Marx-Engels Correspondence 1874

Karl Marx to Ludwig Kugelmann, 19 January 1874

Source: Karl Marx, Letters to Dr Kugelmann (Martin Lawrence, London, undated). Scanned and prepared for the Marxist Internet Archive by Paul Flewers.

Dear Wenceslas

Engels gave your letter to me. Hence these few lines. After my return a carbuncle broke out on the right cheek, which was operated on; then it had several smaller successors and I think that at the present moment I am suffering from the last of them.

For the rest, don’t worry at all about newspaper gossip; still less answer it. I myself allow the English papers to announce my death from time to time, without giving a sign of life. Nothing annoys me more than to appear to be supplying the public with reports of my state of health through my friends (you are the greatest sinner in this respect). I don’t give a farthing for the public, and, if my occasional illness is exaggerated, it at least has this advantage, that it keeps away all sorts of requests (theoretical and otherwise) from unknown people in every corner of the earth.

My best thanks for the kind words from the lady countess and Fränzchen.

I am very glad to receive the Frankfurter Zeitung and find many interesting things in it.

The relative victory of the ultramontanes [1] and social-democrats in the elections serves Mr Bismarck and his middle-class tail right. More another time.


À propos: On the advice of my friend, Dr Gumpert [2] (Manchester), I now use quicksilver ointment at the first trace of carbuncle irritation and find that it works quite specifically.

What has happened to your friend, ‘Dr Freund’, of Breslau, who in your opinion was so promising? It seems, après tout, que c'est un fruit sec. [3]


1. Militant Catholics, referring here to the Catholic Centre Party. In the Reichstag elections of 1874, the Centre achieved a great victory, receiving 91 mandates (1,500,000 votes) in place of the 63 received in 1871. The Social-Democrats obtained 351,670 votes (nine mandates) compared with 101,927 in 1874 – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

2. Edward Gumpert (?-1895) – German doctor in Manchester and friend of Marx and Engels – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

3. After all, that this is a dry fruit – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.