Marx-Engels Correspondence 1863

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 488;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

[London,] 15 August 1863

Dear Frederick,

May the devil take me, as the red one used to say, if I didn’t get up every morning this week with the firm intention of writing to you. But no sooner did I reach my study than I allayed my conscience by pleading that all I wanted was to add half a dozen lines to the manuscript at the point where I had broken off the day before. And once I had departed from the path of righteousness, I saw that the evil deed is accursed in that it must constantly engender evil.

My family left for Hastings last Friday. The departure took place so tardily because Lenchen had had to spend a fortnight in Germany in connection with family affairs.

The enclosed photographs (the children forced me to have mine taken) will soon be followed by those of Jenny and Laura.

In one respect, my work (preparing the manuscript for the press) is going well. In the final elaboration the stuff is, I think, assuming a tolerably popular form, aside from a few unavoidable M-C’s and C-M’s. On the other hand, despite the fact that I write all day long, it’s not getting on as fast as my own impatience, long subjected to a trial of patience, might demand. At all events, it will be 100 p. c. more comprehensible than No. 1. When, by the by, I consider my handiwork and realise how I've had to demolish everything and even build up the historical section out of what was in part quite unknown material, I can’t help finding Izzy a bit of a joke; for he has already got ‘his’ political economy in hand and yet everything he has peddled around hitherto has shown him to be a callow schoolboy who trumpets abroad as his very latest discovery, with the most repulsive and impertinent garrulity, theses that we were doling out 20 years ago as small change to our partisans, and ten times better at that. In other respects, too, this same Izzy is storing up in his manure factory our party faeces excreted 20 years ago which he proposes to use as fertilizer for world history. Thus, for instance, he got the Nordstern to print a letter of support from ‘Herwegh’ (who has undoubtedly given proof of his platonic love of the ‘principle of labour’). Because the same Nordstern is edited by that ne'er-do-well Bruhn, whom Lassalle bought from Blind. Thus, Izzy has nominated ‘Moses Hess’ his ‘proconsul in the Rhine Province’, etc. And he still seems unable to shake off the idée fixe that his praises should be sung by Freiligrath, who would never dream of doing so. For he has again got his Leipzig ‘proconsul’ to summon F. urgently, citing the good example of G. Herwegh. If only he knew how F. and I had laughed about this renewed onslaught!

‘Oh Izzy, Oh Izzy, didst thou not see
That Herwegh and Moses thy gallows would be?'

The philistines down here are furious with The Times for having fobbed them off so nicely over the Confederate Loan. After all, those worthies might have known if only from Cobbett’s disclosures, that The Times is nothing but a ‘commercial concern’, which doesn’t give a damn how the balance turns out, providing it is a balance in its own power. The Times chaps, such as J. Spence — ‘that man’, according to the Richmond Enquirer, ‘whom we have paid in solid gold’ — obtained the loan scrips partly for nothing, partly at a 50 p. c. discount on the nominal rate. So, to cry them up till they reached 105 was a nice piece of business.

It is, I should say, of prime importance to the United States that they should seize the remaining ports, Charleston, Mobile, etc., because they may be involved in a clash with Boustrapa any day now. That same imperial Lazarillo de Tormes is presently caricaturing, not only his uncle, but even himself. For after all, the ‘suffrage’ in Mexico is a pretty caricature, not only of the suffrage whereby he turned himself into a Frenchman, but also of that whereby he made Nice and Savoy French. I myself am in no doubt that Mexico will be the hurdle at which he'll break his neck, provided he hasn’t been hanged first.

The Polish affair has gone completely off the rails because of this same Boustrapa, and the influence his intrigues have given the Czartoryski party. Colonel Lapinski, who returned a few days since from the ill-fated trip he undertook with Bakunin and to which Palmerston put so neat an end on the Swedish coast, complains bitterly about the committees in Warsaw, London and Paris being wholly under Bonap.-Czartor. influence.

Our fatherland would seem to be in a pitiful state. In the absence of a licking administered from without, there’s no doing anything with these curs.

Apropos. Since you wrote your book about England, a second Children’s Employment Commission Report has at long last appeared. It shows that all those horrors that were banished from certain spheres of industry by the Factory Acts, have proliferated with redoubled vigour wherever there is no control! It would make a splendid sequel to your book, once the complete reports have come out.

My congratulations to Gumpert. At any rate, he has seen to it that his marriage did not remain childless.

In Borchardt’s case, the flesh would appear to be more urgent than befits his priestly office. And he'll make all the other Jewesses jealous.

Is Lupus back? If so, give him my kindest regards. There’s nothing I should like better just now than to have you here for a couple of days so that I could chat and go drinking with you. It’s such a long time since we were together.


K. M.

‘Pi’ has been answered.

Apropos. Among the curious information I have gleaned at the Museum, was the following:

The true discovery of the achievements of Germany, first discovered by herself, not in intoxication from wine, as a certain calumniator ... sceptically maintains. but by strength of body and mind and communicated to the rest of the world, etc.’, author Michael Mayer, Frankfurt, 1619.

The munera and discoveries Germaniae are:

‘Roman imperial dignity, gunpowder, hook printing, religious reform, the medicaments of Theophrastus Paracelsus, the secrets of the Rosicrucians — Inventum politicum, bellicum, litteraricum, theologicum, medicum, chymiscum.'