Letter to Friedrich Engels, October 3, 1866
|Written||3 October 1866|
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.
To Engels in Manchester
[London,] 3 October 1866[edit source]
The enclosed bill will give you some idea of what adventures I have had today and yesterday. It was not yesterday that it became due, as Sawyer had said. This delay of one day would have been welcome in other circumstances, but in present circumstances it was exceedingly unfortunate. When your letter arrived yesterday, I went straight to our baker, Whithers, as there was nothing left to pawn, and borrowed £1 from him. But when the bill arrived this morning, it was for £48-1-5d. and not, as I had thought, £46. It was my own fault, of course, for not noting the amount. I had thought Sawyer would have deducted the Proprietor Tax which I had paid and which was not deducted from the previous bill (by law it falls on him). That was not the case. (He will therefore have to deduct the whole lot for next quarter.) Hence my mistake over the £46. The bill was presented this morning at 9 o'clock sharp, and I discovered to my horror that I was £2-1-5d. short. Que faire? I asked the presenter of the bill to wait (at our house), as I had to go and change some money. I had no alternative but to return to the good baker, who pulled a very long face, as I am deep in the red on account of his supplying of provisions. However, he performed.
Ad vocem Trémaux: your verdict ‘that there is nothing to his whole theory because he knows nothing of geology, and is incapable of even the most common-or-garden literary-historical critique recurs almost word for word in Cuvier’s ‘Discours sur les Révolutions du Globe’ in his attack on the doctrine of the variabilité des especes, in which he makes fun of German nature-worshippers, among others, who formulated Darwin’s basic idea in its entirety, however far they were from being able to prove it. However, that did not prevent Cuvier, who was a great geologist and for a naturalist also an exceptional literary-historical critic, from being wrong, and the people who formulated the new idea, from being right. Trémaux’s basic idea about the influence of the soil (although he does not, of course, attach any value to historical modifications of this influence, and I myself would include amongst these historical modifications the chemical alteration in the surface soil brought about by agriculture, etc., as well as the varying influence which, with varying modes of production, such things as coalfields, etc., have) is, in my opinion, an idea which needs only to be formulated to acquire permanent scientific status, and that quite independently of the way Trémaux presents it.