Marx-Engels Correspondence 1862

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 369;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

[London,] 27 May 1862

Dear Frederick,

The children and the whole family send you their best thanks for the spirituous hamper.

In Eichhoff’s letter enclosed herewith, you will find, recaptured to the life, the kind of polemics beloved of Parson Kinkel. Where would Gottfried be without his piss-a-bed!

I may not have written to tell you yet that Dr Klein in Cologne has won 35,000 talers in the Prussian lottery; he will now probably marry Mrs Daniels, provided he hasn’t changed his mind.

It’s quite true that Bernard, always very eccentric and having in any case overworked during the past few weeks, has become subject to ‘hallucinations’. The only unfair thing about it is that this was instantly seized upon as an opportunity to put him away, which was quite unnecessary since the family in Dorking to whom he was tutor was prepared to look after and assume responsibility for him. Ditto Allsop. But the presence of the latter, who had provided the money for Orsini’s assassination attempt, and his renewed intercourse with Bernard, had long been worrying Bonaparte’s police, at whose request the English police had long been keeping an eye on Bernard.

Last Saturday I received from my Gas Company a summary demand that I pay them £1 10/- before next Saturday, failing which (it’s a final notice) I shall be ‘cut off’. Since I am now sans sou, I am forced in this mess to turn to you.

The blowing up of the Merrimac seems to me a clear indication of cowardice on the part of the Confederate swine. The curs might still have hazarded another throw. It’s truly marvellous how The Times (which backed all the anti-Irish Coercion Bills with such intense enthusiasm) is now lamenting that ‘liberty’ will be lost should the North tyrannise over the South. The Economist is no less pleasing. In the last issue, it declares that it finds the financial good fortune of the Yankees — the non-depreciation of their paper money — incomprehensible (although the thing is as plain as a pikestaff). Up till then it had, for week after week, consoled its readers with talk of such depreciation. Although it now admits to not understanding what it should know about ex officio and hence to having misled its readers on the subject, it presently consoles them with gloomy reflections on the ‘military operations’, of which it officially understands nothing.

What made paper operations exceptionally easy for the Yankees (given the main factor — confidence in their cause and hence in their government) was undoubtedly the circumstance that, as a result of secession, the West was virtually stripped of paper money, i.e. of a circulating medium generally. All the banks whose principal securities consisted in bonds issued by the slave states, went bankrupt. In addition, there was a drain of currency amounting to millions which had circulated in the West in the form of actual bank notes issued by the Southern banks. Then, partly as a result of the Morrill Tariff and partly as a result of the war itself, which had largely put a stop to the import of luxury goods, throughout the whole period the Yankees had a favourable balance of trade, and hence rate of exchange, vis-ŗ-vis Europe. An unfavourable rate of exchange might have gravely affected the philistines’ patriotic confidence in paper.

How absurd, by the by, is John Bull’s concern over the interest Uncle Sam will have to pay on the national debt! As though it weren’t a bagatelle by comparison with Bull’s national debt, besides which the United States is now undoubtedly richer than were the Bulls in 1815, with their debt of a milliard.

Hasn’t Pam got Bonaparte into a fine old mess in Mexico?

I have now — if only out of desperation — really put my nose to the grindstone and am writing away for dear life — at the political economy I mean.

1 article a week is coming out in the Presse. That, in fact, is all I send them, in accordance with Mr Friedlšnder’s letter.


K. M.

My regards to Mrs Bortman and sister.