Marx-Engels Correspondence 1862

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 347;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

[London,] 6 March 1862

Dear Frederick,

My best thanks for the Post Office order and the wine. That swine Koller, who has an I.O.U. of mine, had already dunned me yesterday.

I enclose herewith the 3 last Free Presses. I haven’t yet seen Collet in person, but feel sure he will be able to get hold of the other numbers as well.

In my letter to you, read Japan for Java. I obtained the actual facts from sundry numbers of the Tribune which contained the official Russian communiqués and reports from American consuls — all of them suppressed by the English press. I sent the relevant numbers to Urquhart and haven’t yet got them back. I had previously used them for a Presse article on the Russian advance in Asia. However, the jackasses didn’t print it. Now, you know what a bad memory for names I've got. So, at the moment I can’t provide you with the names. The first island lies exactly half way between the south-western extremity of Japan and the Korean mainland. It has a large harbour and, according to the American account, is capable of becoming a second Sevastopol. As regards the other islands that are actual Japanese possessions, one of them, if I am not mistaken, is called Jeso. However, I shall see if I can retrieve the documents.

Chinese trade, compared with what it was like up to 1852, has certainly increased, but by no means on the same scale as have all other markets since the Californian-Australian discoveries. Moreover, in earlier reports Hong Kong, as an English possession, is shown separately from China, so that exports under the heading ‘China’ invariably (from the 40s on) amount to less than total exports. Finally, the increment achieved since 1859 fell back in 1861 to its former level.

In consequence of the American crisis, the Board of Trade report for 1861 shows a considerable change in the ranking order of the various markets for English exports. India leads with £17,923,767 (including Ceylon and Singapore. India alone, £16,412,090).

Second market Germany, normally 4th. 1860: £13,491,523. 1861: £12,937,073 (not including what goes via Holland and, to a lesser degree, via Belgium). In view of Germany’s economic importance to England, what a diplomatic advantage it would give us, circumstances being different, over bluff John Bull!

France this year the 5th market. 1860: £5,249,980. 1861: £8,896,282. However, that includes Switzerland as well. England, on the other hand, now ranks as the premier market for France.

Out of the total exports of £125,115,133 (1861), £42,260,970 go to English ‘possessions’ and ‘colonies’. If one adds to that what England exports to other parts of Asia, Africa and America, there remains at most 23 to 24% for export to the countries of Europe.

Should Russia continue to advance in Asia at the same rapid pace as during the past 10 years, until all her efforts are concentrated on India, it will be the end of John Bull’s world market, a demise that will be hastened by the United States’s protective tariff policy, which that country will certainly be in no hurry to relinquish, if only out of revenge against John. Moreover, John Bull is discovering to his horror that his main colonies in North America and Australia are becoming protectionist to the same extent as he himself is becoming a Free-Trader. The complacent, brutal stupidity with which John has acclaimed Pam’s ‘spirited policy’ in Asia and America, will one day cost him damned dear.

To me it does not seem very probable that the Southerners will have concluded peace by July 1862. When the Northerners have 1. secured the Border states — and it is upon these, in fact, that everything has centred from the start — and 2. the Mississippi as far as New Orleans and Texas, the war may well enter a 2nd phase during which the Northerners will make no great exertions of a military nature but, by isolating the Gulf states, finally bring them to the point of voluntary re-annexation.

During this war Bull has acted with what must be wholly unprecedented effrontery.

In terms of brutality on the English side, the Mexican Blue Book exceeds anything previously known in history. Menshikov appears a gentleman compared with Sir C. Lennox Wyke. Not only does this blackguard evince the most immoderate zeal in the execution of Pain’s secret instructions but, by his insolence, also seeks to avenge himself for the fact that, in the exchange of diplomatic dispatches, Senor Zamacona, the Mexican Foreign Minister (now resigned) and erstwhile Journalist, invariably proves himself superior. As for the chap’s style, herewith a few examples from his dispatches to Zamacona.

*‘the arbitrary act of stopping all payments for the space of two years is depriving the parties interested of their money for that space of time, which is a dead loss of so much value to them.’ ‘A starving man may justify, in his own eyes, the fact of stealing a loaf on the ground that imperious necessity impelled him thereto; but such an argument cannot, in a moral point of view, justify his violation of the law, which remains as positive, apart from all sentimentality, as if the crime had not had an excuse. If he was actually starving, he should have first asked the baker to assuage his hunger, but doing so’ (starving?) ‘of his own free will, without permission, is acting exactly, as the Mexican government has done towards its creditors opt the present occasion.’ ‘With regard to the light in which you view the question, as expressed in your above named note, you will excuse me for stating that it cannot be treated of partially, without also taking into consideration the opinions of those who directly suffer from the practical operation of such ideas as emanating from yourself. “I had a full right to complain ... of having first of all heard of this extraordinary measure ... by seeing it in printed bills placarded through the public streets ...”

‘I have a duty to perform both to my own Gvt. and to that to which I am accredited, which impels me...,’ etc.,

‘I suspend all official relations with the Government of this Republic until that of Her Majesty shall adopt such measures as they shall deem necessary.*”

Zamacona writes and tells him that the intrigues of foreign diplomatists in the past 25 years have been largely to blame for the troubles in Mexico. Wyke replies that

*‘the population of Mexico is so degraded as to make them dangerous, not only to themselves, but to everybody coming into contact with them!'*

Zamacona writes, saying that the propositions he [Wyke] has made would put an end to the Republic’s independence, and were incompatible with the dignity of any independent state. Wyke replies:

*‘Excuse me for adding that such a proposition as I have made to you does not necessarily become undignified and impracticable simply, because you, an interested person,’* (i.e., Foreign Minister of Mexico) *'are pleased to say so.'*

But satis superque.

According to a letter from Schily to Rheinländer, things look most precarious in Paris and, unless there is war, Badinguet cannot hold on for another year. What bad luck for the chap that he should have the Parisians to govern, and not the Berliners, who admire him.


K. M.

PS. 1. How do I translate gigs into German?

2. What are feeders on circular frames?

3. Could you inform me of all the different types of workers employed, e.g., at your mill (all, that is, except the warehouse), and in what proportion to each other? For in my book, I need an example showing that, in mechanical workshops, the division of labour, as forming the basis of manufacture and as described by A. Smith, does not exist. The proposition itself has already been set forth by Ure. All that is needed is an example of some kind.

I must write and tell the chaps at the Presse that some new arrangement will have to be made. It’s all the same to me if they don’t print the best articles (although I always write them in such a way that they can print them). But financially it’s no go if, out of every 4 or 5 articles, they print 1 and only pay for 1. That places me far below the penny-a-liners.