Letter to Friedrich Engels, July 29, 1868

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 29 July 1868

Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 43, p. 74;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1931.

To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 29 July 1868[edit source]

Dear Fred,

I hope that the business with your eye is nothing serious. Small blood vessels will burst now and then, without any particular consequence. Have you consulted Gumpert about it?

Unfortunately, the household will only go to the sea next week. And that is because of the Lafargue family, who wanted to join in and rent a lodging, etc., together. Because of Lafargue’s ties with his hospital (where he has been operating for weeks as house surgeon) the departure has been delayed from day to day, despite my curses, threats and shouts, so that now it is to take place at the beginning of next week, when my wife will go OFF with the rest, and Laura of course arguing that she will soon part completely from the family, etc. Tussy (highly delighted by your letter, I believe, she knows par coeur your 6 letters to her) is hale and hearty again. Not so Jennychen, who is also worrying about all sorts of things, etc. If I had made up my mind where on the continent I could just now depend with certainty upon a loan (especially since I would, if necessary, have your guarantee), I would cross over and take Jennychen with me. But this is perhaps the best time of the year to find nobody at home.

There have been all sorts of scandals here relating to Pyat, French Branch and General Council. On this tomorrow. Today only this. Schweitzer in his 2nd programme for the congress of the General Association of German Workers in Hamburg has an item about the International Working Men’s Association and another about my book. [Capital] The programme was printed in the Zukunft and elsewhere. On the other hand, A. Bebel, as president of the Workers’ Union meeting in Nuremberg, has sent an invitation to the General Council. We should send a delegate (Eccarius will go). That they will join the International Working Men’s Association and adopt our programme is already certain, he says. Finally, we have received an invitation from Vienna where the Austrian workers’ fraternal festival will be held, also at the beginning of September. We have sent to Fox, who is in Vienna, the authorisation to represent us there.

About the private negotiations between Wilhelmchen and Schweitzer I know no more than the former writes. Yet I know from another source that the influence of that cunning fox Schweitzer has grown to the same extent as Wilhelmchen has discredited himself among the workers by his over-close alliance with the South German provincial pettifoggers. It was evidently for this reason that Wilhelm found it necessary to set up a sort of cartel with Schweitzer, who is at present inside and who, moreover, was clever enough to have his title of nobility revoked by the Prussian court ‘for lèse-majesté’. As far as I am concerned — I mean as member of the General Council — I must conduct myself impartially between the various organised groups of workers. It is their business and not mine whom they have as leader. As Secretary for Germany I must answer all those who apply to me in their official capacity as presidents, etc., of workers’ groups. In this sense, I have also written to Schweitzer (always with an eye to the possible publication of the entire correspondence). Faced with the intrigues of the old ’48 democrats here, it was, however, high time to be able to display influence among the German workers in Germany.

That you, poor devil, with your sore eye, should also have to water the Gartenlaube — and in this weather, too — really cries to the heavens.

My comments are confined to:

Page 2 where I have put 1 x). The fact was actually this! For us the government sent, instead of the city censor, a special fellow from Berlin (Mr von St. Paul, etc.). When even this did not help, yet another tier of censorship, that of the Regierungspräsident of Cologne, was added. Finally, the Berlin cabinet, driven wild, issued a sort of manifesto against us, apprising the world of all our offences, and concluding with the announcement that at the end of the quarter they would shut up our shop. I resigned because the shareholders — even if in vain, as it later turned out — tried to negotiate with the Prussian government.

Page 3 (2x). It would perhaps be good to add here for the benefit of the philistines that the provisional government had invited me in writing to return to France.

Ditto page 3 (x3). You might add for the benefit of the democratic philistines that the Prussians expelled me par ordre du Muphti, after they had failed in the law courts.

Finally, would it not be better, instead of the title: ‘A German Political Economist’, to have: ‘A German Socialist'? Both are ‘hideous’, but the former probably more so.

More tomorrow about affairs here.