Marx-Engels Correspondence 1863

Marx To Engels
In Manchester


Source: MECW, Volume 41, p. 491;
First published: abridged in Die Neue Zeit, Stuttgart, 1897-98 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.


[London,] 12 September 1863

Dear Frederick,

My family has been back for about 10 days. Little Jenny is much better and has stopped coughing. She is now taking salt water baths at home, i.e. baths with sea salt. About 2 months ago I, too, started taking a bath at home every morning, sluicing myself with cold water from head to foot, since when I have been feeling much better.

The most interesting acquaintanceship I have struck up here is that of Colonel Lapinski. He is without doubt the cleverest Pole — besides being an homme d'action — I have ever met. His sympathies are all on the German side, though in manners and speech he is also a Frenchman. He cares nothing for the national struggle and only knows the racial struggle. He hates all Orientals, among whom he numbers Russians Turks, Greeks, Armenians, etc., with equal impartiality. He spent some time here in company with Urquhart, but, not content with describing him as a ‘humbug’, he actually doubts his probity, which is unjust.

The ‘Circassian’ princes exhibited in England by Urquhart and Lapinski were two — menials. Lapinski maintains that Urquhart is being well and truly led by the nose by Zamoyski, who in turn is himself simply a tool of Palmerston’s and hence, by this circuitous route, of the Russian Embassy. Although of Catholic stock, he (Lap.) finds Urquhart’s relations with the Catholic bishops in England highly suspect. As soon as ‘action’ was called for, he says, — e.g. the equipping of a Polish corps to invade Circassia, which L, too, regards as the best diversion — Urquhart allowed himself to be dissuaded by Zamoyski. By and large, Urquhart only wants to ‘talk’. He is a ‘big liar’ and he (Lap.) took it particularly amiss that he should have made him (L.) his co-liar without consulting him beforehand. Not a soul in Circassia knows Urquhart, who spent only 24 hours there and doesn’t speak the language. By way of illustrating U.’s imaginative powers, he mentioned the latter’s boast that he (Urq.) had killed Chartism in England!

There has been another purge of the National Government in Warsaw. This had been infiltrated by Czartoryski’s supporters as a result of the intrigues of Bonaparte and Palmerston. Three of these were stabbed and that, pro nunc has intimidated the rest. (The said Czartoryski party was headed by Majewski.) The power of the National Government is evident from the fact that the Grand Duke Constantine accepted a passport from it for a journey abroad. According to L., Herzen and Bakunin are thoroughly chapfallen because your Russian, upon being scratched a little, has again revealed himself to be a Tartar.

Bakunin has become a monster, a huge mass of flesh and fat, and is barely capable of walking any more. To crown it all, he is sexually perverse and jealous of the seventeen year-old Polish girl who married him in Siberia because of his martyrdom. He is presently in Sweden, where he is hatching ‘revolution’ with the Finns.

In Poland, L. said, it had been necessary de prime abord to disregard the peasantry, that ‘ultra-reactionary rabble’. But they were now ripe for the fray and would rise at the government’s call for a leve en masse.

Without Austria, he went on, the movement would have come to grief long ago and, if Austria were to close her frontiers in earnest, the rebellion would be done for in 3 weeks. But Austria was cheating the Poles. Solely out of desperation, because Francis Joseph knew that he was threatened by a Russian-Serbian-Romanian-Italian-French-Hungarian-Prussian bomb did he go to Frankfurt, and it was for the same reason that the Pope had issued his latest edict in support of Poland.

L. told me there could be no doubt whatever that it was not just Bangya who had an understanding with Russia, but also Stein, Trr, Klapka, and Kossuth.

His aim now is to raise a German legion in London, even if only 200 strong, so that he can confront the Russians in Poland with the black, red and gold flag, partly to ‘exasperate’ the Parisians, partly to see whether there is any possibility whatsoever of bringing the Germans in Germany back to their senses.

What’s lacking is money. Efforts are being made down here to exploit all the German societies, etc., to this end. You must be the best judge of whether anything can be done in this line in Manchester. The cause as such would appear to be excellent.

Give my regards to Lupus and tell him that I've sent on his letter to Eccarius.

Salut.

Your
K. M.