Letters of Marx and Engels, 1849

Engels To Marx
In Cologne

Source: MECW Volume 38, p. 185;
Written: 8 January 1849;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, 1913.

Berne, 7-8 January 1849

Dear Marx,

Having recovered, after several weeks of sinful living, from my exertions and adventures,[233] I feel, firstly, a need to get down to work again (striking proof of this being the enclosed Magyar-Slav article [The Magyar Struggle]) , and, secondly, a need for money. The letter is the more urgent and if by the time this arrives, you haven’t yet sent me anything, do so forthwith, for I've been sans le sou these past few days, and it’s impossible to touch anyone in this rotten town.

If only something worth writing about happened in this rotten country. But it’s all local rubbish of the rottenest kind. However I'll shortly be sending a few general articles about it. If I have to stay abroad much longer I shall go to Lugano, particularly if something blows up in Italy, as seems likely.

But I keep thinking that I shall soon be able to return. This lazing about in foreign parts, where you can’t really do anything and are completely outside the movement, is truly unbearable. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that detention for questioning in Cologne is better than life in free Switzerland. So do write and tell me if there isn’t some chance of my being treated as favourably as Bürgers, Becker, etc., etc. [248] Raveaux is right: even in grace and favour Prussia [249] one is freer than in free Switzerland. Every little nonentity here is at one and the same time a police spy and an assommeur.[assassin] I saw an example of this on New Year’s Eve.

Who the devil was responsible for inserting recently that boring religio-moral article from Heidelberg [Ein Aktenstück des Märzvereins, Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 29 December 1848] on the March Association [250]. To my pleasure I have also noticed that Henricus occasionally exhales an article — witness the sighs extending over 2 issues on the subject of the Ladenberg circular. [H. Bürgers, ‘Hr. v. Ladenberg und die Volksschullehrer’, Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 30 December 1848]

Our newspaper is now much quoted in Switzerland, the Berner Zeitung borrows a lot as does the [Schweizerische] National-Zeitung, and this then goes the rounds of all the other papers. Also much quoted, more so than the Kölnische, according to the National, etc., etc., in Swiss papers in the French language.

You'll have included the advertisement. [re daily publication of the Berner Zeitung as from 1 January 1849 printed in Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 3, 5, and 7 January] Herewith a copy of ours in the Berner Zeitung. Greetings to the whole company.


Missed the post yesterday. Today, then, I'll merely add that since 1 January the Neue Rheinische Zeitung has no longer been arriving here. Do ascertain whether it’s being regularly dispatched. I've looked into the question of a subscription, but it’s no good. I'd have to subscribe for a 1/2 year; I shan’t be staying as long as that and anyway I haven’t any money. As I said, it’s important it should arrive here, not simply on my own account, but mainly because the Berner Zeitung, which is well disposed towards us and edited by a communist, [Niklaus Niggeler] is doing everything to make it en vogue here.