Letter to Friedrich Engels, February 2, 1855

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 2 February 1855


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 39, p. 520;
First published: abridged in Der Wechsel zwischen F. Engels, und K. Marx, 1913 and in full in Marx and Engels, Works, 1929.

To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 2 February 1855[edit source]

Dear Frederic,

Many thanks for the article. Russell has been horribly discredited by Newcastle, though that ass waxed altogether too touching at the end of his speech.

My wife is getting on satisfactorily. But all is by no means well with the child, I fear.

Enclosed 1. Letter from Lassalle; 2. from Daniels; 3. the cuttings to which Lassalle refers; Goldheim has been prowling about among the workers in Solingen etc. under the name of ‘Lassalle’. 4. Letter from Steffen who, however, has omitted to give his Brighton address and will begin to grumble again if, in the circumstances, I don’t reply.

As a result of the Barbès business Jones, of course, got mixed up with the crapauds [philisitines] and with the crapule [dregs] among them at that. So another big banquet of all nations was arranged for the February celebrations. He came to see me, too, and I laughed in his face. Meanwhile his Frenchmen (a quite unknown mob) had dug up the ex-Schapper Association which did not, of course, reject such good graces. Moreover the malcontents among the Polish and Italian émigrés — who are not accounted ‘superior refugees’ — are said to have organised themselves for the purpose of sending delegates to the Committee. For the fun of it, Götz and I let Jones take us to their meeting yesterday, we being designated ‘observers’. He introduced us as ‘old friends of the Chartist Party’ who, doubtless, were entitled to satisfy their curiosity. Who was there? Various crapauds of the basest sort. A Spanish tailor or tobacco manufacturer who had ‘convened himself’. Stechan (half crazed) and behind him three notorious German louts. Schapper himself being no longer available, Stechan, tried to ape the former’s physiognomy, his morose gravity, his gesticulations, as once the butcher Legendre those of Danton. But that was not all. Herzen the Russian went uninvited to the previous meeting, and (himself) moved that he be nominated a member of the Committee. At the meeting we attended, an obsequious letter from him was read out and, because the politically wise Frenchmen thought him ‘un garçon charmant,’ he was admitted without further ado. The meeting, the chattering of the Frenchmen, the glazed expressions of the Germans, the gesticulations of the Spanish tailor were so awful that Jones (Chairman) 1. proposed that everyone should speak only once and for not more than ten minutes; 2. upon its being remarked that the Spaniard was not an émigré because democracy had triumphed there, he came out with an ambiguous compliment that ‘he wished every émigré community in London’ a similar lot so that thus ‘no international committees need be maintained’ here.

Götz and I were treated to a free comedy and we smoked furiously in our role of mute onlookers. Here one could see with one’s own eyes the pass to which ‘la vraie démocratie’ has come.

Your
K. Marx