Articles by Marx and Engels in Deutsche-Brüsseler Zeitung 1847
Source: MECW Volume 6, p. 72;
Written: April 3 1847;
First published: in Deutsche-Brüsseler-Zeitung April 8, 1847 and in Trier’sche Zeitung April 9, 1847.
Under the date-line Berlin, March 20, the Trier’sche Zeitung prints an article on my pamphlet now in printing, Contradictions dans le système des contradictions économiques de M. Proudhon ou les misères de la philosophie. The Berlin correspondent [Eduard Meyen] makes me out to be the author of a report printed in the Rhein- u. Mosel-Zeitung and elsewhere concerning this pamphlet, Proudhon’s book and the activities of its translator, Herr Grün. He hails me time and again as “editor of the former Rheinische Zeitung” quite in the style of the Brussels or another correspondent. “Buttressed by a knowledge of the current state of the press in Germany”, our friend peddles his insinuation. Not merely his insinuation, but his whole literary existence may, as far as I am concerned, be “buttressed by a knowledge of the current state of the press in Germany”. I grant him the most practically proven “knowledge of the current state of the press in Germany”. But this time it has not “buttressed” him.
The alleged Berlin correspondent need only read through my criticism of Proudhon in the Critical Criticism in order to realise that the report which arouses his enmity might well originate in Brussels, but could not possibly originate with me, if only because it “sets the same value” on Proudhon and Herr Grün.
My criticism of Proudhon is written in French. Proudhon himself will be able to reply. A letter he wrote to me before the publication of his book shows absolutely no inclination to leave it to Herr Grün and his associates to avenge him in the event of criticism on my part.
“Concerning further the translator of Proudhon’s work on economics”, our friend in Berlin need only add to the record that “We here in Berlin have learnt much and of great diversity” from Herr Grün’s Soziale Bezvegung in Frankreich und Belgien [Social Movement in France and Belgium] in order to place the value of this book above all doubt. And one must consider what it means when “We here in Berlin” “learn” anything at all, and in this case even “much and of great diversity”, quantitatively and qualitatively at the same time! We here in Berlin!
Identifying me with the Brussels or another correspondent, the Berlin or alleged Berlin correspondent exclaims:
Grün “has probably to make amends for the misfortune of having acquainted the German world with the results of foreign socialism before Herr Dr. Marx, ‘editor of the former Rheinische Zeitung'”.
Our friend undeniably betrays great ingenuity in forming his conjectures! I should like to confide to him, sub rosa [in secret] that, admittedly in my own view, Herr Grün’s Soziale Bewegung in Frankreich und Belgien and the French and the Belgian social movement — individual names and data excepted — have nothing in common with each other. At the, same time, however, I must confide to him that I have experienced so little urge to acquaint “the German world” with the results of my studies of Herr Grün’s Soziale Bewegung in Frankreich und Belgien that I have permitted a fairly comprehensive review of Grün’s book, prepared a year ago, peacefully to sleep the sleep of the just in manuscript form, and only now that I have been challenged by our friend in Berlin shall I send it to the Westphälisches Dampfboot to be printed. The review forms an appendix to the book written jointly by Fr. Engels and me on “the German ideology” (critique of modern German philosophy as expounded by its representatives Feuerbach, Bruno Bauer and Stirner, and of German socialism as expounded by its various prophets). The circumstances which have hindered the printing of this manuscript and still hinder it will perhaps be set forth for the reader elsewhere as a contribution to the description of the “current state of the press in Germany”. Nothing hindered the separate printing of my review of Grün’s book, which in no way offends against the censorship, except the slight obstacle that this book was not considered worthy of a special attack, and it was thought that only in a survey of the whole of the insipid and tasteless a literature of German socialism would some reference to Herr Grün be unavoidable. Now, however, after the article by our Berlin friend, the separate printing of this review has taken on the more or less humorous significance of showing the manner in which “the German world” ,,acquaints itself” with the “results of foreign socialism”, and especially the desire and capacity “We here in Berlin” possess “to learn much and of great diversity”. It will immediately be realised how strongly I was compelled to resort to petty attacks in petty little newspaper articles if I had otherwise been anxious to hiring Herr Grün’s “Social Movement in France and Belgium” to a standstill. Finally, even our Berlin friend will be unable to refrain from making public testimony that if I really harboured the intention of “acquainting the German world with the results of foreign socialism” in his sense and truly feared a competitor in a predecessor, then I should be obliged daily to beseech fate, “Give me no predecessor, or even better, give me Herr Grün as a predecessor!”
A word more concerning “my conceit in imagining that I have scaled the topmost rung of human wisdom”.
Who else could have inoculated me with this disease but Herr Grün who found in my expositions in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher the solution to the ultimate riddle (see, for example, the foreword to his Bausteine) in the same way as he finds it now in Proudhon’s economics; who, as he now extols in Proudhon the true point of view, likewise assured his readers about me (see Grün’s Neue Anekdota), that I had “negated the constitutional and radical point of view”. Herr Grün first poisons me, in order then to be able to blame me for the fact that his poison worked! Let our Berlin friend calm himself, however — I enjoy perfect health.
Brussels, April 3, 1847 Karl Marx