Letter to Ferdinand Lassalle, November 8, 1855

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 8 November 1855


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 39, p. 556;
First published: F. Lassalle, Nachgelassene Briefe und Schriften, 1922.

To Ferdinand Lassalle in Düsseldorf

Manchester, 8th November 1855 34 Butler Street, Green Keys[edit source]

Dear Lassalle,

Herewith a very belated answer. In the first place, I did not get your letters until later because I was in Manchester whereas the letters were in London and my wife did not know for certain whether I hadn’t already left Manchester. For another thing, I was plagued by the most atrocious toothache, so much so that I experienced what Hegel demands of sensual consciousness at the stage at which it is said to override consciousness of self — viz. the inability to hear, see, and therefore also to write.

As regards your query about the book entitled: Les mystères de la Bourse by Coffinières, I believe that this miserable concoction is still among the books I left behind in the fatherland. During my first stay in Paris the title misled me first into buying the thing and then into reading it. Mr Coffinières is a lawyer who, au fond, a knows nothing about the Bourse and merely warns against the ‘legal’ swindles perpetrated by the ‘agents de change’. So there’s nothing to be got out of the book — neither fact, nor theory, nor yet even entertaining anecdotes. Moreover, it is now completely out-of-date. ‘Sweet Donna, let him go’ — i.e. Coffinières. ‘He is not worthy of thy wrath’.

Weerth is now back in Manchester after a lengthy journey via the Continent (he returned from the West Indies at the end of July). In a week’s time he will be off to the tropics again. It’s very amusing to hear him talk. He has seen, experienced and observed much. Ranged over the better part of South, West and Central America. Crossed the Pampas on horseback. Climbed Chimborazo. Likewise stayed in California. If he no longer writes feuilletons, he makes up for it by recounting them, and his audience has the benefit of vivacious gesture, mime and waggish laughter. He is, by the by, full of enthusiasm for life in the West Indies and hasn’t a good word to say for the human riff-raff and the weather of this northern clime. And, indeed, things are bad here, very bad.

You will have read in the papers about the Jersey affair and the general to-do over the refugee question in England. I don’t believe that this affair will take a serious turn. Nor, for that matter, do I believe that the government here had a serious end in view. Otherwise the row would have been saved up until just before the opening of Parliament. As it is, public opinion has been given time to swing back and, in many respects, has already done so.

Send your next letter to my old address in London as I'm not sure how long I shall stay up here with friend Engels. He and Lupus send you their warm regards.

Your
K. M.