Marx-Engels Correspondence 1863

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW, Volume 41, p. 439;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.

[London,] 2 January 1863

Dear Frederick,

Happy New Year!

I've had so much running about to do this week, not to mention sickness, that I never got round to acknowledging receipt of your letter containing the money.

No reply from Brockhaus so far. I've heard, by the by, that the ‘head of the house’, as Bangya used to say, is absent from Leipzig.

Through Abarbanel, my wife made the acquaintance in Paris of a certain Reclus, who has some sort of a position in economic literature, and also knows German. The said R., together with Massol (all agents in commerce) who doesn’t know German, and a number of others, is willing to apply himself to my work. (They have a Brussels publisher at their disposal. In Paris, party spirit and solidarity still prevail within the parti socialiste. Even chaps like Carnot and Goudchaux are saying that, come the next upheaval, Blanqui ought to be made leader.

Burnside would seem to have perpetrated grave tactical blunders at the battle of Fredericksburg. He was clearly shy about employing so large a force. But as regards the basic folly, 1. his having waited 26 days, a contributing factor was undoubtedly outright betrayal by the military authorities in Washington. Even the New York correspondent of The Times admitted that it was weeks before Burnside received equipment that had been promised at an earlier date; 2. the fact that he did, nevertheless, proceed to make this attack is symptomatic of the man’s moral weakness. The worthy Tribune was beginning to question his ability and to threaten him with dismissal. Out of enthusiasm and ignorance, that paper is doing a great deal of harm.

The Democrats and McClellanists naturally howled in unison in order to make the setback seem worse than it was. The ‘rumour’ that McClellan, ‘the Monk’ of The Times, has been called to Washington, must be laid at Mr Reuter’s door.

‘Politically’, the defeat was a good thing. It wouldn’t have done for the chaps to have had a stroke of luck before 1 January 1863. Anything in that line might have led to a cancellation of the ‘Proclamation’.

The Times and co. are hellish annoyed by the workers’ meetings in Manchester, Sheffield, and London. It’s excellent that the scales should thus be removed from the Yankees’ eyes. Not that Opdyke (Mayor of New York and political economist) hadn’t already declared at a meeting in New York:

*‘We know that the English working classes are with us, and that the governing classes of England are against us.’*

I greatly regret that Germany should not be staging similar demonstrations. They cost nothing and are very remunerative ‘internationally’. Germany would be all the more justified in doing so in that she is helping the Yankees more in this war than France did in the eighteenth century. It’s the same old stupid German failure to emphasise or to vindicate in the eyes of the world what the country really accomplishes.

Have had a letter from Izzy, together with a pamphlet. Contents of letter: I am to send back the Roscher. Contents of pamphlet: Continuation of the lecture on the Prussian Constitution. Substance: Lassalle is the greatest politician of all time, and of his own in particular. It is Lassalle, and no mistake, who has discovered — and this on the basis of a theory untainted by any premises and pure without any qualifications — that the true constitution of a country is not the written one, but consists in the real ‘relations of power’, etc. Even the Neue Preussische Zeitung and Bismarck and Roon subscribe to ‘his’ theory, as he proves by means of quotations. Hence his public may rest assured that, just as he has discovered the correct theory, so he is in possession of the correct solution for the ‘present time’. And that solution is:

‘Since the government continues its military expenditure, etc., despite the resolutions of the Chamber, etc., thus belying the existence of a constitutional government, etc., the Chamber will prorogue until such time as the government declares that it will desist from that expenditure’.

Such is the power of ‘stating the facts’. To save them Work, he has provided the wording of the decree to be promulgated by the Chamber. Old Heiman has safely removed to Abraham’s bosom. Regards and compliments of the season to the ladies.

K. M.

I see that there’s been a fall in cotton prices. In my opinion, however, this is only temporary.