Marx-Engels Correspondence 1861

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW, Volume 41, p. 300;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.

[London,] 1 July 1861

Dear Frederic,

I was delighted to see Lupus here, as was the whole family. Despite his gout, the old man had quite a youthful air. He immediately handed over your letter, and 2, which promptly went to the Tax Gatherer. I was expecting to get a supply from Germany this morning, but nothing has arrived yet. Since I am completely without revenue for the time being and yet in a continual course of consumption (this being how some economists account for ‘profit” which they see as deriving, not from the costs of production, but from the costs of consumption), any supplies from Manchester would be most welcome.

Please write and tell me at once what you think about the moves (military) in Virginia. The blunders made by officers of the militia — Brigadier-General Pierce, by nature a ‘tailor’ from the State of Massachusetts — will, of course, recur often enough on both sides. Is Washington still threatened? Do you believe that the Southerners’ position at Manassas Junction is an offensive one? Or aren’t the fellows engaged rather in a withdrawal? In Missouri the defeat of the Southerners seems certain, and who should now turn up there but the terrible ‘Colonel Bornstein'? From a private letter to Weber it transpires that ‘Colonel Willich’ is in command of a corps from Cincinnati. He would not appear to have gone into action yet.

On studying these American affairs more closely, I have come to the conclusion that the conflict between South and North — for 50 years the latter has been climbing down, making one concession after another — has at last been brought to a head (if we disregard the effrontery of ‘Chivalry’s’ fresh demands) by the weight which the extraordinary development of the North Western States has thrown into the scales. The population there, with its rich admixture of newly-arrived Germans and Englishmen and, moreover, largely made up of self-working farmers, did not, of course, lend itself so readily to intimidation as the gentlemen of Wall Street and the Quakers of Boston. According to the last census (1860), it had grown by 67 p. c. between 1850 and 1860, in which year it numbered 7,870,869, whereas, according to the same census, the entire free population of the seceded Slave States was about 5 million. These North Western States furnished not only the bulk of the ruling party, but also the President in 1860. It was also this self-same area in the North that first came out unequivocally against any recognition of the independence of a Southern Confederacy. They cannot, of course, allow the lower reaches and estuary of the Mississippi to pass into the hands of foreign states. Again, in the Kansas affair (from which this war really dates), it was the population of these North Western [States] who came to blows with the border ruffians.

A closer look at the history of the secession movement reveals that secession, constitution (Montgomery), Congress ibid., etc., are usurpations without exception. Nowhere did they allow the people en masse to vote. This ‘usurpation’ — which is concerned, not only with secession from the North, but also with consolidating and intensifying the oligarchy of the 300,000 slave lords in the South vis--vis the 5 million whites — has been the subject of highly characteristic articles which appeared in the Southern papers at the time.

And now let us turn to high politics — Kinkel and the National Association in London. You will no doubt recall that, a week ago last Saturday, Heintzmann had adjourned the meeting (a fact he advertised in the Hermann), because Juch had been sent to Coburg, there to move a placitum patrum. At the same time, the great Heintzmann had convened an extraordinary meeting for Tuesday to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo, etc.

Foxy Gottfried, however, together with Zerffi, sent out secret circulars to their people (see last Hermann) summoning them to a meeting on Saturday. Gottfried and his people, having now got the field to themselves, effectively held their meeting behind the backs of the others. Gottfried (as one of the vice-presidents of the National Association) took the chair, and Zerffi (as a member of the committee of the self-same National Association) acted as secretary. It goes without saying that the resolutions pertaining to the MacDonald business, etc., that were adopted at this meeting were agreeable to Gottfried and Zerffi. Now, on the following Tuesday, Heintzmann called for a reading of the minutes of the last meeting at which he had taken the chair, and acted as though he knew nothing whatever about the interim meeting held by Gottfried and Co. Nor did Gottfried and Zerffi, who were present, call for the reading of the relevant minutes or, for that matter, say a single word about the meeting they themselves had arranged. What Gottfried did do, however, was to write to Juch the following day, requesting him to reproduce in the Hermann the minutes of his, Gottfried’s, meeting enclosed in his letter. He even ominously invoked an agreement which he had made with Juch on handing over the Hermann. The latter, however, said ‘quod non’ (see last Hermann). The day before yesterday, it would seem, the row was discussed at a meeting of the National Association at Seyd’s Hotel. But I haven’t had a report on it yet.

This will give you some idea of what the ‘Machiavellismus Gottofredi Magni’ is like. You will further see from the last Hermann’s account of the meeting of the National Association that Blind — who has as many little dodges up his sleeve as there are fleas on a dog — invited ‘Dralle’ to join, in order to secure for himself a vote of thanks as the saviour of Schleswig-Holstein. This was, however, capped by Heintzmann, who didn’t even give Dralle’s notion a chance to be put to the vote. This same summus Blind got third party to ask Weber, etc., whether he should ‘appear as speaker’ at the meeting to be held by the German communist association and the Frenchmen’s associations in honour of the June insurrection. Reply: If he wanted a drubbing — yes.

Ad vocem Lassalle’s work:

Lupus has made me a present of his copy, for disposal as follows: to be sent by you to my cousin, addressed to: ‘A. Philips, Advokaat, Keizergracht bij de Westermarkt. L. L. 267, Amsterdam.'

You must, of course, erase Lassalle’s dedication to Lupus. My cousin is interested in the theory of jurisprudence.

You yourself, in order to get a foretaste — both of what is insipid and what is good in Lassalle’s book, should, for a start, read the foreword to Volume I and Chapter XLI in Volume II, beginning at p. 517.


K. M.