Marx-Engels Correspondence 1863
Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 443;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.
You will find it quite in order that, this time, my own misfortune and the frosty view you took of it should have made it positively impossible for me to reply to you any sooner.
All my friends, including philistine acquaintances, have on this occasion, which in all conscience must needs afflict me deeply, given me proof of greater sympathy and friendship than I could have looked for. You thought it a fit moment to assert the superiority of your ‘dispassionate turn of mind’. Soit!
You know the state of my finances. You also know that I do all I can to drag you out of the mire. But I cannot raise the largish sum of which you speak, as you must also know. Three things can be done:
1. Loan Society. To what extent my guarantee would serve here remains to be seen — scarcely at all, no doubt, since I am not a householder.
2. Life assurance. John Watts is Manager of the European Life & Guarantee Society, of which the London Office is certainly in the Directory. I don’t see what there is to prevent you insuring your life for £400, and he will certainly make you a loan of £200 on the policy, since that is his business. If not completely ruinous, this is definitely the best way. So, you had best go straight to him, inquire about the terms and then inform me of them straight away.
3. If the worst comes to the worst, I might be able to raise about £25 in February — certainly not before — and am also prepared to sign a bill for £60, though I have got to have every assurance that it won’t have to be paid till after 30 June 1863, i.e. be assured of an extension until then. I must be given the necessary guarantees to that effect. In which case you would have to extract what was lacking from your uncle in Holland without fail.
I can see no other possibility.
So, let me know what steps you take and I will see to my side of it.