Letter to Friedrich Engels, August 4, 1868

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To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 4 August 1868[edit source]

Dear Fred,

How is your eye?

You will probably have received the Eichhoff stuff. In the Zukunft there are ‘Economic Letters’ singing the praises of my book. [Capital] In fact these letters are largely cribbed from the book. In the Social-Demokrat the Executive of the General Association of German Workers is urged by the presidium to invite me as a guest of honour to the congress at Hamburg at the end of August.

A few days ago I wrote to Meissner to find out at last where and how.

Kugelmann has written me a few lines saying that the chamber of commerce and the polytechnical school in Hanover have ordered a number of copies of my book.

In the meantime, I am really more bothered by private economy or, as the English say, domestic economy, than by political economy. My landlord has dunned me and, unfortunately for me, is staying for some time at London. I have also been forced to sign diverse smaller bills of exchange, etc.

The filthy French branch has created a fine scandal for us. The Pyatists have published a blĂąme [censure] of the conseil gĂ©nĂ©ral in the Cigale. Their channel was the infamous VĂ©sinier. We ignored this vote of censure and simply passed a l'ordre du jour. There followed a meeting of the French Branch where there were fisticuffs. Dupont, Jung, Lafargue, Johannard, Lassassie and various others have quit this gang of scoundrels. This rabble now amounts to a total of perhaps 15 persons, although they confront us as the ‘souverainetĂ© du peuple’. We are ‘des endormeurs’, ‘des ambitieux’, etc. Apart from the little bit of scandal which these Splegelbergs are making in that obscure Belgian paper, they are naturally nowhere. Nothing is more grotesque than the way in which this mob play Jacobin Club.

Apropos. Moses’ article has, after all, turned up. It is in the hands of Massol, who will print it shortly in his Morale indĂ©pendante, now that this has changed its skin to become a political journal. Reclus will ditto wade in with his CoopĂ©ration now that this ditto has be-butterflied itself into a political paper.

My wife went to Ramsgate in advance on Monday to prepare the quarters. The gang will follow tomorrow.

Lafargue is only free from tomorrow. In the meantime, he has been operating like mad as assistant to the home surgeon of St. Bartholomew’s. Yesterday, e.g., from 9 in the morning until 11 in the evening. Woe to the corpus vile of male or female kind on which he gets his practice.

Best greetings from Tussy to you and Lizzy. The child declares to all and sundry that she is ready to emigrate to Manchester. Meanwhile she is teased here with the nickname ‘The poor neglected nation’.


K. M.

How do you translate gravel as distinct from sand and flint? And how peat as distinct from bog? Incidentally, there are perhaps 6 further different names for what are, more or less, nuances of peat-ground in the ‘Poor neglected Country’.

Finally, how do you manage to live in this heat? I would like best to hang on a tree in the air.

P. S. Now, when the Germans will join the ‘International Workingmen’s Association’ en masse, with the Association, for the time being, filling out at least the boundaries of its main territory — though it is still thin on the ground — my plan is that the General Council should move to Geneva for the next year and that we should function here only as the Britannic Council. It appears a shrewd move to me if the proposal comes from us. At the same time, it will show the jackasses in Paris, etc., that we are in no way anxious for this pleasant dictatorship. Qu'en penses tu?