Marx-Engels Correspondence 1863

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 474;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

[London,] British Museum, 29 May 1863

Dear Frederick,

My long silence will at once be explicable to you if you picture to yourself a badly swollen liver with all its ‘appurtenances’. For about 12 weeks now I have been enduring more of this nonsense than ever before. Nor can you have any conception of how it affects a person’s morale, namely the feeling of heaviness in the head and paralysis in the limbs. More specifically, one can’t bring oneself to do anything, not even, inter alia, to write letters. For the past two weeks the thing has again been endurable. This business has made writing of any kind so impossible that, despite various repeated attempts, I have not managed the stuff on Poland, which I'm very glad of now, since it would have simply deprived me of the chance of going to Prussia without being of any immediate benefit.

Meanwhile I wasn’t, of course, idle, though unable to work. What I did, on the one hand, was fill in the gaps in my knowledge (diplomatic, historical) of the Russian-Prussian-Polish affair and, on the other, read and make excerpts from all kinds of earlier literature relating to the part of the political economy I had elaborated. This at the British Museum. Now that I am more or less able to work again, I shall cast the weight off my shoulders and make a fair copy of the political economy for the printers (and give it a final polish). If it were possible for me to retreat into isolation at the moment, the thing would progress very quickly. At all events, I shall take it to Germany in person.

Little Jenny is not quite her proper self. She has had a nasty cough for the past fortnight.

As to Izzy, he had — or so I've been told in confidence by Freiligrath (he showed me Izzy’s letter) — asked F. to write a poem for him on the ‘new’ movement, i.e. sing Izzy’s praises. However, he was mistaken in F. In his letter he says inter alia: ‘Each day hundreds of newspapers carry my name to the furthest corners of Germany.’ ‘My proletarians! etc.’ Well, since F. won’t sing his praises, he has found another poet. Herewith a sample:

‘Thou German proletariat, come heed
The clarion call, nor any longer stay!
Here stands a man prepared to pave the way
To thy prosperity. Be thine the deed!
He hath no truck with lofty parliaments,
Nor doth he flaunt his gift of eloquence,
Speaks for us all with homely wit and colour,
Man of the People, Ferdinand Lassalle!

‘Tis not for others, not to fill their purse
That you shall sweat and toil your lives away,
While they wax sleek and richer every day
And you more ragged as your lot grows worse.
The fruits of labour shall be yours alone,
’tis you shall reap the harvest you have sown.
So hearken all unto the man of valour,
To the virile voice of Ferdinand Lassalle.

Macte puer! If that isn’t sauce for the gander!

My warm regards to Lupus. Now don’t indulge in tit for tat but let me hear from you soon.


K. M.