Letters of Marx and Engels 1848

Engels To Marx[191]
In Brussels

Source: MECW Volume 38, p. 152;
Written: 14 January 1848;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913 and in full in MEGA, 1929

Paris, 14 January 1848

Dear Marx,

If I haven’t written to you it was because I have as yet still not been able to get hold of that accursed Louis Blanc. Decidedly, he is showing bad will. But I'm determined to catch him every day I go to him or lie in wait for him at the café. Père Flocon, on the other hand, is proving more amenable. He is delighted at the way the Brüsseler-Zeitung and The Northern Star defended the Réforme against the National. Not even the blâme against L. Blanc and Ledru-Rollin have succeeded in flustering him, any more than my announcement that we have now decided in London to come out openly as communists. He, of course, made some capital assertions you are tending towards despotism, you will kill the revolution in France, we have eleven million small peasants who at the same time are the most fanatical property owners, etc., etc., although he also abused the peasants, — after all, he said, our principles are too similar for us not to march together; as for us, we will give you all the support in our power, etc., etc.

I was enormously tickled by the Mosi [Moses Hess] business, although annoyed that it should have come to light. Apart from you, no one in Brussels knew of it save Gigot and Lupus — and Born, whom I told about it in Paris once when I was in my cups. Well, no matter. Moses brandishing his pistols, parading his horns before the whole of Brussels, and before Bornstedt into the bargain!!, must have been exquisite. Ferdinand Wolff’s inventiveness over the minutes made me split my sides with laughter — and Moses believes that! If, by the by, the jackass should persist in his preposterous lie about rape, I can provide him with enough earlier, concurrent, and later details to send him reeling. For only last July here in Paris this Balaam’s she-ass made me, in due form, a declaration of love mingled with resignation, and confided to me the most intimate nocturnal secrets of her ménage! Her rage with me is unrequited love, pure and simple. For that matter, Moses came only second in my thoughts at Valenciennes, my first desire being to revenge myself for all the dirty tricks they had played on Mary.

The strong wine proves to be no more than a 1/3 bottle of Bordeaux. It is only to be regretted that the horned Siegfried did not have his unhappy lot publicly minuted by the Workers’ Society.[158] He is perfectly at liberty, by the way, to avenge himself on all my present, past and future mistresses, and for that purpose I commend to him 1) the Flemish giantess who lives at my former lodgings, 87 chaussée d'Ixelles on the first floor, and whose name is Mademoiselle Joséphine, and 2) a Frenchwoman, Mademoiselle Félicie who, on Sunday, the 23rd of this month, will be arriving in Brussels by the first train from Cologne on her way to Paris. It would be bad luck if he were to succeed with neither. Kindly pass on this information to him in order that he may appreciate my honourable intentions. I will give him fair play.

It is nearly all up with Heine. I visited him a fortnight ago and he was in bed, having had a nervous fit. Yesterday he was up but extremely ill. He can hardly manage three steps now; supporting himself against the wall, he crawls from armchair to bed and vice versa. On top of that, the noise in his house, cabinet-making, hammering, etc., is driving him mad. Intellectually he is also somewhat spent. Heinzen desired to see him but was not admitted.

I was also at Herwegh’s yesterday. Along with the rest of his family he has influenza and is much visited by old women. He told me that L. Blanc’s 2nd volume [Histoire de la révolution française] has been quite eclipsed by the enormous success of Michelet’s 2nd volume [Histoire de la révolution française]. I have not yet read either because shortage of money has prevented me from subscribing to the reading room. By the way, Michelet’s success can only be attributed to his suspension[192] and his civic spirit.

Things are going wretchedly with the [Communist] League here. Never have I encountered such sluggishness and petty jealousy as there is among these fellows. Weitlingianism and Proudhonism are truly the exact expression of these jackasses’ way of life and hence nothing can be done. Some are genuine Straubingers,[86] ageing boors, others aspiring petty bourgeois. A class which lives, Irish-fashion, by depressing the wages of the French, is utterly useless. — I am now making one last attempt, if that doesn’t succeed, I shall give up this kind of propaganda. I hope that the London papers [i. e. documents of the Second Congress of the Communist League] will arrive soon and help to liven things up somewhat again; then I shall strike while the iron is hot. Not yet having seen any results from the Congress, the fellows are naturally growing completely supine. I am in contact with several new workers introduced to me by Stumpf and Neubeck but as yet there is no knowing what can be made of them.

Tell Bornstedt: 1) In the matter of his subscriptions [to the Deutsche-Brüsseler-Zeitung], his attitude towards the workers here should not be so rigorously commercial, otherwise he'll lose them all; 2) the agent procured for him by Moses is a feeble Jeremiah and very conceited, but the only one who still will and can attend to the thing, so he had better not rub him up the wrong way; the fellow has, moreover, gone to great pains, but he can’t put in money — which, for that matter, he has done already. Out of the money coming in to him he has to cover the expenses correspondence, etc. involves for him; 3) if he is sending separate issues, he should never send more than 10-15 at most of [...] one issue, and these as opportunity offers. The parcels go through Duchâtel’s ministry, whence they have to be fetched at considerable expenditure in time and where the ministry exacts a fearsome postal charge in order to ruin this traffic. A parcel of this kind costs 6-8 francs, and what can one do if that’s what they ask? Esselens in Liège wanted to appoint a courier to deliver it. Write to Liège and tell them this will be arranged. 4) The issues that were still here have been sent by third party to South Germany. Should occasion offer, Bornstedt should send us a few more issues to be used as propaganda in cafés, etc., etc. 5) Within the next few days Bornstedt will be receiving an article [Engels, The Movements of 1847] and the thing about the Prussian finances. But you must again cast an eye over the part about the committees of 1843 [193] and alter it where necessary, since my memory of the subject was very hazy at the time of writing.

If the Mosi business eventually leads to your attacking him in the Brüsseler-Zeitung, I shall be delighted. How the fellow can still remain in Brussels, I fail to understand. Here’s another opportunity to send him into exile at Verviers. The matter of the Réforme will be attended to.


[On the back of the letter]

Monsieur Philipp Gigot
8.-Rue Bodenbroeck, Bruxelles