Invitation of the Democratic Association in Solingen to Marx, Freiligrath, Engels, Schapper and Wolff

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In February and March 1849, a number of democratic banquets were organised in the Rhine Province to mark the anniversaries of the revolutions in France and Germany. Marx and Engels regarded these banquets as a form of revolutionary education for the masses, and gave them their general support. They themselves, however, attended only those that were held under genuinely revolutionary slogans and did not approve the attempts of petty-bourgeois democrats to exaggerate the significance of those revolutionary events that were half-hearted and incomplete in character and thereby sowed constitutional illusions among the masses. Among these events, they believed, was the March revolution in Prussia (see this volume, p. 108). Therefore, having published in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (No. 245, May 14, 1849) an announcement of the banquet in Solingen in compliance with its organisers’ request, they did not accept an invitation to attend in person. Their refusal to accept this and other invitations was tactfully explained in the editorial note published in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 249, second edition, March 18, 1849 which read: “The editorial hoard of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung has received from many neighbouring towns, both on the left and the right bank of the Rhine, invitations to attend banquets to be held on March 18. We are very grateful to our democratic friends for these kind invitations, but unfortunately having plenty of work to do we could not accept a single one of them.” Nevertheless, Marx, Engels and other newspaper editors took an active part in the banquet organised in Cologne at the Gürzenich hall, on March 19, not to celebrate the March revolution but in honour of those who fought on the barricades in Berlin on March 18 and 19, 1848 (see next document, pp. 490-91).

Solingen, March 11, 1849

To Herr Karl Marx, Editor-in-Chief

of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung,


Dear Citizen,

In accordance with the decision of a general meeting of the Democratic Association here, a grand democratic banquet will be held here on the 18th inst. to celebrate the anniversary of the March revolution of last year.

Because of your devotion to this cause, we take the liberty of inviting you to participate in this festival, together with citizens Freiligrath, Engels, Schapper and Wolff, and ask you to be so good as to inform them, in the hope that you will respond to our invitation.

With our democratic fraternal greetings,

On behalf of the Festival Committee,

H. Schaeffer

P. S. In addition, we ask you to publish the accompanying announcement in the Wednesday issue of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung and to collect the payment for the insertion through the post-office from the undersigned.

On behalf of the above-named Committee,

H. Schaeffer