Letter to Friedrich Engels, February 19, 1870

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 19 February 1870


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First published abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Bd. 4, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Abt. III, Bd. 4, Berlin, 1931

Extract published in Marx and Engels on Ireland, Progress Publishers, 1971;

Published in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 43

To Engels in Manchester

London, February 19, 1870[edit source]

DEAR FRED,

Although it is still very inopportune to go out in the evenings in such weather, nevertheless I visited Gaudissart[1] yesterday evening. He had, you see, written to me that he had something very important to tell me, and could not really drag the files to me. And what was it? A giant letter about Russica, an impossible omnium-gatherum rambling on from one thing to another, with which he had honoured Zukunft and which this had not printed; neither had he received an answer to his furious letter requesting ‘an explanation’ of such methods. Further: a letter from the publisher[2] of Hermann here, requesting him to write against Russia for his paper. It would thus appear that Bismarck is very cross about Katkov’s attacks.

Finally, an article in Katkov’s paper” in which he 1. makes” insinuations against Bakunin concerning various money matters;

2. describes him as his Siberian correspondent; 3. charges Bakunin with having written an extremely humble letter to Emperor Nicholas, from Siberia or shortly before being sent there—I don’t remember exactly. Gaudissart will send me a COPY of this, which I shall then communicate to you.

Gaudissart has business again, but not yet a new OFFICE in the CITY. He also has to get the BUSINESS going again.

This evening—although yesterday evening did me no good—I must go into town again. I have been SUMMONED to the SUBCOMMITTEE. It is, in fact, an important matter, since the people in Lyons have thrown Richard out of their society, though the GENERAL COUNCIL must make the decision. Richard, hitherto LEADER in Lyons, a very young man, is very active. Apart from his INFEODATION to Bakunin and a super-wisdom linked with this, I don’t know what reproaches can be made against him. It appears that our last circular letter[3] caused quite a sensation and that a hunt for Bakuninists has started in both Switzerland and France. But est modus in rebus,[4] and I shall see to it that there is no injustice.

The best part of Gladstone’s speech is the long introduction, in which he says that even the “beneficent” laws of the English have always the reverse effect in practice. What better proof does that fellow need that England is not called upon to be the lawgiver and ruler of Ireland!

His measures are a pretty piece of patchwork. The main thing in them is to lure the lawyers with the prospect of lawsuits and the landlords with the prospect of “state assistance.”

Odger’s election scandal was doubly useful: the pig-Whigs saw for the first time that they must let the workers into Parliament, or else the Tories will get in. Secondly, it is a lesson to Mr. Odger and his accomplices, He would have got in despite Waterlow if some of the Irish workers had not abstained from voting, because he had behaved so trimming during the debate in the General Council, which they knew of from Reynolds’s.

You'll receive the Irish Bill next week.

Salut

Your

K. M.

Apropos. Mr Siebel or Sybel, or whatever the fellow is called, appears to forget that the Prussians had already left the Austrians in the lurch, in order to participate in the second partitioning of Poland excluding them. The filthy behaviour of the Prussians on that occasion was already disclosed in a Polish publication of 1794, which I have read in German translation, and the very clumsy way in which Russia made the two great German powers into its TOOLS and FOOLS in the anti-Jacobin war is very well set out in a Polish pamphlet, written in French in 1848.[5] The names of the two authors quoted escape my memory, but they are in my notebooks.

  1. Sigismund Borkheim
  2. Heinemann
  3. K. Marx, The General Council to the Federal Council of Romance Switzerland.
  4. all has its measure (Horace, Satires, I, 1).
  5. L. L. Sawaszkiewicz, Tableau de l'influence de la Pologne sur les destinées de la Révolution française et de l'Empire