Marx-Engels Correspondence 1869
Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 394;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1931.
In the reports in the National Reformer a certain amount of nonsense is, however, attributed to you. They can’t get along without something like that. I see the Bee-Hive is ignoring the whole debate. This is called publicity, just like the dear old Didaskalia für Geist, Gemüt und Publizität.
I half expected what happened with The Irishman. Ireland still remains the sacra insula, whose aspirations may not be lumped together with the profane class struggle of the rest of the sinful world. Partly, this is certainly an honest madness of these people, but equally certainly it is partly a calculated policy on the part of the spokesmen in order to maintain their domination over the peasants. In addition, a nation of peasants is always forced to take its literary representatives from among the bourgeoisie of the towns and its ideologists, and here Dublin (I mean Catholic Dublin) is approximately to Ireland what Copenhagen is to Denmark. For these gentry, however, the whole labour movement is pure heresy, and the Irish peasant must not be allowed to find out that the socialist workers are his sole allies in Europe.
In other respects, too, the Irishman is very scurvy this week. If it was ready to retreat in this way at the first threat of suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act then the sabre-rattling was absolutely misplaced from the start. And now even the fear that still more political prisoners might be elected! On the one hand, the Irish are warned, quite rightly, not to let themselves be inveigled into any illegalities; on the other, they should be held back from doing the only lawful thing that is opportune and revolutionary in character, the only thing that might successfully break with the established practice of electing place-hunting lawyers and might impress the English liberals. Pigott is obviously afraid that others could outstrip him here.
Of course you will remember how O'Connell, also, always incited the Irish against the Chartists, although — or just because — they had inscribed Repeal on their banner.
The question put to Applegarth is delicious. One sees how these trumpery lords and M.P.s imagine that the whole labour movement is already in their pockets because Odger and Potter flirt with them and the Bee-Hive has been sold. The gentlemen are in for a surprise. In the meantime, it’s a good thing that a new election is not, apparently, in the immediate offing; the gentlemen have to make fools of themselves first. Applegarth and Bracke returned enclosed.
From the enclosed query from Solingen you will see all the things I'm supposed to afford. What should be done in this case? If I send the people 50-100 thaler it will not help them, and I can’t risk more for them since, in the long run, it will certainly be throwing money away. What is your opinion?
The worthy gentlemen from tiers parti [third party] believe they already occupy the ministerial chairs, and have already made wonderful fools of themselves. They vote gaily for the vindication of the prefects of Monsieur de Forcade Laroquette. In this way I cannot see why any sort of ministerial change is necessary, if everything the present ministers have done is all right. On the other hand, Louis [Napoleon III] certainly believes that he has now once again so frightened the bourgeois with the red spectre that he can get away with phrases. The business is entangling itself quite nicely.
What scurvy knaves the Prussians are. Scarcely has an apparently constitutional wind begun to blow from Paris, when they immediately start making small concessions. Eulenherg takes over, in the state budget, the proxy costs of the deputies who are state officials, etc. And for this Camphausen diddles the Chamber out of 8 2/3 million annually, which previously, by law, had to be devoted to eliminating debts, and on the other hand he now abolishes the amortissement, except where the Government and the Chamber decree that there should be redemption. The stupid Liberals themselves demanded this earlier and must now vote for it.
China, with the steady expansion of her market, appears to wish to save the cotton trade once again, at least for a while. The reports from there are considerably better, though much has been consigned there, and since then there has again been a veering-round here, and once again work is going swingingly. This will naturally drive up the cotton price again, and the whole profit will go into the pockets of the importer. But at least they are working here without losses.
With Gottfried I am now completely in the clear. Yesterday he paid me the last remainder of my money, and we shall now probably more or less show each other our backsides.
How anxious Bracke is not to give an opinion about people whom he should know very well. Also appears to have more good nature than resolution.