Marx-Engels Correspondence 1858

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 40, p. 277;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913, and in full in: Marx and Engels, Works, Moscow, 1929.

[London,] 2 March 1858

Dear Frederick,

I sent you by return a note acknowledging receipt of the 5. The scrawl contained nothing else save a few political comments, altogether not 20 lines. But all the same, I find it exceedingly irritating that the post office here should be taking an immediate interest in my correspondence. Not long ago I wrote to Collet, that most respectable of men, and the letter vanished. Complaints availed me nothing. I shall now watch the progress of Post Office interference. If there is a 3rd case of this kind I shall proclaim the fact above my signature in the London press. The canaille are welcome to read what I write about politics. But my private affairs are not such that I would care to have any old German Post Office spy go poking his nose into them; 50 swine of various nationalities are, it seems, regularly employed as interpreters by the London cabinet noir at least, the Urquhartites say so.

The information I sent you recently about the state of trade in Italy, and Milan in particular, was taken from the Turin papers, which are well supplied with correspondents in that region. While it is, of course, in the interests of Turin to paint the situation in Austrian Italy in the blackest possible colours, the reports from Milan went into details which had the real ring of truth. — As regards the state of French trade, you should read the contribution from the Paris correspondent in today’s Times. True, the chap now seems to be blaming the thing on Orsini and the French colonels, mais c'est ridicule.

I enclose a wretched scrawl by Pyat, Talandier and Co., which laddies couldn’t rest for the fame accorded to Ledru-Rollin and Mazzini and Bernard, whereas they themselves had apparently been quite passed over by the French government. They believe that a revolution is in the offing and after all their ‘activity’ in London — Talandier had shouted himself as hoarse as quondam Bornstedt — it was indeed galling for the great men to have the attention of revolutionary Europe diverted from them by other incidents. Therefore, just in the nick of time, they issued the clap-trap enclosed herewith. No style, no sense, not even French, altogether in the style of the Porte St. Martin streetwalker so typical of the former Charivari contributor and compositor of little toasts. In order that this publication should not fail in its purpose they sent the beastly little thing to all the papers. Persigny-Palmerston Jenkins of The Morning Post was instantly caught in the trap. In a leader written by himself he denounced the chaps and their opusculum to the Honourable Mr. Walpole and, as an additional precaution, he did the whole pamphlet into bad English. More than that. In his Inaugural Speech Derby informed the House of Lords that the Crown advocates had been instructed to look into the thing and see if legal proceedings could be taken against it. In this way Citizens Talandier, Pyat and Besson have, with their insane concoction, succeeded in puffing themselves to a degree they could hardly have dared hope for.

As for Bernard, he will presumably have to spend a little longer in jug.

The insolence and impudence with which Pam has placed himself at the head of the liberal opposition and nominated himself an Honourable Gentleman opposite, is truly wonderful, but he can, of course, do exactly what he pleases with a House of Commons of his own creation.

Apropos. Can you tell me how often machinery has to be replaced in, say, your factory? Babbage maintains that in Manchester the bulk of machinery is renovated on average every 5 years. This seems to me somewhat startling and not quite trustworthy. The average period for the replacement of machinery is one important factor in explaining the multi-year cycle which has been a feature of industrial development ever since the consolidation of big industry.

What is Lupus up to? Give him my regards.

K. M.

Another batch of Guardians arrived today. ‘Bidassoa’ also received last week.