Marx-Engels Correspondence 1890

Engels To August Bebel


Source: Marx & Engels on the Irish Question, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1971, p. 351-52;
Transcribed: by Einde O'Callaghan.

January 23, 1890

I see no reason why we should not repay the Progressists for their infamous behaviour of 1887 [357] and bring it home to them that they exist by our grace only. Parnell’s decision of 1886 that the Irish in England should all vote against the Liberals, for the Tories, that is, for the first time since 1800 stop being a herd voting for the Liberals, transformed Gladstone and the Liberal chiefs into Home Rulers in a matter of six weeks. [358] If anything can still be made out of the Progressists, then only by showing them in the by-elections ad oculos that they are dependent on us.


357. A reference to the stand of the Progressist Party in the Reichstag elections in February 1887. During the second ballot the supporters of the Progressist Party voted for the candidates of the “cartel” — the bloc of both conservative parties and the National-Liberals — against the Social-Democrats, thereby helping that bloc, which supported Bismarck’s government, to victory.

358. In April 1886, hoping to win the support of the Irish M.P.s, Gladstone tabled the Home Rule Bill providing for self-government for Ireland within the framework of the British Empire. This Bill led to a split in the Liberal Party and the break away of the Liberal Unionists (see Note 355). The Bill was defeated.