Letter to Friedrich Engels, November 2, 1867

From Marxists-en
Jump to navigation Jump to search

To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 2 November 1867[edit source]

Dear Fred,

Although none of my recent carbuncles has fully developed, fresh ones are forever appearing; they always disappear again, but fret me. And then my old insomnia. But it has been better for about the last 3 days. The silence about my book [Capital] makes me fidgety. I have had no news of any kind. What good fellows the Germans are! Their achievements in the service of the English, French and even the Italians in this field would indeed entitle them to ignore me and my affairs. Our people over there do not have the knack of agitation. Meanwhile, we must do as the Russians do — wait. Patience is the core of Russian diplomacy and of their successes. But the likes of us, who only live once, may well never live to see the day.

Letter enclosed from the German communist association. Well meant. But strangely loutish in style.

Enclosed letter from Maughan, man of private means, old Owenite, very decent fellow. These people are obviously intending to emancipate the freethink movement from the professional agitators Bradlaugh, etc. I very politely declined. On the one hand, it is true that I would thereby have had the chance, which I am wanting so much, of becoming acquainted with all manner of people who are to a greater or lesser extent, directly or indirectly, connected with the English press. On the other hand, I have not the time, nor do I think it right that I should figure on the leading committee of any English sect.

A certain Auberon Herbert, brother of the Earl of Carnarvon and cousin to Stepney (who is member of our Central Council) and much dabbling in socialism (i.e., co-operative dodges, etc.), has asked Stepney to arrange a rendezvous with me. As I first want to have sight of the man and smell him over, I have made an appointment to see him next Tuesday at the Cleveland Hall, where we hold our meetings. This. ‘channel’ (Vogt) may perhaps prove useful for reaching publishers.

Apropos. Subscriptions for the International: now have to be renewed. As soon as Moore is back send your Subscriptions to me per Post Office Order (Charing Cross), but drawn on our Treasurer: Robert Shaw, 62 Hall Place, Hall Park, London W. It would be desirable for Schorlemmer to send his at the same time as you, even if only a few shillings. Is he back yet? When shall I be getting his Chemistry?

I don’t know whether you are familiar with the course of the Italian affair, fragments of which have accidentellement found their way into the English and German press in the form of extracts from Russian and other papers. It is easy to lose track of such threads.

At the time of the Luxemburg affair Mr Bonaparte came to an agreement (informal) with Victor Emmanuel, by which the latter was given the right to annex the remaining Papal States except Rome, in exchange for offensive alliance against Prussia in the event of war. But when the Prussian hornets’ nest turned into good will to all men, Mr Bonaparte began to regret the thing and with his usual cunning attempted to betray Emmanuel and make advances to Austria. As we all know, nothing came of it in Salzburg either, and so for a while the witches’ cauldron that is Europe appeared not to seethe. Meanwhile the Russian gentlemen, who had as usual procured a copy of the agreement, thought the moment had come to inform Mr Bismarck of it, who, in his turn, had the Prussian envoy lay it before the Pope. Whereupon, at the Pope’s instigation, the pamphlet written by Bishop Dupanloup of Orleans. On the other side, Garibaldi set on by Emmanuel. Subsequently: Rattazzi dismissed as an enemy of Prussia and Bonapartist. Hence the present imbroglio. That scoundrel Bonaparte is now up to his eyes in the mire. War, not just with Italy, but Prussia and Russia, and in a cause which in France enjoys the most fanatical hatred of Paris, etc., hated in England, etc. — or yet another retreat! The fellow attempted to save himself by appealing to Europe, a European Congress. But Prussia and England have already sent him their reply, that, having made his bed, he must now lie on it. The fellow does not know what year it is. He is no longer secret general to Russia and Europe.

If retreat, then with present corn-prices, business in crisis and disaffection in France revolution is possible one fine morning.

One good thing about our Bismarck — although he is the chief instrument of Russian intrigues — is that he is pushing things towards crisis in France. However, in respect of our German philistines, their entire past has shown that unity can only be imposed on them by the grace of God and the sabre.

The Fenian trial in Manchester exactly as was to be expected. You will have seen what a scandal ‘our people’ have caused in the Reform League. I sought by every means at my disposal to incite the English workers to demonstrate in favour of Fenianism.


K. M.

I once believed the separation of Ireland from England to be impossible. I now regard it as inevitable, although Federation may follow upon separation. The way the English are proceeding is shown by the agricultural statistics for this year, which appeared a few days ago. Over and above that the manner of the eviction. The Irish Viceroy, Lord Abicorn (the name is something like that). has ‘cleared’ his estate in the last few weeks by forcibly driving thousands from their homes. Among them, well-to-do tenant-farmers, their improvements and capital investments being thus confiscated! In no other European country has foreign rule assumed this form of direct expropriation of the natives. The Russians confiscate only for political reasons; the Prussians in West Prussia buy out.