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Marx-Engels Correspondence 1853

Marx to Adolf Cluss
In Washington

Source: MECW Volume 39, p. 298;
First published: in full in: Marx and Engels, Works, 1934.

London, 25 March 1853, 28 Dean Street, Soho

Dear Cluss,

Your complaints about our (or at least my) laziness in the matter of writing are not wholly justified. I used to write — save when ill — once a week. It was you who first replaced this with a different system, and often just sent newspapers in the interval instead of letters. There are all in all 3 letters from you that have remained unanswered. Of those 3, two came on the same day, one enclosed with the money sent to Freiligrath, one direct to myself. Hence, only 2 unanswered letters. If you go back to writing once every week, whether at length or briefly, I too will again adopt this regular manner. Or rather, I shall do so without waiting. But then I shall expect the same of you.

Schabelitz has now written to me at length. He had printed the Revelations pamphlet 2 months ago and, for the space of 5 weeks, left it lying at Weil, a Baden village on the other side of the border. Instead of posting a reliable man there, the jackass went and left everything to the smuggler who, having gradually extracted from him a substantial sum of money, ended up by giving himself away to the Baden government. The rest you will have seen in the last issue of the Tribune. But you will be even more convinced of the interest taken by the Prussian government in this pamphlet, and hence of its importance to the ‘Fatherland’, when I tell you that the heroic Stieber has not only become police superintendent in Berlin but is co-opted onto every ministerial council concerned with precautionary measures against revolutionaries and revolutionary activities. I am almost beside myself with anger at the pamphlet’s temporary suppression. You for your part would not appear to have handled matters on this occasion with your usual felicity. The Neu-England-Zeitung may take a year to get it out by thus printing it in dribs and drabs, whereas it devotes whole columns to the ‘figure de fouine [weasel-like features]’ of the wretched Ruge who, over here, has still not succeeded in acquiring more than a ‘strictly circumscribed train’ of 5 persons. Why didn’t you put the thing into the Demokrat, a much more widely read organ, to which you yourself contribute? Next time you write you must tell me frankly whether or not the thing can be produced as a pamphlet in America. It would be for European consumption and would be tossed into Prussia via Hamburg. If I were not utterly devoid of means I would arrange for it to be printed in Altona forthwith. It is not partiality to the little lampoon, but my perfect knowledge of conditions in Prussia which prompts me to say that, at the present moment, we could deal our beloved Prussians no more telling blow.

Don’t lose sight of that blackguard Willich. He is the most rabid of enemies and an idiot into the bargain.

Pulszky has not come among you simply to engage in high politics. He has also been sent across the ocean for the purpose of appeasing General Vetter who, having become disaffected, is intriguing from America against the ‘great Kossuth’. To my amazement I see in the Daily Tribune, received from you today, that it has accepted my attacks upon Kossuth-Mazzini. I had thought this highly improbable, the more so since Greeley’s white-red-black friend, the Jew Pulszky, is over there.

Szemere wrote to me from Paris giving me the news I published in the Tribune, namely that there had been a lengthy conference between Kossuth and his Parisian partisans about his now ‘disowned proclamation’ and that they forced the miserable little man to make a disavowal.

Barthélemy, Willich’s friend, whom you will remember from his duel with Schramm (the latter, by the by, lives in Cincinnati whence he has written once), has received a 2 months’ sentence for fighting a duel on English soil in the course of which he killed Cournet. He got off so lightly, despite the sordid disclosures which were made during the trial, because according to English law, seconds are punished as severely as duellists and also because they didn’t want to make the poor devil pay the full penalty for what he had done. The fellow had the effrontery when in prison to have a message sent to Ledru saying that as soon as he came out he would shoot him down like a dog. Ledru replied that he would not exchange shots with such a scoundrel. Barthélemy: He was very well able to induce a man to exchange shots with him by boxing his ears in the open street, and other such tested methods. Ledru (riposte): That being so, he would regale him with his stick.

The winsome warrior, Schimmelpfennig, has inherited £1,000 sterling from the Brüningk woman. Indeed, Monsieur le Lieutenant had appointed himself to the post of sycophant, nursery-maid, fan-bearer, political oracle, companion, admirer, boots, and any other agreeable function you may care to name.

Reichenbach wants to go to America, as does — up to a point — Kalb of Löwe, the first as a farmer, the second as a doctor.

In the West, the most important, if least conspicuous event, has been the burial of Madame Raspail in Paris. The unexpected turn-out of 20,000 proletarians in full dress utterly dumbfounded the Bonapartists. So you can see that the proletarian lion isn’t dead. For Ledru, too, the event was a most bitter pill. Raspail is his arch-enemy.

One more fact. Don’t blame me if it is unaesthetic. The ‘blonde souveraine’, Montijo-Lola, is subject to a most repellent constitutional complaint — incessant farting. It is known as tympoptanomania. Formerly she used to combat the ‘accident’ with energetic horse-riding which Bonaparte has now forbidden her on the grounds that it is beneath her station. Thus at several ‘réunions’ her ‘detonations fortes’ have even brought blushes to the cheeks of braided Décembraillards. And that is saying a great deal. Ce n'est qu'un petit bruit, un murmure, un rieng; mais enfin, vous savez que les Français ont le nez au plus petit vent. [It’s only a small noise, a murmur, a nothing; but then, you know, the French are sensitive to the slightest puff of wind]

In a year at the most you will, I think, be with us. Les choses marchent. [Things are moving]

K. M.