Letter to Karl Marx, March 11, 1853

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Author(s) Friedrich Engels
Written 11 March 1853


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 39, p. 292;
First published: in MEGA, Berlin, 1929.

To Marx in London

[Manchester, 11 March 1853][edit source]

Dear Marx,

You shall have the articles within a few days; I see that my consideration of Urquhart was opportune. Unfortunately it’s too late for tomorrow’s steamer, since I can hardly have finished at the office before 8 o'clock and some preparation is, of course, still necessary. It’s grand that père Dana is now paying £2 and promptly honouring bills; avec ça, we shall at last be out of the wood. Incidentally, I would never have believed that you had sent off seven English articles in such a short space of time. When you come up here, which I much look forward to, you will learn more English in a week than in 6 weeks with Mr Pieper.

As for Monsieur Jacques, it is more than likely that the little man wants to imitate the trick played on the Baden government by Mr Jenni (whom he greatly resembles), namely sell part of the edition to the German governments, and afterwards do business so much the better with what is left. I don’t believe he is so bad as to have sold the whole lot outright. Booksellers established in Basle may be justified in feeling nervous; the Basle government won’t stand any nonsense and is on neighbourly terms with Baden. But mind you insist on his sending you forthwith per menagerie, i. e. by train, a packet of at least a few copies addressed direct to London or, if you like, to me, care of Ermen & Engels, Manchester. Nobody would think of opening such a packet, and even were this to happen, the cat is in any case already out of the bag. It’s fishy that he should so far have refused to let a single copy out of his hands. Surely he must know some manufacturer in Basle who sends ribbons, etc., etc., to London, and could include some in a consignment.

There’s nothing more to the Lancashire story in The Morning Post than what I told you in my yesterday’s letter. In answer to an inquiry of ours about prices, Houldsworth and Murray, the two leading fine spinners in England, told us yesterday that it was useless to quote any prices since they were booked up a long way ahead and could not accept a single new order. Between them these two have about 150,000-200,000 mule spindles in operation. In coarse water twist, on the other hand, No. 6/16, business is very slack precisely because of conditions in domestics which are sticking not only here but also in America and Germany.

We must destroy the competing Yankee [Pulszky] with a great show of omniscience. I shall take a look at a few more books on Turkey of which there are quite a lot in the Athenaeum.

It is not very pleasant to hear about the decline of our friends. Nor will it be pleasant if these citoyens go into the next affair as wise as, but no wiser than, they emerged from the last one, though when it comes to the point, the ‘best’ of them will no doubt pull themselves together. After Cluss, Lassalle is by far the most useful of the lot, and will be all the more so from the moment où les biens du comte Hatzfeldt seront irrévocablement réunis au domaine public [when Count Hatzfeldt’s property reverts irrevocably to public ownership]. He may have his foibles, but he also has esprit de parti et ambition, and we are already aware that he will always make official business a pretext for indulging his lesser appetites and pursuing his own little private affairs. As for recruiting, that’s the way it is; once we are back in Germany we shall, I think, find plenty of talented young fellows who have, in the meantime, and not without result, tasted the forbidden fruit. If we had had the means to conduct propaganda scientifically and steadily for the space of 2 or 3 years, writing books about n'importe quoi, as we did before 1848, we should have been appreciably better off. But that was impossible, and now the storm is already brewing. You ought to finish your Economy; later on, as soon as we have a newspaper, we could bring it out in weekly numbers, and what the populus could not understand, the discipuli would expound tant bien que mal, mais cependant non sans effet [disciples would expound after a fashion but not, however, without profit]. This would provide all our by then restored associations with a basis for debate.

That Dana is paying £2 per article without demur is the best proof of how firmly ensconced you are at the Tribune. Anyway, there is a certain advantage in our being the only one of all the parties of European revolution to have expounded its ideas before the English-American public. The Yankees know absolutely nothing about the rest, for all Kossuth’s twaddle amounted to was money for, and intervention on behalf of, the great man Kossuth. Doubtless Monsieur Bamberger will advance more against the next bill, the first having been paid so promptly.

Your
F. E.