Letter to Karl Marx, November 24, 1867

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Author(s) Friedrich Engels
Written 24 November 1867

First published in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Bd. 3, Stuttgart, 1913

Extract published in Marx and Engels on Ireland, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1971

Published in English for the first time in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 42

November 24, 1867[edit source]

Dear Moor,

I am returning the encl. letters.

So yesterday morning the Tories, by the hand of Mr. Colcraft, accomplished the final act of separation between England and Ireland. The only thing that the Fenians still lacked were martyrs. They have been provided with these by Derby and G. Hardy. Only the execution of the three [Michael Larkin, William Allen and Michael O'Brien] has made the liberation of Kelly and Deasy the heroic deed as which it will now be sung to every Irish babe in the cradle in Ireland, England and America. The Irish women will do that just as well as the Polish women.

To my knowledge, the only time that anybody has been executed for a similar matter in a civilised country was the case of John Brown at Harpers Ferry. The Fenians could not have wished for a better precedent. The Southerners had at least the decency to treat J. Brown as a rebel, whereas here everything is being done to transform a political attempt into a common crime. Everybody knows that while he was leading his band of ruffians at Boulogne, Louis Napoleon shot the duty-officer dead. He thus did what Allen is supposed to have done but did not do. For which the English government hangs Allen, while the English queena kisses Louis Napoleon’s cheek and the English aristocracy and bourgeoisie his backside.

The latter point should be made in the press.


F. E.