Letter to Friedrich Engels, January 16, 1858

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 16 January 1858

Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 40, p. 248;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913, and in full in: Marx and Engels, Works, Moscow, 1929.

To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 16 January 1858[edit source]

Dear Frederick,

You, too, will have had a letter from Harney about friend [Conrad] Schramm. There was no prospect of recovery. A pity, though, that money worries — for which the fat London philistine [Rudolf Schramm] is to blame — should have clouded his last days.

Your article 3 is splendid and in style and manner altogether reminiscent of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in its heyday. As for Windham, he may be a very bad general, but on this occasion the man was undone by what was the making of him at the Redan — unseasoned troops. I am generally of the opinion that in terms of bravery, self-reliance and steadiness this, the second army England has committed to India (and of which not a man will return), will not be able to hold a candle to the first, which seems to have dwindled away almost entirely. As regards the effect of the climate on the troops, while temporarily in charge of the military department I showed in various articles by exact calculations that mortality was disproportionately higher than stated in the official English despatches. In view of the drain of men and bullion which she will cost the English, India is now our best ally.

On Monday I shall again visit the Museum, after which I shall send you ‘Catapult’ — along with the other stuff you ask for — drawn from the best sources. I have not done ‘Coehoorn’, as it would have taken me too much time to unearth the correct sources.

I am exceedingly glad to learn that your health is progressing well. For the past 3 weeks I, too, have again been dosing myself and only stopped doing so today. I had been overdoing very much my nocturnal labours, accompanied, it is true, by mere lemonade on the one hand, but an immense deal of tobacco on the other. I am, by the way, discovering some nice arguments. E.g. I have completely demolished the theory of profit as hitherto propounded. What was of great use to me as regards method of treatment was Hegel’s Logic at which I had taken another look by mere accident, Freiligrath having found and made me a present of several volumes of Hegel, originally the property of Bakunin. If ever the time comes when such work is again possible, I should very much like to write 2 or 3 sheets making accessible to the common reader the rational aspect of the method which Hegel not only discovered but also mystified.

Of all recent economists, Monsieur Bastiat with his Harmonies économiques represents the very dregs of fatuity at their most concentrated. Only a crapaud could have concocted an harmonious pot-au-feu of this kind.

What do you think of our friend Jones? I still refuse to believe that the chap has sold himself. Perhaps his experience of 1848 lies heavy on his stomach. So great is his faith in himself that he may think himself capable of exploiting the middle class or imagine that if only, one way or the other, Ernest Jones could be got into Parliament, world history could not fail to take a new turn. The best of it all is that — out of spite against Jones, of course — Reynolds is now posing in his paper as the most rabid opponent of the middle class and of all compromise. Mr B. O'Brien has likewise become an irrepressible Chartist at any price. Jones’ only excuse is the enervation now rampant among the working class in England. However that may be, if he goes on as at present he will become either dupe of the middle class or renegade. The fact that he should now seek to avoid me as anxiously as he once used to consult me over the merest trifle is evidence of anything but a good conscience.

Herewith a letter for Lupus from Laura and Jenny. The two girls naturally imagine that you might take umbrage at Lupus appearing to be preferred as a correspondent. Hence they have earnestly admonished me not to forget to tell you that yours shall be the next turn.

I shall wait another 3 weeks until the situation has pretty well come to a head and then write to Mr Dana saying that I cannot go on working for the Tribune if I'm restricted to 4 articles a month, and that 6 is the minimum. In fact I am now invariably obliged to compress into 1 article sufficient material for 2, and hence am doing double the work for half the price. This will never do.

Did you enclose Lassalle’s and Friedländer’s letters’ in the one about Lassalle which went astray? For political reasons, it would be desirable to preserve them.


K. M.