Marx-Engels Correspondence 1868
Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 100;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1931.
Thanks for the £10. At the end of the letter I shall say more about money matters. First about ‘general items’.
The policy of sending the report solely to The Times has proved itself. It has forced all London newspapers to speak, with the exception of the deeply-indignant Levy. The Times did not accept Eccarius’ reports from Nuremberg. It only took the bait after it had received the report from me. The Morning Advertiser of yesterday carried (upsetting Blind) A first leader in favour of the International against The Times. The Star declares the congress to have been a success, The Standard, which first attacked us, sneaks before the working class in a leading article yesterday. It knocks the capitalists and will now even pull grimaces about the land question. The Journal des Débats regrets that the English and the Germans and the Belgians, as shown by the resolution on the land, belong to the ‘secte communiste’ and that the French, on the other hand, keep on reproducing ‘les déclamations ridicules de Proudhon.’
People are very dissatisfied with Eccarius and next Tuesday a storm will break that will do him good. The points of the indictment are as follows:
He took almost no part at all in the congress and afterwards posed in The Times as the leading mind. Also in The Times, he took over the proposals of the General Council as his private property, and ditto the applause for them as due to him. He suppressed as far as possible the speeches of the others and, to flatter The Times, falsified Dupont’s concluding speech. Apart from this, Lessner has the grievance that when he (Lessner) read from my book, Eccarius suppressed this in The Times, ditto that he only included the resolution on the book in his correspondence under high pressure, and finally that he falsified the German resolution on war. He said that a European war would be a civil war, instead of saying, as the German resolution stated, that ‘a war between France and Germany was a civil war for the profit of Russia’. He completely omits the latter point. On the other hand, he attributes to the Germans and the English the Belgian nonsense that it was necessary to strike against war.
On the other hand, as a reporter he has done us some service. The long and the short of it is that he will be told that he should figure only as reporter in future, with the Council paying his travelling expenses and The Times paying for the articles. But he will never again be named as delegate. Thus preserved from the conflict of fractions.
Lessner says that we accomplished so much despite being so little represented at the congress, which was almost entirely Belgian (with the addition of Frenchmen), because on all decisive points the Belgian workers, notwithstanding their Brussels leaders, voted with London. Moses is said to have made the best speech against the Proudhonists. Tolain was so furious that he did not appear at the banquet. Not only has the Central Council here been appointed once again, but the list of members, purified by us, was accepted. Within four weeks Vésinier is to submit to a commission in Brussels proof of his suspicions regarding Tolain. In case these are baseless (and they are), the congress has already conditionally expelled him from the Association as a slanderer. The delegate of the French Branch tabled a bill of indictment against the General Council which, among other things, contained the modeste demand that the French member of the General Council should be named by the French Branch. In response, the congress simply proceeded with the agenda (exactly as we have treated the grievances of these fellows in the General Council).
At Nuremberg, Liebknecht committed a completely useless stupidity (even one contrary to the Rules) by forcing upon the people Becker’s confused wishy-washy stuff as the Programme of the International Working Men’s Association. Sonnemann remarked correctly that this was a quid pro quo. But Mr Wilhelm wanted to have democratic babble for the ‘People’s Party'!
Meissner wrote a few lines some weeks ago. He would only be able to render an account in some weeks. It appeared to him that up to the present no profit had been made. I am sending him The Times and Liebknecht and the Zukunft today. The advertisement will have to be done by you. I cannot advertise my own book. And it would be a very good thing if you yourself wrote a small popular explanatory pamphlet. Let us hope that things will now get going.
As regards money matters, I simply cannot go on in this way. It makes all work impossible. I believe it would be best if you would write to Borkheim and ask him whether it was not possible to raise money for me somehow since, after paying off the Loan Society and other accumulated debts, I was now in great difficulties because of extra expenses, including trousseau for Laura, who was soon going to Paris. (And this is in fact an aggravating circumstance!) I have studied Borkheim enough to know that he must believe that I have, within certain limits, a settled income, but that I am in particular difficulties because there is as yet no income from the book, etc. He should think that you are writing to him behind my back. Of course, you must give him your guarantee, or rather promise it.
It is a very good thing that Vogt is in England just when the International is arousing such interest. He can put two and two together.