Marx-Engels Correspondence 1859
Source: MECW Volume 40, p. 542;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in: Marx and Engels, Works, Moscow, 1929.
On Monday I sent you a long letter about the wrangles down here. On Tuesday I sent you the Gartenlaube and Beta’s article. Well, every day I've been waiting to hear from you since, in affairs of this kind, it is only your letters that revive my wife’s drooping spirits. One can simply laugh off such rubbish if the rest of one’s life is tolerable. But in my circumstances they weigh heavily upon the family.
Well, today I'm sending you:
1. A letter from Lassalle to myself. The ‘statement’ I sent the Volks-Zeitung is the same as appeared in No. 325 of the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung (Another, two columns long, about my attitude to vulgar democracy, etc., appeared in No. 139 of the Hamburg Reform. I took the opportunity of naming you as the author of Po and Rhine, a fact obstinately kept dark by that same vulgar democracy.) From Lassalle’s letter you will see that he, who in point of fact was piping the same tune as Vogt, would much rather the Berlin public did not know about my opposition to Vogt and his propaganda.
From the same letter you will see that he at last intends to set to work on his ‘Political Economy’ but is clever enough to wait another 3 months until he is in possession of my second instalment. The motives for the consistent failure, even on the part of one who is ‘friendly’, to break the conspiration de silence are now plain.
I have taken the opportunity of giving Lassalle a brief outline of my views on the Italian question, at the same time telling him that, should anyone wish at such a critical moment to speak in the name of the party, the following alternatives must hold good. Either he consults the others beforehand, or the others (euphemistic for you and me) have the right to put their own view before the public, without regard for that anyone.
2. A letter from Liebknecht to Freiligrath. You will have seen from the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung that Freiligrath declared, firstly, that he had been made out to be Vogt’s accuser ‘without his knowledge and consent'; secondly, that ‘he had never written a line for the Volk’ (doesn’t write at all).2 Mr Kolb, who had wrongly construed a private letter from Liebknecht to himself and had been told off by Cotta after this statement of Freiligrath’s, naturally sacrificed Liebknecht as a scapegoat. But Freiligrath, who is a subaltern of Fazy’s, was outraged and wrote an exceedingly rude letter to Liebknecht. I enclose Liebknecht’s reply to it.
Now Freiligrath’s letter to Liebknecht contained the following passage:
‘I possess only one letter from Vogt, dated 1 April 1859. This letter, as Marx only last Saturday conceded’ (I underline),'does not contain a single syllable that might be used to substantiate a charge against Vogt. Why on earth, then, should I be trying to prove him guilty of attempted bribery?'
Now although on the one hand Freiligrath is indispensable to me for drawing bills on New York, although on the other I wish for political reasons to avoid a breach with him, and, lastly, am fond of him personally with all his faults, I could not do otherwise — it was absolutely essential — than send him a formal protest about the above lines. For who is to guarantee that he will not write the same thing to Vogt and that the latter will not have it published? The matter he misrepresents was as follows:
During my meeting with him, at which the topic was Blind, not Vogt, I told him (there was no question of a debate, and still less of his calling me to account, as might be inferred from the words ‘Marx conceded') that he himself had considered Blind to be the author of the pamphlet, the latter having told him what he had told me; also that, before my meeting with Blind on 9th May, I had known nothing at all about Vogt’s activities, save his letter to Freiligrath from which — as he, Freiligrath, would recall — I did not infer bribery, but rather found therein the same old, all too familiar, superficially liberal pot-house politics of his. This is, after all, not at all the same thing as ‘conceding that the letter did not contain a single line that might be used to substantiate a charge’. I pointed this out to him, at the same time expressing my astonishment at his failure to call Blind to account for having, in The Free Press, treated similar letters (including Freiligrath’s) as corpora delicti. So far I have had no answer from him, although he usually replies at once. It is possible — and this would be disastrous — that he has taken this opportunity to sever old party ties which, or so it would seem, have long become irksome to him. However that may be, I was bound to protest against his account of the affair.
Enough of this rubbish.
Yesterday a Tory journalist told me it was his intention to provide evidence next week in a Tory Weekly (the Weekly Mail, I think) to the effect that Garibaldi was receiving money from Bonaparte while still a merchant in South America. Nous verrons. Regards to Lupus.
Apropos. In my article in the Tribune yesterday I said that I would shortly be writing about the rifle movement over here. So I should be glad if you would write about it.