Marx-Engels Correspondence 1851
Source: MECW Volume 38, p. 283;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913.
When you wrote saying that it would soon be time to attack Louis Blanc, you were a clairvoyant, to say the least.
Now hearken to the following story:
A few days or perhaps a week ago, I ran into Landolphe and from the embarrassed way in which he greeted me and my wife, noted that there was something ‘rotten’ in the state of our ami chevaleresque [chivalrous friend] our Bayard of the Montagne. Eh bien! Landolphe and Louis Blanc have joined up with the Willich-Schapper committee, from which Mr Adam has resigned! And only a fortnight previously Landolphe had been raving and ranting about Barthélemy and I had been telling him about the affair of Messrs Willich and Schapper. Qu'en dis-tu? Not a word from these worthies to apprise me of it.
The nub of the matter is as follows:
On 24 February Church Street [i.e., the Fraternal Society of French Social Democrats] are holding a banquet to which they have invited Blanc and Ledru-Rollin and, among others, Landolphe. Louis Blanc, anxious to show Ledru-Rollin that he too has a cosmopolitan committee behind him, and to punish Church Street for treating him and Ledru as ‘of equal importance’, rallied his army from Great Windmill Street [i.e., the German Workers' Educational Society] and from the pub where the feckless Poles foregather.
Encore un coup! Quen dis-tu?
A few days ago Church Street received a printed circular (combining a manifesto) with an invitation to a monster banquet on 24 February, and signed primo Landolphe and, immediately after, Schapper, L. Blanc. Intense indignation in Church Street! Intense delight in Great Windmill Street!
In the circular-manifesto Louis Blanc does not speak in the name of a nation, but in the name and on behalf of the eternal formula: liberté, égalité, fraternité! The only fly in the ointment so far as I'm concerned is that I still owe Landolphe £1/10s. which ought now to be sent him forthwith through [Ferdinand] Wolff.
You can easily imagine how greatly Willich and Schapper have grown in their own esteem and how they fancy us beaten!
But we'll beat them in a different sense. We are well on the way to driving Corporal and Carpenter Willich mad, literaliter mad.
You will recall the letter written to Willich by Schramm on [Herman] Becker’s behalf, in which he offered him military dictatorship, abolished the press, and cast mild aspersions on Schapper’s moral character.
Eh bien! Willich, the uneducated, four times cuckolded jackass, fell into the trap. He has been bombarding Becker with letters, already has an envoy awaiting dispatch, treats Schapper de haut en bas [superciliously], ignores, insults and intrigues against that worthy man in every possible manner, has already adopted the overbearing manner of a Cromwell II, has grown irascible, no longer tolerates contradiction, and has entrusted Becker with the task of starting a revolution in Cologne, after which he declares himself ready to assume the supreme leadership.
A short time ago, while in company, he suddenly jumped up shouting that his letters from Paris and Cologne had not yet arrived - it was on the occasion of the last French ministerial crisis - complained that his (stupid head) was in a whirl, whirl, whirl, dashed off to Bond Street and had a bucket of water poured over it. I now have a shower-bath prepared for him which should have quite the opposite effect. In a few days’ time Becker is going to let me have Willich’s letters and then I shall spring the mine.
A fresh swarm of democratic scallywags here, Frenchmen driven out of Brussels, Heise from Cassel, Oppenheim from Brussels, Günther from Frankfurt, etc. Fortunately, however, I have seen none of the latter.
You did receive my last letter, didn’t you?