Marx-Engels Correspondence 1877
Source: MECW, Volume 45, p. 288;
First published: in Der wahre Jacob, Berlin, 17 March 1908.
Transcribed: Andy Blunden.
I was delighted to hear from you [Dir] again at last (that ‘Dir’ slipped naturally from my pen. So do drop the Sie in future). I had long since proposed that the abominable Isolde be dismissed, and fulminated against her in vain.
Whenever, in ‘la Place’, the word place is written with a capital P, it always means the Place Vendôme, that being the seat of the commander of the National Guard; in Paris at the time he was the equivalent of what we call ‘town-major’.
As regards the ‘suppression de 1’État’, an expression which Lissagaray himself will be altering in the 2nd French edition [of History of the Paris Commune of 1871], the sense is no different from that expounded in my pamphlet on the ‘Civil War’ in France. In short, you can translate it ‘abolition (or suppression) of the class state’.
I ‘bear no ill-will’ (as Heine says) and nor for that matter does Engels. Neither of us cares a straw for popularity. Let me cite one proof of this: such was my aversion to the personality cult that at the time of the International, when plagued by numerous moves — originating from various countries — to accord me public honour, I never allowed one of these to enter the domain of publicity, nor did I ever reply to them, save with an occasional snub. When Engels and I first joined the secret communist society, we did so only on condition that anything conducive to a superstitious belief in authority be eliminated from the Rules. (Lassalle subsequently operated in the reverse direction.)
But events such as occurred at the last party congress — they are being well and truly exploited by enemies of the party abroad — have in any case made it necessary for us to be circumspect in our relations with ‘party members in Germany’.
Apart from that, my state of health compels me to devote to the completion of my book [Capital] the time allotted to me for work by my doctor; and Engels, who is working on several longer books, is still sending contributions to the Vorwärts.
It would amuse me to hear more from time to time about my ‘combinations with Father Beckx’.
Engels will be writing to you shortly.
With warm regards from my wife and my daughter Eleanor.