Marx-Engels Correspondence 1868
Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 142;
First published: abridged in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913 and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1931.
1. Letter from Kugelmann. Some interesting things in it. In any case, I shall write to tell him that I forbid pour l'avenir [for the future] all his eccentric respectful outbreaks of esteem.
2. Letter from Liebknecht. The brute seems quite mad. Weeks ago he wrote to me saying he would let me have copies of Vogt. And, as always with Liebknecht, there the matter rests. Not another word about it. A mass of stupid suggestions instead. I, he says, should reply to Faucher, since Liebknecht cannot answer him, and Faucher has admirers in several Leipzig tap-rooms. He will refrain ‘for the present’, and against his will, from attacks on Schweitzer. As if he had not, on the other hand, asked me, in his honour, kindly to attack Schweitzer ‘for the present’. I am to place at his disposal a ‘selection of choice passages’ from Miquel’s private correspondence with me, since he fancies that Miquel is ‘dangerous’. I am to send him Freiligrath’s poem against Kinkel, so he can rehabilitate Freiligrath at Kinkel’s expense. Finally, I am to make a certain Stromeyer — (he means Strohn) — in Bradford the agent for Ernst Stehfest et Co., Crimmitschau (spinning and weaving partnership). What else? Luckily this time he has not done me the honour of asking me to purchase here, in the City, English mustard specimens for an alleged consumer society in Leipzig, and to establish a ‘connection’ with the firm. The upshot of the whole business was — in return for the mustard and the business information — the sentence: The mustard is excellent! This is in fact what the English economists call ‘consumptive demand’ par excellence.
Borkheim’s Russophobia (with which I inoculated him as the mildest sickness for the diversion of his superfluous vital spirits) is assuming dangerous dimensions; he now has a row with Old Philipp Becker, since the latter is on good terms with Bakunin and has written to Borkheim that he should not attack Bakunin in his letters. Borkheim regards this as a dangerous Muscovite conspiracy. He believes that his ‘masterly invectives’ in Wilhelm’s Wochenblatt are causing Byzantium — and therefore also Bakunin — to shake. In a stern letter to Becker, he has declared with his usual delicacy that he will maintain his friendship for him and his (by the by negligible) pecuniary support, but — politics should now be excluded from their correspondence!
The 12 ragamuffins of the so-called French Branch held a public meeting in London last Tuesday, again under Pyat’s chairmanship and with the reading of one of his melodramatic puffs for the revolution. There were big placards on the walls as follows:
La Branche française de l'Association Internationale, etc., etc. Then Félix Pyat in huge letters. The points for discussion, listed in French, included: 3. Vote d'adhésion au manifeste (the manifesto of the Commune de Paris, which exists only on the moon, which was to be read by Pyat and had been fabricated by him) et protestation, contre l'indifférence en matiere politique professée à Bruxelles au dernier Congrès de l'Association Internationale.
Under this, however, was the English notice (also distributed as a handbill): Democrats of all nations are invited, etc. ‘For the purpose of deciding whether the Workingmen’s International Association is to be a political Association.'
Last Tuesday I was empowered to disavow the fellows immediately and publicly if the London daily newspapers should treat or mention this as a demonstration of ours. Luckily, no notice was taken of them.
This evening there is, however, to be a Subcommittee at which witnesses are to be heard that one of this dozen was formerly a marchand d'hommes [white-slave trader] and a brothel keeper, another a gambler, a third a spy for the masters in the Tailors’ strike here, etc., etc. On the basis of the ‘morals paragraph’ of the Rules, these gentlemen will probably be kicked out. They are naturally doubly annoyed that all politics are left out in dealing with fellows like them.
Salut to Mrs Burns, Jollymayer and King Cole.