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Marx-Engels Correspondence 1869

Engels To Marx
In London

Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 387;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1931.

Manchester, 29 November 1869

Dear Moor,

It is very amusing that Carey is also worthless in the only field in which one might expect that he must have a certain knowledge, in the history of the colonisation of the United States. After this, au fond, the fellow is left with nothing<"ireland">.

The election in Tipperary is an event. It launches the Fenians from empty conspiracies and the fabrication of coups on a path of action that, even if legal in appearance, is still far more revolutionary than what they have done since their abortive insurrection. In fact, they are adopting the methods of the French workers, and this is an enormous advance. If only this business is carried on as intended. The fear this new turn has produced amongst philistines, which is now screeching through the whole liberal press, is the best proof that, this time, the nail has been hit on the head. The Solicitors’ Journal is typical noting with horror that the election of a political prisoner is unprecedented in the British realm! Tant pis [so much the worse], show me the country except England where this doesn’t happen every day! The worthy Gladstone must be terribly annoyed.

But you really should look at The Times these days. Three leaders in 8 days either urging the Government to end the excesses of the Irish national press, or in which the Government itself urges this.

I long to hear about your debate tomorrow evening, and about the result, of which there can be no doubt. It would be fine to get Odger into a pickle. I hope that, apart from him, Bradlaugh will stand for Southwark, and it would be much better if he were elected.. Incidentally, if the English workers can’t take an example from the peasants of Tipperary, then they are in a bad way.

Here, in the Free Library, and the Chetham Library (which you know) I have discovered a mass of very valuable sources (besides the books with secondhand information), but unfortunately neither Young nor Prendergast, nor the English edition of the Brehon law commissioned by the English Government. Wakefield, on the other hand, has put in an appearance again. Also, various things by old Petty. Last week I ploughed through the tracts of old Sir John Davies (Attorney General for Ireland under James); I don’t know whether you've read them, they are the main source, but you've certainly found them quoted 100 times. It’s downright shame that the original sources are not everywhere available; one gets infinitely more out of them than from the compilers, who make everything that is clear and simple confused and intricate. The tracts show clearly that, in Anno 1600 common ownership of land still existed in full force and was cited by Mr Davies in his pleas on the forfeited land in Ulster as evidence that the land did not belong to the individual owners (peasants), and thus [belonged] either to the Lord, who had forfeited it or, from the outset, to the Crown, I've never read anything finer than this plea. Reallotments were made every two or three years. In another pamphlet he describes the income of the chief of the clan in exact detail. I've never seen these things quoted, and if you can use them, I'll send you them in detail. At the same time, I've caught out Monsieur Goldwin Smith beautifully. The fellow never read Davies, so makes the most ridiculous assertions to exonerate the English. But I shall catch the fellow.

Today I have not yet been able to set my eyes on the oration of the noble Louis-Napoleon, but only the sweet hopes of the worthy Prévost-Paradol, who imagines he is living once again under Louis-Philippe and that the constitutional millennium will dawn today. Incorrigible!

I wanted to get good old Dido [Engels’ dog] to reply to Tussy’s letter this evening, which only arrived today; but the cur has run out into the rain and snow to avoid this duty, and now it is close of post, so Tussy will have to be patient until tomorrow. But she is certainly thinking more about O'Donovan Rossa in Chatham prison than about her own old chap, who has just come in cold and filthy and is also locked up like a convict in the back cellar.

Best greetings to all.

F. E.