Marx-Engels Correspondence 1869
Source: MECW, Volume 43, p. 312;
First published: Marx and Engels, Works, First Russian Edition, Moscow, 1934.
As the enclosures show, I do keep my word, and I would have done so a long time ago, had it not been for the following: 1. I still had the enclosed photograph of Lupus, but none of me, and only after frequent sittings last winter did I get a bearable one; 2. then I found that the Lupus photo had been mislaid and, despite all the searching, could not be found. So, 3. I got the photographer who had the negative to make 24 more copies of Lupus [Wilhelm Wolff], but they turned out miserably, since it was very faded, and I wouldn’t like to send any of them. Finally, 4. I found the original one and les voici both.
I regretted to hear through Marx that you had to undergo an operation and that, now, for the summer, you want to live healthily, which is certainly very useful, and here and there also probably pleasant. I hope this will put you properly on your feet again, but will probably have the result that our friend Schorlemmer, who has been in Germany for 14 days, and who wanted to go via Hanover and visit you in about 10-12 days, will not find you there. Marx will probably be coming to Germany with his daughter Jenny at the end of this month or the beginning of next, how things will be with me I don’t know yet, for the following reasons:
On 30 June this year my agreement with my present associť expired. According to my original calculations, at the beginning of the agreement I had expected that, on its expiry, I would have made enough money out of noble commerce to live on, though very modestly by standards here, and be able to bid adieu to trade. This did not ensue completely, but after various negotiations with my associť we finally agreed that I would allow him to use my name in the firm for 5 years, and I would promise during these 5 years not to go into competition with him, for which he paid me quite a nice round sum, so that I have, in fact, reached the point at which I aimed. Since the 1st inst. I have been out of the business, and my time is finally my own again — that is, for the time being, purely theoretically since I cannot leave here until the balance has been drawn and the necessary documents have been arranged by the lawyers; and I shall still have to waste a lot of time to put these matters in order. I expect, however, to be finished during next month, and if you would let me know where you will be about that time, it might be possible for all of us to meet somewhere in Germany. I don’t need to tell you how happy I am to be rid of that damned commerce, and to be able to work for myself again. Particularly, too, since this was possible just now, when events in Europe are taking an increasingly critical turn and when, one fine day, the thunder may clap quite unexpectedly.
The Lassallean sect appears, not without dialectical irony, to seek its effective dissolution precisely in its nominal reunification. Schweitzer may, for the moment, still hold the majority of the people together, but no party or sect can endure the repeated expulsion of its leaders. And this time the dirty washing of this extremely unclean clique will produce all sorts of curiosa, which can only harm Schweitzer. The dissolution of the Lassallean sect and, on the other hand, the severence of the Saxon and South German workers from the leading-strings of the ‘People’s Party’ are the two fundamental conditions for the new formation of a genuine German workers’ party. The Lassalleans will now play their part themselves and devour one another, but it will be far more difficult to get rid of the South-German-republican philistine narrow-mindedness systematically drummed into the workers by Liebknecht. Just take the stupidity of inscribing on his sheet ‘Organ of the People’s Party’, i.e., of the South German philistines. If Bebel only had some theoretical knowledge, something like this could not happen; he seems to me to be quite a capable fellow, who simply has this one shortcoming. Then along comes Liebknecht and demands that we should come out on his side and that of his People’s Party against Schweitzer! Whereby it is obvious that 1. we have far less in common with the People’s Party, as a bourgeois party, than we have with Schweitzer’s Lassalleans, who are after all a workers’ sect; and 2. that Marx, in his capacity as Secretary of the International Working Men’s Association for Germany, is obliged to treat decorously every leader whom a sufficient number of workers place at their head and elect to parliament.
I would ask you from now on always to send your letters to my home address, given above.
Recently Marx sent me your study on the treatment of exanthematous disorders by means of ventilation. In my opinion you still apply the ventilation much too moderately. Here the window of the bedroom is kept open between 3 and 12 inches without further ado, without a screen, etc., and care is only taken that the patient is not lying in a direct draught — and this summer or winter. In addition extractum carnis and port in big doses, otherwise practically no medicine. My servant-girl was treated thus last November for typhoid fever, and Marx’s two unmarried daughters last summer for scarlet fever. I thought that this method of treatment had long been generally adopted in Germany too but, according to your account, the old keeping-warm and stink-hole method still seems to predominate.
Hoping to hear from you soon. With best wishes