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Marx-Engels Correspondence 1866

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 42, p. 299;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

[London,] 27 July 1866

Dear Fred,

Best thanks for the £10. They came in the nick of time.

I have not written to Stumpf, precisely because he asked for a line of ‘conduct’, and my view was that he would do best not to ,conduct’ himself at all until events took a decisive turn. That was a view which I rather thought advisable not to put to him in writing. Mainz is at present still encircled, so far as I know, so postal communication is also presumably interrupted. Did you write to Stumpf?

The comedy in Frankfurt makes up somewhat for the exhalation of the victors. Lord, lord, they howled, 25 million! And his worship the mayor’ goes and hangs himself! And the Prussians, for their part, officially declare that Frankfurt will have to fork out because its papers have ‘insulted’ His Majesty William the Conqueror. Since his government post in Brünn is only temporary, Stieber will eventually become mayor of the Frankfurter-on-Mainers, whom by the way I have always thought the most insufferable scoundrels. And Edgar Bauer will be imposed on them as Censor-in-Chief. But as regards the Eschenheimer Gasse, Privy Counsellor Duncker would — except that he is, of course, ruling in Kassel.

I am entirely at one with you that we must take the mess as it is. It is, nevertheless, pleasant to be far off at this youthful time of love’s first dawning. The arrogance of the Prussians and the foolishness of handsome William, who believes that nothing has changed since his dream of victory, except that he is now a great potentate, etc., will have their effect soon enough. The Austrians now find themselves where the Slav fanatics from Prague wanted them in 1848 . However, for the moment their loss of Venice, their enforced concentration of strength is in no way to the Russians’ advantage. Being a Pan-Slavic empire themselves, they will be all the more antagonistic to the In of the extraordinary decline of the Habsburgs, it is certainly to be feared that by and by they will allow the Russians to tempt them into a combined attack on Turkey.

For the workers, of course, everything that centralises the bourgeoisie is to their advantage. At all events, even if peace is concluded tomorrow it will be even more provisional than that of Villafranca and Zurich As soon as the ‘arms reform’ has been completed by the various parties, it will be back to ‘bashing’ as Schapper calls it. At all events, Bonaparte has suffered a setback, too, although the setting up of military kingdoms on all sides right and left fits the Plon-Plonist scheme ‘de la démocratie générale’.

The government has almost caused a mutiny here. Your Englishman first needs a revolutionary education, of course, for which two weeks would suffice if Sir Richard Mayne had absolute powers of command. In actual fact, it all hung on one point. If the railings had been used — and it almost came to that — for offence and defence against the police, and some score of the latter killed, the military would have had to ‘step in’, instead of merely parading. And then things would have got quite jolly. This much is certain: that these stiff-necked John Bulls, whose sconces appear made to measure for the constables’ bludgeons will accomplish nothing without a really bloody clash with those in power.

A touching scene, that, that old Beales and the equally asinine old Walpole. and then the intervention of the thin-voiced, intrusive self-important Holyoake who threough ‘love of the truth’ is constantly finding his into The Times — nothing but peace and dissoluteness. Meanwhile, whilst these riff-raff are patting each other on the back and belick-spittling each other, that cur Knox, the police magistrate of Marylebone, is sending people down in a summary fashion, which shows what would happen if London were Jamaica.

Disraeli has made a flue fool of himself, firstly by his pathetic remark in the Lower House, ‘he did not know whether he still had a house’, and then by the strong military occupation of that same house, although, thirdly, the mob (instructed beforehand by the Reform League people) deliberately left the house of Mr ‘Vivian Grey’ untouched. The house lost not a hair from its head. For which Elcho’s window-panes had to suffer the more. I had dropped the hint to Gremer and other managers that it might be appropriate to pay a visit to the ‘Timesnewspaper. As they did not immediately ‘take’ the hint, or did not want to, I did not press it.

The cholera is paying us (I mean the Londoners) its respects with the utmost gravity, and Dr Hunter’s report, in the VIIIth Report of the Health Board on the ‘Housing of the Poor’, which appeared last week, is presumably intended to serve Madam Cholera as a directory of addresses calling for preferential visitation.

My best compliments to Mrs Lizzy.

K. M.