Marx-Engels Correspondence 1866

Marx To Ludwig Kugelmann
In Hanover

Source: MECW Volume 42, p 311;.
First published: in Die Neue Zeit, Stuttgart, 1901-1902.

London, 23 August 1866

My dear Friend,

You must justifiably be angered by my prolonged silence, despite your sundry friendly communications.

However, you will have to excuse me, on account of the extraordinary circumstances in which I find myself.

In consequence of my long illness, my economic situation has reached a point of crisis. I have accumulated debts, which are a crushing mental burden and make me incapable of any activity other than the work in which I am immersed. If I do not succeed in taking out a loan of at least 1,000 talers at an interest of say 5%, I can really see no way out. And despite the numerous letters of acknowledgment I receive from Germany, I do not know where to turn. I can only accept aid from personal friends, nothing public. You will understand that in such conditions letter-writing becomes difficult.

I have not yet succeeded in re-establishing my former lucrative links with America. They are so taken up with their own movement there that they regard any expenditure on European reports as faux frais de production. I could help them by emigrating myself. But I consider it my duty to remain in Europe and complete the work on which I have been engaged for so many years [Capital].

As regards that work itself, I do not think I shall be able to deliver the manuscript of the first volume (it has now grown to 3 volumes) to Hamburg before October. I can only work productively for a very few hours per day without immediately feeling the effects physically, and for my family’s sake I suppose I must, however unwillingly, resolve to observe the hygienic limits until I am fully recovered. My work is furthermore often interrupted by the impingement of adverse external circumstances.

Although I am devoting much time to the preparations for the congress in Geneva, I cannot go myself, nor do I wish to, because my work cannot be subjected to prolonged interruption. I consider that what I am doing through this work is far more important for the working class than anything I might be able to do personally at any congrès quelconque [congress whatsoever].

I regard the international situation in Europe as only temporary. As regards Germany in particular, we must take things as we find them, i.e., promote the interests of revolution in a manner appropriate to the changed conditions. As to Prussia, it is now more important than ever to watch and to denounce her relations to Russia.

Your very sincere friend
K. Marx