Marx-Engels Correspondence 1862

Engels To Marx
In London

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 414;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

Manchester, 9 September 1862

Dear Moor,

You have no idea how I've had to buckle to during the past few days. Cotton, blast it, has risen fivefold on average, and you really wouldn’t believe how much work is involved in keeping all the customers informed of these successive increases.

I trust the Lassalliad over that wretched bill has been cleared up and that you're in possession of the money. I've at last reached a point at which I can go to Germany for a fortnight, leaving on Friday 7 ; unfortunately, I won’t be able to stop in London as the time at my disposal is very short and everything I've heard about that idiotic exhibition ... has made me hate it so much that I'm downright glad I shan’t be seeing it. But drop me another line to say how things went with the bill and how little Jenny is getting on — before I leave.

What with the cotton pother, the theory of rent has really proved too abstract for me. I shall have to consider the thing when I eventually get a little more peace and quiet. Likewise the question of wear and tear where, however, I rather suspect you have gone off the rails. Depreciation time is not, of course, the same for all machines. But more about this when I get back.

Individual chaps up here have made a hell of a lot of money during this rise. None of it will stick to ourselves, partly because the good Gottfried is indeed a breech-wetter and partly because spinners in general haven’t made a sou during this period. It’s all gone into the pockets of the commission houses.

The Bull Run affair No. II was a splendid little show by Jackson who is by far the best chap America has. Had he been supported on his front by an attack on the part of the main Confederate army, and had everything gone right (or only partially so), then Monsieur Pope would doubtless have been done for. But as it was, the affair came to nothing, save that the Confederates gained an important moral advantage — respect for their spirit of enterprise and for Jackson — and a few square miles of ground; on the other hand, however, they have speeded up the unification and concentration of the entire Federal army before Washington. The next steamer will most probably bring us news of fresh engagements, in which the Federals might well be victorious if their generals weren’t so bloody stupid. But what can you expect of such rapscallions! Pope is the lousiest of the lot; all he can do is brag, countermand, lie, and keep quiet about his reverses. Indeed, that know-all of the General Staff, McClellan, now strikes one yet again as being positively intelligent. What is more, the order that all future major-generals are to sit the exam for the Prussian ensign’s sword-knot. It’s too pitiful and, in contrast to the spineless goings-on in the North, the chaps in the South, who at least, know what they want, seem to me like heroes. Or do you still believe that the gentlemen of the North will suppress the rebellion?


F. E.