Marx-Engels Correspondence 1865

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to the Editorial Board of the Sozial-Demokrat, 6 February 1865

Source: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Correspondence (Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975). Scanned and prepared for the Marxist Internet Archive by Paul Flewers.

Statement [1]

In No 16 of your paper Mr M Hess [2] in Paris casts suspicion on the French members, who are entirely unknown to him, of the Central Council in London of the International Working Men’s Association by writing:

It is indeed, quite inconceivable why it should matter that a few friends of the Palais Royal [3] also belong to the London Association, for it is a public one [etc].

In an earlier issue, in a chat about the paper L'Association, [4] this same Mr M Hess made a similar insinuation against the Parisian friends of the London Council. We declare that his insinuations are absurd slanders.

By the way, we are glad that this incident has confirmed our conviction that the Paris proletariat continues to be irreconcilably opposed to Bonapartism, in both its forms, the form of the Tuileries [5] and the form of the Palais Royal, and that it never contemplated selling its historical honour (or shall we say ‘its historical birth-right as the protagonist of the revolution’ instead of ‘its historical honour'?) for a mess of pottage. We recommend to the German workers that they follow this example.


1. Marx sent the text of the statement on 6 February 1865 to Engels requesting him to sign it if he approved of it. In the same letter he wrote that having received the latest issue of the Sozial-Demokrat:I consider it better to send the few lines given below first instead of the statement I had originally in mind.’ The final break with the paper occurred within a short time (see Marx’s letter of 18 February 1865 and the Statement addressed to the editorial board of the Sozial-Demokrat dated 23 February 1865 – Progress Publishers.

2. Moses Hess (1812-1875) – German petty-bourgeois publicist, in mid-1840s one of main representatives of ‘true socialism’, in 1860s Lassallean, attended Brussels (1868) and Basle (1869) congresses of International – Progress Publishers.

3. An allusion to Joseph Bonaparte, nicknamed Plon-Plon, a cousin of Napoleon III, whose residence was the Palais Royal in Paris. Joseph Bonaparte headed a Bonapartist group that tried to divert the popular masses from their fight against the existing regime by large-scale demagogical manoeuvres and a sham opposition to the policy of Napoleon III – Progress Publishers.

4. L'Association – French journal, organ of the cooperative workers’ associations, which were under the influence of bourgeois republicans. The journal was published in Paris and Brussels from 1864 to 1866 – Progress Publishers.

5. The allusion is to Napoleon III, who lived in the Tuileries – Progress Publishers.