Marx-Engels Correspondence 1853

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 39, p. 403.
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1929.

[London,] 14 December 1853

Dear Frederic,

As you know, everyone gets an occasional bee in his bonnet, and nihil humani etc [I am a man ... and nothing human is alien to me]. Needless to say, there was never any question of conspiring and suchlike nonsense. You are accustomed to some jealousy and, au fond the only thing that vexes me is our not being able to be together now, to work and have fun together, whereas your ‘protégés’ have you conveniently to hand.

Enclosed one copy of the Knight. The other arrived in Washington either today or yesterday. I sent the thing to Cluss so that the 2 statements should not conflict, and so that he can delete anything that has already been said. A few small stylistic changes were made in the copy I sent. The last page is missing from the one I sent you; it got mislaid and contains only a few concluding remarks in a humorous vein.

Although we have heard nothing of him, Willich must be back in London again. Did you see in the Reform the splendid minutes of the meeting presided over by Anneke, in which not a single person declares himself willing to return to Germany as ‘a revolutionary fighter under Willich’s military leadership’?

Quant à Palmerston, I could agree to a ‘German’ version only if I could be sure that the work would subsequently be accepted by a publisher. For I haven’t a German MS, since I myself had to write the thing in English, i.e. Anglo-Saxonise the original from the word go. As regards the Tribune I intend to conclude with the Treaties of 1840 and ‘41, and for this I have at my disposal some very bulky Blue Books, besides Hansard and the Moniteur. Have left out Palmerston’s machinations in Greece, Afghanistan, Persia and Serbia, as being of lesser importance. That would still leave the revolutionary period for which the Blue Books again provide important (if considerably curtailed) material, as well as for our ‘patriotic’ war, etc., in Schleswig-Holstein.

Concerning your Bonaparte as a captain of artillery, or writer thereon, I think you would do best to send a paper of this sort under your own name either to 1. The Daily News, 2. The Examiner, or 3. The Westminster Review. The first would probably be best. An article of this kind would at one fell swoop — par coup d'état’ — put you in such a position vis-à-vis the London Press that you could ‘press’ it and at the same time, perhaps, get a chance to have your book on the Hungarian campaign published in English in London, which would in any case be more profitable and effective than in poor old Leipzig.

Needless to say, the Tribune is making a great splash with your articles, poor Dana, no doubt, being regarded as their author. At the same time they have appropriated ‘Palmerston’, which means that, for 8 weeks past, Marx-Engels have virtually constituted the Editorial staff of the Tribune.

In addition to your lengthier expositions which are appropriated by them for leaders and are feasible only in the case of certain important events or periods, e.g. the initial phase, then the battle of Oltenitza, etc., I should be grateful if (time permitting) you could — during the less important interludes — let me have a brief summary of the facts — 1-2 pages, say — in English. I have greater difficulties — even from the language standpoint — with the lesser stuff than with profound(!) expositions, especially with material I have long been familiar with by reading in an English context, i.e. English works. I only require this, of course, when there is a dearth of ‘great’ événements. The main difficulty is the uneasiness of my critical conscience in regard to matters with which I feel I am not à la hauteur. My competitor [Pulszky] quite simply copies out the facts (or rather what are given out as such by the London Press).

What do you think of my brother-in-law Juta’s proposal, enclosed herewith, that we should write a monthly article for the Zuid-Afrikaan (Cape Town)? Rotten though Juta’s French may be, he’s a good, sensible chap. If only you and I had set up an English correspondence business at the right moment in London, you wouldn’t be stuck in Manchester tormented by the office, nor tormented by debts. Incidentally, I believe that if you were to send military articles to the London papers now, you would, within a few weeks, be able to secure a permanent post which would pay as well as the Manchester business and leave you more spare time. At present the demand for military writers exceeds the supply.

It might even be asked whether The Times itself might not be very glad to hook a military collaborator since it is wretchedly served in this respect. It would be worth trying. For we have, of course, now reached the stage at which we regard any English newspaper merely as an emporium and it matters not a rap in which of these emporia we display our ‘articles’, supposé they are not tampered with.

K. M.