Letter to Karl Marx, August 10, 1866

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Author(s) Friedrich Engels
Written 10 August 1866


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, p. 306;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.

To Marx in London

Manchester, 10 August 1866[edit source]

Dear Moor,

I don’t know whether I should offer full, semi- or no congratulations at all on Laura’s semi-engagement. But whatever quantity of congratulations may be admissible, it affects their quality not a wit, and I therefore congratulate with all my heart.

About how much does the Trémaux book cost? If it is not excessively dear on account of illustrations or anything, I'll get it myself, and then you won’t need to send it to me.

To allay your butcher’s wrath and replenish your stock of paper, I am enclosing J/F 65 865 and 66, 2 £5 notes totalling £10, dated Manchester, 30 January 1865. I wish that I could set aside more than £200 a year for you, but unfortunately I cannot. If all goes well, it is true that I shall probably be able to provide another £50, but cotton is failing again now, and Bonaparte’s note concerning the 1814 frontiers is alarming the philistine, and that affects the accounts.

That note of Bonaparte’s seems to indicate that a hitch has cropped up between him and Bismarck. Otherwise, his demand would surely not have been so discourteous and unexpected, nor would it have been made at such a very inopportune moment for Bismarck. Bismarck undoubtedly stands to lose nothing by complying with it, but how can he do so now? What will his victorious army say to it? And the German parliament, and the Chambers, and the South Germans? And the old jackass, who will now look as idiotically beatific as my black and white dog Dido when he’s eaten his belly full, and who has said, not an inch of German soil, etc.?

The note was a great folly on Bonaparte’s part, but the howling of the opposition and probably of the army, too, will presumably have forced him to precipitate the matter. It may turn out to be exceedingly dangerous for him. Either Bismarck enables a concession to be made, and then he will be forced to start a war with Bonaparte at the earliest opportunity in order to take his revenge; or else he may not give way, and then there will be war even sooner. In either case, Bonaparte runs the risk of fighting a war he does not want and without the appropriate diplomatic preparation, without any sure allies, for the publicly avowed purpose of conquest. Incidentally, Bismarck told the Hanoverian minister Platen several years ago that he would put Germany under the Prussian helmet and then lead it against the French in order to ‘forge it into one’.

Circulars are circulating here for a ‘Kinkel-fête’, put round by Leppoc, ‘a great poet and a great man’, on the occasion of Gottfried-the-Pious’ departure for Zurich. I have said I am willing to take part in it for the sum of one farthing.

With kindest regards to your wife and the girls.

Your
F.E.