Declaration (Marx, December 1860)

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 1 December 1860


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 17, p. 19;
Published: in the supplement to the Allgemeine Zeitung, December 1, 1860.
Collection(s): Allgemeine Zeitung

At the beginning of February 1860 the editorial board of the Allgemeine Zeitung were kind enough to publish a declaration by myself which began with these words:

“I hereby make it known that 1 have taken steps preparatory to instituting legal proceedings for libel against the Berlin National-Zeitung in connection with the leading articles in Nos. 37 and 41 regarding Vogt’s pamphlet Mein Prozess gegen die Aligemeine Zeitung. I reserve the right to answer Vogt in writing at a later date.”

In the course of February 1860 I brought a libel suit in Berlin against F. Zabel, the responsible editor of the National-Zeitung. My lawyer, Legal Counsellor Weber, resolved at first on an official investigation. With a ruling of April 18, 1860 the Public Prosecutor refused to “take action” against F. Zabel, on the grounds that there was no public interest involved. On April 26, 1860 his refusal was confirmed by the Chief Public Prosecutor.

My lawyer then began civil proceedings. The Royal Municipal Court in a ruling of June 8, 1860 prohibited me from proceeding with my lawsuit on the grounds that the genuinely defamatory utterances and statements” of F. Zabel’s were merely quotations from other persons, and that the “intention to insult” was not Present. The Royal Court of Appeal for its part declared in a ruling Of ‘ ‘ July 11, 1860 that the alleged use of quotation did not affect the culpability of the articles, but that the defamatory passages contained in them did not refer to my “person”. Furthermore, “in the present case” the intention to insult “could, not he assumed”.

Thus the Royal Court of Appeal confirmed the negative ruling of the Municipal Court. In a ruling of October 5, 1860, which I received on October 23 of this year, the Royal Supreme Tribunal found that “in the present case” no “legal error” on the part of the Royal Court of Appeal “could be discerned”. The prohibition on suing F. Zabel was thus sustained and my claim did not reach the stage of being accorded a public hearing.

My reply to Vogt will appear in a few days.

Karl Marx

London, November 24, 1860