Marx-Engels Correspondence 1861
Source: MECW, Volume 41, p. 297;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.
I have put off writing for so long because Weber (the Palatine watchmaker) had promised me a report on the London National Association meeting, which was the scene of Kinkel’s strange experience and was attended by Weber as a guest. I did not receive the enclosed from him until today. You will have seen from the last Hermann what it was all about. The final meeting has been adjourned until Saturday week. In the meantime, Juch, having been given the necessary supplies by a German businessman in the City, has set off to Coburg with the intention of getting the central committee of the National Association there to expel Zerffi (and hence implicite Kinkel). It’s really splendid that Gottfried’s boot-licking attitude to the English should have inspired such fanatical rage in all the liberal bourgeois in the City.
Letters have even arrived from Bonn, threatening Gottfried ‘with a drubbing’ should he return. The secret behind the support given to MacDonald by Zerffi (no doubt acting on instructions) and Gottfried is this: Gottfried holds an English appointment as lecturer at the Kensington Museum, the good Zerffi likewise at an Ashley (Shaftesbury) institution. Gottfried’s only allies are the louts of the ‘apolitical’ choral and other drinking societies. Last week Gottfried bribed these people (probably with English money) to join the National Association en bloc. (For anyone can become a member of the beastly association by obtaining a card from Trübner, at a minimum contribution of 3/-) Again, Gottfried held a private meeting of his followers and sent a deputation to Heintzmann asking him to resign voluntarily (on account of the insult to Gottfried’s dignity) from his position as chairman, failing which a motion would be proposed to that end.
By the by, I should not forget to tell you that, while the row was going on, my friend Rheinlander joined the National Association (after talking it over with me), and brought in some fifty members, (mostly clerks) from his Islington Choral Society; it was they more than anyone else who kicked up the anti-Gottfried row.
Rheinlander tells me that never before has the German business contingent in the City taken sides so fanatically over a political issue. How priceless it would be if Gottfried were forced to resign from the National Association because of his kow-towing to a foreign government! That would put paid to his status among the German middle-class riff-raff, and where would he be without them? Gottfried is aware that this is the issue upon which he will stand or fall, and is therefore busying himself after his own fashion. What particularly irks him just now is the way everyone is saying that ‘the Volk and “Marx” had been right about him after all’. He told an acquaintance of Hirschfeld’s, the printer, that the ‘Brimstone Gang’ were the invisible leaders of the whole business’. Nice, is it not, that we, who haven’t raised a finger, should be endowed by our enemies with such mystical ‘powers'?
The second enclosure I am sending you (which please return as I have got to answer it) is a letter from la Hatzfeldt. I shall keep her as my private correspondent in Berlin as she has incomparably more political nous (not to mention her good contacts) than ‘the step that bears in itself the systematic principle of its walking’. (Lassalle, Vol. II, p. 545.) (Apropos. I presume you and Lupus have had L.’s opus?) There are two passages in her letter I should explain to you. With regard to the Blanqui affair, I had arranged for a letter to be sent her from Brussels (from Denonville). Initially, it’s a matter of obtaining money to print a pamphlet, emanating from Denonville, about the — infamous — Blanqui trial. (Debates, etc., and discussion thereof.) Blanqui himself has, through Denonville, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to me and to the parti prolétaire allemand (in partibus) for the sympathy we have shown him. I consider it a very good thing that we should again have direct links with the decidedly revolutionary party in France.
Second point: In the letter in which I notified Lassalle that there was nothing doing just now so far as the newspaper was concerned, I endeavoured to sugar the pill by saying that I might perhaps come to Berlin next winter.
La Hatzfeldt’s assessments of official democracy in Berlin is perfectly correct. She doesn’t, of course, come into contact with the genuine rank and file, nor, of course, is she familiar with the prevailing mood in the pubs — which is better.
Many thanks for your letter about America. If anything of importance (military) should happen, you will, I presume, not fail to write and let me have your views about it. From the picture I have gained of General Scott — now 76, to boot — from the Mexican War (see Ripley), I would expect him to make tremendous blunders — if, that is, the old jackass isn’t supervised by others. Above all, slow and irresolute. Incidentally, from the facts appearing in the Tribune I see that the North is now speaking openly of a slave war and the abolition of slavery.
Yesterday in the Commons, on the occasion of the Schleswig-Holstein affair, Lord Montagu, having previously given notice of his intention, raised the matter of Palmerston’s London Protocol (on the Danish Succession) of 1850, etc. The Old Man had recourse to his usual method. Hardly had Montagu embarked on his speech than he was brought up short by a pre-arranged count-out of the House.
On Saturday I have £2 to pay out in rates and should be most grateful if you could send this to me. At the beginning of July I shall be getting a bit more money. The fact that I have already spent what I brought back with me will not surprise you, since, besides the debts which occasioned the trip, nothing has been coming in for nearly 4 months, while school and doctor alone ate up nearly £40.
What’s this about L. Simon, of whom there is some mention in the last part of la Hatzfeldt’s letter? Was Simon in the Landwehr? At any rate, you have sinned more than Ludwig (who was nowhere in the field, etc.). I don’t understand the business. Regards to Lupus.