Letters of Marx and Engels, 1846

Marx To Joseph Weydemeyer
In Schildesche Near Bielefeld

Source: MECW Volume 38 p. 41
Written: 16 May 1846;
First published: in Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung, 1968.

Brussels, 14-16 May 1846

Dear Weiwi,

Herewith a belated letter. All manner of things have intervened. I had already intended to write to you from Liège[55] as arranged. But because of money problems I was averse to doing so. I readily put off such problems from one day to the next. But eventually, of course, one has to take the plunge.

You will shortly be getting an official letter from here. [56] The manuscripts will be with you shortly. [The German Ideology and other works intended for publication in the planned quarterly] The second volume is almost ready. As soon as the manuscripts for the first volume arrive (better to send them in two consignments) it would be most desirable that printing should begin.[57]

As to your idea about Limburg, it may be all right for pamphlets; books of more than 20 sheets are best printed in Germany proper. I think I've found a way of doing this which 1. will nominally leave Meyer out of it altogether, 2. will make things very difficult for the governments and 3. strongly commends itself insofar as the dispatch arrangements would be placed in very efficient hands.

Vogler, who resides here and has a commission agent in Leipzig, a man chiefly engaged in the dissemination of books liable to confiscation, would, you see, take over the whole book-selling side. The books themselves would be printed in Germany. In each case the editor would appear as publisher, i.e. ‘Published by the Author’. Vogler has offered his services on the following terms which I quote word for word from one of his letters to me:

‘In return for 10 per cent of the receipts at the Fair I undertake responsibility for all charges such as dispatch, carriage, delivery, cash collection, commission and the like, provided the books are delivered to me carriage paid Leipzig.'

Thus Vogler would make out the invoices here, and the books would be sent from the place of publication direct to his commission agent in Leipzig. The place of publication should not, of course, be in Prussia. Vogler’s account would be settled at each Easter Fair.

It seems to me that for the time being this would be the best course for books of more than 20 sheets. For pamphlets, your suggestion is certainly a good one. As regards a joint-stock bookseller I shall see what I can do. At all events it will create difficulties.

If Meyer agrees to Vogler’s proposal we could start at once — it would only be necessary to find some place of publication outside Prussia.

I had got thus far when your next letter arrived, the one addressed to Ph. Gigot as well as to me personally. Engels is sitting beside me at this moment to reply to the part concerning us all.[58] I frankly admit that the news it contains has affected me rather disagreeably.

I am, as you know, in a serious financial predicament. In order to make ends meet for the time being here, I recently pawned the last of the gold and silver as well as a large part of the linen. Moreover, so as to economise, I have given up our own establishment for the present and moved to the Bois Sauvage here. Otherwise I should have had to hire a new maid as the youngest child is now being weaned.

I have vainly cast around in Trier (chez my mother) and in Cologne chez one of her business acquaintances with a view to borrowing the 1200 fr. I need to set my affairs in order again. Hence the news about the booksellers is all the more unwelcome since I had hoped to get this money as an advance on the Political Economy.[59]

No doubt there are sundry bourgeois in Cologne who would probably advance me the money for a definite period.[60] But some time ago these people adopted a line that in principle is diametrically opposed to my own, and hence I should not care to be beholden to them in any way.

As to the fee for the publication, only the half for volume 1 is due to me, as you know.

As though one’s own misfortunes were not enough, I, as editor of the publication, am also getting a stream of urgent letters, etc., from every quarter. There is, in particular, the unpleasant matter of Bernays. As you know, he had already received 104 fr. on account through you. Bernays had given a bill of exchange due 12 May (to his baker), he couldn’t pay, so it had to be protested, which gave rise to further expenses, etc., etc. Now the baker wants to have him locked up. He wrote to me; I, of course, couldn’t help him, but to put the matter off temporarily, took the only possible course:

1. wrote a fruitless letter to Herwegh[61] in Paris, asking him to forward the amount to Bernays pending the appearance of his essay [54];

2. wrote a letter in French to Bernays to keep his creditor at bay if need be, in which I informed him that, on publication, he would receive a fee amounting to so and so much. Whereupon the citizen granted him an extension until 2 June. Bernays is liable for the expenses of the protest, etc., 120 fr. (I can’t remember the exact sum).

As you can see, misère on all sides! At this moment I'm at a loss what to do.

Some other time I shall write you a more substantial letter. You must excuse my silence on the grounds that all this financial stress has come on top of much work, domestic duties, etc.


My wife and I send our warm regards to your betrothed. [Louise Lüning] Be it noted, and to anticipate any misunderstandings, that Hess has nothing more due to him from the two volumes I am now editing; on the contrary he still has some to hand back to us.[62]

My private address: An Bois Sauvage. Chez M. Lannoy, Plaine Ste Gudule, N. 19.

When writing to me privatum address letters: A Mr Lannoy, Plaine Ste Gudule, Bruxelles, under cover.