Letter to Friedrich Engels, June 7, 1866

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 7 June 1866


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, p. 281;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 7 June 1866[edit source]

Dear Fred,

I am in a most awkward situation: pawning has now reached its Thule and I am being most furiously dunned as well. Regarding my physical condition, there has fortunately been no recurrence of anything carbuncular. However, I was obliged to go to Allen about my liver trouble, since Gumpert is not here and this thing cannot be treated from a distance. I have still nearly a whole bottle of arsenic left, but have not taken it for several weeks now, as it is incompatible with my present style of life.

Were you among the victims of the Consolidated Bank: Dr Rode was here the day before yesterday and maliciously reported that Dronke has suffered serious losses owing to the Barnett Crash.

So, there will be war after all, unless a miracle occurs. The Prussians will pay dearly for their bragging, and, whatever happens, the idyll in Germany is over. The Proudhonist clique among the students in Paris (Courrier francais) is preaching peace, declaring war out of date and nationalities nonsense, and attacking Bismarck and Garibaldi, etc. As polemic against chauvinism, their activities are useful and understandable. But as faithful followers of Proudhon (my very good friends here, Lafargue and Longuet, are also among that number) who believe that the whole of Europe must and will sit quietly on its arse until the French monsieurs have abolished ‘la misère et l'ignorance’, under which latter they themselves are labouring in inverse proportion to their squawking about ‘science sociale’, they are grotesque. In their articles about the present agricultural crisis in France, their ‘knowledge’ quite takes one’s breath away [Ch. Longuet].

The Russians, who are for ever playing at the old game of playing off the jackasses of Europe against each other, and being partner at one moment of A, and at the next of B, have of late indisputably pushed on the Austrians, 1. because Prussia has not yet made the appropriate concession over Oldenburg, 2. in order to tie the Austrians’ hands in Galicia, and 3. no doubt also because Mr Alexander II, like Alexander I (in his last years), is in such a conservatively morose mood on account of the attempt on his life that his diplomatic gentlemen at least require some ’conservative’ excuses, and an alliance with Austria is conservative. Come the opportune moment, and they will show the backside of the coin.

The official tone adopted by the ‘blood and iron’ Prussians shows how very anxious they are. They are now even doing obeisance to the French Revolution of 1789! They are complaining about Austrian tetchiness!

The best thing in the lousy debate here in Parliament was the register of sins that Disraeli laid at the unfortunate Clarendon’s door.

Salut.

Your
K. M.

Italian enthusiasm will no doubt get its bucket of cold water. Even its melodrama, in keeping with the national character, by the way, would be tolerable, if right underneath it all they were not setting their hopes on Badinguet. I cannot forget my Izzy [Lassalle]. If he were still alive now, what a scandal he would create!