Marx-Engels Correspondence 1863

Engels To Marx
In London

Source: MECW, Volume 41, p. 472;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

Manchester, 20 May 1863

Moro viejo, Moro viejo,
El de la vellida barba.

[Old Moor, Old Moor,
He of the hoary beard.]

What’s the matter with you, no longer sending word of your fortunes and rebus gestis? Are you ill or stuck fast in the depths of political economy? Or have you appointed little Tussy your correspondence secretary? Or how?

What do you think of the worthies in Berlin who have come to the conclusion that it is questionable whether their president is permitted to call a minister to order, should the minister say that, for all he cared, the whole Chamber could be triple damned, etc. Never has a parliament clung more patiently and more inopportunely to the thesis that the bourgeois opposition, in its struggle with absolutism and the Junker camarilla, is under an obligation to let itself be kicked. It’s our old friends of 1848 all over again. However, on this occasion times are somewhat different.

Lassalle’s goings-on and the rumpus they have created in Germany are really becoming obnoxious. It’s high time you finished your book; if only to provide us with propagandists of a different kind. In other respects, it’s quite a good thing that an audience for anti-bourgeois stuff should be recaptured in this way, though it’s disastrous that friend Izzy should thereby carve out a position for himself. However, that’s something we have never been able to prevent, any more than the heroic swordsman’s postures assumed in public by Karl Blind vis-à-vis the Grand Duke of Baden.

By the way, if you want to see how much time it takes before new scientific discoveries, even in wholly unpolitical fields, make any headway, you should read Lyell’s Antiquity of Man. Schmerling in Liége had discovered the fossilised human skull from Engis and shown it to Lyell as far back as 1834, when he also brought out his thick book. Nevertheless, it was only quite recently that anyone thought the thing worthy of serious investigation. Similarly, Perthes in Abbeville had correctly identified the flint instruments in the Somme basin and their geological age as early as 1842, but it was not until the end of the fifties that the thing was noticed. Such are those scoundrels, the patriarchs of science.

Lupus has again suffered severe attacks of gout but is better now.

I am also working hard at Serbian and the ballads collected by Vuck Stef. Karadzic. It comes more easily to me than any other Slavonic language.

Enclosed a few more stamps. A great deal of thieving in this article is going on at the office just now.

F. E.