Letter to George Shipton, Editor of The (Augsburg) Allgemeine Zeitung, August 10, 1881

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[Draft] Bridlington Quay, 10 August 1881[edit source]

Dear Mr Shipton,

I return the proof-sheet[1] altered as you wish. The first passage you seem to me to have misunderstood and the second alteration is merely formal. Anyhow, I do not see what good such alterations can do if asked for on Tuesday, received here on Wednesday, to arrive again in London on Thursday after the publication of the paper.

But there is another thing. If such very mild and innocent things as these begin to appear to you too strong, it must occur to me that this must be the case, in a far higher degree, with my own articles, which are generally far stronger. I must therefore take your remarks as a symptom, and conclude that it will be better for both of us if I discontinue sending you leading articles. It will be far better than going on until, upon some inevitable point, we come to an open rupture. Moreover my time will certainly not allow me to go on writing leaders regularly,[2] and on this ground alone I had come to some similar resolution to be executed, as I then thought, after the Trades Union Congress.[3] But the sooner I stop the better will be perhaps your position before that Congress.

There is another point: I consider you ought to have sent me before publication the copy or proof of the article on the Max Hirsch Trades Unions in Germany, as to the only man on your staff who knew anything of the matter and could make the necessary notes to it. Anyhow it will be impossible for me to remain on the staff of a paper which, without consulting me, lends itself to writing up these Trades Unions, comparable only to those worst English ones which allow themselves to be led by men openly sold to, or at least paid by the middle class.

I need not add that otherwise I wish every success to The Labour Standard and if desired shall now and then contribute occasional information from the continent.

Yours truly

F. E.

  1. The reference is to Karl Kautsky's article "International Labour Laws" published anonymously in The Labour Standard, No. 15, 13 August 1881.
  2. In May-August 1881, Engels contributed to the printed organ of the British labour unions The Labour Standard, which appeared in London and was edited by George Shipton. Engels' contributions were printed anonymously nearly every week as leaders.
  3. The fourteenth annual British trades union congress took place in London on 12-17 September 1881.