Marx-Engels Correspondence 1862

Marx To Engels
In Manchester


Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 429;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.


[London,] 17 November [1862]

Dear Engels,

Best thanks for the 5.

It seems to me that you take too one-sided a view of the American fracas. At the American coffeehouse I have looked through a lot of Southern papers and from them it is plain that the Confederacy is in a very tight corner. The English papers suppressed information on the battle of ‘Corinth’. The Southern papers depict it as the most exceptional stroke of ill-luck to have befallen them since the call to arms. The State of Georgia has declared the Confederate ‘conscription bill’ to be null and void. Virginia, in the person of Floyd the thief, has contested the right of ‘Jefferson Davis’s creatures’ (sic) to continue raising men in that State. Oldham, who represents Texas in the Richmond Congress, has formally protested against the transport to the East, i.e., Virginia, of the South-West’s ‘crack troops’. From all these disputes two things undeniably emerge:

That the Confederate Government has overreached itself in its frantic efforts to fill the ranks of the army;

that the states are asserting ‘state rights’ vis--vis the Confederacy just as the latter made a pretext of them vis--vis the Union.

I consider the victories scored by the Democrats in the North to be a reaction and one which was made all the easier for that conservative and blackleg element by the poor manner in which the Federal Government waged the war and by its financial blunders. For that matter, it’s the sort of reaction that occurs in every revolutionary movement and that was so strong at the time of the National Convention, for instance, that the proposal to submit the King’s death to suffrage universel was considered counter-revolutionary, and so strong under the Directory that Mr Bonaparte I had to bombard Paris.

On the other hand, elections prior to 4 Dec. 1864 will not affect the composition of Congress; hence, they will merely act as a spur to the Republican government, over whose head a sword is hanging. And, in any case, the Republican House of Representatives will make better use of its term of office, if only out of hatred for the opposing party.

As to McClellan, in his own army he’s got Hooker and other Republicans, who would arrest him any day if ordered to do so by the government.

Add to that the French attempt at intervention which will evoke a reaction against the reaction.

So things are not, I think, too bad. Rather, what might possibly do damage to my views is the sheeplike attitude of the working men in Lancashire. Such a thing has never been heard of in the world. The more so since those scoundrels of manufacturers themselves don’t even pretend to be ‘making sacrifices’, but are content to leave to the rest of England the honour of keeping their army on its feet — i.e., let the rest of England bear the cost of maintaining their variable capital.

Of late, England has made more of an ass of itself than any other country, the working men by their servile Christian nature, the bourgeois and aristocrats by the enthusiasm they have shown for slavery in its most direct form. But the two manifestations are complementary.

As to our ‘handsome William’, the chap is in fact delectable, Bismarck’s government, by the by, is nothing more nor less than the Little German progressists’ pious wish come true. They used to rave about the ‘man of progress’, Louis Bonaparte. Now they see what having a ‘Bonapartist’ government in Prussia means. After all, Bismarck was in a sense appointed by Bonaparte (and Russia). I shall look out the Presses for you. Salut (also to the ladies).

Your
K. M.