Marx-Engels Correspondence 1868
Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 3;
First published: abridged in Die Neue Zeit, Stuttgart, 1901-1902 and in full in Marx and Engels, Works, Second Russian Edition, Moscow, 1964.
The young pair [Paul and Laura Lafargue] were registered at a civil ceremony last Thursday (since a church wedding is not legally necessary here), and have left for France to celebrate their honeymoon. They send their best greetings to you and Mrs Gertrud.
Coppel paid a call on me here. Unfortunately, I could not receive him, since I was wrapped in cataplasms. Engels was here during the wedding, and left again yesterday. In response to his urgings, I have decided to take the arsenic cure, since an end must at last be put to this state of affairs. One of his friends in Manchester was completely cured by this method in a relatively short time. I had certain prejudices against arsenic after reading in the Gazette médicale about a discussion among French doctors.
The Irish question predominates here just now. It has naturally only been exploited by Gladstone and consorts to take over the helm again, and particularly to have an electoral cry at the next elections, which will be based on household suffrage. At the moment, this turn of affairs is detrimental to the workers’ party, because the intriguers among the workers, such as Odger, Potter, etc., who want to get into the next Parliament, have now found a new excuse for attaching themselves to the bourgeois liberals.
This is, however, only a penalty that England — and thus, also, the English working class — is paying for the great centuries-old crime against Ireland. In the long run it will benefit the English working class itself. You see, the English established church in Ireland — or what they used to call here, the Irish church — is the religious bulwark of English landlordism in Ireland and, at the same time, the outpost of the Established Church in England itself (I am speaking here of the Established Church as a landowner). The overthrow of the Established Church in Ireland would mean its fall in England, land the two will be followed (in their downfall) by landlordism, first in Ireland and then in England. And I have always been convinced that the social revolution must begin seriously from the ground, i.e. from landed property.
In addition, the whole thing will have the very useful result that, once the Irish church is dead, the Protestant Irish tenants in the province of Ulster will make common cause with the Catholic tenants and their movement in the 3 other provinces of Ireland, whereas so far landlordism has been able to exploit this religious antagonism.
The day before yesterday I received a letter from Freiligrath (wedding cards were, of course, sent to him), containing the following curious sentence. — It will perhaps amuse you more, however, if I enclose the letter itself, which I now do. But you must return it to me. So that you understand the letter properly, the following: In Berlin, shortly before my book [Capital] came out, there appeared Zwölf Streiter der Revolution von G. Struve und Gustav Rasch. In this publication, Freiligrath is acclaimed as ‘one’ of the 12 apostles and, at the same time, it is proved in great detail that he never was a communist, in fact that it was only through too great a condescension that he became associated with such monsters as Marx, Engels, Wolff, etc. Since Wolff was slandered here too, I wrote to Freiligrath for an explanation, particularly since I knew that G. Rasch (a scoundrel) headed his begging committee in Berlin. He replied very dryly, and with evasive philistine cunning. Later I sent him my book without, however, as was formerly our mutual custom, signing it. He appears to have taken the hint.
My best regards to your dear wife and Fränzchen. If at all feasible, I shall come under all circumstances and pay you a visit.
Apropos. Borkheim will visit you in a few days. Don’t forget that, despite all comradeship with him, I always observe reserve!
Liebknecht’s paper is much too narrow-mindedly ‘southern’. (He has not enough dialectic to strike out on two sides at once.)