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Engels To Marx
In London

Source: MECW Volume 39, p. 164;
First published: in full in MEGA, Berlin 1929.

[Manchester, 24 August 1852]

Dear Marx,

This evening I shall translate the final part of your article and shall do the article on ‘Germany’ tomorrow or Thursday. Charles has gone away for a few days and I have a great deal to do in the office so that by evening my mind is often in a whirl.

Thanks for the suggestions on military history. Could you sometime have a look in the British Museum to see if they have

1. The Oesterreichische Militiärische Zeitschrift from 1848 onwards, 2. the Prussian Militär-Wochenblatt the Berlin Wehr-Zeitung, 3. any other military periodicals, especially reviews, including French ones — from 1848 onwards? Also a set of the Augsburg Allg. Ztg., particularly from 1850. I need these things very badly and, if it could somehow be arranged, would find time to work through them there, when I have got to that stage.

The excerpt from Cluss’ letter shows up père Weydemeyer in an even more Westphalian light than we had ever expected. Bielefeld tout pur. It beats everything.

Johann Gottfried [Kinkel]’s end is pleasing indeed. All that is left to the noble fellow is the cold comfort of knowing that he has done his duty and swollen the stock of bullion in the Bank of England. Furthermore, in fixing a new date for the liberation of the world, he had based himself, not on vague trade crises, but on hard, ineluctable fact, namely a spurious document in The Morning Chronicle!

The Willich-Schily farce must have been a hilarious performance. Pauvre Willich, how often during his harassment by the philistines must he have wished himself back in red Wolff’s company!

So Harney’s Star of Freedom has faded away?

There seems little doubt about the advent of the crisis, even if the recent bankruptcies were no more than precursors. Unfortunately the harvests in north-cast Germany, Poland and Russia show signs of being passable, and in places even good. Here the recent good weather has likewise borne fruit. But France is still in the soup, and that’s enough to be going on with.

The minor panic in the money market appears to be over, consols and railway shares are again rising merrily, money is easier, speculation is still pretty evenly distributed over corn, cotton, steam boats, mining operations, etc., etc. But cotton has already become a very risky proposition; despite what is so far a very promising crop, prices are rising continuously, merely as a result of high consumption and the possibility of a brief cotton shortage before fresh imports can arrive. Anyway I don’t believe that the crisis will this time be preceded by a regular rage for speculation; if circumstances are favourable in other respects, a few mails bringing bad news from India, a panic in New York, etc., will very soon prove that many a virtuous citizen has been up to all kinds of sharp practice on the quiet. And these crucial ill-tidings from overstocked markets must surely come soon. Massive shipments continue to leave for China and India, and yet the advices are nothing out of the ordinary; indeed, Calcutta is decidedly overstocked, and here and there native dealers are going bankrupt. I don’t believe that prosperity will continue beyond October or November — even Peter Ermen is becoming worried.

At all events, whether a revolution is immediately produced — immediately, i.e. in 6-8 months — very largely depends on the intensity of the crisis. The poor harvest in France makes it look as though something is going to happen there; but if the crisis becomes chronic and the harvest turns out after all a little better than expected, we might even have to wait until 1854. I admit that I should like another year in which to swot, having still a good deal of stuff to get through.

Australia also does some harm. First, directly through her gold and the stoppage of all her other exports, as also through the correspondingly heavier imports of all commodities and the fact that she is draining off the surplus population here at the rate of 5,000 a week. California and Australia are two cases which were not foreseen in the Manifesto: creation of large new markets out of nothing. They will have to be included.

F. E.