Letter to Ferdinand Lassalle, December 21, 1857

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 21 December 1857


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 40, p. 225;
First published: in F. Lassalle. Nachgelassene Briefe und Schriften, Berlin, 1922.

To Ferdinand Lassalle in Düsseldorf

London, 21 December 1857 9 Grafton Terrace, Maitland Park, Haverstock Hill[edit source]

Dear Lassalle,

Of the various letters you mention I have received only one, that sent via Freiligrath. I didn’t answer, or rather was awaiting a private occasion for answering which, for reasons that cannot very well be committed to paper, did not present itself. I would point out, by the by, that it was you who first broke off the correspondence by failing for such a long time to answer a letter dated Manchester [8 Nov 1855].

My thanks for Heraclitus. I have always felt a great tenderness for this philosopher, whom I prefer above all the Ancients save Aristotle. [Later] philosophy — Epicurus (him in particular), Stoa and Scepticism — [I] had made the object of special study, but for [political] rather than philosophical [...] reasons. While [tendering] my thanks, [I] must at the same time [say] that the work has not yet reached me.

Doubtless [Nutt’s] will send it as soon as it comes into their [...] to write [... Mi]nistry. My views on Palmerston you know, and these have not changed. Besides, I know nothing whatever about the paper since Austrian journals are nowhere on display here, and am thus quite ignorant of its general line. Whatever the case, I should be interested to see one or two numbers.

I live in great isolation here, all my friends except Freiligrath having left London. Anyway, I have no desire for intercourse. Relativement parlant, Freiligrath is doing quite well as manager of the Swiss Bank and is still the same good-natured, sterling fellow he has always been. Lupus and Engels are in Manchester as before. We still lament the loss of Weerth.

The present commercial crisis has impelled me to set to work seriously on my outlines [Grundrisse] of political economy, and also to prepare something on the present crisis. I am forced to fritter away [...] my days earning a living. [Only] the nights remain free for real work and that is disrupted by ill-health. I [have] not yet looked round for a publisher as I know from experience the [...] come of it [...] when I cannot send you any news, living as I do like a hermit. Throughout last winter and summer my wife was very unwell, but has now recovered in some measure.

If you know Dr Elsner’s address please send him my regards.

That old ass Ruge has, I am told, made an attempt to resuscitate his Deutsche Jahrbücher. History will not put the clock back far enough to make this feasible.

Your
K. M.