Marx/Engels Correspondence 1854

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW, Volume 39, p. 410;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913 and in full in: Marx and Engels, Works, 1929.

[London,] 25 January 1854 28 Dean Street, Soho

Dear Frederic,

Enclosed note for Lupus, who has written to me. Absolution. As to the war, there will now be some snags, unless ‘misunderstandings’ occur that have nothing to do with, or run counter to, diplomacy. Reshid Pasha’s Note spells total surrender to Russia. It even contains more concessions than the original Vienna Note as a result of which Turkey declared war. Palmerston has not returned to office in vain. On the other hand, the demonstration in the Black Sea would seem to be a dodge, specially contrived for the meeting of Parliament: if Russia accepts her own conditions incorporated in Reshid’s Note and obtains everything she has demanded, she will appear to have bowed to force supérieure. That, in any case, is the plan. Otherwise, would it not be absurd to inform Nicholas of the entry of the united fleets before he had, or could have, pronounced upon the last Vienna Note? Now only an accident of war could bring about a warlike solution. By prior agreement the Czar, far from objecting to the entrance of the united squadron, showed considerable ‘temper’. However, there’s no vouching for ‘misunderstandings’. They are ever probable.

Today’s Times contains a further report from the Wanderer on The Battle of Citatea . I expect your observations. The advance the Russians are said to have made simultaneously at Matchin, Giurgevo and Kalafat and, indeed, the capture of Silistria, would seem mere humbug. Apropos, one more thing: your opinion, written in English. According to the French newspapers, the Turks intend to fortify Constantinople on the landward side. Would this not be a major blow for Russia? The more so as Constantinople will always be able to communicate by sea with the Asiatic and European coasts of its empire and thus cannot be cut off from its supplies of men and materials? Large-scale fortifications would now seem to be the antidote to large-scale warfare à la Napoleon. May this not bring about a reversion to small-scale warfare?

It is scandalous that Berlin is not being fortified.

My brother-in-law, le ministre, has written to my mother-in-law warning her that now, in her ripe old age, she is about to go through the same experience as in the days of Napoleon I. He believes, then, that there'll be war.

Cobden, the ‘'umble’, and ‘homely man’ made a considerable ass of himself in his last speech. He demonstrates that neither he nor the ‘'umble men’ who applaud him, are competent to govern England. The Quaker Bright will hear of nothing but the war within. Cobden’s discovery that the social structure of England and Russia are analogous because there are Demidovs there and Derbys here, is worthy of a Palatinate revolutionary philistine from Neustadt.

On Saturday Mr Pieper went to visit Meyer in Brighton. Unwelcome though he is to the latter, he is overstaying the time allotted him by Troupeau, because the ‘sea air’ suits him, and has, it seems, written the bourgeois a fatuous letter. The silly lad mistakes his lack of principles for genial high spirits. From Cluss’ letter you will see that this same ‘genial’ youth wanted to obtain an American passport to Constantinople, probably in the hope of becoming a kennelboy there. It’s triste [sad] that the lad should be so thoroughly pleased with himself as to do one silly thing after another and make a laughing-stock of himself.

On Tuesday Bischoffsheim will be paying me another bill through Freiligrath. In the meantime I can’t raise a penny, having exhausted the possibilities of the pawnbrokers, as is regularly the case. So if you could lay your hands on £1, it would be highly desirable. Moreover, 100 copies of the ‘[The Knight of] noble consciousness’ will be arriving on Friday and I haven’t the means to pay the postage, since I shan’t be getting any money until Tuesday.

Apropos. I am negotiating with Tucker. The next pamphlet is to be about Unkiar-Skelessi. So correct the stuff you've got (Nos. IV and V). I shall then make sundry additions and send back the alterations for you to look through.

I have received through Dana an offer from a magazine in New York, £12 per sheet, for articles on the history of German philosophy from Kant till now. But they must: 1. be sarcastic and amusing; 2. contain nothing against the religious feelings of the country. How to set about it? Now, if we 2 were together — books would be needed besides — we could quickly earn £50-£60. I wouldn’t dare attempt the work on my own.

K. M.