Letters of Marx and Engels from Science and Society

Engels to Sorge (Excerpt)

Written: June 20, 1882;
Source: Science and Society Volume II, No. 2, Spring 1938;
Translated and Edited: by Leonard E. Mins;
HTML Mark-up: Andy Blunden and Sally Ryan.

June 20, 1882.

Dear Sorge:

... Marx was in Algiers for about two months, where he suffered a relapse of pleurisy, as I think I wrote you. After this was cured, he went to Monte Carlo in Monaco, and suffered another, but this time a mild one. From there he went to Paris about three weeks ago, and is now with his daughter, Mrs. Longuet, in Argenteuil near Paris, travelling to Enghien every day to take the sulphur springs there for his chronic bronchial catarrh and cough. His general health is very good; as for his further movements, they depend entirely upon the doctors.

The English translation of the Manifesto sent us is quite unprintable without complete revision. But you will understand that this is out of the question under the present circumstances.

I have heard nothing of Leo for months. He is a queer chap who must be allowed to go his own way. I haven’t even his address. Apropos, for some time past I have been receiving communications for Leo from Dr. Lilienthal in New York, which I can transmit only via Paris. Who is this Lilienthal?

The presumption of the Lassalleans after their arrival in America was inevitable. People who carried the only true gospel with them in their bag could not speak unpretentiously to the Americans, still languishing in spiritual darkness. What was at stake, moreover, was finding a new footing in America to take the place of the one that was disappearing more and more under their feet in Germany. To make up for it we are happily rid of them in Germany; in America, where everything proceeds ten times as fast, they will soon be disposed of.

I trust your eyes get better through your resting them. I also had trouble with them once and know what an infamous business it is.

In Germany things are going ahead excellently on the whole. To be sure, the literati of the party have tried to effect a turn towards the reactionary, tame-bourgeois, educated, but this failed utterly. The infamies to which the Social Democratic workers are subjected everywhere have made them much more revolutionary everywhere than they were even three years ago. You will have read the details in the Sozialdemokrat. Of the leaders, Bebel is the one who has behaved best in this affair again. Liebknecht wavered somewhat, since not only does he welcome every, even halfway so-called democratic, “eddicated man” with open arms and without looking him over carefully, but his son-in-law, the fat sleepyhead Bruno Geiser, is one of the biggest whiners. These people would like to beg off the Socialist Law at any price, by mildness, meekness, toadying and tameness, because it makes short work of their literary earnings. As soon as the law is abolished (even the bourgeois do not count upon its prolongation by the present Reichstag or any other possible Reichstag, because it has proved to be totally ineffective), the split will probably become an open one, and the Vierecks, Hochbergs, Geisers, Blos and Co. will form a separate Right wing, where we can negotiate with them from case to case until they finally collapse altogether. We said this immediately after the passage of the Socialist Law, when Hochberg and Schramm published in the Jahrbuch what was under the circumstances a quite infamous estimate of the party’s activity up to that time, and demanded of the party more “eddicated,” respectable, parlor-dress manners.

Regards to Adolph; he hasn’t let me hear from him.

Best regards,

F. Engels

Tell Adolph that Pumps has a little girl.