Impeachment of the Government
|Written||15 November 1848|
Translated by the Marx-Engels Institute
Published in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 8
The town of Brandenburg refuses to have anything to do with the Brandenburg cabinet and has sent a letter of thanks to the National Assembly.
Statements issued throughout the country recognize only the government of the National Assembly.
The cabinet has again committed high treason by defying the Habeas Corpus Act and proclaiming a state of siege without the assent of the National Assembly and by expelling the National Assembly from the shooting-gallery at the point of the bayonet.
The seat of the National Assembly is the people and not this or that heap of stones. If it is driven out of Berlin it will meet elsewhere, in Breslau, Cologne, or any other place it thinks fit. It has declared this in the resolution it passed on the 13th.
The Berliners scoff at the state of siege and are in no way intimidated by it. Nobody is handing over his arms.
Armed men from various Parts of the country are hurrying to the assistance of the National Assembly.
The Guard regiments have refused to obey orders. More and more soldiers are fraternizing with the people.
Silesia and Thuringia are in revolt.
We, however, appeal to you, citizens -- send money to the democratic Central Committee in Berlin. But pay no taxes to the counter-revolutionary government. The National Assembly has declared that refusal to pay taxes is justified in law. It has not yet passed a resolution on this out of consideration for the civil servants. A starvation diet will make these officials realize the power of the citizenry and will make good citizens of them.
Starve the enemy and refuse to pay taxes! Nothing is sillier than to supply a traitorous government with the means to fight the nation, and the means of all means is money.
- he reference is to the law safeguarding personal freedom passed by the Prussian National Assembly on August 28, 1848, and signed by the King on September 24.
It was called the Habeas Corpus Act by analogy with the English Writ of Habeas Corpus. The law was published in the Preussischer Staats-Anzeiger No. 148, September 29, 1848.
A Writ of Habeas Corpus is the name given in English judicial procedure to a document enjoining the relevant authorities to present an arrested person before a court on the demand of persons interested to check the legitimacy of the arrest. Having considered the reasons for the arrest, the court either frees the person arrested, sends him back to prison or releases him on bail or guarantee. The procedure, laid down by an Act of Parliament of 1679, does not apply to persons accused of high treason and can be suspended by decision of Parliament.