Letters of Marx and Engels, 1849

Marx To Engels [228]
In Vevey

Source: MECW Volume 38, p. 210;
Written: 17 August 1849;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913 and in full in MEGA, 1929.

Paris, 17 August 1849

Dear Engels,

I don’t know whether my first letter — in reply to the first one you sent my wife arrived safely, since your address was very uncertain. I would have already replied to your second[281] had I not been prevented by the fact that the whole of my family here was ill. Let me repeat once again how anxious my wife and I were on your account and what a delightful surprise it was to have definite news of you.

You will see from the date that, as a result of my protest, the Ministry of the Interior has for the time being left me unmolested here in Paris. The Morbihan département, to which I had been directed, is lethal at this time of year — the Pontine marshes of Brittany.[282] It would not be prudent just now to write about the 13 June affair.[260] I don’t believe, or at least don’t know whether secrecy of the mails is being observed.

The general situation here may he summed up in a couple of words: the majority disintegrating into its original, mutually hostile elements, Bonapartism hopelessly compromised, ill-will among the peasants because of the retention of the 45 centimes, the wine-growers furious at the threatened retention of the tax on drink, [260] the current of public opinion once again anti-reactionary, in the Chamber, now prorogued, and in the Ministry, reaction, growing exclusive and concerned with expelling the Barrot-Dufaure clique from the Cabinet.[283] As soon as this comes about you can look for an early revolutionary resurrection.

I don’t know whether in Switzerland you have any chance of following the English movement. The English have taken it up again at exactly the same juncture at which it was broken off by the February revolution. As you are aware, the Peace Party [269] is nothing but the Free-Trade party under a new guise. But this time the industrial bourgeoisie is acting in a manner even more revolutionary than during the Anti-Corn Law League agitation. [270] In two ways: 1) the aristocracy, whose roots have been attacked at home by the repeal of the Corn Laws and the Navigation Acts, is further to be ruined in the sphere of foreign policy, in its European ramifications. Reversal of Pitt’s policy. Anti-Russian-Austrian-Prussian, in a word, pro Italy and Hungary. Cobden has formally threatened to proscribe bankers who make loans to Russia, has unleashed a veritable campaign against Russian finances. 2) Agitation for universal suffrage, in order to effect the total political severance of the tenants from the landed aristocracy, to give the towns an absolute majority in Parliament, to nullify the House of Lords. Financial reform, in order to curb the Church and cut off the political revenues of the aristocracy.

Chartists and Free Traders have joined hands in these two propaganda campaigns. Harney and Palmerston apparently friends. At the last meeting held in London, O'Connor and Colonel Thompson both of one mind. [284]

Consequences of this economic campaign against feudalism and Holy Alliance incalculable.

Hungary splendid. But this rotten Prussia? What do you think of it? The pallid canaille [H. Heine, Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen] are now being fattened in Saxony, Baden, the Palatinate. If they send an army to the aid of the Austrians, it will be so contrived that they themselves remain in Bohemia and wax fat there. But wretched Prussia — I only fear that it’s too craven — lost as soon as it participates in the Hungarian affair, which in any case is turning into a general war.

Now, my dear friend, what should we for our part do? We must launch out into a literary and commercial venture, I await your proposals. Red Lupus [Ferdinand Wolff] is here, in the same house as myself; Dronke in Paris likewise, but he’s an insignificant little chap of the school of E. Meyen. Lupus [Wilhelm Wolff] is in Zurich. Address: Dr. Lüning. You don’t need to write separately to M. Ramboz. It’s my pseudonym.

So the address is simply:

Monsieur Ramboz, 45, rue de Lille.

Ch. M.