Evacuation of The Danubian Principalities. The Events in Spain. A New Danish Constitution. The Chartists

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 8 August 1854


MIA-bannière.gif
First published in the New York Daily Tribune, No. 4162, August 21;
reprinted in the New York Semi-Weekly Tribune, No. 964, August 22
and partly in the New York Weekly Tribune, No. 676, August 26, 1854
Reproduced from the New York Daily Tribune
Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 13 (pp.350-356), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980

This article is part of Marx and Engels' joint article, The Attack on the Russian Forts. The first section of the article, devoted to the movement of troops in the Danubian Principalities, was written by Marx with Engels' assistance, as can be seen from Marx's letter to Engels of July 22, 1854. Part of the article was included in The Eastern Question under the title "The Russian Retreat.—Denmark."

London, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 1854

On the 28th ult. Prince Gorchakoff passed with the center of his army through Shlawa, a village about six miles from Kalugereni; leaving it again on the 29th en route for Fokshani. The vanguard, commanded by Gen. Soimonoff, consists of eight battalions of the 10th division of infantry, of the regiments of chasseurs of Tomsk and Koliwan, and of the regiment of hussars of the Grand Duke, Heir of the Empire[1]. This vanguard was to pass the Jalomitza on the 1st inst. at Ureshti and Merescyani, where bridges had been constructed. It would be expected to arrive at Fokshani about the middle of the month.

The Turkish army advances in three columns. The center was, on July 29, at Kalugereni, on the 30th skirmishers of its vanguard were seen at Glina, two miles from Bucharest, where Omer Pasha's headquarters were expected to be established on the 1st. The right wing marched along the Argish, in the direction from Oltenitza on Bucharest. The left which, on the 28th, was at Mogina, is to take the road from Slatina to Bucharest.

"The retrograde movement of the Russian army," says the Moniteur de l'Armée, "seems to partake more of a strategic than of a political character. The Muscovite General finds in it the advantage of concentrating his troops in a good position where they can draw breath from the sufferings undergone in the Dobrodja, and inflicted upon them, on the left bank of the Danube by the Turks. He will be nearer to his basis of approvisionnement[2], while continuing to occupy an important portion of the territory invaded last year. Finally he gets a position that is formidable, even in the presence of superior forces."

On the 26th of July Baron Budberg addressed the following proclamation to the Wallachians:

"His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias, King of Poland, and Protector of t he Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, and Protector of all those who profess t he orthodox Greek faith, has determined to withdraw the imperial troops for a very short period from the insalubrious countries of the Danube, in order to quarter them on the more healthy hills. The enemy, in the short-sightedness of his views, imagined that we retired from fear of him, and consequently he attempted to attack our troops during their retreat. But Prince Gorchakoff, the Commander-in-Chief, had hardly ordered his troops to repulse them when they fled ignominiously, abandoning their arms and ammunition, which our gallant soldiers carry away. When the season shall be more favorable we shall return to you in arms, to deliver you forever from the barbarous Turk. Our retreat will be effected with caution, and without hurry, so that the enemy may not imagine that we are flying before him."[3]

It is curious that in 1853, in the very same month of July, the Russians found the season not at all unfavorable to the occupation of Wallachia.

"The emigration of the Bulgarian families from the Dobrodja," says a letter from Galatch published in a German paper, "is constantly going on. About 1,000 families, with 150,000 head of cattle, have crossed near Reni."

This "voluntary emigration," to which the inhabitants were invited by the Russians, on the plea of the dangers from Turkish vengeance, is very similar in character to the "voluntary" Austrian loan[4]. The Vienna correspondent of The Morning Chronicle relates that the same families,

"on learning that they were to be employed on the fortifications in Moldavia, wished to return to their homes; but they were forced by the Cossacks to proceed to Fokshani, where they are now at work at the trenches."

The barricades were scarcely removed at Madrid, at the request of Espartero, before the counter-revolution was busy at work. The first counter-revolutionary step was the impunity allowed to Queen Cristina, Sartorius, and their associates. Then followed the formation of the Ministry, with the Moderado O'Donnell as Minister of War, and the whole army placed at the disposal of this old friend of Narvaez. There are in the list the names of Pacheco, Lujan, Don Francisco Santa Cruz, all of them notorious partisans of Narvaez, and the first a member of the infamous Ministry of 1847[5]. Another, Salazar, has been appointed on the sole merit of being a playfellow of Espartero. In remuneration for the bloody sacrifices of the people, on the barricades and in the public place, numberless decorations have been showered upon the Espartero generals on the one hand, and on the Moderado friends of O'Donnell on the other hand. In order to pave the way for an ultimate silencing of the press, the press law of 1837 has been reestablished. Instead of convoking a general Constituent Cortes, Espartero is said to intend convoking only the Chambers after the Constitution of 1837, and, as some say, even as modified by Narvaez. To secure as far as possible the success of all these measures and others that are to follow, large masses of troops are being concentrated near Madrid. If any consideration press itself especially on our attention in this affair, it is the suddenness with which the reaction has set in.

On the first instant the chiefs of the barricades called upon Espartero, in order to make to him some observations on the choice of his Ministry. He entered into a long explanation on the difficulties with which he was beset, and endeavored to defend his nominations. But the Deputies of the people seem to have been little satisfied with his explanation. "Very alarming" news arrives at the same time, about the movements of the republicans in Valencia, Catalonia, and Andalusia. The embarrassment of Espartero is visible from his decree sanctioning the continued activity of the provincial juntas[6]. Nor has he yet dared to dissolve the junta of Madrid, though his Ministry is complete and installed in office.

On the demand of Napoleon the Little, Col. Charras has been expelled from Belgium. The Paris correspondent of the Indépendance beige speaks of a pamphlet, written and published by Prince Murat, which claims the crown of King Bomba[7] as the legitimate inheritance of the Murats[8]. The pamphlet had been translated into Italian.

The Danish Ministry obstinately persists in refusing to accord to the western powers the harbors and landing-places which would enable them to keep their forces in the Baltic during the winter. This is, however, not the only manner in which that Government manifests its contempt for the powers arrayed against its patron, the Emperor of Russia. It has not hesitated to make its long meditated coup d'état, one entirely in the interest of Russia, in the very face of the fleets and armies of the occidental powers. On July 26 a state paper was published at Copenhagen, headed: "Constitution of the Danish Monarchy for its common affairs." Strange to say, the English press has scarcely taken any notice at all of this measure. I give you, therefore, the more important points of this new Danish Constitution:

Section 1. The succession of the Danish monarchy is settled by the law of 31st July, 1853.

Sec. 5. Common affairs of the monarchy are all those which are not expressly stated to refer to any particular part of it.

Sec. 6. The common expenses of the monarchy in excess of its receipts are to be borne in the following proportion, viz: Denmark 60 per cent.; Schleswig 17 per cent.; Holstein 23 per cent.

Sec. 7. The common affairs of the monarchy are to be in charge of a Rigsrad. Sec. 8. The present Rigsrad will be composed only of members nominated by the King. Future Rigsrads are to be partly elected.

Sec. 10. The Rigsrad will then be composed of fifty members, the King nominating twenty, and the other thirty members will be elected in the following proportion, viz: The Diet of Denmark will elect 18, the Provincial States of Schleswig 5, those of Holstein 6, and the Ritterschaft of Lauenburg 1.

Sec. 11. The fundamental law of the Kingdom of Denmark of 5th June, 1849, is to he restricted to the affairs of that kingdom.

Sec. 15. The members of the Rigsrad receive an annual pay of 500 thalers. Sec. 16. The Rigsrad is to be convoked at least once within every two years, for a term as shall be decreed by the King.

Sec. 17. Its sittings are to be at Copenhagen; but the King may remove them to any other place.

Sec. 18. Its deliberations will be guided by a President, nominated by the King. The debates may be either in the German or the Danish languages, but the resolutions must be put in the latter.

Sec. 19. The deliberations of the Rigsrad are secret.

Sec. 21. No tax common to the whole Monarchy can be levied, altered, or suppressed, nor any loan contracted for the whole Monarchy without the consent of the Rigsrad.

Sec. 22. The Rigsrad has only a consultative voice in all other except the money Affairs of the common Monarchy.

A decree of the same date convokes the Rigsrad for Sept. 1st, 1854, and another decree publishes the nominations of the King, the nominees being all courtiers, high functionaries, and knights of the Danebrog.[9]

The principal points gained by this new coup d'état are the suppression of the fundamental law, of the representative institutions of Denmark, and the creation of an easy machine for the supply of as much money as the Court and the Government may want.

Ernest Jones has started on another tour through the manufacturing districts, in order to agitate them in favor of the Charter. At Halifax, Bacup, and the other localities he had already visited, the following petition to the Parliament was adopted:

"To the Honorable, the Commons of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled.—The humble Petition of the Inhabitants of Bacup, in public meeting assembled, on Sunday, the 30th of July, 1854,
Sheweth,—

"That your Petitioners have long and closely observed the conduct of the present Ministers of the Crown, in their home and foreign policy, and are convinced from calm observation that in both they are utterly undeserving the confidence of the country.

"That your Petitioners feel convinced no domestic amelioration will take place, and no external vigor be displayed so long as such men remain at the helm of national affairs.

"Your Petitioners therefore pray your honorable House to present an address to the throne, to the effect that Her Majesty may be pleased to discard her present advisers, and call to her assistance men more in harmony with the progressive spirit of the age, and better suited to the requirements of the times.

"And your Petitioners will ever pray."[10]

On Sunday[11] a large meeting assembled at Dirpley Moor, Bacup; where the agitator[12] delivered one of the most powerful speeches ever made by him, some extracts from which deserve a place in your journal:[13]

"The time for action has at last arrived, and we are commencing now such a revival of Chartism in England as never yet succeeded on a pause of apathy. At last the hour is drawing nigh when we shall have the Charter....

"Against the fall of wages you have struggled—and struggled vainly; hunger led you to the breach; ...but poverty was your teacher, even as hunger was your drill-sergeant; and after every fresh fall you rose in intelligence and knowledge. At first combinations and strikes were your remedy. You sought to conquer by them—forgetting that, not having the means of working for yourselves, you had not the means of resisting the capitalist-whose purse sat very comfortably watching your belly—seeing which could stand out longest.... You thought short time would do it, and were told that if each man worked two hours less, there would be two hours' work for those who had not worked at all. But you forgot that while you shortened the hours of labor one per cent, monopoly increased machinery one hundred....

"You then flew to co-operation. You compassed a great truth—the salvation of labor must depend on co-operation—but you overlooked the means of insuring that salvation. If you manufacture, you require a market-if you have something to sell, you require somebody who wants to buy it—and you forgot that that somebody was not at hand. Co-operative manufacture starts—but where's the market.... Where then are you to get the market? How can you make the poor rich, which alone can enable them to become purchasers of what co-operation manufactures? By those British Californians, whose gold is on the surface of the soil, and tints the waving wheatfield of the harvest. Look at your feet!—there, on the grassy banks whereon you sit—there, on the broad field whereon you stand—there lies liberty—there lies co-operation—there lies high wages—there lies prosperity and peace! In the fifteen millions of our public lands—the twenty-seven millions of our uncultivated British prairies[14] here at home. A Greek fable says Hercules wrestled with the giant Antæus, whose mother was the Earth, and threw him often—but every time he fell upon his mother's breast he gained fresh force, and bounded up more strong. Hercules discovering this, lifted him up, and held him in the air, till he had conquered him. Thus does the Hercules monopoly tear giant labor from its parent soil, and hold it by the grasp of competition, weak, powerless, and suspended, like Mahomet's tomb, 'twixt heaven and hell—only much nearer to the latter place!

"But how get to the land? There are some men who tell you that political power is not needed for the purpose. Who are they who tell you so? Is it the leaders of ten per cent. movements, and ten hours' movements, and short time movements, and restriction on machinery movements, and burial club movements, and partnership movements, and benefit society movements, and church separation movements, and education movements, and municipal movements, and all the other movements besides? What a lot of 'movements', and yet we have not moved. Not want political power? Why, these are the very men who go dancing around a political Tidd Pratt[15],—or send whining deputations to a political Palmerston,—or petition a political parliament, or wheedle around a political throne! Why, then it is political power we must go to after all, by their own showing. Only those men tell you to go to the political power of your enemies, and I tell you to go to a political power of your own.... I lay down this sovereign truth:—

"The charter is the universal remedy.

"What have we opposed to us? First, a coalition ministry. What does it mean? The leaders of factions, not one of which can stand alone. Some dozen men, too weak to stand on their own legs, and so they lean against each other, and the whole lot of them can't make one proper man at last. That is a coalition. What have we besides? A Tory opposition that would kick them out, but dare not; for it knows that it would be kicked out in turn; and then comes the Deluge, in which Noah himself could not save Class Government. What have we else? A landed aristocracy, three-fourths of whose estates are mortgaged for above two-thirds of their value—a glorious power that to crush a people! 38,000 bankrupt landlords, with 300,000 farmers, who groan beneath high rents, game laws and landlord tyranny. What have we more? A minocracy becoming bankrupt beneath the working of their own vile race of competition—who soon will not be able to keep their mills over their own heads. A precious power that to strike the pedestal of freedom from your feet! What remains? The working man and the shopkeeper. Often has it been endeavored to unite the two on the basis of a compromise. I for one have always opposed it, because a compromise of the franchise would only have strengthened the moneyed interest, and perfected class legislation. But the time for that union has now come at last—and come without the need of compromise or treason. The retail shopkeepers are fast becoming democratic. It is said the way to a working man's brain is through his belly. Aye! and the way to a shopkeeper's heart is through his pocket? For every shilling less he takes he gets a new idea. Insolvency is teaching him the truth.... Thus the moral force of our enemies is annihilated—and new allies are joining us. Their physical force is gone as well. The Czar's done that! In Ireland there are scarce 1,000 men! In England there is now no standing army. But there's the militia! Ah, the militia! of which the desertions are so immensely numerous, says The London Times, that the 'Hue and cry' is no longer enough, but special circulars are sent to every parish, to every place where the deserter ever lived, if but a week, to see if force and terror can drag him back. I wish the Government joy of their new force. Thus the field is clear—the people's opportunity has come. Do not suppose from this I mean violence. No! Far from it! We mean a great peaceable moral movement. But because we mean moral force, it does not follow our enemies should mean it too....

"England has begun to think, and listening. As yet she is listening for the drums of Poland and the tramp of Hungary. As yet she is listening for the cries of Milan and the shouts of Paris! But amid the passing pause she is beginning to hear the beating of her own proud heart—and cries 'I also have a work to do—a foe to vanquish, and a field to conquer.'"[16]

The Chairman of the meeting[17] adverted to the presence of the Superintendent and other men of the police trusting that no misrepresentations of what was said would be reported by those employed by Government[18]. Referring to this warning Ernest Jones said:

"For my part, I don't care what they say—they may say what they choose. I go into agitation like a soldier into battle—taking my chance amid the balls that fly—to fall and perish, or to live and conquer; for I'm a soldier of Democracy."[19]

  1. Alexander Nikolayevich (Alexander II).—Ed.
  2. Supply.—Ed.
  3. Baron Budberg's address is given according to Le Moniteur universel, No. 219, August 7, 1854.—Ed.
  4. See The Details of The Insurrection at Madrid. The Austro-Prussian Summons. The New Austrian Loan. Wallachia and A congress at Vienna. The Austrian Loan. Proclamations of Dulce and O'Donnell. The Ministerial Crisis in Britain —Ed.
  5. The reference is to the Pacheco Ministry (March-August 1847), one of the numerous ministries during the reactionary dictatorship of General Narváez (1843-54).
  6. Isabella II. The decree sanctioning the existence of the provincial juntas of August 1, 1854, countersigned by Espartero. Le Moniteur universel, No. 220, August 8, 1854.—Ed.
  7. Ferdinand II.—Ed.
  8. L'Indépendance beige, No. 219, August 7, 1854.—Ed.
  9. All the decrees mentioned above are cited from the report of the Copenhagen correspondent of July 31. Le Moniteur universel, No. 216, August 4, 1854.—Ed.
  10. The People's Paper, No. 118, August 5, 1854.—Ed.
  11. July 30, 1854.—Ed.
  12. Ernest Jones.—Ed.
  13. In the article cited by Marx below Ernest Jones developed the ideas on cooperation he had expounded earlier in his articles on cooperation written with the direct participation of Marx (see Co-operation. What It Is, and What It Ought To Be, MECW, Vol. 11, Appendices).
  14. Sic in the original.—Ed.
  15. Apparently a misprint. The reference to a book by the well-known English lawyer W. Tidd, Practice of the Court of King's Bench.—Ed.
  16. The People's Paper, No. 118, August 5, 1854.—Ed.
  17. Shoesmith.—Ed.
  18. This warning was not pronounced by the Chairman but by James Mooney who was the first to speak. The People's Paper, No. 118, August 5, 1854.—Ed.
  19. This is a quotation from Ernest Jones' speech extracts from which are given by Marx above.—Ed.