Letter to Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov, December 9, 1847

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 9 December 1847

Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 38, p. 150;
First published: in Russian in Letopisi marksizma, 1928.
Collection(s): Letopisi marksizma

To Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov in Paris

London, 9 December 1847[edit source]

Dear Annenkov,

Party considerations, into which I cannot enter here, obliged me to pay a visit to London.[1] I took advantage of this visit both to put the Brussels Democratic Association in touch with the English Chartists and to harangue the latter at a public meeting. You perhaps saw some reports about it in the English and French press.

But when I set out on this trip — and I am compelled to stay here a few days longer — I left my family behind in the most difficult and direst of circumstances. It is not simply that my wife is ill and the children likewise. My economic situation just now is so critical that my wife is being veritably harassed by creditors and is in the most wretched financial straits.

How this crisis came about is easily explained. The German manuscripts are not being published as a whole. Those parts that are being published, I am supplying gratis, simply in order to launch them on the world. My anti-Proudhon pamphlet [The Poverty of Philosophy] has sold very well. However I shall not receive a share of the proceeds until Easter.

By itself, my wife’s income is insufficient and I have been negotiating with my own mother for quite some time to extract at least part of my fortune. There would now seem to be an immediate prospect of this. But that is of no help at the present moment.

In this situation, which I am not ashamed frankly to disclose to you, you would in truth save me from the worst if you could arrange to let my wife have a sum of between 100 and 200 francs. I shall, of course, be unable to repay you until my money matters have been settled with my family.

If you are able to agree to my proposal, I would request you to send the money to my old address: M. Charles Marx, Bruxelles, Faubourg Namur, rue d'Orléans, 42. However my wife must not be able to deduce from your letter that I wrote to you from London. I'll tell you the reason later.

Another time, I trust, I shall be able to send you more cheerful news.

K. Marx

  1. The reason for Marx’s visit to London was to attend the Second Congress of the Communist League. Marx and Engels profited by this occasion to attend the international meeting (mentioned in this letter) held in London to mark the anniversary of the Polish insurrection of 1830.
    An international meeting organised by the Fraternal Democrats took place in London on 29 November 1847 to mark the anniversary of the Polish insurrection of 1830. Marx and Engels, who had come to London for the Second Congress of the Communist League, made speeches about Poland. The report on the meeting and accounts of the speeches made by Marx and Engels appeared in the Deutsche Londoner Zeitung, No. 140, 3 December 1847, The Northern Star, No. 528, 4 December 1847, and the Deutsche-Brüsseler-Zeitung, No. 98, 9 December 1847. Engels wrote a special item on this subject for La Réforme, which published it on 5 December 1847 (see The Anniversary of the Polish Revolution of 1830).