A Deputation to Chief Public Prosecutor Zweiffel

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Cologne, November 22. Yesterday Herren Karl Marx, Karl Schapper and Schneider II were to appear before the examining magistrate on account of the appeal in the name of the

Rhenish District Committee of Democrats (No. 147 of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung).[1] It was generally said that there was to be an immediate arrest of those summonsed. However unlikely this appeared to many well versed in the law, the People’s Committee[2] nevertheless took the occasion to obtain assurance on this point by sending a deputation to Chief Public Prosecutor Zweiffel. The latter stated as expected that no warrant for the arrest of the summonsed had been applied for and that such a warrant could only possibly be issued if the appeal were to lead to rebellion; because in that case the offence of the summonsed under Articles 209 and 217[3] (which at present could only be tried in a police court) would become a crime.

Incidentally, contrary to the view of the Chief Public Prosecutor that according to the point of law mentioned the summons should have been issued, the deputation expressed the view that at this time, when the National Assembly exists in Berlin as the only legitimate authority in Prussia, steps must immediately be taken above all against those officials and authorities who violently oppose the decisions of the National Assembly or invite such opposition, as happened recendy in the case of Oberpräsident Eichmann in Coblenz.[4]

  1. See this volume, p. 41.— Ed.
  2. The People's Committee was elected on November 13, 1848, at a public meeting in Cologne held in protest against the transfer of the Prussian National Assembly from Berlin to Brandenburg. It consisted of 25 representatives of Cologne democratic and proletarian circles, among them Marx, Beust, Nothiung, Weyll and Schneider II. The Committee became one of the organising centres of the people's struggle in the Rhine Province against the coup d'�tat in Prussia. It sought to rearm the civic militia, which was disarmed in September 1848, when a state of siege was declared in Cologne, and reorganise the army reserve on a democratic basis; it carried out agitation among soldiers and attempted to create a workers' volunteer detachment. Taking part in the tax-refusal campaign, the People's Committee tried to draw into it peasants from the neighbouring localities.
  3. Article 209 of the Code pénal (see Note 88) concerns resistance to the representatives of state power, and Article 217, incitement to rebellion.
  4. See this volume, p. 37.— Ed.