Letter to Friedrich Engels, August 5, 1865
|Written||5 August 1865|
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Bd. 3, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, 1930.
To Engels in Manchester
London, 5 August 1865[edit source]
My best thanks for the £50 and the speed with which the help came. I was greatly amused by the part of your letter which deals with the ‘work of art’ to be. [Capital] But you misunderstood me. The only point in question is whether to do a fair copy of part of the manuscript and send it to the publisher, or finish writing the whole thing first? I have decided in favour of the latter for many reasons. No time is lost by it, as far as the work itself is concerned, although some time is lost in printing; however, on the other hand, once begun, that cannot then be interrupted in any way either. Furthermore, in view of the level of the thermometer, progress with it has been as fast as anyone could have managed, even having no artistic considerations at all. Besides, as I have a maximum limit of 60 printed sheets, it is absolutely essential for me to have the whole thing in front of me, to know how much has to be condensed and crossed out, so that the individual sections shall be evenly balanced and in proportion within the prescribed limits. In any case, you can be sure that I shall spare no effort to complete as soon as possible, as the thing is a nightmarish burden to me. Not only does it prevent me from doing anything else, but it is also damnedly irksome to have the public kept entertained with the expectation of laurels to come (not by me, to be sure, but by Liebknecht and others). And furthermore, I know that time will not stand still for ever just as it is now.
Eichhoff has written a few lines to me, but couldn’t call on me owing to pressure of business. In his letter he said Dronke would visit (he was here yesterday) but in such a confused way there was no making sense of the scriptum. That ‘treatise’ is sticking to poor Eichhoff like his own skin, and no operation will detach it from him.
What do you make of Siebel’s productions as a patriotic-liberal poet? The thing appears to have been written during extremely depressing hangover. It is utter nonsense and surpasses everything our friend has previously produced.
The Social-Demokrat’s attempt to commit itself in support of the bourgeoisie is a sign of complete and utter fiasco, although I share your view that the first calls in Berlin did not occur without some ministerial prompting. However, the other Lassallean faction, which executed a volte face against the Social-Demokrat as a result of our statement, are also quite a pitiful rabble. These fellows are not merely at loggerheads with B. Becker and Co. as to whose faith in Lassalle is the true one, but several of their branches have published that phrase inspired by old Hatzfeldt and coined specifically with us in mind, that anyone who tried to overturn or change even one syllable of the truths as revealed by Lassalle, was declared a traitor to the ‘people’.
It is ages since I last answered Liebknecht, despite various notes he sent me; however I am going to do so now. He is in Hanover for the time being now, but his wife is still in Berlin. The reason why I did not write was partly that I was very busy, and also I had enough on my hands with my own troubles. On the other hand, I was furious with him for the nonsense which he had been retailing about me at the Berlin Lassalle-Association and which is there for all to read in the scrap of a pamphlet about B. Becker’s expulsion from that association which the old sow got someone called Schilling to publish (Farthing would have been a more appropriate name). With his usual talent for being too lazy to acquaint himself with the facts, he drivels the greatest nonsense about the Bangya-manuscript and my intercession for Becker quoad Vienna Botschafter, etc. And, moreover, the whole way in which he plays the part of my ‘patron’ and ‘apologises’ for me to the louts of Berlin for them not knowing my works; and generally behaves as though so far I had done nothing in affairs of action. So, I allowed some time to elapse, so as not to say anything rude to him and to pacify myself with the thought that Liebknecht will be Liebknecht and that his intentions are ‘good’. The 30,000 members of the old Berlin Journeymen’s Association, and ditto the Association of Printers there organised a kind of ovation for him when he was expelled. With his usual optimism, Wilhelmchen sees the proletariat of Berlin at my (that is, his) and our (yours and mine) feet. At the same time, he has not managed even to form a single branch of 6 members for the International Association in Germany, although the sanguine fellow must surely realise that I cannot serve up his delusions to the English as true coin. He also kept on writing to me about my ‘book’. But however often I sent him ‘books’ (first the whole remainder of ‘Vogt’, then the whole remainder of the ‘Communist Trials') at his most sanguine request, from the moment he received them, I never heard a dying word more about them.
Mr Groote, Party of Progress deputy for Düsseldorf, has written to him saying that what he did in Berlin has had more effect than the actions of 100 Party of Progress deputies.
Edgar has just recently caught a cold which has gone to his nose, which, as a result of this accident, looks positively Bardolphian.
During the warm weather I have been regularly working day and night by the open window. Outcome: an attack of rheumatism in my right arm, particularly the shoulder blade, which is very painful and makes writing, especially any lifting-movement, difficult. I instinctively cry out if I unintentionally raise my arm in bed at night, which tells you how nasty the thing is. Does Gumpert know of any kind of nostrum for it?
You probably know that at the Gymnastic Festival in Paris, the worthy Gottfried Kinkel refused the laurel crown he was offered by a Jew who was presiding, with the words: ‘I want no crown, not even a crown of laurel’, but at once added in fairly unvarnished words that he had by no means yet given up his claims to the Presidency of the German Republic, the ‘office’ that was his due. The Nordstern ridiculed him rather effectively as much for this bit of melodrama, and for his whole speech, which was disgusting. The Festival opened with a toast to Badinguet.
Where is Strohn?
As soon as you have time and inclination, do not forget to send me something ‘continental’ for the Miner.
Kindest regards to you from the whole family, and from me to Mrs Lizzy.