Marx-Engels Correspondence 1865

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 42, p. 154;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

[London,] 9 May 1865

Dear Fred,

You need not send anything back (except Schily’s letter). just keep the things safely. I enclose one Free Press (the queer article on the ‘Reconstruction of Italy’ is from the pen of the High Priest himself, from Urquhart), also two Nordsterns (one of them somewhat out of date). I've got a subscription to the latter, but no longer to the Social-Demokrat. The latest Nordstern will give you some idea of the situation on the Rhine. Incidentally, the total number of the faithful whom B. Becker still commands is barely 1,000.

Before I forget: there were several allusions to your pamphlet in the debate in the Prussian Chamber. Gneist, for instance, said the Minister of War would not persuade them, even if his statistics spoke with the tongue of ‘Engels’ (Laughter.) (That is how the affair appeared in the Berliner Reform.)

As everywhere, the London workers, of course, also include a knot of asses, fools and rogues, rallying round a scoundrel. The scoundrel in this case is ‘George Potter’, a rat of a man, supported by a venal but witty Irishman by the name of Connolly, who is a dangerous stump-orator. Although the bourgeoisie hate the said Potter as chief strike-manager, they do, nevertheless, support him against our people because they smell venality in him, whereas they know that our people are true men. This Potter derives his power particularly from the fact that he is presently the Manager of The Bee-Hive, the official organ of the trades unions, although he uses it against the Official Council of these unions which is in our hands. Since the paper is based on shares, the idea is now to distribute as many shares as possible (5sh. per share) amongst our workers. For my part I have undertaken to collect the money for about 30 shares. For this, I'm counting on you (single handed or with friends) for £5, I write to Dronke for £1 and I will pay the rest myself. (Although my function with the Central Council costs me a lot of money, compared with what I can afford.) The money must already be at hand this week, as the General Meeting of the shareholders is next week. If we are only strong enough (and Odger, for instance, has guaranteed 50 shares) to elect the Directors, we shall have that rogue Potter (who is only the Manager) under our thumbs. This matter is of decisive importance for the whole movement.

E. Jones was here, very charming socially speaking. But between ourselves, he is only trying to use our Association for electoral agitation. Of the 12 cards I sent him, he returned 11, he had not sold a single one, whereas poor Schily, for instance, paid for 24 for himself alone. I told him he should just put them back in his pocket again, I would dispose of them later, but I could not appear in front of the English workers and tell them that. By and by he will find out that if only for speculative reasons he should not have treated the business so lightly and rather contemptibly. I will write to him and tell him to hand over the ‘Addresses’ to you. You can give them to whomsoever you please. They are just dead weight with him. Incidentally, I don’t take kindly to the fact that he was here to wangle a job as Recorder out of Sir G. Grey either.

Today I am to submit an ‘Address to President Johnson Mr Le Lubez wants to return to the Council as — Delegate for Deptford, the same fellow as resigned as Delegate for France, but his admittance (We have to confirm the delegates) will not run quite so smoothly as he seems to fancy. I would be pleased if you could form even just a branch of 6 men in Manchester, and could get yourself elected as their correspondent for London. For the corresponding people are eo ipso members of the Central Council, and have a seat and a vote on it, when at London.

New branches have been formed in Lyon, Neufchâteau (département des Vosges) and St Denis. The French branches (apart from Paris) are not linked with Paris, in view of the existing laws, but directly with London.

I'm hoping to put the finishing touches to my book [Capital] by 1 September (despite numerous interruptions). It’s going ahead well, although I am still not quite well.

K. M.