Letter to Friedrich Engels, October 4, 1867

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 4 October 1867


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, p. 432;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.

To Engels in Manchester

[London,] 4 October 1867[edit source]

Dear Fred,

Since my return from Manchester almost until now, I have had a feverish cold. I caught the cold in the course of the railway malheur [misfortunes].

As there are many things about which I wish to write to you, on public and private affairs, in this letter, I shall start with the book [Capital], so that I do not forget it. You would have spent long indeed searching in Table C for the decrease in the cultivation of green crops (p. 695). Mr Wigand has printed C instead of B (p. 690), which tells us, under the heading ‘Green Crops’, that from 1861-65 107,984 acres were put out of cultivation. Indeed you will observe from the schedule of misprints on p. 784 that Mr Wigand has wilfully abbreviated it from p. 292 onwards in order to accommodate it on the last page. The section concerning Ireland was certainly written very hastily, but for a second edition it could be put in order with but a few formal alterations. The most important thing is the facts, which are not known even in England.

I have heard nothing from Meissner. Schabelitz (Basle) told Borkheim he has requested 5 copies for sale or return on the strength of 5 copies which he ordered for cash payment, but Meissner replied he did not have enough to send him so many for sale or return. However, this may merely be a diplomatic manoeuvre on Meissner’s part. I see from the enclosed note from Liebknecht (who by the by has done us proud with his first intervention in the Reichstag, vide the Zukunft No. 229 of 1 October) that Meissner is not always so punctilious. It was agreed that he should send 1 copy to Liebknecht and 1 copy to Dr Weiss for the editors (Zukunft).

Professor Beesly has now returned home, and I shall be hearing from him before very long. Quant à Siebel, I should also like to know whether he has received the copies, 1 for himself and 1 for Rittershaus? and how the latter has requited it?

Ad vocem Vogt: you will find some news about Vogt in the enclosed letter from Kugelmann. After Kugelmann had departed and the gang thought Borkheim had likewise gone, a final meeting of the Germans took place, at which Borkheim suddenly appeared and witnessed the following occurrence. Mr Goegg handed a slip of paper to the Vice-President, Buchner, in which he declared that the Bonapartist rumours, etc., regarding Vogt were false, and offered a testimonium virtutis for the man, whom he claimed to have known for 20 years. He demanded that Büchner sign this note, i.e., certify that it had been communicated to him. Büchner naturally did so. Whereupon Little Beust jumps up, states in writing that Goegg is only expressing a private opinion which is by no means shared in Switzerland, etc., etc. Ditto demands certification of his protest by Büchner, which the latter supplies. Vogt’s manoeuvre was thus frustrated. To what depths that fellow has descended!

Another incident at the Peace Congress! Ludwig Simon approaches Goegg: ‘Why have you not moved my name nearer to the top of the list of speakers! Why is Borkheim given the floor before me?’ Goegg: ‘Those fellows — the proletarians — had 4 of the German vice-presidents. To bring in our man Grün and get Borkheim to give up his place, we had to make this concession to him, etc.!’ Hardly were the words out of that beau’s mouth than he looks round and to his horror sees Eccarius grinning behind his back.

Ad vocem Stumpf: Maybe Stumpf understands me, but I do not understand Stumpf. Perhaps you will be more fortunate and be able to ‘delineate the scientific process of pauperisation’ and ditto ‘the correct conclusion’ from the ‘evidence’ which he keeps in his pocket and does not divulge. His letter enclosed.

Ad vocem Dronke: Borkheim spoke to a man in Paris who has a precise acquaintance with all Dronke’s affairs and described him as a ‘voleur’ [thief]. The copper company had served notice on Dronke a year ago. It now has a firm in Glasgow as its associate and therefore has no more need of an English agency. Dronke, dicitur, has been guilty of much ‘embezzlement’ in the past year and has made himself the object of an ‘embarrassing’ investigation. I hope the affair will be hushed up.

Ad vocem Collet: what follows is by way of explanation for the enclosed curiosa: Collet’s little girl (whom you have met) and her even younger brother were visiting us a few days ago. The boy had a boxing match with Lafargue, who eventually pinned him to the floor in a humiliating position. Then says the boy, ‘Remember how you got on at Waterloo!’ Hence this comical correspondence, with the girl denouncing the lad to the old man.

Collet has withdrawn from The Diplomatic Review, although his name still figures on the paper this time. I immediately noticed the change of editor, as I was only sent 1 copy. You shall have it as soon as I am finished with it. It is a thoroughly foolish number. Garibaldi is described as ‘a common bandit, atheist, fool, etc.’, M. Dupanloup, the évêque [bishop] of Orleans, by contrast, as the great man of the age. Will David yet become a Catholic one day perhaps? The Peace Congress in Geneva was, of course, a fabrication of the Russians, which is why they sent along their ‘Well worn out agent Bakounine’. I have the impression that The Diplomatic Review is on its last legs.

Ad vocem International Association. At my suggestion, the office of president has been abolished, after Odger had already been proposed for re-election. — Fox, who has missed no opportunity to exhibit his profound hatred for Eccarius since the latter’s return, gave notice for the next meeting (Tuesday) that he would ask the Council to consider censuring Eccarius for his ‘Times’ articles. To Fox’s great surprise I thereupon gave ditto notice that I would interpellate Fox next Tuesday about a ‘secret letter’ that he had written to Becker requesting him ‘To do all in his power to remove the seat of the Central Council from London’. Fox, who is altogether composed of caprices and crotchets, imagines that he must found an ‘opposition party’ on the Couucil against the ‘German dictatorship’, as he calls it. He will be astonished at his success in this line!

Ad vocem Borkheim: d'abord, the following facts. Borkheim spoke (or rather read from his manuscript) for over 20 minutes, whereas only 10 were permitted by the rules. Naturally, like Garibaldi and Edgar Quinet, he too felt he could afford to take liberties. Secondly, he mounted the rostrum in a state of extreme excitement, and, as Eccarius says, ‘did not let himself get a word in edgeways’. Nobody understood him. All that people heard were the few catchwords about Schulze-Delitzsch, at which Vogt jumped up and clenched both his fists, and about the Cossacks. That was fortunate indeed. His speech was thought to be significant because it was not understood. He therefore plays some part, both in The Times and in the French press. But now comes the drawback. The fool wishes to have his speech printed in German, English, Russian and in the French original. I now have the latter in front of me. He sent it to me so that Lafargue could look through it. With the exception of the few catchwords, which I whispered into his ear, it is not merely a tasteless hotchpotch, but often pure balderdash. And his French! E.g.,

‘It would be impossible, without descending to the level of idiocy, to discuss whether the first task should be to arrange for the female Isabella to be abducted, for the male Bismarck to be overthrown, or for the nimble hermaphrodite Beust to evaporate. Among the French members of this Association there are some great orators and some profound thinkers, but were they all accomplished Mirabeaux and consummate Descartes, the Germans would be too squareheaded to accept roundly that it would be first and foremost the French government whose destruction would inaugurate the era of international peace.’

Assez! [Enough!]

How little he suspected the quality of ‘his French’ is clear from the note he jotted in the margin of the manuscript he sent me:

‘Please ask Mr Lafargue to look quickly through it and correct any (!) bad French in the margin!'

I was, of course, obliged to tell him that Lafargue would have to see him, as he could not proceed to make the ‘deletions’ (to begin with, Lafargue wants to delete the whole of the first half) and ‘amendments’ in his absence. He is therefore coming to see me this evening. Lafargue additionally showed me French commis voyageur slang in almost every sentence. E.g., ‘parlons rondement!'

Private affairs: I have talked to Borkheim about the possibility of finding me a loan of at least £100 in London. He says yes, he is willing to be 1 guarantor if you will be the other. But he would, after all, need to hear from yourself about the matter first. The situation is simply that I can neither complete Volume II, nor find the time for the intrigues required for the English edition, nor even remain in England, if I do not manage to pacify the Manichaeans for some weeks at least. If the English transaction succeeds, and if they proceed in such a manner in Germany — which does not seem difficult to me — that a 2nd impression soon becomes necessary, the crisis will have been overcome.

This damned year has been made even worse by Lafargue staying with me until now, Laura is to marry in the spring, etc.

Salut.

Your
K. M.