Marx-Engels Correspondence 1865

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 42, p. 84;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

[London,] 10 February 1865

Dear Frederick,

The thing [Engels, The Prussian Military Question and the German Workers’ Party] is good. Although the style is too slapdash in places, it would be nonsense to polish or elaborate it at all now, as the main thing is to get it out in the nick of time, as the conflict is ‘all ready’ on the point of being resolved.

My advice therefore is this:

Send the pamphlet straight to Meissner in Hamburg and tell him that speed of publication is paramount; and he should let you know immediately whether he will take it (leaving him to decide the fee), because then you would attract attention to the thing in advance in the Berlin and Rhineland papers.

The thing is much too long and ‘too cheeky’ for the Social-Demokrat in present circumstances. But I would arrange for notices, short ones, in the Social-Demokrat (through Eccarius), in the Düsseldorfer Zeitung through Siebel, and maybe even send a notice to the Rheinische Zeitung, to the effect that a pamphlet by you is being published at such and such a place, in which you are simply setting out our position on this specific question, as opposed to that of the Reaction, men of Progress and Lassalleans, along with treatment of the purely ‘military question’.

Even if there are still things you have got to add to it, send the manuscript immediately ad Meissnerem (Hamburg) all the same and tell him that a few additions are to follow relating to such-and-such page (you can mark the places). There should have been rather more mention of the country people, which your German lout is far too inclined to ignore as non-existent. To judge by Strohn’s last letter, he himself is probably away from Hamburg again, so that the piece cannot be sent to him but will have to go direct to Meissner.

An evil wind of reconciliation is blowing in Berlin, fanned from the direction of Russia this time and further strengthened by the turn for the worse in the business with Austria. The Petersburger Zeitung advises unconditionally making concessions to the chamber in the matter of budget-approval and two-year military service. It says, amongst other things:

‘The present time appears to us, if not an alarming one, then, nevertheless, a grave one, and if circumstances do not become especially advantageous, it is still to be feared that the future will be dismal. In times of distress and danger, however, as history has proved only too often, the strict enforcement of discipline in the army and the civil service is rarely enough on its own. The real power of the state is then based, as it always is in general, far more on the unity of government and people. Although we do not underestimate the conciliatory manner, in which the government approached the people’s representation in this year’s session, nevertheless, in view of what we have just said, we cannot suppress the desire that this conciliatory spirit may also spread to action.’.

It appears that the Muscovites need their Prussians for the wheeling-movement they are about to execute against Austro-Galicia, as announced in the Moscow Newspaper. According to the same Moscow Newspaper, this final subjugation of Poland, which however necessarily means the ruthless continuation of Muraviov’s policy, would ‘open a hole into the heart of Germany’. Our good ‘men of Progress’ and equally good ‘Lassalleans’ are missing all that by sleeping.

Letter from Schily enclosed.

To Moses’ great distress, the ‘International Association’ is creating a great stir amongst the workers in Paris. As a result of Moses’ gaffe, Tolain has stepped down. (We have not formally accepted his resignation.) H. Lefort (editor of the Avenir , etc.), who is also on the editorial committee of L'Association, has at his request been appointed literary defender (Attorney General) of our Association in Paris. The latter is already under attack from Horn (a paragraph in the Rules ). This Jew Horn will soon notice that Moses Hess is not the only German around. Fribourg has opened a bureau de renseignement for us; cards of membership were sent to him the day before yesterday.

At the preparatory session for the Polish meeting, I also saw Old Oborski again, who does not send his regards.


K. M.

Apropos. The fact that Lincoln answered us so courteously and the ‘Bourgeois Emancipation Society’ so brusquely and purely formally made The Daily News so indignant that they did not print the answer to us. However, since they saw, to their dismay, that The Times was doing so, they had to publish it later in The Express. Levy also had to eat humble pie. The difference between Lincoln’s answer to us and to the bourgeoisie has created such a sensation here that the West End ‘clubs’ are shaking their heads at it. You can understand how gratifying that has been for our people.