Letter to Friedrich Engels, January 15, 1866

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 15 January 1866


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, p. 216;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.

To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 15 January 1866[edit source]

Dear Fred,

Laura quite forgot to send you the Tribunes which I had put out ready a week ago. She is today making amends for her negligence. Ditto a Workman’s Advocate.

I am enclosing with this letter:

1. Communication from the publisher in Vienna. (You must send this back.)

2. Dr Kugelmann.

3. Meyer from Berlin. (I have only written back to these people today. Time is so very short.)...

In the meantime, we have crushed the wretched plot hatched by Vésinier in Belgium and by Le Lubez in London. The editor of the Rive gauche and friend of Rogeard, Longuet, also Mr Crespelle — the two most intelligent members of the branch founded by Le Lubez — have joined our Central Committee. His branch has declared itself against him, for us. The Central Committee has summoned Vésinier ‘To substantiate his accusations or to be expelled’. The fellow reproaches us in the Echo de Verviers among other things for:

‘They’ (the Committee) ‘were charged with one of mankind’s greatest concerns but are frivolously abandoning their lofty goal in order to degenerate into a committee of nationalities in tow to Bonapartism.

And this degeneration was in fact made manifest in us by our statement in favour of Poland, against Russia.

‘Succumbing to pernicious influences’ (the idiot imagines the Polish § of the programme originated from the Paris delegates, whereas the latter sought in every possible way to get rid of it as ‘inopportune’), ‘they included in the programme for the Geneva Congress questions not concerning the goal of the Association and contrary to law, justice, liberty, fraternity and the solidarity of peoples and races, such as: “the elimination of Russian influence in Europe etc.”; and this they did at the very moment when the Russian and Polish serfs had just been emancipated by Russia, whereas the Polish nobility and priests have always refused to grant freedom to their own. It will at least be agreed that the moment was ill-chosen. Before approving these articles, the English members of the committee should have really asked themselves if it was not a matter of equal urgency to put an end to the frightening increase in English pauperism, in the prostitution of working women and the misery of working men in Great Britain, in famine and depopulation in Ireland, etc.! As for the German members of the committee, let them also tell us whether the influence of Mr Bismarck’s policy in Europe does not equally merit elimination; do not Prussia and Austria have an equal share in the partitioning of Poland, are they not equally responsible for Russia’s crime against that unfortunate nation? As for the self-styled delegates from Paris, does it come well from them to condemn the influence of Russia, when Bonaparte’s soldiers are occupying Rome, which they have bombarded, are massacring the defenders of the Mexican republic, having already destroyed the French republic? If one compares the misdeeds and crimes committed by governments, one is persuaded that no people should be put beyond the pale of humanity for the infamies of its oppressors, and that it was the duty of the Central Committee to proclaim solidarity and fraternity among all peoples, and not to put one of them alone beyond the pale of Europe.

He then appended this lie:

‘This enormous error has already had dire consequences: the Poles have asked to join the Committee en masse and before long they will represent the overwhelming majority.’ (Captain Bobczynski is the only one who is on it — Holtorp doesn’t count and is himself conspiring with Le Lubez.) Already they do not shrink from saying that they will make use of the Association to help to restore their nationhood, without concerning themselves with the question of the emancipation of the workers.’

The Poles — they had just sent a deputation to see us — burst out laughing when these PASSAGES were read out. We are commemorating their revolution on 23 January.

You will be amused by wiseacre Denis’ concluding prayer to Proudhon. This sensational writer has done great harm with his little bit of learning and with his Lassalle-like trumpeting of scholarship, of which he had no conception, with his spurious critical superiority over the socialist sectarians.

Le Lubez is of no account. Fox rightly calls him ‘Le père enfantin’ [Le Lubez’ imitates the Saint-Simonian, Barthélemy Enfantin], but Vésinier is just the fellow for the Russians. Of little merit as a writer, as his Vie du Nouveau César and his other pamphlets attacking Bonaparte show. But with talent, great rhetorical power, much energy and above all unscrupulous through and through.

Salut.

Your
K. M.