Arrest of Delescluze. Denmark. Austria. The Times on the Prospects of War Against Russia.

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 21 October 1853


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Reproduced from the New York Daily Tribune
First published in the New York Daily Tribune, No. 3917, November 5, 1853;
reprinted in the New York Semi-Weekly Tribune, No. 882, November 8, 1853
A section of this article was published under the title "The Northern Powers" in The Eastern Question.
Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 12 (pp.421-423), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1979
Keywords : Denmark, Austria, Russia, War

London, Friday, Oct. 21, 1853

Among the arrests recently made at Paris, the most important is t hat of M. Delescluze, private Secretary to M. Ledru-Rollin. He had been sent to Paris on a secret mission, and compromising papers, as is stated, have been seized upon him. One cannot understand M. Ledru-Rollin's trusting to a man who has never cleared himself from the suspicion of having betrayed in 1848 the Belgian Legion in the famous affair of Risquons-Tout.[1] At Copenhagen the consummation of the coup d'état seems imminent, as the Ministry will not yield, and as the Folketing has pronounced against the abolition of the existing Constitution, unless the Government submit to them its own project of a Constitution for the whole Danish monarchy. The two separate projects for the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein have appeared[2]. They are poor imitations of the constitutions of the old Prussian Provincial Diets, distributing the representation among the several "orders," making the right of election dependent on the holding of landed property, and limiting its exercise by the condition of "domicile" in the respective electoral districts. The most remarkable paragraphs in these constitutions are two, one of which deprives the courts of law of their ancient right of canceling administrative decrees, and the other excluding all individuals from the right of voting who compromised themselves in the revolutionary struggle from 1848-50, whether they have since been amnestied or not.

I told you in my last letter that the Austrian decree reducing the army was intended merely to entrap the money-lenders[3]; and now that all chance of obtaining a loan has vanished now that the Government declare they never intended to contract any loan now that they have entered upon a fresh emission of paper, we are informed that

"no arrangements are being made for carrying into execution the Imperial decree relative to the reduction of the army, and that, on the contrary, the generals who command in Lombardy, Hungary, and Croatia, have, all of them, demanded reenforcements on account of the state of the public mind in those countries."[4]

A Paris correspondent writes as follows to The Morning Post with reference to the proceedings of the Emperor of Russia during his late visits to Olmütz and Berlin:

"The Czar's[5] chief object was to make a new alliance between the Northern Powers.... To overcome the resistance of Prussia he used every argument—I may say every bribe; for he offered, in the event of his advancing into and holding Turkish territory, to yield the occupation of Warsaw and the military dominion of Poland to Prussia."[6]

As to the reported successes of the Russians over Shamyl, letters have arrived at Paris which show them to be nothing but inventions, no engagement of any description having taken place in the Caucasus since the month of May, when the victory at Mendoh was gained by Shamyl, and the Russians were driven back from their attempts upon Malka.

"We quite understand the popularity of a war with Russia on behalf of the Poles or the Hungarians, even if there was no ground of our interference except political sympathy.... We do not understand a war on behalf of the Turk."

Thus wrote The Times on Oct. 12. A week later we are told by the same paper:

"The first collision between British and Russian armies would be a signal of revolution all over the Continent, and we think it by no means unlikely, nor, indeed, altogether objectionable, that such a consideration may have occasionally passed through the minds of our aristocratic, plutocratic, [...] despotic, and anything but democratic rulers.... We are deliberately to go to war with Russia, in defense of the Turkish nominal sovereignty over certain really independent provinces, because by so doing we shall provoke a rebellion in the Austrian Empire."[7]

One day England is not to go to war with Russia, because by so doing it would defend the Turks, instead of the Poles and Hungarians; and the next day because any war in behalf of Turkey would be simultaneously a war in behalf of the Poles and t he Hungarians.

The Vienna Presse states that Abd-el-Kader has been asked by t he Sultan to accept a military command in the case of a war with Russia. The negotiations were managed by the Sheikh-ul-Islam[8], and the Emir declared his willingness to enter the service of Ito-key on the condition that the advice of Bonaparte was previously asked. The command destined for him was that of the Asiatic army.

  1. The so-called trial of Risquons-Tout which was held from August 9 to 30, 1848 in Antwerp was rigged by the government of the Belgian King Leopold against the democrats. The pretext for it was a clash which took place not far from the French border near the village of Risquons-Tout on March 29, 1848, between a Belgian republican legion which was on its way home from France and a detachment of soldiers. The principal among the accused (Mellinet, Ballin, Tedesco) were sentenced to death, later commuted to thirty years imprisonment; subsequently they were pardoned.

    Delescluze was at that time government commissioner of the Départment du Nord, bordering on Belgium, through which the Belgian legion passed.
  2. Among the entries in Marx's notebook made on October 19, 1853 there is a passage in German from the draft Constitution of Schleswig and in French from an article on the draft Constitution of Denmark published in L'Indépendance.
  3. See The Turkish Manifesto. France's Economic Position.—Ed.
  4. Judging by Marx's notebook, this is quoted from the letter from Vienna published in the Frankfurter Journal as reprinted in The Morning Post, October 21, 1853.—Ed.
  5. Nicholas I.—Ed.
  6. The Morning Post, October 19, 1853.—Ed.
  7. The Times, No. 21563, October 19,1853.—Ed.
  8. Arif Hikmet Bey.—Ed.