Letter to Friedrich Engels, December 2, 1864

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To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 2 December 1864[edit source]

Dear Fred,

Thanks for The Guardian.

I did send on a few copies of the ‘Address’ to E. Jones afterwards, with a letter to him saying that he would probably receive one from you first. He writes today that he has neither seen nor heard anything from you. His address is 55, not 52, Cross Street. He says in his letter that, when the Assizes are over, he will form a branch association in Manchester amongst his acquaintances.

Could you by any chance dig up the address of the musician Petzler (maybe from the Manchester directory, or the Schiller Association )? He has a lot of contacts among the Manchester workers, and without any intervention on your part I could put him in touch with E. Jones from here. You would only need to send me Petzler’s address.

The worst thing about agitation of this kind is that one gets very bothered as soon as one becomes involved in it. E.g. Address to Lincoln now on the agenda again, and again I had to compose the thing (which is far more difficult than writing a proper work) — so that the phraseology to which that kind of writing is limited, is at least distinguishable from vulgar-democratic phraseology. Fortunately, Mr Fox is doing the Polish business which is coming up in connection with 29 November, the anniversary of the Polish revolution of 1830.

In the Committee, since the address for Lincoln is to be handed over to Adams, some of the English wanted to have the deputation introduced by a member of Parliament — as is customary. This desire was suppressed by the majority of the English and the unanimity of the continentals, and it was declared instead that such old English customs ought to be abolished. On the other hand: M. Le Lubez, as a real crapaud, wanted the address to be directed not to Lincoln but to the American people. I made him look suitably foolish and made it clear to the English that French democratic etiquette is not worth a farthing more than monarchical etiquette.

Apropos. Naturally it is impossible to have a movement here without its own press-organ. The Bee-Hive (weekly, organ of the trades-unions) was therefore declared to be the organ of the Association. By a stroke of ill-luck, to which the workers are particularly susceptible, a scoundrel called George Potter (in the building strikes he acted as mouthpiece in The Times, but with articles written not by himself but by others) has installed himself as Manager with a clique of shareholders, who have so far formed the majority. The Committee, whose English members are mostly Bee-Hive shareholders (a share costs only 5s., and no one can have more than 5 votes, even if he holds 5,000 shares; thus 1 vote per share up to a maximum of 5), has therefore decided that we should set up a share-fund here which will enable us to create shareholders and to swamp the old majority. I would appreciate it if you would let us have a contribution for this purpose as well. The whole operation must, of course, be confined to the close friends of the members of the Committee, as otherwise counter-measures would be promptly taken by the other side (i.e. before the general meeting of shareholders which is not far off now).

Besides the Hermann, there was also another little paper here, the Londoner Anzeiger, which belongs to the worthy Jewish bookseller Bender. It is trying to build itself up as a competitor to the Hermann, as the editorship has been taken over by a certain L. Otto von Breidtschwerdt, although he writes under the name of L. Otto. I shall hardly become directly involved in the thing at all, as I had my fill with the Volk but it is good for reprinting statements in London as soon as they appear in the German newspapers, e.g. like the one against Blind.

This Otto first got to know Eccarius, at whose suggestion he became a German member of the International Committee. He is a Swabian, Stuttgarter born and bred. Quite a young fellow, about 27 or 28. Very much like my wife’s elder brother. Began as a cadet in the Austrian army, where he learnt all kinds of languages and was stationed all over the place. Subsequently studied in Tübingen. As a person, he is a very pleasant, witty fellow and well-mannered. His head is still stuffed full of petty Swabianisms and Germanic nonsense. For all that, very good knowledge and ability. But he seems to me to have more inclination than a gift for writing; dull, doctrinaire. He is useful as a go-between with South Germany and especially the Land of the Swabians. Also writes in the Augsburger from time to time, which is, incidentally, entirely what you would expect from the Vogt standpoint.

I wrote to Mr Klings that it was difficult, but also quite unnecessary, to decide between Moses and Bernhard. Both were honest and both incompetent. I said that, at the present moment, it was neither here nor there who has the title of President. When the time became decisive, there would be no difficulty in finding the right people.

I am very much afraid I can feel another carbuncle starting on my right hip. Allen knows nothing about it as I have been treating myself for some time. If I went to him now about the arsenic business, which after all you cannot start without a doctor and to which he might perhaps not even agree, he would give me the most dreadful dressing down for having been carbuncling for so long behind his back!!

K. M.

In his reply to Mayer the Swabian (via his man-of-straw Bronner), Blind states that Lincoln and Frémont were fighting for his vote because it would decide the election. And in an American newspaper, The Radical Democrat that he was responsible for the Polish revolution.