Marx-Engels Correspondence 1859

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 40, p. 430;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in: Marx and Engels, Works, Moscow, 1929.

[London,] 6 May 1859

Dear Frederick,

Your article received. You will have seen from a telegraphic despatch that Hess has come out against Gyulay’s plan (perhaps one should describe it as absence of plan). Looked at from our — i.e. a revolutionary — point of view, it would be by no means undesirable if Austria were to begin either by suffering a reverse or, which is morally the same thing, by withdrawing into Lombardy again. This will greatly complicate matters and thus allow sufficient time for things to come to a head in Paris. All in all the state of affairs is such that, no matter on what side blunders occur, they will necessarily redound to our advantage. If, at the outset, Austria were to beat the Piedmontese army, take Turin and thrash the French as they debauched from the Alps, Russia might immediately turn against Bonaparte — having in any case not yet actually entered into any obligations against Germany, and our rotten Prussian government would be extricated from the only dilemma that might cost it its neck. Again: Such a devastating defeat at the very beginning could bring about a mutiny in the French army and an anti-Bonaparte revolution in Paris. What then? At this juncture the upshot would be victorious armed intervention by the Holy Alliance against a potential revolutionary government in Paris, something which certainly doesn’t come into our calcul.

Even Radetzky had the revolutionary ardour of 1848 in his veins. On the other hand I believe that on both sides, Austrian and French, the war will now be conducted with reactionary mediocrity.

It was wrong of you not to have sent us at least two more pamphlets — for Pfälder, who sent off your manuscript under his own name, and for Freiligrath. It would also be fitting to send a copy to P. Imandt (Dundee Seminary, Dundee). You must pay some heed to party relations and keep the chaps in good humour.

Apropos, I deleted the whole of the preamble to your last Friday’s article, firstly because I had my misgivings about the Austrians; secondly because it is absolutely essential that we do not identify our cause with that of the present German governments.

In my view, the worthy Palmerston will very shortly be back at the helm as Foreign Minister or War Minister. Those dolts of Tories are indeed making things too easy for him. First they go and spoil the Austrians’ game by their miserable show of mediation. Then, as soon as the Franco-Russian treaty has been made known, they bend every force to deny its existence, so as to prove that they have not been taken by surprise. This in turn gives The Times the opportunity to deride them and adopt a patriotic attitude towards Russia. But the long and short of it is that The Times, like all the rest of Palmerston’s papers (though these, depending on their allotted role, either oppose or support the various powers involved), is hinting at the necessity of reappointing the truly British Minister. (The Morning Advertiser and The Daily Telegraph, which write for the mob, are saying it openly). The wretched Tories ought instead to have ‘lent credence to’ the Russo-French treaty and seized on the chance of going for Pam. They had the best of opportunities. Firstly, Pam was in Compiègne when the whole plan was hatched. Secondly, Mr Whiteside, speaking on behalf of the ministry, had in fact already told silly old John Bull what had long been apparent from the Blue Books, namely that in 1848 Austria approached Palmerston and offered to relinquish the whole of Lombardy but to install an Italian government in Venice under an Austrian Archduke, if he would mediate. Piedmont had approached him at the same time, France ditto. What did Pam do?

He rejected the proposal, on the pretext that Venice, too, must be given up altogether. He gave this answer after a three weeks’ silence. As soon as Radetzky was victorious he called upon the Austrians to carry out the plan they had divulged to him. In the Hungarian affair (with reference this time to the conditions upon which the already desperate Hungarians were willing to submit) he performed the same manoeuvre. The fellow’s return to the ministry constitutes a real danger. In Germany, by the by, the fellows are beginning to see through him. In a book by Prof. Wurm of Hamburg (a history of the war in the East), and a book on Nicholas by another German, whose name I can’t recall, Pam is attacked outright as a Russian agent.

Ad vocem business. That ass Friedländer wrote to me on 12 April but had forgotten the crucial point, i.e. instructions to a banking-house. Instead, he spoke of an ‘advance’. This last is nonsense. £8-10, and often £15, will be needed each week for telegrams. I wrote and told the ass so. Up till now no answer, although he regularly sends me the Vienna Presse (from which I gather that it now has 26,000 subscribers). Yesterday I wrote Lassalle a fulminating letter. I see from the Presse that Lassalle has embarked on his articles and telegraphic despatches for that paper with great zeal albeit small talent. However he did not accept this post until I had ‘given him permission’ in writing, not wanting — or so he says — to take the political risk without my consent. It would be a rum business, would it not, if all the transaction led to was Lassalle’s installing himself in that quarter? It’s possible, however, that the delay is due to Friedländer’s difficulty in arranging the financial side in Vienna during the present troubles. Meanwhile, out of impatience, I am devoting myself to algebra.


Is Lupus in Manchester?

K. M.