make them.

The success of Jones’ performance here was all that could be expected; he put forward as the point to be decided between himself and the Manchester Chartist Council the question of recognising the Executive in London; the votes were evenly divided, although Leach and Co. had had about 3 hours in which to fetch their people to the meeting and a crowd of them had duly turned up. At the beginning, when the company was simply a random gathering (Leach had counted on Jones’ not arriving before 9 o'clock but, much to the former’s chagrin, he was there as early as 8), Jones was given an enthusiastic reception.

When in the company of Chartists whom he wishes to win over or attach more closely to his person, Jones is by no means as naive as he is with us. He is very wide awake. Perhaps a little too much so — at least, the likes of us ‘notice the design’ [Goethe, Torquato Tasso].

One of Harney’s friends here is a boring Scotsman of infinite sensibilities and hence interminable speeches; a second is a small, resolute, aggressive lad, about whose intellectual capacity I have not yet made up my mind; a third, a man whom Harney did not mention to me, one Robertson, seems to me to be far and away the most intelligent. I shall try to start up a small club with these fellows, or organise regular meetings to discuss the Manifesto with them. Harney and Jones have a host of friends here, and O'Connor a host of hidden enemies but, until he makes a downright fool of himself in public, it won’t be possible to bring about his — official — downfall here. At the meeting, by the way, Jones referred to him and Reynolds with the scantest possible respect.

Recently my brother-in-law [Emil Blank] told me some good news concerning myself: my prospective American partner was in London and from a conversation between the two of them it transpired that I was not the man to be of use to his firm. Thus America is put off pretty well indefinitely, since no fresh plan can now be hatched without my consent.

Best regards to your wife and children.

F. E.