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«213. Engels to Kautsky. 2 December 1885 213 ENGELS T O K A R L K A U T S K Y 4 9 0 IN L O N D O N [London,] 2 December 1885 Dear Kautsky, Ad vocem* ...»

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362 213. Engels to Kautsky. 2 December 1885

213

ENGELS T O K A R L K A U T S K Y 4 9 0

IN L O N D O N

[London,] 2 December 1885

Dear Kautsky,

Ad vocem* Adler:

1) Re the pistol business, don't forget to point out that the NCOs

were wearing their sabres. They complained of an affront to the N CO

caste. 4 9 1

2) Hess. It is not of course possible to confirm — for I never saw him again after May 1848, when he disappeared for good — whether or not he spent a few days in Baden or the Palatinate. But he didn't 'take part'; he was neither orator, nor journalist, nor official, nor sol- dier, so it's inconceivable that some government or other — Adler certainly ought to have said which one — should have condemned him to d e a t h. 4 9 2 Ad vocem Liebknecht. Before you post the letter, give me a chance to enclose a word or two of explanation; there was something I forgot to tell him yesterday. b Your F.E.

First published, in Russian, in Marx- Printed according to the original Engels Archives, Vol. I (VI), Moscow, 1932 Published in English for the first time a b As regards - See previous letter.

363

214. Engels to Becker. 5 December 1885 214

ENGELS T O J O H A N N P H I L I P P B E C K E R 4 8 4

IN GENEVA

London, 5 December 1885 Dear Old Man, As it's so long since I heard from you, I am reminding you of my existence by advising you of the despatch of a £5 money order which I hope will arrive at the same time as this letter and perhaps help to lighten the transition from the old year to the new. I trust you are still in the best of health and that you will send me a line or two before long acknowledging receipt.

I have been slogging away hard of late, as no doubt you will learn from the Zurich booksellers' publishing side, and in particular have seized the opportunity of reviving various pieces from the golden days of our youth in 1848-49. 4 9 3 This is damned important, for the younger ge- neration, which has forgotten all about it, if indeed it ever knew, is be- ginning to want to find out what went on at that time and, in view of the many inaccurate sources and accounts, it's important to provide them with as much accurate information as possible. What is abso- lutely vital is that you should finish your memoirs; years ago the Neue Welt published some really charming pieces. a You're a wonderfully skilful narrator and on top ofthat your memory goes back at least 10 or 15 years further than mine and embraces the period 1830-40, which is also very important where later developments are concerned. Some money might also be made out of it, and that's not to be sneezed at.

I still have to revise the Peasant War2 ' 3 which is badly in need of it and shall then go on to Volume III of Capital, this having now been dictated in the rough from the original draft and set down in a legible hand. It will be the devil of a task, but a splendid one. Unfortunately a mass of translations into French, English, Italian and Danish keep intervening, which I have to go over—all too necessary in most a J. Ph. Becker, 'Abgerissene Bilder aus meinem Leben', Die Neue Welt, Nos. 17-20, 23, 24, 26, 28 and 29; 22 and 29 April, 6 and 13 May, 3, 10 and 24 June, 8 and 15 July 1876.

364 214. Engels to Becker. 5 December 1885 cases. 4 9 4 Fortunately my knowledge of Russian, let alone Polish, doesn't extend to this sort of job, otherwise it would never end. But from that you will see how extensive is the international field our communism has now conquered and it is always a pleasure when one can do one's bit towards extending that field still further.

I hope the wretched business in the Balkans 4 4 5 will pass off peacefully. We are making such splendid progress everywhere that a world war would be inopportune just n o w — t o o late or too early. But ultimately it would also work in our favour by putting an end to militarism once and for all — at the cost of the massacre of l'/s million men and the squandering of 1,000 billion francs. After that there could be no more war.

The elections in France have provided the Radicals with the immediate prospect of coming to power and have thus been of considerable help to us, too. 4 4 7 The elections over here have temporarily made the Irish masters of England and Scotland; without them neither party can govern. 4 8 7 There are still about 100 results to come in, but they'll make little difference to the outcome. Thus the Irish question will at last be settled — if not at once, at any rate in the immediate future and then the decks will be cleared over here as well. Some 8 or 10 working men have likewise been elected — some of them bought by the bourgeoisie, others trade unionists pure and simple — who will doubtless make thorough fools of themselves and be of enormous assistance in the creation of an independent labour party by banishing the inherited self-deceit of the workers. History moves slowly over here, but move it does.

Warm regards.

Your old friend F. Engels

–  –  –

Dear Liebknecht, Herewith excerpts from the Economist and Bullionist.a The amounts shown in my letter of the 1st inst. are those of the Russian loans quoted on the London STOCK EXCHANGE. The 1884 (Bismarck) loan ' 8 2 is not dealt in over here at all and is excluded from the list of securities negotiable on the STOCK EXCHANGE. Likewise the smaller hand-to-mouth loans which have been raised off and on since 1878; most of these were taken up internally and are quoted on the Berlin stock exchange. I have found the following in the latter's list of





prices:

Orient Loan 5 % I, II and III Loan 1880 4% Bonds 1883 6% as well as other stuff about which I'm not clear. You'll have to get more information on the subject from someone on the Berlin stock exchange. Several also appear in the enclosed excerpts, but only with the net amount the government claims to have received.

The Russian paper rouble, which ought to be worth 39d. at par, is now standing at 23d., i.e. 16d. or 4 1 % below the full value in g°ldIf the Russian government is still managing to place its paper at home, this is simply because the colossal slowdown in trade makes it more advantageous for Russian manufacturers to invest their surplus cash in paper yielding 6-7% rather than in such currently ruinous activities as extensions to factories or speculative trading. The interest coupons are circulating as currency, especially for the payment of wages. Thus coupons, which are not payable until 1891-92, are now passing from hand to hand, and these the Russian worker must ac

–  –  –

Dear Ede, Here too we've had a storm in our socialist tea-cup. Kautsky will already have written and told you something about it; 2 Echoes (Liberal) enclosed herewith. Also some other stuff, and a document (letter from Bland, based on the minutes of the Executive of the SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC FEDERATION, sent you by Aveling), which will give you the substance. 4 9 6 This time Hyndman has given himself the coup de grâce. He took money from the Tories for socialist candidatures in order to filch votes from the Liberals. He has admitted to taking £340, but since the official expenses of the 3 candidatures amounted to about £600, it must have been something in the region of £1,000, if not more.

Taking money from another party may, in certain circumstances and by way of an exception, be admissible if, 1) the money is given unconditionally and 2) the transaction does not do more harm than good. In this instance the very opposite was the case. 1) The condition was that socialist candidates be put up in districts where they could only be made to look ridiculous — as, indeed, happened: WilEngels to Bernstein. 7 December 1885 Hams, 27 votes out of 4,722, Fielding, 32 out of 6,374; only Burns got 598 votes out of 11,055 in Nottingham. 2) Hyndman, however, knew that to take money from the Tories would spell nothing less than irreparable moral ruin for the socialists in the eyes of the one and only class from which they could draw recruits, namely the great, radical working masses. It's almost a replica of the Stoecker alliance against the Party of Progress once proposed in Berlin. 4 9 7 Well, not content with this heroic deed, Hyndman already saw himself as a second Parnell holding the scales between the two parties, though forgetting that, unlike Parnell, he does not command 80 votes in Parliament and 200,000 Irish votes in the elections in England and Scotland. 4 8 7 He got the Executive of the Federation to empower him to go to Birmingham with Champion and call on Chamberlain, the leader of the Radicals. 4 ' 5 With Tory money in his pocket, he offered the latter his support if he, Chamberlain, would cede him a seat in Birmingham, assure him of Liberal votes and agree to introduce an Eight Hours' Bill. Not being such a mug as the Tories, Chamberlain showed him the door.

In the meantime the affair, arranged on the qt by the Federation's Executive, became known in the branches and caused a great furore.

Of which more in Bland's letter; it was written for publication, but you should not mention the fact that it is based on the minutes. A general meeting is to be called and whether the Federation will survive it seems doubtful; not, at any rate, as a viable organisation.

Herewith Hunter Watts' statement in The Pall Mall Gazette.498 It was written with Hyndman's connivance, yet he had to let the expression 'ILL-ADVISED', used of himself, stand. By contrast, Williams' statement in The Echo 4 9 6 is nothing less than a slap in the face, its attitude being, and not without reason, one of outright hostility to all socialist MIDDLE-CLASS MEN. SO that's what Mr Hyndman has brought about with his pushfulness. The man is nothing but a caricature of Lassalle, totally indifferent to the nature of the means even when not conducive to the end, provided Hyndman himself gets something out of it; add to that his perpetual craving for instantaneous success, so that he kills the goose that lays the golden egg; and finally, the way he considers himself the centre of the universe, being utterly incapable of seeing the facts in any light other than that which is gratifying to him.

368 217. Engels to Paul Lafargue. 7 December 1885

–  –  –

My dear Lafargue, I shall speak to Tussy about Davitt. She may be able to get you what you want.

In opposition to your Social Studies Group 179 the good Malon and the no less celebrated Elie May have just set up a Republican Social Economy Society with ready-made rules. 5 0 0 Let's hope this 'research group' will be confined to Malon who will do his research in May's bosom, and to May who will do his research in Malon's heart. They are petty panjandrums whom you_ would be well advised to ignore completely; that would infuriate them most of all. It's Karl Blind to the life.

Why are you making such a splash in the Socialiste with Williams and the Social Democratic Federation? 5 0 1 You ought to know what attitude to take with respect to Hyndman, and this time you have fallen into a fine old trap. In the first place, Hyndman has contrived to make his party a laughing-stock second to none. Williams collected 27 votes out of 10,000, Fielding in North Kensington 32 out of 10,000,

proper 217. Engels to Paul Lafargue. 7 December 1885 369

Burns in Nottingham 598 out of 11,000.a Whereupon the liberal press kicked up an almighty fuss, alleging that the money needed for these foolish candidatures had been provided by the TORIES, and that the socialists had so lowered themselves as to do that party's dirty work for it. Williams then wrote to The Echo on 5 December 4 9 6 saying that all this had been arranged while he was in Liverpool, that they had recalled him by telegram without giving details, that he had been treated by the leaders as a mere tool and that he now saw * 'that we cannot trust the middle class men of our movement any longer. I am not prepared to be made the tool of middle class men. I call upon my fellow wage-slaves to meet me as soon as possible and to say good-bye to the middle class men and to shut them out from what must be a real working men's organisation', * etc.

— in short he has now adopted a stance directly opposed to Hyndman, Champion, etc.

Now for what has been happening in the SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC FEDERATION (by the same post you will be getting a lettter via Aveling from Bland, one of its members). Hyndman was given money by the TORIES to put up candidates against the Liberals — £340 has been admitted.

But it must have been in the region of £1,000, since the official expenses of the 3 candidates amounted to more than £600.— With the exception of Burrows, the Executive Committee sanctioned Hyndman's action. However opposition arose within the main body of the federation. But before this could make itself felt, Hyndman, already seeing himself in the role of political arbitrator à la Parnell, left with Champion for Liverpool to offer his services to — Chamberlain, the Radical leader 4 1 5 ! The proposal they made the latter was that they would support the Liberals if Chamberlain was prepared to withdraw a Liberal candidate in Birmingham in favour of Hyndman and thus secure him the Liberal vote. Chamberlain showed them the door.

Opposition within the federation is increasing. At the last Committee meeting, at which many other members of the federation were present, the correspondence relating to the Tory money was read out, despite opposition from Hyndman who wished to suppress it. Great rumpus. Why had the sections not been consulted on so vital a mata Cf. the relevant figures in the previous letter.

370 217. Engels to Paul Lafargue. 7 December 1885 ter? In short there is to be a general meeting and we shall have to see whether the federation survives it.



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