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Marx-Engels Correspondence 1869

Engels To Marx
In London

Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 365;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

Manchester, 1 November 1869

Dear Moor,

The resolution on landed property has worked real wonders. It forces the fellows in Germany to think, for the first time since Lassalle started his agitation, something hitherto regarded as completely superfluous. This can be seen plainly in the letter from Bonhorst. In other respects, too, I find the letter not bad; despite the affectation and semi-education, it contains a certain healthy popular humour and, with the mortgage, he has hit the nail on the head. Incidentally, the people forget that, apart from the main business with big landed property, there are also various sorts of peasant: (1) the tenant farmer to whom it is immaterial whether the land belongs to the state or to the big landowner; (2) the owner, first the big peasant, against whose reactionary existence the day-labourers and farm-hands should be incited; second the middle peasant, also reactionary and not very numerous; and third, the debt-laden small peasant, who can be got at through his mortgage. In addition it may be said that, for the time being, the proletariat has no interest in raising the question of small land-holding.

It is delightful that that simple soul Goegg has now been sacked by his own people for being too communist! The worthy Ladendorff is behind this. Beust may be a communist on paper, but can easily be caught if he is told that the money was not given for that reason, but only to revolutionise Germany in general. Now we are supposed even to keep alive the unhappy Felleisen, though all that can be said is that, the sooner it goes to the devil, the better.

You could send me some characteristic specimens of the German stuff so that I might remain a little au courant.

The Prussians have once again produced a wonderful Prussian trick by destroying the Langensalza memorial in Celle. Never has anything been more grovelling than Mr Miquel’s interpellation on this point. Roon took the opportunity to conclude that, in Prussia, an official order from above is sufficient for the military to trample on any court decision.

I am sorry about Serno; he seems, for a change, to have been a decent Russian. But I am still sorrier for Goegg with his opinion about Serno’s classical French, of which we have also seen samples<"ireland">.

It is a real stroke of luck that the Bee-Hive is now flaunting the bourgeois colours both insolently and stupidly. I have never seen such a filthy issue as that of yesterday. This cringing to Gladstone and the whole bourgeois-patronising-philanthropic tone must break the back of the sheet, and make the need felt for a real workers’ paper. It is a very good thing that, just at the moment when the workers sober up from their liberal intoxication, their only paper should become more and more bourgeois. But Sam Morley should not be so stupid as to put such stupid chaps there, and to allow them to spread the bourgeois varnish so thickly and so obviously.

The Fenian demonstration in London simply proves once again the value the press attaches to public opinion. About 100,000 assembled in the most imposing demonstration seen in London for years and, since it is in the interests of respectability, the entire London press, with no exception, manages to depict this as a shabby failure.

In connection with the present strike by the spinners in Bolton a master spinner told Sam Moore quite frankly: we don’t care at all about the 5% reduction of wages, what we want and intend to have is a reduced production (that is to say a strike).

The Wakefield has still not been found here. But before I need it, I must check the basis more thoroughly, that’s to say, the history of 1600-1700.

So that my Irish sources should not lack a comic side, I have found here in the foreign library Irland by Jacobus Venedey!

Best greetings. Lousy weather here.

F. E.