Marx-Engels Correspondence 1882
Source: Marx & Engels on the Irish Question, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1971;
Transcribed: by Einde O’Callaghan.
You naturally presumed that, in view of our old friendship, Liebknecht had a perfect right to ask you to give him my letter[A], and that you were obliged to give it to him. I can see nothing in that for me to complain about. You could not know that four-fifths of the many differences I have had with Liebknecht were due to such arbitrary actions on his part, to public misuse of private letters, to notes on my articles which were silly or directly contradictory to the meaning of the text, etc. This time too he has used my letter in an unjustifiable way. The letter was written with direct reference to your article. Liebknecht treated it as if it were “my” interpretation of the entire Irish question. That is terribly frivolous, particularly when speeches by Davitt are advanced against it, which had not even been made when the letter was written, and which have nothing to do with it, since Davitt with his state ownership of the land is so far only a symptom. But Liebknecht always acts frivolously when he wants to demonstrate his “superiority.” I do not grudge him the fun, but he should not misuse my letters for that, and now he compels me to ask you in future (I want to express myself as correctly and diplomatically as possible) de lui donner- tout an plus — lecture de mes lettres sans cependant lui abandonner l’original ni lui en laisser copie. [B]
A.. See preceding letter. — Ed.
B.. To give him my letters to read, at the very most, without, however, leaving him the original or a copy. — Ed.