Letter to Ferdinand Lassalle, June 10, 1859

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 10 June 1859

First published in: F. Lassalle. Nachgelassene Briefe und Schriften, Bd. III, Stuttgart-Berlin 1922

This letter was first published in an abridged English translation in The Letters of Karl Marx, selected and translated with explanatory notes and an introduction by Saul K. Padover, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliff, New Jersey, 1979.

Published in English in full for the first time in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 40
Keywords : Letter

To Ferdinand Lassalle in Berlin

[London,] 10 June 1859

Dear Lassalle,

Since I wrote to you last I have had to prepare and send off 15 printed sheets for the English-American cyclopaedia, which is appearing in New York.[1] This is no joke, what with my other work. Today is the day for the Tribune articles.[2] So there’s not a minute to spare. Hence I’m merely writing to let you know that I got your letters as well as the pamphlet.[3]

This much for the present:

Ad vocem[4] Sickingen: Shall read it as soon as I have time and let you have a reply.[5]

Ad vocem pamphlet: In no way corresponds with my own view or that of my party friends in England. It is probable, by the by, that we shall express our view in print.

Ad vocem Duncker: Have written to tell him I’m sorry if my letter offended him. However it’s a scandalous piece of procrastination. I received the last proof-sheet[6] as much as 5 weeks ago. You can’t expect me—once I have a contract—to behave towards a publisher or permit myself to be treated by him as though he were printing the thing only as a ‘favour’ to yourself. One good turn he has already done me, and that is to lose me my English publisher until further notice.

Ad vocem Vogt (Imperial bailiff)[7]: We possess evidence, not only that the man has received money for himself from Bonaparte, but also money to suborn Germans in the interests of Franco-Russian propaganda.[8] Up till now he has succeeded only in the case of that politically negative quantity, Gottfried Kinkel.

Ad vocem Proudhon: Is said to have gone out of his mind and been put in a lunatic asylum in Brussels.



K. M.

  1. The New American Cyclopaedia
  2. 10 June 1859 was a Friday. On Tuesdays and Fridays Marx sent off his articles to New York.
  3. [F. Lassalle,] Der italienische Krieg und die Aufgabe Preußens.
  4. As regards
  5. This refers to Lassalle’s letter to Marx and Engels of 27 May 1859, in which he replied to the criticism of his drama Franz von Sickingen contained in Marx’s letter of 19 April and Engels’ letter of 18 May 1859. In essence Lassalle argued against Marx’s and Engels’ view of the principles of drama and artistic création and’against their conception of the historical events presented in his drama. Lassalle tried to justify his attempts to glorify the German nobility and play down the historical role of peasant uprisings, describing the peasantry as class with reactionary tendencies, and Thomas Münzer, the ideologist of the plebeian peasant masses, as a religious fanatic.
  6. K. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.
  7. Ridiculing Karl Vogt, Marx often puns on his name. Vogt or Landvogt was the name of provincial governors or other officials in the German Empire in the Middle Ages.
    By calling him ‘the great imperial Vogt’, Marx alludes to the fact that he was one of the five members of the Regency of the Empire (Reichsregentschaft) formed in Stuttgart in early June 1849 by the ‘Rump’ of the Frankfurt National Assembly. The Regency’s attempts to enforce die Imperial Constitution by parliamentary means ended in failure.
  8. On 9 May 1859 Marx, while attending a public meeting organised by Urquhart in connection with the Italian war, was told by the German democrat Karl Blind that Vogt was in receipt of subsidies from the French government for Bonapartist propaganda and had offered bribes to some writers to induce them to come out in support of Napoleon III.