The Prussian Refugees To the Editor of The Sun

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 15 June 1850

Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 10, p.378;
Published: in The Sun and The Northern Star, June 15, 1850.
Collection(s): Northern Star
Keywords : England, Politics, Refugees


For some time past we, the undersigned German political refugees residing in London, have had occasion to admire the attention paid to us not only by the Prussian Embassy but also by the British Government. We should not have taken much notice of this, as we should be at a loss to conceive in what respect we might possibly come into collision with what the Alien Bill calls “the preservation of the peace and tranquillity of these realms”, but we have of late read so much in the public papers about orders given to the Prussian Ambassador to insist upon the removal from England of the most dangerous refugees, and we have been for about a week past so closely watched by English police agents, that we really think we must lay the case before the public.

No doubt the Prussian Government exert themselves to have the Alien Bill enforced against us. But why? Because we interfere in English politics? It would be impossible to prove that we had done so. Why, then? Because the Prussian Government must pretend that the shot fired at the King in Berlin was the result of the wide-spread conspiracy, the centre of which is to be sought in London.

Now, let us look to the facts of the case. Can the Prussian Government deny that Sefeloge, the author of the attempt, besides being a notorious madman, is a member of the ultra-Royalist Society the Treubund? Can they deny that he is registered in the books of that society as member No. 133, section No. 2, in Berlin? Can they deny that he has received, not long ago, pecuniary aid from that society? Can they deny that his papers were deposited at the house of a Major Kunowski, an ultra-Royalist, employed at the Royal War Office?

It is really ridiculous to pretend, in the face of such facts, that the revolutionary party had anything to do with that attempt. The revolutionary party have no interest in seeing the Prince of Prussia arrive speedily at the throne, but the ultra-Royalists have. And yet the Prussian Government is making the Radical Opposition pay for the attempt, as is shown by the new law against the liberty of the press, and by the activity of the Prussian Embassy in London.

We may state, at the same time, that about a fortnight before the attempt, persons whom we have the conviction to be Prussian agents, presented themselves to us, trying to entrap us into regicidal conspiracies. We were, of course, not to be made the dupes of such attempts.

If the British Government desires any information respecting us, we shall always be ready to give it. What it can hope to learn by sending spies after us we are at a loss to conceive.

The Holy Alliance, now re-constructing under the aegis of Russia, would be too glad if they could succeed in making England, the only stumbling-block in their way, adopt a reactionary policy at home. What would become of the anti-Russian feeling of England, of the diplomatic notes and Parliamentary assertions of her Government, if commented upon by an enforcement of the Alien Bill, called forth by nothing but the revenge of the Holy Alliance, of which Prussia forms part and parcel?

The Governments of the Holy Alliance, we hope, will not succeed in deceiving the British Government to such an extent as would call forth from the Home Office measures which would seriously affect the long-established reputation of England as safest asylum for refugees of all parties and of all countries.

We remain, Sir, your most obedient servants,

Charles Marx, Fred. Engels, Editors of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung of Cologne Aug. Willich, Colonel in the Insurrectionary Army in Baden 64 Dean Street, Soho Square,
June 14, 1850