Works of Karl Marx 1859

Statement to the Editors of Die Reform, the Volks-Zeitung and the Allgemeine Zeitung

Source: MECW Volume 17, p. 4;
Published: in the supplement to Die Reform, November 19, 1859;

London, November 7, 1859

I see from a copy of Der Freischütz, No. 132, which a friend has sent me from Hamburg, that Eduard Meyen has felt obliged to place his unequivocally decisive weight into the scales of the Vogt affair. The horse-power, or should I say, the donkey-power of his logic is concentrated in the great thesis: that because he was a friend of Blind, and because Blind failed to send him a copy of the anonymous pamphlet, the original document I had sent to the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung must of necessity be a falsehood. In his sly little way he takes good care, of course, not to say this directly; he says it indirectly.

Incidentally, I wish that Herr Eduard Meyen would provide evidence to prove that my time is valueless enough to be squandered in attacks on the German vulgar democrats.

At the end of 1850 I broke off all relations with the German emigration in London, which really did collapse once I had pulled from under it the one thing that had held it together: its antagonism towards me. The process of dissolution was hastened, above all, by the industry of such agents as Meyen who, for example, publicly agitated against the Ruge faction on behalf of the Kinkel faction. In the nine years that have meanwhile elapsed, I have been a constant contributor to the New-York Tribune, a paper with 200,000 subscribers and hence a reading public roughly approximate to that of Der Freischütz. Have I ever even so much as mentioned the name of a single one of the German vulgar democrats, or spent even so much as a single word on any of the despicable attacks that these men of honour have heaped upon my head in the German and especially the German-American press over the past five years?

During this time I did indeed attack, although I did not slander, “great democrats” of the sort that were dutifully admired by Herr Eduard Meyen. Such as the great democrat Lord Palmerston. My offence was all the more unforgivable because my “slanders” were reprinted not merely by English papers of the most diverse political tendencies — from the Chartist People’s Paper to The Free Press of Mr. Urquhart — but also as a pamphlet at least 15,000 copies of which were produced in London, Sheffield and Glasgow without any prompting by me. During that same period, moreover, I denounced the great democrat Louis Bonaparte, first in a work in German (Der achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte), which was confiscated at all the German frontiers, but which circulated in considerable numbers in the United States and which appeared in extract in the then London organ of Chartism.’ I have continued this “slander” of the “great democrat” Bonaparte in the Tribune to this day in the form of analyses of his financial system, his diplomacy, his warfare and his idées napolioniennes. Louis Bonaparte has sent the New-York Times a public statement in gratitude for its opposition to these “slanders”. Seven years ago I even denounced the “great democrat” Stieber in the Revelations Concerning the Communist Trial, which was pulped at the frontier of Baden and Switzerland. Herr Meyen will surely give me credit for that. Such slander is democratic nowadays since it takes place “with the permission of the high authorities”. But my frequent errors in timing are revealed not only by the organ of Herr Eduard Meyen, but also by that of Herr Joseph Dumont in Cologne. When in 1848 and 1849 I took the liberty of coming out for the cause of the Hungarian, Italian and Polish nationalities in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, who raged and foamed at the mouth more than the organ of Herr Joseph Dumont in Cologne? But at that time, of course, no Louis Napoleon Bonaparte had given his “liberal” blessing to the cause of these nationalities. That the former editors of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung have remained true to their opinions is known even to the erstwhile Herr Joseph Dumont, now Giuseppe Delmonte, from Frederick Engels’ pamphlet Po and Rhine, which appeared at the start of the war. But as for Eduard Meyen’s democracy “in its narrower sense”, I have ignored it for nine years and have only on two occasions, quite recently, broken my silence. The first time was to attack Kossuth and the second was in criticism of Herr Gottfried Kinkel. I did in fact make a number of marginal comments of a purely grammatical nature on Kinkel’s aesthetic effusions in the Hermann, and I published them in Das Volk. This was the only thing which I did write for Das Volk, apart from an article on the Peace of Villafranca under the tide “Quid pro quo”. But in the eyes of Eduard Meyen, a “good democrat” is doubtless just as justified in violating the “despotic” rules of syntax as in deserting from the republican camp to that of the royalists.

I now find myself at the end of this episode in the opposite difficulty to Hegel’s at the beginning of his Logic. He wanted to advance from Being to Nothing, whereas I wish to move from Nothing to Being, namely from Eduard Meyen to a real case, the case of Vogt. To make it brief I ask Karl Blind the following questions:

1. Did Blind impart to me information about Vogt on May 9 on the platform of the Urquhart meeting, information whose substance tallies precisely with that contained in the pamphlet Zur Warnung?

2. Did Blind publish an anonymous article in the London Free Press of May 27, bearing the tide “The Grand Duke Constantine to be King of Hungary”, an article which, apart from the omission of the name of Vogt, repeats the substance of the pamphlet Zur Warnung?

3. Did Blind cause the above-mentioned pamphlet to be printed at his expense in London in the print-shop of Herr F. Hollinger, Litchfield Street, Soho?

Despite all the efforts of Meyen’s democracy to misrepresent matters, and despite even that Great Unknown, the “outstanding lawyer” of Herr Joseph Dumont, everything still turns on the question: Who arranged for the pamphlet Zur Warnung to be printed? The only reason why the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung is being sued is the fact that this pamphlet was reprinted there. The only accusations of which Vogt feels compelled to clear his name in the eyes of the world are those contained in this pamphlet. The publisher of the pamphlet has, as Robert Peel would have said, three courses open to himself. Either he has knowingly lied. I do not believe this of Karl Blind. Or else he subsequently became convinced that the information which justified his printing the pamphlet was false. In that case he is under an even greater obligation to supply an explanation. Or, finally, he holds the proof in his hand, but wishes for private reasons of his own to hush the whole business up and endures with magnanimous resignation the rotten eggs that are hurled not at himself, but at me. But must not all private considerations lapse in such a vital matter as the need to throw light on the relations between the German Imperial Regent in partibus and the Emperor of the French de facto?

Karl Marx