Marx-Engels Correspondence 1860
Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 13;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.
I intend to write to Ephraim Artful [Ferdinand Lassalle] tomorrow; a diplomatic missive such as this ought not to be sent off without due reflection. For a day or two now, I have been mulling over Savoy, Nice and the Rhine, a kind of sequel to Po and Rhine. I have made up my mind to offer the thing to Duncker; it won’t be more than 2 sheets long and might provide a good pretext for getting in touch with Ephraim. At all events, I shall write the thing in the course of next week, after which I shall immediately send the manuscript to Berlin. Apart from one or two matters concerning the French revolutionary campaigns in Nice and Savoy, no preparatory work is called for, so it will be soon done.
Obviously Mr Vogt must be given a thorough lambasting; but it’s difficult to say anything until we know what the fellow has actually published. At all events, you might just as well use Fischel as anyone else, provided he really does have connections. Moreover, little Jew Braun will now see that the significance of your statement and of the whole set-to between Vogt and the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung is of quite a different order to what the Berlin philistine at first imagined. As things stand, we must maintain all these connections, while the conspiration du silence and other intrigues, to which we must meanwhile turn a blind eye, will subsequently release us from all obligations as soon as some crisis necessitates a breach on genuinely political grounds.
As to the chances of a fresh set-to, I am entirely of your opinion. But I believe that if, despite Vogt and Co., we are to keep our end up so far as the public is concerned, we shall have to do it through our scientific work. We haven’t the money to organise the émigré press and several times we have seen that an émigré paper or German pamphlets printed in London never command a public (in Germany) unless the thing can be kept going for a year at least. In Germany itself direct political and polemical action, as our party understands it., is a sheer impossibility. So, what remains? Either we hold our tongues or we make efforts that are known only to the emigration and the American Germans but not to anyone in Germany, or else we go on as we have begun, you in your first instalment [Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy] and I in Po and Rhine. That, I think, is the main thing just now and, if we act accordingly, no matter how much Vogt may howl, we shall soon be back on a footing, such as will enable us (whenever required) to publish the necessary personal statements in one German paper or another. The early appearance of your 2nd instalment is obviously of paramount importance in this connection and I hope that you won’t let the Vogt affair stop you from getting on with it. Do try for once to be a little less conscientious with regard to your own stuff; it is, in any case, far too good for the wretched public. The main thing is that it should be written and published; the shortcomings that catch your eye certainly won’t be apparent to the jackasses; and, when times become turbulent, what will it avail you to have broken off the whole thing before you have even finished the section on capital in general? I am very well aware of all the other interruptions that crop up, but I also know that the delay is due mainly to your own scruples. Come to that, it’s surely better that the thing should appear, rather than that doubts like these should prevent its appearing at all.
Mr Orges has issued a pur personal statement which reveals who this queer fish is. Originally a Prussian lieutenant of artillery at the military college in Berlin (1845-48), at the same time, he pursued his studies and obtained his doctorate; he left the service in March 1848 (his application to resign is dated 19 March ’48) and went to Schleswig-Holstein where he joined the artillery; in 1850, he joined the crew of a merchant vessel, in which he ‘served’ and sailed round the world; in 1851, he attended the Exhibition in London, which he reported for the A. A. Z.; he was then consorting with Schimmelpfennig, Willich, Techow, etc., and, subsequently, became the A. A. Z.’s military editor. At all events, there’s more to the man than anyone else on the paper, which he has set on its feet again. The leaders I attributed to Heilbronner are all by him. Nevertheless, I'll still be able to deal with him good and proper.
The invitation from the louts has come at a fairly opportune moment. But I trust that you won’t, of course, allow yourself to be drawn into anything else, for this is ground we know only too well; fortunately you live some distance away.
The Prussians have approached my old man with the intention of confiscating my assets to the tune of 1,005 talers, 20 [silver groschen] 6 pfennigs because of my alleged desertion from the Landwehr. My old man told them that he had no access to my assets, whereupon they calmed down. I am to be sentenced on 18 February.