Letter to Pavel Axelrod, July 21, 1901

From Marxists-en
Jump to navigation Jump to search

July 21, 1901

Dear P. B.,

I was intending to reply to your letter, but kept putting it off until I received the article. Don’t be in any particular hurry with it, if it is hard work, or even give up reading it altogether, to give yourself a rest and have some proper treatment. G. V. has already written to me in considerable detail where he sees changes desirable, and I shall of course try to make all these changes[1] (but as to changing the tone... I really don’t know whether I can do that. It is hardly likely that I can write in diplomatic tones about a gentleman who arouses such violent feelings in me. And I don’t think G. V. is quite right when he says that my “hatred” will be incomprehensible for the reader: I will quote the example of Parvus, who, without any knowledge of the author, after reading the introduction felt the same hostility to this “dolt”, as he called him—but that is in parenthesis). I very much disapproved of our having imposed two jobs on you (reading my article and Orthodox’s) just when you had gone away for treatment and a rest. Try rather to make really good use of the period of your treatment, and do not by any means burden yourself with a close reading of the manuscripts.

Please, write (and send manuscripts and everything else) only to the following address:

Herrn Dr. Med. Carl Lehmann.

Gabelsbergerstrasse 20 a/II.

München (inside: fur Meyer).

The Rittmeyer address is no longer good (but if you have sent something to Rittmeyer before receiving this letter, we shall still get it).

Do you happen to have Liebknecht’s book Zur Grundund Bodenfrage (Leipzig 1876)? Or perhaps one of the Zurich comrades has it? I need it very much for an article against Chernov, and it is not available at the library here, nor has Parvus or Lehmann got it.

Well, so long. I wish you the very best, and hope you have a good rest and are thoroughly fit again.



P.S. Here’s another request: do you (or Greulich) happen to have the minutes of the congresses of the International —or Vorbote[2] (which, I believe, carried the full reports)? This Chernov fellow keeps worrying me: I do believe the scoundrel has distorted things in referring to the minutes of the congresses of the International, and putting down as “dogmatic Marxism” even the “solidarised communities” (of Rittinghausen).[3] If you could help me with this material, I should be very grateful.

[But if you have to go to a lot of trouble to find these references, don’t do it, please: I shall manage somehow.]

Here’s yet another request (I feel that I’m making a hog of myself—piling up request upon request—but it’s hard to stop once you’ve started. But really, if you have to go to a lot of trouble, like travelling about in search of the books, etc., let it go, and “shelve” my applications. I’ll manage somehow. I shall make mincemeat of Chernov in any case). The fact is that the swine Chernov quotes Engels’s article, “The German Peasant” (in Russkoye Bogatstvo, 1900, No. 1). When I found the article I discovered that it was a translation of Engels’s article “Die Mark” ( Anhang[4] to the pamphlet, Die Entwicklung des Sozialismus von der Utopie zur Wissenschaft)[5] (I’ve only got the 4th edition of the pamphlet, 1891), but at the end of the translated text there is an addition of two tirades in Russian which the original does not have and which contain highly dubious statements: “restore (sic!) the mark”, etc.

I wonder what that is: a distortion by Russkoye Bogatstvo? In which case they ought to be pilloried good and proper. But first we must look at this from every side: a footnote to the Russian article says that Engels’s article “appeared in one of the German magazines in the 1880s, without his signature. But the offprint which Engels sent to one of his friends was signed with his initials”. (1) Have you any idea which “German magazine” it is? Could it be Neue Zeit? (2) Do you happen to have an early edition of the pamphlet Die Entwicklung des Sozialismus von der Utopie, etc., with the “Die Mark” Anhang? It is necessary to make a collation to find out whether the early editions contained the tirades the 4th edition does not have ( although this is very unlikely).

Then I need for the purposes of comparison the pamphlet: W. Wolff, Die schlesische Milliarde,[6] which I was unable to find at the local library and which is not available at the Vorwärts Buchhandlung[7] either—it’s been sold out.

  1. A reference to G. V. Plekhanov’s editorial remarks on Lenin’s article, “The Persecutors of the Zemstvo and the Hannibals of Liberalism”.
  2. Vorbote (Herald)—a monthly, the central organ of the German section of the First International; published in Geneva from 1866 to 1871.
  3. A reference in V. M. Chernov’s article, “Types of Capitalist and Agrarian Evolution”, to Rittinghausen’s proposal that society should transfer land for use by “solidarised communities” which he tabled in the agrarian commission of the Fourth Congress of the First International in Basle in 1869 and which was adopted by a majority.
  4. Addendum.—Ed.
  5. See Marx/Engels, Werke, Band 19, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1962, S. 316–30.
  6. A series of articles by W. Wolff published under this title in Neue Rheinische Zeitung in March and April 1849. In 1886, the articles, with some changes, were published in pamphlet form with a preface by F. Engels, “On the History of the Prussian Peasantry” (see Marx/Engels, Werke, Band 21, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1962, S. 238–47).
  7. Bookshop.—Ed.