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Marx-Engels Correspondence 1869

Marx To Ludwig Kugelmann
In Hanover

Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 231;
First published: abridged in Die Neue Zeit, Stuttgart, 1901-1902 and in full in Pisma Marksa h Kugelmanu (Letters of Marx to Kugelmann), Moscow-Leningrad, 1928.

London, 3 March 1869

Dear Kugelmann,

The damned photographer has once again been leading me by the nose for weeks, and has still not supplied additional copies. But I shall not delay this reply longer because of this.

With regard to Herr Vogt, I wished to make sure of those copies which could still be saved from Liebknecht’s hands (I had sent him 300 from London to Berlin, i.e., all those still left) in case they were needed. I therefore took the liberty of ordering them to be stored at your place. But Orindur, solve for me this mystery of nature !

Liebknecht sent you just 6 copies, but announced to me that he had sent 50 copies. Will you please ask him for the answer to this riddle!

Quételet is now too old for one still to make any sort of experiment with him. He rendered great services in the past by demonstrating that even the apparently casual incidents of social life possess an inner necessity through their periodic recurrence and their periodic average incidence. But he was never successful in interpreting this necessity. And he made no progress, but simply extended the material for his observations and calculations. He is today no further on than he was before 1830.

It will probably take until the summer before I am finished with Vol. II. Then — with the manuscript — I shall come to Germany with my daughter [Jenny] and see you then. Or, to be more precise, shall descend on you.

In France — a very interesting movement in progress.

The Parisians are once again really studying their recent revolutionary past, to prepare themselves for the pending new revolutionary business. First, the origin of the Empire — then the coup d'état of December. This had been entirely forgotten, just as the reaction in Germany has been able to wipe out memories of 1848/49 completely.

That is why Ténot’s books about the coup d'état in Paris and the provinces aroused such enormous interest that they rapidly went through 10 editions. They were followed by dozens of other books on the same period. C'était la rage, and this soon became a speculative business for the publishers.

These writings came from the opposition — Ténot is an homme du Siècle (I mean the liberal bourgeois paper, not our century). All the liberal and illiberal rogues belonging to the official opposition promoted this mouvement. Also the republican democrats, people like Delescluze; for example, who was formerly Ledru-Rollin’s adjutant and now, as republican patriarch, edits Réveil in Paris.

Until now everybody has been indulging in these posthumous revelations, or rather reminiscences — everybody who was not Bonapartist.

But then came le revers de la medaille [other side of the coin].

First, the French Government itself got the renegade Hippolyte Castille to publish Les Massacres de Juin 1848. This was a blow in the face for Thiers, Falloux, Marie, Jules Favre, Jules Simon, Pelletan, etc., in short, the chiefs of what is called in France ‘l'Union Libérale’, who wish to perform a sleight of hand with the next elections, the infamous old rogues.

Then came the Socialist Party, which ‘unmasked’ the opposition and the old-style republican democrats.

Including Vermorel: Les Hommes de 1848 and L'Opposition.

Vermorel is a Proudhonist.

Last came the Blanquists, for example, G. Tridon: Gironde et Girondins.

So the whole historic witches’ brew is simmering.

When shall we have got this far?

To show you how well the French police are served:

I intended to go to Paris next week to see my daughter. Last Saturday a police agent enquired of Lafargue whether Mons. Marx had arrived yet. He had a commission for him. Forewarned!

My heartiest greetings to your dear wife and Fränzchen. How is Madame Tenge?

K. M.