Marx-Engels Correspondence 1860

Marx To Ferdinand Lassalle
In Aachen

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 192;
First published: in F. Lassalle. Nachgelassene Briefe und Schriften, Stuttgart-Berlin, 1922.

[London,] 15 September 1860

Dear Lassalle,

I am writing very briefly to make sure this note still finds you.

1. I wrote to Freiligrath (day before yesterday) about an answer to your question. None arrived. Answering such questions conflicts, of course, with his duty to his office.

2. As regards the book on Vogt: After trying this, that and the other, I have come to the conclusion that printing in London is the only possibility. By the by, deliberately written so as not to be confiscable. Although not printable in Berlin, it would, like any other book, be distributed in Germany from Leipzig; in Switzerland, Belgium, America direct from here. Engels is paying for one share, I for another. But the thing’s expensive since a sheet costs 4 1/2 pounds sterling over here. You must contribute a share if you can. I have optimistically arranged for printing to begin not later than next week. If the money has not been collected, nothing will be lost, save the sum to be paid for what has already been printed.

3. Garibaldi shared my opinion of Bonaparte’s mission, just as Mazzini did. I have actually seen letters of Garibaldi’s on this score. However, the past is no longer of any concern. As soon as Garibaldi has divested the Italian cause of Bonaparte (and such is his object, expressly stated in a letter he wrote to an English acquaintance of mine, Green), all disputes within the revolutionary party will cease. But what is important now is that we should come to an agreement on a programme. If you would care to make a brouillon, Engels, Wolff and I will agree possible modifications with you. The time is approaching when our ‘small’ if, in a certain sense, ‘powerful party’ (inasmuch as the others do not know what they want, or do not want what they know) must devise its plan of campaign. That we in particular (here in England) should adopt a national stance seems to me tactically correct — quite apart from any inherent justification.

4. As for our attitude towards Russia, I think you are mistaken. The view that I and Engels have formed is a quite independent one, having, I may say, been laboriously evolved over many years from the study of Russian diplomacy. True, Russia is hated in Germany and, in the very first issue of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, we presented an anti-Russian war as the revolutionary mission of Germany. But hating and understanding are two altogether different things.

5. Your praise of my book [A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy] gave me great pleasure, coming as it did from a competent judge. I think that Part II may very likely come out before Easter. It will take a somewhat different form, more popular to some degree. Not, of course, as a result of any impulse from within myself, but, first, because Part II has an expressly revolutionary function, and, second, because the conditions I describe are more concrete.

In Russia my book has caused a considerable stir, and a professor in Moscow has given a lecture on it. Moreover, many Russians, in particular, have written to me very kindly about it. Ditto German-speaking Frenchmen.

6. Ad vocem H. Bürgers. How like the gentle Heinrich. He was, it is true, nominally co-editor of the N. Rh. Z., but never wrote for it, except for one article, of which I deleted one half and rewrote the other. So enraged was he about this (it happened during the early days of the paper) that he asked for a general vote. This I conceded as an exception, at the same time explaining that a newspaper office should be ruled dictatorially and not by general vote. Universal suffrage went universally against him. After that, he wrote nothing more. Prison, by the by, is said to have had a very moderating effect on him. Give me Casemate Wolff any day. Admittedly, his temperament is diametrically the opposite of Bürgers.

What has vexed me more than Bürgers is that Miquel, a Göttingen lawyer and a very gifted and energetic member of our party, has joined Bennigsen.

7. Polizei-Silhouetten by Dr Eichhoff published in Berlin. Badly written, but contains some delectable things. Throws a fine light on the liberal ‘police’ and the ‘law-courts’ in Berlin. Was instantly confiscated. One copy arrived here safely.

8. I must confess my complete ignorance of Prussian legal procedure. I never imagined I should get material justice. But I did think the procedure was such that I would at least succeed in getting as far as a public hearing. That was all I wanted.

Under (old) Rhenish procedure, did a private action for injuria or libel also depend on prior permission being obtained from officers of the judiciary, i.e. the government?


K. M.