Letters of Marx and Engels, 1849

Marx To Colonel Engels
In Cologne

Source: MECW Volume 38, p. 194;
Written: 15 April 1849;
First published: in Marx and Engels, Works, First Russian Edition, 1934.

Draft, Cologne, before 15 April 1849

To Colonel Engels, Commandant


Being convinced that Royal Prussian non-commissioned officers would not deny words spoken in private, I did not call in any witnesses to the conversation in question. As to my alleged remark that ‘the courts, as has recently been seen, can do nothing to me’,[254] even my political opponents will concede that, were I to harbour such a foolish thought, I would not express it before a third party. And do not the non-commissioned officers themselves admit that I explained to them that things below the line are no concern of mine and that in any case I am responsible only for the section of the paper signed by me? Hence there was absolutely no reason to speak of my position vis--vis the courts.

I am all the happier to refrain from pressing for a further inquiry as it was my concern, not that the non-commissioned officers should be punished, but simply that they should be reminded, from the lips of their superiors, of the limits of their duties.

As for the kind remark with which you conclude, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung has demonstrated, by its silence over the recent friction among the military themselves, how great is its consideration for the prevailing mood of unrest.