Letter to Friedrich Engels, January 25, 1865

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To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 25 January 1865[edit source]

Dear Frederick,

Letters enclosed

1. from Weydemeyer,

2. from Schily,

3. from Liebknecht. I must have all 3 back.

4. from Schweitzer and 5. a scrawl about Vogt; which I would also like back.

By way of explanation for letters 2, 3 and 4, the following: I do not know whether you get the Social-Demokrat (or have taken out a subscription to it). (If neither should be the case, Bender can always send you one from here, as he has ordered 6 copies on the off-chance.)

There was a contribution in the Social-Demokrat from that jackass Moses Hess, in which he related how we had approached L'Association (paper of the Paris associations) asking them to print a translation of our address (on the contrary, Massol had made Schily an offer to that effect) and join our Association; they are said to have refused, however, because we had originally approached Tolain and others who were Plon-Plonists. Tolain himself had admitted as much, etc.

I discovered this scrawl on the day after my return from Manchester. Therefore wrote furious letters to Paris and Berlin. From Schily’s and Schweitzer’s letters it emerges that the whole thing can be blamed on Hess’ asininity (mixed with a certain amount of malice, perhaps) and on Liebknecht’s asininity toute pure.

The affair created a great furore in the ComitĂ© here yesterday. Le Lubez, entirely on Tolain’s side, declares the whole thing to be slanderous, since fellows like Horn (Einhorn, rabbi) and that gas-bag Jules Simon (of La LibertĂ©) are on the ComitĂ© of L'Association. However, at my suggestion, it was resolved not to send the 500 cards of membership to Paris until Schily had reported further from Paris.

The Association is doing famously here. At its soirée, which I did not attend, about 1,200 people (they would have had 3X as many if the hall had been big enough) gathered, which brought approximately £15 into our exceedingly depleted exchequer.

Letter has come from Geneva about joining, and from different parts of England.

There will be a meeting for the Poles in the course of February (especially to collect money for the new émigrés, which also explains Lord Townshend as Chairman), organised by the (English) Polish League, the Polish society here and our Association.

What do you say to Lassalle’s ‘bequest’, as described by Liebknecht? Is it not exactly like his own Sickingen, who wants to compel Charles V to ‘assume the leadership of the movement’?

Yesterday, I sent Article on Proudhon to Schweitzer, in response to his urgent request (and also to make up to him for having bitten his head off instead of Liebknecht’s for the blunder in the Soc.-Dem.). You will see from it that several very savage blows, ostensibly aimed at Proudhon, strike home at our ‘Achilles’ and were intended to do so.

Apropos. Each secretary of our Association will receive a package of cards of membership next week (for the ‘Association’, not for the ‘Comité’, of course) for distribution (1s. for annual subscription, 1d. for the card). You must get rid of a few in Manchester. It will not be many. But let me know about how many I can send for this purpose? It is in fact one of the ways and means of the Association.

My compliments to Mrs Burns. Will she, perhaps, become a member? Ladies are admitted.

Yours Truly
K. M.

P.S. I left a pair of winter boots (shoes) at your house in Dover Street, ditto new pair of knitted stockings, and probably the 2 silk handkerchiefs as well. I only mention it so that you can drop a word to your landlords ‘some time or other’ so that they know that an eye is kept on them.

By means of a most ingenious experiment Prof. Tyndall has managed to separate out the rays of the sun into a heat-ray, which even melts platinum, and a cold light-ray which has no heat at all. This is one of the finest experiments of our days.


Liebknecht has also sent me a note from the editors, urgently asking for a contribution from you. For the moment they are thinking either of the Yankee war or the Prussian Army Reform, as they say their paper is read by more people of standing than any other Berlin paper.

Now, as far as the Yankee war is concerned, you explained to me before that it was not suitable for the Social-Demokrat.

Regarding the Prussian Army Reform, the paper would be a very good place for it. Only question for me is this: would not an analysis of this topic involve you in a one-sided conflict with the men of progress, which would be undesirable at this moment and on this topic, since the King has declared he will not give way on any point, so has naturally turned the question into a burning constitutional issue? Or can you treat the question, in accordance with your military view, in such a way as to kill both birds, which is what is wanted?

At all events, as I have already sent the paper an article directly (signed by me), you can be published there, too. And you ought to do so, while there is still an organ in existence at all.