Marx-Engels Correspondence 1868
Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 62;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.
The children are progressing well. Yesterday for the first time they were outside for half an hour. The peeling is still very pronounced. Only when this is finished will they be movable.
During the past few days I have been pressed very hard by the baker, cheesemonger, assessed taxes, God and the Devil.
You will recall that the German Workers’ Educational Society here has celebrated the June  Insurrection for about 18 years now. Only in the last few years have the French (their society here now exists as the French Branch of the International) taken part. And the old meneurs [leaders] always stayed away. I mean the petits grands hommes.
But this year, in public meeting, along came Mr Pyat and read out an alleged address of the Paris Commune (this is a euphemism for the identical Pyat, who is in no way inferior to Blind in this line) in which the assassinat of Bonaparte was preached, as it was years ago in his Lettre aux étudians. The French Branch, reinforced by other bawlers, acclaimed this. Vésinier had it printed in Cigale and Espiegle, Belgian papers, and presents Pyat as giving his direction to the ‘International’.
As a result, we get a letter from the Brussels committee, which just at the moment is making great propaganda, under difficult circumstances (Charleroi affair). Contents: This demonstration threatens to wreck the entire Association on the continent. Will the French Branch never move forward from the old demagogic phrases, etc.? etc., etc. It should be remembered that, at this very time, our people are behind bars in Paris. We yesterday issued a declaration (to be printed in Brussels), disavowing any connection between the above-mentioned Pyat and the International.
Indeed I regard the whole affair (naturally based upon the background of the enormous stupidity of the French Branch) as an intrigue of the old parties, the republican jackasses of 1848, especially the petits grands hommes who represent them in London. Our Association is a thorn in their flesh. After trying in vain to work against the Association, the next best thing, of course, is to compromise it. Pyat is just the man to do this de bonne foi. [in good faith] The cleverer ones therefore push him forward.
What could be funnier than this squint-eyed melodrama-writer and Charivari man before 1848, this toastmaster of 1848 who now plays Brutus, but from a safe distance!
The French Branch here will have to be thrown out of the International if it does not put a stop to its asininity. One cannot allow 50 unprincipled louts, round whom loudmouths of all nationalities gather at such public opportunities, to endanger the International Association at a moment when, as a result of conditions on the continent, it is beginning to become a serious power.