Letter to Ludwig Kugelmann, October 12, 1868
|Written||12 October 1868|
Published in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 43
My dear Friend
Your obstinate silence is quite incomprehensible to me. Did I give cause for it in some way in my last letter? I hope not. In any case it was unintentional. I need not tell you explicitly, you know that you are my most intimate friend in Germany and I do not see that, inter amicos, it is necessary to keep such a sharp watch on one another for any trifle. Least of all have you this right in regard to me, because you know how much I am obliged to you. You have done more – apart from everything personal – for my book than all Germany put together. But, perhaps, you are so energetically silent in order to show me that you are not like the crowd of so-called friends who are silent when things go badly and speak when they go well. But there was no need for such a ‘demonstration’ on your part. When I speak of a ‘good state of affairs’ I mean, firstly, the propaganda which my book has been doing and the recognition which it has found among the German workers, since you wrote me last. And, secondly, there is the wonderful progress which the International Working-Men’s Association has made, especially in England.
A few days ago a Petersburg publisher surprised me with the news that a Russian translation of Das Kapital is now being printed. He asked for my photograph for the title page and I could not deny this trifle to ‘my good friends’, the Russians. It is an irony of fate that the Russians, whom I have fought for twenty-five years, and not only in German, but in French and English, have always been my ‘patrons’. In Paris in 1843 and 1844 the Russian aristocrats there treated me most tenderly. My book against Proudhon (1847) and the one published by Duncker (1859) have had a greater sale in Russia than anywhere else. And the first foreign nation to translate Kapital is the Russian. But too much should not be made of all this. The Russian aristocracy is, in its youth, educated at German universities and in Paris. They always run after the most extreme that the West can offer.
It is pure gourmandise, such as a part of the French aristocracy practised during the eighteenth century. Ce n'est pas pour les tailleurs et les bottiers, Voltaire said of his own enlightenment. This does not prevent the same Russians, once they enter state service, from becoming rascals.
I am having a good deal of bother just now in Germany in connection with the quarrels of the leaders, as you can see from the enclosed letters, which you will please return. On the one side, Schweitzer, who has nominated me Pope in partibus infidelium, so that I can proclaim him the ‘workers’ emperor’ of Germany. On the other side, Liebknecht, who forgets that Schweitzer, in point of fact, forced him to remember that there is a proletarian movement apart from the petty-bourgeois democratic movement.
I hope that you and your family are well. And I hope that I have not fallen into disfavour with your dear wife. À propos: the International Women’s Association, duce Frau Gögg (read Geck), has sent an epistle to the Brussels Congress, enquiring whether ladies may join. The answer, of course, was a courteous affirmative. Should you therefore persist in your silence, I shall send your wife a mandate as correspondent of the General Council.
I have suffered a good deal from the heat, because of my liver, but am at the moment well.
PS 1: The Spanish revolution came like a deus ex machina to prevent the otherwise inevitable and disastrous Franco-Prussian war.
PS 2: You wrote me once that I am to receive a book by Büchner. When and how?
- Among friends – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
- Gourmandise – fine feeding – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
- Ce n'est pas pour les tailleurs et les bottiers – This is not for tailors and cobblers – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
- Johann Baptist Schweitzer (1833-1875) – German working-class leader; friend of Lassalle. After the death of Lassalle, leader of the Lassalleans until 1871 – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
- In the country of the infidels, that is, a functionary without a function – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
- Gögg – Wife of a South German petty-bourgeois democrat and pacifist. Geck = fop – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
- God out of the machine. A favourite device of the ancient Greek dramatists whereby a god suddenly makes his appearance on the scene out of some theatrical machinery and provides a happy solution of the apparently hopelessly entangled situation – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.
- Ludwig Büchner (1824-1899) – German vulgar materialist scientist – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.