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Marx-Engels Correspondence 1853

Marx To Engels
In Manchester

Source: MECW Volume 39, p. 280;
First published: in MEGA, Berlin, 1929.

[London,] 23 February 1853

Dear Engels,

I have been sérieuement indisposed; for the ‘perfidious Prussians’ have not permitted me either to stand, sit or lie down. Hence my long silence and my failure so much as to acknowledge the money.

You will have seen that Kossuth, through an American filibuster, Captain Mayne Reid, has disavowed his alleged Milan proclamations. Well, yesterday Szemer wrote to me from Paris, saying he knew for certain that the proclamation was authentic, as was evident in any case from its contents. The Leader (pro-Mazzini)

*‘deems it his duty to caution his readers, that this affair lies entirely between Mr Kossuth and Mr Mazzini and that the latter is absent from England’.*

You will yourself have seen, in The Daily News, Della Rocco’s statement’ aimed directly at Agostini, but also indirectly at Kossuth. The par nubile fratrum [noble brothers] seems to have fallen out. Kossuth is as false as he is cowardly.

You have rated Mazzini too high if you imagine he was present in person at Milan. At critical moments like these he absents himself from England so that he may be suspected of being in the theatre of war.

Pitiable finale though the Milan business is to Mazzini’s eternal plotting, and despite my conviction that he has done himself personal injury, I am sure that the revolutionary movement as a whole will benefit by what is happening. I.e., by the brutal manner in which the Austrians are exploiting [...]. Had Radetzky followed Strassoldo’s example, had he praised the Milanese citizenry for their ‘orderly conduct’, had he described the whole thing as the wretched uprising of a few ‘miscreants’ and, as a token of his confidence, appeared to loosen the reins a little, the revolutionary party would have been discredited in the eyes of the whole world. But as it is, by introducing a system of wholesale plunder, he is turning Italy into the ‘revolutionary crater’ which Mazzini, for all his declaiming, was unable to conjure into existence.

And another thing. Could any one of us have believed that, after its 4 years of victory, military preparations and rodomontade, reaction should feel itself so infinitely weak that, at the first sign of a riot, it lets out a scream of genuine terror? The fellows’ belief in revolution is unshakable. Once again they have testified to the whole world how insecure they feel. Whereas realiter the ‘émigrétion’ is totally bankrupt and impotent, they loudly proclaim its power through all government papers and encourage the belief that a net of conspiracy is closing in from all sides on the worthy citizens.

Ad vocem Bangya. Is presently in Paris. I now possess actual proof that the gallant fellow is an agent of the Austrian government. He bought his way back to France by accepting a clandestine post in the French Police Ministry. At the same time he is in Paris as official agent for Kossuth, who wants money from Bonaparte. In Paris, by the by, the fellow has woven a net in which he himself will become ensnared. As to our manuscript [Great Men of the Exile], he sold it to Greif, who was travelling under the name of ‘Schulz’. Incidentally, both of them misled the government into believing that they had ‘managed to procure’ — note the professional term — this ‘document’ from the archives of a ‘secret society’.

Still no news from Schabelitz, save that the thing [Revelations Concerning the Communist Trial in Cologne] is circulating in Germany. He still doesn’t dare send anything here, for fear that the French police will open the parcel and denounce the business to the Prussian police.

I have heard from a reliable source, mais c'est un secret (which Napoleon doubtless knows as well as I do), that Ledru intends to go into action in Paris in 3-4 weeks. I have been told by an eye-witness that the first news of the rising in Milan created a great sensation in Paris. Gatherings in the streets, etc., not to rebel but to confer. On the whole the Frenchmen here are well content that Mr Mazzini should have discredited himself by his ‘action’. They see themselves avenged.

Thanks to Cluss our appeal on behalf of the Cologne people — 6 lines long — has appeared in all the American papers, in each case under the auspices of the local gymnastic club. Nous [verrons]. Our dear acquaintances in Cologne itself have as yet given no sign of life. That’s caution for you! One of them, ex-lieutenant Steffen, who figured as a defence witness at the Cologne trial, is here and promptly found himself a teaching post in Friedländer’s establishment. Blind is dunning me daily for the Herzen, as is Dronke for Reichenbach’s circular. This is essential to Dronke since he wants to become a correspondent of the Volkshalle in Cologne under another name.

What do you think of the lively sympathy shown by the clerics of the Established Church towards the unfortunate Ten Hours Movement? Always the same old game. On Saturday I'll send you a parcel containing all the remaining newspapers, and letters from Cluss.

Of all little finality John’s performances, the last was probably the most classical. Even The Times was forced to admit that Johnny excites ‘mightily little enthusiasm’.

Mrs Harney is dead. Likewise Mrs von Brüningk. A short while ago there was an exchange of letters between myself and Brüningk, in which everything hinged on Kinkel and Willich. As I have already told you, Willich sailed for America 4 weeks ago.


K. M.