Letter to the editor of The Globe, June 1850

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written June 1850


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 10, p. 385;
Written: in mid-June 1850;
First published: in K. Marx and F. Engels, Works, Moscow, 1934.

Sir,

Allow me to call, through the medium of your paper, the attention of the public to a fact in which the honour of the British nation is, perhaps, more or less interested.

You are aware that the different continental governments, after the defeats of the movement party in 1849, succeeded in driving the numerous political refugees, more particularly the Germans, the Hungarians, the Italians and the Poles, from one place of asylum to another, until they found protection and tranquillity in this country.

There are certain governments on the Continent, whose animosity against their political opponents seems not to he satisfied with this result. The Prussian government is of this number. After having succeeded in concentrating most of the Prussian refugees in this country the Berlin Cabinet is evidently trying to make them, somehow or other, depart for America. The same parties who at home, in their own newspapers (witness the Neue Preussische Zeitung and the Assemblée nationale), represent the English government as a committee of Jacobins and of conspirators against the conservatives of all Europe-these same parties affect a most suspicious anxiety for the tranquillity of this country, by denouncing to the British government the foreign refugees as interfering with English politics and as being connected with the attempt at assassinating the King of Prussia.

I have the honour of belonging to those, whom the persecution of the Prussian government has followed everywhere they went. Editor of the Rheinische Zeitung (of Cologne) in 1842, and of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in 1848 and 1849, both of which papers were directly or indirectly stopped by the forcible interference of the Prussian government, I have been expelled from France in 1845 and 1849, from Belgium in 1848, upon the direct request and by the influence of the Prussian embassy; and during my stay in Prussia, in 1848 and 1849, I had about a dozen political actions brought against me, the whole of which were, however, abandoned after my having been twice acquitted by the jury.

That even in this country, I am not lost sight of by the Prussian government, is proved to me by numerous warnings which I received of late, stating that the English government, upon the ground of similar denunciations, intended to take steps against me; and by the fact that for several days past some individuals place themselves at my very door, taking down notes every time any one comes or leaves the house. It is further proved by the Neue Preussische Zeitung, which stated, some time ago, that I was travelling through Germany and had stayed a fortnight in Berlin, whilst I can prove by my landlords and other Englishmen that I never for a moment left London since I arrived here last year. This same ultra-royalist paper, after the attempt of the madman Sefeloge, brought my pretended journey to Berlin into connexion with that attempt; and yet this paper ought to know best who, if anyone, is connected with this affair, inasmuch as Sefeloge is a member of Section No. 2 of the ultra-royalist society the Treubund, and never was connected with any but staff-officers employed in the Berlin War Office. It is moreover proved by the presence, here in London, of Prussian agents provocateurs who, a fortnight before Sefeloge’s attempt, presented themselves to me and some of my friends, preaching the necessity of such an attempt and hinting even at the existence of a conspiracy got up, in Berlin, for this purpose; and who, after having found it impossible to make their dupes of us, now frequent Chartist meetings, in order to induce the public to believe that the foreign refugees take an active part in the English Chartist movement.

In conclusion allow me to ask you, Sir, and through you the public, whether it would be desirable that, upon such authority, the British government should be induced to take steps which might more or less interfere with the conviction, universally spread, that the British laws afford equal protection to whosoever puts his foot upon British soil?

I am, etc.