Marx-Engels Correspondence 1885

Engels to Florence Kelley Wischnewetzky

Source: Science and Society Volume II, Number 3, 1938;
Translated and Edited: by Leonard E. Mins.

122, Regents’ Park Road, N.W.
London, February 10, 1885.

Dear Madam: I herewith return Mr. Putnam’s letter — of course it would be a splendid success if we could secure publication by that firm — but I am afraid Mr. Putnam will stick to his objections, the great strength of which, from a publisher’s standpoint, I fully recognize. Perhaps the fact that a new German edition of my work is in actual preparation may shake him a little. My friends in Germany say that the book is important to them just now because it describes a state of things which is almost exactly reproduced at the present moment in Germany; and as the development of manufacturing industry, steam and machinery, and their social outcrop in the creation of a proletariat, in America corresponds at the present moment as nearly as possible to the English status of 1844 (though your go-ahead people are sure to outstrip the old world in the next 15-20 years altogether), the comparison of industrial England of 1841 with industrial America of 1885 might have its interest too.

Of course in the new preface to the English translation I shall refer as fully as space will permit to the change in the condition of the British working class which has taken place in the interval; to the improved position of a more or less privileged minority, to the certainly not alleviated misery of the great body, and especially to the impending change for the worse which must necessarily follow the breakdown of the industrial monopoly of England in consequence of the increasing competition, in the markets of the world, of Continental Europe and especially of America.

Very sincerely yours,
F. Engels