Works of Karl Marx 1851
Source: MECW Volume 11, p. 97;
First published: in the Kölnische Zeitung, No. 242, October 9, 1851.
This statement was written in connection with the arrest of Bürgers, Röser, Daniels and other members of the Communist League by the Prussian police in Cologne in May 1851, following the arrest of Nothjung, an emissary of the League, by the Saxon authorities in Leipzig, and in view of the rumours spread by the reactionary press of a communist plot, the threads of which allegedly led to Marx in London.
Marx’s statement was not published in the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung but was printed in the Kölnische Zeitung on October 9, 1851. On October 13, Marx wrote to Engels: “You'll have seen in the Kölnische Zeitung that I've made a statement refuting the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung’s nonsense. The tittle-tattle was becoming altogether too wild. The ruffians’ intention, in launching the recent series of prolonged attacks on me in all the German newspapers, was, I am quite sure, to place me on the horns of a dilemma. Either I must publicly disown the conspiracy and hence our party friends, or I must publicly acknowledge them, thus committing an act of treason ‘in law’. However, these gentlemen are too clumsy to catch us out”.
Since the Editorial Board of the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung in a report from a Cologne correspondent dated September 26 has published a direct denunciation of me, I count upon your sense of justice to print the following reply in one of your forthcoming issues.
Dr. Karl Marx
A recondite report in the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung, dated Cologne, September 26, makes out an absurd connection between me, Baroness von Beck and the Cologne arrests. I am alleged to have confided political secrets to Baroness von Beck which later in one way or another came into the hands of the authorities. I have seen Baroness von Beck only twice and that was in the presence of Witnesses. On both occasions the matter concerned exclusively literary suggestions which I was compelled to reject since they proceeded from the completely false premise that I had some kind of connection with German newspapers. Having disposed of this matter, I never heard anything again of the Baroness until I learned of her sudden death. But I have never regarded the German refugees who were in daily contact with Frau von Beck as my friends any more than the Cologne correspondent of the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung or the “great” German men in London who turn emigration into a business and an official position. I have never considered it worth the trouble to reply to the mass of perfidiously silly, crude and dishonest gossip in the German newspapers, which either comes direct from London or is inspired from there. If I make an exception this time it is only because the Cologne correspondent of the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung tries to present the arrests in Cologne, Dresden, etc., as based on my alleged indiscretions to Baroness von Beck.
London, October 4, 1851