Letter to Lion Philips, November 29, 1864

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 29 November 1864


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, p. 46;
First published: in International Review of Social History, Assen, 1956.

To Lion Philips in Zalt-Bommel

London, 29 November 1864 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park, Haverstock Hill[edit source]

Dear Uncle,

I hope that you are in the best of health despite the abominable weather. All is well here. Except that, to the great alarm of the whole family, I had a most malignant carbuncle below the left breast at the beginning of this month, which kept me in great pain for 2-3 weeks. Other than that, everything has been going well.

The trade crisis, which I predicted to you long before its actual arrival has by this time long since lost its edge, although its consequences in the manufacturing districts proper are still very considerable. On the other hand, I believe a political crisis is to be expected in the spring or early summer. Bonaparte has again reached the point where he will have to make war again if he is to raise a loan. The Venetian business is being kept open (I am acquainted with some of the agents there) so that it can provide a point of contact if need be. It is possible that Bonaparte will again find a way out, and then he will keep the peace (for he is no real Napoleon), but that is rather improbable.

The enclosed printed Address is written by myself. The matter hangs together like this: in September the Parisian workers sent a delegation to the London workers to demonstrate support for Poland. On that occasion, an international Workers’ Committee was formed. The matter is not without importance because 1. in London the same people are at the head who organised the gigantic reception for Garibaldi and, by their monster meeting with Bright in St James’s Hall, prevented war with the United States. In a word, these are the real workers’ leaders in London, with one or two exceptions all workers themselves. 2. On the Parisian side, Mr Tolain (ouvrier himself, as well) et Co. are at the head, i.e., the same people who were prevented by a mere intrigue on the part of Garnier-Pagès, Carnot, etc., from entering the Corps législatif at the last elections in Paris as representatives of the workers there, and 3. on the Italian side, it has been joined by the representatives of the 4-500 Italian workers’ clubs which held their general congress in Naples some weeks ago an event which even The Times considered important enough to merit a few dozen lines in the paper.

Courtesy toward the French and the Italians, who always require florid language, has obliged me to include a few superfluous turns of phrase in the preamble to the ‘Rules’, though not in the ‘Address’.

A few day’s ago I received a letter from America from my friend Weydemeyer, Colonel in the regiment stationed at St Louis (Missouri). Amongst other things, he writes — and these are his exact words:

‘We are regrettably being detained here at St Louis, since, in view of the many “conservative” elements here, a military force is a continuing necessity to prevent a break-out and the possible release of the numerous Southern prisoners. ... The whole campaign in Virginia is a blunder, which has cost us innumerable men. But for all that, the South will not be able to hold out much longer: it has sent its last man into battle and has no fresh army to call upon. The present invasion of Missouri, like the incursions into Tennessee, has only the character of a raid, a foray: there can be no thought of a lasting re-occupation of districts that have been lost.’

When you reflect, my dear Uncle, how at the time of Lincoln’s election 3½ years ago it was only a matter of making no further concessions to the slave-owners, whereas now the avowed aim, which has in part already been realised, is the abolition of slavery, one has to admit that never has such a gigantic revolution occurred with such rapidity. It will have a highly beneficial influence on the whole world.

At a public meeting this week the fellow-member of our race Benjamin Disraeli has again made a dreadful laughing-stock of himself by assuming the mantle of guardian angel of the High Church and Church rates, repudiating criticism in religious affairs. He furnishes the best evidence of how a great talent unaccompanied by conviction creates rogues, albeit gold-braided and ‘Right Honorable’ ones.

Those jackasses in Germany have again made a proper laughing-stock of themselves over the Muller affair, with ex-parson Kinkel at their head.

With kindest regards from the whole family to you and from me to Jettchen, Dr, Fritz et Co.

Ever your faithful nephew

K. M.