Letter to Friedrich Engels, December 4, 1869

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To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 4 December 1869[edit source]

Dear Fred,

The resolutions unanimously carried despite Odger’s incessant verbal amendments. I gave in to him on only one point, to omit the word ‘deliberate’ before ‘insults’ in para. 1. I did this on pretence, that everything a Prime Minister publicly did, must be presumed eo ipso to be deliberate. The real reason was that I knew, as soon as the first para. was accepted in substance, all further opposition would be in vain. I'm sending you 2 National Reformers containing reports on the 2 first sessions, not yet on the latest. This report, too, is poor, and much is quite wrong (due to misunderstanding), but better than Eccarius’ reports in Reynolds’s. They are by Harris, whose currence panacea you will also find in the latest number of the National Reformer.

With the exception of Mottershead, who appeared as John Bull, and Odger, who as always acted the diplomat, the English delegates have behaved excellently. The general debate on the attitude of the English working class to the Irish question begins on Tuesday.

One has to struggle here not only against prejudices, but also against the stupidity and wretchedness of the Irish spokesmen in Dublin. The Irishman (Pigott) cannot know of the proceedings and resolutions solely from Reynolds’s, to which he subscribes and from which he often quotes. They (the resolutions) had already been sent him directly by an Irishman on 17 November. Till today, deliberately not a word. The jackass behaved in a similar way during our debate and petition for 3 Manchester men. The ‘Irish’ question must be treated as something quite distinct, excluding the outside world, and it must be concealed that English workers sympathise with the Irish! What a dumb ox! And this with regard to the International, which has press organs all over Europe and the United States! This week he has received the resolutions officially, signed by the Foreign Secretaries. The material has also been sent to the People. Nous verrons. Mottershead subscribes to The Irishman and will not fail to use this opportunity to poke fun at the high-souled Irishmen.

But I'll play a trick on Pigott. I'm writing to Eccarius today, asking him to send the Resolutions with the signatures, etc., to Isaac Butt, the President of the Irish Working Men’s Association. Butt is not Pigott.

The following explains to you the enclosed letter from Applegarth:

After the end of the last session, in which he behaved very well, he took me aside and told me the following: an eminent member of the House of Commons had written to him that he had been commissioned by an eminent member of the House of Lords (Lord Leachfield!) to ask him whether he had voted for the abolition of all private property at Basle. His answer was decisive for the attitude towards him of Applegarth’s parliamentary patrons. He (Applegarth) wanted to give the fellows a decisive answer, I should write down briefly the ‘reasons’, and this the following day. I was very busy, as well as still suffering under the arm; cold made worse by the frightful fog after the session on Tuesday evening. Thus, wrote to Applegarth on Wednesday that I had been prevented, but ready to support him when he received a reply. With English obstinacy he did not accept; wrote enclosed letter. So I was willy-nilly forced to write him 8 closely-written pages, which will give him a lot to pore over about landed property and the necessity of its abolition. The fellow is very important since, on the part of both Houses of Parliament he is the officially recognised representative of the English trades unions.

Enclosed, also, a letter from Bracke. I have nothing against Bonhorst; I had only told Kugelmann that I regarded him as a rather revolutionary character. Kugelmann, with his usual tact, informed Bracke of this in amplified form.

Tussy thanks Dido very much for his letter, and sends greetings to all.