Movements of Mazzini and Kossuth. League with Louis Napoleon. Palmerston.

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 19 October 1852

First published in the New York Daily Tribune, No. 3590,
and the Semi-Weekly Tribune, No. 773, October 19, 1852;
re-printed in the New York Weekly Tribune, No. 580, October 23, 1852
Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 11 (pp.354-356), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1979
Reproduced from the New York Daily Tribune
Collection(s): New York Tribune

The editors of the New York Daily Tribune prefaced this anonymous article with the following note in square brackets: "In giving place to the following letter from a private correspondent, the Editors of The Tribune do not vouch for the exactness of its statements, but only for the extensive means of information possessed by the writer. We give his communication as a matter of interesting news whose correctness or incorrectness time will show."

London, Tuesday, September 28, 1852The following are authentic facts with regard to the movements among the Italian and Hungarian emigration:

Some time since the Hungarian Gen. Vetter traveled through all Italy on a commission from Kossuth and Mazzini with the passport of a painter who is a citizen of the United States. He was accompanied by the Hungarian cantatrice, Madame Ferenczi, who gave concerts. By this means he penetrated into the higher official circles, while the communications from Mazzini of which he was the bearer opened to him the doors of the secret societies. He traversed the entire country, from Turin and Genoa, by way of Milan, to Rome and Naples. He has lately returned to England and made his report, to the great astonishment of Mr. Mazzini, the archangel of the Democracy. The gist of Vetter's statements is briefly that Italy has become perfectly materialistic; that the traffic in silk, oil, and other products of the country forms to such an extent the all-absorbing theme of the day, and that the middle class (Mazzini's great reliance) reckon with such fearful exactness the expenses and losses which the revolution has occasioned, and accordingly seek so earnestly to repair the same by the most zealous devotion to industry, that it is absolutely impossible to think of a revolutionary movement being commenced by Italy. In that country, says Vetter in this document, no rising can take place until the French crater shall again vomit fire, especially as the revolu¬tionary part of the population par excellence are discouraged by long persecution and by the continual failure of their plans, and, above all, have not the masses to support them.

Upon this report of Vetter's, Mazzini, after having raved so loudly and so foolishly against France, found himself compelled, volens nolens, once more to resign the initiative to the old Babylon.

But, having determined on again making a league with France, with what party do you suppose these gentlemen have begun to treat? With Mr. Louis Bonaparte.

Kossuth, in accord with Mazzini, sent one Kiss to Paris, to enter into relations with the Bonapartists. Kiss had formerly been acquainted with the sons of Jérôme Bonaparte. He amuses himself in Paris, in coffee houses and other houses, hangs around Pierre Bonaparte, scatters incense before him, and writes splendid reports to Kossuth. Now, the liberation of Hungary by the firm of L. Napoleon and Kossuth, is no longer a matter of doubt. The chief of revolutionists has made an alliance of life and death with the "tyrant."

Previous to all this, the old Lelewel, the Pole, and Tadeusz Gorzowski, a Russian priest, had come to London in the name of the so-called Polish Centralization[1], and had laid before Kossuth and Mazzini the plan for an insurrection, whose turning point should be the co-operation of Bonaparte. Their special friend in London was a Count Lanckoroński, who is also an imperial Russian agent, and their plan had the signal honor of being revised and corrected in St. Petersburg beforehand. This Count Lanckoroński is now at Paris, to look after Kiss, whence he goes to Ostend to receive new instruc¬tions from St. Petersburg.

Kiss has sent to Kossuth from Paris all sorts of assurances, which would be at home in a book of fables, but which in the fabulous condition of French affairs are perhaps true. It is said that Kossuth has received an autograph letter from Louis Napoleon, inviting him to come to Paris. Kossuth is having copies of this letter circulated in all the counties of Hungary. In that country he has prepared everything for a general outbreak. Even royal-imperial officials are in the complot. Kossuth hopes to commence the affair in October.

So far I have given you nothing more than an almost verbal repetition of what has been communicated to me. If now you ask what is my opinion of the matter, it is that Louis Bonaparte desires to kill two flies with a single blow. He intends to ingratiate himself with Kossuth and Mazzini, and then to betray them to the Austrians, in return for which the latter will give their consent to his assumption of the imperial crown of France. Besides, he thinks that Kossuth and Mazzini will lose all their influence in the revolutionary party as soon as it is known that they have been negotiating, or have formed a connection with him. Moreover, he finds among the Absolute Powers a strong opposition to his mounting the throne, and, adventurer as he is, it is very possible, though not very probable, that he is disposed to try his hand with the conspirators.

As for what concerns Italy in particular, Louis Bonaparte looks forward to adding Lombardy and Venice to his own dominions, while Naples will fall to his cousin Murat. A fine prospect for Signor Mazzini!

Having again touched upon Italy, let me communicate another piece of intelligence. The Countess Visconti, one of the heroines of the last Italian struggle for freedom, was here not long since and had a long conversation with Lord Palmerston. His Lordship told her that he hoped before the end of the present year to stand at the head of the British Government, and that Europe should then march toward a speedy transformation. Italy, especially, could no longer be left in the claws of Austria, because no country could, in the long run, be governed by powder and lead. In all this Palmerston gave out that he expected to find an ally in France. His desire was, however, that Lombardy, in case of a general movement, should at once be annexed to Piedmont, and the question of making it a republic be left entirely to the future.

For my part, I am convinced that the veteran Palmerston is under the greatest illusions, and in particular does not understand that, even if he still possesses some influence in parliamentary coteries, he has none in the country itself.

  1. The Centralisation, the leading executive organ of the Polish Democratic Society, was set up in 1836. The Democratic Society was an organisation of the Left wing of the Polish emigration which united representatives of the small nobility (szlachta) and the bourgeoisie. Its programme envisaged the abolition of feudal obligations and of inequality of social estates, the transfer of land allotments to the peasants without payment, and a number of other progressive measures. The Democratic Society took an active part in preparing the national liberation uprising in Cracow in 1846. In the summer of 1849, following the prohibition of the Polish Democratic Society by the French authorities, London became the seat of the Centralisation though the majority of its members still remained in France. The 1850s were marked by discord in the Democratic Society. In 1862, when the Central National Committee for Preparing the Uprising was formed in Poland, the Society decided to dissolve itself.