Letter to Karl Marx, September 27, 1869

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Author(s) Friedrich Engels
Written 27 September 1869


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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

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

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

To Marx in Hanover


Manchester, September 27, 1869[edit source]

Dear Moor,

Since there is nothing doing with Eichhoff it would be better if Wilhelm were to print the Peasant War than for it not to be printed at all. So I shall go through the piece right away. Incidentally, Wilhelm can write to me himself about it; he still has not replied to my last letter, and I don’t see why I should make advances to him.

Lafargue is madder with his doctoring than I expected. You must really take energetic steps, otherwise there might really be a misfortune.

We returned safely from Ireland on Thursday, a week ago; were in Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains, Killarney and Cork. Had quite a good time but both women came back even hiberniores than they had been before they left. Weather fine on the whole. According to the papers you are having even worse weather there than we are here.

Learned from Trench’s Realities of Irish Life why Ireland is so “overpopulated.” That worthy gentleman proves by examples that on the average the land is cultivated so well by the Irish peasants that an outlay of £10-15 per acre, which is completely recouped in 1-4 years, raises its rental value from 1 to 20 and from 4 to 25-30 shillings per acre. This profit is to be pocketed by the landlords.

Mr. Trench is in turn nicely checked by his own statements to Senior, which the latter has had published. Trench tells the liberal Senior that if he were an Irish peasant he would be a Ribbonman too!...

Ireland’s trade has grown enormously in the past 14 years. The port of Dublin was unrecognisable. On Queenstown Quay I heard a lot of Italian, also Serbian, French and Danish or Norwegian spoken. There are indeed a good many “Italians” in Cork, as the comedy has it. The country itself, however, seems downright depopulated, and one is immediately led to think that there are far too few people. The state of war is also noticeable everywhere. There are squads of Royal Irish all over the place, with sheath-knives, and occasionally a revolver at their side and a police baton in their hand; in Dublin a horse-drawn battery drove right through the centre of town, a thing I have never seen in England, and there are soldiers literally everywhere.

The worst about the Irish is that they become corruptible as soon as they stop being peasants and turn bourgeois. True, this is the case with most peasant nations. But in Ireland it is particularly bad. That is also why the press is so terribly lousy.

Moore is in the Tyrol; will probably return next week.

I expect you’ll be going to Hamburg and seeing Meissner. IF so, you may mention to him that I am working on something about Ireland, and will offer it to him in due time. Hearty greetings to Jenny and Kugelmann.

Tussy and Lizzie also send greetings.

Your

F. E.

On the inside of the letter: 'To Dr Marx'.