Marx-Engels Correspondence 1862

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 399;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

London, 7 August [1862]

Dear Engels,

The landlord came to see me on Monday and told me that, after having forborne so long, he would hand things over to his land agent, unless I paid him within the shortest possible time. And that means putting the broker in. I likewise — oddly enough on the same day — got a final demand for the rates, as well as letters from the épiciers, most of them acquainted with the landlord, threatening to prosecute me and withhold provisions.

Lassalle left on Monday evening. I saw him once more after all these events had taken place. From my dejected air, he saw that the crisis, which he had long known about, had led to a catastrophe of some kind. Questioned me. Having heard my tale, he said he could let me have £15 by 1 January 1863; also that bills could be drawn on him for any desired amount, provided payment over and above the £15 were promised by you or someone else. More he could [not] do, he said, in view of his straitened circumstances. (That I can well believe, for, while here, he spent £1 2/- daily on cabs and cigars alone.)

Might you perhaps be able to do something in this way, using Borkheim as escompteur so as to stave off the crisis? Of the £10, I paid 6 to the piano man, a nasty brute who wouldn’t have hesitated to bring me before the County Court. With 2 of the pounds I redeemed things that were in pawn and put what was left at my wife’s disposal.

I assure you that if it wasn’t for family difficulties, I would far rather move into a model lodging house than be constantly squeezing your purse.

There is, in addition, another circumstance, namely Dr Allen’s telling me that it’s absolutely essential for little Jenny to spend at least a fortnight at the seaside, ditto for our youngest who had jaundice of some kind last year and isn’t all right once again.

Izzy also told me that he would perhaps found a paper when he returned in September. I told him that, if he paid well, I would be its English correspondent, without assuming any other kind of responsibility or political partnership, since all we had in common politically were a few remote objectives.

I don’t quite share your views on the American Civil War, I do not believe that all is up. From the outset, the Northerners have been dominated by the representatives of the border slave states, who were also responsible for pushing McClellan, that old partisan of Breckinridge, to the top. The South, on the other hand, acted as a single whole right from the very start. The North itself turned slavery into a pro- instead of an anti-Southern military force. The South leaves productive labour to the slaves and could thus take the field undisturbed with its fighting force intact. It had a unified military leadership; the North did not. That there was no strategical plan is evident if only from the manoeuvrings of the Kentucky Army after the capture of Tennessee. In my view, all this is going to take another turn. The North will, at last, wage the war in earnest, have recourse to revolutionary methods and overthrow the supremacy of the border slave statesmen. One single nigger regiment would have a remarkable effect on Southern nerves.

The difficulty of raising 300,000 men is, I should say, purely political. The North-West and New England wish to and will compel the government to abandon the diplomatic warfare they have waged hitherto, and are now making terms on which the 300,000 men shall come forth. If Lincoln doesn’t give way (which he will, however), there'll be a revolution.

As regards the lack of military talent, the choice of generals, hitherto dependent purely on diplomatic and party chicanery, has hardly been calculated to bring it to the fore. However, I should say that General Pope was a man of energy.

As for financial measures, they are clumsy as, indeed, they are bound to be in a country where in fact taxation has hitherto been non-existent (so far as the country as a whole is concerned), but not nearly as silly as the measures taken by Pitt et cie. I should say that the present depreciation of money is attributable not to economic, but to purely political grounds, namely distrust. It will therefore change, when policy changes.

The long and the short of it is, I think, that wars of this kind ought to be conducted along revolutionary lines, and the Yankees have so far been trying to conduct it along constitutional ones.


K. M.

Imandt is here. Another very tiresome interruption at the moment. I believe my work [2nd instalment of Critique of Political Economy] will run to 30 sheets.