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Letters of Marx and Engels, 1849

Marx To Joseph Weydemeyer [293]
In Frankfurt Am Main

Source: MECW Volume 38, p. 218;
Written: 19 December 1849;
First published: in Marx and Engels, Works, First Russian Edition, 1934.

London, 19 December 1849
4 Anderson Street, Kings Road, Chelsea

Dear Weydemeyer,

An unconscionable time has elapsed since I last wrote to you. Civil vexations of every kind, all manner of business and, finally, the general difficulty I have in bringing myself to write a letter, will explain to you my long silence. I have at last, after so many vicissitudes, succeeded in giving reality to my Revue [Neue Rheinische Zeitung. Politisch-ökonomische Revue] that is to say, I have a printer and a distributor in Hamburg. [J. E. M. Köhler and J. Schuberth] Otherwise we do everything at our own expense. The worst of it is that in Germany so much time is always lost before one can get to the point of publication. I have little doubt that by the time 3, or maybe 2, monthly issues have appeared, a world conflagration will intervene and the opportunity of temporarily finishing with political economy will be gone.[294]

As you live in the heart of Germany and hence are more familiar with the details than we are, you might perhaps find time to describe, for our Revue, briefly and concisely in a few main features, the present condition of South Germany and everything connected with it.[295]

I would further request you to insert the following announcement in your paper [Marx and. Engels, ‘Announcement of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. Politisch-ökonomische Revue’ published in the Neue Deutsche Zeitung, edited by Weydemeyer, 16 and 26 January and 5 February 1850] but not until you have seen the announcement in the Kölnische Zeitung for which the bookseller in Hamburg will be responsible. Perhaps you could send a copy to Westphalia. For you will see from the announcement that, besides our circulation through the book trade, we want to establish another by asking our party comrades to draw up subscription lists and send them to us here. For the time being we shall have to keep the price fairly high and the number of sheets low. Should our resources increase as a result of a wider circulation, this defect will be remedied.

What do you think of the row between Proudhon, Blanc and Pierre Leroux? [296]

Willich sends you his regards, and likewise Engels, red Wolff [Ferdinand Wolff] and Weerth.

Here in England the most important movement is probably taking place at this moment. On the one hand, protectionist agitation supported by the fanaticised rural population — the consequences of the free corn trade are now beginning to be felt in the form I predicted years ago [Marx, Speech On the Question of Free Trade] — on the other, the Free Traders who, as financial and Parliamentary reformers, [284] are extending the wider political and economic logic of their system to home affairs and, as Peace Party, [269] to foreign affairs; finally, the Chartists who, while acting in concert with the bourgeoisie against the aristocracy, have at the same time resumed with increased vigour their own party activity against the bourgeois.[297] The conflict between these parties will be tremendous and the outward form of agitation will become more tempestuously revolutionary if, as I hope — and not without good reason — the Tories come to power in place of the Whigs. Another event as yet imperceptible on the Continent, is the mighty industrial, agricultural and commercial crisis now looming up. Were the Continent to postpone its revolution until after the onset of this crisis, England might from the start have to be an ally, albeit an unpopular one, of the revolutionary Continent. An earlier outbreak of revolution — unless directly motivated by Russian intervention — would in my view be a misfortune since at this particular time, with trade still on the up and up the mass of the workers in France, Germany, etc., as well as the entire strata of tradesmen, etc., though perhaps revolutionary in words, are certainly not so in reality.

You know that my wife has made the world richer by one citizen [Heinrich Guido — Fawksy]? She sends her warm regards to you and your wife. My best regards to the latter also.

Write soon.

K. Marx

Apropos, can you find out Citizen Hentze’s address for me?

You will have seen friend Heinzen’s inane bragging in the newspapers. This fellow, who was done for by the revolution in Germany — before that his things enjoyed a certain because the petty bourgeois and the commercial traveller liked to see printed in black and white the idiocies and rodomontades they themselves served mysteriously between the cheese and the biscuits at the wine-shop — is endeavouring to rehabilitate himself by compromising the other refugees in Switzerland and England — those who have really worked — in the eyes of those countries’ governments, [298] by kicking up a row, and earning himself a lucrative martyrdom by threatening shortly to gobble up a hundred thousand of Millions of men lunch.