Marx-Engels Correspondence 1855

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 39, p. 526;
First published: abridged in Der Wechsel zwischen F. Engels, und K. Marx, 1913 and in full in Marx and Engels, Works, 1929.

[London,] 8 March 1855, 28 Dean Street, Soho

Dear Engels,

Received the £5.

I cannot get away until Colonel Musch is visibly recovered. However, this week he has made rapid strides towards convalescence, today the doctor was exceedingly pleased, and next week everything may be all right. As soon as I can depart with a good conscience, I shall write to you. Next week, I imagine.

Yesterday we were informed of a very happy event, the death of my wife’s uncle, aged 90. As a result, my mother-in-law will save an annual impost of 200 talers and my wife will get almost £100; more if the old dog hasn’t made over to his housekeeper such of his money as is not entailed. Another question which will be settled is that of the Duke of Brunswick’s manuscript on the Seven Years’ War, for which old Scharnhorst has already offered large sums. My wife immediately registered a protest against any attempts by her brother to make a present of it to ‘His Most Gracious Highness’. Let the Prussian state acquire it for cash but not otherwise.

There is a prospect of another possible source of money. My wife had deposited 1,300 talers with one Grach, a banker in Trier. The fellow went bankrupt and, in her case, had acted fraudulently, since he was already insolvent (although unbeknown to the public) when he accepted her deposit. On the urgent plea of the wife of this Grach, my wife ‘relented’ and refrained from pursuing the matter in the courts. The Chief Public Prosecutor had stated that Grach would otherwise be brought before the Assizes. This Grach’s wife has now inherited a large fortune and, if she keeps her promise, we can count on the recovery of at least part of the loss. In any case this will mean that the ‘past’ has been discharged once and for all and a weight lifted from our shoulders.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s pamphlet — (Girardin denies in La Presse that he is the faiseur) — amused me very much. Despite the attempt to present ‘le prince’ in an imposing attitude, despite the French braggadocio, superficiality, and blunders in things military, the pamphlet is worth its weight in gold as a memorial to our Leroy, alias St-Arnaud, and generally as typical of the ‘imperial barnum’ and his round table.

There is one point you might clear up for me about the Crimean business, namely: General Evans declared before the committee that the main reason for the melting of the army before Sevastopol was the absence of a road from the harbour of Balaklava; 1,000 men would have sufficed to build one in 10 days, but — et c'est la questionall men who could have been spared were employed in the trenches, and from the start the extent of the lines to be captured by the English was grossly disproportionate to their numerical strength. The question is: Could the French be regarded as the contrivers of this mischief?

A short while ago I took another look at Roman history (ancient) up to the time of Augustus. Internal history resolves itself plainly into the struggle between small and large landed property, specifically modified, of course, by slavery relations. Debtor-creditor relations, which play so large a part from the origines of Roman history, figure merely as an inherent consequence of small landed property.

Today I saw an advertisement for 3 works by Forster, a parson, all having in common the title Original Language.

As you will have seen, Mr Herzen is now having himself puffed in the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung also. At the same time his speech (at Jones’ meeting) is appearing in The People’s Paper as a fly-sheet and in père Ribeyrolles’ estimable L'Homme.

K. M.