Marx-Engels Correspondence 1862

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 419;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913, and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.

[London,] 29 October 1862

Dear Engels,

It isn’t right that, during your holydays, you should never have time to spend so much as one day in London.

Since going to the seaside, little Jenny has been much better, but she’s still not her proper self. For a year she’s been losing weight instead of putting it on.

Lassalle, who is exceedingly incensed with me, tells me that, since he has not got a banker, the remittance should be sent to him personally at his Berlin address, 13 Bellevuestrasse. — This month, he is being taken to court on account of one of his famous speeches.

Schily was here for a week, looking very wretched and ill, whereas his friend Imandt, who was also here before I left for Holland and Trier, has grown frightfully obese. It’s almost as though a second back had formed on top of his old one.

As regards America, I believe the Maryland campaign to be decisive in as much as it has shown that even in this most Southern-minded part of the border states there is little support for the Confederates. But the whole struggle revolves round the border states. Whoever has those, will dominate the Union. The fact that Lincoln promulgated the prospective emancipation decree at a time when the Confederates were advancing into Kentucky also shows that no further consideration is now being shown the loyal slave holders in the border states. The southward migration of slave holders with their black chattel from Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee has already assumed vast proportions and if, as is certain, the struggle goes on a bit longer, the South will have lost all support there. It was the South that began the struggle for the territories. The war itself has been instrumental in destroying its power in the border states, which, in the absence of any market for the breeding of slaves or the internal slave trade, have been daily loosening their ties with the South anyhow. In my opinion, therefore, the sole concern of the South will now be defence. But its only chance of success lay in an offensive. If there is confirmation of the news that Hooker is to be given active command of the Potomac Army, McClellan to be ‘withdrawn’ to the ‘theoretical’ post of Commander in Chief and Halleck to assume supreme command in the West, the conduct of the war in Virginia might take on a more energetic character. Moreover, the most favourable time of year for the Confederates is now gone.

From the point of view of morale, the failure of the Maryland campaign was of really tremendous importance.

As regards finance, the United States know from the time of the War of Independence, as we know from our observation of Austria, how far one may go with depreciated paper money. The fact remains that the Yankees have never exported so much grain to England as this year, that the present harvest is again far above average and that the balance of trade has never been so favourable for them as during the past 2 years. As soon as the new system of taxation (vapid though it is, and truly Pitt-like) is introduced, there will, at last, be a reflux of paper money, of which there has hitherto only been a steady issue. This will render unnecessary any increase in the issue of paper on the present scale, and further depreciation will thus be checked. What has made even the depreciation prevailing up till now less dangerous than it would have been in similar circumstances in France, or even England, is the fact that the Yankees have never prohibited the existence of two prices, a gold price and a paper price. The inherent disadvantage of the thing takes the form of a national debt, for which there has never been the appropriate funding, and a premium for jobbing and speculation.

When the English boast that their depreciation never exceeded 11 p.c. (according to others it amounted to more than twice that figure during some time), they choose to forget that they not only continued to pay the old taxes, but every year they paid new ones in addition to the old, so that the reflux of bank notes was assured in advance, whereas the Yankees have in effect conducted the war for 1 1/2 years without taxation (except for the greatly reduced import duties) simply by means of repeated issues of paper. Such procedure, which has now reached a turning-point, means that the depreciation is, in fact, still relatively modest.

The fury with which the Southerners are greeting Lincoln’s acts is proof of the importance of these measures. Lincoln’s acts all have the appearance of inflexible, clause-ridden conditions communicated by a lawyer to his opposite number. This does not, however, impair their historical import and does, in actual fact, amuse me when, on the other hand, I consider the drapery in which your Frenchman enwraps the merest trifle.

Like others, I am of course aware of the distasteful form assumed by the movement chez the Yankees; but, having regard to the nature of a ‘bourgeois’ democracy, I find this explicable. Nevertheless, events over there are such as to transform the world, and nothing in the whole of history is more nauseous than the attitude adopted towards them by the English.

Regards to Lupus. Salut.

K. M.

10 safely received.