Letter to Joseph Weydemeyer, August 23, 1849

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Author(s) Friedrich Engels
Written 23 August 1849


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 38, p. 213;
Written: 23 August 1849;
First published: in Marx and Engels. Works, First Russian Edition, 1934.
Keywords : Letter, Geneva, Refugees, Arrest

To Joseph Weydemeyer in Frankfurt Am Main

In English this letter was first published abridged and datelined ‘25 August 1849’ in: K. Marx and F. Engels, Letters to Americans. 1848-1895, International Publishers, New York, 1953.

The date of writing has been corrected after a more exact deciphering of the original.

Lausanne, 23 August 1849 8, Place de la Palud[edit source]

Dear Weydemeyer,

After so many vicissitudes — after umpteen arrests in Hesse and the Palatinate,[1] after 3 weeks of sybaritic living in Kaiserslautern, after a glorious 4 weeks’ campaign in which, for a change, I buckled on my sword-belt and acted as Willich’s adjutant, after 4 weeks of tedious cantoning with the refugee detachment in the Vaud Canton, I am at last finding my feet here in Lausanne. The very first thing I shall do is sit down and compose a merry tale of the whole Palatinate-Baden frolic. But since I no longer have any contact with Germany and do not even know which towns are or are not under martial law, I don’t know what publisher to approach. I'm no longer acquainted with such folk. You are on the spot and hence will be better able to say which are the right publishers with whom to negotiate something of this kind; it will, of course, be quite innocuous and will not involve any risk of confiscation or prosecution. There might be such a one in Frankfurt. But he must have money. Please be good enough to write to me about this, if possible by return, so that I can take the necessary steps at once.

I recently saw your red [Max Joseph] Becker, very jaunty, in Geneva; he was tippling with the popular man, Esselen, and other easy-going diis minorum gentium [second-rate luminaries] in the country.

Warm regards to your wife and all our acquaintances

from your
Engels

  1. At the end of May 1849, returning from insurgent Baden and the Palatinate (*), Marx and Engels were arrested on the way to Bingen by Hesse soldiers, who suspected them of being insurgents, and were deported to Darmstadt and thence to Frankfurt am Main. There they were released and resumed their journey to Bingen.

    Early in June 1849 Engels was arrested in Kirchheimbolanden by the Palatinate Provisional Government on a charge of anti-government propaganda. The day after his arrest he was released on the insistence of d'Ester, a member of the Provisional Government.
    (*) After the Neue Rheinische Zeitung had ceased publication on 19 May 1849, Marx and Engels left for Frankfurt am Main where they tried to persuade the Left-wing deputies to the all-German National Assembly to take decisive action in support of the uprising in South-Western Germany at the time in defence of the Imperial Constitution drawn up by the Assembly but rejected by the German sovereigns. Having failed to achieve their aim they left for Karlsruhe and then Kaiserslautern — capitals of insurgent Baden and the Palatinate. Convinced that the petty-bourgeois democratic leaders of the Provisional Governments in Baden and the Palatinate lacked revolutionary energy and were helpless, Marx and Engels left at the end of May for Bingen, where they parted. Early in June Marx went to Paris, and Engels returned to Kaiserslautern to join the Baden-Palatinate revolutionary army.