Marx-Engels Correspondence 1869

Karl Marx to Ludwig Kugelmann, 11 May 1869

Source: Karl Marx, Letters to Dr Kugelmann (Martin Lawrence, London, undated). Scanned and prepared for the Marxist Internet Archive by Paul Flewers.

Dear Kugelmann

You must forgive my protracted silence. Firstly I have for several weeks been suffering from my liver complaint, which always afflicts me in the spring months and is the more troublesome in that it makes me almost entirely unfit for intellectual work. Secondly, however, I have been waiting from one day to the next for the photograph that you want and that Herr Fahnenbach, a German sleepyhead, has not delivered to this day.

My wife and youngest daughter are at the moment visiting the Lafargues in Paris, so that we are very lonely here.

With the best will in the world, I could not find any Palmerston pamphlets (mine) for you. The Urquhart publications against Russia and Palmerston, although containing a good deal that is correct, spoil everything through the crotchets of the great ‘David’.

Your article sent to Engels. It will be difficult for us, in our complete isolation from the respectable press, to do anything for you in this field, but we shall try.

About the end of August I intend visiting you with my daughter and spending till the end of September with you in Germany, wherever you like, even at the risk of neglecting to finish my manuscript. I cannot, of course, stay any longer than that.

I read your letter to Borkheim. [1] You say quite rightly that the St Bartholomew nonsense about the Belgian massacres will not do. But you in your turn overlook the importance and the peculiar meaning of these events. Belgium, you must know, is the only country, where, year in, year out, swords and muskets have the last word to say in strikes. In an address of the General Council here, which I wrote in English and French, the situation is made clear. By tomorrow the English address will be ready. I will send it to you immediately. [2]

I have also just written an English address for the General Council of the International Association to the National Labour Union in the United States, in reference to the war with England, which the bourgeois republicans are just now wanting to stage. [3]

Herr Meissner [4] has had the (printed and corrected) manuscript of the 18 Brumaire since the end of January, but has constantly delayed printing it. That’s pleasant too! He waits until the time when it would be effective is past, from stupid booksellers’ business reasons.

With best greetings to your dear wife and Fränzchen.

Karl Marx


1. Sigismund Borkheim (1825-1885) – German merchant and publicist who took an active part in the 1848 Revolution. Fled to Switzerland and later settled in London, where in the 1860s he became a close friend of Marx and Engels – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.

2. Marx wrote this address to the workers of Europe and the United States following the bloody events in Belgium in April 1869. On 20 April, the General Council heard the report of Eugen Hins, of the Belgian Federal Council of the International, who had been sent to the spot to investigate the details of the massacre in Seraing and Frameries. Marx was commissioned to draw up an address on behalf of the General Council to denounce the atrocities committed by the Belgian authorities. He wrote it in English and French and read it out at the General Council meeting of 4 May. The Council approved the address and decided to have it printed and distributed. In English it was published as a leaflet, ‘The Belgian Massacres: To the Workmen of Europe and the United States’, in London on 12 May 1869.

3. Address to the National Labour Union in the United States.

4. Otto Karl Meissner (1819-1902) – Hamburg publisher who brought out Marx’s Capital and a number of other works by Marx and Engels – Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute.