Marx-Engels Correspondence 1867

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 42, p 350;.
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.

[London,] 2 April 1867

Dear Engels,

I had resolved not to write to you until I could announce completion of the book, [Volume I of Capital] which is now the case. Nor did I wish to bore you by explaining the further delay, viz., carbuncles on my posterior and near the penis, the final traces of which are now fading but which made it extremely painful for me to adopt a sitting (hence writing) posture. I am not taking arsenic because it dulls my mind too much and I needed to keep my wits about me at least at those times when writing was possible.

Next week I shall have to take the manuscript to Hamburg myself. I did not like the tone of Mr Meissner’s last letter. Added to which, I received the enclosed scrawl from Borkheim yesterday. I have every reason to believe that the ‘continental friend’ is Mr Privy Councillor Bucher. Borkheim had written him a letter, you know, which he read out to me, about his arrangements for travelling to Silesia, which he wishes to visit on family business. Bucher replied directly. I therefore scent a plot behind these canards and will have to put the knife to Meissner’s breast myself. Otherwise, the fellow would be in a position to hold back my manuscript (some 25 closely printed proof-sheets by my reckoning) and, at the same time, not have it printed on the pretext that he was ‘awaiting’ the second volume.

I must now d'abord reclaim my clothes and timepiece from their abode at the pawnbroker’s. I can also hardly leave my family in their present situation, they being sans sou and the creditors becoming more brazen each day. Finally, before I forget, all the money that I could afford to spend on Laura’s champagne-treatment has gone the way of all flesh. She now needs red wine, of better quality than I can command. Voilà la situation.

Our ‘International’ has just celebrated a great victory. We were providing financial support from the London trade unions for the Paris bronze workers, who were out on strike. As soon as the masters learnt of that, they gave in. The affair has created a deal of commotion in the French papers, and we are now an established force in France.

It appears to me there must have been collusion between Bismarck and Bonaparte over the Luxemburg affair. It is possible, though improbable, that the former either cannot or will not keep his word. That the Russians have been meddling in German affairs is crystal clear from:

1. the treaty between Württemberg and Prussia, which was already concluded on 13 August before all the others;

2. Bismarck’s demeanour in respect of the Poles.

The Russians are more active than ever. They are setting the stage for trouble between France and Germany. Austria is pretty well paralysed in herself. Our English gentlemen are about to be led a fine song and dance in the United States.


K. M.