Letters of Marx and Engels 1848

Engels To Emil Blank
In London

Source: MECW Volume 38, p. 170;
Written: 15 April 1848;
First published: in Marx and Engels, Works, First Russian Edition, 1934.

Barmen, 15 April 1848

Dear Emil,

I am safely back here again.[216] The whole of Barmen is waiting to see what I shall do. They believe I'm going to proclaim the republic forthwith. The philistines are trembling with vague fear — what of, they themselves don’t really know. At any rate, it is believed that, now I am here, much will speedily resolve itself. C. and A. Ermen were quaking visibly when I walked into their office today. I, of course, am not meddling in anything but waiting quietly to see what happens.

The panic here is ineffable. The bourgeoisie are calling for confidence but confidence has gone. Most of them are fighting for existence, as they themselves put it. This doesn’t fill the workers’ bellies, however, and from time to time they rebel a little. General dissolution, ruin, anarchy, despair, fear, rage, constitutional enthusiasm, hatred of the Republic, etc., are rampant, and the fact is, for the time being, the richest people are the most tormented and frightened. And the exaggerations, the lies, the ranting and the railing, are enough to drive one out of one’s mind. The most placid of citizens is a real enragé. [madman — ironically comparing the German citizens with the men of the most radical trend during the French Revolution]

But they're in for a surprise when once the Chartists make a start. The business of the procession was a mere bagatelle. In a couple of months, my friend, G. Julian Harney, to whom pray address the enclosed letter, 9 Queen Street, Brompton, will be in Palmerston’s shoes[217]. I'll bet you twopence and in fact any sum. All is well with your mother and mine. They are expecting your brother Hermann; Anna is in Hamm. My regards to Marie and the children. À bientôt.