Kossuth, Mazzini, and Louis Napoleon

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 1 December 1852

Published in the New York Daily Tribune,
Reproduced from the newspaper No. 3627, December 1, 1852
Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 11 (pp.382-383), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1979
Collection(s): New York Tribune

In his letter to Adolf Cluss dated December 7, 1852, Marx informed him of the motives which prompted him to write this statement: it was the clamour raised by a number of German-American democratic newspapers over Marx's warning concerning the danger of a tie-up between the followers of Mazzini and Kossuth and Bonapartist circles.

Sir: My letter of 28th of September last, containing revelations as to the movements of Kossuth and Mazzini, has, I perceive, elicited considerable animadversion, and given the Democratic press occasion for a vast amount of superfluous declamation, abuse and bluster.I have ascertained that Kossuth has no part in this clamor. If he had himself ventured a denial of my assertions, I should have returned to the subject, and given incontestable evidence for the facts adduced.

However, my letter was not intended as an attack on Kossuth, but rather as a warning. In politics a man may ally himself, for a given object, with the devil himself only he must be sure that he is cheating the devil, instead of the devil cheating him.

As to the gentleman who has taken upon himself authoritatively to refute me, I beg to remind him of an old proverb: Amicus incommodus ab inimico non differt.[1]

To the gentlemen of the Democratic press, and especially of the German Democratic press, who, as usual, have yelled the loudest, I say they are all bigoted Crypto-Royalists. These gentlemen cannot do without kings, gods and popes. Scarcely got out of the leading strings of their old rulers, they manufacture new ones for themselves, and grow indignant at those "infidels and rebels" who render themselves obnoxious by publishing unpleasant truths, revealing compromising facts and thus committing lese-majesty and sacrilege against the newly-elevated Democratic gods and kings.

London, November 16, 1852

Your private correspondent

  1. An awkward friend does not differ from an enemy.—Ed.