Jenny Marx (Longuet) 1871
First published: in Italian, in Movimento operaio, No. 2, Milan, 1955;
Source: MECW, Volume 44;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.
My dear Doctor,
My best thanks for the portraits you have been kind enough to send us. They are excellent copies. I quite agree with you as to illustrated paper; but as unfortunately we only had two votes between us and as there were many votes against us, I assure you I had to fight many a hard battle, and at length only succeeded in effecting a compromise – that is to say, both copies have been sent to the artist who is going to publish the portrait, and he is to decide between them, or to make use of both.
I am happy to say it has been possible to persuade Mohr to give up work for five days, and to go to the seaside. To-day he will have to return, as there is a sitting of the International: mama who is with him, writes, that the few days’ rest have done him much good. And he was sadly in want of rest! To me it is a marvel how he has been able to bear all the toil and trouble of these last months.
The work has been, and still is, fearful. Take this day for an example. Early this morning there came a letter from an Italian section of the International stating, that the Association is making wonderful progress in Italy (I suppose you have seen Garibaldi’s letter on the International), and asking for advice and assistance. Then arrived letters from different parts of France, and finally a crazy epistle from a Swede, who it seems has run mad. ‘He calls upon’ le grand maître ‘to light torches upon the mountains in Sweden’ etc. Close upon the postman’s rap follows a ring. An arrival from France – Russia – or Hong Kong! The number of refugees here is daily increasing. These poor people are in the most heartrending misery – they have not learnt the art of Badinguet, d'Orléans, Gambetta and Co. of providing for the rainy day – they have come over here without clothes on their backs or a farthing in their hands. The winter here will be terrible.
Your fears with regard to the importation from France of mouchards are but too well founded. Happily, the Council has taken its precautions. To give you a proof of the success of those precautionary measures, I need only tell you that the International held a conference from the 17 to the 23-rd, and not a single paper knew of it. On the 24-th a banquet wound up the proceedings. Mohr was made to preside on the occasion (much against his will, as you may imagine), and he had the honour of having on his right hand the heroic Polish general Wróblewski. On the other side sat the brother of Dombrowski. A great many members of the Commune were present. From Switzerland, Outine and Perret had arrived as delegates, from Belgium, De Paepe and five others, from Spain, Lorenzo – a most earnest devoted man – Liebknecht and Bebel could not come for want of cash. The Conference has transacted very much business. Among other questions of course the eternal Swiss squabble cropped up. A special Committee was selected to examine the difference. The resolutions it has arrived at, will, it is to be hoped, put an end to the underhand machinations of the clique Bakounine-Guillaume-Robin. — The following are some of the resolutions on the Swiss affair —
‘That the Alliance de la democratie socialiste has declared itself dissolved;
‘That in its sitting of the 18th September the Conference has decided that all existing organisations of the International Association shall henceforth be obliged to designate and constitute themselves simply and exclusively as branches, sections, federations, etc., of the International Association with the names of their respective localities attached;
‘That the existing branches and societies shall therefore no longer be allowed to designate themselves by sectarian names such as Mutualists, Positivists, Collectivists, Communists, etc.;
‘That no branch or society already admitted shall any longer be permitted to form a separatist body under the name of “section of propaganda,” alliance, etc., pretending to accomplish special missions distinct from the purpose common to the mass of militant proletariat united within the Association, etc.;
‘That henceforth the General Council of the International Association will in this sense have to interpret the resolution of the Basle Congress “The General Council has the right either to accept or to refuse the affiliation of any new society or group pending appeal to the next Congress,” etc., etc.’
Tussy is calling me — so I must bring this letter to a close. I wished to write also to dear Trautchen, but find I cannot do so to-day. Will you therefore ask her to excuse me, and tell her that every word of the report (in the German paper) concerning our arrest is untrue. Instead of our having proclaimed our names at Luchon, every letter was sent to us to the name of Williams or Lafargue. We lived in utter retirement, seeing no one but the doctor, of whom alas, we had need during the whole of our stay. The stay was sad indeed, for Laura’s youngest child was ill during the whole time, and after fearful sufferings, died, towards the end of July – on the 26-th. – A few days after the child’s death, just as the Lafargues were able to go out a little, M. de Kératry commenced his guerre à outrance against us. Laura who had joined her husband at Bosost (in Spain) suffered much – her eldest child’ fell ill, so ill that she thought it would die – it was suffering from dysentery, so prevalent in that part of Spain – and she could not move away, as the Spanish and French police were waiting to arrest her. The child is a little better now. Paul, meanwhile, had escaped by unknown paths into the centre of Spain. Tussy and I had been caught on our return from Bosost, arrested, kept close prisoners for several days in our house and then taken to the gendarmerie-barracks. The letter found on me I had written to O'Donovan Rossa. It was an answer to his shamefull condemnation in The Irishman of the Communal movement. I expressed my surprise that he, of all men, should believe the infamous calumnies against the Communists, invented by the wretched police organs Le Figaro, Paris-journal etc. I claimed his sympathy (he is a power at New York at this moment) and that of his fellow-countrymen, for the heroic champions of a better society – for, I said, Irishmen, less than all others, can be interested in the continuation of the present state of things, etc.
With best love to Trautchen and Fränzchen Believe me, dear Doctor,
Very sincerely yours,