| London, 15 Febr. 1869.

Dear Paul and beloved Cacadou,

You know Falstaff’s opinion of old men. They are all of them cynics. So you will not be astonished at my passing over that stubborn fact—my prolonged silence. I jump at once into medias res, turning the back to the sins of the past.

In the first instance, I must frankly tell you that I feel much anxiety as to Laura’s health. Her prolonged sequestration I know not how to account for. Her invisibility to my friends, such as Dupont, stimulates my misgivings. So soon as certain arrangements permit, I shall come over for the single purpose of having a look at my child. After the publication of  Karl Marx: Der Achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte. 2. Ausg. Hamburg 1869. Siehe MEGA2 I/11.
The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
, I might not be quite safe at Paris. Do not, in your letters, drop any hint as to my secret plan.

I feel much obliged to little Fouchtra who tries his best at keeping his Grandfather up in the literature of the day.  A[uguste] Vermorel: Les hommes de 1848. Paris 1869. Vgl. Marx an L. Kugelmann, 3.3.1869 u. Marx an Engels, 20.3.1869.
Vermorel’s book
has much amused me. I generally concur in his appreciation of the persons that played in 1848 a part natural selection had not them(?) meant them for. Some men Vermorel he treats too seriously, for instance Odilon Barrot, la nullité grave. What he lacks, is the knowledge of the finer nuances de classe represented, more or less unconsciously, as in the case of Ledru Rollin, by those provisional, but not providential man. Il y a quelque chose qui cloche—his continuous attempt at revindicating, and in a very clever way too, that strange mixture of the chevalier d’industrie, the utopian, and the critic. I have named E. Girardin. As to his criticism, not of men, but of measures, l’ignorance et l’arrogance Proudhoniennes peep out at every instant.

As to the ouvrier artiste, he is not my man. The only thing I like, is the portrait of Blanqui which I have sent to Beesly, to cure him of the | strange prejudices he has imbibed in the book of that vieille cocotte, Daniel Stern. When we had him at dinner, he naively asked me whether Blanqui was not one of those irrespectable men, like Bradlaugh. I could not but chuckle in my sleeves at this truly John Bullian appreciation of revolutionary characters. I asked him, whether his hero, Catilina, had been a “respectable” man?

The thing that amuses me most in  Anspielung auf Le Peuple. Paris 1869? und/oder die von Proudhon 1848/49 geleiteten sozialistischen Zeitung „Le Peuple“.
Le Peuple
is the circumstance—a good sample of historical irony—that these learned Proudhoniens are forced to come out as Gens de lettre, a part which they despise so much, and which, nevertheless, is their only true rôle, the only thing they are fit for.

As to Paul’s lively narration of  Siehe Paul Lafargue an Jenny Marx, vor 31.1.1869.
his adventure with Mlle Royer
, it has tickled Engels and my humble self. I was at not at all astonished at his failure. He will remember that, having read  Ch[arles] Darwin: De l'origine des espèces ou Des lois du progrès chez les êtres organisés. Traduit en français sur la troisième Édition avec l'autorisation de l'Auteur par Mlle Clémence-Auguste Royer. Avec une préface et des notes du traducteur. Paris 1862. S. V–LXIV: Préface du Traducteur.
her preface to Darwin
, I told him at once she was a bourgeoise. Darwin was led by the struggle for life in English society,—the competition  
all with all, bellum omnium contra omnes—to discover competition to the  eigentl. Singular „knife“, vom Deutschen „bis aufs Messer“ übertragene Redewendung, die etwa „a fight to the finish“ entspricht.
as the ruling law of “bestial” and vegetative life. The Darwinism, conversely, consider this a conclusive reason for human society never to emancipate itself from its bestiality.

 Karl Marx: Misère de la Philosophie. Réponse à la Philosophie de la Misère de M. Proudhon. Paris, Brüssel 1847. Siehe Paul Lafargue an Jenny Marx, Anfang 1869.
As to “La Misère de la Philosophie”, I do really not see what I can further do in this affair.
The mess has been spoilt from the beginning. The books ought to have been thankfully received at once, but it is now too late to mend.  Vgl. F. Vieweg an Marx, 12.10.1868.
I have written to Meissner to look after Vogler, but we will hardly gain anything by finding out that vagabond. The worst is that Vieweg not only keeps, but sequestrates the book. If he advertised it anew, at 2 fcs per piece, he might sell it—perhaps.
Lafargue ought to speak with him in that sense.

 Gemeint ist das nicht verwirklichte Zeitschriftenprojekt „La Renaissance“. Siehe u. a. P. Lafargue an J. Marx, Anfang 1869 u. Erl..
I fear I cannot do much for the new paper contemplated.
At all events, I | shall try my best. Cowell Stepney will never advance the 12,000 f. He is a wellmeaning fool who fritters away his means in a most grotesque way. The “Social Economist”, a most stupid publication by old Holyoake, who is his own Cromwell—lives upon Stepney’s pocket. There is no sham philanthropical pie he has not his hand, or rather his pocket, in. So, if you want him to come out on a larger scale, he has neither the will nor the power to do so.

Our International makes great strides in Germany. Our new plan, proposed by myself, to allow only individual membership, and sell at 1 d. the cards, on whose back our principles are printed in German, French and English—works well. Jung becomes every day more and more a little master. The unction, affection affectation , and self-importance with which he drops his golden words and spins his long narrative yearn yarn , grow really insupportable. So Dupont told him, adding that he (Jung) was even given, while speaking, to the habitude of putting his hands in his pockets and making jingle his purse. But he is really not so bad as that.

The Old acquaintance of mine—the Russian Bakunine—had started a little nice conspiracy against the International. Having fallen out with and seceded from, the Ligue de la Paix et de la Liberté, on their last Berne congress, he entered the Roumande Section of our Association at Geneva. He very soon inveigled brave old Becker, always anxious for action, for something stirring, but of no very critical cast of mind; an enthusiast like Garibaldi, easily led away. Well, Bakunine hatched | the plan of “L’alliance Internationale de la Démocratie Socialiste”, which was to form at the same time a branch of our International, and a new independent International Association “with the special mission to elaborate the higher philosophical etc principles” of the Proletarian movement, and, in point of fact, would, by a clever trick, have placed our society under the guidance and supreme initiative of the Russian Bakunine. The way in which they set to business, was quite characteristic. They sent their new programme, with old Becker’s name at the head of the signatures,—and they sent emissaries too—behind our back, to Paris, Brussels etc. Only in the last moment, they communicated the documents to the London General Council. By a formal judgment we annulled and stifled the Moscovite nursling. All our branches approved the decision. Of course, old Becker bears me now a grudge (and so does Schily on his account), but with all my personal friendship for Becker I could not allow this first attempt at disorganising our society to succeed.

Has Dupont told you that gallant Vésinier has been expulsed from the illustrious French Branch as a calumniator vile and base? En révanche, he has become the acknowledged Hero of “La Cigale”, which has openly turned against “ Le Conseil L’équivoque Conseil Général à Londres” et ses acolytes à Bruxelles.

And now, my dear children, fare well, kiss little Fouchtra in my name, and remember

Old Nick.


Karl Marx an Paul und Laura Lafargue in Paris. London, Montag, 15. Februar 1869. In: Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe digital. Hg. von der Internationalen Marx-Engels-Stiftung. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin. URL: http://megadigital.bbaw.de/briefe/detail.xql?id=M0000939. Abgerufen am 01.02.2023.