This personal letter was written by Wilhelm Weitling, to Moses Hess, the day after the meeting of the Communist Correspondence Committee. Present at this meeting were: Weitling, Marx, Engels, Philippe Gigot, Louis Heilberg, Sebastien Seiler, Edgar von Westphalen (Marx’s brother-in-law), Joseph Weydemeyer, and Pavel Annenkov.
Brussels, March 31, 1846
Last evening we met again inpleno. Marx brought with him a man whom he presented to us as a Russian [Annenkov], and who never said a word throughout the whole evening. The question was: What is the best way to carry on propaganda in Germany? Seiler posed the question, but he said he could not go into further detail now, since some delicate matters would have to be touched upon, etc. Marx kept on pressing him, but in vain. Both became excited, Marx violently so. In the end, the latter took up the question. His resume was:
That Marx and Engels will vehemently criticize my principles is now certain. Whether or not I will be able to defend myself as I would like to do, I don’t know. Without money Marx cannot criticize and I cannot defend myself; nevertheless, in an emergency it may not matter that I have no money. I believe Marx and Engels will end by criticizing themselves through their own criticism. In Marx’s brain, I see nothing more than a good encyclopaedia, but no genius. His influence is felt through other personalities. Rich men made him editor, voila tout. Indeed, rich men who make sacrifices have a right to see or have investigations made into what they want to support. They have the power to assert this right, but the writer also has the power, no matter how poor he is, not to sacrifice his convictions for money. I am capable of sacrificing my conviction for the sake of unity. I put aside my work on my system when I received protests against it from all directions. But when I heard in Brussels that the opponents of my system intended to publish splendid systems in well-financed translations, I completed mine and made an effort to bring it to the man [Marx]. If this is not supported, then it is entirely in order to make an examination. Jackass that I was, I had hitherto believed that it would be better if we used all our own qualities against our _enemies_ and encouraged especially those that bring forth persecutions in the struggle. I had thought it would be better to influence the people and, above all, to organize a portion of them for the propagation of our popular writings. But Marx and Engels do not share this view, and in this they are strengthened by their rich supporters. All right! Very good! Splendid! I see it coming. I have often found myself in similar circumstances, and always things turned out for the best....