Marx-Engels Correspondence 1860
Source: MECW, Volume 41, p. 32;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in: Marx and Engels, Works, Moscow, 1929.
To have offered your pamphlet [Savoy, Nice and the Rhine] at two louis d'or per sheet is shameful. Pamphlets of this kind ought to be sold, not by the sheet, but as a whole. Even 40 talers per sheet would be too little. Incidentally, Campe is better than Duncker. The publisher who brings out the Darmstadt Militär-Zeitung would gladly take the pamphlet, too. Actually, the main thing is that it should come out quickly and, if I were you, I would settle this matter, at least, by telegraph with that louse, Duncker.
I have been in a secret and confidential correspondence, with The Daily Telegraph since the day the shit appeared. For before making amende honorable, the fellow — I was as rude as hell to him in my letter — wants to await his correspondent’s reply, whereas I demanded the immediate insertion of at least a brief note. Whatever he does or does not insert, I shall now bring down a libel action on his head. The circumstances of the case being what they are, any lawyer would happily undertake the thing on spec., as did, for instance, Edwin James, who volunteered in Ernest Jones’s libel action against Reynolds. I wrote to Ernest Jones about this yesterday. On the same Tuesday as the thing appeared, by the by, I wrote to the editor of Palmerston’s mob-paper 1) saying, inter alia: ‘That letter purporting to have been written from Frankfort-on-the-Main, but which was in fact indited at Berlin, is nothing but a clumsy amplification of two leaders etc etc.’ in the Berlin National-Zeitung. The writer, i.e. The Daily Telegraph’s swine of a Berlin correspondent, is a Jew by the name of Meier, a relative of the City-Proprietor’s who is an English Jew by the name of Levy. Hence, both these fellows rightly accuse Heine — juvante [with the help of ] Vogt of being a baptised Jew. Herewith Izzy’s last letter, which you should retain as a curiosity. Calls himself objective, does he? Inimitable, the plasticity of this most unhellenic of all Wasserpolack Jews! My only reply to the fellow was an immediate announcement in the papers — including the Volks-Zeitung — to the effect that I was bringing a libel action against the N-Z. (In each case I enclosed the circular about Blind, although, according to the great Izzy, I ought ‘not to delude myself as to the force of that argument’.)
All this week, by the by, I've been prevented from writing anything for the Tribune. I have had to send out fifty letters at least, running round to see Collet and God knows who else not considered. And on top of that there was the correspondence with the beastly Telegraph and the correspondence with the Star, to which I sent the whole of my correspondence with the Telegraph. The enclosed letter front the Star is to be put on your files. I have also written to Reynolds. Shall see what he does. Then there was the running in connection with Wiehe and going to the police. The result you will find below. Two replies so far to my letters to the Continent — in so far as they weren’t just to newspapers. One from Schily. Priceless. Contains the whole Brimstone Gang and Bristlers’ story. Another letter from Szemere. Most valuable on account of disclosures about, the revolutionary Hungarians’ ‘own’ (excluding Bonapartist) funds out of which, so Vogt maintains, his money was received. A letter from Imandt, not so bad. One or two points, at any rate. I am still awaiting an answer, notably from Mr Reinach in Neuchâtel, who is said to be a walking chronique scandaleuse on the subject of the imperial bailiff. (Apropos. What address did the spy Häfner give in the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung? There’s a point I want to verify with him.) Have also written to Borkheim (whom I have never met personally). Was Chief of the Brimstone Gang in Geneva who hung out at the Café de la Couronne and with whom on your occasional excursions you sometimes used to get tipsy, or so Schily tells me in his letter.
I have drawn up the indictment against the Nat-Zeit. for the public prosecutor’s office at the Berlin municipal court. It will go off before I come up to you. But I must wait until I have Fischel’s answer with regard to the commencement and conclusion, the prescribed form of address, etc. Should I send the package (since it has to include all manner of manuscripts, documents) to Berlin by post or by parcel company? It should at all events be registered.
I have rummaged through everything I have here in London in the way of letters and newspapers for the period 1848-59, and sorted out and put in order what we need. Now you must get things ready so that I find everything that’s available in one ‘great pile’ when I get to Manchester.
Well, on Monday there was the working-men’s banquet, attended by eighty people. An indignant anti-Vogt resolution was unanimously adopted by ‘the proletarians’. The beastly Hermann asked me to report on it. This I refused to do, but told them to obtain a brief account from Papa Liebknecht.
Apropos, to return à nos moutons, i.e. Lassalle. Not knowing, when I got his first letter, whether you had written to him as we had originally agreed (when circumstances were otherwise), I told him in a couple of lines that I had thought the only explanation for his many-month-long silence must be annoyance at my last, somewhat rude (in fact excessively rude), letter. I said that I was glad this was not the case, and also that I had informed you of my misgivings. Well! What a fuss the brute goes and makes about it! How presumptuous the moral attitude adopted by the chap towards Liebknecht ! And this is the fellow who resorted to the most impudent means and consorted with the most impudent individuals au service de la comtesse de Hatzfeldt! Has the brute forgotten that, though I wanted to have him admitted to the League, he was rejected on account of his ill-repute by the unanimous decision of the Central Authority in Cologne? In fact, I believe, delicacy impelled me to keep the fellow in the dark about all this, as also about the working men’s deputation sent over to see me a few years ago from Düsseldorf, which adduced the most scandalous and in part irrefutable allegations against him! And now just look at the pretentious ape! No sooner — looking through his Bonapartist-tinted spectacles — does he think to descry some weak point in us, than he puffs himself up, pontificates, and strikes an — absurd, need one say? — attitude! And contrariwise, how completely do his legal instincts desert him for fear that I should not, to the benefit of my tender friend Lassalle, allow myself without more ado to be pushed into the background by Vogt. How he contradicts himself! How mean he becomes! One shouldn’t ‘stir things up even more’. ‘They’ wouldn’t ‘take it kindly’. Not take it kindly! They! For the sake of his pale-ale Berlin philistines, I am to let myself be browbeaten by schoolmaster Squeers, alias Zabel! Now I know just what to think of Mr Lassalle.
I immediately wrote to Blind — or perhaps, I should say, put into an envelope the circular, which affects him so very closely. He has kept his trap shut, of course. Instead, the brute goes running around town in the hope that things can be sorted out by tittle-tattle (vide below how much good that will do him). For the past few weeks the man’s been indulging in feverish activity, publishing pamphlet after pamphlet, blowing his own trumpet in the Hermann for all he’s worth, sucking up, fore and aft, to the few bourgeois whose acquaintance he made on the Schiller committee, pressing his own candidature as secretary of the recently conceived Schiller Association, now denying his ‘Patriots’, now making himself important in their eyes by means of semi-covert, statesmanlike allusions, etc. Well, all this amounts to, as you will instantly realise, is a drowning man clutching at a straw.
No one has behaved so abjectly as that pot-bellied philistine Freiligrath. I sent him the circular. He didn’t so much as acknowledge its receipt. Does the brute believe that I couldn’t, if so minded, immerse him up to the eyebrows in the lake of brimstone? Has he forgotten that I possess a hundred or more of his letters? Does he imagine that I don’t see him because he shows me his backside? Yesterday, I also sent the philistine the ensuing palliative, on the express condition that he should not say a word about it to anyone, including his friend the crypto-democrat Karl Blind. That will tickle him, and ere long he'll begin to feel uneasy at the undue proximity of the felonious friend in whose company he appeared before the public (as I reminded him quite en passant in my last letter) in the pages of the A.A.Z. Almost everyone, except for Freiligrath, even distant acquaintances, are behaving decently to me at this time of crisis.
But to come to essentials. Firstly, I discovered through Juch that Wiehe once committed a theft in Bremen, which was why he had to come to London. Secondly, I learnt through Schapper that Wiehe introduced himself to him as a compositor on the Volk, and it was he who had obtained the fellow’s present job for him. I briefed Schapper, who quietly intimated to Wiehe that he knew about the Bremen affair, but then proceeded to read my circular aloud in the presence of his employer and to cross-examine him. The fellow admitted everything. What the outcome was, you will see from the following document of which I possess an officially authenticated duplicate. One is going to Berlin. The other I shall keep here and employ in no uncertain manner against the nay-sayer. One further point. This will show you the kind of people these ‘honest fellows’ consort with. I had, of course, let Wiehe know that I would compensate hint for the loss of half a working day, the time he would have to spend with me at the police court. When all had been done, I gave him 2/6d. He remonstrated. Well, how much a day do you earn? I asked. About 3/-, said he, but I want five from you. After all, I ought to get something for telling the truth.
But the best is yet to come. I: *You have declined the money offer made by Blind and Hollinger in order to bribe you? He: Why decline! The rogues promised, but never gave me anything.* That’s compositor Wiehe for you. But Hollinger is a villain of far deeper dye. Vogele, whom I had arranged to see yesterday, did not turn up. Doubtless Blind-Hollinger made it worth his while to keep away. But they'll have thrown their money down the drain. For I know that this chap has still got a conscience, and so I shall work on him. My circular misled them into approaching the wrong man. They believed it meant that I wouldn’t be able to get at Wiehe himself. Well, now ad rem:
‘One of the first days of November last — I do not recollect the exact date — in the evening between 9 and 10 o'clock I was taken out of bed by, Mr F. Hollinger, in whose house I then lived, and by whom I was employed as compositor. He presented to me a paper to the effect that during the preceding 11 months I had been continuously employed by him, and that during all that time a certain German flysheet “Zur Warnung” (A Warning) had not been composed and printed in Mr Hollinger’s Office, 3, Litchfield Street, Soho. In my perplexed state, and riot aware of the importance of the transaction, I complied with his wish, and copied, and signed the document. Mr Hollinger promised me money, but I never received anything. During that transaction Mr. Charles Blind, as my wife informed me at the time, was waiting in Mr Hollinger’s room. A few days later, Mrs Hollinger called me down from dinner and led me into her husband’s room, where I found Mr Charles Blind alone. He presented me the same paper which Mr Hollinger had presented me before, and entreated me to write, and sign a second copy, as he wanted two, the one for himself, and the other for publication in the Press. He added that he would show himself grateful to me. I copied and signed again the paper.
‘I herewith declare — upon my oath — the truth of the above statements and that:
‘1. During the 11 months mentioned in the document I was for six months not employed by Mr Hollinger, but by a Mr Ermani.
‘2. I did not work in Mr Hollinger’s Office just at that time when the flysheet “Zur Warnung” was published.
‘3. I heard at the time from Mr Voegele, who then worked for Mr Hollinger, that he, Voegele, had, together with Mr Hollinger himself, composed the flysheet in question, and that the manuscript was in Mr Blind’s handwriting.
‘4. The types of the pamphlet were still standing when I returned to Mr Hollinger’s service. I myself broke them into columns for the reprint of the flysheet “Zur Warnung” in the German paper “Das Volk'’ published at London, by Mr Fidelio Hollinger, 3, Litchfield Street, Soho. The flysheet appeared in No. 7, d. d. 18th June, 1859, of “Das Volk'’.
‘5. I saw Mr Hollinger give to Mr William Liebknecht, of 14, Church Street, Soho, London, the proofsheet of the pamphlet “Zur Warnung”, on which proofsheet Mr Charles Blind with his own hand had corrected 4 or 5 mistakes. Mr Hollinger hesitated at first giving the proofsheet to Mr Liebknecht, and when Mr Liebknecht had withdrawn, he, F. Hollinger, expressed to me and my fellow Workman Voegele his regret for having given the proofsheet out of his hands.
Johann Friedrich Wiehe
Police Court, Bow Street
‘Declared and signed by the said Johann Friedrich Wiehe at the Police Court, Bow Street, this 8th day of February, 1860, before me Th. Henry, Magistrate of the said court.’
I deliberately brought the matter before Henry, he being the Government’s Magistrate who attends to all the political cases. The brand of English found in the above is not my responsibility, unlike the precise enumeration of the facts. What do you say now, Sir! ‘The argument lacks force’, says Izzy. Vive Izzy! For conspiracy against myself, combined with attempt at bribery of witnesses, so the Magistrate says, I could now get Mr Blind run out of town. So much for petty bourgeois artfulness!