Marx/Engels Correspondence 1854

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW, Volume 39, p. 445;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913 and in full in: Marx and Engels, Works, 1929.

[London,] 3 May 1854 28 Dean Street, Soho

Dear Frederic,

My use of the term ‘letter of Uriah’ has caused a misunderstanding. I gave Heise no letter — he didn’t even take his leave of me and was, incidentally, in far too tipsy a condition to do so. He wrote to me from the hole where he was lodging near Manchester, asking for my help up there. It was in this sense that I would have regarded sending you a report on him as a ‘letter of Uriah’, if in a somewhat ‘bolder’ meaning of the term. Maybe Manchester has deprived him of the main incitement of making himself out to be a ‘great man’, an ‘independent’ and a ‘malcontent’ in the eyes of Imandt and Schily. However, all you can do now is to act diplomatically and urge the man gradually to find himself an occupation. The whole time he has been in England he has been living at other people’s expense and, whenever he got a chance of earning his keep, soon gave it up. Since he now has a superfluity of time on his hands he might at least write regularly for the Reform which, by the by, has as yet failed to pay even Eccarius so much as a farthing. However, if given enough support, it should soon be in a position to pay.

Your military things — ‘retreat of the Russians from Kalafat’ and the situation in the Dobrudja have, I think, been proved splendidly right. The bombardment of Odessa was, it seems, provoked by the Russians. Unless the English land troops there, little would appear to have been achieved — save to placate the bourgeois here who, inasmuch as the war is manifesting itself in the form of taxes and loans, are becoming wild about the inactivity of the Allied fleets, — perhaps, too, Nicholas needed a demonstration of the kind to give spice to his appeal ‘to his people’. There can no longer be any doubt about collusion between the Ministry here and Petersburg, now that the suppression of a document in the ‘Secret Correspondence’ — in which Aberdeen (1844) accepted the Russian proposals — has become common knowledge. I already had an inkling that something of the sort was going on behind the scenes because of the falsification of the dates and endorsements in the ‘memorandum’ alluded to in the House of Lords by the Tories’ Ex-foreign Minister. Although the Journal de Saint-Pétersbourg itself censures these fellows for their fausse position it is clear from the ‘declarations in Council’ concerning neutral, and especially Russian, shipping, that they are still agreeing their moves with Russia. Similar Declarations, appeared at the same time in St Petersburg, almost couched in the same terms. Such a thing can’t be a coincidence. The element they overlooked in their calculations is Bonaparte. No matter what sort of a chap he may be, the question is one of life and death for him and, being a rogue by profession, he won’t allow himself to be duped as was poor Louis Philippe in 1839 and 1840. When one reads the secret documents of 1830-48, one is left in no doubt that England deposed Louis Philippe and that the worthy National, despite and because of its blind Anglophobia, was unwittingly the principal tool of precisely English policy.

As you know, the Tribune prides itself on being Christian. I was all the more tickled when the fellows used for a leader an article of mine in which one of the chief things I held against the Turks was the fact of their having preserved Christianity, although I did not of course say so quite so bluntly. Indeed, one reason why the Turks are bound to come to grief is that they have allowed Byzantine theocracy to develop in a way that not even the Greek emperors would have dreamed of. There are, in effect, only 2 religious peoples left, the Turks and the Greco-Slav population of Turkey. Both are doomed, or at least the latter, along with the clerically ordered society which has been consolidated under Turkish rule.

I have, besides, sent the Tribune a scandalous story about the ‘Holy Sepulchre’ and the ‘Protectorate’ in Turkey, in which the historical matter will blind the fellows to the prank I play on Christianity.

I should be very glad if you could supply me with something for the Tribune, since I am very busy studying the history of the New Greek Empire including King Otto, but it will be a couple of weeks, perhaps, before I can present the result in a series of articles. Metaxas, who was Greek ambassador in Constantinople where he engaged in plotting – the Paris Presse published a pretty account of this Russo-Greek Bangyanade-was the principal tool of the infamous Capodistria.

At odd moments I am going in for Spanish. Have begun with Calderón from whose Magico prodigioso — the Catholic Faustus — Goethe drew not just a passage here or there but whole settings for some of scenes in his Faust. Then — horribile dictu — I am reading in Spanish what I'd found impossible in French, Chateaubriand’s Atala and Reni, and some stuff by Bernardin de St-Pierre. Am now in the middle of Don Quixote. I find that a dictionary is more necessary in Spanish than in Italian at the start.

By chance I have got hold of the Archivio triennale delle cose d'Italia dall'avvenimento di Pio IX all'abbandono di Venezia etc. It’s the best thing about the Italian revolutionary party that I have read. Consists of a collection of secret and public documents, intercepted letters, etc. Nicely put together. Palmistone (as Thiers pronounces Palmerston) plays a leading role here as well. The fellow’s machinations have been ubiquitous, and at all events his existence has been a very amusing one.

You still owe me a letter about Mr Urquhart’s military stuff. The man can be caught out only in the ‘Positive’ sciences. I.e. here and in his economics, the superficiality of which can likewise be tangibly demonstrated.

Vale faveque.

K. M.