Letter to Karl Marx, February 1, 1870

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Author(s) Friedrich Engels
Written 1 February 1870

First Published: Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe;

This letter was published in English for the first time in an abridged form in: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Correspondence, 1846-1895, London, Lawrence LTD, [1934]

Published in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 43

To Marx in London

[Manchester,] 1 February 1870

Dear Moor,

I only received the relevant Zukunft yesterday evening, so I can only return the Jacobyana[1] today. It is very clear why the old Yid did not name you; he was sheepishly ashamed of himself, but he should at least have known that, once Schweitzer had been elected president, or was simply present, the plagiarism would certainly be rammed down his throat; but an old wiseacre like he always thinks, in his stupidity, that things might go well. If conversions continue like this, we shall soon dislodge old almighty God from the Rhenish proverb which states that he ‘keeps curious company’. I shall try to raise subsidies for the Democratic News. 12-fold subscriptions can lead to nothing, as we have simply no use here for the piles of waste paper. And I don’t know, either, what could be reported from here.

I shall inform Wilhelm suitably; I presume he has never spoken in his sheet[2] about the 18th Brumaire. That not a single copy can be obtained in Leipzig is certainly a lie, unless the whole edition has been sold out. Apropos, how do things stand with the French translation of it, and of your book?[3]

I shall send Wilhelm the Peasant War, but shall only write the introduction for the complete publication. There is no sense in writing an introduction for a serial publication that might drag on for 6 months or more.[4]

It is a real mercy that in spite of G. Flourens, there was no outbreak at Noir's funeral. The fury of the "Pays" shows the bitter disappointment of the Bonapartists. Indeed what could be wished for better than to catch the whole of the revolutionary masses of Paris in flagrant delinquency in an open space outside Paris and even outside the walls of the fortifications, which have only a few entrances? Half a dozen cannons at the passages through the walls, a regiment of infantry in skirmishing formation and a brigade of cavalry to charge in and pursue--and in half an hour's time the whole unarmed crowd--the few revolvers that some of them may have in their pockets do not count--will be blown up, cut to pieces or taken prisoners. But as there are 60,000 troops at hand the crowd could even be allowed inside the fortifications, these could then be manned and the whole mass shot or ridden down in the open ground of the Champs Elysees and the Avenue de Neuilly. Mad! Paris, manned by 60,000 soldiers, is to be captured from the open fields by 200,000 unarmed workers!

The French newspapers arrived this morning. Best thanks. Have you read a full translation of Land and Freedom (the Russian thing)[5]? I now have one; you can have it. Best greetings to your wife, Jenny and Tussy.


F. E.

  1. See Letter to Friedrich Engels, January 27, 1870
  2. Der Volksstaat
  3. The first attempt to translate Marx’s book The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte into French was made by Keller in December 1869, who interrupted his work on the French translation of Capital. Keller’s work remained unfinished.
  4. A writ of Habeas Corpus—the name given in English judicial procedure to a document enjoining the appropriate authorities to present an arrested person before court on the demand of the persons interested to check the legitimacy of the arrest. Having considered the reasons for the arrest, the court either frees the arrested person, sends him back to prison or releases him on bail or guarantee. The procedure, laid down by an Act of Parliament of 1679, does not apply to persons accused of high treason and can be suspended by decision of Parliament. The British authorities frequently made use of this exception in Ireland.
  5. Engels is referring to the German translation of the work by P. Lilienfeld Land and Freedom, which appeared in St. Petersburg in 1868. The translation, ‘Land und Freiheit’, was published in: J. Eckardt, Russlands ländische Zustände seit Aufhebung der Leibeigenschaft, Leipzig, 1870.