Letter to Karl Marx, January 25, 1870

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Author(s) Friedrich Engels
Written 25 January 1870

First published abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Bd. 4, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Abt. Ill, Bd. 4, Berlin, 1931

Source: Marx and Engels on Ireland, Progress Publishers, 1971;

Published in English for the first time in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 43

To Marx in London

Manchester, January 25, 1870[edit source]

Dear Moor,

It was a great RELIEF to learn that, this time, it was only a glandular abscess, not a carbuncle. In view of your decisively anti-lymphatic temperament, the involvement of the gland (axillaris) can only be secondary and not mean anything. This state of affairs is fully explained by the prolonged neglect that arose from you treating the thing as a carbuncle.

I've at last received Prendergast and — as it always happens — two copies at once, namely, W. H. Smith and Sons have also got hold of one. I shall have finished with it tonight. The book is important because it contains many excerpts from imprinted Bills. No wonder it is out of print. Longman and Co. must have been furious at having to put their name on such a book, and since there certainly was little demand for it in England (Mudies have not a single copy) they shall sell the edition for pulping as soon as they can or, possibly, to a company of Irish landlords (for the same purpose) and certainly will not print a second. What Prendergast says about the Anglo-Norman period is correct inasmuch as the Irish and Anglo-Irish, who lived at some distance from the Pale, continued during that period the same lazy life as before the invasion, and inasmuch as the wars of that period too were more “easy-going” (with few exceptions), and did not have the distinctly devastating character they assumed in the 16th century and which afterwards became the rule. But his theory that the enormous amiability of the Irishmen, and especially the Irish women, immediately disarms even the most hostile immigrant, is just thoroughly Irish, since the Irish way of thinking lacks all sense of proportion.

A new edition of Giraldus Cambrensis has appeared: Giraldi Cambrensis Opera, ed. J. S. Brewer, London, Longman and Co., 1863, at least 3 volumes; could you find out the price for me and whether it would be possible to get cheaply, secondhand, the whole work or at least the volume containing “Topographia Hibernica” and perhaps also “Hibernia expugnata"?

In order not to make a fool of myself over Cromwell, I'll have to put in a lot more work on the English history of the period. That will do no harm, but it will take up a lot of time.

I am reading the French papers with thanks and interest, and will return them tomorrow with several numbers of Zukunft. This paper is becoming more and more depressing and difficult for both readers and writers.

It is close of post, so adieu. Best greetings to all.


F. E.