Marx-Engels Correspondence 1860

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 21;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

[London,] 3 February 1860

Dear Engels,

After one minor alteration, or rather the deletion of one sentence, C. D. Collet yesterday declared himself willing, but, at same time, said that, as Urquhart was the actual editor, he must first submit the thing [Marx's letter to the editor of The Free Press against Vogt] to him, which means a delay of 24 hrs. Collet admitted that I could, of course, publish the statement malgré eux, but, if it was done the way he suggested, I could subsequently, to a certain degree, fall back on him and Urq. Well. I conceded this and intend to see what Father U. has to say. (For the sequel see immediately below.)

Incidentally, it’s no go either with a pamphlet or a statement in newspapers — just now. The pamphlet would be killed by the self-same press which now trumpets the grandeur of Vogt. The latter’s attack on me — he is obviously seeking to represent me as an insignificant and rascally bourgeois blackguard — (this emerges from everything I've learnt from hearsay up till now) is intended to be the grand coup of bourgeois vulgar democracy — and likewise of the Russo-Bonapartist riff-raff — against the party as a whole. Hence it must likewise be countered with a grand coup. Furthermore, the defensive does not suit our purpose. I shall sue the National-Zeitung. I've now made up my mind to do so. Not a great deal of money will be required for the time being — I am referring to the preliminary deposition in court. But lawyers will be exceptionally keen to make themselves available for, whatever happens, the lawsuit will make a great noise throughout the length and breadth of Germany. As soon as I have Fischel’s letter (it will arrive, I think, tomorrow) I shall issue a brief statement to the various German newspapers announcing that I am instituting an action for libel against the N.-Z. in Berlin. In its second article, which I have got, I have already discovered items so actionable as to bring about its immediate undoing in a legal sense. This lawsuit will be the peg on which we can hang the whole of our riposte to the public at large in court. Later on, we can turn our attention to that bastard Vogt.

When you consider that in a week or two, in connection with Stieber, the Cologne communist trial will be re-enacted all over again, this vile attack could, if skilfully exploited, help rather than hinder us, for this will at once enable us to state our case forcefully to the mass of the workers.

On the other hand, what evidence can Vogt or the National-Zeitung produce against us? At the most, there is Techow’s gossip and, perhaps (in the worst case), some not altogether pleasant reviews by Lüning but, these apart, the fact that Vogt knows nothing of conditions here and makes the most absurd mistakes is apparent if only from his article in the Biel Handels-Courier.

So my plan is this: Next week, as soon as Vogt’s rubbish arrives, I shall come and visit you for a few days in order to talk the whole thing over. As to the costs of the action, Dronke (who, by the by, owes me money) must also bear his share. (Whatever happens you must come here a few days at Easter.)

For the rest (I have already written to everyone imaginable), in addition to procuring the necessary material for the action, I'm working on my Capital. If I set about it with determination, it will be finished in 6 weeks and, after the lawsuit, it will be a success.

A fine thing it would be — with a crisis in the offing, with the King of Prussia at death’s door, etc. — if we were to allow ourselves to be finished off in this way by Imperial Vogt et cie., or even — autore Lassallo to cut our own throats.

The enclosed piece of paper will tell you what Mr Vogt is now about and how, in your pamphlet, you can deal him a contemptuous kick, if only by way of a marginal note.

K. M.

As you will see front the contents of my letter, the anti-Blind operation is proceeding independently of the German operation, but will be used to further the latter.