Letter to Friedrich Engels, March 1, 1869

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 1 March 1869


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 43, p. 224;
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, 1 March 1869[edit source]

Enclosed 2 Lanternes and 1 Réveil

Dear Fred,

Thanks for the money. Paid out by Borkheim on Saturday. He read me your letter and then his answer. He is very proud supposedly to have been able to prove that you muddle up genders (which apparently often happens with you).

Ditto received Foster on Saturday evening. The book is indeed important for its time. First, because Ricardo’s theory is fully developed in it, and better than in Ricardo — on money, rate of exchange, etc. Second, because you can see here how those jackasses, Bank Of England, Committee of Inquiry, the theoreticians racked their brains over the problem: England debtor to Ireland. Despite the fact that the rate of exchange is always against Ireland, and money is exported from Ireland to England. Foster solves the puzzle for them: it is the depreciation of Irish paper money. In fact, two years earlier than him (1802), Blake had fully explained this difference between the nominal and the real rate of exchange, about which, incidentally, Petty had said everything necessary — but after him this business was forgotten once again.

The Irish amnesty is the paltriest of its kind ever seen. D'abord, most of those amnestied had almost served the term after which all penal servitude men are released on Tickets of Leave. And second, the chief ringleaders have been kept inside ‘because’ Fenianism is of ‘American’ origin, and thus all the more criminal. It is precisely for this reason that Yankee-Irishmen like Costello are released and the Anglo-Irish are kept under lock and key.

If ever a mountain gave birth to a mouse, it was this ministry of all talents, indeed in every respect.

I sent you earlier the report of Pollock and Knox (the same lousy London police magistrate, a former Times man, who so distinguished himself in the Hyde Park affair) on the treatment of Irish ‘convicts’ in England. One of the ‘convicts’ has exposed, in The Irishman, John Bull’s unprecedented infamies and the lies of that blockhead Knox.

Since Laura’s health is not quite as good as we thought, I had intended to go to Paris for a few days next week. I had written to Lafargue about it. As a result, an unknown man, i.e., a police agent, asked him whether Monsieur Marx had arrived yet. He had for him ‘une communication à faire’. How well the inviolability of the post is preserved in Paris — still! Now I am not going.

Lafargue has been excused 3 of the 5 examinations (French), and received permission, or rather instructions, to take the 2 remaining ones in Strasbourg. Meanwhile, he appears to me to be too absorbed in politics, which can become nasty, since his friends are a lot of Blanquists. I shall warn him. He should pass his examinations first.

The coterie he keeps you can see from the enclosed prospectus. What they lack is £250 security. This has a good side to it. It has emancipated Lafargue from Moilin, as follows:

‘I spoke to Moilin about the security; he promised to give it but, at the last moment, refused unless he were named editor. He did not say this, but allowed it to be understood. Tridon told me: Moilin is a diplomat and, incidentally, has the head of Fouché; so one should never quarrel with him: one has to sound him out, know what he wants, in order always to be on guard against him.'

With regard to my book against Proudhon [The Poverty of Philosophy], Lafargue writes:

‘Blanqui has a copy of it and lends it to all his friends. So Tridon read it, and was happy to see how il Moro had disposed of Proudhon. Blanqui has the greatest respect for you... He has found the best name I know for Proudhon; he calls him a hygrometer.'

After John Bull had compromised himself so nicely with the concessions he made in the Alabama Treaty, Uncle Sam has now kicked him in the behind. This is entirely the work of the Irish in America, as I have convinced myself from the Yankee papers.

Perhaps Prof. Beesly will realise that the Irish in the United States are not = 0.

Salut.

Your
K. M.

As a comparative philologist, you may find forms of interest to you in the following extract from an early 16th-century Scottish chronicle about the death of the Duke of Rothesay (son of King Robert III):

‘Be quhais deith, succedit gret displeseir to hir son, David Duk of Rothesay: for, during hir life, he wes haldin in virtews and honest occupatioun: eftir hir deith’ (namely Queen Annabella) ‘he began to rage in all maner of insolence: and fulyeit virginis, matronis, and nunnis, be his unbridillit lust. At last, King Robert, informit of his young and insolent maneris, send letteris to his brothir, the Duk of Albany, to intertene his said son, the Duk of Rothesay, and to leir him honest and civill maneris. The Duk of Albany, glaid of thir writtingis, ruk the Duk of Rothesay betwix Dunde and Sanct Androis, and brocht him to Falkland, and inclusit him in the tour theirof, but ony meit or drink. It is said, ane woman, havand commiseratioun on this Duk, leit meill fall daun throw the loftis of the toure: be quhilkis, his life wes certane dayis savit. This woman, fra it wes knawin, wes put to deith. On the same maner, ane othir woman gaif him milk of hir paup, throw ane lang reid; and wes slane with gret cruelte, fra it wes knawin. Than wes the Duk destitute of all mortall supplie; and brocht, finalie, to sa miserable and hungry appetite, that he eit, nocht allanerlie the filth of the toure cluhare he wes, bot his awin fingaris: to his gret marterdome. His body wes beryit in Lundonis, and kithit miraklis mony yeris eftir; quItil, at last, King James the First began to punis his slayaris: and fra that time furth, the miraklis ceissit.'

The Times does not seem to be publishing the Report. But as dernière instance there is The Morning Advertiser, which publishes everything out of stupidity.