Marx and Engels collected works

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General introduction

General introduction to the Marx Engels Collected Works.

General Introduction for MECW

Marx Engels Collected Works

General Introduction

KARL MARX and FREDERICK ENGELS were the authors of an integrated body of philosophical, economic and social-political views, the ideology of communism, which in our time has spread more widely and exercised a greater influence on the course of world history than any other.

Theirs was a unique collaboration in theoretical work and in revolutionary leadership. While the leading role in it certainly belongs to Marx, the partnership was so close, many important writings having been undertaken under their joint authorship and the greater part of the work of each from the beginning of their friendship in 1844 to Marx’s death in 1883 having been discussed with the other, that their works must of necessity be collected together.

Both Marx and Engels began their adult lives as free-thinkers and revolutionary democrats in the Germany of the late 1830s and early 1840s. By the time they met and began their lifelong friendship and collaboration each had independently come to recognise in the emergent industrial working class the force that could reshape the future. As convinced materialists and Communists, they decided to collaborate in working out the fundamentals of a new revolutionary outlook. From that time their joint efforts were devoted to the aim of equipping the working-class movement with the scientific ideology and political organisation necessary for the realisation of what they saw as its historical mission, the overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie and the creation of communism.

They were revolutionary thinkers who assailed old ideas and replaced them by new theoretical constructions, forging new means for scientifically understanding the world and human life. And they were practical revolutionaries who fought for socialism and communism against the established order of society based on capitalist property. Their revolutionary standpoint was summed up in Marx’s famous aphorism: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” This became the point of all their practical activity and theoretical labours.

Marx and Engels were never merely theoreticians, and their work can never be understood simply as productive of a theory. Indeed, the distinctive feature of Marxism, and its strength, lies above all in the combination of a theoretical approach which seeks to be governed by strictly scientific considerations with the will to revolutionary action — its unity of theory and practice. They themselves played an active part in the working-class movement, both as advisers and as active participants. In their theoretical work they drew on the movement’s practical experience. And much of it is devoted to accurate and often very lively analysis of particular events and particular problems, both great and small, immediately affecting the movement at various times. From beginning to end their works show that Marxism arose and developed out of practical revolutionary activity. Both Marx and Engels were essentially fighters. And they hammered out their standpoint in the course of often bitter struggle against bourgeois ideology, petit-bourgeois and other kinds of non-proletarian socialism, anarchism, and opportunism of both the Right- and Left-wing varieties within the working-class movement.

The sum total of achievement of Marx and Engels was truly immense.

Marxism offers to the revolutionary movement of all lands a scientifically-based theory of social life and of the individual, of the laws of development of social-economic formations, of history and human activity, and of the concepts and methods man can employ for comprehending both his own existence and that of the world about him so as to frame and realise human purposes in the world.

In the light of this the character and consequences of the alienation and exploitation of labour in modern capitalist society are made clear and it becomes possible to formulate a practical aim for ending it, and in a comprehensive theory of class struggle to work out principles for deciding practical policies to realise this aim.

In their studies of the past history and present predicament of society Marx and Engels came to grips with the problems of political and state power. In their theory of the state they concluded that state power has always been the product of the development of class contradictions, and exposed the whole character of the repressive apparatus and ideology of the bourgeois state in particular.

The penetrating Marxist analysis of bourgeois society, which was the crowning achievement of Marx and Engels, set out, in Marx’s words, to disclose its “law of motion”, the economic laws of its development and their reflection in class and political struggle. It is from this that Marxism demonstrates the historical necessity for the revolutionary transformation of capitalism into socialism, and of the subsequent building of communist society, the realisation of human aspirations for genuine freedom and social equality. This demonstration is at once a prediction of the future course of human development and an action programme for the social forces capable of realising it.

The revolutionary programme of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the conquest of political power by the working class in alliance with the non-proletarian sections of the working people, was the culminating point of Marxism. The Marxist theory of the socialist revolution gave to the movement practical principles of the strategy and tactics of working-class struggle, demonstrated the need for well-organised independent proletarian parties and for proletarian internationalism, and forecast the basic laws of construction of the new society.

Many decades have now passed since the deaths of Marx and Engels. And from that distance in time we now have to assess the continuing validity of the teachings of Marx and Engels and the progress of the world revolutionary movement they inspired.

During their lifetime the ideas of Marx and Engels became the organising and guiding force in the struggle to overthrow capitalism. The efforts of Marx and Engels themselves made Marxism into the theoretical foundation of the programmes and activity of the first international organisations of the proletariat — the Communist League, and subsequently the First International (the International Working Men’s Association) embracing socialist groups and working-class associations and trade unions of various countries. As the contradictions of the bourgeois system deepened and the working-class movement spread and grew in strength, Marxism won increasingly strong positions and more and more supporters.

The further development of Marxism on a world scale from the close of the nineteenth century is inseparably bound up with the personality, ideas and work of V. I. Lenin. Of all the political leaders and theoreticians of that time who became influential as Marxists, it was Lenin who based himself most consistently on the content and methods of the work of Marx and Engels in philosophy, political economy and the theory and practice of scientific socialism, and achieved the most creative development of their teachings. In so doing he established the organisational and political principles of a party able to lead the working class and the whole working people to the conquest of political power and the construction of socialism.

“Without revolutionary theory,” Lenin said, “there can be no revolutionary movement.” True to this principle, Lenin maintained that revolutionary theory must always keep pace with the march of world events and in doing so remain true to and consolidate the original theoretical positions of Marxism. To him the movement owes an analysis of imperialism, of monopoly and state-monopoly capitalism, which continued that made by Marx and Engels of capitalism in the earlier phases of its development. His immense contributions to the creative theoretical and practical development of Marxism cover the theory and practice of socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, the agrarian, nationalities and colonial problems, the transition period from capitalism to socialism and the ways and means of building communist society, the principles of organisation and leading role of revolutionary working-class parties and, in general, the motive forces and prospects of the world revolutionary process in the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolutions. Marxism organically absorbs the new features that were introduced by Lenin and represents in the modern epoch the integrated international doctrine of Marx, Engels and Lenin, constituting the foundation of the international communist movement.

The October Socialist Revolution of 1917 in Russia carried out, in the conditions obtaining at the time, Marx’s, Engels’ and Lenin’s conception of the revolutionary conquest of power by the working class. It began a new epoch in world history, in which to the power of the old possessing classes are opposed not only the struggle against it of the working-class movement in capitalist countries and of the peoples dominated by.imperialism, but the rule of socialism which is becoming ever more consolidated throughout a large territory of the world.

In the years that have followed, the working people of socialist countries have faced and continue to face immense problems of socialist planning and administration, of overcoming objective difficulties of development and, in a number of cases, errors, of resolving new contradictions and of organising creative labour to strengthen the socialist system and move towards the goal of communism. Marxism-Leninism has been and continues to be the basis of all the achievement of socialist countries. The same is true of the working-class movement in the capitalist countries, where a struggle is spreading for profound economic and social-political changes, for true democracy, for a transition to the road to socialism; one of the vital conditions of victory in this struggle is to eliminate the consequences of opportunism and division in the working-class movement. In the countries that have freed themselves from colonialism and are developing on new lines, leading forces of the national liberation movements are turning more and more to the guidance of this teaching in the struggle to eliminate the results of colonial slavery, neo-colonialism and racialism, and to achieve economic and cultural renaissance.

At the present time, moreover, with growing social tensions set up by the deepening of the contradictions of capitalism and the advent of the new scientific-technological revolution, Marxism attracts many people beyond the working-class movement itself. More and more do perceptive minds come to realise that in the theory of Marxism they can find the thread to lead the way out of the labyrinth of the social and political problems of modern times. The appeal of Marxism to progressive-minded people lies in its scientific approach and revolutionary spirit, its genuine humanism, its combination of a sober realistic attitude to facts with confidence in the creative abilities of working men and women the world over. The breadth and consistency of Marxism affords hope for the solution not only of economic and sociological problems but of problems of philosophy, law and ethics, including various aspects of the future of human personality, which are of particular concern to the present generation. Thus it is that despite the efforts to discredit and refute Marxism, which have been going on for well over a century and are continually stepped up, the interest in Marxism, and its influence, grow unceasingly.

The undertaking of collecting together and publishing the complete works of Marx and Engels was begun on a broad scale in the twenties of this century in the Soviet Union. In 1927, the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow launched the publication in the original languages of Marx/Engels, Gesamtausgabe, initially under the general editorship of D. Ryazanov and later under the editorship of V. Adoratsky, a project that was never completed. A Russian edition was commenced and published between the years 1928 and 1947. A second Russian edition was launched in 1955, embodying an all-round study by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of everything by then discovered written by Marx and Engels, of all the documents having any bearing on their work, and also of newspapers and periodicals in which their works were published in their lifetime. This edition at present consists of 39 basic and 4 supplementary volumes (47 books in all, since some of the volumes are published in two or more parts). Following this, the further labours of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in Berlin led to the publication, beginning in 1956, of Marx/Engels, Werke. It also comprises 39 basic and 2 supplementary volumes (44 books in all).

Both in the USSR and in the German Democratic Republic new supplementary volumes continue to be prepared, containing early writings of Marx and Engels, their legacy of manuscripts, and works and letters recently discovered.

A complete edition of the works of Marx and Engels in the original languages (Marx/Engels, Gesamtansgabe — MEGA) has been projected jointly by the Moscow and Berlin Institutes of Marxism-Leninism. Besides containing all the works and letters of Marx and Engels, this edition will include all the extant manuscript preparatory materials for various of their published works — synopses, excerpts, marginal notes, etc.-as well as all the available letters written to them.

Many of the works of Marx and Engels, particularly their major works, are available to readers in the English-speaking countries, particularly in Great Britain and the USA, where some were translated and published while their authors were still alive (not to mention numerous articles, reports and pamphlets they themselves wrote in English and which were published in the British or American press), and many more have been translated and published since.

A whole series of major works, particularly the economic manuscripts, remain, however, largely or even completely unknown to English readers. Many of Marx’s early writings, nearly all the writings of the young Engels, the bulk of Marx and Engels’ numerous contributions to the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1848-49), and most of their letters, have never yet appeared in English. Many of their articles which were published in the British and American press of their day have not been republished in English and are now bibliographical rarities. From the available scattered publications in English it is difficult to gain any clear conception of the formative process of Marxist ideas, to study them in their historical development. Some of the existing translations, moreover, do not meet present-day requirements, and notes and commentaries are not always up to the standard now demanded in studies of the history of Marxism and of the international working-class movement.

In preparing this first English-language edition of the collected works of Marx and Engels these circumstances have been kept in mind. It is intended that the composition and character of this edition should reflect the present level of development of Marxist studies and be guided by both English and international expedience in the publication of social-economic and political literature. The task is to take into account and use to the fullest advantage the best traditions established in this field in Great Britain, the USA, the USSR, the German Democratic Republic, and other countries, as well as the results achieved by world science in investigating the literary legacy of Marx and Engels and the history of Marxism. Thus this edition will provide for the first time to the English-speaking world a practically complete, organised and annotated collection of the works of the founders and first teachers of the international communist movement.

This English edition will include the works and letters already contained in the main volumes of the above-mentioned second Russian and German editions as well as in the supplementary volumes of these editions already published or in preparation. It will embrace all the extant works of Marx and Engels published in their Lifetime and a considerable part of their legacy of manuscripts-manuscripts not published in their lifetime and unfinished works, outlines, rough drafts and fragments. The contents of the main sections of the volumes will include authorised publications of speeches by Marx and Engels or reports of their speeches which they themselves verified. Author’s revisions of various works are regarded as works in their own right and will be included alongside the original texts. Of the available preliminary manuscript versions, however, only those that differ essentially from the final text will be published in this edition. Nor will versions of printed works (the texts of articles published simultaneously in various organs of the press, and various lifetime editions of one and the same work) be duplicated. Any important changes in these texts made by the authors themselves will be brought to the reader’s attention, usually in footnotes.

The edition will include all the letters of Marx and Engels that have been discovered by the time the volumes appear.

Synopses and excerpts made by Marx and Engels are considered selectively and will appear in this edition only if they contain considerable author’s digressions and commentaries. Such works, and also the rough versions and drafts of individual works the final texts of which are published in the body of a given volume, will usually be grouped together in a special section under the heading “From the Preparatory Materials”.

Several of the volumes of this edition will be supplied with appendices containing documents and materials of a biographical nature, such as official applications and other legal documents written by Marx or Engels, newspaper reports and minutes, reports of speeches and lectures never verified by the authors, interviews which they gave to various correspondents, documents which they helped to draw up for various organisations and letters written on their instructions.

The whole edition will comprise fifty volumes, organised into three main groups: (1) philosophical, historical, political, economic and other works; (2) Marx’s Capital, with his preliminary versions and works directly connected with it, particularly the Economic Manuscripts of 1857-1858 better known under the editorial heading Grundrisse der Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie; (3) the letters, beginning from August 1844. According to the preliminary plan of the edition, the first group will run from volumes 1 to 28, the second from 29 to 37, and the third from 38 to 50.

The first three volumes will have certain specific structural features. Before the beginning of their close friendship and co-operation in August 1844, Marx and Engels each developed independently as thinker, writer and revolutionary, and in these volumes their works and letters will be published separately. The first volume will contain works and letters of the young Marx up to March 1843, and the second works and letters of Engels over approximately the same period. The third volume will be divided on the same principle, giving works and letters of Marx and Engels from the spring of 1843 up to August 1844 in two separate sections. In the subsequent volumes the literary legacy of the founders of Marxism, an important feature of whose creative work from August 1844 onwards was constant collaboration, will be published together.

Within each group of volumes the material will be arranged, as a rule, chronologically according to the date when a particular work or letter was written. When the writing was spread over a long period, the date of the first publication will be used. Departures from this chronological principle will be made only when individual works or series of works of similar type are grouped in special volumes.

The distribution of material over the volumes will be determined on current principles of periodisation of the history of Marxism, so that the contents of individual volumes or several consecutive volumes correspond to specific stages in the authors’ work. Provision has been made for including works referring to a particular group of subjects in one or another volume. Within any given volume, articles of a particular series will be published in chronological order. Only series of articles conceived as such by the authors and serialised during their lifetime in newspapers or periodicals will be presented as unified works.

A number of works by Marx and Engels were republished, sometimes more than once, during their lifetime, and the authors usually provided each new edition with a new introduction, preface or afterword. Sometimes these additions were separated from the works for which they were written by decades, and naturally reflect a fresh departure in Marxist thought. These prefaces and the like were essentially independent contributions containing new material and referring to a historical period that differed from that in which the main work was written. Writings of this type will be published according to the date of writing, along with other materials of the given period. Cross-references will be provided to all works that have later author’s prefaces, introductions or afterwards.

All letters, irrespective of addressee, will be published in chronological order.

The editions of the works of Marx and Engels published in their lifetime and, failing these, the author’s manuscripts, will provide the source of the texts used for publication. If several editions authorised by the authors themselves are available, the last of them will, as a rule, be taken as the basic one and any significant variant readings from other authorised editions will be given in footnotes. In cases where such readings are numerous they may be brought together in the form of appendices.

Any extraneous editorial additions to the texts of publications made during the authors’ lifetime will be removed and information concerning them, if necessary with reproduction of the corrupted text, will be provided in the notes.

English translations that appeared during the lifetime of Marx and Engels and under their supervision and editorship are regarded as authorised by them. These texts will generally be reproduced without changes, but only after checking against the texts in the original languages and removal of any obvious mistranslations or misprints that passed unnoticed by the authors. Textual revisions introduced by a translator with the consent of the authors or on their instructions will be preserved, the translation of the text as in the original language being given in a footnote as a variant reading.

All texts will be checked for misprints, inaccuracies in the quoting of proper names, place names, numerical errors, and so on. Obvious misprints or slips of the pen in the original will be corrected without comment, while any assumed errors will be discussed in footnotes. Comments in footnotes or general notes will also be made whenever the correction of a misprint influences the reading of the subsequent text or calls for further correction (for example, in tables, arithmetical calculations, etc.).

Citations by the authors will be checked and obvious mistakes corrected. The author’s deliberate condensation or revision of quoted texts will be preserved and, where this seems necessary, the exact text of the passage cited will be noted. Citations from works in languages other than English will, as a rule, appear in English translation. Deliberate uses of foreign expressions, terms, aphorisms, proverbs in the ancient language or in local dialect, etc., will be reproduced, however, as in the original, an English translation being appended in a footnote when this seems necessary.

The edition will include a detailed reference apparatus for each volume, containing information on texts, sources, bibliography and history, references to theoretical and literary sources, commentaries on obscure passages, and brief notes on persons, newspapers and periodicals referred to in the texts. Each volume will be provided with a subject index. In general, the reference apparatus, more or less uniform for all volumes, will be arranged as follows: an editorial preface for each volume, or group of volumes embracing a single work; notes; a name index; an index of quoted and mentioned literature; an index of periodicals, and a subject index.

Editorial commentary will be found in the form of footnotes and notes at the end of each volume. The footnotes will be concerned mainly with textual criticism. They will seek to explain obscurities in the texts, including oblique references to names, literary works and events. And they will cite variant readings from other authorised editions or from manuscripts and printed versions, provide cross-references, indicate possible misprints, and so on. Explanations concerning books and literary works mentioned will be given in footnotes only where the reader may have difficulty in tracing these works in the index of quoted and mentioned literature.

The notes at the end of each volume will provide more detailed information. They will deal with the history of various works and projects, including those that remained in the form of unfinished manuscripts (brief information on the first publication will also be given at the end of each work). The work of Marx and Engels on various newspapers, and their activities in various organisations, will be one of the main subjects of the notes. Historical commentary will bear mainly on the history of the working-class movement and Marx and Engels’ participation in it. Notes on general historical events will be provided only when circumstances essential to an understanding of the text do not emerge clearly from the authors’ own accounts.

The name index will be provided with brief annotations. A special section will list alphabetically the literary and mythological characters mentioned in the text. The index of periodicals, which includes all the newspapers, magazines, annuals, etc., referred to in the text, will also be annotated. Wherever possible the index of quoted and mentioned literature will indicate the editions used by Marx and Engels. Where this cannot be firmly established, the first edition will be indicated and, in the case of fiction, only the title and the author’s name.

The volumes will include documentary illustrations, with maps and diagrams for articles dealing with military and historical subjects. Original drawings by Engels included in his letters will be reproduced.

This complete edition of the works of Marx and Engels is the product of agreement and collaboration of British, American and Soviet scholars, translators and editors. It is published by Lawrence & Wishart Ltd., London, International Publishers Co. Inc., New York, in consultation respectively with the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain and the National Committee of the Communist Party of the United States of America, and by Progress Publishers and the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Moscow.

The entire work of preparation and publication is supervised by editorial commissions appointed by the publishers in Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union. Together they form a team responsible for the edition as a whole.

Considerable help is being afforded, too, by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, in Berlin.

All the work of arrangement, preparation and final editing of the texts and of the reference apparatus of each volume is based on agreement in the sharing of obligations between the participating publishers, the key principle being co-ordination of all major decisions and mutual cross-checking of the work. The edition is being printed in Moscow at the First Model Printers.

The general principles governing its preparation and publication were first agreed at a general conference of representatives of the three publishers in Moscow at the beginning of December 1969, and subsequently elaborated further by the agreement of the three editorial commissions. Those who took part personally in the elaboration of these principles are listed alphabetically below:

GREAT BRITAIN: Jack Cohen, Maurice Cornforth, Maurice Dobb, E. J. Hobsbawm, James Klugmann, Margaret Mynatt.

USA: James S. Allen, Philip S. Foner, the late Howard Selsam, Dirk J. Struik, William W. Weinstone.

USSR: for Progress Publishers — N. P. Karmanova, V. N. Pavlov, M. K. Shcheglova, T. Y. Solovyova; for the Institute of Marxism-Leninism — P. N. Fedoseyev, L. I. Golman, A. I. Malysh, A. G. Yegorov, V. Y. Zevin.

The publication of the first volume and preparation of subsequent volumes is being conducted under the supervision of the above-mentioned editorial commissions.


Volume 01

The first volume of the Marx Engels Completed Works. Currently under construction.

Preface to MECW Volume 1

Editors' introduction to the first volume of the Marx Engels Complete Works.

Preface to The first volume of the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels

Marx-Engels Collected Works Volume 1

Works of Karl Marx, 1835-1843


The first volume of the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels contains works and letters written by Marx between August 1835 and March 1843. The volume is divided into four sections - works, letters, preparatory material and youthful literary experiments in prose and verse, the material in each section being arranged chronologically. Relevant biographical documents are supplied in the appendices.

These writings reflect Marx’s early, formative period, the path of intellectual development that led an inquiring young man, inspired while still at the gymnasium by the idea of serving the common good, to the forefront of the philosophical and political thought of his day. This was the time when Marx, as a student first at Bonn and then at Berlin University, was deeply engaged in the study of law, history and philosophy, which he combined with trying his strength in the sphere of creative writing. In these years Marx evolved his atheistic and revolutionary-democratic beliefs and began his activities as a contributor to and, later, editor of the Rheinische Zeitung. His work on this newspaper initiated a new stage in the formation of his ideas which was to result in his final and complete adoption of materialist and communist positions.

The first section of the volume opens with the school essay “ Reflections of a Young Man on the Choice of a Profession”, which Marx wrote in 1835, and which may be regarded as the starting point of his intellectual development. Unlike his other school essays (they appear in the appendices), which as a whole do not reach beyond the usual framework of ideas current among gymnasium students and in gymnasium textbooks of those days this composition reveals his resolve not to withdraw into the narrow circle of personal interests but to devote his activities to the interests of humanity. At the same time the young Marx, swayed by the ideas of the French Enlightenment concerning the influence of the social environment on man, had begun to think also about the objective conditions determining human activity. “Our relations in society have to some extent already begun to be established before we are in a position to determine them,” he wrote in this essay (see p. 4).

The “ Letter from Marx to His Father”, written in 1837, vividly illustrates Marx’s hard thinking as a student and shows the versatility of his intellectual interests and the variety of problems that stirred his imagination. The letter records an important stage in the evolution of his ideas — his recognition of Hegelian philosophy as a key to the understanding of reality, in contrast to the subjective idealism of Fichte and other subjectivist philosophical systems. In his intensive search for a truly scientific conception of the world Marx did not confine himself to becoming an advocate of Hegel’s teaching and joining the Young Hegelian movement, whose representatives were attempting to draw atheistic and radical political conclusions from Hegel’s philosophy. Armed with Hegelian dialectics, he set about blazing his own trail in philosophy.

An important feature of the intellectual development of the young Marx was his study of ancient classical philosophy, which resulted in the Notebooks on Epicurean Philosophy (1839) (published in the third section) and, based on this preparatory material, the Doctoral dissertation on the Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature (1840-41). This work of investigation into the major trends in classical philosophy testifies to the young Marx’s erudition and the revolutionary nature, the radicalism, of his views. The very choice of subject, his recourse to the great materialist philosophers of classical times, Democritus, Epicurus and Lucretius, whom Hegel had treated with a certain degree of scorn, indicates Marx’s considerable power of independent thought, his desire to gain his own understanding of the salient problems of philosophy and to determine his own attitude to the philosophical legacy of the past.

While studying the ancients, Marx kept constantly in view the issues that stirred the minds of his contemporaries and formed the hub of the current ideological struggle. In his comments on excerpts from works of the classical philosophers contained in his notebooks he is already voicing a protest against agnosticism, against attempts to belittle the cognitive power of philosophy. He is full of faith in the power of human reason, in the power of progressive philosophy to influence life. His high estimation of Epicurus’ struggle against superstition reads as a passionate defence of freedom of thought, an appeal for resolute protest against the shackling authority of religion.

In his dissertation, Marx went even further in pursuing his atheist views. He declared his profound conviction that it is necessary to know the origin and nature of religion in order to overcome it. This work also contains, in embryo, the idea of the dialectical unity of philosophy and life. “... as the world becomes philosophical, philosophy also becomes worldly” (see p. 85). Demonstrating the fertility of the dialectical method in philosophy, Marx strove to discover the elements of dialectics that were already implicit in the beliefs of the ardent philosophers. He did, in fact, reveal the dialectical nature of Epicurus’ teaching on the declination of the atoms as the embodiment of the principle of self-movement.

Thus, in his Doctoral dissertation Marx faced up squarely to problems that were to play a major part in the subsequent formation of his view of the world. He became clearly aware of the need to solve the problem of the relationship between philosophy and reality. The strong atheist views that he had already adopted facilitated his subsequent transition to materialism.

Collected in this volume are all the known journalistic writings of the young Marx in the early forties. They illustrate his development as a political tribune, a revolutionary democrat and a resolute critic of the existing social and political system. It was in active journalistic work, in political struggle against the whole conservative and obsolete Establishment that the young Marx saw the way to integrating advanced philosophy with life. In the very first article “ Comments on the Latest Prussian Censorship Instruction”, exposing Prussian legislation on the press, Marx launched what amounted to a militant campaign against feudal monarchist reaction in Germany. Here for the first time he passed from the discussion of general philosophical problems to an analysis of specific political phenomena. By linking his criticism of existing conditions of censorship to an exposure of the Prussian political system he not only demonstrated its irrationality from the standpoint of advanced philosophy but also came near to understanding the essential hostility of the Prussian state to the people.

Marx’s political convictions became even more clearly defined while he was with the Rheinische Zeitung (May 1842 to March 1843). Journalistic work on this paper provided him with an outlet for his enormous revolutionary energy, for publicising his revolutionary-democratic views. As its editor, Marx displayed great skill and flexibility in overcoming censorship difficulties and the opposition of the moderates on the editorial board and among the shareholders, and set about converting the paper from an organ of the liberal opposition into a tribune of revolutionary-democratic ideas. He set the tone in his own articles, which hit out against the social, political and spiritual oppression that reigned in Prussia and other German states. The revolutionary-democratic direction that Marx had given the paper led to attacks upon it from almost the whole monarchist press and also persecution by the authorities, who succeeded in having the paper closed. In the history not only of the German but also of the whole European press and social thought the Rheinische Zeitung occupies a distinguished place for having several years before the revolution of 1848 heralded the approaching revolutionary storm in Germany.

Marx’s work on the newspaper represents an important phase in the development of his world outlook. In his articles one can trace what Lenin called “Marx’s transition from idealism to materialism and from revolutionary democracy to communism” (V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 80). The forming of his political views had a considerable reciprocal effect on his philosophical position, leading him further and further beyond the bounds of Hegelian idealism. Newspaper work revealed to Marx his lack of knowledge of political economy and prompted him to undertake a serious study of economic problems, of man’s material interests.

Marx’s articles — some of them were never published because of the censorship and have not been preserved — ranged widely over the social problems of the Germany of his day.

In his article “ Debates on Freedom of the Press and Publication of the Proceedings of the Assembly of the Estates” Marx, though he had not yet abandoned the abstract-idealist view of freedom as the “essence” of human nature, nevertheless linked his presentation of the problem with the attitudes adopted by various sections of society towards freedom of the press. His conclusion strikes a revolutionary note; only a people’s press can be truly free and its main purpose is to rouse the people to defend freedom with arms in hand.

In this and a number of other articles (“The Supplement to Nos. 335 and 336 of the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung on the Commissions of the Estates in Prussia”, “The Local Election of Deputies to the Provincial Assembly”, “The Divorce Bill”, etc.) Marx strongly criticises the hierarchical principle on which Prussian political institutions were based and which led to the political domination of the nobility. He exposed the wretched inadequacy of the Provincial Assemblies, which were mere caricatures of representative institutions, the retrograde ideas permeating Prussian legislation, and the absolutist political system of the Prussian monarchy.

The group of articles that includes “ The Philosophical Manifesto of the Historical School of Law”, “The Leading Article in No. 179 of the Kölnische Zeitung”, “Communal Reform and the Rheinische Zeitung”, “The Polemical Tactics of the Augsburg Newspaper”, and “The Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung as Grand Inquisitor”, was aimed against various aspects of ideological reaction in Germany. Marx spoke in defence of opposition newspapers that were being persecuted by the government and exposed the stand of the anti-democratic and reactionary press on the country’s domestic affairs. He angrily exposed the preachers of religious obscurantism. He branded the representatives of the historical school of law and reactionary romanticism for attempting to justify feudal aristocratic institutions on the grounds of historical tradition. He also condemned the half-heartedness and inconsistency of the liberal opposition towards the existing regimes of the German states. Characteristic in this respect is his editorial note “In Connection with the Article ‘Failures of the Liberal Opposition in Hanover’”.

Marx defended the representatives of progressive philosophy of the time, particularly the Left Hegelians, from the attacks of the reactionaries in other papers as well. This can be seen from his article in the Deutsche Jahrbücher against Doctor Gruppe’s criticism of the views of Bruno Bauer, the leader of the Young Hegelians. At the same time he took a sharply critical attitude towards anarchistic individualism, superficial and loud-mouthed criticism, addiction to the ultra-radical phrase without any clearly defined positive programme, all of which were distinctive features of the Berlin Young Hegelian circle of “The Free”. In a short article on “The Attitude of Herwegh and Ruge to ‘The Free’” Marx hinted that such behaviour would compromise the freedom party’s cause. These disagreements with “The Free” marked the beginning of the rift that was to develop between Marx and the Young Hegelians.

Some of the material and documents published in this volume (“Renard’s Letter to Oberpräsident von Schaper”, “Marginal Notes to the Accusations of the Ministerial Rescript”, etc.) reflect Marx’s struggle to keep up publication of the Rheinische Zeitung, his attempts to deflect the onslaught of the ruling circles, which in the end succeeded in having it banned.

In his articles in the Rheinische Zeitung Marx generally maintained idealist positions in his understanding of the state and the interrelation between material and spiritual activity, treating the Prussian state merely as a deviation from the state’s essential nature. At the same time the urge to achieve a critical understanding of reality, to put the ideal of freedom into practice, the desire to comprehend and express the true interests of the people, drove Marx to probe more deeply into the life around him. He began to understand the role of social contradictions in the development of society, took the first steps towards defining the class structure of German society, and the role of the nobility as the social mainstay of the Prussian state. Outstanding in this respect are the “Debates on the Law on Thefts of Wood” and “Justification of the Correspondent from the Mosel”, in which Marx came out openly in defence of the “poor, politically and socially propertyless many” (see p. 230).

Work on these articles with their analysis of the destitute condition of the working masses and its causes was of great significance in shaping Marx’s beliefs. As Engels wrote, Marx told him on more than one occasion later that it was his study of the law on thefts of wood and of the condition of the Mosel peasants that prompted him to turn from pure politics to the study of economic relations and, thus, to socialism (see F. Engels to R. Fischer, April 15, 1895).

In his article “Communism and the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung” Marx touched for the first time on communism, which he regarded as a contemporary issue raised by life itself, by the struggle of a section of society “that today owns nothing” (see p. 216). Though critical in his attitude to the various utopian theories of the time and also to the practical experiments in setting up communist communities, Marx felt that his knowledge was not yet sufficient for him to express a definite opinion on these subjects. Even then, however, he saw in communism a subject worthy of profound theoretical analysis.

The second section contains letters written by Marx between 1841 and 1843, most of which are addressed to the German radical Arnold Ruge, editor of the Young Hegelian Deutsche Jahrbücher. The letters provide a supplement to Marx’s published works of the time. Here he often expresses his views in a much sharper form, since in private correspondence he was able to write with a frankness impossible under press censorship of his critical attitude towards Prussian life and towards various trends in philosophy and literature. This part of the young Marx’s literary legacy is also permeated with revolutionary-democratic ideas. The letters vividly reproduce the political atmosphere in which Marx, as a revolutionary journalist and editor of the Rheinische Zeitung, had to work, his struggle with the censorship and the obstacles which beset publication of the paper at every turn.

The position Marx adopted in the fierce political and philosophical arguments that had flared up in Germany can be clearly traced in his correspondence. Marx did not share the illusions of the German liberals concerning the prospects of introducing a constitutional monarchy by peaceful means and stood for revolutionary methods of struggle against absolutism. More fully than his articles in the Rheinische Zeitung the letters reveal Marx’s conflict with the Berlin Young Hegelian circle of “The Free”. Marx’s letter to Ruge of November 30, 1842 (see pp. 393-95) is particularly important in this respect. Marx hailed The Essence of Christianity and other works of Ludwig Feuerbach as a major event in philosophical life. Indeed, this is shown not only by Marx’s letters but by a number of articles in the Rheinische Zeitung, particularly “The Leading Article in No. 179 of the Rheinische Zeitung” where he ranks Feuerbach among the representatives of true philosophy, which was “the intellectual quintessence of its time” (see p. 195). Feuerbach’s materialist views exercised a considerable influence on Marx. Though he had a high opinion of them, Marx nevertheless perceived some of the deficiencies in Feuerbach’s contemplative materialism. He pointed out that Feuerbach “refers too much to nature and too little to politics. That, however, is the only alliance by which present-day philosophy can become truth” (see p. 400). This remark on the inseparable connection between philosophy and political struggle anticipates his thoughts in later works on the unity of revolutionary theory and practice.

The third section, “From the Preparatory Materials”, includes the above-mentioned Notebooks on Epicurean Philosophy. These notebooks consist of lengthy excerpts from Diogenes Laertius, Sextus Empiricus, Lucretius, Cicero, Plutarch, Seneca, Clement of Alexandria and Stobaeus, accompanied by Marx’s own comments on the problems of both ardent philosophical thought and the social significance of philosophy. The section also includes the Plan of Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, which Marx devised in his undergraduate years under the influence of Hegel’s Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences.

The fourth section offers the reader a considerable portion of the verse and prose which Marx wrote as a young man. It does not embrace all the poems that have been preserved, but what has been included gives a clear idea of the nature of Marx’s youthful contribution to belles-lettres, sufficient to judge the part played by these endeavours in his intellectual development.

The section includes some of the poems from the three albums that Marx wrote for his fiancée — Jenny von Westphalen. The poetical works that Marx himself selected in 1837 for a book of verse dedicated to his father are given in full. It contained ballads, romances, sonnets, epigrams, humorous verse and scenes from the unfinished tragedy Oulanem. A supplement to this book consisted of chapters from a humoristic novel Scorpion and Felix, which are also reproduced in the present volume. Marx himself evidently regarded this collection as the best of what he had written in this field and later actually decided to publish two of the poems from it. These poems, combined under the title Wild Songs, were published in the magazine Athenäum in 1841 (they appear in the first section of the present volume).

Many of these literary endeavours are, of course, somewhat imitative in character. Marx himself did not place much value on their artistic merits and later treated them with a great deal of scepticism, though he found that there was genuine warmth and sincerity of feeling in his youthful poems, particularly the ones dedicated to Jenny. But the main value of these youthful writings is that they reflect — particularly the sonnets, epigrams and jests — certain aspects of the view that the young Marx had of the world in general, his attitude to the life around him, the traits that were forming in his character. The themes of high endeavour, of dedicated effort, of contempt for philistine sluggishness, of readiness to throw oneself into battle for lofty aims stand out clearly. Regarded from this angle, the poems included here offer an important insight into the mind of the young Marx.

The appendices supply biographical documents concerning the major landmarks in Marx’s life, his gymnasium essays on set subjects, papers concerned with his undergraduate years, and so on. Of great biographical interest are the letters of Heinrich Marx to his son. These letters are full of parental anxiety over a beloved child’s irresistible craving for knowledge, tempestuous character and fearless free-thinking, particularly in matters of religion. They convey a picture of the intense intellectual life Marx led as a student. The few extant letters from Jenny von Westphalen to Marx reveal the strength of the feelings that bound them together.

A special group is formed by the documents concerning the banning of the Rheinische Zeitung by the Prussian Government — a petition from the citizens of Cologne requesting withdrawal of the ban, and the minutes of the general meeting of the shareholders held on February 12, 1843.

Most of the items included in this volume had not previously been translated into English. Many of the articles from the Rheinische Zeitung, including the “Proceedings of the Sixth Rhine Province Assembly” (articles 1 and 3), “Justification of the Correspondent from the Mosel”, all the letters given in the volume, the bulk of the youthful literary endeavours, and also the Notebooks on Epicurean Philosophy and the Plan of Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, appear in English for the first time. The appendices also consist entirely of material and documents not previously published in English.

The article “Luther as Arbiter Between Strauss and Feuerbach” published in previous editions of Marx’s early works is not included in the present edition, for recent research has proved that it was not written by Marx.

The works that have previously appeared in English are given here in new, carefully checked translations.

The author’s underlining is reproduced by italics; marks of emphasis in the margins are shown by vertical lines. Headings supplied by the editors where none existed in the original are given in square brackets. The asterisks indicate footnotes by the author; the editors’ footnotes are indicated by index letters, and reference notes by superior numbers.

The compiling of the volume, the writing of the preface and notes, and the making of the subject index were the work of Tatyana Vasilyeva. The name index and the indexes of quoted literature and periodicals were prepared by Dmitry Belyaev, Tatyana Chikileva and Galina Kostryukova (CCCPSU Institute of Marxism-Leninism).

All the articles, letters, etc., in this volume have been translated from the German unless otherwise stated.

The prose translations were made by Richard Dixon, Clemens Dutt, Dirk J. and Sally R. Struik and Alick West, and edited by Robert Browning, Maurice Cornforth, Richard Dixon, Catherine Judelson, David McLellan and Margaret Mynatt.

The poems were translated by Alex Miller in consultation with Diana Miller and Victor Schnittke except for the verse tragedy Oulanem translated by Jack Lindsay and Alick West and edited by Alex Miller.

The English translations of the excerpts from Cicero, Athenaeus, Diogenes Laertius, Plutarch, Seneca, Sextus Empiricus and Clement of Alexandria in Marx’s Doctoral Dissertation and Notebooks on Epicurean Philosophy are based on the translations published in the Loeb Classics; those from Epicurus on The Extant Remains, translated by Cyril Bailey; those from Lucretius on Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, translated by R. E. Latham and published by Penguin Books, London; and those from Aristotle on The Works of Aristotle translated into English, published by Oxford University Press. The publishers express their gratitude to Harvard University Press and the Loeb Classical Library, Penguin Books, and the Clarendon Press, Oxford, for their kind permission to use these translations.

The volume was prepared for the press by the editors Natalia Karmanova, Margarita Lopukhina, Victor Schnittke, Lyudgarda Zubrilova, and the assistant-editor Natina Perova, for Progress Publishers, and Vladimir Mosolov, scientific editor, for the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, Moscow.


Comments on the latest Prussian censorship instruction - Karl Marx

Karl Marx on Prussian censorship in 1842.

1842: Prussian Censorship

Works of Karl Marx 1842

Comments on The Latest Prussian Censorship Instruction [39]

Written: between January 15 and February 10, 1842;
First published: in Anekdota zur neuesten deutschen Philosophie und Publicistik, Bd. I, 1843;
Transcribed: in 1998 for by Sally Ryan.

We are not one of those malcontents who, even before the appearance of the new Prussian censorship decree, exclaim: Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. On the contrary, since an examination of already promulgated laws is approved in the new instruction, even if it should prove not to agree with the government's views, we are making a start with this at once. Censorship is official criticism; its standards are critical standards, hence they least of all can be exempted from criticism, being on the same plane as the latter.

Certainly everyone can only approve of the general trend expressed in the introduction to the instruction:

"In order already now to free the press from improper restrictions, which are against the intentions of the All-Highest, His Majesty the King, by a supreme order issued to the royal state ministry on the 10th of this month, has been pleased to disapprove expressly of any undue constraint on the activity of writers and, recognising the value and need of frank and decent publicity, has empowered us to direct the censors anew to due observance of Article II of the censorship decree of October 18, 1819."

Certainly! If censorship is a necessity, frank liberal censorship is still more necessary.

What might immediately arouse some surprise is the date of the law cited; it is dated October 18, 1819. What? Is it perhaps a law which conditions of time made it necessary to repeal? Apparently not; for the censors are only directed "anew" to ensure observance of it. Hence the law has existed until 1842, but it has not been observed, for it has been called to mind "in order already now" to free the press from improper restrictions, which are against the intentions of the All-Highest.

The press, in spite of the law, has until now been subjected to improper restrictions - that is the immediate conclusion to be drawn from this introduction.

Is this then an argument against the law or against the censors? We can hardly assert the latter. For twenty-two years illegal actions have been committed by an authority which has in its charge the highest interest of the citizens, their minds, by an authority which regulates, even more than the Roman censors did, not only the behaviour of individual citizens, but even the behaviour of the public mind. Can such unscrupulous behaviour of the highest servants of the state, such a thoroughgoing lack of loyalty, be possible in the well-organised Prussian state, which is proud of its administration? Or has the state, in continual delusion, selected the most incapable persons for the most difficult posts? Or, finally, has the subject of the Prussian state no possibility of complaining against illegal actions? Are all Prussian writers so ignorant and foolish as to be unacquainted with the laws which concern their existence, or are they too cowardly to demand their observance?

If we put the blame on the censors, not only their own honour, but the honour of the Prussian state, and of the Prussian writers, is compromised.

Moreover, the more than twenty years of illegal behaviour of the censors in defiance of the law would provide argumentum ad hominem that the press needs other guarantees than such general instructions for such irresponsible persons; it would provide the proof that there is a basic defect in the nature of the censorship which no law can remedy.

If, however, the censors were capable, and the law was no good, why appeal to it afresh for removal of the evil it has caused?

Or should, perhaps, the objective defects of an institution be ascribed to individuals, in order fraudulently to give the impression of an improvement without making any essential improvement? It is the habit of pseudo-liberalism, when compelled to make concessions, to sacrifice persons, the instruments, and to preserve the thing itself, the institution. In this way the attention of a superficial public is diverted.

Resentment against the thing itself becomes resentment against persons. It is believed that by a change of persons the thing itself has been changed. Attention is deflected from the censorship to individual censors, and those petty writers of progress by command allow themselves petty audacities against those who have fallen out of favour and perform just as many acts of homage towards the government.

Yet another difficulty confronts us.

Some newspaper correspondents take the censorship instruction for the new censorship decree itself. They are mistaken, but their mistake is pardonable. The censorship decree of October 18, 1819, was to continue only provisionally until 1824, and it would have remained a provisional law to the present day if we had not learnt from the instruction now before us that it has never been implemented.

The 1819 decree was also an interim measure, with the difference that in its case a definite period of expectation of five years was indicated, whereas in the new instruction it is of unlimited duration, and that at that time laws on the freedom of the press were the object of expectation whereas now it is laws on censorship.

Other newspaper correspondents regard the censorship instruction as a refurbishing of the old censorship decree. Their error will be refuted by the instruction itself.

We regard the censorship instruction as the anticipated spirit of the presumable censorship law. In so doing we adhere strictly to the spirit of the 1819 censorship decree, according to which laws and ordinances are of equal significance for the press. (See the above-mentioned decree, Article XVI, No. 2.)

Let us return to the instruction.

"According to this law," namely, Article II, "the censorship should not prevent serious and modest investigation of truth, nor impose undue constraint on writers, or hinder the book trade from operating freely."

The investigation of truth which should not be prevented by the censorship is more particularly defined as one which is serious and modest. Both these definitions concern not the content of the investigation, but rather something which lies outside its content. From the outset they draw the investigation away from truth and make it pay attention to an unknown third thing. An investigation which continually has its eyes fixed on this third element, to which the law gives a legitimate capriciousness, will it not lose sight of the truth? Is it not the first duty of the seeker after truth to aim directly at the truth, without looking to the right or left? Will I not forget the essence of the matter, if I am obliged not to forget to state it in the prescribed form?

Truth is as little modest as light, and towards whom should it be so? Towards itself? Verum index sui et falsi. Therefore, towards falsehood?.

If modesty is the characteristic feature of the investigation, then it is a sign that truth is feared rather than falsehood. It is a means of discouragement at every step forward I take. It is the imposition on the investigation of a fear of reaching a result, a means of guarding against the truth.

Further, truth is general, it does not belong to me alone, it belongs to all, it owns me, I do not own it. My property is the form, which is my spiritual individuality. Le style c'est l'homme. Yes, indeed! The law permits me to write, only I must write in a style that is not mine! I may show my spiritual countenance, but I must first set it in the prescribed folds! What man of honour will not blush at this presumption and not prefer to hide his head under the toga? Under the toga at least one has an inkling of a Jupiter's head. The prescribed folds mean nothing but bonne mine a mauvais jeu.

You admire the delightful variety, the inexhaustible riches of nature. You do not demand that the rose should smell like the violet, but must the greatest riches of all, the spirit, exist in only one variety? I am humorous, but the law bids me write seriously. I am audacious, but the law commands that my style be modest. Grey, all grey, is the sole, the rightful colour of freedom. Every drop of dew on which the sun shines glistens with an inexhaustible play of colours, but the spiritual sun, however many the persons and whatever the objects in which it is refracted, must produce only the official colour! The most essential form of the spirit is cheerfulness, light, but you make shadow the sole manifestation of the spirit; it must be clothed only in black, yet among flowers there are no black ones. The essence of the spirit is always truth itself but what do you make its essence? Modesty. Only the mean wretch is modest, says Goethe, and you want to turn the spirit into such a mean wretch? Or if modesty is to be the modesty of genius of which Schiller speaks, then first of all turn all your citizens and above all your censors into geniuses. But then the modesty of genius does not consist in what educated speech consists in, the absence of accent and dialect, but rather in speaking with the accent of the matter and in the dialect of its essence. It consists in forgetting modesty and immodesty and getting to the heart of the matter. The universal modesty of the mind is reason, that universal liberality of thought which reacts to each thing according to the latter's essential nature.

Further, if seriousness is not to come under Tristram Shandy's definition according to which it is a hypocritical behaviour of the body in order to conceal defects of the soul, but signifies seriousness in substance, then the entire prescription falls to the ground. For I treat the ludicrous seriously when I treat it ludicrously, and the most serious immodesty of the mind is to be modest in the face of immodesty.

Serious and modest! What fluctuating, relative concepts! Where does seriousness cease and jocularity begin? Where does modesty cease and immodesty begin? We are dependent on the temperament of the censor. It would be as wrong to prescribe temperament for the censor as to prescribe style for the writer. If you want to be consistent in your aesthetic criticism, then forbid also a too serious and too modest investigation of the truth, for too great seriousness is the most ludicrous thing of all, and too great modesty is the bitterest irony.

Finally, the starting point is a completely perverted and abstract view of truth itself. All objects of the writer's activity are comprehended in the one general concept "truth". Even if we leave the, subjective side out of account, viz., that one and the same object is refracted differently as seen by different persons and its different aspects converted into as many different spiritual characters, ought the character of the object to have no influence, not even the slightest, on the investigation? Truth includes not only the result but also the path to it. The investigation of truth must itself be true; true investigation is developed truth, the dispersed elements of which are brought together in the result. And should not the manner of investigation alter according to the object? If the object is a matter for laughter, the manner has to seem serious, if the object is disagreeable, it has to be modest. Thus you violate the right of the object as you do that of the subject. You conceive truth abstractly and turn the spirit into an examining magistrate, who draws up a dry protocol of it.

Or is there no need of this metaphysical twisting? Is truth to be understood as being simply what the government decrees, so that investigation is added as a superfluous, intrusive element, but which for etiquette's sake is not to be entirely rejected? It almost seems so. For investigation is understood in advance as in contradiction to truth and therefore appears with the suspicious official accompaniment of seriousness and modesty, which of course is fitting for the layman in relation to the priest. The government's understanding is the only state reason. True, in certain circumstances of time, concessions have to be made to a different understanding and its chatter, but this understanding comes on the scene conscious of the concession and of its own lack of right, modest and submissive, serious and tedious. If Voltaire says: "Tous les genres sont bons, excepte le genre ennuyeux", in the present case the genre ennuyant becomes the exclusive one, as is already sufficiently proved by the reference to the "proceedings of the Rhine Province Assembly". Why not rather the good old German curialistic style? You may write freely, but at the same time every word must be a curtsey to the liberal censorship, which allows you to express your equally serious and modest opinions. Indeed, do not lose your feeling of reverence!

The legal emphasis is not on truth but on modesty and seriousness. Hence everything here arouses suspicion: seriousness, modesty and, above all, truth, the indefinite scope of which seems to conceal a very definite but very doubtful kind of truth.

"The censorship," the instruction states further, "should therefore by no means be implemented in a narrow-minded interpretation going beyond this law."

By this law is meant in the first place Article II of the 1819 decree, but later the instruction refers to the "spirit" of the censorship decree as a whole. The two provisions are easily combined. Article II is the concentrated spirit of the censorship decree, the further subdivision and more detailed specification of this spirit being found in the other articles. We believe the above-mentioned spirit cannot be better characterised than by the following expressions of it:

Article VII. "The freedom from censorship hitherto accorded the Academy of Sciences and the universities is hereby suspended for five years."

*10. "The present temporary decision shall remain in force for five years from today. Before the expiry of this term there shall be a thorough investigation in the Bundestag of how the kind of provisions regarding freedom of the press proposed in Article 18 of the Bundesakte could be put into effect, and thereby a definite decision reached on the legitimate limits of freedom of the press in Germany."

A law which suspends freedom of the press where it has hitherto existed, and makes it superfluous through censorship where it was to be brought into existence, can hardly be called one favourable to the press. Moreover, §10 directly admits that provisionally a censorship law will be introduced instead of the freedom of the press proposed in Article 18 of the Bundesakte and perhaps intended to be put into effect at some time. This quid pro quo at least reveals that the circumstances of the time called for restrictions on the press, and that the decree owes its origin to distrust of the press. This annoyance is even excused by being termed provisional, valid for only five years - unfortunately it has lasted for 22 years.

The very next line of the instruction shows how it becomes involved in a contradiction. On the one hand, it will not have the censorship implemented in any interpretation that goes beyond the decree, and at the same time it prescribes such excess:

"The censor can very well permit a frank discussion also of internal affairs."

The censor can, but he does not have to, there is no necessity. Even this cautious liberalism very definitely goes not only beyond the spirit but beyond the definite demands of the censorship decree. The old censorship decree, to be exact, Article II cited in the instruction, not only does not permit any frank discussion of Prussian affairs, but not even of Chinese affairs.

"Here," namely, among violations of the security of the Prussian state and the German Federated States, the instruction comments, "are included all attempts to present in a favourable light parties existing in any country which work for the overthrow of the state system."

Is this the way a frank discussion of Chinese or Turkish national affairs is permitted? And if even such remote relations endanger the precarious security of the German Federation, how can any word of disapproval about internal affairs fail to do so?

Thus, on the one hand, the instruction goes beyond the spirit of Article II of the censorship decree in the direction of liberalism - an excess whose content will become clear later, but which is already formally suspicious inasmuch as it claims to be the consequence of Article II, of which wisely only the first half is quoted, the censor however being referred at the same time to the article itself. On the other hand, the instruction just as much goes beyond the censorship decree in an illiberal direction and adds new press restrictions to the old ones.

In the above-quoted Article II of the censorship decree it is stated:

"Its aim" (that of the censorship) "is to check all that is contrary to the general principles of religion, irrespective of the opinions and doctrines of individual religious parties and sects permitted in the state."

In 1819, rationalism still prevailed, which understood by religion in general the so-called religion of reason. This rationalist point of view is also that of the censorship decree, which at any rate is so inconsistent as to adopt the irreligious point of view while its aim is to protect religion. For it is already contrary to the general principles of religion to separate them from the positive content and particular features of religion, since each religion believes itself distinguished from the various other would-be religions by its special nature, and that precisely its particular features make it the true religion. In quoting Article II, the new censorship instruction omits the restrictive additional clause by which individual religious parties and sects are excluded from inviolability, but it does not stop at this and makes the following comment:

"Anything aimed in a frivolous, hostile way against the Christian religion in general, or against a particular article of faith, must not be tolerated."

The old censorship decree does not mention the Christian religion at all; on the contrary, it distinguishes between religion and all individual religious parties and sects. The new censorship instruction does not only convert religion in general into the Christian religion, but adds further a particular article of faith. A delightful product of our Christianised science! Who will still deny that it has forged new fetters for the press? Religion, it is said, must not be attacked, whether in general or in particular. Or do you perhaps believe that the words frivolous and hostile have made the new fetters into chains of roses? How adroitly it is written: frivolous, hostile! The adjective frivolous appeals to the citizen's sense of decorum, it is the exoteric word for the world at large, but the adjective hostile is whispered into the censor's ear, it is the legal interpretation of frivolity. We shall find in this instruction more examples of this subtle tact, which offers the public a subjective word that makes it blush and offers the censor an objective word that makes the author grow pale. In this way even lettres de cachet could be set to music.

And in what a remarkable contradiction the censorship instruction has entangled itself! It is only a half-hearted attack that is frivolous, one which keeps to individual aspects of a phenomenon, without being sufficiently profound and serious to touch the essence of the matter; it is precisely an attack on a merely particular feature as such that is frivolous. If, therefore, an attack on the Christian religion in general is forbidden, it follows that only a frivolous attack on it is permitted. On the other hand, an attack on the general principles of religion, on its essence, on a particular feature insofar as it is a manifestation of the essence, is a hostile attack. Religion can only be attacked in a hostile or a frivolous way, there is no third way. This inconsistency in which the instruction entangles itself is, of course, only a seeming one, for it depends on the semblance that in general some kind of attack on religion is still permitted. But an unbiassed glance suffices to realise that this semblance is only a semblance. Religion must not be attacked, whether in a hostile or a frivolous way, whether in general or in particular, therefore not at all.

But if the instruction, in open contradiction to the 1819 censorship decree, imposes new fetters on the philosophical press, it should at least be sufficiently consistent as to free the religious press from the old fetters imposed on it by the former rationalist decree. For it declares that the aim of the censorship is also

"to oppose fanatical transference of religious articles of faith into politics and the confusion of ideas resulting therefrom".

The new instruction, it is true, is clever enough not to mention this provision in its commentary, nevertheless it accepts it in citing Article II. What does fanatical transference of religious articles of faith into politics mean? It means making religious articles of faith, by their specific nature, a determining factor of the state; it means making the particular nature of a religion the measuring-rod of the state. The old censorship decree could rightly oppose this confusion of ideas, for it left a particular religion, its definite content, open to criticism. The old decree, however, was based on the shallow, superficial rationalism which you yourselves despised. But you, who base the state even in details on faith and Christianity, who want to have a Christian state, how can you still recommend the censorship to prevent this confusion of ideas?

The confusion of the political with the Christian-religious principle has indeed become official doctrine. We want to make this confusion clear in a few words. Speaking only of Christianity as the recognised religion, you have in your state Catholics and Protestants. Both make equal claims on the state, just as they have equal duties to it. They both leave their religious differences out of account and demand equally that the state should be the realisation of political and juridical reason. But you want a Christian state. If your state is only Lutheran-Christian, then for the Catholic it becomes a church to which he does not belong, which he must reject as heretical, and whose innermost essence is contrary to him. It is just the same the other way round. If, however, you make the general spirit of Christianity the particular spirit of your state, you nevertheless decide on the basis of your Protestant views what the general spirit of Christianity is. You define what a Christian state is, although the recent period has taught you that some government officials are unable to draw the line between the religious and the secular, between state and church. In regard to this confusion of ideas, it was not censors but diplomats who had, not to decide, but to negotiate. Finally, you are adopting a heretical point of view when you reject definite dogma as non-essential. If you call your state a general Christian state, you are admitting with a diplomatic turn of phrase that it is un-Christian. Hence either forbid religion to be introduced at all into politics - but you don't want that, for you want to base the state not on free reason, but on faith, religion being for you the general sanction for what exists - or allow also the fanatical introduction of religion into politics. Let religion concern itself with politics in its own way, but you don't want that either. Religion has to support the secular authority, without the latter subordinating itself to religion. Once you introduce religion into politics, it is intolerable, indeed irreligious, arrogance to want to determine secularly how religion has to act in political matters. He who wants to ally himself with religion owing to religious feelings must concede it the decisive voice in all questions, or do you perhaps understand by religion the cult of your own unlimited authority and governmental wisdom?

There is yet another way in which the orthodox spirit of the new censorship instruction comes into conflict with the rationalism of the old censorship decree. The latter includes under the aim of the censorship also suppression of "what offends against morality and good manners". The instruction reproduces this passage as a quotation from Article II. Its commentary, however, while making additions as regards religion, contains omissions as regards morality. Offending against morality and good manners becomes violation of "propriety and manners and external decorum". One sees: morality as such, as the principle of a world that obeys its own laws, disappears, and in place of the essence external manifestations make their appearance, police respectability, conventional decorum. Honour to whom honour is due, we recognise true consistency here. The specifically Christian legislator cannot recognise morality as an independent sphere that is sacrosanct in itself, for he claims that its inner general essence belongs to religion. Independent morality offends against the general principles of religion, but the particular concepts of religion conflict with morality. Morality recognises only its own universal and rational religion, and religion recognises only its particular positive morality. Hence, according to this instruction, the censorship must reject the intellectual heroes of morality, such as Kant, Fichte and Spinoza, as irreligious, as violating propriety, manners, and external decorum. All these moralists start out from a contradiction in principle between morality and religion, for morality is based on the autonomy of the human mind, religion on its heteronomy. Let us turn from these undesirable innovations of the censorship - on the one hand, the weakening of its moral conscience, on the other hand, the rigorous heightening of its religious conscience - to what is more welcome, the concessions.

It "follows in particular that writings in which the state administration is assessed as a whole or in its individual branches, laws that have been or are still to be promulgated are examined for their inner value, mistakes and misconceptions revealed, improvements indicated or suggested, are not to be rejected because they are written in a spirit that does not agree with the government's views, as long as their formulation is decent and their tendency well-meaning".

Modesty and seriousness of investigation - both the new instruction and the censorship decree make this demand, but for the former decorous formulation is as little sufficient as truth of content. For it the tendency is the main criterion, indeed it is its all-pervading thought, whereas in the decree itself not even the word tendency is to be found. Nor does the new instruction say what constitutes tendency, but how important it is for it may be seen from the following extract:

"In this connection it is an indispensable premise that the tendency of remonstrances expressed against measures of the government should not be spiteful or malevolent, but well-intentioned, and goodwill and insight are required of the censor so that he knows how to distinguish between the one case and the other. Considering this, the censors must also pay special attention to the form and tone of writings for the press and insofar as, owing to passion, vehemence and arrogance, their tendency is found to be pernicious, must not allow them to be printed."

The writer, therefore, has fallen victim to the most frightful terrorism, and is subjected to the jurisdiction of suspicion. Laws against tendency, laws giving no objective standards, are laws of terrorism, such as were invented owing to the emergency needs of the state under Robespierre and the corruption of the state under the Roman emperors. Laws which make their main criterion not actions as such, but the frame of mind of the doer, are nothing but positive sanctions for lawlessness. Better like that Russian Tsar to have everyone's beard cut off by Cossacks in his service than to make the state of mind due to which I wear a beard the criterion for the cutting.

Only insofar as I manifest myself externally, enter the sphere of the actual, do I enter the sphere of the legislator. Apart from my actions, I have no existence for the law, am no object for it. My actions are the sole thing by which the law has a hold on me; for they are the sole thing for which I demand a right of existence, a right of actuality, owing to which therefore I come within the sphere of actual law. The law which punishes tendency, however, punishes me not only for what I do, but for what I think, apart from my actions. It is therefore an insult to the honour of the citizen, a vexatious law which threatens my existence.

I can turn and twist as I will, it is not a question of the facts. My existence is under suspicion, my innermost being, my individuality, is considered bad, and it is for this opinion of me that I am punished. The law punishes me not for any wrong I commit, but for the wrong I do not commit. I am really being punished because my action is not against the law, for only because of that do I compel the lenient, well-meaning judge to seize on my bad frame of mind, which is clever enough not to come out in the open.

The law against a frame of mind is not a law of the state promulgated for its citizens, but the law of one party against another party. The law which punishes tendency abolishes the equality of the citizens before the law. It is a law which divides, not one which unites, and all laws which divide are reactionary. It is not a law, but a privilege. One may do what another may not do, not because the latter lacks some objective quality, like a minor in regard to concluding contracts; no, because his good intentions and his frame of mind are under suspicion. The moral state assumes its members to have the frame of mind of the state, even if they act in opposition to an organ of the state, against the government. But in a society in which one organ imagines itself the sole, exclusive possessor of state reason and state morality, in a government which opposes the people in principle and hence regards its anti-state frame of mind as the general, normal frame of mind, the bad conscience of a faction invents laws against tendency, laws of revenge, laws against a frame of mind which has its seat only in the government members themselves. Laws against frame of mind are based on an unprincipled frame of mind on an immoral, material view of the state.

They are the involuntary cry of a bad conscience. And how is a law of this kind to be implemented? By a means more revolting than the law itself: by spies, or by previous agreement to regard entire literary trends as suspicious, in which case, of course, the trend to which an individual belongs must also be inquired into. Just as in the law against tendency the legal form contradicts the content, just as the government which issues it lashes out against what it is itself, against the anti-state frame of mind, so also in each particular case it forms as it were the reverse world to its laws, for it applies a double measuring-rod. What for one side is right, for the other side is wrong. The very laws issued by the government are the opposite of what they make into law.

The new censorship instruction, too, becomes entangled in this dialectic. It contains the contradiction of itself doing, and making it the censor's duty to do, everything that it condemns as anti-state in the case of the press.

Thus the instruction forbids writers to cast suspicion on the frame of mind of individuals or whole classes, and in the same breath it bids the censor divide all citizens into suspicious and unsuspicious, into well-intentioned and evil-intentioned. The press is deprived of the right to criticise, but criticism becomes the daily duty of the governmental critic. This reversal, however, does not end the matter. Within the press what was anti-state as regards content appeared as something particular, but from the aspect of its form it was something universal, that is to say, subject to universal appraisal.

However, now the thing is turned upside-down: the particular now appears justified in regard to its content, what is anti-state appears as the view of the state, as state law; in regard to its form, however, what is anti-state appears as something particular, that cannot be brought to the general light of day, that is relegated from the open air of publicity to the office files of the governmental critic. Thus the instruction wants to protect religion, but it violates the most general principle of all religions, the sanctity and inviolability of the subjective frame of mind. It makes the censor instead of God the judge of the heart. Thus it prohibits offensive utterances and defamatory judgments on individuals, but it exposes you every day to the defamatory and offensive judgment of the censor. Thus the instruction wants the gossip of evil-minded or ill-informed persons suppressed, but it compels the censor to rely on such gossip, on spying by ill-informed and evil-minded persons, degrading judgment from the sphere of objective content to that of subjective opinion or arbitrary action. Thus suspicion must not be cast on the intention of the state, but the instruction starts out from suspicion in respect of the state. Thus no bad frame of mind must be concealed under a good appearance, but the instruction itself is based on a false appearance. Thus the instruction wants to enhance national feeling, but it is based on a view that humiliates the nation. Lawful behaviour and respect for the law are demanded of us, but at the same time we have to honour institutions which put us outside the law and introduce arbitrariness in place of law. We are required to recognise the principle of personality to such an extent that we trust the censor despite the defects of the institution of censorship, and you violate the principle of personality to such an extent that you cause personality to be judged not according to its actions but according to an opinion of the opinion of its actions. You demand modesty and your starting point is the monstrous immodesty of appointing individual servants of the state to spy on people's hearts, to be omniscient, philosophers, theologians, politicians, Delphic Apollos. On the one hand, you make it our duty to respect immodesty and, on the other hand, you forbid us to be immodest. The real immodesty consists in ascribing perfection of the genus to particular individuals. The censor is a particular individual, but the press becomes the embodiment of the whole genus. You order us to have trust, and you give distrust the force of law. You repose so much trust in your state institutions that you think they will convert a weak mortal, an official, into a saint, and make the impossible possible for him. But you distrust your state or organism so much that you are afraid of the isolated opinion of a private person; for you treat the press as a private person. You assume that the officials will act quite impersonally, without animosity, passion, narrow-mindedness or human weakness. But what is impersonal, ideas, you suspect of being full of personal intrigue and subjective vileness. The instruction demands unlimited trust in the estate of officials, and it proceeds from unlimited distrust in the estate of non-officials. Why should we not pay tit for tat? Why should we not look with suspicion on precisely this estate of officials? Equally as regards character. From the outset one who is impartial should have more respect for the character of the critic who acts publicly than for the character of the critic who acts in secret.

What is at all bad remains bad, whoever personifies this badness, whether a private critic or one appointed by the government, but in the latter case the badness is authorised and regarded from above as a necessity to realise goodness from below.

The censorship of tendency and the tendency of censorship are a gift of the new liberal instruction. No one will blame us if we turn to the further provisions of the instruction with a certain misgiving.

"Offensive utterances and defamatory judgments on individuals are not suitable for publication.

"Not suitable for publication! Instead of this mildness we could wish that an objective definition of offensive and defamatory judgments had been given.

"The same holds good for suspicion of the frame of mind of individuals or" (a significant or) "whole classes, for the use of party names and other such personal attacks."

Inadmissible, therefore, also are classification by categories, attacks on whole classes, use of party names - and man, like Adam, has to give everything a name for it to exist for him; party names are essential categories for the political press,

"Because, as Dr. Sassafras supposes,
Every illness for its cure
Must first receive a name."

All this is included in personal attacks. How then is one to make a start? One must not attack an individual, and just as little the class, the general, the juridical person. The state will - and here it is right - tolerate no insults, no personal attacks; but by a simple "or" the general is also included in the personal. By "or" the general comes into it, and by means of a little "and" we learn finally that the whole question has been only of personal attacks. But as a perfectly simple consequence it follows that the press is forbidden all control over officials as over such institutions that exist as a class of individuals.

"If censorship is exercised in accordance with these directives in the spirit of the censorship decree of October 18, 1819, adequate scope will be afforded for decorous and candid publicity, and it is to be expected that thereby greater sympathy for the interests of the Fatherland will be aroused and thus national feeling enhanced."

We are ready to admit that in accordance with these directives for decorous publicity, decorous in the sense understood by the censorship, a more than adequate field of play is afforded - the term field of play is happily chosen, for the field is calculated for a sportive press that is satisfied with leaps in the air. Whether it is adequate for a candid publicity, and where its candidness lies, we leave to the readers' perspicacity. As for expectations held out by the instruction, national feeling may, of course, be enhanced just as the sending of a bow-string enhances the feeling of Turkish nationality: but whether the press, as modest as it is serious, will arouse sympathy for the interests of the Fatherland we shall leave it to decide for itself; a meagre press cannot be fattened with quinine. Perhaps, however, we have taken too serious a view of the passage quoted. We shall, perhaps, get at the meaning better if we regard it as merely a thorn in the wreath of roses. Perhaps this liberal thorn holds a pearl of very ambiguous value. Let us see. It all depends on the context. The enhancement of national feeling and the arousing of sympathy for the interests of the Fatherland, which in the above-cited passage are spoken of as an expectation, secretly turn into an order, which imposes a new constraint on our poor, consumptive daily press.

"In this way it may be hoped that both political literature and the daily press will realise their function better, that with the acquirement of richer material they will also adopt a more dignified tone, and in future will scorn to speculate on the curiosity of their readers through communication of baseless reports taken from foreign newspapers and originating from evil-minded or badly informed correspondents, by gossip and personal attacks - a trend against which it is the undoubted duty of the censorship to take measures."

In the way indicated it is hoped that political literature and the daily press will realise their function better, etc. However, better realisation cannot be ordered, moreover it is a fruit still to he awaited, and hope remains hope. But the instruction is much too practical to be satisfied with hopes and pious wishes. While the press is granted the hope of its future improvement as a new consolation, the kindly instruction at the same time deprives it of a right it has at present. In the hope of its improvement it loses what it still has. It fares like poor Sancho Panza, from whom all the food was snatched away under his eyes by the court doctor in order that his stomach should not be upset and make him incapable of performing the duties imposed on him by the duke.

At the same time we ought not to miss the opportunity of inviting the Prussian writer to adopt this kind of decorous style. In the first part of the sentence it is stated: "In this way it may be hoped that". This that governs a whole series of provisions, namely, that political literature and the daily press will realise their function better, that they will adopt a more dignified tone, etc., etc., that they will scorn communication of baseless reports, etc., taken from foreign newspapers. All these provisions are still matters for hope; but the conclusion, which is joined to the foregoing by a dash: "a trend against which it is the undoubted duty of the censorship to take measures", absolves the censor from the boring task of awaiting the hoped-for improvement of the daily press, and instead empowers him to delete what he finds undesirable without more ado. Internal treatment has been replaced by amputation.

"To approach this aim more closely, however, requires that great care be taken in agreeing to new publications and new editors, so that the daily press will be entrusted only to completely irreproachable persons whose scientific ability, position and character guarantee the seriousness of their efforts and the loyalty of their mode of thought."

Before we go into details, let us make one general observation. The approval of new editors, hence of future editors in general, is entrusted wholly to the "great care", naturally of the state officials, of the censorship, whereas at least the old censorship decree left the choice of editors, with certain guarantees, to the discretion of the publisher:

"Article IX. The supreme censorship authority is entitled to inform the publisher of a newspaper that a proposed editor is not such as to inspire the requisite trust, in which case the publisher is bound either to take another editor or, if he wants to retain the one designated, to furnish for him a security to be determined by our above-mentioned state ministries on the proposal of the above-mentioned supreme censorship authority."

The new censorship instruction expresses a quite different profundity, one could call it a romanticism of the spirit. Whereas the old censorship decree demands an external, prosaic, hence legally definable, security, on the guarantee of which even the objectionable editor is to be allowed, the instruction on the other hand takes away all independent will from the publisher of a newspaper. Moreover, it draws the attention of the preventive wisdom of the government, the great care and intellectual profundity of the authorities, to internal, subjective, externally indefinable, qualities. If, however, the indefiniteness, delicate sensitivity, and subjective extravagance of romanticism become purely external, merely in the sense that external chance no longer appears in its prosaic definiteness and limitation, but in a fantastic glory, in an imaginary profundity and splendour - then the instruction, too, can hardly avoid this romantic fate.

The editors of the daily press, a category which includes all journalistic activity, must be completely irreproachable men. "Scientific qualification" is put forward in the first place as a guarantee of this complete irreproachability. Not the slightest doubt arises as to whether the censor can have the scientific qualification to pass judgment on scientific qualification of every kind. If such a crowd of universal geniuses known to the government are to be found in Prussia - every town has at least one censor - why do not these encyclopaedic minds come forward as writers? If these officials, overwhelming in their numbers and mighty owing to their scientific knowledge and genius, were all at once to rise up and smother by their weight those miserable writers, each of whom can write in only one genre, and even in that without officially attested ability, an end could be put to the irregularities of the press much better than through the censorship. Why do these experts who, like the Roman geese, could save the Capitol by their cackling remain silent? Their modesty is too great. The scientific public does not know them, but the government does.

And if these men are indeed such as no state has succeeded in discovering, for never has a state known whole classes composed solely of universal geniuses and encyclopaedic minds - how much greater must be the genius of the selectors of these men! What secret science must be theirs for them to be able to issue a certificate of universal scientific qualification to officials unknown in the republic of science! The higher we rise in this bureaucracy of intelligence, the more remarkable are the minds we encounter. For a state which possesses such pillars of a perfect press, is it worth the trouble, is it expedient to make these men the guardians of a defective press, to degrade the perfect into a means for dealing with the imperfect?

The more of these censors you appoint, the mare you deprive the realm of the press of chances of improvement. You take away the healthy from your army in order to make them physicians of the unhealthy.

Merely stamp on the ground like Pompey and a Pallas Athena in complete armour will spring from every government building. Confronted by the official press, the shallow daily press will disintegrate into nothing. The existence of light suffices to expel darkness. Let your light shine, and hide it not under a bushel. Instead of a defective censorship whose full effectiveness you yourselves regard as problematic, give us a perfect press to whom you have only to give an order and a model of which has been in existence for centuries in the Chinese state.

But to make scientific qualification the sole, necessary condition for writers of the daily press, is that not a provision concerning the mind, no favouring of privilege, no conventional demand? Is it not a stipulation as regards the matter, not a stipulation as regards the person?

Unfortunately the censorship instruction interrupts our panegyric. Alongside the guarantee of scientific qualification is the demand for that of position and character. Position and character!

Character, which follows so immediately after position, seems almost to be a mere outcome of the latter. Let us, therefore, take a look at position in the first place. It is so squeezed in between scientific qualification and character that one is almost tempted to doubt the good conscience that called for it.

The general demand for scientific qualification, how liberal! The special demand for position, how illiberal! Scientific qualification and position together, how pseudo-liberal! Since scientific qualification and character are very indefinite things, whereas position, on the other hand, is very definite, why should we not conclude that by a necessary law of logic the indefinite will be supported by the definite and obtain stability and content from it? Would it then be a great mistake on the part of the censor if he interpreted the instruction as meaning that position is the external form in which scientific qualification and character manifest themselves socially, the more so since his own position as censor is a guarantee for him that this view is the state's view? Without this interpretation it remains at least quite incomprehensible why scientific qualification and character are not adequate guarantees for a writer, why position is a necessary third. Now if the censor were to find himself in a quandary, if these guarantees were seldom or never present together, where should his choice fall? A choice has to be made, for someone has to edit newspapers and periodicals. Scientific qualification and character without position could present a problem for the censor on account of their indefiniteness, just as in general it must rightly be a surprise to him that such qualities could exist separately from position. On the other hand, ought the censor to have any doubts about character and science where position is present? In that case he would have less confidence in the judgment of the state than in his own, whereas in the opposite case he would have more confidence in the writer than in the state. Ought a censor to be so tactless, so ill-disposed? It is not to be expected and will certainly not be expected. Position, because it is the decisive criterion in case of doubt, is in general the absolutely decisive criterion.

Hence, just as earlier the instruction was in conflict with the censorship decree owing to its orthodoxy, now it is so owing to its romanticism, which at the same time is always the poetry of tendency. The cash security, which is a prosaic, real guarantee, becomes an imaginary one, and this imaginary guarantee turns into the wholly real and individual position, which acquires a magical fictitious significance. In the same way the significance of the guarantee becomes transformed. The publisher no longer chooses an editor, for whom he gives a guarantee to the authorities, instead the authorities choose an editor for him, one for whom they give a guarantee to themselves. The old decree looked for the work of the editor, for which the publisher's cash security served as guarantee. The instruction, however, is not concerned with the work of the editor, but with his person. It demands a definite personal individuality, which the publisher's money should provide. The new instruction is just as superficial as the old decree. But whereas the latter by its nature expressed and delimited prosaically defined provisions, the instruction gives an imaginary significance to the purest chance and expresses what is merely individual with the fervour of generality.

Whereas, however, as regards the editor, the romantic instruction expresses the extremely superficial definiteness in a tone of the most easy-going indefiniteness, as regards the censor it expresses the vaguest indefiniteness in a tone of legal definiteness.

"The same caution must be exercised in the appointment of censors, so that the post of censor shall be entrusted only to men of tested frame of mind and ability, who fully correspond to the honourable trust which that office presupposes; to men who are both right-thinking and keen-sighted, who are able to separate the form from the essence of the matter and with sure tact know how to set aside doubt where the meaning and tendency of a writing do not in themselves justify this doubt."

Instead of position and character as required of the writer, we have here the tested frame of mind, since position is already there. More significant is that whereas scientific qualification is demanded of the writer, what is demanded of the censor is ability without further definition. The old decree, which is drawn up in a rational spirit except in respect of politics, calls in Article III for "scientifically-trained" and even "enlightened" censors. In the instruction both attributes have been dropped, and instead of the qualification of the writer, which signifies a definite, well-developed ability that has become a reality, there appears in the case of the censor the aptitude for qualification, ability in general. Hence the aptitude for ability has to act as censor of actual qualification, however much in the nature of things the relationship should obviously be the reverse. Finally, merely in passing, we note that the ability of the censor is not more closely defined as regards its objective content, and this, of course, makes its character ambiguous.

Further, the post of censor is to be entrusted to men "who fully correspond to the honourable trust which that office presupposes". This pleonastic pseudo-definition, to select for an office men in whom one has trust that they (will?) fully correspond to the honourable trust, certainly a very full trust, reposed in them, is not worth further discussion.

Finally, the censors must be men

"who are both right-thinking and keen-sighted, who are able to separate the form from the essence of the matter and with sure tact know how to set aside doubt where the meaning and tendency of a writing do not in themselves justify this doubt".

Earlier, on the other hand, the instruction prescribes:

"Considering this" (namely, the investigation of tendency), "the censors must also pay special attention to the form and tone of writings for the press and insofar as, owing to passion, vehemence and arrogance, their tendency is found to be pernicious, must not allow them to be printed."

On one occasion, therefore, the censor has to judge of the tendency from the form, on another occasion, of the form from the tendency. If previously content had already disappeared as a criterion for censorship, now form also disappears. As long as the tendency is good, faults of form do not matter. Even if the work cannot be regarded exactly as very serious and modest, even if it may appear to be vehement, passionate, arrogant, who would let himself be frightened by the rough exterior? One has to know how to distinguish between form and essence. All semblance of definitions had to be abandoned, the instruction had to end in a complete contradiction with itself; for everything by which tendency is supposed to be recognised is, on the contrary, determined by the tendency and must be recognised from the tendency. The vehemence of the patriot is holy zeal, his passionateness is the sensitiveness of the lover, his arrogance a devoted sympathy which is too immeasurable to be moderate.

All objective standards are abandoned, everything is finally reduced to the personal relation, and the censor's tact has to be called a guarantee. What then can the censor violate? Tact. But tactlessness is no crime. What is threatened as far as the writer is concerned? His existence. What state has ever made the existence of whole classes depend on the tact of individual officials?

I repeat, all objective standards are abandoned. As regards the writer, tendency is the ultimate content that is demanded from him and prescribed to him. Tendency as formless opinion appears as object. Tendency as subject, as opinion of opinion, is the censor's tact and his sole criterion.

But whereas the arbitrariness of the censor - and to sanction the authority of mere opinion is to sanction arbitrariness - is alogical consequence which was concealed under a semblance of objective definitions, the instruction on the other hand quite consciously expresses the arbitrariness of the Oberprasidium; trust is reposed in the latter without reserve, and this trust reposed in the Oberprasident is the ultimate guarantee of the press. Thus the essence of the censorship in general is based on the arrogant imaginary idea that the police state has of its officials. There is no confidence in the intelligence and goodwill of the general public even in the simplest matter; but even the impossible is considered possible for the officials.

This fundamental defect is inherent in all our institutions. Thus,for example, in criminal proceedings judge, accuser and defender are combined in a single person. This combination contradicts all the laws of psychology. But the official is raised above the laws of psychology, while the general public remains under them. Nevertheless, one could excuse a defective principle of state; it becomes unpardonable, however, if it is not honest enough to be consistent. The responsibility of the officials ought to be as immeasurably above that of the general public as the officials are above the latter, and it is precisely here, where consistency alone could justify the principle and make it legitimate within its sphere, it is precisely here that it is abandoned and the opposite principle applied.

The censor, too, is accuser, defender and judge in a single person; control of the mind is entrusted to the censor; he is irresponsible.

The censorship could have only a provisionally loyal character if it was subordinated to the regular courts, which of course is impossible so long as there are no objective laws governing censorship. But the worst method of all is to subject the censorship to censorship again, as by an Oberprasident or supreme college of censors.

Everything that holds good Of the relation Of the press to the censorship holds good also of the relation of the censorship to the supreme censorship and that of the writer to the supreme censor, although an intermediate link is interposed. It is the same relation placed on a higher plane, the remarkable error of leaving matters alone and wanting to give them another nature through other persons. If the coercive state wanted to be loyal, it would abolish itself. Every point would require the same coercion and the same counter-pressure. The supreme censorship would have to be subjected to censorship in its turn. In order to escape from this vicious circle, it is decided to be disloyal; lawlessness now begins in the third or ninety-ninth stage. Because the bureaucratic state is vaguely conscious of this, it tries at least to place the sphere of lawlessness so high that it escapes the eye, and then believes that lawlessness has disappeared.

The real, radical cure for the censorship would be its abolition; for the institution itself is a bad one, and institutions are more powerful than people. Our view may be right or not, but in any case the Prussian writers stand to gain through the new instruction, either in real freedom, or in freedom of ideas, in consciousness.

Rara temporum feticitas, ubi quae velis sentire et quae sentias direre licet.

Signed; By a Rhinelander


Letter to his father - Karl Marx

Letter written by Karl Marx to his father in 1837.

Letters: 1837-Letter to father

Early Works of Karl Marx

Letter from Karl to his Father
In Trier (1837)

First published: in Die Neue Zeit No. 1, 1897 [2];
Source: MECW, Volume 1;
Transcribed: in 1998 for MEIA by

Berlin, November 10

Dear Father,

There are moments in one's life which are like frontier posts marking the completion of a period but at the same time clearly indicating a new direction.

At such a moment of transition we feel compelled to view the past and the present with the eagle eye of thought in order to become conscious of our real position. Indeed, world history itself likes to look back in this way and take stock, which often gives it the appearance of retrogression or stagnation, whereas it is merely, as it were, sitting back in an armchair in order to understand itself and mentally grasp its own activity, that of the mind.

At such moments, however, a person becomes lyrical, for every metamorphosis is partly a swan song, partly the overture to a great new poem, which endeavours to achieve a stable form in brilliant colours that still merge into one another. Nevertheless, we should like to erect a memorial to what we have once lived through in order that this experience may regain in our emotions the place it has lost in our actions. And where could a more sacred dwelling place be found for it than in the heart of a parent, the most merciful judge, the most intimate sympathiser, the sun of love whose warming fire is felt at the innermost centre of our endeavours! What better amends and forgiveness could there be for much that is objectionable and blameworthy than to be seen as the manifestation of an essentially necessary state of things? How, at least, could the often ill-fated play of chance and intellectual error better escape the reproach of being due to a perverse heart?

When, therefore, now at the end of a year spent here I cast a glance back on the course of events during that time, in order, my dear father, to answer your infinitely dear letter from Ems, allow me to review my affairs in the way I regard life in general, as the expression of an intellectual activity which develops in all directions, in science, art and private matters.

When I left you, a new world had come into existence for me, that of love, which in fact at the beginning was a passionately yearning and hopeless love. Even the journey to Berlin, which otherwise would have delighted me in the highest degree, would have inspired me to contemplate nature and fired my zest for life, left me cold. Indeed, it put me strikingly out of humour, for the rocks which I saw were not more rugged, more indomitable, than the emotions of my soul, the big towns not more lively than my blood, the inn meals not more extravagant, more indigestible, than the store of fantasies I carried with me, and, finally, no work of art was as beautiful as Jenny.

After my arrival in Berlin, I broke off all hitherto existing connections, made visits rarely and unwillingly, and tried to immerse myself in science and art.

In accordance with my state of mind at the time, lyrical poetry was bound to be my first subject, at least the most pleasant and immediate one. But owing to my attitude and whole previous development it was purely idealistic. My heaven, my art, became a world beyond, as remote as my love. Everything real became hazy and what is hazy has no definite outlines. All the poems of the first three volumes I sent to Jenny are marked by attacks on our times, diffuse and inchoate expressions of feeling, nothing natural, everything built out of moonshine, complete opposition between what is and what ought to be, rhetorical reflections instead of poetic thoughts, but perhaps also a certain warmth of feeling and striving for poetic fire. The whole extent of a longing that has no bounds finds expression there in many different forms and makes the poetic "composition" into "diffusion".

Poetry, however, could be and had to be only an accompaniment; I had to study law and above all felt the urge to wrestle with philosophy. The two were so closely linked that, on the one hand, I read through Heineccius, Thibaut and the sources quite uncritically, in a mere schoolboy fashion; thus, for instance, I translated the first two books of the Pandect [3] into German, and, on the other hand, tried to elaborate a philosophy of law covering the whole field of law. I prefaced this with some metaphysical propositions by way of introduction and continued this unhappy opus as far as public law, a work of almost 300 pages. [4]

Here, above all, the same opposition between what is and what ought to be, which is characteristic of idealism, stood out as a serious defect and was the source of the hopelessly incorrect division of the subject-matter. First of all came what I was pleased to call the metaphysics of law, i. e., basic principles, reflections, definitions of concepts, divorced from all actual law and every actual form of law, as occurs in Fichte, only in my case it was more modern and shallower. From the outset an obstacle to grasping the truth here was the unscientific form of mathematical dogmatism, in which the author argues hither and thither, going round and round the subject dealt with, without the latter taking shape as something living and developing in a many-sided way. A triangle gives the mathematician scope for construction and proof, it remains a mere abstract conception in space and does not develop into anything further. It has to be put alongside something else, then it assumes other positions, and this diversity added to it gives it different relationships and truths. On the other hand, in the concrete expression of a living world of ideas, as exemplified by law, the state, nature, and philosophy as a whole, the object itself must be studied in its development; arbitrary divisions must not be introduced, the rational character of the object itself must develop as something imbued with contradictions in itself and find its unity in itself.

Next, as the second part, came the philosophy of law, that is to say, according to my views at the time, an examination of the development of ideas in positive Roman law, as if positive law in its conceptual development (I do not mean in its purely finite provisions) could ever be something different from the formation of the concept of law, which the first part, however, should have dealt with.

Moreover, I had further divided this part into the theory of formal law and the theory of material law, the first being the pure form of the system in its sequence and interconnections, its subdivisions and scope, whereas the second, on the other hand, was intended to describe the content, showing how the form becomes embodied in its content. This was an error I shared with Herr v. Savigny, as I discovered later in his learned work on ownership, the only difference being that he applies the term formal definition of the concept to "finding the place which this or that theory occupies in the (fictitious) Roman system", the material definition being "the theory of positive content which the Romans attributed to a concept defined in this way", [5] whereas I understood by form the necessary architectonics of conceptual formulations, and by matter the necessary quality of these formulations. The mistake lay in my belief that matter and form can and must develop separately from each other, and so I obtained not a real form, but something like a desk with drawers into which I then poured sand.

The concept is indeed the mediating link between form and content. In a philosophical treatment of law, therefore, the one must arise in the other; indeed, the form should only be the continuation of the content. Thus I arrived at a division of the material such as could be devised by its author for at most an easy and shallow classification, but in which the spirit and truth of law disappeared. All law was divided into contractual and non-contractual. In order to make this clearer, I take the liberty to set out the plan up to the division of jus publicum, which is also treated in the formal part.

jus privatum
jus publicum

I. jus privatum

a) Conditional contractual private law.
b) Unconditional non-contractual private law.

A. Conditional contractual private law

a) Law of persons; b) Law of things; c) Law of persons in relation to property.

a) Law of persons

I. Commercial contracts; II. Warranties; III. Contracts of bailment.

I. Commercial contracts

2. Contracts of legal entities (societas). 3. Contracts of casements (locatio conductio).

3. Locatio conductio

l. Insofar as it relates to operae.
   a) locatio conductio proper (excluding Roman letting or leasing);
   b) mandatum.

2. Insofar as it relates to usus rei.
   a) On land: usus fructus (also not in the purely Roman sense);
   b) On houses: habitatio.

II. Warranties

l. Arbitration or conciliation contract; 2. Insurance contract.

III. Contracts of bailment

2. Promissory contract

1. fide jussio; 2. negotiorum gestio.

3. Contract of gift

1. donatio; 2. gratiae promissum

b) Law of things
I. Commercial contracts

2. permutatio stricte sic dicta.

1. permutatio proper; 2. mutuum (usurae), 3. emptio venditio.

II. Warranties


III. Contracts of bailment

2. commodatum; 3. depositum.

But why should I go on filling up pages with things I myself have rejected? The whole thing is replete with tripartite divisions, it is written with tedious prolixity, and the Roman concepts are misused in the most barbaric fashion in order to force them into my system. On the other hand, in this way I did gain a general view of the material and a liking for it, at least along certain lines.

At the end of the section on material private law, I saw the falsity of the whole thing, the basic plan of which borders on that of Kant [6], but deviates wholly from it in the execution, and again it became clear to me that there could be no headway without philosophy. So with a good conscience I was able once more to throw myself into her embrace, and I drafted a new system of metaphysical principles, but at the conclusion of it I was once more compelled to recognise that it was wrong, like all my previous efforts.

In the course of this work I adopted the habit of making extracts from all the books I read, for instance from Lessing's Laokoon, Solger's Erwin, Winckelmann's history of art, Luden's German history, and incidentally scribbled down my reflections. At the same time I translated Tacitus' Germania, and Ovid's Tristia, and began to learn English and Italian by myself, i. e., out of grammars, but I have not yet got anywhere with this. I also read Klein's criminal law and his annals, and all the most recent literature, but this last only by the way.

At the end of the term, I again sought the dances of the Muses and the music of the Satyrs. Already in the last exercise book that I sent you idealism pervades forced humour (Scorpion and Felix) and an unsuccessful, fantastic drama (Oulanem), until it finally undergoes a complete transformation and becomes mere formal art, mostly without objects that inspire it and without any impassioned train of thought.

And yet these last poems are the only ones in which suddenly, as if by a magic touch - oh, the touch was at first a shattering blow - I caught sight of the glittering realm of true poetry like a distant fairy palace, and all my creations crumbled into nothing.

Busy with these various occupations, during my first term I spent many a sleepless night, fought many a battle, and endured much internal and external excitement. Yet at the end I emerged not much enriched, and moreover I had neglected nature, art and the world, and shut the door on my friends. The above observations seem to have been made by my body. I was advised by a doctor to go to the country, and so it was that for the first time I traversed the whole length of the city to the gate and went to Stralow. I had no inkling that I would mature there from an anaemic weakling into a man of robust bodily strength.

A curtain had fallen, my holy of holies was rent asunder, and new gods had to be installed.

From the idealism which, by the way, I had compared and nourished with the idealism of Kant and Fichte, I arrived at the point of seeking the idea in reality itself. If previously the gods had dwelt above the earth, now they became its centre.

I had read fragments of Hegel's philosophy, the grotesque craggy melody of which did not appeal to me. Once more I wanted to dive into the sea, but with the definite intention of establishing that the nature of the mind is just as necessary, concrete and firmly based as the nature of the body. My aim was no longer to practise tricks of swordsmanship, but to bring genuine pearls into the light of day.

I wrote a dialogue of about 24 pages: "Cleanthes, or the Starting Point and Necessary Continuation of Philosophy" [7]. Here art and science, which had become completely divorced from each other, were to some extent united, and like a vigorous traveller I set about the task itself, a philosophical-dialectical account of divinity, as it manifests itself as the idea-in-itself, as religion, as nature, and as history. My last proposition was the beginning of the Hegelian system. And this work, for which I had acquainted myself to some extent with natural science, Schelling, and history, which had caused me to rack my brains endlessly, and which is so written (since it was actually intended to be a new logic) that now even I myself can hardly recapture my thinking about it, this work, my dearest child, reared by moonlight, like a false siren delivers me into the arms of the enemy.

For some days my vexation made me quite incapable of thinking; I ran about madly in the garden by the dirty water of the Spree, which "washes souls and dilutes the tea". I even joined my landlord in a hunting excursion, rushed off to Berlin and wanted to embrace every street-corner loafer.

Shortly after that I pursued only positive studies: the study of Savigny's Ownership, Feuerbach's and Grolmann's criminal law, Cramer's de verborum significatione, Wenning-Ingenheim's Pandect system, and Mühlenbruch's Doctrina pandectarum, which I am still working through, and finally a few titles from Lauterbach, on civil procedure and above all canon law, the first part of which, Gratian's Concordia discordantium canonum, I have almost entirely read through in the corpus and made extracts from, as also the supplement, Lancelotti's Institutiones. Then I translated in part Aristotle's Rhetoric, read de augmentis scientiarum of the famous Bacon of Verulam, spent a good deal of time on Reimarus, to whose book on the artistic instincts of animals I applied my mind with delight, and also tackled German law, but chiefly only to the extent of going through the capitularies of the Franconian kings and the letters of the Popes to them.

Owing to being upset over Jenny's illness and my vain, fruitless intellectual labours, and as the result of nagging annoyance at having had to make an idol of a view that I hated, I became ill, as I have already written to you, dear Father. When I got better I burnt all the poems and outlines of stories, etc., imagining that I could give them up completely, of which so far at any rate I have not given any proofs to the contrary.

While I was ill I got to know Hegel from beginning to end, together with most of his disciples. Through a number of meetings with friends in Stralow I came across a Doctors' Club [8], which includes some university lecturers and my most intimate Berlin friend, Dr. Rutenberg. In controversy here, many conflicting views were expressed, and I became ever more firmly bound to the modern world philosophy from which I had thought to escape, but all rich chords were silenced and I was seized with a veritable fury of irony, as could easily happen after so much had been negated. In addition, there was Jenny's silence, and I could not rest until I had acquired modernity and the outlook of contemporary science through a few bad productions such as The Visit [9], etc.

If perhaps I have here neither clearly described the whole of this last term nor gone into all details, and slurred over all the nuances, excuse me, dear Father, because of my desire to speak of the present time.

Herr v. Chamisso sent me a very insignificant note in which he informed me "he regrets that the Almanac cannot use my contributions because it has already been printed a long time ago" [10]. I swallowed this with vexation. The bookseller Wigand has sent my plan to Dr. Schmidt, publisher of Wunder's firm that trades in good cheese and bad literature. I enclose his letter; Dr. Schmidt has not yet replied. However, I am by no means abandoning this plan, especially since all the aesthetic celebrities of the Hegelian school have promised their collaboration through the help of university lecturer Bauer, who plays a big role among them, and of my colleague Dr. Rutenberg.[11]

Now, as regards the question of a career in cameralistics, my dear father, I recently made the acquaintance of an assessor, Schmidthanner, who advised me after the third law examination to transfer to it as a justiciary, which would be the more to my taste, since I really prefer jurisprudence to all administrative science. This gentleman told me that in three years he himself and many others from the Münster high provincial court in Westphalia had succeeded in reaching the position of assessor, which was not difficult, with hard work of course, since the stages there are not rigidly fixed as they are in Berlin and elsewhere. If later, as an assessor, one is awarded a doctor's degree, there are also much better prospects of obtaining a post as professor extraordinary, as happened in the case of Herr Gärtner in Bonn, who wrote a mediocre work on provincial legislation and is otherwise only known as belonging to the Hegelian school of jurists. But, my dear, very good father, would it not be possible to discuss all this with you personally? Eduard's condition, dear Mama's illness, your own ill health, although I hope it is not serious, all this makes me want to hurry to you, indeed it makes it almost a necessity. I would be there already if I was not definitely in doubt about your permission and consent.

Believe me, my dear, dear father, I am actuated by no selfish intention (although it would be bliss for me to see Jenny again), but there is a thought which moves me, and it is one I have no right to express. In many respects it would even be a hard step for me to take but, as my only sweet Jenny writes, these considerations are all of no account when faced with the fulfilment of duties that are sacred.

I beg you, dear Father, however you may decide, not to show this letter, at least not this page, to my angel of a mother. My sudden arrival could perhaps help this grand and wonderful woman to recover.

My letter to Mama was written long before the arrival of Jenny's dear letter, so perhaps I unwittingly wrote too much about matters which are not quite or even very little suitable. [12]

In the hope that gradually the clouds that have gathered about our family will pass away, that it will be granted to me to suffer and weep with you and, perhaps, when with you to give proof of my profound, heartfelt sympathy and immeasurable love, which often I can only express very badly; in the hope that you also, dear, ever beloved Father, taking into account my much agitated state of mind, will forgive me where often my heart seems to have erred, overwhelmed by my militant spirit, and that you will soon be wholly restored to health so that I can clasp you to my heart and tell you all my thoughts,

Your ever loving son,


Please, dear Father, excuse my illegible handwriting and bad style; it is almost 4 o'clock, the candle has burnt itself out, and my eyes are dim; a real unrest has taken possession of me, I shall not be able to calm the turbulent spectres until I am with you who are dear to me.

Please give greetings from me to my sweet, wonderful Jenny. I have read her letter twelve times already, and always discover new delights in it. It is in every respect, including that of style, the most beautiful letter I can imagine being written by a woman.

On freedom of the press - Karl Marx

Karl Marx on censorship.

On Freedom of the Press

Marx/Engels Internet Archive

On Freedom of the Press

Proceedings of the Sixth Rhine
Province Assembly [43]
Debates on Freedom of the Press
and Publication of the Proceedings
of the Assembly of the Estates [45]

Written: May 1842;
First Published: May, 1842, in the Rheinische Zeitung;
Source: MECW, Volume 1, pp. 132-181;
Translated: from the German;
Transcription/Markup: Zodiac, Brian Baggins and Sally Ryan;
Online Version: Marx/Engels Internet Archive ( 1996, 2000.



May 5: [Prussian Censorship]
May 8: [Opponents of a Free Press]
May 10: [On the Assembly of the Estates]
May 12: [As a privilege of particular individuals or a privilege of the human mind?]
May 15: [Censorship]
May 19: [Freedom in General]

General Introduction

Post-Napoleonic Germany had been promised a constitutionally-established string of provincial parliaments.

In 1823, Prussia formed eight such parliaments (Assemblies of the estates). They embraced the heads of princely families, representatives of the knightly estate, i.e., the nobility, of towns and rural communities. The election system based on the principle of landownership provided for a majority of the nobility in the assemblies. The competency of the assemblies was restricted to questions of local economy and administration. They also had the right to express their desires on government bills submitted for discussion. They were largely powerless ("advisory") however, could only summoned by the Prussian government, and then they were held in secret. Furthermore, a two-thirds majority was required to pass resolutions. Since the knightly (aristocratic) estate held 278 of the 584 parliamentary votes (the towns estate had 182 and the rural estate 124), nothing could be done against its wishes.

In the 17 years of Frederick William III's rule, parliaments met five times. In 1841, Frederick William IV came to power and decreed parliaments would meet every two years and the secrecy surrounding them would be lifted. And so the first parliament under his reign (and Sixth since the Assemblies were created) was held in Düsseldorf between May 23 and July 25 1841.

That same year, a Konigsberg doctor named Johann Jacoby issued the pamphlet "Four Questions Answered by an East Prussian," calling for the constitution promised after Napoleon's final defeat in 1815. For this, Jacoby was charged with treason. Among other things it opened a debate on censorship.

In March 1842, in the official government paper Preussische Allgemeine Staats-Zeitung (Prussian General State Gazette) ran a series of articles supporting censorship "in order to enlighten the public concerning the true intentions of the Government."

The Sixth Rhine Province Assembly held debates, dealt with by Marx which took place during the discussion on publication of the proceedings of the assemblies (this right had been granted by the Royal edict of April 30, 1841) and in connection with petitions of a number of towns on freedom of the press.

Citations in the text are given according to the Sitzungs-Provinzial-Landtags des sechsten Rheinischen Provinzial-Landtags, Koblenz, 1841.

Publishing Notes: Marx devoted three articles to the debates of the Sixth Rhine Province Assembly, only two of which, the first and the third, were published. In the first series of articles Marx proceeded with his criticism of the Prussian censorship which he had begun in his as yet unpublished article Comments on the Latest Prussian Censorship Instruction. The second series of articles, devoted to the conflict between the Prussian Government and the Catholic Church, was banned by the censors. The manuscript of this article has not survived, but the general outline of it is given by Marx in his letter to Ruge of July 9, 1842. The third series of articles is devoted to the debates of the Rhine Province Assembly on the law on wood thefts.

These articles constitute Marx's first contribution to the Rheinsche Zeitung für Politik. Handel und Gewerbe. Marx began his work as a contributor and in October 1842 became one of the editors of the newspaper. By its content and approach to vital political problems, the article helped the newspaper, founded by the oppositional Rhenish bourgeoisie as a liberal organ, to begin a transition to the revolutionary-democratic positions.

The appearance of Marx's article in the press raised a favourable response in progressive circles. Georg Jung, manager of the Rheinische Zeitung, wrote to Marx: "Your articles on freedom of the press are extremely good.... Meyen wrote that the Rheinsche Zeitung had eclipsed the Deutsche Jahrbücher ... that in Berlin everybody was overjoyed with it" (MEGA, Abt. 1, Ed. 1, Hb. 2, S. 275). In his comments on the article published in the Rheinische Zeitung Arnold Ruge wrote: "Nothing more profound and more substantial has been said or could have been said on freedom of the press and in defence of it" (Deutsche Jahrbücher, 1842, S. 535-36).

In the early 1850s Marx included this article in his collected works then being prepared for publication by Hermann Becker. However only the beginning of the article was included in the first issue. The major part of the text which had been published in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 139 was left unprinted. The end of the article was intended for the following issue, which was never published.

A copy of the Rheinische Zeitung which Marx sent from London to Becker in Cologne in February 1851 with the author's notes on the text of articles (mostly in the form of abbreviations) intended for the edition Becker was preparing has recently been found in the archives of Cologne University library. This copy of the newspaper proves that Marx thought of publishing--partly in an abridged form-- many of his articles written for the Rheinische Zeitung. However, his plan was not realised. Marginal notes show that the articles "Communal Reform and the Kölnische Zeitung" and "A Correspondent of the Kölnische Zeitung vs, the Rheinische Zeitung" belong to Marx. These articles have never been published in any collection of Marx's works.

In English an excerpt from the Proceedings was published in Karl Marx, Early Texts, Oxford, 1971, pp. 35-36.

This online publication: Chapter titles have been introduced in brackets.

Reflections of a young man on the choice of a profession - Karl Marx

Young Marx reflects on choosing a career path in 1835.

1835 Reflections of a Young Man by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Reflections of a Young Man
on The Choice of a Profession[1]

Source: MECW Volume 1
Written: between August 10 and 16, 1835
First published: in Archiv für die Geschichte des Sozialismus und der Arbeiterbewegung, 1925
Translated from the Latin.
Transcribed: by Sally Ryan.

Nature herself has determined the sphere of activity in which the animal should move, and it peacefully moves within that sphere, without attempting to go beyond it, without even an inkling of any other. To man, too, the Deity gave a general aim, that of ennobling mankind and himself, but he left it to man to seek the means by which this aim can be achieved; he left it to him to choose the position in society most suited to him, from which he can best uplift himself and society.

This choice is a great privilege of man over the rest of creation, but at the same time it is an act which can destroy his whole life, frustrate all his plans, and make him unhappy. Serious consideration of this choice, therefore, is certainly the first duty of a young man who is beginning his career and does not want to leave his most important affairs to chance.

Everyone has an aim in view, which to him at least seems great, and actually is so if the deepest conviction, the innermost voice of the heart declares it so, for the Deity never leaves mortal man wholly without a guide; he speaks softly but with certainty.

But this voice can easily be drowned, and what we took for inspiration can be the product of the moment, which another moment can perhaps also destroy. Our imagination, perhaps, is set on fire, our emotions excited, phantoms flit before our eyes, and we plunge headlong into what impetuous instinct suggests, which we imagine the Deity himself has pointed out to us. But what we ardently embrace soon repels us and we see our whole existence in ruins.

We must therefore seriously examine whether we have really been inspired in our choice of a profession, whether an inner voice approves it, or whether this inspiration is a delusion, and what we took to be a call from the Deity was self-deception. But how can we recognise this except by tracing the source of the inspiration itself?

What is great glitters, its glitter arouses ambition, and ambition can easily have produced the inspiration, or what we took for inspiration; but reason can no longer restrain the man who is tempted by the demon of ambition, and he plunges headlong into what impetuous instinct suggests: he no longer chooses his position in life, instead it is determined by chance and illusion.

Nor are we called upon to adopt the position which offers us the most brilliant opportunities; that is not the one which, in the long series of years in which we may perhaps hold it, will never tire us, never dampen our zeal, never let our enthusiasm grow cold, but one in which we shall soon see our wishes unfulfilled, our ideas unsatisfied, and we shall inveigh against the Deity and curse mankind.

But it is not only ambition which can arouse sudden enthusiasm for a particular profession; we may perhaps have embellished it in our imagination, and embellished it so that it appears the highest that life can offer. We have not analysed it, not considered the whole burden, the great responsibility it imposes on us; we have seen it only from a distance, and distance is deceptive.

Our own reason cannot be counsellor here; for it is supported neither by experience nor by profound observation, being deceived by emotion and blinded by fantasy. To whom then should we turn our eyes? Who should support us where our reason forsakes us?

Our parents, who have already travelled life's road and experienced the severity of fate - our heart tells us.

And if then our enthusiasm still persists, if we still continue to love a profession and believe ourselves called to it after we have examined it in cold blood, after we have perceived its burdens and become acquainted with its difficulties, then we ought to adopt it, then neither does our enthusiasm deceive us nor does overhastiness carry us away.

But we cannot always attain the position to which we believe we are called; our relations in society have to some extent already begun to be established before we are in a position to determine them.

Our physical constitution itself is often a threatening obstacle, and let no one scoff at its rights.

It is true that we can rise above it; but then our downfall is all the more rapid, for then we are venturing to build on crumbling ruins, then our whole life is an unhappy struggle between the mental and the bodily principle. But he who is unable to reconcile the warring elements within himself, how can he resist life's tempestuous stress, how can he act calmly? And it is from calm alone that great and fine deeds can arise; it is the only soil in which ripe fruits successfully develop.

Although we cannot work for long and seldom happily with a physical constitution which is not suited to our profession, the thought nevertheless continually arises of sacrificing our well-being to duty, of acting vigorously although we are weak. But if we have chosen a profession for which we do not possess the talent, we can never exercise it worthily, we shall soon realise with shame our own incapacity and tell ourselves that we are useless created beings, members of society who are incapable of fulfilling their vocation. Then the most natural consequence is self-contempt, and what feeling is more painful and less capable of being made up for by all that the outside world has to offer? Self-contempt is a serpent that ever gnaws at one's breast, sucking the life-blood from one's heart and mixing it with the poison of misanthropy and despair.

An illusion about our talents for a profession which we have closely examined is a fault which takes its revenge on us ourselves, and even if it does not meet with the censure of the outside world it gives rise to more terrible pain in our hearts than such censure could inflict.

If we have considered all this, and if the conditions of our life permit us to choose any profession we like, we may adopt the one that assures us the greatest worth, one which is based on ideas of whose truth we are thoroughly convinced, which offers us the widest scope to work for mankind, and for ourselves to approach closer to the general aim for which every profession is but a means - perfection.

Worth is that which most of all uplifts a man, which imparts a higher nobility to his actions and all his endeavours, which makes him invulnerable, admired by the crowd and raised above it.

But worth can be assured only by a profession in which we are not servile tools, but in which we act independently in our own sphere. It can be assured only by a profession that does not demand reprehensible acts, even if reprehensible only in outward appearance, a profession which the best can follow with noble pride. A profession which assures this in the greatest degree is not always the highest, but is always the most to be preferred.

But just as a profession which gives us no assurance of worth degrades us, we shall as surely succumb under the burdens of one which is based on ideas that we later recognise to be false.

There we have no recourse but to self-deception, and what a desperate salvation is that which is obtained by self-betrayal!

Those professions which are not so much involved in life itself as concerned with abstract truths are the most dangerous for the young man whose principles are not yet firm and whose convictions are not yet strong and unshakeable. At the same time these professions may seem to be the most exalted if they have taken deep root in our hearts and if we are capable of sacrificing our lives and all endeavours for the ideas which prevail in them.

They can bestow happiness on the man who has a vocation for them, but they destroy him who adopts them rashly, without reflection, yielding to the impulse of the moment.

On the other hand, the high regard we have for the ideas on which our profession is based gives us a higher standing in society, enhances our own worth, and makes our actions un-challengeable.

One who chooses a profession he values highly will shudder at the idea of being unworthy of it; he will act nobly if only because his position in society is a noble one.

But the chief guide which must direct us in the choice of a profession is the welfare of mankind and our own perfection. It should not be thought that these two interests could be in conflict, that one would have to destroy the other; on the contrary, man's nature is so constituted that he can attain his own perfection only by working for the perfection, for the good, of his fellow men.

If he works only for himself, he may perhaps become a famous man of learning, a great sage, an excellent poet, but he can never be a perfect, truly great man.

History calls those men the greatest who have ennobled themselves by working for the common good; experience acclaims as happiest the man who has made the greatest number of people happy; religion itself teaches us that the ideal being whom all strive to copy sacrificed himself for the sake of mankind, and who would dare to set at nought such judgments?

If we have chosen the position in life in which we can most of all work for mankind, no burdens can bow us down, because they are sacrifices for the benefit of all; then we shall experience no petty, limited, selfish joy, but our happiness will belong to millions, our deeds will live on quietly but perpetually at work, and over our ashes will be shed the hot tears of noble people.


Communism and the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung

Communism and the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung

Articles by Karl Marx in Rheinische Zeitung, 1842

Communism and the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung [77]

October 16, 1842

Cologne, October 13 -- Issue No.284 of the Augsburg paper is so inept as to find the Rheinische Zeitung to be a Prussian communist -- not a communist, to be sure, but still one that fanatically flirts with and platonically ogles communism.

Whether this ill-mannered fantasy of the Augsburger is unselfish or whether this idle trick of its excited imagination is connected with speculation and diplomatic affairs, the reader may decide -- after we have presented the alleged corpus delicti.

The Rheinische Zeitung, they say, has printed a communistic essay on Berlin family dwellings, accompanied by the following comment: This report "might not be without interest for the history of this important issue". From this it follows, according to the Augsburger's logic, that the Rheinische Zeitung "served up such dirty linen with approval". Thus, for example, if I say: "The following report from [Leipzig journal] Mefistofeles about the household affairs of the Augsburg paper might not be without interest for the history of this pretentious lady," do I thereby recommend dirty "material" from which the Augsburg lady could tailor a colorful wardrobe? Or should we not consider communism an important current issue because it's not a current issue privileged to appear at court, since it wears dirty linen and does not smell of rosewater?

But the Augsburg paper has reason to be angry at our misunderstanding. The importance of communism does not lie in its being a current issue of highest moment for France and England. Communism has "European significance", to repeat the phrase used by the Augsburg paper. One of its Paris correspondents, a convert who treats history the way a pastry cook treats botony, has recently had the notion that monarchy, in its own fashion, must seek to appropriate socialist-communist ideas. Now you will understand the displeasure of the Augsburg paper, which will never forgive us for revealing communism to the public in its unwashed nakedness; now you understand the sullen irony that tells us: So you recommend communism, which once had the fortunate elegance of being a phrase in the Augsburg paper!

The second reproach to the Rheinische Zeitung deals with the conclusion of a report on the communist speeches given at the congress in Strasbourg, because the two stepsister papers had so divided the booty that the Rhineland sister took the proceedings and the Bavarian one the fruits of the Strasbourg scholars. The exact wording of the incriminating passage is:

"It is with the middle class today as it was with the nobility in 1789. At that time, the middle class claimed the privileges of the nobility and got them; today, the class which possesses nothing demands to share in the wealth of the middle classes that are now in control. Today, however, the middle class is better prepared for a surprise attack than the nobility was in 1789, and it is to be expected that the problem will be solved peacefully."

That Sieyes' prophecy has come true and that the tiers etat ["Third Estate"] has become everything and wants to be everything -- all this is recognized with the most sorrowful indignation by Bulow-Cummerow, by the former Berliner Politische Wochenblatt [Berlin Political Weekly], by Dr. Kosegarten, and by all the feudalistic writers. That the class that today possesses nothing demands to share in the wealth of the middle class is a fact that, without the Strasbourg speeches and the silence of the Augsburg paper, is clearly recognized in the streets of Manchester, Paris, and Lyon. Does the Augsburger really believe that indignation and silence refute the facts of the time? The Augsburger is impertinent in fleeing. The Augsburg paper runs away from captious issues and believes that the dust it stirs up, and the nervous invectives it mutters in its flight, will blind and confuse the uncomfortable issue as well as the comfortable reader.

Or is the Augsburger angry at our correspondent's expectation that the undeniable collision will be solved in a "peaceful way"? Or does the Augsburger reproach us for not having given immediately a good prescription and not having put into the surprised reader's pocket a report as clear as daylight on the solution of the enormous problem? We do not possess the art of mastering problems which two nations are working on with one phrase.

But, my dear, best Augsburger! In connection with communism, you give us to understand that Germany is now poor in independent people, that nine-tenths of the better educated youth are begging the state for their future bread, that our rivers are neglected, that shipping has declined, that our once-flourishing commercial cities have faded, that in Prussia very slow progress is made toward free institutions, that the surplus of our population helplessly wanders away and ceases to be German among foreign nations -- and for all these problem there is not a single prescription, no attempt to become "clearer about the means of achieving the great act that is to redeem us from all these sins! Or don't you expect a peaceful solution? It almost seems that another article in the same issue, date-lined from Karlsruhe, points in that direction when you pose for Prussia the insidious question of the Customs Union: "Does anyone believe that such a crisis would pass like a brawl over smoking in the Tiergarten?" The reason you off your disbelief is communistic: "Let a crisis break out in industry; let millions in capital be lost; let thousands of workers go hungry." How inopportune our "peaceful expectation", after you had decided to let a bloody revolution break out! Perhaps, for this reason, your article on Great Britain by your own logic points approvingly to the demagogic physician, Dr. M'Douall, who emigrated to America because "nothing can be done with this royal family after all."

Before we part from you, we would, in passing, like to call your attention to your own wisdom -- your method which, with no shortage of phrases but without even a harmless idea here and there, makes you nevertheless speak up. You find that the polemic of Mr. Hennequin in Paris against the parceling out of the land puts him in surprising harmony with the Autonomes [aristocratic landowners]! Surprise, says Aristotle, is the beginning of philosophizing. You have ended at the beginning. Otherwise, would the surprising fact have escaped you that in Germany communistic principles are spread, not by the liberals, but by your reactionary friends?

Who speaks of handicraft corporations? The reactionaries. the artisan class is to form a state within a state. Do you find it extraordinary that such ideas, couched in modern terms, thus read: "The state should transform itself into an artisan class"? If the state is to be a state for the artisan, but if the modern artisan, like any modern man, understands and can understand the state only as a sphere shared by all his fellow citizens -- how can you synthesize both of these ideas in any other way except in an artisan state?

Who polemicizes about parceling out the land? The reactionaries. A recently published feudalistic writing (Kosegarten on land parceling) went so far as to call private property a privilege. This is Fourier's principle. Once there is agreement on principles, may not there then be disagreement over consequences and implications?

The Rheinische Zeitung, which cannot concede the theoretical reality of communist ideas even in their present form, and can even less wish or consider possible their practical realization, will submit these ideas to a thorough criticism. If the Augsburg paper demanded and wanted more than slick phrases, it would see that writings such as those of Leroux, Considerant, and above all Proudhon's penetrating work, can be criticized, not through superficial notions of the moment, but only after long and deep study. We consider such "theoretical" works the more seriously as we do not agree with the Augsburg paper, which finds the "reality" of communist ideas not in Plato but in some obscure acquaintance who, not without some merit in some branches of scientific research, gave up the entire fortune that was at his disposal at the time and polished his confederates' dishes and boots, according to the will of Father Enfantin. We are firmly convinced that it is not the practical Attempt, but rather the theoretical application of communist ideas, that constitutes the real danger; for practical attempts, even those on a large scale, can be answered with cannon as soon as they become dangerous, but ideas, which conquer our intelligence, which overcome the outlook that reason has riveted to our conscience, are chains from which we cannot tear ourselves away without tearing our hearts; they are demons that man can overcome only by submitting to them. But the Augsburg paper has never come to know the troubled conscience that is evoked by a rebellion of man's subjective wishes against the objective insights of his own reason, because it possesses neither reason nor insight nor conscience.


Communism and the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung editorial note

Communism and the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung

Karl Marx

Communism and the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung Editorial Note

Written: October 22, 1842
Source: MECW p. 222
First published: Rheinische Zeitung No. 296, October 23, 1842


Cologne, October 22. Following the reprint by the Rheinische Zeitung No. 292 of an article from the Mannheimer Abendzeitung from Pfalz, October 12", which begins with the words:

“I was really surprised when I found yesterday that the Augsburg Allgmeine Zeitung had printed an article (on communism), taken from Aachen news-sheets, which truly did not deserve to be accepted by a newspaper which otherwise has such good material”, the Aachener Zeitung No. 293 has published a reply, extracts from which we certainly do not want to withhold from our- readers, in view of a special wish expressed by the editorial board of this newspaper, and all the more since it affords us the opportunity we desire for a subsequent correction. The Aachener Zeitung rightly believes that the Rheinische

“could have known that the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung had torn out only a few passages from its article on the Communists (in No. 277 of the Aachener Zeitung) and added comments of its own, which of course gave a different complexion to the article”.

As stated, the Rheinische Zeitung was not only aware of this, but knew also that the Aachener Zeitung was quite innocent in regard to those fragments, insipidly and cunningly put together by the Augsburg newspaper No. 284, which were aimed solely at the Rheinische Zeitung. Therefore, in settling accounts with the Augsburg newspaper in No. 289, the Rheinische Zeitung very properly did not draw the Aachener Zeitung into the debate. But if someone from Pfalz could be misled into a false assumption by the heading in spaced type of that Augsburg newspaper's article: “We Read Aachen News-sheets”, that is at any rate an indication that the Aachener Zeitung could have anticipated earlier such a misunderstanding in respect of the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung. Having once undertaken to deal wholly on its own account with the Augsburg article, the Rheinische Zeitung could very well allow the incidental reprint of the -note in the Mannheimer Abendzeitung to pass without any guide-mark since, of course, its readers already knew where that came from. The following passage from today's article in the Aachener Zeitung requires no further comment:

“It knows that we are not against any free research, that we shall not weaken the efforts of those who are concerned for the welfare of any class of people. We are liberal towards all, which is more than the majority of liberals of many varieties can so far say about themselves. What we said, however, is that communism cannot find any soil among us, but that, on the other hand, it is a natural phenomenon in France and England. We added, lastly, that we were not ourselves opposed to communist efforts in Germany, but were very definitely against any club-like brotherhoods of the kind that are said to have sprung up in Silesia. Liberal ideas are not yet so firmly rooted among us, and have not yet made such progress among us, that every endeavour does not need to be carefully fostered. As a rule, however, we see in our country far too little harmony between newspapers of the same colour. They do not bear in mind that an isolated undertaking cannot cover the whole field, and that a total effect can be produced only by each in turn becoming the bearer and disseminator of the ideas of the other. ”

The editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung


Leading article in no. 179 of the Kölnische Zeitung - Karl Marx

Leading Article in No. 179 of the Kölnische Zeitung

Articles by Karl Marx in The Rheinische Zeitung

The Leading Article in No. 179 of the Kölnische Zeitung [58]

Source: MECW, Volume 2, p. 184.
Written: between June 29 and July 4, 1842
First Published: Supplement to Rheinische Zeitung Nos. 191, 193 + 195, July 10, 12 + 14, 1842;.


Rheinische Zeitung No. 191, July 10, 1842, Supplement

Up to now we have respected the Kölnische Zeitung, if not as the “organ of the Rhenish intelligentsia” at any rate as the Rhenish “information sheet” [Intelligenz]. We regarded above all its, “leading political articles” as a means, both wise and select, for making politics repugnant to the reader, so that he will the more eagerly turn to the vitally refreshing realm of the advertisements which reflects the pulsating life of industry and is often wittily piquant, so that here too the motto would be: per aspera ad astra, through politics to the oysters. However, the finely even balance which the Kölnische Zeitung had hitherto succeeded in maintaining between politics and advertisements has recently been upset by a kind of advertisements which can be called “advertisements of political industry”. In the initial uncertainty as to where this new genus should be placed, it happened that an advertisement was transformed into a leading article, and the leading article into an advertisement, and indeed into one which in the language of the political world is called a “denunciation”, [Anzeige] but if paid for is called simply an “advertisement”.

It is a custom in the North that before the meagre meals, the guests are given a drink of exquisitely fine spirits. In following this custom, we are the more pleased to offer some spirits to our Northern guest because in the meal itself, in the very “ailing” [leitender] article in No. 179 of the Kölnische Zeitung, we find no trace of spirit. Therefore we present first of all a scene from Lucian's Dialogues of the Gods, which we give here in a “generally comprehensible” translation,” because among our readers there is bound to be at least one who is no Hellene.

Lucian's Dialogues of the Gods

Hermes. Maia

Hermes. Is there, dear Mother, in all heaven a god who is more tormented than I am?

Maia. Don't say such things, my son!

Hermes. Why shouldn't I? I, who have such a lot of things to attend to, who have to do everything myself, and have to submit to so many servile duties? In the morning I have to he among the very first to get up, sweep out the dining-room, and put the cushions straight in the council chamber. When everything is in order I have to wait on Jupiter and spend the whole day as his messenger, going to and fro on his errands. Hardly have I returned, and while still covered with dust, I have to serve ambrosia. Worst of all, I am the only one who is allowed no rest even at night, for I have to lead the souls of the dead to Pluto and perform the duties of attendant while the dead are being judged. For it is not enough that in my daytime labours I have to he present at gymnastic exercises, act as herald at meetings of the people, and help the people's orators to memorise their speeches. Nay, torn between so many duties, I must also look after all matter concerning the dead.

Since his expulsion from Olympus, Hermes, by force of habit, still performs “servile duties” and. looks after all matters concerning the dead.

Whether Hermes himself, or his son, the goat-god Pan, wrote the ailing article of No. 179, let the reader decide, bearing in mind that the Greek Hermes was the god of eloquence and logic.

“To spread philosophical and religious views by means of the newspapers, or to combat them in the newspapers, we consider equally impermissible."

While the old man chattered on in this way, I became well aware that he intended to deliver a tedious litany of oracular pronouncements. However, I curbed my impatience, for ought I not to believe this discerning man who is so ingenuous as to express his opinion with the utmost candour in his own house, and I went on reading. But — lo and behold! — this article, which, it is true, cannot be reproached for any philosophical views, at least has the tendency to combat philosophical views and spread religious views.

What are we to make of an article which disputes the right to its own existence, which prefaces itself with a declaration of its own incompetence? The loquacious author will reply to us. He explains how his pretentious articles are to be read. He confines himself to giving some fragments, the “arrangement and connection” of which he leaves to the “perspicacity of the reader” — the most convenient method for the kind of advertisements which he makes it his business to deal with. We should like to “arrange and connect” these fragments, and it is not our fault if the rosary does not become a string of pearls.

The author declares:

“A party which employs these means” (i. e., spreads philosophical and religious views in newspapers and combats such views) “shows thereby, in our opinion, that its intentions are not honest, and that it is less concerned with instructing and enlightening the people than with achieving other external aims."

This being his opinion, the article can have no other intention than the achievement of external aims. These “external aims” will not fail to show themselves.

The state, he says, has not only the right but the duty to “put a stop to the activities of unbidden charterers”. The writer is obviously referring to opponents of his view, for he has long ago convinced himself that he is a bidden charterer.

It is a question, therefore, of a new intensification of the censorship in religious matters, of new police measures against the press, which has hardly been able to draw breath as yet.

“In our opinion, the state is to be reproached, not for excessive severity, but for indulgence carried too far."

The leader writer, however, has second thoughts. It is dangerous to reproach the state. Therefore he addresses himself to the authorities, his accusation against freedom of the press turns into an accusation against the censors. He accuses them of exercising ',too little censorship”.

“Reprehensible indulgence has hitherto been shown also, not by the state, it is true, but by 'individual authorities', in that the new philosophical school has been allowed to make most disgraceful attacks on Christianity in public papers and other publications intended for a readership that is not purely scientific."

Once again, however, the author comes to a halt; again he has second thoughts. Less than eight days ago he found that the freedom of the censorship allowed too little freedom of the press; now he finds that the compulsion of the censors results in too little compulsion of the censorship.

That again has to be remedied.

“As long as the censorship exists it is its most urgent duty to excise such abhorrent offshoots of a childish presumption as have repeatedly offended our eyes in recent days."

Weak eyes! Weak eyes! And

“the weakest eye will be offended by an expression which can he intended only for the level of understanding of the broad masses”.

If the relaxed censorship already allows abhorrent offshoots to appear, what would happen with freedom of the press? If our eyes are too weak to bear the “presumption” of the censored press, how would they he strong enough to bear the “audacity” [Übermut] of a free press?

“As long as the censorship exists it is its most urgent duty.” And when it ceases to exist? The phrase must be interpreted as meaning: it is the most urgent duty of the censorship to remain in existence as long as possible.

But again the author has second thoughts.

“It is not our function to act as public prosecutor, and therefore we refrain from any more detailed designation."

What heavenly goodness there is in this man! He refrains from any more detailed “designation”, and yet it is only by quite detailed, quite definite signs that he could prove and show what his view aims at. He lets fall only vague, half audible words intended to arouse suspicions; it is not his function to be a public prosecutor, his function is to be a hidden prosecutor.

For the last time the unfortunate man has second thoughts, remembering that his function is to write liberal leading articles, and that he has to present himself as a “loyal friend of freedom of the press”. Hence he quickly takes up his final position:

“We could not fail to protest against a course which, if it is not the consequence of accidental negligence, can have no other purpose than to discredit the freer movement of the press in the eyes of the public, to play into the hands of opponents who are afraid of failing to achieve their aim in an open way."

The censorship — we are told by this defender of freedom of the press, who is as bold as he is sharp-witted — if it is not the English leopard with the inscription: “I sleep, wake me not!,, a, has adopted this “disastrous” course in order to discredit the freer movement of the press in the eyes of the public.

'Is there any further need to discredit a movement of the press which calls the attention of the censorship to “accidental negligences”, and which expects to obtain its renown in public opinion through the “penknife of the censor"?

This movement can he called “free” insofar as the licence of shamelessness is also sometimes called “free”, and is it not the shamelessness of stupidity and hypocrisy to claim to be a defender of the freer movement of the press while at the same time teaching that the press will at once fall into the gutter unless it is supported under the arms by two policemen?

And what need is there of censorship, what need is there of this leading article, if the philosophical press discredits itself in the eyes of the public? Of course, the author does not want to restrict in any way “the freedom of scientific research”.

“In our day, scientific research is rightly allowed the widest, most unrestricted scope. “

But how our author conceives scientific research can he seen from the following utterance:

“In this connection a sharp distinction must he drawn between the requirements of freedom of scientific research, through which Christianity can only gain, and what lies outside the limits of scientific research."

Who is to decide on the limits of scientific research if not scientific research itself? According to the leading article, limits should be prescribed to science. The leading article, therefore, knows of an "official reason” which does not learn from scientific research, but teaches it, which is a learned providence that establishes the length every hair should have to convert a scientist's beard into a beard of world importance. The leading article believes in the scientific inspiration of the censorship.

Before going further into these “silly” explanations of the leading article on the subject of “scientific research”, let us sample for a moment the "philosophy of religion” of Herr H., [Hermes] his “own science"!

“Religion is the basis of the state and the most necessary condition for every social association which does not aim merely at achieving some external aim."

The proof. "In its crudest form as childish fetishism it nevertheless to some extent raises man above his sensuous desires which, if he allowed himself to he ruled exclusively by them, could degrade him to the level of an animal and make him incapable of fulfilling any higher aim."

The author of the leading article calls fetishism the "crudest form” of religion. He concedes, therefore, what all “men of science” regard as established even without his agreement, that “animal worship” is a higher form of religion than fetishism. But does not animal worship degrade man below the animal, does it not make the animal man's god?

And now, indeed, “fetishism"! Truly, the erudition of a penny magazine! Fetishism is so far from raising man above his sensuous desires that, on the contrary, it is “the religion of sensuous desire”. Fantasy arising from desire deceives the fetish-worshipper into believing that an “inanimate object” will give up its natural character in order to comply with his desires. Hence the crude desire of the fetish-worshipper smashes the fetish when it ceases to be its most obedient servant.

“In those nations which attained higher historical significance, the flowering of their national life coincides with the highest development of their religious consciousness, and the decline of their greatness and their power coincides with the decline of their religious culture."

To arrive at the truth, the author's assertion must be directly reversed; he has stood history on its head. Among the peoples of the ancient world, Greece and Rome are certainly countries of the highest “historical culture”. Greece flourished at its best internally in the time of Pericles, externally in the time of Alexander. In the age of Pericles the Sophists, and Socrates, who could be called the embodiment of philosophy, art and rhetoric supplanted religion. The age of Alexander was the age of Aristotle, who rejected the eternity of the “individual” spirit and the God of positive religions. And as for Rome! Read Cicero! The Epicurean, Stoic or Sceptic philosophies were the religions of cultured Romans when Rome had reached the zenith of its development. That with the downfall of the ancient states their religions also disappeared requires no further explanation, for the “true religion” of the ancients was the cult of “their nationality”, of their “state”. It was not the downfall of the old religions that caused the downfall of the ancient states, but the downfall of the ancient states that caused the downfall of the old religions. And such ignorance as is found in this leading article proclaims itself the “legislator of scientific research” and writes “decrees” for philosophy.

“The entire ancient world had to collapse because the progress achieved by the peoples in their scientific development was necessarily bound up with a revelation of the errors on which their religious views were based."

According to the leading article, therefore, the entire ancient world collapsed because scientific research revealed the errors of the old religions. Would the ancient world not have perished if scientific research had kept silent about the errors of religion, if the Roman authorities had been recommended by the author of the leading article to excise the writings of Lucretius and Lucian?

For the rest, we shall permit ourselves to enlarge Herr H.'s erudition in another communication.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 193, July 12, 1842, Supplement

At the very time when the downfall of the ancient world was approaching, there arose the Alexandrine school, which strove to prove by force the “eternal truth” of Greek mythology and its complete agreement “with the results of scientific research”. The Emperor Julian, too, belonged to this trend, which believed that it could make the newly developing spirit of the times disappear by keeping its eyes closed so as not to see it. However, let us continue with the conclusion arrived at by H.! In the old religions, “the feeble notion of the divine was shrouded in the blackest night of error”, and therefore could not stand up to scientific research. Under Christianity, the opposite is the case, as any thinking machine will conclude. At all events, H. says:

"The greatest results of scientific research have so far only served to confirm the truths of the Christian religion."

We leave aside the fact that all the philosophies of the past without exception have been accused by the theologians of abandoning the Christian religion, even those of the pious Malebranche and the divinely inspired Jakob Böhme, and that Leibniz was accused of being a “Löwenix” (a believer in nothing) by the Brunswick peasants, and of being an atheist by the Englishman Clarke and other supporters of Newton. We leave aside, too, the fact that, as the most capable and consistent section of Protestant theologians has maintained, Christianity cannot he reconciled with reason because “secular” and “spiritual” reason contradict each other, which Tertullian classically expressed by saying: “verum est, quia absurdum est”. [It is true because it is absurd] Leaving aside all this, we ask: how is the agreement of scientific research with religion to be proved, except by allowing it to take its own course and so compelling it to resolve itself into religion? Any other compulsion is at least no proof.

Of course, if from the outset you recognise as the result of scientific research only that which agrees with your own view, it is easy to pose as a prophet. But in that case how are your assertions superior to those of the Indian Brahmin who proves the holiness of the Vedas” by reserving to himself alone the right to read them?

Yes, says H., it is a question of “scientific research”. But every research that contradicts Christianity “stops halfway” or “takes a wrong road”. Could there be a more convenient way of arguing?

Scientific research, once it has “made clear' to itself the content of its results, will never conflict with the truths of Christianity”. At the same time, however, the state must ensure that this “clarification” is impossible, for research must never adapt itself to the level of understanding of the broad mass, i. e., it must never become popular and clear to itself. Even when it is attacked by unscientific investigators in all newspapers of the monarchy, it must be modest and remain silent.

Christianity precludes the possibility of “any new decline”, but the police must be on their guard to see that philosophising newspaper writers do not bring about such a decline; they must guard against this with the utmost strictness. In the struggle with truth, error will of itself be recognised as such, without the need of any suppression by external force; but the state must facilitate this struggle of the truth, not, indeed, by depriving the champions of “error” of inner freedom, which it cannot take away from them, but by depriving them of the possibility of this freedom, the possibility of existence.

Christianity is sure of its victory, but according to H. it is not so sure of it as to spurn the aid of the police.

If from the outset everything that contradicts your faith is error, and has to be treated as error, what distinguishes your claims from those of the Mohammedan or of any other religion? Should philosophy, in order not to contradict the basic tenets of dogma, adopt different principles in each country, in accordance with the saying “every country has its own customs"? Should it believe in one country that 3 x 1 = 1, in another that women have no souls, and in a third that beer is drunk in heaven? Is there no universal human nature, as there is a universal nature of plants and stars? Philosophy asks what is true, not what is held to be true. It asks what is true for all mankind, not what is true for some people. Its

metaphysical truths do not recognise the boundaries of political geography; its political truths know too well where the “bounds” begin for it to confuse the illusory horizon of a particular world or national outlook with the true horizon of the human mind. Of all the defenders of Christianity, H. is the weakest.

The long existence of Christianity is his sole proof in its favour. But has not philosophy also existed from Thales down to the present day, and indeed does not H. himself assert that it now puts forward greater claims and has a higher opinion of its importance than ever before?

Finally, how does H. prove that the state is a “Christian” state, that its aim is not a free association of moral human beings, but an association of believers, not the realisation of freedom, but the realisation of dogma?

“All our European states have Christianity as their basis."

The French state too? The Charter, Article 3, does not say: “every Chfistian” or “only a Christian”, but:

"tous la Français sont également admissibles aux emplois civiles et militaires”. [All Frenchmen are equally eligible for civil and military posts.]

Prussian Law, too, Part II, Section XIII, says:

“The primary duty of the head of state is to maintain tranquillity and security, both internally and externally, and to protect everyone from violence and interference in regard to what belongs to him."

According to § 1, the head of state combines in his person all the “duties and rights of the state”. It does not say that the primary duty of the state is to suppress heretical errors and to ensure citizens the bliss of the other world.

But if some European states are in fact based on Christianity, do these states correspond to their concept and is the “pure existence” of a condition the right of that condition to exist?

According to the view of our H., of course, this is the case, for he reminds adherents of Young Hegelianism

“that, according to the laws which are in force in the greater part of the state, a marriage without consecration by the church is regarded as concubinage and as such is punishable under police regulations”.

Therefore, if “marriage without consecration by the church” is regarded on the Rhine as “marriage” according to the Napoleonic Code, but on the Spree as “concubinage” according to Prussian Law, then punishment “under police regulations” ought to be an argument for philosophers that what is right in one place is wrong in another, that it is not the Napoleonic Code, but Prussian law which has the scientific, moral and rational conception of marriage. This “philosophy of punishment under police regulations” may be convincing in some places, but it is not convincing in Prussia. Furthermore, how little the standpoint of “holy” marriage coincides with that of Prussian Law can be seen from § 12, Part II, Section I, which states:

“Nevertheless, a marriage which is permitted by the laws of the land loses none of its civil validity because the dispensation of the spiritual authorities has not been sought or has been refused."

Hence in Prussia, too, marriage is partially emancipated from the “spiritual authorities” and its “civil” validity is distinguished from its “ecclesiastical” validity.

That our great Christian philosopher of the state has no “high” opinion of the state goes without saying.

“Since our states are not merely legal associations, but at the same time true educational institutions, with the only difference that they extend their care to a wider circle than the institutions devoted to the education of youth”, etc., “the whole of public education” rests “on the basis of Christianity”.

The education of our school youth is based just as much on the ancient classics and the sciences in general as on the catechism.

According to H., the state differs from an institution for young children not in content, but in magnitude, its “care” is wider.

The true “public” education carried out by the state lies in the rational and public existence of the state; the state itself educates its members by making them its members, by converting the aims of the individual into general aims, crude instinct into moral inclination, natural independence into spiritual freedom, by the individual finding his good in the life of the whole, and the whole in the frame of mind of the individual.

The leading article, on the other hand, makes the state not an association of free human beings who educate one another, but a crowd of adults who are destined to be educated from above and to pass from a “narrow” schoolroom into a “wider” one.

This theory of education and tutelage is put forward here by a friend of freedom of the press, who, out of love for this beauty, points out the “negligences of the censorship”, who knows how to describe in the appropriate place the “level of understanding of the broad masses” (perhaps the “level of understanding of the broad masses” has recently begun to appear so doubtful to the Kölnische Zeitung because this mass has ceased to appreciate the superiority of the “unphilosophical newspaper"?) and who advises the learned to keep one view for the stage and another for the backstage!

In the same way that the leading article gives documentary evidence of its “inferior” opinion of the state, so it does now of its low opinion of “Christianity."

“All the newspaper articles in the world will never be able to convince a people which on the whole feels well and happy that it is in an unfortunate condition."

We should think so! The Material feeling of well-being and happiness is a more reliable bulwark against newspaper articles then the blissful and all-conquering trust in faith! H. does not sing: “A reliable fortress is our God.” [Martin Luther's choral, Ein Feste Burg] According to him, the truly believing disposition of the “broad masses” is more exposed to the rust of doubt than the refined worldly culture of the “few"!

“Even incitements to revolt” are less feared by H. “in a well-ordered state” than in a “well-ordered church”, which, moreover, is guided in all truth by the “spirit of God”. A fine believer he is! And now for the reason for it! Namely, the masses can understand political articles but they find philosophical articles incomprehensible!

Finally, if the hint in the leading article that “the half measures adopted recently against Young Hegelianism have had the usual consequences of half measures” is put alongside the ingenuous wish that the latest efforts of the Hegelings may pass “without altogether harmful consequences”, one can understand the words of Cornwall in King Lear.

He cannot flatter, he, —
An honest mind and plain, — he must speak truth:
And they will take it, so; if not, he's plain.
These kind of knaves I know, which in this plainness
Harbour more craft, and more corrupter ends,
Than twenty silly ducking observants,
That stretch their duties nicely [Act II, Scene 2]

We believe we would be insulting the readers of the Rheinische Zeitung if we imagined that they would be satisfied with the spectacle, more comic than serious, of a ci-devant liberal, a “young man of days gone by”, cut down to his proper size. We should like to say a few words on “the heart of the matter”. As long as we were occupied with the polemic against the ailing article, it would have been wrong to interrupt him in his work of self-destruction.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 195, July 14, 1842, Supplement

First of all, the question is raised: “Ought philosophy to discuss religious matters also in newspaper articles?"

This question can be answered only by criticising it.

Philosophy, especially German philosophy, has an urge for isolation, for systematic seclusion, for dispassionate self-examination which from the start places it in estranged contrast to the quick-witted and alive-to-events newspapers, whose only delight is in information. Philosophy, taken in its systematic development, is unpopular; its secret life within itself seems to the layman a pursuit as extravagant as it is unpractical, it is regarded as a professor of magic arts, whose incantations sound awe-inspiring because no one understands them.

True to its nature, philosophy has never taken the first step towards exchanging the ascetic frock of the priest for the light, conventional garb of the newspapers. However, philosophers do not spring up like mushrooms out of the ground; they are products of their time, of their nation, whose most subtle, valuable and invisible juices flow in the ideas of philosophy. The same spirit that constructs railways with the hands of workers, constructs philosophical systems in the brains of philosophers. Philosophy does not exist outside the world, any more than the brain exists outside man because it is not situated in the stomach. But philosophy, of course, exists in the world through the brain before it stands with its feet on the ground, whereas many other spheres of human activity have long had their feet rooted in the ground and pluck with their hands the fruits of the world before they have any inkling that the “head” also belongs to this world, or that this world is the world of the head.

Since every true philosophy is the intellectual quintessence of its time, the time must come when philosophy not only internally by its content, but also externally through its form, comes into contact and interaction with the real world of its day. Philosophy then ceases to be a particular system in relation to other particular systems, it becomes philosophy in general in relation to the world, it becomes the philosophy of the contemporary world. The external forms which confirm that philosophy has attained this significance, that it is the living soul of culture, that philosophy has become worldly and the world has become philosophical, have been the same in all ages. One can consult any history book and find repeated with stereotyped fidelity the simplest rituals which unmistakably mark the penetration of philosophy into salons, priests' studies, editorial offices of newspapers and court antechambers, into the love and the hate of contemporaries. Philosophy comes into the world amid the loud cries of its enemies, who betray their inner infection by wild shouts for help against the fiery ardour of ideas. This cry of its enemies has the same significance for philosophy as the first cry of the new-born babe has for the anxiously listening ear of the mother: it is the cry testifying to the life of its ideas, which have burst the orderly hieroglyphic husk of the system and become citizens of the world. The Corybantes and Cabiri, whose loud fanfares announce to the world the birth of the infant Zeus, attack first of all the religious section of the philosophers, partly because the inquisitorial instinct is more certain to have an appeal for the sentimental side of the public, partly because the public, which includes also the opponents of philosophy, can feel the sphere of philosophical ideas only by means of its ideal antennae, and the only circle of ideas in the value of which the public believes almost as much as in the system of material needs is the circle of religious ideas; and finally because religion polemises not against a particular system of philosophy, but against the philosophy of all particular systems.

The true philosophy of the present day does not differ from the true philosophies of the past by this destiny. On the contrary, this destiny is a proof which history owed to its truth.

For six years German newspapers have been drumming against, calumniating, distorting and bowdlerising the religious trend in philosophy. The Augsburg Allgemeine sang bravura arias, almost every overture played the leitmotif, to the effect that philosophy did not deserve to be discussed by this wise lady, that it was a rodomontade of youth, a fashion of blase coteries. But, in spite of all this, it was impossible to get away from philosophy, and the drumming was continually renewed, for the Augsburg paper plays only one instrument in its anti-philosophical cat's concert, the monotonous kettle-drum. All German newspapers, from the Berliner politisches Wochenblatt and the Hamburger Correspondent down to the obscure local newspapers, down to the Kölnische Zeitung, reverberated with the names of Hegel and Schelling, Feuerbach and Bauer, the Deutsche fahrbücher, etc. Finally, the public became eager to see the Leviathan itself, the more so because semi-official articles threatened to have a legal syllabus officially prescribed for philosophy, and it was precisely then that philosophy made its appearance in the newspapers. For a long time philosophy had remained silent in the face of the self-satisfied superficiality which boasted that by means of a few hackneyed newspaper phrases it would blow away like soap-bubbles the long years of study by genius, the hard-won fruits of self-sacrificing solitude, the results of the unseen but slowly exhausting struggles of contemplative thought. Philosophy had even protested against the newspapers as an unsuitable arena, but finally it had to break its silence; it became a newspaper correspondent, and then-unheard-of diversion! — it suddenly occurred to the loquacious purveyors of newspapers that philosophy was not a fitting pabulum for their readers. They could not fail to bring to the notice of the governments that it was dishonest to introduce philosophical and, religious questions into the sphere of the newspapers not for the enlightenment of the public but to achieve external aims.

What could philosophy say about religion or about itself that would be worse than your newspaper hullabaloo had already long ago attributed to it in a worse and more frivolous form? It only has to repeat what you unphilosophical Capuchins preach about it in thousands and thousands of controversial speeches — and the worst will have been said.

But philosophy speaks about religious and philosophical matters in a different way than you have spoken about them. You speak without having studied them, philosophy speaks after studying them; you appeal to the emotions, it appeals to reason; you anathematise, it teaches; you promise heaven and earth, it promises nothing but the truth; you demand belief in your beliefs, it .demands not belief in its results but the testing of doubts; you frighten, it calms. And, in truth, philosophy has enough knowledge of the world to realise that its results do not flatter the pleasure-seeking and egoism of either the heavenly or the earthly world. But the public, which loves truth and knowledge for their own sakes, will be well able to measure its judgment and morality against the judgment and morality of ignorant, servile, inconsistent and venal scribblers.

Of course, there may be some persons who misinterpret philosophy owing to the wretchedness of their understanding and attitude. But do not you Protestants believe that Catholics misinterpret Christianity, do you not reproach the Christian religion on account of the shameful times of the eighth and ninth centuries, or St. Bartholomew's night, or the Inquisition? There is clear proof that Protestant theology's hatred of philosophers arises largely from the tolerance shown by philosophy towards each particular creed as such. Feuerbach and Strauss have been more reproached for regarding Catholic dogmas as Christian than for declaring that the dogmas of Christianity are not dogmas o reason.

But if some individuals cannot digest modern philosophy and die of philosophical indigestion, that is no more evidence against philosophy than the occasional bursting of an engine boiler, with consequent injury to passengers, is evidence against the science of mechanics.

The question whether philosophical and religious matters ought to be discussed in the newspapers dissolves in its own lack of ideas.

When such questions begin to interest the public as questions for newspapers, they have become questions of the time. Then the problem is not whether they should be discussed, but where and how they should be discussed, whether in inner circles of the families and the salons, in schools and churches, but not by the press; by opponents of philosophy, but not by philosophers; in the obscure language of private opinion, but not in the clarifying language of public reason. Then the question is whether the sphere of the press should include what exists as a reality; it is no longer a matter of a particular content of the press, but of the general question whether the press ought to be a genuine press, i.e., a free press.

The second question we separate entirely from the first: “Should the newspapers treat politics philosophically in a so-called Christian state?"

When religion becomes a political factor, a subject-matter of politics, it hardly needs to be said that the newspapers not only may, but must discuss political questions. It seems obvious that philosophy, the wisdom of the world, has a greater right to concern itself with the realm of this world, with the state, than has the wisdom of the other world, religion. The question here is not whether there should be any philosophising about the state, but whether this should be done well or badly, philosophically or unphilosophically, with or without prejudice, with or without consciousness, consistently or inconsistency, quite rationally or semi-rationally. If you make religion into a theory of constitutional law, then you are making religion itself into a kind of philosophy.

Was it not Christianity above all that separated church and state?

Read St. Augustine's De civitate Dei, study the Fathers of the Church and the spirit of Christianity, and then come back and tell us whether the state or the church is the “Christian state"! Or does not every moment of your practical life brand your theory as a lie? Do you consider it wrong to appeal to the courts if you have been cheated? But the apostle writes that it is wrong. If you have been struck on one cheek, do you turn the other also, or do you not rather start an action for assault? But the gospel forbids it. Do you not demand rational right in this world, do you not grumble at the slightest raising of taxes, are you not beside yourself at the least infringement of your personal liberty? But you have been told that suffering in this life is not to be compared with the bliss of the future, that passive sufferance and blissful hope are the cardinal virtues.

Are not most of your court cases and most of your civil laws concerned with property? But you have been told that your treasure is not of this world. Or if you plead that you render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's, then you should regard not only golden Mammon, but at least as much free reason, as the ruler of this world, and the “action of free reason” is what we call philosophising.

When it was proposed to form a quasi-religious union of states in the shape of the Holy Alliance and to make religion the state emblem of Europe, the Pope, with profound intelligence and perfect consistency, refused to join it, on the grounds that the universal Christian link between peoples is the church and not diplomacy, not a secular union of states.

The truly religious state is the theocratic state; the head of such states must he either the God of religion, Jehovah himself, as in the Jewish state, or God's representative, the Dalai Lama, as in Tibet, or finally, as Görres rightly demands in his recent book, all the Christian states must subordinate themselves to a church which is an “infallible church”. For where, as under Protestantism, there is no supreme head of the church, the rule of religion is nothing but the religion of rule, the cult of the government's will.

Once a state includes several creeds having equal rights, it can no longer be a religious state without being a violation of the rights of the particular creeds, a church which condemns all adherents of a different creed as heretics, which makes every morsel of bread depend on one's faith, and which makes dogma the link between individuals and their existence as citizens of the state. Ask the Catholic inhabitants of “poor green Erin”,' ask the Huguenots before the French revolution; they did not appeal to religion, for their religion was not the state religion; they appealed to the “Rights of Humanity”, and philosophy interprets the rights of humanity and demands that the state should he a state of human nature.

But, according to the assertions of half-hearted, narrow-minded rationalism, which is in equal measure unbelieving and theological, the general spirit of Christianity, irrespective of differences of creed, should be the spirit of the state! It is the greatest irreligion, it is the arrogance of secular reason, to divorce the general spirit of religion from actually existing religion. This separation of religion from its dogmas and institutions is tantamount to asserting that the general spirit of the law ought to prevail in the state irrespective of particular laws and positive legal institutions.

If you presume yourself raised so high above religion that you are entitled to separate its general spirit from its positive provisions, how can you reproach the philosophers if they carry out this separation completely and not halfway, if they call the general spirit of religion the human spirit, and not the Christian spirit?

Christians live in states with different political constitutions, some in a republic, others in an absolute monarchy, and others again in a constitutional monarchy. Christianity does not decide whether the constitutions are good, for it knows no distinction between them. It teaches, as religion is bound to teach: submit to authority, for all authority is from God. Therefore, you must judge the rightfulness of state constitutions not on the basis of Christianity, but on the basis of the state's own nature and essence, not on the basis of the nature of Christian society, but on the basis of the nature of human society.

The Byzantine state was the real religious state, for in it dogmas were questions of state, but the Byzantine state was the worst of states. The states of the ancien régime were the most Christian states of all; nevertheless, they were states dependent on the “will of the court”.

There exists a dilemma in the face of which “common” sense is powerless.

Either the Christian state corresponds to the concept of the state as the realisation of rational freedom, and then the state only needs to be a rational state in order to he a Christian state and it suffices to derive the state from the rational character of human relations, a task which philosophy accomplishes; or the state of rational freedom cannot be derived from Christianity, and then you yourself will admit that this derivation is not intended by Christianity, since it does not want a bad state, and a state that is not the realisation of rational freedom is a bad state.

You may solve this dilemma in whatever way you like, you will have to admit that the state must be built on the basis of free reason, and not of religion. Only the crassest ignorance could assert that this theory, the. conversion of the concept of the state into an independent concept, is a passing whim of recent philosophers.

In the political sphere, philosophy has done nothing that physics, mathematics, medicine, and every science, have not done in their respective spheres. Bacon of Verulam said that theological physics was a virgin dedicated to God and barren, he emancipated physics from theology and it became fertile. just as you do not ask the physician whether he is a believer, you have no reason to ask the politician either. Immediately before and after the time of Copernicus' great discovery of the true solar system, the law of gravitation of the state was discovered, its own gravity was found in the state itself. The various European governments tried, in the superficial way of first practical attempts, to apply this result in order to establish a system of equilibrium of states. Earlier, however, Machiavelli and Campanella, and later Hobbes, Spinoza, Hugo Grotius, right down to Rousseau, Fichte and Hegel, began to regard the state through human eyes and to deduce its natural laws from reason and experience, and not from theology. In so doing, they were as little deterred as Copernicus was by the fact that Joshua bade the sun stand still over Gideon and the moon in the valley of Ajalon. Recent philosophy has only continued the work begun by Heraclitus and Aristotle. You wage a polemic, therefore, not against the rational'character of recent philosophy, but against the ever new philosophy of reason. Of course, the ignorance. which perhaps only yesterday or the day before yesterday discovered for the first time age-old ideas about the state in the Rheinische or the Königsberger Zeitung, regards these ideas of history as having suddenly occurred to certain individuals overnight, because they are new to it and reached it only overnight; it forgets that it itself is assuming the old role of the doctor of the Sorbonne who considered it his duty to accuse Montesquieu publicly of being so frivolous as to declare that the supreme merit of the state was political, not ecclesiastical, virtue. It forgets that it is assuming the role of Joachim Lange, who denounced Wolff on the ground that his doctrine of predestination would lead to desertion by the soldiers and thus the weakening of military discipline, and in the long run the collapse of the state. Finally, it forgets that Prussian Law was derived from the philosophical school of precisely “this Wolff”, and that the French Napoleonic Code was derived not from the Old Testament, but from the school of ideas of Voltaire, Rousseau, Condorcet, Mirabeau, and Montesquieu, and from the French revolution. Ignorance is a demon, we fear that it will yet be the cause of many a tragedy; the greatest Greek poets rightly depicted it as tragic fate in the soul-shattering dramas of the royal houses of Mycenae and Thebes.

Whereas the earlier philosophers of constitutional law proceeded in their account of the formation of the state from the instincts, either of ambition or gregariousness, or even from reason, though not social reason, but the reason of the individual, the more ideal and profound view of recent philosophy proceeds from the idea of the whole. It looks on the state as the great organism, in which legal, moral, and political freedom must be realised, and in which the individual citizen in obeying the laws of the state only obeys the natural laws of his own reason, of human reason. Sapienti sat.

In conclusion, we turn once more to the Kölnische Zeitung with a few philosophical words of farewell. It was very sensible of it to take a liberal “of a former day” into its service. One can very conveniently be both liberal and reactionary if only one is always adroit enough to address oneself to the liberals of the recent past who know no other dilemma than that of Vidocq: either “prisoner or gaoler”. It was still more sensible for the liberals of the recent past to join issue with the liberals of the present time. Without parties there is no development, without demarcation there is no progress. We hope that the leading article in No. 179 has opened a new era for the Kölnische Zeitung, the era of character.


Proceedings of the Sixth Rhine province assembly. Third article. Debates on the law on thefts of wood

1842: Debates on the Law on Thefts of Wood

Articles in Rheinische Zeitung 1842

Proceedings of the Sixth Rhine Province Assembly.
Third Article.

Debates on the Law on Thefts of Wood

Written: October 1842 [88];
First published: in the Supplement to the Rheinische Zeitung, Nos. 298, 300, 303, 305 and 307, October 25, 27 and 30, November 1 and 3, 1842;
Translated: by Clemens Dutt.
Signed: a Rhinelander;
Transcribed: by, November 1996.

Rheinische Zeitung, No. 298, Supplement, October 25 1842

RZ editorial note:
"We regret that we have not been able to publish the second article for our readers.
Editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung."

So far we have described two most important state acts of the Provincial Assembly, namely, its confusion over freedom of the press and its unfreedom in regard to the confusion. [2] We have now come down to ground level. Before we proceed to the really earthly question in all its life-size, the question of the parcellation of landed property, we shall give our readers some genre pictures which reflect in manifold ways the spirit and, we might say, even the actual physical nature of the Assembly.

It is true that the law on thefts of wood, like the law on offences in regard to hunting, forests and fields, deserves to be discussed not only in relation to the Assembly but equally on its own account. However, we do not have the draft of the law before us. Our material is limited to some vaguely indicated additions made by the Assembly and its commission to laws that figure only as paragraph numbers. The Assembly proceedings themselves are reported so extremely meagerly, incoherently and apocryphally that the report looks like an attempt at mystification. To judge from the truncated torso available to us, the Assembly wanted by this passive quietude to pay an act of respect to our province.

One is immediately struck by a fact which is characteristic of these debates. The Assembly acts as a supplementary legislator alongside the state legislator. It will prove most interesting to examine the legislative qualities of the Assembly by means of an example. In view of this, the reader will forgive us for demanding from him patience and endurance, two virtues which had to be constantly exercised in analysing our barren subject-matter. In our account of the Assembly debates on the law on thefts we are directly describing the Assembly's debates on its legislative function.

At the very beginning of the debate, one of the urban deputies objected to the title of the law, which extends the category of "theft" to include simple offences against forest regulations.

A deputy of the knightly estate replied:

"It is precisely because the pilfering of wood is not regarded as theft that it occurs so often."

By analogy with this, the legislator would have to draw the conclusion: It is because a box on the ear is not regarded as murder that it has become so frequent. It should be decreed therefore that a box on the ear is murder.

Another deputy of the knightly estate finds it

"still more risky not to pronounce the word 'theft', because people who become acquainted with the discussion over this word could easily be led to believe that the Assembly does not regard the pilfering of wood also as theft".

The Assembly has to decide whether it considers pilfering of wood as theft; but if the Assembly does not declare it to be theft, people could believe that the Assembly really does not regard the pilfering of wood as theft. Hence it is best to leave this ticklish controversial question alone. It is a matter of a euphemism and euphemisms should be avoided. The forest owner prevents the legislator from speaking, for walls have ears.

The same deputy goes even further. He regards this whole examination of the expression "theft" as

"a dangerous preoccupation with correcting formulations on the part of the plenary assembly".

After these illuminating demonstrations, the Assembly voted the title of the law.

From the point of view recommended above, which mistakes the conversion of a citizen into a thief for a mere negligence in formulation and rejects all opposition to it as grammatical purism, it is obvious that even the pilfering of fallen wood or the gathering of dry wood is included under the heading of theft and punished as severely as the stealing of live growing timber.

It is true that the above-mentioned urban deputy remarks:

"Since the punishment could run to a long term of imprisonment, such severity would lead people who otherwise followed an honest path on to the path of crime. That would happen also because in prison they would be in the company of inveterate thieves; therefore he considered that the gathering or pilfering of dry fallen wood should be punished by a simple police penalty."

Another urban deputy, however, refuted him with the profound argument

"that in the forest areas of his region, at first only gashes were made in young trees, and later, when they were dead, they were treated as fallen wood".

It would be impossible to find a more elegant and at the same time more simple method of making the right of human beings give way to that of young trees. On the one hand, after the adoption of the paragraph, it is inevitable that many people not of a criminal disposition are cut off from the green tree of morality and cast like fallen wood into the hell of crime, infamy and misery. On the other hand, after rejection of the paragraph, there is the possibility that some young trees may be damaged, and it needs hardly be said that the wooden idols triumph and human beings are sacrificed!

The supreme penal code [3] includes under theft of wood only the pilfering of hewn wood and the cutting of wood for the purpose of theft. Indeed -- our Provincial Assembly will not believe it -- it states:

"If, however, in daytime someone takes fruit for eating and by its removal does no great damage, then, taking into account his personal position and the circumstances, he is to be punished by civil" (therefore, not criminal!) "proceedings."

The supreme penal code of the sixteenth century requests us to defend it against the charge of excessive humanity made by a Rhine Province Assembly of the nineteenth century, and we comply with this request.

The gathering of fallen wood and the most composite wood theft! They both have a common definition. The appropriation of wood from someone else. Therefore both are theft. That is the sum and substance of the far-sighted logic which has just issued laws.

First of all, therefore, we call attention to the difference between them, and if it must be admitted that the two actions are essentially different, it can hardly be maintained that they are identical from the legal standpoint.

In order to appropriate growing timber, it has to be forcibly separated from its organic association. Since this is an obvious outrage against the tree, it is therefore an obvious outrage against the owner of the tree.

Further, if felled wood is stolen from a third person, this felled wood is material that has been produced by the owner. Felled wood is wood that has been worked on. The natural connection with property has been replaced by an artificial one. Therefore anyone who takes away felled wood takes away property

In the case of fallen wood, on the contrary, nothing has been separated from property. It is only what has already been separated from property that is being separated from it. The wood thief pronounces on his own authority a sentence on property. The gatherer of fallen wood only carries out a sentence already pronounced by the very nature of the property, for the owner possesses only the tree, but the tree no longer possesses the branches that have fallen from it.

The gathering of fallen wood and the theft of wood are therefore essentially different things. The objects concerned are different, the actions in regard to them are no less different hence the frame of mind must also be different, for what objective standard can be applied to the frame of mind other than the content of the action and its form? But, in spite of this essential difference, you call both of them theft and punish both of them as theft. Indeed, you punish the gathering of fallen wood more severely than the theft of wood, for you punish it already by declaring it to be theft, a punishment which you obviously do not pronounce on the actual theft of wood. You should have called it murder of wood and punished it as murder. The law is not exempt from the general obligation to tell the truth. It is doubly obliged to do so, for it is the universal and authentic exponent of the legal nature of things. Hence the legal nature of things cannot be regulated according to the law; on the contrary, the law must be regulated according to the legal nature of things. But if the law applies the term theft to an action that is scarcely even a violation of forest regulations, then the law lies, and the poor are sacrificed to a legal lie.

"Il y a deux genres de corruption," says Montesquieu, "l'un lorsque le peuple n'observe point les lois; l'autre lorsqu'il est corrompu par les lois; mal incurable parce qu'il est dans le remède même." [a]

You will never succeed in making us believe that there is a crime where there is no crime, you will only succeed in converting crime itself into a legal act. You have wiped out the boundary between them, but you err if you believe that you have done so only to your advantage. The people sees the punishment, but it does not see the crime, and because it sees punishment where there is no crime, it will see no crime where there is punishment. By applying the category of theft where it ought not to be applied, you have also exonerated it where this category ought to be applied.

And does not this crude view, which lays down a common definition for different kinds of action and leaves the difference out of account, itself bring about its own destruction ? If every violation of property without distinction, without a more exact definition, is termed theft, will not all private property be theft? By my private ownership do I not exclude every other person from this ownership? Do I not thereby violate his right of ownership? If you deny the difference between essentially different kinds of the same crime, you are denying that crime itself is different from right, you are abolishing right itself, for every crime has an aspect in common with right. Hence it is a fact, attested equally by history and reason, that undifferentiated severity makes punishment wholly unsuccessful, for it does away with punishment as a success for right.

But what are we arguing about? The Assembly, it is true, repudiates the difference between gathering fallen wood, infringement of forest regulations, and theft of wood. It repudiates the difference between these actions, refusing to regard it as determining the character of the action, when it is a question of the interests of the infringers of forest regulations, but it recognises this difference when it is a question of the interests of the forest owners.

Thus the commission proposes the following addition:

"to regard it as an aggravating circumstance if growing timber is hewn or cut off with edged tools and if a saw is used instead of an axe".

The Assembly approves this distinction. The same keen-sightedness which so conscientiously distinguishes between an axe and a saw when it is a matter of its own interests, is so lacking in conscience as to refuse to distinguish between fallen wood and growing wood when it is a question of other people's interests. The difference was found to be important as an aggravating circumstance but without any significance as a mitigating circumstance, although the former cannot exist if the latter is impossible.

The same logic occurred repeatedly during the debate.

In regard to §65, an urban deputy desired

"that the value of the stolen wood also should be used as a measure for fixing the punishment", "which was opposed by the commission's spokesman as unpractical."

The same urban deputy remarked in connection with §66:

"in general there is missing from the whole law any statement of value, in accordance with which the punishment would be increased or diminished".

The importance of value in determining punishment for violations of property is self-evident.

If the concept of crime involves that of punishment, the actual crime calls for a measure of punishment. An actual crime has its limit. The punishment will therefore have to be limited in order to be actual, it must be limited in accordance with a principle of law in order to be just. The problem is to make the punishment the actual consequence of the crime. It must be seen by the criminal as the necessary result of his act, and therefore as his own act. Hence the limit of his punishment must be the limit of his act. The definite content of a violation of the law is the limit of a definite crime. The measure of this content is therefore the measure of the crime. In the case of property this measure is its value Whereas personality, whatever its limits, is always a whole, property always exists only within a definite limit that is not only determinable but determined, not only measurable but measured. Value is the civil mode of existence of property, the logical expression through which it first becomes socially comprehensible and communicable. It is clear that this objective defining element provided by the nature of the object itself must likewise be the objective and essential defining element for the punishment. Even if legislation here, where it is a matter of figures, can only be guided by external features so as not to be lost in an infinitude of definitions, it must at least regulate. It is not a question of an exhaustive definition of differences, but of establishing differences. But the Assembly was not at all disposed to devote its distinguished attention to such trifles.

But do you consider then that you can conclude that the Assembly completely excluded value in determining punishment? That would be an ill-considered, unpractical conclusion! The forest owner -- we shall deal with this later in more detail -- does not merely demand to be compensated by the thief for the simple general value. He even gives this value an individual character and bases his demand for special compensation on this poetic individuality. We can now understand what the commission's spokesman understands by practical. The practical forest owner argues as follows: This legal definition is good insofar as it is useful to me, for what is useful to me is good. But this legal definition is superfluous, it is harmful, it is unpractical, insofar as it is intended to be applied to the accused on the basis of a purely theoretical legal whim. Since the accused is harmful to me, it stands to reason that everything is harmful to me that lessens the harm coming to him. That is practical wisdom.

We unpractical people, however, demand for the poor, politically and socially propertyless many what the learned and would-be learned servility of so-called historians has discovered to be the true philosopher's stone for turning every sordid claim into the pure gold of right. We demand for the poor a customary right, and indeed one which is not of a local character but is a customary right of the poor in all countries. We go still further and maintain that a customary right by its very nature can only be a right of this lowest, propertyless and elemental mass.

The so-called customs of the privileged classes are understood to mean customs contrary to the law. Their origin dates to the period in which human history was part of natural history, and in which, according to Egyptian legend, all gods concealed themselves in the shape of animals. Mankind appeared to fall into definite species of animals which were connected not by equality, but by inequality, an inequality fixed by laws. The world condition of unfreedom required laws expressing this unfreedom, for whereas human law is the mode of existence of freedom, this animal law is the mode of existence of unfreedom. Feudalism in the broadest sense is the spiritual animal kingdom, the world of divided mankind, in contrast to the human world that creates its own distinctions and whose inequality is nothing but a refracted form of equality. In the countries of naive feudalism, in the countries of the caste system, where in the literal sense of the word people are put in separate boxes [b], and the noble, freely interchanging members of the great sacred body, the holy Humanus, are sawn and cleft asunder, forcibly torn apart, we find therefore also the worship of animals, animal religion in its primitive form, for man always regards as his highest being that which is his true being. The sole equality to be found in the actual life of animals is the equality between one animal and other animals of the same species; it is the equality of the given species with itself, but not the equality of the genus. The animal genus itself is seen only in the hostile behaviour of the different animal species, which assert their particular distinctive characteristics one against another. In the stomach of the beast of prey, nature has provided the battlefield of union, the crucible of closest fusion, the organ connecting the various animal species.

Similarly, under feudalism one species feeds at the expense of another, right down to the species which, like the polyp, grows on the ground and has only numerous arms with which to pluck the fruits of the earth for higher races while it itself eats dust for whereas in the natural animal kingdom the worker bees kill the drones, in the spiritual animal kingdom the drones kill the worker bees, and precisely by labour. When the privileged classes appeal from legal right to their customary rights, they are demanding instead of the human content of right, its animal form, which has now lost its reality and become a mere animal mask.

Rheinische Zeitung, No. 300, Supplement, October 27 1842

The customary rights of the aristocracy conflict by their content with the form of universal law. They cannot be given the form of law because they are formations of lawlessness. The fact that their content is contrary to the form of law -- universality and necessity -- proves that they are customary wrongs and cannot be asserted in opposition to the law, but as such opposition they must be abolished and even punished if the occasion arises, for no one's action ceases to be wrongful because it is his custom, just as the bandit son of a robber is not exonerated because banditry is a family idiosyncrasy. If someone intentionally acts contrary to law he is punished for his intention; if he acts by custom, this custom of his is punished as being a bad custom. At a time when universal laws prevail, rational customary right is nothing but the custom of legal right, for right has not ceased to be custom because it has been embodied in law, although it has ceased to be merely custom. For one who acts in accordance with right, right becomes his own custom, but it is enforced against one who violates it, although it is not his custom. Right no longer depends on chance, on whether custom is rational or not, but custom becomes rational because right is legal, because custom has become the custom of the state.

Customary right as a separate domain alongside legal right is therefore rational only where it exists alongside and in addition to law, where custom is the anticipation of a legal right. Hence one cannot speak of the customary rights of the privileged estates. The law recognises not only their rational right but often even their irrational pretensions. The privileged estates have no right of anticipation in regard to law, for law has anticipated all possible consequences of their right. Hence, too, the customary rights are demanded only as a domain for menus plaisirs [c], in order that the same content which is dealt with in the law inside its rational limits should find in custom scope for whims and pretensions outside these rational limits.

But whereas these customary rights of the aristocracy are customs which are contrary to the conception of rational right, the customary rights of the poor are rights which are contrary to the customs of positive law. Their content does not conflict with legal form, but rather with its own lack of form. The form of law is not in contradiction to this content, on the contrary, the latter has not yet reached this form. Little thought is needed to perceive how one-sidedly enlightened legislation has treated and been compelled to treat the customary rights of the poor, of which the various Germanic rights [4] can be considered the most prolific source.

In regard to civil law, the most liberal legislations have been confined to formulating and raising to a universal level those rights which they found already in existence. Where they did not find any such rights, neither did they create any. They abolished particular customs, but in so doing forgot that whereas the wrong of the estates took the form of arbitrary pretensions, the right of those without social estate appeared in the form of accidental concessions. This course of action was correct in regard to those who, besides right, enjoyed custom, but it was incorrect in regard to those who had only customs without rights. Just as these legislations converted arbitrary pretensions into legal claims, insofar as some rational content of right was to be found in those pretensions, they ought also to have converted accidental concessions into necessary ones. We can make this clear by taking the monasteries as an example. The monasteries were abolished, their property was secularised, and it was right to do so. But the accidental support which the poor found in the monasteries was not replaced by any other positive source of income. When the property of the monasteries was converted into private property and the monasteries received some compensation, the poor who lived by the monasteries were not compensated. On the contrary, a new restriction was imposed on them, while they were deprived of an ancient right. This occurred in all transformations of privileges into rights. A positive aspect of these abuses -- which was also an abuse because it turned a right of one side into something accidental -- was abolished not by the accidental being converted into a necessity, but by its being left out of consideration.

These legislations were necessarily one-sided, for all customary rights of the poor were based on the fact that certain forms of property were indeterminate in character, for they were not definitely private property, but neither were they definitely common property, being a mixture of private and public right, such as we find in all the institutions of the Middle Ages. For the purpose of legislation, such ambiguous forms could be grasped only by understanding, and understanding is not only one-sided, but has the essential function of making the world one-sided, a great and remarkable work, for only one-sidedness can extract the particular from the unorganised mass of the whole and give it shape. The character of a thing is a product of understanding. Each thing must isolate itself and become isolated in order to be something. By confining each of the contents of the world in a stable definiteness and as it were solidifying the fluid essence of this content, understanding brings out the manifold diversity of the world, for the world would not be many-sided without the many one-sidednesses.

Understanding therefore abolished the hybrid, indeterminate forms of property by applying to them the existing categories of abstract civil law, the model for which was available in Roman law. The legislative mind considered it was the more justified in abolishing the obligations of this indeterminate property towards the class of the very poor, because it also abolished the state privileges of property. It forgot, however, that even from the standpoint of civil law a twofold private right was present here: a private right of the owner and a private right of the non-owner and this apart from the fact that no legislation abolishes the privileges of property under constitutional law, but merely divests them of their strange character and gives them a civil character. If, however, every medieval form of right, and therefore of property also, was in every respect hybrid, dualistic, split into two, and understanding rightly asserted its principle of unity in respect of this contradictory determination, it nevertheless overlooked the fact that there exist objects of property which, by their very nature, can never acquire the character of predetermined private property, objects which, by their elemental nature and their accidental mode of existence, belong to the sphere of occupation rights, and therefore of the occupation right of that class which precisely because of these occupation rights, is excluded from all other property and which has the same position in civil society as these objects have in nature.

It will be found that the customs which are customs of the entire poor class are based with a sure instinct on the indeterminate aspect of property; it will be found not only that this class feels an urge to satisfy a natural need, but equally that it feels the need to satisfy a rightful urge. Fallen wood provides an example of this. Such wood has as little organic connection with the growing tree as the cast-off skin has with the snake. Nature itself presents as it were a model of the antithesis between poverty and wealth in the shape of the dry, snapped twigs and branches separated from organic life in contrast to the trees and stems which are firmly rooted and full of sap, organically assimilating air, light, water and soil to develop their own proper form and individual life. It is a physical representation of poverty and wealth. Human poverty senses this kinship and deduces its right to property from this feeling of kinship. If, therefore, it claims physical organic wealth for the predetermined property owners, it claims physical poverty for need and its fortuity. In this play of elemental forces, poverty senses a beneficent power more humane than human power. The fortuitous arbitrary action of privileged individuals is replaced by the fortuitous operation of elemental forces, which take away from private property what the latter no longer voluntarily foregoes. Just as it is not fitting for the rich to lay claim to alms distributed in the street, so also in regard to these alms of nature. But it is by its activity, too, that poverty acquires its right. By its act of gathering, the elemental class of human society appoints itself to introduce order among the products of the elemental power of nature. The position is similar in regard to those products which, because of their wild growth, are a wholly accidental appendage of property and, if only because of their unimportance, are not an object for the activity of the actual owner. The same thing holds good also in regard to gleaning after the harvest and similar customary rights.

In these customs of the poor class, therefore, there is an instinctive sense of right; their roots are positive and legitimate, and the form of customary right here conforms all the more to nature because up to now the existence of the poor class itself has been a mere custom of civil society, a custom which has not found an appropriate place in the conscious organisation of the state.

The debate in question affords an example of the way in which these customary rights are treated, an example which exhaustively illustrates the method and spirit of the whole procedure.

An urban deputy opposed the provision by which the gathering of bilberries and cranberries is also treated as theft. He spoke primarily on behalf of the children of the poor, who pick these fruits to earn a trifling sum for their parents; an activity which has been permitted by the owners since time immemorial and has given rise to a customary right of the children. This fact was countered by another deputy, who remarked that

"in his area these berries have already become articles of commerce and are dispatched to Holland by the barrel".

In one locality, therefore, things have actually gone so far that a customary right of the poor has been turned into a monopoly of the rich. That is exhaustive proof that common property can be monopolised, from which it naturally follows that it must be monopolised. The nature of the object calls for monopoly because private property interests here have invented this monopoly. The modern idea conceived by some money-grabbing petty traders becomes irrefutable when it provides profit for the age-old Teutonic landed interest.

The wise legislator will prevent crime in order not to have to punish it, but he will do so not by obstructing the sphere of right, but by doing away with the negative aspect of every instinct of right, giving the latter a positive sphere of action. He will not confine himself to removing the impossibility for members of one class to belong to a higher sphere of right, but will raise their class itself to the real possibility of enjoying its rights. But if the state is not humane, rich and high-minded enough for this, it is at least the legislator's absolute duty not to convert into a crime what circumstances alone have caused to be an offence. He must exercise the utmost leniency in correcting as a social irregularity what it would be the height of injustice for him to punish as an anti-social crime. Otherwise he will be combating the social instinct while supposing that he is combating its anti-social form. In short, if popular customary rights are suppressed, the attempt to exercise them can only be treated as the simple contravention of a police regulation, but never punished as a crime. Punishment by police penalties is an expedient to be used against an act which circumstances characterise as a superficial irregularity not constituting any violation of the eternal rule of law. The punishment must not inspire more repugnance than the offence, the ignominy of crime must not be turned into the ignominy of law, the basis of the state is undermined if misfortune becomes a crime or crime becomes a misfortune. Far from upholding this point of view, the Provincial Assembly does not observe even the elementary rules of legislation.

The petty, wooden, mean and selfish soul of interest sees only one point, the point in which it is wounded, like a coarse person who regards a passer-by as the most infamous, vilest creature under the sun because this unfortunate creature has trodden on his corns. He makes his corns the basis for his views and judgment, he makes the one point where the passer-by comes into contact with him into the only point where the very nature of this man comes into contact with the world. But a man may very well happen to tread on my corns without on that account ceasing to be an honest, indeed an excellent, man. Just as you must not judge people by your corns, you must not see them through the eyes of your private interest. [d] Private interest makes the one sphere in which a person comes into conflict with this interest into this person's whole sphere of life. It makes the law a rat-catcher, who wants only to destroy vermin, for he is not a naturalist and therefore regards rats only as vermin. But the state must regard the infringer of forest regulations as something more than a wood-pilferer, more than an enemy to wood. Is not the state linked with each of its citizens by a thousand vital nerves, and has it the right to sever all these nerves because this citizen has himself arbitrarily severed one of them? Therefore the state will regard even an infringer of forest regulations as a human being, a living member of the state, one in whom its heart's blood flows, a soldier who has to defend his Fatherland, a witness whose voice must be heard by the court, a member of the community with public duties to perform, the father of a family, whose existence is sacred, and, above all, a citizen of the state. The state will not light-heartedly exclude one of its members from all these functions, for the state amputates itself whenever it turns a citizen into a criminal. Above all, the moral legislator will consider it a most serious, most painful, and most dangerous matter if an action which previously was not regarded as blameworthy is classed among criminal acts.

Interest, however, is practical, and nothing in the world is more practical than to strike down one's enemy. "Hates any man the thing he would not kill?" we are already told by Shylock. [e] The true legislator should fear nothing but wrong, but the legislative interest knows only fear of the consequences of rights, fear of the evil-doers against whom the laws are made. Cruelty is a characteristic feature of laws dictated by cowardice, for cowardice can be energetic only by being cruel. Private interest, however, is always cowardly, for its heart, its soul, is an external object which can always be wrenched away and injured, and who has not trembled at the danger of losing heart and soul? How could the selfish legislator be human when something inhuman, an alien material essence, is his supreme essence? "Quand il a peur, il est terrible," [f] says the National about Guizot. These words could be inscribed as a motto over all legislation inspired by self-interest, and therefore by cowardice.

When the Samoyeds kill an animal, before skinning it they assure it in the most serious tones that only Russians have done it this injury, that it is being dismembered with a Russian knife, and therefore it should revenge itself only on Russians. Even without any claim to be a Samoyed, it is possible to turn the law into Russian knife. Let us see how this is done.

In connection with §4, the commission proposed:

"At distances greater than two miles, the warden who makes the charge determines the value according to the existing local price."

An urban deputy protested against this as follows:

"The proposal to allow the valuation of the stolen wood to be made by the forester who brings the charge evokes serious doubt. Of course, this official has our full confidence, but only as regards the fact, by no means as regards the value. The latter should be determined according to a valuation made by the local authorities and confirmed by the district president. It is true that it has been proposed that §14, according to which the penalty imposed should accrue to the forest owner, should not be adopted", etc. "If §14 were to be retained. the proposed provision would be doubly dangerous. For, in the nature of things, the forester who is employed by the forest owner and paid by him would certainly have to put the value of the stolen wood as high as possible."

The Provincial Assembly approved the proposal of the commission.

We see here the enactment of patrimonial jurisdiction. The patrimonial warden is at the same time in part a judge. The valuation is part of the sentence. Hence the sentence is already partly anticipated in the record of the charge. The warden who made the charge sits in the collegium of judges; he is the expert whose decision is binding for the court, he performs a function from which the other judges are excluded by him. It is foolish to oppose inquisitorial methods when there exist even patrimonial gendarmes and denouncers who at the same time act as judges.

Apart from this fundamental violation of our institutions, it is obvious from an examination of the qualifications of the warden who makes the charge how little he is objectively able to be at the same time the valuer of the stolen wood.

As warden, he personifies the protecting genius of the forest. Protection, especially personal, physical protection, calls for an effective, energetic and loving attitude to the object of his care, an attitude in which he as it were coalesces with the growing forest. The forest must be everything to him, its value for him must be absolute. The valuer's attitude to the stolen wood, on the other hand, is one of sceptical distrust. He measures it with a keen prosaic eye by an ordinary standard and reckons how much it is worth in hellers and pfennigs. A warden and a valuer are as different as a mineralogist and a trader in minerals. The forest warden cannot estimate the value of the stolen wood, for in any record for the court giving his estimate of the value of the stolen material he is estimating his own value, because it is the value of his own activity, and do you believe that he would not protect the value of the object under his care as much as the substance of it?

The functions entrusted to one man, for whom severity is an official duty, are contradictory not only in relation to the object under protection, but also in relation to the persons concerned.

As guardian of the wood, the warden has to protect the interests of the private owner, but as valuer he has just as much to protect the interests of the infringer of forest regulations against the extravagant demands of the private owner. While he has, perhaps, to use his fists on behalf of the forest, he has immediately thereafter to use his brains on behalf of the forest's enemy. While embodying the interests of the forest owner, he has at the same time to be a guarantee against these same interests.

The warden, furthermore, is the denouncer. The charge he draws up is a denunciation. The value of the object, therefore becomes the subject-matter of the denunciation. The warden loses his dignity as a judge, and the function of judge is most profoundly debased, because at that moment it is indistinguishable from the function of denouncer.

Finally, this denouncing warden, who cannot rank as an expert, whether in his capacity of denouncer or in that of warden, is in the pay and service of the forest owner. One might just as well leave the valuation, under oath, to the forest owner himself, since in the person of his warden he has actually only assumed the shape of a third person.

Instead, however, of finding this position of the denouncing warden even somewhat dubious, the Provincial Assembly, on the contrary, regarded as dubious the sole provision which constitutes the last semblance of the state's power in the realm of forest glory, namely, life appointment of the denouncing wardens. This proposal evoked the most vehement protest, and the storm seems hardly to have been allayed by the explanation of the spokesman

"that already previous Provincial Assemblies had called for life appointment of wardens to be abandoned, but that the government had not agreed to this and regarded life appointment as a protection for the state's subjects."

At an earlier date, therefore, the Provincial Assembly had already tried to bargain with the government so as to make it abandon protection for its subjects, but the Assembly did not go beyond bargaining. Let us examine the arguments, as generous as they are irrefutable, advanced against life appointment.

A deputy from the rural communities

"finds that life appointment of wardens as a condition for confidence in them is greatly to the detriment of the small forest owners; and another deputy insists that protection must be equally effective for small and big forest owners."

A member of the princely estate remarked

"that life appointment with private persons is very inadvisable, and in France it has not been found at all necessary for ensuring confidence in the records drawn up by the wardens, but that something must of necessity be done to prevent infringements from increasing".

An urban deputy said:

"Credence must be given to all testimony of properly appointed and sworn forest officials. Life appointment is, so to speak, an impossibility for many communities, and especially for owners of small estates. A decision that only forest officials who have been appointed for life should be trusted, would deprive these owners of all forest protection. In a large part of the province, communities and private owners would necessarily have to entrust the protection of their wooded areas to field wardens, because their forest area is not large enough to enable them to appoint special foresters for it. It would indeed be strange if these field wardens, who have also taken an oath to protect the forests, were not to enjoy complete confidence when they reported a theft of wood, but were trusted when they testified to the infringement of forest regulations."

Rheinische Zeitung, No. 303, Supplement, October 30, 1842

Thus town and countryside and the princely estate have had their say. Instead of smoothing out the difference between the rights of the infringer of forest regulations and the claims of the forest owner, they found that this difference was not great enough. There was no attempt to afford equal protection to the forest owner and the infringer of forest regulations, it was only sought to make the protection of the small forest owner equal to that of the big forest owner. In this latter case, equality down to the minutest detail is imperative, whereas in the former case inequality is an axiom. Why does the small forest owner demand the same protection as the big forest owner? Because both are forest owners. But are not both the forest owners and the infringers of forest regulations citizens of the state? If small and big forest owners have the same right to protection by the state, does this not apply even more to small and big citizens of the state?

When the member of the princely estate refers to France -- for interest knows no political antipathies -- he only forgets to add that in France the warden's charge concerns the fact but not the value. Similarly, the worthy urban spokesman forgets that it is inadmissible to rely on a field warden here because it is a matter not only of registering a theft of wood but also of establishing the value of the wood.

What is the gist of all the arguments we have just heard? It is that the small forest owner does not have the means for appointing a warden for life. What follows from this? It follows that the small forest owner is not entitled to undertake this task. But what conclusion is drawn by the small forest owner? That he is entitled to appoint a warden as a valuer who can be given notice of dismissal. His lack of means entitles him to a privilege.

Moreover, the small forest owner does not have the means to support an independent collegium of judges. Therefore let the state and the accused manage without an independent collegium of judges, let a manservant of the small forest owner have a seat on the tribunal, or if he has no manservant, let it be his maidservant; and if he has no maidservant, let him sit there himself. Has not the accused the same right in regard to the executive power, which is an organ of the state, as he has in regard to the judicial power? Why then should not the tribunal also be organised in accordance with the means of the small forest owner?

Can the relation between the state and the accused be altered because of the meagre resources of a private person, the forest owner? The state has a right in relation to the accused because it confronts him as the state. An immediate consequence of this is its duty to act towards the law-breaker as the state and in the manner of the state. The state has not only the means to act in a way which is as appropriate to its reason, its universality, and its dignity as it is to the right, the life and the property of the incriminated citizen; it is its absolute duty to possess and apply these means. No one will make this demand of the forest owner, whose forest is not the state and whose soul is not the soul of the state. -- But what conclusion was drawn from that? It was concluded that since private property does not have means to raise itself to the standpoint of the state, the latter is obliged to lower itself to the irrational and illegal means of private property.

This claim on the part of private interest, the paltry soul of which was never illuminated and thrilled by thought of the state, is a serious and sound lesson for the latter. If the state, even in a single respect, stoops so low as to act in the manner of private property instead of in its own way, the immediate consequence is that it has to adapt itself in the form of its means to the narrow limits of private property. Private interest is sufficiently crafty to intensify this consequence to the point where private interest in its most restricted and paltry form makes itself the limit and rule for the action of the state. As a result of this, apart from the complete degradation of the state, we have the reverse effect that the most irrational and illegal means are put into operation against the accused; for supreme concern for the interests of limited private property necessarily turns into unlimited lack of concern for the interests of the accused. But if it becomes clearly evident here that private interest seeks to degrade, and is bound to degrade, the state into a means operating for the benefit of private interest, how can it fail to follow that a body representing private interests, the estates, will seek to degrade, and is bound to degrade, the state to the thoughts of private interest? Every modern state, however little it corresponds to its concept, will be compelled to exclaim at the first practical attempt at such legislative power: Your ways are not my ways, your thoughts are not my thoughts!

How completely unsound the temporary hiring of a denouncing warden is, cannot be more glaringly shown than by an argument advanced against life appointment, which cannot be attributed to a slip of the tongue, for it was read out. The following remark, namely, was read out by an urban deputy:

"Community forest wardens appointed for life are not, and cannot be, under such strict control as royal officials. Every spur to loyal fulfilment of duty is paralysed by life appointment. If the forest warden only half performs his duty and takes care that he cannot be charged with any real offence, he will always find sufficient advocacy in his favour to make a proposal for his dismissal under §56 useless. In such circumstances the interested parties will not even dare to put forward such a proposal."

We recall that it was decreed that the warden making the charge should be given full confidence when it was a question of entrusting him with the task of valuation. We recall that §4 was a vote of confidence in the warden.

We now learn for the first time that the denouncing warden needs to be controlled, and strictly controlled. For the first time he appears not merely as a man, but as a horse, since spurs and fodder are the only stimuli of his conscience, and the muscles for performing his duty are not merely slackened but completely paralysed by life appointment. We see that selfishness has a double set of weights and measures for weighing and measuring people, and two world outlooks, two pairs of spectacles, one showing everything black and the other in rosy tints. When it is a matter of making other people the victim of its tools and giving a favourable appearance to dubious means, selfishness puts on its rose-coloured spectacles, which impart an imaginary glory to these tools and means, and deludes itself and others with the unpractical, delightful dreaming of a tender and trusting soul. Every wrinkle of its countenance expresses smiling bonhomie. It presses its opponent's hand until it hurts, but it does so as a sign of its trust in him. But suddenly it is a question of personal advantage, of carefully testing the usefulness of tools and means behind the scenes where stage illusions are absent. Being a strict judge of people, it cautiously and distrustfully puts on its world-wise dark spectacles of practice. Like an experienced horse-dealer it subjects people to a lengthy ocular inspection, overlooking no detail, and they seem to it to be as petty, as pitiful, and as dirty, as selfishness itself.

We do not intend to argue with the world outlook of selfishness, but we want to compel it to be consistent. We do not want it to reserve all worldly wisdom for itself and leave only fantasies for others. We want to make the sophistical spirit of private interest abide for a moment by its own conclusions.

If the warden making the charge is a man such as you describe, a man whom life appointment, far from giving him a feeling of independence, security and dignity in the performance of his duty, has, on the contrary, deprived of any incentive to do his duty, how can we expect this man to behave impartially towards the accused when he is the unconditional slave of your arbitrary power? If only spurs force this man to do his duty, and if you are the wearer of the spurs, what fate must we prophesy for the accused, who wears no spurs? If even you yourself cannot exercise sufficiently strict control over this warden, how can the state or the accused side in the case control him? Does not what you say of life appointment apply instead to an appointment that can be terminated: "if the forest warden only half performs his duty, he will always find sufficient advocacy in his favour to make a proposal for his dismissal under §56 useless"? Would not all of you be advocates for him as long as he performed half his duty, namely, the protection of your interests?

The conversion of naive, excessive confidence in the forest warden into abusive, censorious distrust reveals the gist of the matter. It is not in the forest warden but in yourselves that you place this tremendous confidence which you want the state and the infringer of forest regulations to accept as a dogma.

It is not the warden's official position, nor his oath, nor his conscience that should be the guarantee of the accused against you; on the contrary, your sense of justice, your humanity, your disinterestedness, your moderation should be the guarantee of the accused against the forest warden. Your control is his ultimate and only guarantee. Imbued with a vague notion of your personal excellence, wrapt in poetic self-delight, you offer the parties in the case your individual qualities as a means of protection against your laws. I confess that I do not share this romantic conception of the forest owners. I do not at all believe that persons can be a guarantee against laws; on the contrary, I believe that laws must be a guarantee against persons. And can even the most daring fantasy imagine that men who in the noble work of legislation cannot for a moment rise above the narrow, practically base standpoint of self-seeking to the theoretical height of a universal and objective point of view, men who tremble even at the thought of future disadvantages and seize on anything to defend their interests, can these men become philosophers in the face of real danger? But no one, not even the most excellent legislator, can be allowed to put himself above the law he has made. No one has the right to decree a vote of confidence in himself when it entails consequences for third persons.

But whether it is permissible for you even to demand that people should place special confidence in you, may be judged from the following facts.

"He must oppose §87," stated an urban deputy, "since its provisions would give rise to extensive and fruitless investigations, as a result of which personal freedom and freedom of intercourse would be violated. It is not permissible beforehand to regard everyone as a criminal and to assume a crime before having proof that it has been committed."

Another urban deputy said that the paragraph ought to be deleted. The vexatious provision that "everyone has to prove where he obtained his wood", with the result that everyone could be under suspicion of stealing and concealing wood, was a gross and injurious intrusion into the life of the citizen. The paragraph was adopted.

In truth, you presume too much on people's inconsistency if you expect them to proclaim as a maxim that distrust is to their detriment and confidence is to your advantage, and if you expect their confidence and distrust to see through the eyes of your private interest and feel through the heart of your private interest.

Yet another argument is advanced against life appointment, an argument of which it is impossible to say whether it is more calculated to evoke contempt or ridicule.

"It is also impermissible that the free will of private persons should be so greatly restricted in this way, for which reason only appointments that can be terminated should be allowed."

The news that man possesses free will which must not be restricted in all kinds of ways, is certainly as comforting as it is unexpected. The oracles which we have so far heard have resembled the ancient oracle at Dodona. [5] They are dispensed from wood. Free will, however, does not have the quality of an estate. How are we to understand this sudden rebellious emergence of ideology, for as far as ideas are concerned we have before us only followers of Napoleon?

The will of the forest owner requires freedom to deal with the infringer of forest regulations as it sees fit and in the way it finds most convenient and least costly. This will wants the state to hand over the evil-doer to it to deal with at its discretion. It demands plein pouvoir. [g] It does not oppose the restriction of free will it opposes the manner of this restriction, which is so restrictive that it affects not only the infringer of forest regulations but also the owner of the wood. Does not this free will want to have numerous freedoms? Is it not a very free, an excellent, free will? And is it not scandalous in the nineteenth century to dare to restrict "so greatly in this way" the free will of those private persons who promulgate public laws? It is, indeed, scandalous.

Even that obstinate reformer, free will, must join the adherents of the good arguments headed by the sophistry of private interest. But this free will must have good manners, it must be a cautious loyal free will, one which is able to arrange itself in such a way that its sphere coincides with the sphere of the arbitrary power of those same privileged private persons. Only once has there been mention of free will, and on this one occasion it appears in the shape of a squat private person who hurls blocks of wood at the spirit of rational will. Indeed, what need is there for this spirit where the will is chained to the most petty and selfish interests like a galley-slave to his rowing bench?

The climax of this whole argument is summarised in the following remark, which turns the relationship in question upside-down:

"While the royal forest wardens and gamekeepers may be appointed for life, in the case of rural communities and private persons this evokes the most serious misgivings."

As if the sole source of misgivings were not in that private servants act here in the place of state officials! As if life appointment was not aimed precisely against private persons, who are the ones that evoke misgivings! Rien n'est plus terrible que la logique dans l'absurdité [h], that is to say, nothing is more terrible than the logic of selfishness.

This logic, which turns the servant of the forest owner into a state authority, turns the authority of the state into a servant of the forest owner. The state structure, the purpose of the individual administrative authorities, everything must get out of hand so that everything is degraded into an instrument of the forest owner and his interest operates as the soul governing the entire mechanism. All the organs of the state become ears, eyes, arms, legs, by means of which the interest of the forest owner hears, observes, appraises, protects, reaches out, and runs.

The commission proposed the addition to §62 of a conclusion demanding that inability to pay be certified by the tax-collector, the burgomaster and two local officials of the community in which the infringer of forest regulations lives. A deputy from the rural communities considered that to make use of the tax-collector was contrary to existing legislation. Of course, no attention was paid to this contradiction.

In connection with §20, the commission proposed:

"In the Rhine Province the competent forest owner should be authorised to hand over convicted persons to the local authority to perform penal labour in such a way that their working days will be put to the account of the manual services on communal roads which the forest owner is obliged to render in the rural community, and accordingly subtracted from this obligation."

Against this, the objection was raised

"that burgomasters cannot be used as executors for individual members of the rural community and that the labour of convicts cannot be accepted as compensation for the work which has to be performed by paid day-labourers or servants".

The spokesman commented:

"Even if it is a burdensome task for the burgomasters to see that unwilling and insubordinate prisoners convicted of infringing forest regulations are made to work, nevertheless it is one of the functions of these officials to induce disobedient and evil-minded persons in their charge to return to the path of duty, and is it not a noble deed to lead the convict away from the wrong road back to the right path? Who in the countryside has more means of doing this than the burgomasters?"

Reineke put on an anxious and sorrowful mien
Which excited the pity of many a good-natured man,
Lampe, the hare, especially was sore distressed.

[J Goethe, Reineke Fuchs, Sechster Gesang]

The Provincial Assembly adopted the proposal.

Rheinische Zeitung, No. 305, Supplement, November 1 1842

The good burgomaster must undertake a burdensome task and perform a noble deed in order that the forest owner can fulfil his duty to the community without expense to himself. The forest owner could with equal right make use of the burgomaster as a chief cook or head waiter. Is it not a noble deed for the burgomaster to look after the kitchen or cellar of those in his charge? The convicted criminal is not in the charge of the burgomaster, but in the charge of the prison superintendent. Does not the burgomaster lose the strength and dignity of his position if, instead of representing the community, he is made an executor for individual members, if he is turned from a burgomaster into a taskmaster? Will not the other, free members of the community be insulted if their honest work for the general good is degraded to the level of penal labour for the benefit of particular individuals?

But it is superfluous to expose these sophistries. Let the spokesman be so good as to tell us himself how worldly-wise people judge humane phrases. He makes the forest owner address the following reply to the farm owner who displays humanity:

"If some ears of corn are pilfered from a landowner, the thief would say: 'I have no bread, so I take a few ears of corn from the large amount you possess', just as the wood thief says: 'I have no firewood, so I steal some wood.' The landowner is protected by Article 444 of the Criminal Code, which punishes the taking of ears of corn with 2-5 years' imprisonment. The forest owner has no such powerful protection!"

This last envious exclamation of the forest owner contains a whole confession of faith. You farm owner, why are you so magnanimous where my interests are concerned? Because your interests are already looked after. So let there be no illusions! Magnanimity either costs nothing or brings something in. Therefore, farm owner, you cannot deceive the forest owner! Therefore, forest owner, do not deceive the burgomaster!

This intermezzo alone would suffice to prove what little meaning "noble deeds" can have in our debate, if the whole debate did not prove that moral and humane reasons occur here merely as phrases. But interest is miserly even with phrases. It invents them only in case of need, when the results are of considerable advantage. Then it becomes eloquent, its blood circulates faster, it is not sparing even with noble deeds that yield it profit at the expense of others, with flattering words and sugary endearments. And all that, all of it, is exploited only in order to convert the infringement of forest regulations into current coin for the forest owner, to make the infringer of forest regulations into a lucrative source of income, to be able to invest the capital more conveniently -- for the wood thief has become a capital for the forest owner. It is not a question of misusing the burgomaster for the benefit of the infringer of forest regulations, but of misusing the burgomaster for the benefit of the forest owner. What a remarkable trick of fate it is, what a remarkable fact, that on the rare occasions when a problematic benefit for the infringer of forest regulations is given a passing mention, the forest owner is guaranteed an unquestionable benefit!

The following is yet another example of these humane sentiments!

Spokesman: "French law does not acknowledge the commutation of imprisonment into forest labour; he considers this commutation a wise and beneficial measure, for imprisonment does not always lead to reform but very often to corruption."

Previously, when innocent persons were turned into criminals, when in connection with the gathering of fallen wood a deputy remarked that in prison they were brought into contact with inveterate thieves, prisons were said to be good. Suddenly reformatories have been metamorphosed into institutions for corruption, for at this moment it is of advantage to the interests of the forest owner that prisons corrupt. By reform of the criminal is understood improvement of the percentage of profit which it is the criminal's noble function to provide for the forest owner.

Interest has no memory, for it thinks only of itself. And the one thing about which it is concerned, itself, it never forgets. But it is not concerned about contradictions, for it never comes into contradiction with itself. It is a constant improviser, for it has no system, only expedients.

Whereas humane and rightful motives have no part to play except

Ce qu'au teal nous autres sots humains,
Nous appelons faire tapisserie, [i]

expedients are the most active agents in the argumentative mechanism of private interest. Among these expedients, we note two that constantly recur in this debate and constitute the main categories, namely, "good motives" and "harmful results". We see sometimes the spokesman for the commission, sometimes another member of the Assembly, defending every ambiguous provision against hostile shafts of objections by means of the shield of shrewd, wise and good motives. We see every conclusion drawn from the standpoint of right rejected by referring to its harmful or dangerous results. Let us examine for a moment these extensive expedients, these expedients par excellence, these expedients covering everything and a little more.

Interest knows how to denigrate right by presenting a prospect of harmful results due to its effects in the external world, it knows how to whitewash what is wrong by ascribing good motives to it, that is, by retreating into the internal world of its thoughts. Law produces bad results in the external world among bad people wrong springs from good motives in the breast of the honest man who decrees it; but both, the good motives and the harmful results, have in common the peculiar feature that they do not look at a thing in relation to itself, that they do not treat the law as an independent object, but direct attention away from the law either to the external world or to their own mind, that therefore they manoeuvre behind the back of the law.

What are harmful results? Our whole account has shown that they are not to be understood as harmful results for the state, the law, or the accused. Moreover, we should like to make quite clear in a few lines that they do not include harmful results for the safety of citizens.

We have already heard from members of the Assembly themselves that the provision by which "everyone has to prove where he obtained his wood" is a gross and injurious intrusion into the life of the citizen and makes every citizen the victim of vexatious bullying. Another provision declares that everyone in whose keeping stolen wood is found is to be regarded as a thief, although a deputy stated:

"This could be dangerous for many an honest man. Wood stolen by someone nearby might be thrown into his courtyard and the innocent man punished."

Under §66 any citizen who buys a broom that is not issued under monopoly is punishable by hard labour from four weeks to two years. On this, an urban deputy commented as follows:

"This paragraph threatens with hard labour each and every citizen of the Elberfeld, Lennep and Solingen districts."

Finally, supervision and management of the game and forest police have been made not only a right but a duty of the military, although Article 9 of the Criminal Code speaks only of officials who are under the supervision of state prosecutors and can therefore be the object of immediate proceedings on the part of the latter, which is not the case with the military. This is a threat both to the independence of the courts and to the freedom and security of citizens.

Hence, far from there being any talk of possible harmful results for the safety of citizens, their safety itself is treated as a circumstance having harmful results.

What then are harmful results? Harmful is that which is harmful to the interests of the forest owner. If, therefore, the law does not result in the furtherance of his interests, its results are harmful. And in this respect interest is keen-sighted. Whereas previously it did not see what was obvious to the naked eye, it now sees even what is only visible through a microscope. The whole world is a thorn in the side of private interest, a world full of dangers, precisely because it is the world not of a single interest but of many interests. Private interest considers itself the ultimate purpose of the world. Hence if the law does not realise this ultimate purpose, it becomes inexpedient law. Law which is harmful to private interests is therefore law with harmful results.

Are good motives considered to be better than harmful results?

Interest does not think, it calculates. Motives are its figures. Motive is an incentive for abolishing the basis of law, and who can doubt that private interest will have many incentives for doing so? The goodness of a motive lies in the casual flexibility with which it can set aside the objective facts of the case and lull itself and others into the illusion that it is not necessary to keep one's mind on what is good, but that it suffices to have good thoughts while doing a bad thing.

Resuming the thread of our argument, we mention first of all a side line to the noble deeds recommended to the Herr Burgomaster.

"The commission proposed an amended version of §34 along the following lines: if the accused demands that the warden who drew up the charge be summoned, then he must also deposit with the forestry court in advance all the costs thereby incurred."

The state and the court must not do anything gratis in the interests of the accused. They must demand payment in advance which obviously in advance makes difficult any confrontation of the warden making the charge and the accused.

A noble deed! Just one single noble deed! A kingdom for a noble deed! But the only noble deed proposed is that which the Herr Burgomaster has to perform for the benefit of the Herr Forest Owner. The burgomaster is the representative of noble deeds, their humanised expression, and the series of noble deeds is exhausted and ended for ever with the burden which was imposed with melancholy sacrifice on the burgomaster.

If, for the good of the state and the moral benefit of the criminal, the Herr Burgomaster must do more than his duty, should not the forest owners, for the sake of the same good, demand less than their private interest requires?

One might think that the reply to this question had been given in the part of the debate already dealt with, but that is a mistake. We come to the penal provisions.

"A deputy from the knightly estate considered that the forest owner would still be inadequately compensated even if he received (over and above the simple replacement of the value) the amount of the fine imposed, which would often not be obtainable."

An urban deputy remarked:

"The provisions of this paragraph (§15) could have the most serious consequences. The forest owner would receive in this way threefold compensation, namely: the value, then the four-, six-, or eightfold fine, and in addition a special sum as compensation for loss, which will often be assessed quite arbitrarily and will be the result of a fiction rather than of reality. In any case, it seemed necessary to him to direct that the special compensation in question should be claimed at once at the forestry court and awarded in the court's sentence. It was obvious from the nature of the case that proof of loss sustained should be supplied separately and could not be based merely on the warden's report."

Opposing this, the spokesman and another member explained how the additional value mentioned here could arise in various cases indicated by them. The paragraph was adopted.

Crime becomes a lottery in which the forest owner, if he is lucky, can even win a prize. There can be additional value, but the forest owner, who already receives the simple value, can also make a profitable business out of the four-, six-, or eightfold fine. But if, besides the simple value, he receives special compensation for loss, the four-, six-, or eightfold fine is also sheer profit. If a member of the knightly estate thinks the money accruing as a fine is an inadequate guarantee because it would often not be obtainable, it would certainly not become more obtainable by the value and the compensation for loss having to be recovered as well. We shall see presently how this difficulty of receiving money from the accused is overcome.

Could the forest owner have any better insurance for his wood than that instituted here, whereby crime has been turned into a source of income? Like a clever general he converts the attack against him into an infallible opportunity for a profitable victory, since even the additional value of the wood, an economic fantasy, is turned into a substance by theft. The forest owner has to be guaranteed not only his wood, but also his wood business, while the convenient homage he pays to his business manager, the state, consists in not paying for its services It is a remarkable idea to turn the punishment of crime from a victory of the law over attacks on it into a victory of selfishness over attacks on selfishness.

In particular, however, we draw the attention of our readers to the provision of §14, which compels us to abandon the customary idea that leges barbarorum are laws of barbaric peoples. Punishment as such, the restoration of the law, which must certainly be distinguished from restitution of the value and compensation for loss, the restoration of private property, is transformed from a public punishment into a private compensation, the fines going not to the state treasury, but to the private coffers of the forest owner.

True, an urban deputy stated: "This is contrary to the dignity of the state and the principles of correct criminal jurisprudence", but a deputy from the knightly estate appealed to the Assembly's sense of right and fairness to protect the rights of the forest owner, that is to say, he appealed to a special sense of right and fairness.

Barbaric peoples order the payment of a definite monetary compensation (atonement money) to the injured person for a definite crime. The notion of public punishment arose only in opposition to this view, which regards a crime merely as an injury to the individual, but the people and the theory have yet to be discovered which are so complacent as to allow an individual to claim for himself both the private punishment and that imposed by the state.

The Assembly of the Estates must have been led astray by a complete qui pro quo. The law-giving forest owner confused for a moment his two roles, that of legislator and that of forest owner. In one case as a forest owner he made the thief pay him for the wood, and in the other as a legislator he made the thief pay him for the thief's criminal frame of mind, and it quite accidentally happened that in both cases it was the forest owner who was paid. So we are no longer faced by the simple droit du seigneur. [j] We have passed through the era of public law to the era of double patrimonial right, patrimonial right raised to the second power. The patrimonial property owners have taken advantage of the progress of time, which is the refutation of their demands, to usurp not only the private punishment typical of the barbaric world outlook, but also the public punishment typical of the modern world outlook.

Owing to the refunding of the value and in addition a special compensation for loss, the relation between the wood thief and the forest owner has ceased to exist, for the infringement of forest regulations has been completely abolished. Both thief and property owner have returned to their former state in its entirety. The forest owner has suffered by the theft of wood only insofar as the wood has suffered, but not insofar as the law has been violated. Only the sensuously perceptible aspect of the crime affects him, but the criminal nature of the act does not consist in the attack on the wood as a material object, but in the attack on the wood as part of the state system, an attack on the right to property as such, the realisation of a wrongful frame of mind. Has the forest owner any private claims to a law-abiding frame of mind on the part of the thief? And what is the multiplication of the punishment for a repetition of the offence except a punishment for a criminal frame of mind? Can the forest owner present private demands where he has no private claims? Was the forest owner the state, prior to the theft of wood? He was not, but he becomes it after the theft. The wood possesses the remarkable property that as soon as it is stolen it bestows on its owner state qualities which previously he did not possess. But the forest owner can only get back what has been taken from him. If the state is given back to him -- and it is actually given him when he is given not only a private right, but the state's right over the law-breaker -- then he must have been robbed of the state, the state must have been his private property. Therefore the wood thief, like a second St. Christopher, bore the state itself on his back in the form of the stolen wood.

Public punishment is satisfaction for the crime to the reason of the state; it is therefore a right of the state, but it is a right which the state can no more transfer to private persons than one person can hand over his-conscience to another. Every right of the state in relation to the criminal is at the same time a right of the criminal in relation to the state. No interposing of intermediate links can convert the relation of a criminal to the state into a relation between him and private persons. Even if it were desired to allow the state to give up its rights, i.e., to commit suicide, such an abandonment of its obligations on the part of the state would be not merely negligence, but a crime.

It is therefore as impossible for the forest owner to obtain from the state a private right to public punishment as it is for him to have any conceivable right, in and for himself, to impose public punishment. If, in the absence of a rightful claim to do so, I make the criminal act of a third person an independent source of income for myself, do I not thus become his accomplice? Or am I any the less his accomplice because to him falls the punishment and to me the fruit of the crime? The guilt is not attenuated by a private person abusing his status as a legislator to arrogate to himself rights belonging to the state because of a crime committed by a third person. The embezzling of public, state funds is a crime against the state, and is not the money from fines public money belonging to the state?

The wood thief has robbed the forest owner of wood, but the forest owner has made use of the wood thief to purloin the state itself. How literally true this is can be seen from §19, the provisions of which do not stop at imposing a fine but also lay claim to the body and life of the accused. According to §19, the infringer of forest regulations is handed over completely to the forest owner for whom he has to perform forest labour. According to an urban deputy, this "could lead to great inconvenience. He wished merely to call attention to the danger of this procedure in the case of persons of the other sex".

A deputy from the knightly estate gave the following eternally memorable reply:

"It is, indeed, as necessary as it is expedient when discussing a draft law to examine and firmly establish its principles in advance, but once this has been done, there can be no going back to them in discussing each separate paragraph."

After this, the paragraph was adopted without opposition.

Be clever enough to start out from bad principles, and you cannot fail to be rightfully entitled to the bad consequences. You might think, of course, that the worthlessness of the principle would be revealed in the abnormity of its consequences, but if you knew the world you would realise that the clever man takes full advantage of every consequence of what he has once succeeded in carrying through. We are only surprised that the forest owner is not allowed to heat his stove with the wood thieves. Since it is a question not of right, but of the principles which the Provincial Assembly has chosen to take as its starting point, there is not the slightest obstacle in the way of this consequence.

In direct contradiction to the dogma enunciated above, a brief retrospective glance shows us how necessary it would have been to discuss the principles afresh in respect of each paragraph; how, through the voting on paragraphs which were apparently unconnected and far remote from one another, one provision after another was surreptitiously slipped through, and once the first has been put through in this way, then in regard to the subsequent ones even the semblance of the condition under which alone the first could be accepted was discarded.

Rheinische Zeitung, No. 307, Supplement, November 3 1842

When in connection with §4 the question arose of entrusting valuation to the warden making the charge, an urban deputy remarked:

"If the proposal that fines should be paid into the state treasury is not approved, the provision under discussion will be doubly dangerous."

It is clear that the forest warden will not have the same motive for overestimating if his valuation is made for the state and not for his employer. Discussion of this point was skilfully avoided, the impression being given that §14, which awards the money from the fine to the forest owner, could be rejected. §4 was put through. After voting ten paragraphs, the Assembly arrived at §14, by which §4 was given an altered and dangerous meaning. But this connection was totally ignored; §14 was adopted, providing for fines to be paid into the private coffers of the forest owners. The main, indeed the only, reason adduced for this is that it is in the interests of the forest owner, who is not adequately compensated by the replacement of the simple value. But in §15 it has been forgotten that it was voted that the fine should be paid to the forest owner and it is decreed that he should receive, besides the simple value, a special compensation for loss, because it was thought proper that he should have an additional value, as if he had not already received such an addition thanks to the fines flowing into his coffers. It was also pointed out that the fines were not always obtainable from the accused. Thus the impression was given that only in regard to the money was it intended to take the place of the state, but in §19 the mask is discarded and a claim advanced not only for the money, but for the criminal himself, not only for the man's purse, but for himself.

At this point the method of the deception stands out in sharp and undisguised relief, indeed in self-confessed clarity, for there is no longer any hesitation to proclaim it as a principle.

The right to replacement of the simple value and compensation for loss obviously gave the forest owner only a private claim against the wood thief, for the implementation of which the civil courts were available. If the wood thief is unable to pay, the forest owner is in the position of any private person faced with an impecunious debtor, and, of course, that does not give him any right to compulsory labour, corvée services, or in short temporary serfdom of the debtor. What then is the basis of this claim of the forest owner? The fine. As we have seen, by appropriating the fine for himself, the forest owner claims not only his private right, but also the state's right to the wood thief, and so puts himself in the place of the state. In adjudging the fine to himself, however, the forest owner has cleverly concealed that he has adjudged himself the right of punishment itself. Whereas previously he spoke of the fine simply as a sum of money, he now refers to it as a punishment and triumphantly admits that by means of the fine he has converted a public right into his private property. Instead of recoiling in horror before this consequence, which is as criminal as it is revolting, people accept it precisely because it is a consequence. Common sense may maintain that it is contrary to our concept of right, to every kind of right, to hand over one citizen to another as a temporary serf, but shrugging their shoulders, people declare that the principle has been discussed, although there has been neither any principle nor any discussion. In this way, by means of the fine, the forest owner surreptitiously obtains control over the person of the wood thief. Only §19 reveals the double meaning of §14.

Thus we see that §4 should have been impossible because of §14, §14 because of §15, §15 because of §19, and §19 itself is simply impossible and should have made impossible the entire principle of the punishment, precisely because in it all the viciousness of this principle is revealed.

The principle of divide et impere [divide and rule] could not be more adroitly exploited. In considering one paragraph, no attention is paid to the next one, and when the turn of that one comes, the previous one is forgotten. One paragraph has already been discussed, the other has not yet been discussed, so for opposite reasons both of them are raised to a position above all discussion. But the acknowledged principle is "the sense of right and fairness in protecting the interests of the forest owner", which is directly opposed to the sense of right and fairness in protecting the interests of those whose property consists of life, freedom, humanity, and citizenship of the state, who own nothing except themselves.

We have, however, reached a point where the forest owner, in exchange for his piece of wood, receives what was once a human being.

Shylock. Most learned judge! -- A sentence! come, prepare!

Portia. Tarry a little; there is something else. This bond cloth give thee here no jot of blood; The words expressly are "a pound of flesh": Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh; But, in the cutting it, if thou cost shed One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate Unto the state of Venice.

Gratiano. O upright judge! Mark, Jew. O learned judge!

Shylock. Is that the law?

Portia. Thyself shaft see the act.

[W. Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene 1. -- Ed.]

You, too, should see the act!

What is the basis of your claim to make the wood thief into a serf? The fine. We have shown that you have no right to the fine money. Leaving this out of account, what is your basic principle? It is that the interests of the forest owner shall be safeguarded even if this results in destroying the world of law and freedom. You are unshakeably determined that in some way or other the wood thief must compensate you for the loss of your wood. This firm wooden foundation of your argument is so rotten that a single breath of sound common sense is sufficient to shatter it into a thousand fragments.

The state can and must say: I guarantee right against all contingencies. Right alone is immortal in me, and therefore I prove to you the mortality of crime by doing away with it. But the state cannot and must not say: a private interest, a particular existence of property, a wooded plot of land, a tree, a chip of wood (and compared to the state the greatest tree is hardly more than a chip of wood) is guaranteed against all contingencies, is immortal. The state cannot go against the nature of things, it cannot make the finite proof against the conditions of the finite, against accident. Just as your property cannot be guaranteed by the state against all contingencies before a crime, so also a crime cannot convert this uncertain nature of your property into its opposite. Of course, the state will safeguard your private interests insofar as these can be safeguarded by rational laws and rational measures of prevention, but the state cannot concede to your private demand in respect of the criminal any other right than the right of private demands, the protection given by civil jurisdiction. If you cannot obtain any compensation from the criminal in this way owing to his lack of means, the only consequence is that all legal means to secure this compensation have come to an end. The world will not be unhinged on that account, nor will the state forsake the sunlit path of justice, but you will have learned that everything earthly is transitory, which will hardly be a piquant novelty for you in view of your pure religiosity, or appear more astonishing than storms, conflagrations or fevers. If, however, the state wanted to make the criminal your temporary serf, it would be sacrificing the immortality of the law to your finite private interests. It would prove thereby to the criminal the mortality of the law, whereas by punishment it ought to prove to him its immortality.

When, during the reign of King Philip, Antwerp could easily have kept the Spaniards at bay by flooding its region, the butchers' guild would not agree to this because they had fat oxen in the pastures. [6] You demand that the state should abandon its spiritual region in order to avenge your pieces of wood.

Some subsidiary provisions of §16 should also be mentioned. An urban deputy remarked:

"According to existing legislation, eight days' imprisonment is reckoned as equivalent to a fine of 5 talers. There is no sufficient reason for departing from this." (Namely, for making it fourteen days instead of eight.)

The commission proposed the following addition to the same paragraph:

"that in no case a prison sentence should be less than 24 hours".

When someone suggested that this minimum was too great, a deputy from the knightly estate retorted:

"The French forestry law does not have any punishment of less than three days."

In the same breath as it opposed the provision of the French law by making fourteen days' imprisonment instead of eight the equivalent of a fine of 5 talers, the Assembly, out of devotion to the French law, opposed the three days being altered to 24 hours.

The above-mentioned urban deputy remarked further:

"It would be very severe at least to impose fourteen days' imprisonment as an equivalent for a fine of 5 talers for pilfering wood, which after all cannot be regarded as a crime deserving heavy punishment. The result would be that one who has the means to buy his freedom would suffer simple punishment, whereas the punishment of a poor person would be doubled."

A deputy from the knightly estate mentioned that in the neighbourhood of Cleve many wood thefts took place merely in order to secure arrest and prison fare. Does not this deputy from the knightly estate prove precisely what he wants to refute, namely, that people are driven to steal wood by the sheer necessity of saving themselves from starvation and homelessness? Is this terrible need an aggravating circumstance?

The previously mentioned urban deputy said also:

"The cut in prison fare, which has already been condemned, must be regarded as too severe and, especially in the case of penal labour, quite impracticable."

A number of deputies denounced the reduction of food to bread and water as being too severe. But a deputy from a rural community remarked that in the Trier district the food cut had already been introduced and had proved to be very effective.

Why did the worthy speaker find that the beneficial effect in Trier was due precisely to bread and water and not, perhaps, to the intensification of religious sentiment, about which the Assembly was able to speak so much and so movingly? Who could have dreamed at that time that bread and water were the true means for salvation? During certain debates one could believe that the English Holy Parliament [7] had been revived. And now? Instead of prayer and trust and song, we have bread and water, prison and labour in the forest! How prodigal the Assembly is with words in order to procure the Rhinelanders a seat in heaven! How prodigal it is too, with words, in order that a whole class of Rhinelanders should be fed on bread and water and driven with whips to labour in the forest -- an idea which a Dutch planter would hardly dare to entertain in regard to his Negroes. What does all this prove? That it is easy to be holy if one is not willing to be human. That is the way in which the following passage can be understood:

"A member of the Assembly considered the provision in §23 inhuman; nevertheless it was adopted."

Apart from its inhumanity, no information was given about this paragraph.

Our whole account has shown how the Assembly degrades the executive power, the administrative authorities, the life of the accused, the idea of the state, crime itself, and punishment as well, to material means of private interest. It will be found consistent, therefore, that the sentence of the court also is treated as a mere means, and the legal validity of the sentence as a superfluous prolixity.

"In §6 the commission proposed to delete the words 'legal!, valid' since, in cases of judgment by default, their adoption would give the wood thief a ready means of avoiding an increased punishment for a repetition of the offence. Many deputies, however, protested against this, declaring that it was necessary to oppose the commission's proposed deletion of the expression 'legal!, valid sentence' in §6 of the draft. This characterisation applied to sentences in this passage, as also in the paragraph, was certainly not made without juridical consideration. If every first sentence pronounced by the judge sufficed as grounds for imposing a severer punishment, then, of course, the intention of punishing repeated offenders more severely would be more easily and frequently achieved. It had to be considered, however, whether one was willing to sacrifice in this way an essential legal principle to the interests of forest protection stressed by the spokesman: One could not agree that the violation of an indisputable basic principle of judicial procedure could give such a result to a sentence which was still without legal validity. Another urban deputy also called for the rejection of the commission's amendment. He said the amendment violated the provisions of the criminal law by which there could be no increase of punishment until the first punishment had been established by a legally valid sentence. The spokesman for the commission retorted: 'The whole forms an exceptional law, and therefore also an exceptional provision, such as has been proposed is permissible in it.' The commission's proposal to delete the words 'legally valid' was approved."

The sentence exists merely to identify recidivism. The judicial forms seem to the greedy restlessness of private interest to be irksome and superfluous obstacles of a pedantic legal etiquette. The trial is merely a reliable escort for the adversary on his way to prison, a mere preliminary to execution, and if the trial seeks to be more than that it has to be silenced. The anxiety of self-interest spies out, calculates and conjectures most carefully how the adversary could exploit the legal terrain on which, as a necessary evil, he has to be encountered, and the most circumspect countermanoeuvres are undertaken to forestall him. In the unbridled pursuit of private interest you come up against the law itself as an obstacle and you treat it as such. You haggle and bargain with it to secure the abrogation of a basic principle here and there, you try to silence it by the most suppliant references to the right of private interest, you slap it on the shoulder and whisper in its ear: these are exceptions and there are no rules without an exception. You try, by permitting the law as it were terrorism and meticulousness in relation to the enemy, to compensate it for the slippery ease of conscience with which you treat it as a guarantee of the accused and as an independent object. The interest of the law is allowed to speak insofar as it is the law of private interest, but it has to be silent as soon as it comes into conflict with this holy of holiest

The forest owner, who himself punishes, is so consistent that he himself also judges, for he obviously acts as a judge by declaring a sentence legally binding although it has no legal validity. How altogether foolish and impractical an illusion is an impartial judge when the legislator is not impartial! What is the use of a disinterested sentence when the law favours self-interest! The judge can only puritanically formulate the self-interest of the law, only implement it without reservation. Impartiality is then only in the form, not in the content of the sentence. The content has been anticipated by the law. If the trial is nothing but an empty form, then such a trifling formality has no independent value. According to this view, Chinese law would become French law if it was forced into the French procedure, but material law has its own necessary, native form of trial. Just as the rod necessarily figures in Chinese law, and just as torture has a place in the medieval criminal code as a form of trial, so the public, free trial, in accordance with its own nature, necessarily has a public content dictated by freedom and not by private interest. Court trial and the law are no more indifferent to each other than, for instance, the forms of plants are indifferent to the plants themselves, and the forms of animals to their flesh and blood. There must be a single spirit animating the trial and the law, for the trial is only the form of life of the law, the manifestation of its inner life.

The pirates of Tidong [8] break the arms and legs of their prisoners to ensure control over them. To ensure control over wood thieves, the Provincial Assembly has not only broken the arms and legs but has even pierced the heart of the law. We consider its merit in regard to re-establishing some categories of our trial procedure as absolutely nil; on the contrary, we must acknowledge the frankness and consistency with which it gives an unfree form to the unfree content. If private interest, which cannot bear the light of publicity, is introduced materially into our law, let it be given its appropriate form, that of secret procedure so that at least no dangerous, complacent illusions will be evoked and entertained. We consider that at the present moment it is the duty of all Rhinelanders, and especially of Rhenish jurists, to devote their main attention to the content of the law, so that we should not be left in the end with only an empty mask. The form is of no value if it is not the form of the content.

The commission's proposal which we have just examined and the Assembly's vote approving it are the climax to the whole debate, for here the Assembly itself becomes conscious of the conflict between the interest of forest protection and the principles of law, principles endorsed by our own laws. The Assembly therefore put it to the vote whether the principles of law should be sacrificed to the interest of forest protection or whether this interest should be sacrificed to the principles of law, and interest outvoted law. It was even realised that the whole law was an exception to the law, and therefore the conclusion was drawn that every exceptional provision it contained was permissible. The Assembly confined itself to drawing consequences that the legislator had neglected. Wherever the legislator had forgotten that it was a question of an exception to the law, and not of a law, wherever he put forward the legal point of view, our Assembly by its activity intervened with confident tactfulness to correct and supplement him, and to make private interest lay down laws to the law where the law had laid down laws to private interest.

The Provincial Assembly, therefore, completely fulfilled its mission. In accordance with its function, it represented a definite particular interest and treated it as the final goal. That in doing so it trampled the law under foot is a simple consequence of its sash, for interest by its very nature is blind, immoderate, one-sided; in short, it is lawless natural instinct, and can lawlessness lay down laws? Private interest is no more made capable of legislating by being installed on the throne of the legislator than a mute is made capable of speech by being given an enormously long speaking-trumpet.

It is with reluctance that we have followed the course of this tedious and uninspired debate, but we considered it our duty to show by means of an example what is to be expected from an Assembly of the Estates of particular interests if it were ever seriously called upon to make laws.

We repeat once again: our estates have fulfilled their function as such, but far be it from us to desire to justify them on that account. In them, the Rhinelander ought to have been victorious over the estate, the human being ought to have been victorious over the forest owner. They themselves are legally entrusted not only with the representation of particular interests but also with the representation of the interests of the province, and however contradictory these two tasks may be, in case of conflict there should not be a moment's delay in sacrificing representation of particular interest to representation of the interests of the province. The sense of right and legality is the most important provincial characteristic of the Rhinelander. But it goes without saying that a particular interest, caring no more for the province than it does for the Fatherland, has also no concern for local spirit, any more than for the general spirit. In direct contradiction to those writers of fantasy who profess to find in the representation of private interests ideal romanticism, immeasurable depths of feeling, and the most fruitful source of individual and specific forms of morality, such representation on the contrary abolishes all natural and spiritual distinctions by enthroning in their stead the immoral, irrational and soulless abstraction of a particular material object and a particular consciousness which is slavishly subordinated to this object.

Wood remains wood in Siberia as in France; forest owners remain forest owners in Kamchatka as in the Rhine Province. Hence, if wood and its owners as such make laws, these laws will differ from one another only by the place of origin and the language in which they are written. This abject materialism, this sin against the holy spirit of the people and humanity, is an immediate consequence of the doctrine which the Preussische Staats-Zeitung preaches to the legislator, namely, that in connection with the law concerning wood he should think only of wood and forest and should solve each material problem in a non-political way, i.e., without any connection with the whole of the reason and morality of the state.

The savages of Cuba regarded gold as a fetish of the Spaniards. They celebrated a feast in its honour, sang in a circle around it and then threw it into the sea. If the Cuban savages had been present at the sitting of the Rhine Province Assembly, would they not have regarded wood as the Rhinelanders' fetish? But a subsequent sitting would have taught them that the worship of animals is connected with this fetishism, and they would have thrown the hares into the sea in order to save the human beings. [9]

From the MECW

1 Proceedings of the Sixth Rhine Province Assembly. Third Article. Debates on the Law on Thefts of Wood is one of the series of articles by Marx on the proceedings of the Rhine Province Assembly from May 23 to July 25, 1841. Marx touched on the theme of the material interests of the popular masses for the first time, coming out in their defence. Work on this and subsequent articles inspired Marx to study political economy. He wrote about this in the preface to his A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859): "In the year 1842-43, as editor of the Rheinische Zeitung, I first found myself in the embarrassing position of having to discuss what is known as material interests. Debates of the Rhine Province Assembly on the theft of wood and the division of landed property; the official polemic started by Herr von Schaper, then Oberprasident of the Rhine Province, against the Rheinische Zeitung about the condition of the Mosel peasantry, and finally the debates on free trade and protective tariffs caused me in the first instance to turn my attention to economic questions."

Excerpts from the speeches by the deputies to the Assembly are cited from Sitzungs-Protokolle des sechsten Rheinischen Provinzial-Landtags, Koblenz, 1841.

2 The second article written by Marx on the proceedings of the Rhine Province Assembly, banned by the censors, was devoted to the conflict between the Prussian Government and the Catholic Church or the so-called church conflict.

3 Marx refers to the Criminal Code of Karl V (Die peinliche Halsgerichtsordnung Kaiser Karls V. Constitutio criminalis Carolina), approved by the Reichstag in Regensburg in 1532; it was distinguished by its extremely cruel penalties.

4 The reference is to the so-called barbaric laws (leges barbarorum) compiled in the fifth-ninth centuries which were records of the common law of various Germanic tribes (Franks, Frisians, Burgundians, Langobards [Lombards], Anglo-Saxons and others).

5 Dodona -- a town in Epirus, seat of a temple of Zeus. An ancient oak grew near the main entrance to the temple with a spring at its foot; oracles interpreted the will of the gods from the rustling of its leaves.

6 The fact mentioned took place during the siege of Antwerp in 1584-85 by the troops of King Philip II of Spain, who were suppressing the Netherland's revolt against absolutist Spain.

7 The reference is to the Barebone's, nominated, or Little Parliament summoned by Cromwell in July and dissolved in December 1653. It was composed mainly of representatives of the Congregational Churches who couched their criticism in religious mystic terms.

8 Tidong -- a region in Kalimantan (Borneo).

9 An allusion to the debate of the Sixth Rhine Province Assembly on a bill against violations of game regulations, which deprived the peasants of the right to hunt even hares.

a "There are two kinds of corruption," says Montesquieu, "one when the people do not observe the laws, the other when they are corrupted by the laws: an incurable evil because it is in the very remedy itself." Ch. Montesquieu, De l'esprit des lois, Tome premier, livre sixième, chapitre XII.

b A pun on the German word Kasten, meaning both "castes" and "boxes".

c "Little extras."

d A pun on the German words Hühneraugen -- corns, and Augen -- eyes.

e W. Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene 1.

f "When he is afraid, he is terrible."

g "Full powers."

h "Nothing is more terrible than logic carried to absurdity."

i What, at a ball, we simple folk call being wallflowers.

j Right of the (feudal) lord.

The philosophical manifesto of the historical school of law - Karl Marx

The Philosophical Manifesto of the Historical School of Law

Articles by Karl Marx in The Rheinische Zeitung

The Philosophical Manifesto of the Historical School of Law [68]

Written: between April and early August 1842
Source: MECW, Volume 2, p. 203
First Published: (without “The Chapter on Marriage” which was cut by the censor) in the Supplement to the Rheiniche Zeitung No. 221, August 9, 1842; “The Chapter on Marriage” was first published in MECW 1927.


It is commonly held that the historical school is a reaction against the frivolous spirit of the eighteenth century. The currency of this view is in inverse ratio to its truth. In fact, the eighteenth century had only one product, the essential character of which is frivolity, and this sole frivolous product is the historical school.

The historical school has taken the study of sources as its watchword, it has carried its love for sources to such an extreme that it calls on the boatman to ignore the river and row only on its source-head. Hence it will only find it right that we go back to its sources, to Hugo's natural law. Its philosophy is ahead of its development; therefore in its development one will search in vain for philosophy.

According to a fiction current in the eighteenth century, the natural state was considered the true state of human nature. People wanted to see the idea of man through the eyes of the body and created men of nature, Papagenos, the naivety of which idea extended even to covering the skin with feathers. During the last decades of the eighteenth century, it was supposed that peoples in a state of nature possessed primeval wisdom and everywhere one could hear bird-catchers imitating the twittering method of singing of the Iroquois, the Indians, etc., in the belief that by these arts the birds themselves could be enticed into a trap. All these eccentricities were based on the correct idea that the primitive state was a naive Dutch picture of the true state.

The man of nature of the historical school, still without any of the trappings of romantic culture, is Hugo. His textbook of natural law is the Old Testament of the historical school. Herder's view that natural men are poets, and that the sacred books of natural peoples are poetic works, presents no obstacle to us, although Hugo talks the most trivial and sober prose, for just as every century has its own peculiar nature, so too it gives birth to its own peculiar natural men. Hence, although Hugo does not write poetry, he does write fiction and fiction is the poetry of prose corresponding to the prosaic nature of the eighteenth century.

By describing Herr Hugo as the forefather and creator of the historical school, however, we are acting in accord with the latter's own view, as is proved by the gala programme of the most famous historical jurist in honour of Hugo's jubilee. By regarding Herr Hugo as a child of the eighteenth century, we are acting even in the spirit of Herr Hugo himself, as he testifies by his claim that he is a pupil of Kant and that his natural law is an offshoot of Kantian philosophy. We shall begin with this item of his manifesto.

Hugo misinterprets his teacher Kant by supposing that because we cannot know what is true, we consequently allow the untrue, if it exists at all, to pass as fully valid. He is a sceptic as regards the necessary essence of things, so as to he a courtier as regards their accidental appearance. Therefore, he by no means tries to prove that the positive is rational; he tries to prove that the positive is irrational. With self-satisfied zeal he adduces arguments from everywhere to provide additional evidence that no rational necessity is inherent in the positive institutions, e.g., property, the state constitution, marriage, etc., that they are even contrary to reason, and at most allow of idle chatter for and against. One must not in any way blame this method on his accidental individuality; it is rather the method of his principle, it is the frank, naive, reckless method of the historical school. If the positive is supposed to be valid because it is positive, then I have to prove that the positive is not valid because it is rational, and how could I make this more evident than by proving that the unreasonable is positive and the positive unreasonable, that the positive exists not owing to reason, but in spite of reason? If reason were the measure of the positive, the positive would not be the measure of reason. “Though this be madness, yet there is method in't!” [Hamlet Act II, Scene 2] Hugo, therefore, profanes all that the just, moral, political man regards as holy, but he smashes these holy things only to be able to honour them as historical relics; he desecrates them in the eyes of reason in order afterwards to make them honourable in the eyes of history, and at the same time to make the eyes of the historical school honourable.

Hugo's reasoning, like his principle, is positive, i.e., uncritical. He knows no distinctions. Everything existing serves him as an authority, every authority serves him as an argument. Thus, in a single paragraph he quotes Moses and Voltaire, Richardson and Homer, Montaigne and Ammon, Rousseau's Contrat social and Augustine's De civitate Dei. The same levelling procedure is applied to peoples. According to Hugo, the Siamese, who considers it an eternal law of nature that his king should have the mouths of charterers sewn up and the mouth of a clumsy orator slit to the ears, is just as positive as the Englishman, who would consider it a political anomaly if his king were autocratically to impose even a penny tax. The shameless Conci, who runs about naked and at most covers himself with mud, is as positive as the Frenchman who not only dresses, but dresses elegantly. The German who brings up his daughter as the jewel of the family, is not more positive than the Rajput, who kills his daughter to save himself the trouble of feeding her. In short, a rash is just as positive as the skin itself.

In one place, one thing is positive, in another something else; the one is as irrational as the other. Submit yourself to what is positive in your own home.

Hugo, therefore, is the complete sceptic. With him, the eighteenth-century scepticism in regard to the rationality of what exists appears as scepticism in regard to the existence of rationality. He accepts the Enlightenment, he no longer sees anything rational in the positive, but only in order no longer to see anything positive in the rational. He thinks the appearance of reason has been expelled from the positive in order to recognise the positive without the appearance of reason. He thinks the false flowers have been plucked from the chains in order to wear real chains without any flowers.

Hugds relation to the other Enlighteners of the eighteenth century is about the same as that between the dissolution of the French state at the debauched court of the Regent and the dissolution of the French state during the National Assembly. In both cases there is dissolution! In the former case it appears as debauched frivolity, which realises and ridicules the hollow lack of ideas of the existing state of things, but only in order, having got rid of all rational and moral ties, to make sport of the decaying ruins, and then itself to be made sport of by them and dissolved. It is the corruption of the then existing world, which takes pleasure in itself. In the National Assembly, on the other hand, the dissolution appears as the liberation of the new spirit from old form, which were no longer of any value or capable of containing it. It is the new life's feeling of its own power, which shatters what has been shattered and rejects what has been rejected. If, therefore, Kant's philosophy must be rightly regarded as the German theory of the French revolution, Hugo's natural law is the German theory of the French ancien rigime. We find in it once more the whole frivolity of those roues, the base scepticism, which, insolent towards ideas but most subservient towards what is palpably evident, begins to feel clever only where it has killed the spirit of the positive, in order to possess the purely positive as a residue and to feel comfortable in this animal state. Even when Hugo weighs up the force of the arguments, he finds with an unerring sure instinct that what is rational and moral in institutions is doubtful for reason. Only what is animal seems to his reason to be indubitable. But let us listen to our enlightener from the standpoint of the ancien régime! Hugo's views must be heard from Hugo himself. To all his combinations should be added: he himself said.


“The sole juristic distinguishing feature of man is his animal nature.”

The Chapter on Freedom

“A limitation of freedom” (of a rational being) “lies even in the fact that it cannot of its own accord cease to be a rational being, i.e., a being which can and should act rationally.”

“Absence of freedom in no way alters the animal and rational nature of the unfree man or of other men. All the obligations of conscience remain. Slavery is not only physically possible, but also possible from a rational standpoint, and any research which teaches us the contrary must be based on some kind of error. Of course, slavery is not absolutely lawful, i.e., it does not follow from man's animal nature, or from his rational nature, or from his nature as a citizen. But that it can be provisionally lawful, just as much as anything acknowledged by its opponents, is shown by comparison with private law and public law.” The proof is: “From the point of view of animal nature, he that is owned by a rich man, who suffers a loss without him and is heedful of his needs, is obviously more secure against want than the poor man whom his fellow men make use of so long as he has anything for them to use, etc.” “The right to maltreat and cripple servi [slaves] is not essential, and even when it occurs it is not much worse than what the poor have to endure, and, as regards the body, it is not so bad as war, from participation in which slaves as such should everywhere he exempt. Even beauty is more likely to be found in a Circassian slave girl than in a beggar girl.” (Listen to the old man!)

“As regards its rational nature, slavery has the advantage over poverty that the slave-owner, even from well-understood economic considerations, is much more likely to expend something on the education of a slave who shows ability than in the case of a beggar child. Under a constitution the slave is spared very many kinds of oppression. Is the slave more unfortunate than the prisoner of war, whose guards' only concern is that they are temporarily responsible for him, or more unfortunate than the convict labourer over whom the government has placed an overseer?”

“Whether slavery as such is advantageous or disadvantageous for reproduction is a question still in dispute.”

The Chapter on Marriage

“Regarded from the philosophical standpoint of positive law, marriage is already often considered much more essential and much more rational than world appear from a quite free examination”.

It is precisely the satisfaction of the sexual instinct in marriage that suits Herr Hugo. He even draws a wholesome moral from this fact:

“From this, as from countless other circumstances, it should have been clear that to treat the human body as a means to an end is not always immoral, as people, including presumably Kant hinuelf, have incorrectly understood this expression.”

But the sanctification of the sexual instinct by exclusiveness, the bridling of this instinct through laws, the moral beauty which idealises the bidding of nature and makes it an element of spiritual union, the spiritual essence of marriage, that is precisely what Herr Hugo finds dubious in marriage. But before we go further into his frivolous shamelessness, let us listen for a moment to the French philosopher in contrast to the historical German.

“By renouncing for one man alone that mysterious reserve which divine law has implanted in her heart, the woman pledges herself to this man for whose sake she momentarily suspends the modesty which she never loses, for whom alone she lifts the veils which otherwise are her refuge and her adornment. Hence this intimate confidence in her husband, the result of an exclusive relation which can only exist between her and him, and without which she feels herself dishonoured. Hence her husband's thankfulness for the sacrifice and that mixture of desire and respect for a being who, even while sharing his pleasures, seems only to be submitting to him. Hence the source of all that is orderly in our social system”.

So says the liberal philosophical Frenchman Benjamin Constant! And now let us listen to the servile, historical German:

“Much more dubious is the second circumstance, that outside marriage the satisfaction of this instinct is not permitted! Animal nature is against this restriction. Rational nature is still more so, because”... (guess!)... “because a man must be almost omniscient in order to foresee what result it will have, because it is therefore tempting God to pledge oneself to satisfy one of the most powerful natural instincts only when this can take place with one particular persons” “The sense of the beautiful, which is free by its very nature, has to be fettered and what depends on it has to be wholly divorced from it.”

See what kind of schooling our Young Germans have received!

“This institution conflicts with the nature of civil society insofar as ... finally the police undertake an almost insoluble task!”

Clumsy philosophy, which has no such consideration for the police!

“Everything that follows as a consequence from a more precise definition of the marriage law, shows us that marriage, whatever principles are adopted in relation to it, is still a very imperfect institution.”

“This restriction of the sexual instinct to marriage has nevertheless also important advantages, namely, by its means infectious diseases are usually avoided. Marriage saves the government a lot of trouble. Finally, there is also the consideration, which is everywhere so important, that in regard to marriage civil law is the customary one.” “Fichte says: An unmarried man is only half a man. I” (i.e., Hugo) “am extremely sorry, however, to have to declare that such a beautiful utterance, putting me above Christ, Fénelon, Kant and Hume, is a monstrous exaggeration.”

“As regards monogamy and polygamy, this is obviously a matter of man's animal nature”!!

The Chapter on Education

We learn at once that: “The art of education gives rise to no less objection against the juridical relation connected with it” (education in the family) “than the art of loving does against marriage.”

“The difficulty that education may only be carried out within such a relation, however, gives rise to far fewer doubts than is the case with the satisfaction of the sexual instinct if for no other reason than that it is permissible to entrust education by contract to a third person, so that he who feels a very strong urge in this respect can easily satisfy it, only not, of course, necessarily in regard to the particular person whom he would like to engage. It is, however, also irrational that, by virtue of such a relationship, someone to whom no one would entrust a child, may carry on education and exclude others from education.” “Finally, here also there is compulsion partly because the educator is often not permitted by positive law to give up this relationship, and partly because the one to be educated is compelled to let himself be educated by this particular teacher.” “The reality of this relationship depends mostly on the mere accident of birth, which is connected with the father through marriage. This way of originating the relationship is obviously not very rational, if only because it usually opens the way to preference, which itself is already an obstacle to a good education. That it is not even absolutely necessary is evident from the fact that education is given also to children whose parents are already dead.”

The Chapter on Civil Law

§ 107 tells us that the “necessity of civil law in general is imaginary

The Chapter on Constitutional Law

“It is a holy duty of conscience to obey the authorities in whose hands power lies.” “As regards the division of governmental powers, it is true that no particular constitution is absolutely lawful, but every constitution is provisionally lawful, whatever the division of governmental powers.”

Has not Hugo proved that man can cast off even the last fetter of freedom, namely, that of being a rational being?

These few extracts from the philosophical manifesto of the historical school suffice, we think, for pronouncing a historical verdict on this school, instead of unhistorical fantasies, vague figments of the brain, and deliberate fictions; they suffice for deciding whether Hugo's successors are fit to be the legislators of our time.”

At all events, in the course of time and civilisation, this crude genealogical tree of the historical school has been shrouded in mist by the smokescreen of mysticism, fantastically wrought by romanticism, and inoculated with speculation; the many fruits of erudition have been shaken off the tree, dried and deposited with much boasting in the great storehouse of German erudition. Truly, however, little criticism is needed to recognise behind all these fragrant modem phrases the dirty old idea of our enlightener of the ancien régime, and his dissolute frivolity behind all the extravagant unctuosity.

If Hugo says: “Animal nature is the distinctive juristic feature of man”, from which it follows: law is animal law, the educated moderns say, instead of the crude, frank “animal” law, something like “organic” law, for who on hearing the word “organism” thinks at once of the animal organism? If Hugo says that marriage and other moral-legal institutions are irrational, the moderns say that these institutions are indeed not creations of human reason, but are representations of a higher “positive” reason, and so on in regard to all the other articles. Only one conclusion is voiced by all with equal crudity: the right of arbitrary power.

The juridical and historical theories of Haller, Stahl, Leo, and their fellow thinkers should he regarded only as codices rescriptia of Hugo's natural law, which after some operations of critical analysis allow the old original text to be made legible again, as we shall show in more detail at a suitable time.

All the tricks of embellishment are the more in vain as we still have the old manifesto, which, if not intelligent, is nevertheless very easy to understand.


The question of centralisation - Karl Marx

Karl Marx writes on state power and centralisation.

Tuesday, May 17, 1842

Articles by Karl Marx in The Rheinische Zeitung

The Question of Centralisation in itself and with regard to the Supplement to No. 137 of the Rheinische Zeitung Tuesday, May 17, 1842 [57]

Written: After May 17, 1842;
Source: MECW Volume 2, p. 182;
First Published: MECW, 1927.


"Germany and France with regard to the question of centralisation" with the sign ./. ./.

"Whether state power should issue from a single point or whether each province, each locality, should administer itself, and the central government, only acting as the power of the whole, should rule also the individual parts of the state when the state has to be represented externally-this is a question on which views are still very much divided."

The fate which a question of the time has in common with every question justified by its content, and therefore rational, is that the question and not the answer constitutes the main difficulty. True criticism, therefore, analyses the questions and not the answers. just as the solution of an algebraic equation is given once the problem has been put in its simplest and sharpest form, so every question is answered as soon as it has become a real question. World history itself has no other method than that of answering and disposing of old questions by putting new ones. The fiddles of each period are therefore easy to discover. They are questions of the time, and although the intention and insight of a single individual may play an important role in the answers, and a practised eye is needed to separate what belongs to the individual from what belongs to the time, the questions, on the other hand, are the frank, uncompromising voices of the time embracing all individuals; they are its mottoes, they are the supremely practical utterances proclaiming the state of its soul. In each period, therefore, reactionaries are as sure indicators of its spiritual condition as dogs are of the weather. To the public, it looks as if the reactionaries make the questions. Hence the public believes that if some obscurantist or other does not combat a modern trend, if he does not subject something to question, then the question does not exist. The public itself, therefore, regards the reactionaries as the true men of progress.

"Whether state power should issue from a single point", i.e., whether a single point should rule, or whether each province, etc., should administer itself and the central government act only externally as the power of the whole "in relation to the exterior" -the question of centralisation cannot be formulated in this way. The author [Moses Hess] assures us that

"this question, considered from a higher standpoint, falls away of itself as being futile", for "if man is really what he should be by his essence, individual freedom is not separate from general freedom". "If, therefore, one assumes a nation to be made up of righteous people, the question under consideration cannot arise at all." "The central power would Eve in all members, etc., etc." "But just as in general every external law, every positive institution, etc., would be superfluous, so would any central state power, etc. Such a society would be not a state, but the ideal of mankind." "One can make it astonishingly easy to solve the most difficult state problems if one looks at our social life from a high philosophical standpoint. And theoretically, such a solution of the problems is quite correct, indeed the only correct one. But it is a question here not of a theoretical, etc., but of a practical, naturally merely empirical and relative, answer to the question of centralisation, etc."

The author of the article begins with a self-criticism of his question. Seen from a higher standpoint, it does not exist, but at the same time we are told that, seen from this high standpoint, all laws, positive institutions, the central state power and finally the state itself, disappear. The author rightly praises the "astonishing ease" with which this standpoint is able to orient itself, but he is not right in calling such a solution of the problems "quite correct, indeed the only correct one", he is not right in calling this standpoint a "Philosophical" one. Philosophy must seriously protest at being confused with imagination. The fiction of a nation of "righteous" people is as alien to philosophy as the fiction of "praying hyenas" is to nature. The author substitutes "his abstractions" for philosophy. ...


Yet another word on Bruno Bauer und die Akademische Lehrfreiheit

Yet Another Word on 'Bruno Bauer und die Aakadmische Lehrfreiheit' by Dr. O. F. Gruppe by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Yet Another Word on Bruno Bauer und die Aakadmische Lehrfreiheit by Dr. O. F. Gruppe, Berlin, 1842 [74]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 211;
Written: in early September 1842;
First published: in the journal Deutsche fahrbücher für Wissenschaft und Kunst, 5. jg., No.- 273, November 16, 1842 and Signed: K. M.;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

If someone in Germany wanted to write a comedy of dilettantism, Herr Dr. O. F. Gruppe would be an indispensable character in it. Fate has equipped him with that iron tenacity which great men cannot do without, least of all the great men of dilettantism. Even if most of his adventures, like those of Sancho Panza, meet with ambiguous signs of acknowledgment, the monotony of this success is relieved and varied by the con-dc ingenuousness and touching naivety with which Herr Gruppe accepts his laurels. One cannot fail to perceive even a certain magnanimity in the consistency which has taught Herr Gruppe to conclude: Because I have been thrown out of the schoolroom of philology, it will be my mission to be thrown out also from the ball-room of aesthetics and the halls of philosophy. That is a lot, but it is not all. I shall not have played out my role until I have been thrown out of the temple of theology: and Herr Gruppe is conscientious enough to play out his role.

In his latest performance, however, Herr Gruppe has to some extent departed from the height of his standpoint. We do not doubt for a moment that his latest work Bruno Bauer and Academic Freedom of Teaching has been by no means written “in the service of a party or under an influence”. Herr Gruppe felt the need to be thrown oat of theology, but worldly wisdom here came to the aid of his comic instinct. As is fitting for comic characters, Herr Gruppe up to now has worked with most delightful seriousness and most unusual pomposity. Incompleteness, superficiality, and misunderstandings were his fate, but they were not his tendency. The great man acted according to his nature, but he acted for himself and not for others. He was a buffoon by profession: we have no doubt that in his latest performance he is a buffoon by order and for remuneration. The evil intention, the unscrupulous distortion, the base perfidy, will leave the reader, too, in no doubt about it.

It would be contrary to our view of comic characters to waste an extensive critical apparatus on Herr Gruppe. Who wants a critical account of Eulenspiegel? Anecdotes are wanted, and we give an anecdote about Herr Gruppe which is the anecdote of his pamphlet. It concerns Bauer's exposition of St. Matthew 12: 38-42. The kind reader will have to put up with theological matters for an instant, but he will not forget that it is our purpose to deal with Herr Gruppe and not with theology. He will find it only fair that the characteristic features of Bauer's opponents should he brought to the notice of the newspaper public, since Bauer's character and teaching has been made a newspaper myth.

We shall quote the passage in question from St. Matthew in its entirety.

“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

“But he answered and said unto them. An evil and adulterous. generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."

The Protestant theologians were struck by the contradiction that Jesus here rejects miracles, whereas otherwise he performs miracles. They were struck by the even greater contradiction that at the very time when the Lord refuses the demand for a miracle, he promises a miracle, and indeed a great miracle, his three days' stay in the underworld.

Since the Protestant theologians are too ungodly to admit a contradiction of the scripture with their understanding, since they are too sanctimonious to admit a contradiction of their understanding with the scripture, they falsify, distort and twist the clear words and the simple meaning of the scripture. They maintain that Jesus here does not counterpose his teaching and his spiritual personality to the demand for a sign; they maintain that

“he is speaking of the whole of his manifestation, which is more than the manifestation of Solomon and of Jonas, and of which 'in particular' his miracle also were a part”.

By the most thoroughgoing exegesis, Bauer proves to them the absurdity of this explanation. He quotes for them St. Luke [11: 29-30], in which the troublesome passage about the whale and the three days' stay under the earth is missing. It says:

“This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation”;

upon which St. Luke makes the Lord relate how the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonas and the queen of the south came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Bauer shows that the crux is given still more simply in St. Mark [8: 12-13].

“Why,” says Jesus, “cloth this generation seek after a sign? verify I say unto you, There shall no sign he given unto this generation. And he left them."

Bauer comes out against the theologians' false interpretation and arbitrary distortion of the texts, and he refers them to what is actually written by once more summing up the meaning of Jesus' speech in the following words:

Keep away from me, theologian! For, it is written: a greater than Jonas is here, a greater than Solomon that is to say, the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonas, the queen of the south came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. But you have given no credence to my words, to my speech, yet these words are the expression of a personality, whose spiritual compass is infinite, whereas the personalities of Jonas and Solomon were still limited. But so it shall be, only the sign of Jonas shall he given to you, you shall not see any other sign than this my person and its expression, even if infinite, in the word."

After presenting Jesus' speech in this way, Bauer adds:

“Where then in particular are the miracles?"

And Herr Gruppe? Herr Gruppe says:

“'The most unusual thing in this connection is that Bauer in his own baroque manner presents himself as a prophet. On p. 296 we read the emphatic passage: keep away from me, theologian!” etc. (p. 20).

Herr Gruppe is so shameless as to want to make the reader believe that Bauer is speaking about himself, that he is making himself out to he the infinite personality, whereas Bauer is explaining Jesus' speech. Much as we might like to, we cannot excuse this qui pro quo, this Eulenspiegel trick, as due to Herr Gruppe's notorious weakness of intellect and dilettantist ignorance. Ale deception is obvious. It is not merely that Herr Gruppe does not tell the reader what it is all about. We might still think that the dilettante had accidentally opened Bauer's work at p. 296 and in the happy-go-lucky haste of compiling his book did not have time to read the preceding and following statements. But Herr Gruppe suppresses the conclusion of the “emphatic passage”; the conclusion, which is beyond all possible misunderstanding: “But so it shall be, only the sign of Jonas shall be given to you, you shall not see any other sign than this my person and its expression, even if infinite, in the word. Where then 'in particular' are the miracles?"

Herr Gruppe was aware that even the biassed reader, the reader who was so foolish as to look for Bauer not in Bauer's writings, but in the writings of Herr Gruppe, could not fail to he convinced that Bauer was not speaking on his own account, but that he was saying what is written. Disregarding all other absurdities, what else could have been implied by the words “Where then in particular are the miracles?"

We doubt whether German literature has a similar specimen of shamelessness to offer.

Herr Gruppe says in his foreword:

“During my work it has become increasingly evident to me that we are living in an age of rhetoricians and sophists” (p. iv).

If this is meant to he a confession, we must seriously protest against it. Herr Gruppe is neither a rhetorician nor a sophist. Until the period of his pamphlet on Bauer, he was a comical character, he was a rogue in the naive sense; since then he has lost nothing but his naivety, and hence he is now — but let his conscience tell him that. For the rest, Bauer can regard it an acknowledgment of his intellectual superiority that he could be opposed only by men so low in intelligence and so remote from any superiority that he could hit them only by allowing himself to fall to their level.


A Correspondent of The Kölnische Zeitung vs. The Rheinische Zeitung - Karl Marx

Correspondent of The Kölnische Zeitung by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

A Correspondent of The Kölnische Zeitung vs. The Rheinische Zeitung

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 277;
Written: on November 16, 1842;
Published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 321, November 17, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.
Cologne, November 16. The stoutest champion of the “separation of town and countryside” in the Kölnische Zeitung today again raises his rumbling voice, and today it is not the province but the Rheinische Zeitung which he selects for the honour of being the victim of his private intelligence and his private illusions. We believe the good man when he says that the reading of the articles on communal constitution in the Rheinische Zeitung at breakfast numbed his head and hurled him back into “exceedingly confused dreams”. We believe that it is very inconvenient for one who knows Cologne and Bickendorf well to be bustled through the Orient, through Greece, Rome, the German Empire, Gaul and France and even through thoughts which necessarily appear as “sophistries” and “dialectical tricks” to the routine of practical intercourse and narrowly limited outlook. We do not want to judge this cheerful self-complacency amiss for the by no means moderate courtesies which it is capable of bestowing on its own achievements, for it belongs to the character of narrow-mindedness to consider its own limitations as the limitations and the pillars of the world. And as our good and humorous friend adduces no new grounds but supports the view that a ground which has been rejected and refuted at its first presentation can, like an importunate petitioner, achieve its aim in the end if only it has the obstinacy to return again and again; as therefore our friend, true to the principles established in respect of newspaper articles, expects the effect of his well-worded and correctly ordered grounds not from themselves, but from their repetition, nothing else remains for us but finally to banish from the real world a few phantasmagoria that may have come to him in “sleep” and in “confused dreams” and so to contribute as much as is in our power to eliminating the reappearing belief in ghosts, which is known to confuse its dreams of things with the things themselves. Our somnambulist saw in a dream how the peasants were alerted by the Rheinische Zeitung to march with spades and hoes on the towns because the latter harboured tyrannical intentions.
In his intervals of clear consciousness our somnambulist will have to agree with himself that the “towns” do not lie in the Kölnische Zeitung, that we have even rejected its arbitrary interpretation of the towns’ intentions, and that finally a work which even goes beyond the range of vision of “one who knows Cologne and Bickendorf well” is still less able to provoke the peasant to a demonstration with “spades and hoes"-which probably play their role as a sample of “unprejudiced views” drawn “from practical life and intercourse”. On awakening, our somnambulist will further find it beyond all doubt that to put right an alleged “correspondent” of the Kölnische Zeitung is no “distortion of the truth”, that provoking “dissatisfaction” with the Kölnische Zeitung and taking sides against its contemplative correspondent is no ,,arousing of dissatisfaction and frenzy of parties” against the state; or can it be that not only the “towns” lie in the Kölnische Zeitung, but the state itself is embodied in it and its contributors! Our friend will then also grasp that one may have the “boundless arrogance” to irritate the literary productions of the sign — — without “challenging by indecent sallies” “the highest state authorities”, whom he makes responsible not only for his opinions but even for his arguments and who would like to disavow this self-styled ally.
With the present level of German science it will be more than an upheaval if the hollow theories which strain to conceive themselves as the result of world history, and the general range of vision of today’s doctrine were to experience the bitter fate of finding their critical yardstick in the “unprejudiced” views, drawn from civil intercourse and practical life, of “one who knows Cologne and Bickendorf well”. This gentleman will find it understandable that pending the epoch of this Reformation and of the conjectural literary magnitude of the sign-.-, we consider his present isolated endeavours too fragmentary, and, with his permission, too insignificant in every respect to nourish and cultivate the dream of their importance by any further assessment of them.


Announcement - Karl Marx

Announcement by Karl Marx

Announcement [147]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p.376
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 77, March 18, 1843

The undersigned declares that, owing to the present conditions of censorship, he has retired as from today from the editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung.

Cologne, March 17, 1843

Dr. Marx


Announcement by the Editors of the Rheinische Zeitung of their Reply to Oberpräsident Von Schaper

Announcement by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Announcement by the Editors of the Rheinische Zeitung of their Reply to Oberpräsident Von Schaper [127]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 331
Written: on January 2, 1843
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 3, January 3, 1843.
Cologne, January 2. Since the “corrections” made by Herr Oberpräsident von Schaper and the explanations requested of the Rheinische Zeitung have been widely aired in the press, we take this occasion to state that our reply, which has been delayed only because a number of investigations have become necessary, will follow in the coming week.


Cabinet Order on the Daily Press - Karl Marx

Cabinet Order on the Daily Press by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Cabinet Order on the Daily Press [103]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p280;
Written: in mid-November 1842;
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 320, November 16, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.
Cologne, November 15. Today’s Kölnische Zeitung carries the following royal Cabinet Order, which was sent to all provincial ministries in the course of last month:
“I have already frequently pointed out that the tendency of the bad part of the daily press to mislead public opinion on matters of general concern by disseminating untruths or distorted facts should be countered by contrasting every such false report at once with the truth through a correction of the facts published in the same newspapers that were guilty of the falsifications. It does not suffice to leave counteraction against the evil tendencies of a daily newspaper, which have a pernicious effect on the public mind, to other papers that are imbued with a better spirit and to expect it only from them. The poison of corruption must be rendered harmless in the very place where it has been dispensed; that is not only the duty of the authorities to the circle of readers to whom the poison has been proffered, it is at the same time the most effective means for destroying tendencies to deception and lying as they manifest themselves, by compelling the editors themselves to publish the judgment passed on them. I have therefore noted with displeasure that little or no use has been made so far of this means, which is as legitimate as it is essential, for curbing manifestations of degeneration on the part of the press.. Inasmuch as the present laws may not have sufficiently established the obligation of our domestic newspapers to publish without demur, and, moreover, without any comments or introductory remarks, all factual corrections officially sent them, I expect from the state ministry immediate proposals for the necessary supplementary legislation. If, however, they are already adequate for the purpose, it is My will that they should be vigorously implemented by My magistrates for the protection of law and truth, and I recommend this, not only to the ministries themselves, but in particular to the immediate attention of the Oberpräsidents, to whom the state ministry shall give directives to this end.
“The more deeply I have it at heart that the noble, loyal and commendably frank frame of mind, wherever it may be displayed, shall not find its freedom of speech curtailed, and that truth shall be as little as possible restricted in the sphere of public discussion, the more ruthlessly must the spirit that employs the weapons of lying and n-iisleading be held under restraint so that freedom of speech cannot be cheated of its fruits and its blessings by being misused.
“Sanssouci, October 14, 1842 (signed) Frederick William
We hasten the more urgently to communicate the above royal Cabinet Order to our readers, because we see in it a guarantee for the Prussian press. Every loyal newspaper can only regard it as significant support on the part of the government if untruths or distorted facts, the publication of which cannot always be avoided even with the greatest circumspection on the part of the editorial board, are corrected from an authoritative source. By these official explanations the government not only guarantees a certain historical correctness of the factual content of the daily press, but also, what is still more important, recognises the great significance of the press by positive participation, which will restrict within ever narrower bounds negative participation by prohibition, suppression and censorship. At the same time, the royal Cabinet Order presupposes a certain independence of the daily press, for if without such independence tendencies to deception, lying and pernicious tendencies are not likely to spring up and establish themselves in the daily press, still less is a noble, loyal and commendably frank frame of mind. This royal presupposition of a certain independence of the daily press should be welcomed by Prussian newspapers as the most excellent guarantee of this independence and as an unambiguous expression of the royal will.


Communal Reform and the Kölnische Zeitung - Karl Marx

Communal Reform and the Kölnische Zeitung

Karl Marx

Communal Reform and the Kölnische Zeitung [100]

Source: MECW, Volume 1, p. 266;
Written: on November 7-12, 1842;
Published: in the Rheinische Zeitung Nos. 312, 316 and 317, November 8, 12 and 13, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 312, November 8, 1842

Cologne, November 7. We have not considered it appropriate when discussing the question of the Communal Reform to take into account what has appeared on the subject in the provincial papers, and in particular in the Kölnische Zeitung. We shall easily justify ourselves if we show by an example the approximate strength of the argument which has been advanced in defence of the separation of the urban and rural communities.

The Supplement to No. 309 of the Kölnische Zeitung adduces under the heading “Summing Up” the authorities for the affirmative and negative answers to the question of separation. Among other curiosities we find as grounds against the separation “some newspaper articles”, and in favour of the separation “likewise newspaper articles”, just as newspaper articles have “likewise” appeared in favour of censorship. In any case we must mention with the greatest praise a devotion which considers an article a ground for the mere reason that it is a newspaper article as indeed a very uncritical, but despite its comical tone, rare recognition of the periodical press. Credit for an equally praiseworthy ingenuousness by no means attaches to the juxtaposition of two other authorities for and against the separation of the urban and rural communities. Said to have been against this separation is the Provincial Assembly of 1833, which moreover was prevailed upon by a single energetic personality, and accordingly therefore only this personality was against the separation; in favour of the separation was the whole Provincial Assembly of 1827 with the exception of one vote; but, honourable Summing Up, if the 1833 Provincial Assembly is only worth as much as the single personality which it followed, then what rules out the possibility that the 1827 Provincial Assembly is worth less than the single vote which it opposed; and yet the Provincial Assembly, which is so hesitating, so unable to depend on itself, still remains an authority! If further the petitions from Cologne, Aachen and Koblenz are adduced as petitions for the separation of the urban and rural communities because these petitions are limited to Cologne, Aachen and Koblenz, in the best of cases this can prove only the limitation of these petitions, but by no means their reasonableness; besides, having in their initial haste grasped so little the generality of the question and considered the interest of the whole province, these cities have just as little conceived their particular reform in any kind of opposition to the general reform. They made a petition only for themselves, but by no means against the province. We admired immediately at the beginning the comical ingenuousness of the “Summing Up”, and although it does not preserve this quality throughout but, as we have just heard, could not but occasionally lapse into small intentional subtleties, this comicality and ingenuousness nevertheless victoriously reasserts itself in the end. Said to be in favour of the separation of the city and the countryside are also

“the remaining cities of the Rhine Province, whose petitions are unknown as far as their content is concerned, but which in making their requests could presumably only speak for themselves, since no single locality can be the organ of a whole province”.

So not only a newspaper article in the abstract is an authority, but even the decided mediocrity of a “presumably only” can puzzle out the unknown content of the remaining cities' petitions. That this prophet who is called “presumably only” is a false prophet is proved by the petition of the city of Trier. At the end of the “Summing Up” emerges the inner ground which is the real ground for a separation of the city and the countryside. What is wanted is not only to separate the city from the countryside, but to separate the individual cities from one another and from the province, to separate the province from its own intelligence. A single locality could not be the organ of a whole province? Correct. The single locality must not be the whole organ, but it must be a part of this organ, and hence must be for its part the organ of the whole and general interest. And does not such a view remove all possibility of even a single city communal system? If a single locality cannot be the organ of the whole province, can a single citizen be the organ of a whole city? This citizen, as follows from the argument advanced above, can only request something for himself, and not for the whole city, and since the whole city consists only of single citizens, nothing at all can be requested for the city as a whole. The “Summing Up” ends with what the separation of the city and the countryside must in general end with if it is to be consistent, with making not only the city, not only the province, but even the state itself impossible. Once the particular is to be asserted in hostile opposition to the general, in the end all political and social institutions must be made to disappear before the ultimate indivisible particular, the single individual in his physical appetites and aims. The troops that the “Summing Up” puts into the field on its side resemble, with few exceptions, Falstaff's recruits: all they are good for is to fill the a breach with the corpses of thoughts [Paraphrase of Falstaff's words from Shakespeare's King Henry IV, Part One, Act IV, Scene 2]. Enough of the grave-digger business!

Finally, a well-intended recollection of the Kölnische Zeitung. For the first time a sense of modesty and mistrust of its own strength has crept into the leading article, although it is otherwise accustomed to behave as if it were the criterion de omnibus rebus et de quibusdam aliis. [of all things and certain others] Not for the first time, but indeed for all time can Kölnische Zeitung become convinced on this occasion of the untenability of its editorial principle. Since all unpaid contributors are welcome, a few fingers with an itch to write and set in motion by a mediocre brain suffice to falsify the expression of public opinion. When one casts a glance at the columns of the Kölnische Zeitung, one would think the view favouring the separation of the city and the countryside is predominant in the Rhine Province. But if one casts a glance at the Rhine Province, one would think the Rhine Province is not predominant in the Kölnische Zeitung.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 316, November 12, 1842

Cologne, November 11. Our appeal to the Rhineland “provincial papers” regarding the communal reform question did not fail to produce results. The Kölnische Zeitung found itself moved to dip its issue of Nov. 11 into a false bright instead of the usual twilight colour and to recognise, though with unmistakable ill humour, hesitant reservations, suspicious side-glances, and deliberate ambiguity, the equal rights of town and countryside. Today once again we seize the opportunity to make the Kölnische Zeitung conscious of its state of mind and will not abandon the pleasant, though fantastic hope that it will renounce its point of view as soon as it has gained consciousness of its point of view.

“Incidentally,” the Kölnische Zeitung concludes its article today, “as regards the communal system question, which has such a high claim to the general interest, the editorial board of the Kölnische Zeitung considers it appropriate to state that in this respect also it pays allegiance to the principle of equality of rights but considers it its duty to give as free scope as possible to discussion of the forms in which an improvement of the present situation, which is thoroughly unfree and acknowledged by all parties to be no longer tolerable, is to be effected.”

The Kölnische Zeitung has so far not carried a single article about the forms in which the communal reform is to be effected while maintaining the principle of equality of rights. It was therefore impossible for us to fight a non-existent opponent. Or does the Kölnische Zeitung consider that the “separation of town and countryside”, a separation which a number of its articles suggested should be simulated legally by means of a separate communal system, is likewise one of the forms in which the principle of equality of rights is crystallised? Does it hold that the established inequality of rights is a form of equality of rights? The struggle in the Kölnische Zeitung centred not on the different forms of one and the same principle, but rather on the difference of the principle itself, and, indeed, in this struggle, if we consider the articles of the Kölnische Zeitung, according to that paper's own suggestion, as mere articles, i.e., according to their numerical mass, most of the troops belonged to the opponents of equality. We said to the Kölnische Zeitung. Be honest, do not falsify the expression of public opinion, fulfil the calling of a Rhineland paper, which is to represent the spirit of the Rhineland, disregard personal considerations, in a vital question for the province close your columns to all individual opinions which have the defect of wishing to assert a separate attitude in opposition to the will of the people. And how does the Kölnische Zeitung reply!

It finds it “appropriate” to pay allegiance to the principle of equality of rights in relation to the communal reform, a “finding appropriate” that will be considered very clever in respect of the Rhine Province, and not precisely as a proof of the inventiveness of the Kölnische Zeitung. Alongside this moderate allegiance to the spirit of the province, however, the Kölnische Zeitung considers it its “duty” to give as free scope as possible to discussion of the “forms” of the communal reform, among which forms it also includes the forms of “inequality”. This “devotion to duty” will be found appropriate from the standpoint of its private interests and private considerations, however inappropriate this standpoint itself is. To cut off all hiding places for the Kölnische Zeitung, which creeps into concealment behind the difference between form and content, we pose the categorical question whether it declares an inequality of town and countryside legally established by means of a separate communal system to be a “form” of equality of rights and believes it can continue to keep its columns open to pretences of such equality as a mere question of form. Tomorrow we shall return to the article of the Kölnische Zeitung in question.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 317, November 13, 1842

Cologne, November 12. The article in No. 314 of the Rheinische Zeitung on the question of the communal system, which has such a high claim to the general interest a is nothing but an avant-propos to the detailed discussion of communal equality for town and country which is being carried on in our supplement. The Kölnische Zeitung introduces its reference to this, that is, to the matter itself, with “Incidentally”, just as the worker at the craftsmen's banquet begins his speech with “In general”, but this must not at all diminish the merits of the Kölnische Zeitung in respect of originality, since we recognise it rather as a habit of the paper, a habit which is just as original as praiseworthy, that in dealing with a question of general interest it “incidentally” touches also on the “matter itself”. This method of treatment, which is somewhat intentional, possesses a wonderful elasticity which makes the most curious misunderstandings possible and for a third party even probable as the proper understanding of the matter.

So the Kölnische Zeitung begins its article in question of November 4c with the anecdote that a “neighbouring paper”, namely, the Rheinische Zeitung, has called on “all Rhine Province papers to join forces against the threat, allegedly coming from Berlin, to the equality before the law of urban and rural communities” and issued the common slogan: “Equality for all, for townspeople and for peasants.” The Kölnische Zeitung declares itself prepared to take up this slogan

“insofar as by equality is understood not the foolish dream of the Communists, but, as we presume, the only possible equality, equality of rights”.

This cunning side-glance at the communist dreams would have been just as impossible as the magnanimous presumption of our non-communist tendency would have been unnecessary had the Kdlnische Zeitung begun its report with the matter itself, with the fact that the Rheinische Zeitung wants an equal communal system for town and countryside and even designates this equality expressly in the article quoted as “equality of rights of urban and rural communities”. But if the Kolnische Zeitung were to see this equality itself as communist foolishness, then it would simply have to be referred to its own credo introduced by the Catonic “Caeterum”. [Cato]

The ridiculous communist side-cut is not enough. The Kölnische Zeitung considers it necessary to associate another confession of faith with that of equality of rights.

“But,” it says, “we must admit that we cannot at all share the concern that the wise government of Frederick William IV is contemplating an infringement of equality of rights in the Rhineland. Before we believe this we must be presented with facts and not with assertions, which, we hope, are without any foundation.”

With this clumsy and perfidious insinuation imputing to us fears of and the spreading of rumours about an intentional infringement of equality of rights in the Rhineland by the wise government of Frederick William IV, the Kölnische Zeitung flees from the field of argument to the field of suspicion and denunciation and convinces us anew that the impotence of understanding seeks as a last resort to assert itself through impotence of character, through the vain recklessness of demoralisation. What is the insinuation of the Kölnische Zeitung based on? Basing ourselves on information from Berlin, we reported that the Rhineland deputies to the Central Commissions had before them a draft of a communal system which did not recognise the equality of town and countryside; we recommended that in this case the Rhine press should adopt the attitude and energy of truth.

If the government submits to the opinion of the Rhineland deputies a communal system which separates town and countryside, it follows from this simple fact that the government, far from having any concealed intention, rather entertains the complete conviction that by such a separation it will not infringe equality of rights in the Rhine Province. If the Rhine press, the organ of the Rhine Province, is convinced that the province is of the opposite view, it follows just as simply that it must prove that a common communal system for town and countryside is a necessary consequence of equality of rights in the Rhine Province; or is it not even a duty of the press to the government not only to express the popular conviction without consideration for the exceptional opinion of single individuals, but also to prove the reasonable content of this conviction?

Finally, it is more than indecent on the part of the Kölnische Zeitung to bring the All-high person of His Majesty into controversies of this kind. It needs really a minimum of intelligence and a maximum of irresponsibility to make any political discussion impossible in a purely monarchical state by the simple and easy manoeuvre of disregarding the true content of the discussion, bringing in a personal relationship to the monarch and thereby turning every objective debate into a debate on a question of confidence. We expressed the hope that all Rhine Province papers would represent the view of the Rhine Province, because and insofar as we entertain the unshakeable conviction that His Majesty would not refuse to recognise the great significance of the general view of the Rhine Province, even if our Berlin information is grounded — which we have no occasion to doubt — even if the Rhine deputies approve a separation of town and countryside, of which there can be all the less doubt since just recently the articles of the Kölnische Zeitung proved that not all Rhinelanders are capable of understanding and sharing the conviction of the vastly overwhelming majority.

The Rheinische Zeitung advanced the slogan of equality of rights for town and countryside, and the Kölnische Zeitung accepted this slogan with the cautious condition that by “equality of rights” we understand equality of rights and no communist dream. The Rheinische Zeitung accompanied the Berlin information with an appeal to the feelings of the Rhine Province papers, and the Kölnische Zeitung denounces it for suspicions concerning His Majesty's intentions. The Rheinische Zeitung called on the various editorial boards of our provincial papers to sacrifice individual considerations and preconceived opinions to the Fatherland, and the Kölnische Zeitung comes out with a flat, entirely unexplained recognition of equality of rights for town and countryside, a recognition whose formal merit it itself nullifies, by declaring the “separation” of town and countryside to be a “form” of equality of rights. Is it possible to write in a more illogical, unprincipled and wretched manner? Is it possible to proclaim more clearly freedom with the lips and unfreedom with the heart? But the Kölnische Zeitung knows the Shakespeare saying:

“... to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand”, [Hamlet]

and the Kölnische Zeitung did not succumb to the temptation to be one out of ten thousand.

Finally, a word about the “separation of town and countryside”. Even apart from general grounds, the law can only be the ideal, self-conscious image of reality, the theoretical expression, made independent, of the practical vital forces. In the Rhine Province town and countryside are not separated in reality. Therefore the law cannot decree this separation without decreeing its own nullity.


In Connection with the article "Failures of the Liberal Opposition in Hanover" - Karl Marx

In Connection with the article "Failures of the Liberal Opposition in Hanover"

Karl Marx

In Connection with the article
"Failures of the Liberal Opposition in Hanover"
Editorial Note [97]

Written: about November 8, 1842;
Source: MECW Volume 1, p 264;
First published: in the Supplement to the Rheinische Zeitung No. 312, November 8, 1842.

Since the expression "liberal opposition" in the title originated not with the author of the article in question, but with the editorial board, the latter takes this occasion to add something to explain this designation.

Two reasons are put forward against this expression. As regards its form, it is said that the opposition is not liberal, because it is conservative, because it aims at the continuance of an existing legal situation. According to this dialectic, the July revolution was a conservative and therefore illiberal revolution, for it aimed first of all at preserving the Charte. Nevertheless, liberalism claimed the July revolution as its own. Liberalism,. of course, is conservative, it conserves freedom and, in the face of the assaults of crude, material force, even the stunted status quo forms of freedom. It should be added that, if such an abstraction wishes to be consistent, from its own point of view the opposition of a legal situation dating from the year 1833 must be regarded as progressive and liberal compared with a reaction which is forcing the year 33 back to the year 19.

As regards the content, it is further contended that the content of the opposition, the fundamental state law of 1833, is not a content of freedom. Granted! However little the fundamental state law of 1833 is an embodiment of freedom when measured by the idea of freedom, it is very much an embodiment of freedom when measured by the existence of the fundamental state law of 1819. Altogether, it is not a question primarily of the particular content of this law; it is a question of opposing illegal usurpation in favour of legal content.

The editorial board was the more entitled to call the Hanover opposition liberal since almost all German assemblies acclaimed it as a liberal opposition, as an opposition of legal freedom. Whether it deserves this predicate when looked at from the judgment seat of criticism, whether it has progressed beyond the mere opinion and pretension of being liberal to real liberalism, to examine this was precisely the task of the article in question.

Incidentally, we point out that in our view true liberalism in Hanover in the future has neither to champion the fundamental state law of 1833 nor to hark back to the law of 1819, but must strive for a completely new form of state corresponding to a more profound, more thoroughly educated and freer popular consciousness.

The editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung


Justification of the Correspondent from the Mosel - Karl Marx

Justification of the Correspondent from the Mosel by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Justification of the Correspondent from the Mosel [128]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 332
Written: between January 1 and 20, 1843
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung Nos. 15, 17, 18, 19 and 20, January 15, 17, 18, 19 and 20, 1843

Rheinische Zeitung No. 15, January 15, 1843

From the Mosel, January. Nos. 346 and 348 of the Rheinische Zeitung contain two articles of mine, one of which deals with the distress due to lack of firewood in the Mosel region, and the other the special sympathy of the Mosel population for the royal Cabinet Order of December 24, 1841, and for the resulting greater freedom of the press. The latter article is written in coarse, and, if you like, even rude tones. Anyone who often has to hear directly the ruthless voice of want among the surrounding population easily loses the aesthetic tact by which his thoughts can be expressed in the most elegant and modest images. He may perhaps even consider it his political duty for a time to speak in public in the popular language of distress which in his native land he had no chance of forgetting. If, however, it is a question of proving that he speaks the truth, this can hardly mean proving literally every word, for in that case every summary would be untrue and, in general, it would be impossible to reproduce the meaning of a speech without repeating it word for word. Thus, for example, if it was said: “the cry of distress of the vine-growers was regarded as an insolent shrieking”, then to be fair one could demand only that this expressed an approximately correct equation. That is to say, it should be proved that there is an object which to a certain extent measures up to the summary description “insolent shrieking”, and makes this a not inappropriate description. If such a proof is given, the question is no longer one of truth but only of precision of language, and it would be hard to give more than a problematic judgment on extremely subtle nuances of linguistic expression.
The occasion for the above remarks of mine was provided by two rescripts of Oberpräsident von Schaper in No. 352 of the Rheinische Zeitung, dated “Koblenz, December 15”, in which a number of questions are put to me concerning my two articles mentioned above. The delay in the publication of my reply is due primarily to the content of the questions themselves, since a newspaper correspondent, in transmitting with the utmost conscientiousness the voice of the people as he has heard it, is not at all obliged to be prepared to give an exhaustive and motivated account of the occasions and sources of his report. Apart from the fact that such work would require much time and resources, the newspaper correspondent can only consider himself as a small part of a complicated body, in which he freely chooses his particular function. While one is perhaps more concerned to depict his impression of the distressed state of the people obtained directly from their statements, another, who is a historian, will discuss the history of the situation which has arisen; the man of feeling will describe the distress itself; the economist will examine the means required for its abolition, this itself being one problem which can be treated from different aspects: sometimes more on a local scale, sometimes more in relation to the state as a whole, etc.
Thus, with a lively press movement, the whole truth will be revealed, for if the whole appears at first only as the emergence of a number of different, individual points of view which — sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally — develop side by side, in the end, however, this work of the press will have prepared for one of its participants the material out of which he will create a single whole. Thus, gradually, by means of a division of labour, the press arrives at the whole truth, not by one person doing everything, but by many doing a little.
Another reason for the. delay in my reply is that the editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung required further particulars after my first report. Similarly, after the second and third reports, it asked for additional data, and also the present concluding report. Finally, the editorial board, on the one hand, demanded that I myself indicate my sources, and, on the other hand, held up the publication of my reports until it had itself, by some other means, received confirmation of my data. [While confirming the above statements, we point out at the same time that the various mutually explanatory letters made it necessary for us to present a combined account.-Editorial Board of the Rheinische Zeitung.]
Further, my reply appears anonymously. In this respect I am guided by the conviction that anonymity is an essential feature of the newspaper press, since it transforms the newspaper from an assemblage of many individual opinions into the organ of one mind. The name of the author would separate one article from another as definitely as the body separates one person from another, and would thus completely suppress the function of being only a complementary part. Finally, anonymity ensures greater impartiality and freedom, not only of the author, but also of the public, since the latter sees not who is speaking, but what he is saying. Free from an empirical view of the author as a person, the public judges him solely by his intellectual personality.
Since I do not mention my own name, in all my detailed reports I shall give the names of officials and communities only when quoting printed documents that are available in bookshops, or when mentioning names will harm no one. The press is obliged to reveal and denounce circumstances, but I am convinced that it should not denounce individuals, unless there is no other way of preventing a public evil or unless publicity already prevails throughout political life so that the German concept of denunciation no longer exists.
In concluding these introductory remarks I think I am entitled to express the hope that the Herr Oberpräsident, after acquainting himself with my whole exposition, will be convinced of the purity of my intentions and will attribute even possible mistakes to an incorrect view of things, and not to an evil disposition. My exposition itself should show whether I have deserved the serious accusation of slander and of intent to excite dissatisfaction and discontent, even in the present case of continued anonymity, accusations which are the more painful coming from a man who is regarded with particularly great respect and affection in the Rhine Province.
To facilitate a survey of my reply, I have set it out under the following headings:
A. The question of wood distribution.
B. The attitude of the Mosel region to the Cabinet Order of December 24, 1841, and to the resulting greater freedom of the press.
C. The cankers of the Mosel region.
D. The vampires of the Mosel region.
E. Proposals for a remedy.

A. The Question of Wood Distribution

In my article “From the Mosel, December 12” in No. 348 of the Rheinische Zeitung, I referred to the following circumstances:
“The community of several thousand souls to which I belong is the owner of most beautiful wooded areas, but I cannot recollect an occasion when members of the community derived direct advantage from their property by sharing in the distribution of wood”.
On this, the Herr Oberpräsident comments:
“Such procedure, which does not accord with legal provisions, can only be motivated by quite exceptional circumstances”,
and at the same time he demands, in order to verify the facts of the case, that I name the community.
I frankly admit: On the one hand, I believe that a procedure which does not accord with the law, and therefore contradicts it, can hardly be motivated by circumstances, but must always remain illegal; on the other hand, I cannot find that the procedure described by me is illegal.
The instruction (dated: “Koblenz, August 31, 1839") on the management of wooded areas belonging to communities and institutions in the Koblenz and Trier administrative districts, issued on the basis of the law of December 24, 1816, and the royal Cabinet Order of August 18, 1835, and published in the Supplement to No. 62 of the official organ of the royal administration in Koblenz — this instruction states literally the following in § 37:
“In regard to the utilisation of material in the wooded areas, as a rule as much must he sold as is required to cover forest costs (taxes and administrative expenses).
“For the rest, it depends on the decision of the communities themselves whether the material is sold by auction to cover other needs of the community, or whether it is distributed among the members of the community, wholly or in part, gratis or for a definite fee. However, as a rule, firewood and material for making household articles are distributed in natura, but building timber, if it is not used for communal buildings or to assist individual members of the community in cases of damage by fire, etc., is sold by auction”.
This instruction, issued by one of the predecessors of the Herr Oberpräsident of the Rhine Province, seems to me to prove that the distribution of firewood among the members of the community is neither made obligatory by law nor prohibited by it, but is only a question of expediency. Hence in the article in question also, I discussed only the expediency of the procedure. Accordingly, the basis for the Herr Oberpräsident’s demand to know the name of the community disappears, since it is no longer a question of investigating the administration of a particular community, but only of a modification to an instruction. However, I do not object to the editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung, in the event of a special demand from the Herr Oberpräsident, being empowered to name the community in which, to the best of my recollection, there has been no wood distribution. Such information would not be a denunciation of the local authorities but could only promote the welfare of the community.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 17, January 17, 1843

B. The Attitude of the Mosel Region to the Cabinet Order of December 24, 1841, and to the Resulting Greater Freedom of the PMs

In regard to my article from Bernkastel dated December 10, in No. 346 of the Rheinische Zeitung, where I asserted that the Mosel population, in view of its particularly difficult situation, welcomed with exceptional enthusiasm the greater freedom of the press afforded by the royal Cabinet Order of December 24 last year, the Herr Oberpräsident makes the following comment:
“If this article has any meaning, it can only be that hitherto the Mosel population had been forbidden to discuss publicly and frankly its state of distress, the causes of it and the means to remedy it. I doubt that this is so, for in view of the efforts of the authorities to find a remedy for the admittedly distressed state of the vine-growers, nothing could be more desired by the authorities than a discussion, as public and frank as possible, of the conditions prevailing there”. “I should, therefore, be greatly obliged if the author of the above article would be so good as to point out specially the cases where, even before the appearance of the royal Cabinet Order of December 24 last year, the authorities prevented a frank, public discussion of the distressed state of the inhabitants of the Mosel region”.
The Herr Oberpräsident further remarks:
“In addition, I think that I can in advance certainly describe as untrue the assertion in the above-mentioned article that the cry of distress of the vine-growers was for a long time regarded in higher quarters as an insolent shrieking”.
My reply to these questions will take the following course. I shall try to prove:
1) that, first of all, quite apart from the powers of the press prior to the royal Cabinet Order of December 24, 1841, the need for a free press necessarily arises from the specific character of the state of distress in the Mosel region;
2) that even if there were no special obstacles to a “frank and public discussion” before the appearance of the above-mentioned Cabinet Order, my assertion would he no less true, and the particular sympathy of the Mosel population for the royal Cabinet Order and the resulting greater freedom of the press would remain equally understandable;
3) that in actual fact special circumstances prevented a “frank and public” discussion.
From the whole context it will then be seen how far my assertion: “For a long time the desperate state of the vine-growers was doubted in higher quarters, and their cry of distress was regarded as an insolent shrieking”, is true or untrue.
As regards 1. In investigating a situation concerning the state one is all too easily tempted to overlook the objective nature of the circumstances and to explain everything by the will of the persons concerned. However, there are circumstances which determine the actions of private persons and individual authorities, and which are as independent of them as the method of breathing. If from the outset we adopt this objective standpoint, we shall not assume good or evil will, exclusively on one side or on the other, but we shall see the effect of circumstances where at first glance only individuals seem to be acting. Once it is proved that a phenomenon is made necessary by circumstances, it will no longer be difficult to ascertain the external circumstances in which it must actually be produced and those in which it could not be produced, although the need for it already existed. This can be established with approximately the same certainty with which the chemist determines the external conditions under which substances having affinity are bound to form a compound. Hence we believe that by our proof “that the necessity for a free press follows from the specific character of the state of distress in the Mosel region” we give our exposition a basis that goes far beyond anything personal.
The state of distress in the Mosel region cannot be regarded as a simple state of affairs. At least two aspects of it have to he distinguished: the private aspect and the state aspect, for the state of distress in the Mosel region cannot be considered to lie outside the state administration any more than the Mosel region can he considered to lie outside the state. Only the mutual relation between these two aspects provides the actual state of the Mosel region. In order to show the nature of this mutual relation, we shall report an authentic exchange of opinion, certified by documents, between the respective organs of the two sides.
In the fourth issue of Mitteilungen des Vereins zur Förderung der Weinkultur an der Mosel und Saar zu Trier there is a report of negotiations between the Finance Ministry, the government at Trier and the board of the above-mentioned Society. A document presented by the Society to the Finance Ministry contains, among other things, a calculation of the income from the vineyards. The government at Trier, which also received a copy of this document, asked for an expert opinion on it from the chief of the Trier Cadastre Bureau, tax inspector von Zuccalmaglio, who, as the government itself says in one of its reports, seemed to be specially suitable because he
“took an active part at the time when the registers of incomes from vineyards in the Mosel region were compiled”.
We shall now simply put side by side the most striking passages from the official opinion of Herr von Zuccalmaglio and the reply of the board of the Society for the Promotion of Viticulture.
The official reporter;
In the official report covering the past decade, 1829-38, the calculation of the gross income per morgen [4 morgen = 1 hectare] of vineyards in communities belonging to the third class as regards payment of wine tax is based on:
1) the yield per morgen;
2) the price at which a fuder [1,000 litre] of wine is sold in the autumn.
The calculation, however, is not based on any precisely verified data, for
“without official intervention and control it is impossible for either an individual or a society to collect privately trustworthy information on the quantity of wine obtained by all the individual property owners over a specified period in a large number of communities, because many owners may be directly interested in concealing the truth as far as possible”.
The reply of the board of the Society:
“We are not surprised that the Cadastre Bureau does its utmost to defend the procedure practised by it; nevertheless, it is difficult to understand the argument which follows”, etc.
“The chief of the Cadastre Bureau tries to prove by figures that the registered yields are everywhere correct; he says also that the ten-year period assumed by us cannot prove anything here”, etc., etc. “We shall not argue about figures, for, as he very wisely says in the introduction to his remarks, we lack the requisite official information. Moreover, we do not regard it as necessary, since his entire calculation and argument based on official data can prove nothing against the facts we have presented”. “Even if we admit that the registered yields were quite correct at the time of their compilation, or even that they were too low, it is impossible successfully to contest our statement that they can no longer serve as a @ under the present lamentably changed circumstances”.
The official reporter.
“Hence not a fact appears anywhere justifying the assumption that the registered yields from vineyards, based on assessments in the recent period, are too high; but it would he quite easy to prove that the earlier assessments of vineyards of the rural and urban districts of Trier and of the Saarburg district are too low, both in themselves and compared with other crops”.
The reply of the board of the Society:
“A man crying out for help finds it painful when in reply to his wen-founded complaint he is told that during compilation the registered yields could have been put higher rather than lower”.
“Moreover,” the reply points out, “the Herr Reporter, despite all his efforts to reject our data, could hardly refute or correct anything in our figures of income; therefore he has tried only to quote different results as regards expenditure”.
We want now to indicate some of the most striking differences of opinion between the Herr Reporter and the board of the Society on the question of calculating expenditure.
The official reporter.
“In regard to point 8, it should be particularly noted that the renewal of the usual lateral shoots, or what is called Geitzen is an operation recently introduced by only a few owners of vineyards, but nowhere, neither in the Mosel nor the Saar region, can it be regarded as part of the customary method of cultivations”.
The reply of the board of the Society:
“The removal of lateral shoots and the loosening of soil, according to the chief of the Cadastre Bureau, was only recently introduced by a few owners of vineyards”, etc. That, however, is not the case. “The vine-grower has understood that, to save himself from going under completely, he must not fail to try anything that could in some degree improve the quality of the wine. For the prosperity of the region, this attitude should he carefully encouraged, instead of being repressed”.
“And who would think of putting the cost of potato cultivation at a lower figure because there are some cultivators who leave the potatoes to their fate and God’s goodness?”
The official reporter.
“The cost of the barrel indicated in point 14 cannot at all enter into the valuation here, since, as has already been pointed out, the cost of the barrel is not included in the quoted prices of wine. If then the barrel is sold together with the wine, as is usually the case, the cost of the barrel is added to the price of the wine and thus the value of the barrels is reimbursed”.
The reply of the board of the Society:
“When wine is sold, the barrel is included, and there is not and even could not be the slightest question of its reimbursement. The rare cases when the innkeepers of our town buy wine without the barrel cannot be taken into account when viewing the situation as a whole”. “It is not the same with wine as with other goods, which lie in a warehouse until they are sold and the packing and dispatch of which then take place at the expense of the purchaser. Since, therefore, the purchase of wine tacitly includes that of the barrel, it is clear that the price of the latter must be included in the production costs”.
The official reporter.
“If the figures of yields given in the supplement are corrected to correspond to the official data on them, but the calculation of costs is accepted as correct even in all parts, and only the land and wine taxes and the cost of the barrels (or expenditures given in points 13, 14 and 17) are omitted from these costs, the result is as follows:
Gross income 53 talers 21 silver groschen 6 pfennigs
Costs — not including 13, 14 and 17 39 5 0
Net income 14 talers 16 silver groschen 6 pfennigs
The reply of the board of the Society:
“The calculation as such is correct, but the result is incorrect. We based our calculation not on supposed figures, but on figures which express the actual amounts involved, and we found that if from 53 talers of actual expenditure 48 talers representing the actual and only income are subtracted, there remains a loss of 5 talers”.
The official reporter.
If, nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the state of distress in the Mosel region has considerably worsened compared with the period before the inauguration of the Customs Union, and that in part even a real impoverishment is to be feared, the reason for it should be sought exclusively in the former too high yields”.
“Owing to the previously existing quasi-monopoly of the wine trade in the Mosel region and the rapid succession of good wine years in 1819, 1822, 1825, 1826, 1827 and 1828, an unprecedented luxury developed there. Ale large sums of money in the hands of the vine-grower induced him to buy vineyards at enormous prices and to plant new vineyards at excessive cost in places that were no longer suitable for viticulture. Everyone wanted to become an owner, and debts were incurred which previously could easily be covered by the income from a good year, but which now, with the present unfavourable economic situation, are bound to ruin completely the vine-grower who has fallen into the hands of usurers”.
“One consequence of this will be that viticulture will be confined to the better holdings and will again, as formerly, come more into the hands of the rich landowners, a purpose to which it is most suited owing to the large initial expenditure involved. The rich landowners, too, can more easily withstand unfavourable years and even at such times have adequate means to improve cultivation and to obtain a product which can stand up to competition with that from the now opened countries of the Customs Union. Of course, during the first years this cannot take place without great hardships for the poorer class of vine-growers, most of whom, however, had become owners of vineyards in the previous favourable period. However, it should always be borne in mind that the earlier state of affairs was an unnatural one for which the immanent are now paying. The state ... will be able to confine itself to making the’ transition as easy as possible for the present population by appropriate measures”.
The reply of the board of the Society:
“Truly, one who only fears possible poverty in the Mosel region has not yet seen that poverty which, in its most ghastly form, is already deep-rooted and daily spreading among the morally healthy, tirelessly industrious population of this region. Let no one say, as the chief of the Cadastre Bureau does, that it is the impoverished vine-growers’ own fault. No, all of them have been struck down to a greater or lesser degree: the prudent and the imprudent, the industrious and the negligent, the well-to-do and the indigent; and if things have now gone so far that even the well-to-do, the industrious and the thrifty vine-growers are compelled to say that they can no longer provide themselves with food, then the cause is evidently not to be sought in them.
“It is true that in the favourable years the vine-growers bought new plots at prices higher than usual and that they incurred debts, calculating that their incomes, as they saw them, would suffice gradually to pay them off. But it is incomprehensible how this, which is proof of the enterprising and industrious spirit of these people, can be called luxury, and how it can be said that the present position of the vine-growers has arisen because the earlier state of affairs was an unnatural one, for which the imprudent are now paying.
“The chief of the Cadastre Bureau asserts that people who, according to him, were previously not even property owners (!!), tempted by the unusually good years, increased excessively the total of vineyards, and that the only remedy now lies in reducing the number of vineyards.
“But how insignificant is the number of vineyards which can be adapted for growing fruit or vegetables, compared with the majority which, apart from grapes, can produce only hedges and bushes! And can it he that this highly respectable population, which is crowded into such a relatively small area because of viticulture, and is so courageously struggling against misfortune, does not even deserve an attempt to alleviate its distress so that it can hold out until more favourable circumstances enable it to rise again and become for the state what it was before, namely, a source of income the equal of which is not to be found on any area of equal size apart from the towns”.
The official reporter.
“It is, of course, quite understandable that the richer landowners, too, take advantage of this distress of the poorer vine-growers in order to obtain for themselves all possible alleviations and advantages by a vivid description of the former happy state of affairs in contrast to the present less favourable, but nevertheless still profitable, position”.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 18, January 18, 1843

The reply of the board of the Society:
“We owe it to our honour and our inner conviction to protest against the accusation that we take advantage of the distress of the poorer vine-growers in order to obtain for ourselves all possible advantages and alleviations by means of vivid descriptions.
“No, we assert — and that, we hope, will suffice for our justification — that we were far from having any selfish intention, and that all our efforts were directed towards making the state aware, by a frank and truthful description of the conditions of the poor vine-growers, of a situation the further development of which is bound to he dangerous for the state itself! Anyone who knows the transformation which the present pitiful position of the vine-growers has already increasingly brought about in their domestic life and industrial activity, and even as regards morality, cannot but shudder at the future when he thinks of a continuance or even increase of such distress”.
It has to be admitted, first of all, that the government could not come to a decision but must have vacillated between the view of its reporter and the opposing view of the vine-growers. Bearing in mind, further, that the report of Herr von Zuccalmaglio is dated December 12, 1839, and the answer of the Society is dated July 15, 1840, it follows that up to this time the view of the reporter must have been, if not the sole, at any rate the prevailing view of the government collegium. In 1839, at least, it was still counterposed to the Society’s memorandum as the government’s judgment and therefore, as it were, a résumé of the governmental view, for if a government is consistent its latest opinion can surely be regarded as the sum total of its earlier views and experience. In the report, however, not only is the state of distress not recognised as general but there is no intention of remedying even the admitted state of distress, for it is stated: “The state will be able to confine itself solely to making the transition as easy as possible for the present population by appropriate measures”. Under these circumstances, transition must be taken to mean gradual ruin [Untergang]. The ruin of the poorer vine-growers is regarded as a kind of natural phenomenon, to which one must be resigned in advance, seeking only to mitigate the inevitable. “Of course,” it is stated, “this cannot take place without great hardships”. The Society, therefore, also raises the question whether the vine-growers of the Mosel do not even deserve “an attempt” to save them. If the government had held a decisively opposed view, it would have modified the report at the outset, since the report makes a definite statement on such an important question as the task and decision of the state in this matter. Hence it is evident that the distressed state of the vine-growers could be admitted without there being any effort to remedy it.
We cite now yet another example of the kind of information given to the authorities about conditions in the Mosel region. In 1838, a highly placed administrative official travelled through the Mosel region. At a conference in Piesport with two district presidents, he asked one of them what the vine-growers’ situation was like as regards property and received the reply:
...The vine vine-growers live too luxuriously and if only for that reason things cannot be going badly with them”.
Yet luxury had already become a story of former days. We only incidentally point out here that this view, which coincides with the official report, has by no means been generally abandoned. We recall the statement from Koblenz published in Supplement I of the Frankfürter journal No. 349 (1842), which speaks of the alleged state of distress of the Mosel vine-growers.
The above-quoted official view is reflected, too, in the attitude of higher quarters, which throws doubt on the “desperate” state of the vine-growers and on the general nature of the distress, hence also on its general causes. The reports of the Society quoted above contain, inter alia, the following replies of the Finance Ministry to various petitions:
“Although, as the market prices for wine show, the owners of Mosel and Saar vineyards included in the first and second classes as regards taxation have no cause for dissatisfaction nevertheless it is not denied that vine-growers whose products are of inferior quality are not in an equally favourable position”.
In a reply to a petition for remission of taxation for 1838, it is stated:
“In reply to your representation sent here on October 10 of last year, we have to inform you that the petition for a general remission of the entire wine tax for 1838 cannot be entertained, since you do not belong to the class which is most in need of consideration and whose state of distress, etc., is explicable by quite other causes than taxation”.
Since we wish to construct our exposition solely on factual material, endeavouring, as far as we can, to present only facts in a general form, we shall first of all make clear the general ideas underlying the dialogue between the Trier Society for the Promotion of Viticulture and the government’s reporter.
The government has to appoint an official to give an expert opinion on the memorandum presented to it. It naturally appoints an official who has the greatest possible knowledge of the subject, preferably therefore an official who himself took part in regulating the situation in the Mosel region. This official is not averse to finding in the complaints contained in the document in question attacks on his official understanding and his official activity. He is aware of his conscientious performance of his duty and of the detailed official information at his disposal; he is suddenly faced with an opposing view, and what could be more natural than that he should take sides against the petitioner, and that the intentions of the latter, which could of course always be bound up with private interests, should seem to him suspicious, and that therefore he should suspect them. Instead of using the data in the memorandum, he tries to refute them. In addition, the obviously poor vine-grower has neither the time nor the education to describe his condition; hence the poor vine-grower is unable to speak, whereas the vine cultivator who is able to speak is not obviously poor, and therefore his complaints seem unfounded. But if even the educated vine-grower is rebuked for not having the official understanding, how could the uneducated vine-grower hold his own against this official understanding
For their part, private persons who have observed the real poverty of others in the full extent of its development, who see it gradually coming closer even to themselves, and who, moreover, are aware that the private interest they defend is equally a state interest, and is defended by them as a state interest, these private persons are not only bound to feel that their own honour has been impugned, but consider also that reality itself has been distorted under the influence of a one-sided and arbitrarily established point of view. Hence they oppose the overweening presumption of officialdom; they point out the contradiction between the real nature of the world and that ascribed to it in government offices, contrasting the practical proofs to the official proofs. And, finally, they cannot avoid suspecting that behind total misconception of their account of the actual state of affairs, which is based on well-founded convictions and clear facts, there is a selfish intention, namely, the intention to assert official judgment in opposition to the intelligence of the citizens. Consequently, they conclude also that the expert official who comes into contact with their conditions of life will not give an unprejudiced description of them, precisely because these conditions are partly the result of his activities, whereas the unprejudiced official, who could give a sufficiently impartial judgment, is not an expert. When, however, the official accuses private persons of elevating their private affairs to the level of a state interest, private persons accuse the official of degrading the state interest to the level of a private affair of his own, from which all others are excluded as being mere laymen. In this way even the most patent reality appears illusory compared with the reality depicted in the dossiers, which is official and therefore of a state character, and compared with the intelligence based on this official reality. Hence to the official only the sphere of activity of the authorities is the state, whereas the world outside this sphere of activity is merely an object of state activity, completely lacking the state frame of mind and state understanding. Finally, in the event of a notoriously bad situation, the official puts the main blame on private persons who, he alleges, are themselves responsible for their plight, while he refuses to allow any attack on the excellence of administrative principles or institutions, which are themselves official creations and no part of which he is willing to relinquish. The private person, on the other hand, conscious of his industriousness, his thrift, his hard struggle against nature and social conditions, demands that the official who is supposed to be the sole creative force of the state should put an end to his distress and, since that official claims he can put everything right, that he should prove ‘ his ability to remedy the bad situation by his activity, or at least recognise that institutions which were suitable at a certain time have become unsuitable under completely changed circumstances.
The same standpoint of superior official knowledge and the same antithesis between the administration and the object administered are repeated within the world of officialdom itself. We see that the Cadastre Bureau, in its judgment on the Mosel region, is mainly concerned with asserting the infallibility of the Cadastre, and just as the Finance Ministry maintains that the evil is due to “quite other” causes than “taxation”, so the administration will find that the basis of the distress lies not at all in itself, but outside itself. Not intentionally, but necessarily, the individual official who is in closest contact with the vine-grower sees the state of things as better or other than it actually is. He thinks that the question whether things are all right in his region amounts to the question whether he administers the region correctly. Whether the administrative principles and institutions are good or not is a question that lies outside his sphere, for that can only be judged in higher quarters where a wider and deeper knowledge of the official nature of things, i.e., of their connection with the state as a whole, prevails. He may be most honestly convinced that he himself administers well. Hence either he will find the situation not so entirely desperate or, if he does find it to be so, he will look for the reason outside the administration, partly in nature, which is independent of man, partly in private life, which is independent of the administration, and partly in accidental circumstances, which depend on no one.
The higher administrative bodies are bound to have more confidence in their officials than in the persons administered, who cannot be presumed to possess the same official understanding. An administrative body, moreover, has its traditions. Thus, as regards the Mosel region too, it has its once and for all established principles, it has its official picture of the region in the Cadastre, it has official data on revenue and expenditure, it has everywhere, alongside the actual reality, a bureaucratic reality, which retains its authority however much the times may change. In addition, the two circumstances, namely, the law of the official hierarchy and the principle that there are two categories of citizens — the active, knowledgeable citizens in the administration, and the passive, uninformed citizens who are the object of administration — these two circumstances are mutually complementary. In accordance with the principle that the state possesses conscious and active existence in the administration, every government will regard the condition of a region — insofar as the state aspect of the matter is concerned — as the result of the work of its predecessor. According to the law of hierarchy, this predecessor will in most cases already occupy a higher position, often the one immediately above. Finally, every government is actuated, on the one hand, by the consciousness that the state has laws which it must enforce in the face of all private interests, and, on the other hand, as an individual administrative authority, its duty is not to make institutions or laws, but to apply them. Hence it can try to reform not the administration itself, but only the object administered. It cannot adapt its laws to the Mosel region, it can only try to promote the welfare of the Mosel region within the limits of its firmly established rules of administration. The more zealously and sincerely, therefore, a government endeavours — within the limits of the already established administrative principles and institutions by which it is itself governed — to remove a glaring state of distress that embraces perhaps a whole region, and the more stubbornly the evil resists the measures taken against it and increases despite the good administration, so much the more profound, sincere and decisive will be the conviction that this is an incurable state of distress, which the administration, i.e., the state, can do nothing to alter, and which requires rather a change on the part of those administered.
Whereas, however, the lower administrative authorities trust the official understanding of those above them that the administrative principles are good, and are themselves ready to answer for their dutiful implementation in each separate case, the higher administrative authorities are fully convinced of the correctness of the general principles and trust the bodies subordinate to them to make the correct official judgment in each case, of which, moreover, they have official proofs.
In this way it is possible for a government with the best intentions to arrive at the principle expressed by the government’s reporter in Trier in regard to the Mosel region: “The state will be able to confine itself solely to making the transition as easy as possible for the present population by appropriate measures”.
If we look now at some of the methods which have transpired and which the government has used to alleviate the distress in the Mosel region, we shall find our argument confirmed at least by the history of the administration which is accessible to all; on the secret history, of course, we cannot pass judgment. We include among these measures: remission of taxes in bad wine years, the advice to go over to some other cultivation, such as sericulture, and, finally, the proposal to limit parcellation of landed property. The first of these measures, obviously, can only alleviate, not remedy. It is a temporary measure, by which the state makes an exception to its rule, and an exception which does not cost it much. Moreover, it is not the constant state of distress which is alleviated, it is likewise an exceptional manifestation of it, not the chronic sickness to which people have become accustomed, but an acute form of it which comes as a surprise.
In regard to the other two measures, the administration goes outside the scope of its own activities. The positive activity which it undertakes here consists partly in instructing the Mosel inhabitants how they themselves can come to their own aid, and partly in proposing a limitation or even denial of a right they previously possessed. Here, therefore, we find confirmed the train of thought we described above. The administration, which considers that the distressed state of the Mosel region is incurable and due to circumstances lying outside the scope of its principles and its activity, advises the Mosel inhabitants so to arrange their life that it is adapted to the present administrative institutions and that they are able to exist in a tolerable fashion within them. The vine-grower himself is deeply pained by such proposals, even if they only reach him by rumour. He would be thankful if the government carried out experiments at its own expense, but he feels that the advice that he should undertake experiments on himself means that the government is refusing to help him by its own activity. He wants help, not advice. However much he trusts the knowledge possessed by the administration in its own sphere, and however confidently he turns to it in such matters, he credits himself just as much with the necessary understanding in his own sphere. But limitation of the parcellation of landed property contradicts his inherited sense of right; he regards it as a proposal to add legal poverty to his physical poverty, for he regards every violation of equality before the law as the distress of right. He feels, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, that the administration exists for the sake of the country and not the country for the sake of the administration, but that this relationship becomes reversed when the country has to transform its customs, its rights, its kind of work and its property ownership to suit the administration. The Mosel inhabitant, therefore, demands that, if he carries out the work which nature and custom have ordained for him, the state should create conditions for him in which he can grow, prosper, and live. Hence such negative devices come to nought when they encounter the reality not only of the existing conditions, but also of civic consciousness.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 19, January 19, 1843

What then is the relation of the administration to the distress in the Mosel region? The distressed state of the Mosel region is at the same time a distressed state of the administration. The constant state of distress of part of the country (and a state of distress, which, beginning almost unnoticed more than a decade ago, at first gradually and then irresistibly develops to a climax and assumes ever more threatening dimensions, can well be called constant) signifies a contradiction between reality and administrative principles, just as, on the other hand, not only the nation, but also the government regards the well-being of a region as a factual confirmation of good administration. The administration, however, owing to its bureaucratic nature, is capable of perceiving the reasons for the distress not in the sphere administered, but only in the sphere of nature and the private citizen which lies outside the sphere administered. The administrative authorities, even with the best intentions, the most zealous humanity and the most powerful intellect, can find no solution for a conflict that is more than momentary or transient, the constant conflict between reality and the principles of administration, for it is not their official task, nor would it be possible, despite the best intentions, to make a breach in an essential relation or, if you like, fate. [Verhängnis] This essential relation is the bureaucratic one, both within the administrative body itself and in its relations with the administered body.
On the other hand, the private vine-grower can no more deny that his judgment may be affected, intentionally or unintentionally, by private interest, and therefore the correctness of his judgment cannot be assumed absolutely. Moreover, he will realise that there are in the state a multitude of private interests which suffer, and the general principles of administration cannot be abandoned or modified for their sake. Furthermore, if it is asserted that there is distress of a general character and that the general well-being is endangered in such a manner and to such an extent that private misfortune becomes a misfortune for the state and its removal a duty which the state owes to itself, the rulers regard this assertion of the ruled in relation to them as inappropriate; for the rulers consider they are in the best position to judge how far the welfare of the state is endangered and that they must he presumed to have a deeper insight into the relation between the whole and the parts than the parts themselves have. Furthermore, individuals, even a large number of them, cannot claim that their voice is the voice of the people; on the contrary, their description of the situation always retains the character of a private complaint. Finally, even if the conviction held by the complaining private persons were the conviction of the entire Mosel region, the latter, as an individual administrative unit, as an individual part of the country, would be, in relation to its own province as also in relation to the state, in the position of a private person whose convictions and desires should be judged only by their relation to the general conviction and the general desire.
In order to solve this difficulty, therefore, the rulers and the ruled alike are in need of a third element, which would be political without being official, hence not based on bureaucratic premises, an element which would be of a civil nature without being bound up with private interests and their pressing need. This supplementary element with the head of a citizen of the state and the heart of a citizen is the free press. In the realm of the press, rulers and ruled alike have an opportunity of criticising their principles and demands, and no longer in a relation of subordination, but on terms of equality as citizens of the state; no longer as individuals, but as intellectual forces, as exponents of reason. The “free press”, being the product of public opinion, is also the creator of public opinion. It alone can make a particular interest a general one, it alone can make the distressed state of the Mosel region an object of general attention and general sympathy on the part of the Fatherland, it alone can mitigate the distress by dividing the feeling of it among all.
The attitude of the press to the people’s conditions of life is based on reason, but it is equally based on feeling. Hence it does not speak only in the clever language of judgment that soars above circumstances, but the passionate language of circumstances themselves, a language which cannot and should not be demanded of official reports. The free press, finally, brings the people’s need in its real shape, not refracted through any bureaucratic medium, to the steps of the throne, to a power before which the difference between rulers and ruled vanishes and there remain only equally near and equally far removed citizens of the state.
If, therefore, a freer press became essential owing to the specific state of distress of the Mosel region, if it there became an urgent, because actual, need, it is obvious that no exceptional obstacles to the press were required to create such a need, but that, on the contrary an exceptional freedom of the press was required to .satisfy the existing need.
As regards 2 The press which deals with the affairs of the Mosel region is in any case only a part of the Prussian political press. Hence, in order to ascertain its state before the promulgation of the frequently cited Cabinet Order, it will be necessary to take a quick glance at the state of the whole Prussian press before 1841. Let us listen to a man whose loyal frame of mind is generally recognised:
“General ideas and matters,” says David Hansemann in his book Preussen und Frankreich, second edition, Leipzig, 1834, p. 272, “develop quietly and tranquilly in Prussia, and do so the more unnoticed because the censorship does not permit any thorough discussion in Prussian newspapers of political and even economic questions concerning the state, however decent and moderate their formulation. A thorough discussion can only mean one in which arguments and counter-arguments can be put forward. Hardly any economic question can he discussed thoroughly unless its connections, with internal and external policy are also examined, for there are few questions, perhaps none at all in the case of economic questions, in which such connections do not exist. Whether this exercise of the censorship is expedient, whether the censorship could be exercised in any other way in the present state of the government in Prussia, is not the question here, suffice it that such is the case”.
It should be recalled, further, that §1 of the censorship decree of December 19, 1788, already stated:
“It is certainly not the intention of the censorship to hinder a decent, earnest and modest investigation of the truth or otherwise impose any unnecessary and burdensome constraint on writers”.
In Article II of the censorship decree of October 18, 1819, it is stated again:
“The censorship will not prevent serious and modest investigation of truth nor impose undue constraint on writers”.
Compare with this the introductory words of the censorship instruction of December 24, 1841 130:
“In order already now to free the press from improper restrictions, which are against the intentions of the All-Highest, His Majesty the King, by a supreme order issued to the royal state ministry [... ] has been pleased to disapprove expressly of any undue constraint on the activity of writers and [...] empowered us to direct the censors anew to due observance of Article II of the censorship decree of October 18, 1819”.
Finally, let us recall the following statement:
“The censor can very well permit a frank discussion also of internal affairs. — The undeniable difficulty of determining the correct limits in this ‘matter should not deter the censor from endeavouring to comply with the true intention of the law, nor mislead him into the kind of anxiety which has already only too often given rise to misinterpretations of the government’s intention”.
In view of all these official declarations, it is clear that the question why censorship obstacles have occurred despite the wish of the authorities that conditions in the Mosel region should be discussed as frankly and publicly as possible, becomes instead the more general question: why, in spite of the “intention of the law”, the “government’s intention,” and, finally, the “intentions of the All Highest”, should the press in 1841 admittedly still have to be freed “from improper restrictions”, and the censorship in 1841 have to be reminded of Article II of the 1819 decree? As regards the Mosel region in particular, the former question should not ask what special obstacles to the press have occurred, but what special measures in favour of the press should be taken by way of exception to ensure that this partial discussion of internal conditions is as frank and public as possible.
The clearest indication of the inner content and character of political literature and the daily press prior to the above-mentioned Cabinet Order is contained in the following statement of the censorship instruction:
“In this way it may be hoped that both political literature and the daily press will realise their function better, adopt a more dignified tone, and in future will scorn to speculate on the curiosity of their readers through communication of baseless reports taken from foreign newspapers, etc., etc. ... It is to be expected that thereby greater sympathy for the interests of the Fatherland will be aroused and thus national feeling enhanced”.
From this it seems to follow that, although no special measures prevented a frank and public discussion of conditions in the Mosel region, nevertheless the general state of the Prussian press itself was bound to be an insurmountable obstacle both to frankness and to publicity. If we sum up the above-quoted passages from the censorship instruction, they tell us that: the censorship was excessively anxious and an external barrier to a free press, that hand in hand. with this went the internal narrowness of the press, which had lost courage and even abandoned the effort to rise above the horizon of novelty, and that, finally, in the nation itself sympathy for the interests of the Fatherland and national feeling had been lost, that is to say, precisely the elements which are not only the creative forces of a frank and public press, but also the conditions within which a frank and public press can operate and win popular recognition, recognition which is the breath of life of the press, and without which it hopelessly pines away.
Hence, although measures taken by the authorities can create an unfree press, it is beyond the power of the authorities, when the general state of the press is unfree, to ensure that special questions are discussed as frankly and publicly as possible. Under such conditions, even frank statements which might happen to he made on particular subjects in the columns of the newspaper would fail to evoke any general sympathy, and would therefore be unable to achieve any real publicity.
In addition, as Hansemann rightly remarks, there is perhaps not a single question of the state economy in which connections with internal and external policy do not exist. Hence the possibility of a frank and public discussion of conditions in the Mosel region presupposes the possibility of frank and public discussion of the whole of “internal and external policy”. Individual administrative authorities were so powerless to ensure this possibility that only the direct and decisive expression of the will of the King himself could play a determining and lasting role here.
If public discussion was not frank, frank discussion was not public. Frank discussion was limited to obscure provincial sheets, whose horizon, of course, did not go beyond their area of circulation and, as shown above, could not do so. To characterise such local discussions, we shall quote a few extracts from the Bernkastel Gemeinnütziges Wochenblatt of different years. In 1835 it stated:
“In the autumn of 1833 in Erden, a person from another place made 5 ohms [500-750 litres] of wine. In order to fill the barrel (fuder), this person bought an additional 2 ohm at a price of 30 talers. The barrel cost 9 talers, the grape-pressing tax amounted to 7 talers 5 silver groschen, the harvesting of the grapes 4 talers, cellar rent 1 taler 3 silver groschen, payment for the cooper 16 silver groschen. Therefore, without counting cultivation costs, the total expenditure was 51 talers 24 silver groschen. On May 10, the barrel of wine was sold for 41 talers. It should be noted also that this wine was of good quality and was not sold from sheer necessity, not did it fall into the hands of usurers” (p. 87). “On November 21 in the Bemkastel market, 514 ohm of 1835 wine was sold for 14 silver groschen — fourken silver groschen — and on the 27th of the same month 4 ohms together with the barrel were sold for 11 talers; moreover, it should be noted that on the previous Michaelmas the barrel had been bought for 11 talers” (p. 267, ibid.).
On April 12, 1836, there was a similar item.
We should like to quote also some extracts from 1837:
“On the first of this month in Kinheim in the presence of a notary there was sold by public auction a young, four-year-old vineyard containing about 20Q vine-stocks, correctly trained on stakes. It cost the buyer 1 1/2 pfennigs per stock, under the usual conditions of payment. In 1828, the same vine-stock there cost 5 silver groschen” (p. 47). “In Graach, a widow surrendered her ungathered grape harvest for half of the wine yield and she received for her share one ohm of wine, which she exchanged for 2 lbs. of butter, 2 lbs. of bread and 112 lb. of onions’ (No. 37, ibid.). “On the 20th of this month there was a forced sale by auction here of 8 fuders of 1836 wine from Graach and Bernkastel, part of it from the best sites, and 1 fuder of 1835 wine from Graach. The sale (barrels included) yielded a total sum of 135 talers 15 silver groschen, so that the wine cost the buyer about 15 talers per fuder. The barrel alone could have cost 10-12 talers. What is left for the poor vine-grower to pay for the cost of cultivation? Is it then impossible to remedy this terrible distress!! (Letter to the Editor)” (No. 4, p. 30).
We have here, therefore, merely a simple relation of facts, sometimes accompanied by a brief elegiac epilogue. Precisely because of their artless simplicity they can produce a shattering effect, but they could hardly even claim to be a frank and public discussion of conditions in the Mosel region.
If then an individual or even a considerable part of a population falls victim to a striking and terrifying misfortune and no one discusses this calamity, if no one treats it as a phenomenon worthy of being thought about and discussed, the unfortunate victims are bound to conclude either that the others are not allowed to speak about it, or that they do not want to do so because they consider the importance attached to the matter illusory. Even for the most uneducated vine-grower, however, the recognition of his misfortune by others, this spiritual participation in it, is an urgent need, if only because he can conclude that when all give thought to it and many speak of it, soon some will do something about it. Even if a free and open discussion of the Mosel conditions had been tongueermitted, no such discussion took place, and it is clear that people believe only in what actually exists; they do not believe in a free press which might exist, but only in a free press that actually exists. The Mosel inhabitants, of course, had felt their distress before the appearance of the royal Cabinet Order, and indeed had heard doubts expressed about this distress, only they did not see any discussion of it by a public and frank press. After the appearance of the Cabinet Order, on the other hand, they saw such a press spring up, as it were, out of nothing. Thus their conclusion that the royal Cabinet Order was the sole cause of this movement of the press, in which, for the reasons mentioned above, they took such an exceptional interest, owing directly to their actual need, this conclusion seems to have been at least a very popular one. Finally, it seems that, apart from the popularity of this opinion, a critical examination would lead also to the same result. The introduction to the censorship instruction of December 24, 1841, states.
His Majesty the King has been pleased to disapprove expressly of any undue constraint on the activity of writers and, recognising the value and need of frank and decent publicly ... etc”.
This introductory statement assures the press of a special royal recognition, hence a recognition of its state significance. That a single word from the King could have such an important effect and was welcomed by the Mosel inhabitants as a word of magical power, as a panacea against all their tabulations, seems only to testify to the genuinely royalist disposition of the Mosel population and to their thankfulness expressed in no niggardly fashion, but in overflowing measure.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 20, January 20, 1843

As regards 3. We have tried to show that the need for a free press necessarily arose from the specific character of the conditions in the Mosel region. We have shown further that prior to the appearance of the royal Cabinet Order this need could not be satisfied, if not because of special constraints imposed on the press, at any rate owing to the general state of the Prussian daily press. Lastly we shall show that as a matter of fact special circumstances have been hostile to a frank and public discussion of conditions in the Mosel region. Here, too, we must in the first place stress the point of view by which we have been guided in our exposition and recognise the powerful influence of general conditions on the will of the acting persons. In the special circumstances which prevented a frank and public discussion of the state of affairs in the Mosel region we ought not to see anything but the factual embodiment and obvious manifestation of the above-mentioned general conditions, namely, the specific position of the administration in regard to the Mosel region, the general state of the daily press and of public opinion, and, finally, the prevailing political spirit and its system. If these conditions were, as seems to be the case, the general, invisible and compelling forces of that period, it hardly needs to be shown that they had to take effect as such, and were bound to be manifested in facts and expressed in separate actions which had the semblance of being arbitrary. Anyone who abandons this objective standpoint falls victim to one-sided, bitter feelings against individual personalities in whom he sees embodied all the harshness of the contemporary conditions confronting him.
Among the special obstacles to the press we must include not only individual difficulties due to censorship, but equally the special circumstances which made censorship itself superfluous because they did not allow the object of censorship to come into being at all, even tentatively. When the censorship comes into obvious, persistent and sharp conflict with the press, it can be concluded with a fair certainty that the press has achieved vitality, character and self-assurance, for only a perceptible action produces a perceptible reaction. When, on the other hand, there is no censorship because there is no press, although the need for a free and therefore censurable press exists, one must expect to find a pre-censorship in circumstances which have suppressed by fear the expression of thought even in its more unpretentious forms.
We cannot aim at giving a full description of these special circumstances even in an approximate form. It would mean describing the whole history of the period since 1830 insofar as it concerns the Mosel region. We believe we shall have fulfilled our task if we prove that the frank and public word in all its forms — in spoken form, in written form, and in printed form, print not yet censored as well as that already censored — has encountered special obstacles.
Depression and despondency, which in any case shatter the moral strength required by a distressed population for public and frank discussion, were especially aroused by the court sentences imposed “for insult to an official in the performance of his duty or in connection with his duty”, which necessarily followed numerous denunciations.
This kind of procedure is still fresh in the memory of many Mosel vine-growers. One citizen, particularly liked because of his good nature, jokingly remarked to the maidservant of a district president who the evening before had busily applied himself to the bottle when celebrating the King’s birthday in joyful company: “Your master was a bit tiddly last night”. For this innocent remark he was publicly brought before the police court at Trier, but, as n-fight have been expected, he was acquitted.
We have chosen this particular example because a simple conclusion necessarily follows from it. Each district president is the censor in the chief town of his district. The district president’s administration, however, together with that of the official bodies subordinated to him, will provide the principal subject-matter for the local press, because it is the latter’s immediate concern. If in general it is difficult to be the judge in one’s own case, incidents of the kind mentioned above, which testify to a pathologically sensitive notion of the inviolability attaching to an official position, make the mere existence of the district president’s censorship a sufficient reason for the non-existence of a frank local press.
If, therefore, we see that an ingenuous and innocent utterance can lead to an appearance before police court, a written form of free speech, a petition which is still a long way from publicity by the press, has the same police-court result. In the former case, frank speaking is prevented by the inviolability attaching to an official position in the latter case by the inviolability of the laws of the land.
Following a “Cabinet Order” of July 6, 1936, which stated, among other things, that the King [Frederick William III]was sending his son to the Rhine Province to acquaint himself with the conditions prevailing there, some cultivators in the Trier administrative district were inspired to request their “deputy to the Provincial Assembly” to draw up a petition to the Crown Prince [who became Frederick William IV in 1840] on their behalf. At the same time they indicated the various items of their complaint. In order to increase the importance of the petition by a larger number of signatures, the deputy to the Provincial Assembly [Valdenaire] sent to the environs a messenger who obtained the signatures of 160 peasants. The petition read as follows:
“We, the undersigned inhabitants of the circuit ... of the Trier administrative district, being informed that our gracious King is sending us His Royal Highness the Crown Prince to acquaint himself with our position, and in order to spare His Royal Highness the trouble of hearing complaints from a number of separate persons, herewith authorise our deputy to the Provincial Assembly, Herr .... most humbly to submit to His Royal Highness, His most gracious Majesty’s son, the Crown Prince of Prussia, that:
1. When we are unable to sell our surplus products, especially as regards cattle and wine, it is impossible for us to pay the taxes, which in all circumstances are too high; for which reason we desire a considerable reduction of the same, since otherwise we have to give the tax-collectors our goods and chattels, as shown by the attached (it contains an order from a tax-collector to pay 1 reichstaler 25 silver groschen 5 pfennigs).
2. That His Royal Highness should not judge our situation from the evidence of innumerable, much too highly paid, officials, pensioners, persons with special remuneration, d~ and military personnel, rentiers and industrialists, who, owing to the fall in the price of our products, are able to live in the towns cheaply in a luxury such as is not to be found, on the other hand, in the poor hut of the cultivator, who is overwhelmed by debts, and this contrast arouses his indignation. Whereas previously there were 27 officials receiving 29,000 talers, there are now 63 officials, excluding those on pension, who are paid a total of 105,000 talers.
3. That our communal officials should be elected, as was previously the case, directly by members of the community.
4. That the tax offices should not be closed for hours on end during the day, but should be open at all times, so that the cultivator who, through no fault of his own, arrives a few minutes late, does not have to wait five to six hours, even having to freeze all night in the street or stand in the burning sun all day, since the official should always be ready to serve the people.
5. That the provision in §12 of the law of April 28, 1828, renewed by the official gazette of His Majesty’s Government of August 22 last, which makes it a punishable offence to plough within two feet of the ditch at the edge of roads going through cultivate land, should be annulled and the owners allowed to plough their whole land right up to the road ditch, so as to prevent this land from being stolen from them by the highway custodians.
“Your Royal Highness’ most humble subjects”.
(Signatures follow.)
This petition, which the deputy to the Provincial Assembly wanted to hand personally to the Crown Prince, was accepted by someone else with the express promise that it would be given to His Royal Highness. No reply to it was received, but court proceedings were instituted against the deputy to the Provincial Assembly as the initiator of a petition containing “insolent, dishonourable accusations against the laws of the province”. As a result of this charge, the deputy to the Provincial Assembly was sentenced in Trier to six months’ imprisonment with costs. This punishment, however, was amended by the appeal court so that only the part relating to costs was left in force, on the grounds that the conduct of the accused was not quite free from indiscretion and therefore he was responsible for the case being brought against him. The contents of the petition itself, on the other hand, were acknowledged to be not at all punishable.
Partly because of the aim of the Crown Prince’s journey, and partly because of the official position of the accused as a deputy to the Provincial Assembly, the petition in question was bound to be magnified in the eyes of the whole environs into a specially important and decisive event and to attract public attention in the highest degree. Taking this into account, the consequences cannot be said to have encouraged a public and frank discussion of the conditions in the Mosel region or to have made probable any wishes of the authorities on this subject.
We come now to the real obstacle to the press, to prohibitions imposed by the censorship. From what has been said above, it is evident that such prohibitions are bound to be rare, since attempts at a censurable discussion of the Mosel conditions have been a rarity.
The minutes of a council of elders, which, besides some eccentric statements, contained also some frank speaking, were not allowed to be printed owing to the censorship exercised by the district president. The discussion took place in the council of elders, but the minutes of the council were drawn up by the burgomaster. His introductory statement was as follows:
“Gentlemen! The Mosel region between Trier and Koblenz, between the Eifel and the Hundsrücken, is outwardly very poor because it is entirely dependent on viticulture, which has been dealt the death-blow by the trade agreements with Germany. The above-mentioned region is also spiritually poor”, etc.
Finally, yet another fact can be adduced to show. that when a public and frank discussion did overcome all the above-mentioned obstacles and by way of exception managed to get into the columns of a newspaper, it was treated as an exception and subsequently suppressed. Several years ago an article by Herr Kaufmann, professor of cameralistics at Bonn University, “on the distressed state of the vine-growers in the Mosel region, etc”. was printed in the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung. After three months, during which it had been reprinted in various newspapers, it was banned by order of the government and the ban is still in force.
I think I have now sufficiently replied to the question of the attitude of the Mosel region to the Cabinet Order of December 10, to the censorship instruction of December 24 based on this order, and to the subsequent freer movement of the press. It only remains for me to substantiate my assertion: “For a long time the desperate state of the vine-growers was doubted in higher quarters, and their cry of distress was regarded as an insolent shrieking”. The statement in question can be divided into two parts: “For a long time the desperate state of the vine-growers was doubted in higher quarters” and “Their cry of distress was regarded as an insolent shrieking”.
The first proposition, I think, requires no further proof. The second one: “Their cry of distress was regarded as an insolent shrieking”, cannot be deduced directly from the first, as the Herr Oberpräsident does by giving it the form: “Their cry of distress was regarded in higher quarters as an insolent shrieking”. Incidentally, this interpolation, too, holds good, insofar as “higher quarters” and “official quarters” can be taken as equivalent in meaning.
That one could speak of a “cry of distress” of the vine-growers, not in a metaphorical sense, but in the strict sense of the word, is evident from the information we have given above. That, on the one hand, this cry of distress was declared to be without justification and the description of the distress itself regarded as a glaring exaggeration prompted by bad, selfish motives; and that, on the other hand, the complaint and the petition of those suffering distress were regarded as “insolent, dishonourable accusations against the laws of the province” — these propositions have been proved by a government report and criminal proceedings. That, furthermore, an excessive outcry, which does not correspond to the true state of affairs and is exaggerated from bad motives, involving insolent accusations against the laws of the province — that such an outcry is identical with a “shrieking”, and indeed an “insolent shrieking”, cannot at least be regarded as a far-fetched or dishonest assertion. That finally, therefore, one side of the identity can be put in place of the other seems simply to follow as a logical consequence.


Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

Letters of Marx and Engels 1842

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

in Dresden

Written: Trier, February 10 [1842]
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pg 381-382.
Publisher: International Publishers (1975)
First Published: journal Documente des Socialismus, Bd I, 1902
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcribed: S. Ryan
HTML Markup: S. Ryan

Dear Friend,

I take the liberty of sending you a small contribution for the Deutsche Jahrbücher in the form of the enclosed criticism of the censorship instruction.

If the article is suitable for your journal, I ask you for the time being not to mention my name to anyone except Wigand, and also to Send me by post immediately the issues of the Deutsche Jahrbücher containing my article; because for the time being here in Trier I am completely excluded from the literary world.

It is obvious that it is in the interest of the cause that the printing should be expedited, if the censorship does not censor my censure.

If you do not know of a critic for Vatke's super-clever book on sin - were it not so devilishly clever, one would be tempted to call it stupid--my critical zeal is at your disposal.

It would perhaps be equally worth while to deal again with Bayer's work on the moral Spirit. Feuerbach's criticism was a friendly service. Honourable as is Bayer's moral frame of mind, his work itself is just as weak and even immoral.

I should be very glad if you would let Wigand know that my manuscript will reach you in a few days' time. Bauer's letter in which he demands that it should be sent off at last, came when I was very ill in bed and therefore was handed to me only a few days ago. Being busy on the enclosed article, I was not able to make the necessary corrections.

As I have now come to the end of some voluminous works, it goes without saying that all my forces are at the disposal of the Deutsche Jahrbücher.

With sincere respect,


My address is: Dr. Marx, Trier, to be delivered to Geheimer Regierungsrat von Westphalen.

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

Letters of Marx and Engels 1842

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge
In Dresden

Written: Trier, March 5 1842;
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pp. 382-383;
Publisher: International Publishers, 1975;
First Published: Documente des Socialismus, Bd I, 1902;
Translated: Clemens Dutt;
Transcribed: S. Ryan.

Dear Friend,
I fully agree with the plan for the Anekdota philosophica and also think it would be better to include my name among the others. A demonstration of this kind, by its very nature, precludes all anonymity. Those gentlemen must see that one’s conscience is clear.
With the sudden revival of the Saxon censorship it is obvious from the outset that it will be quite impossible to print my “Treatise on Christian Art,” which should have appeared as the second part of the Posaune. But what about including it in a modified version in the Anekdota? The mass of material obnoxious to the censorship which now fills people’s minds perhaps makes it possible also to publish the Anekdota, as material accumulates, in a number of separate intalments! Another article which I also intended for the Deutsche Jahrbücher is a criticism of Hegelian natural law, insofar as it concerns the internal political system. The central point is the struggle against constitutional monarchy as a hybrid which from beginning to end contradicts and abolishes itself. Res publica is quite untranslatable into German. I would send both these articles immediately for your examination if they did not require the rewriting of a fair copy and, in pan, some corrections. The fact is that my future father-in-law, Herr von Westphalen, lay on his death-bed for three months and died the day before yesterday. During this period, therefore, it was impossible to do anything properly.

Regarding the other things, next time.

With sincerest respect,
Devotedly yours,

Apropos. Through an oversight, the manuscript on the censorship contains the phrase: “the censorship of tendency and the tendency censorship.” It should be: “the censorship of tendency and the tendency of censorship.”
Be so kind as to send me the reply directly by post to Trier.
Bauer has been suspended from his post, as he writes in a letter just received, par lit de justice.


Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

Letters of Marx and Engels 1842

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

in Dresden

Written: Trier, March 20 [1842];
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pg 383-386;
Publisher: International Publishers (1975);
First Published: Documente des Socialismus, Bd I, 1902;
Translated: Clemens Dutt;
Transcribed: S. Ryan.

Dear Friend,

Novices are the most pious people, as Saxony proves ad oculos. Bauer once had the same sort of scene with Eichhorn in Berlin as you had with the Minister of the Interior. As orators, these gentlemen are as alike as two peas. On the other hand, what is exceptional is that philosophy speaks intelligibly with the state wisdom of these over-assured scoundrels, and even a little fanaticism does no harm. There is nothing more difficult than to make these earthly Providences believe that belief in truth and spiritual convictions exist. They are such sceptical state dandies, such experienced fops, that they no longer believe in true, disinterested love. How, then, is one to get at these roués except with the aid of what, in the highest circles, is called fanaticism! A guards lieutenant regards a lover whose intentions are honourable as a fanatic. Should people no longer marry because of that? It is a remarkable thing that the degradation of people to the level of animals has become for the government an article of faith and a principle. But this does not contradict religiosity, for the deification of animals is probably the most consistent form of religion, and perhaps it will soon be necessary to speak of religious zoology instead of religious anthropology.

When I was still young and good, I already knew at least that the eggs laid in Berlin were not the eggs of the swan Leda, but goose eggs. A little later I realised that they were crocodile eggs, like, for example, the very latest egg by which, allegedly, on the proposal of the Rhine Province Assembly, the illegal restrictions of French legislation concerning high treason, etc., and crimes of officials, have been abolished. But this time, because it is a question of objective legal provisions, the hocus-pocus is so stupid that even the stupidest Rhenish lawyers have immediately seen through it. At the same time, Prussia has declared with complete naivety that publicity of court proceedings would jeopardise the prestige and credit of Prussian officials. That is an extremely frank admission. All our Rhenish scribblings about publicity and publicising suffer from a basic defect. Honest folk continually point out that these are by no means political, but merely legal, institutions, that they are a right, and not a wrong. As though that were the question! As though all the evil of these institutions did not consist precisely in the fact that they are a right! I should very much like to prove the opposite, namely, that Prussia cannot introduce publicity and publicising, for free courts and an unfree state are incompatible. Similarly, Prussia should be highly praised for its piety, for a transcendental state and a positive religion go together, just as a pocket icon does with a Russian swindler.

Bülow-Cummerow, as you will have seen from the Chinese newspapers, makes his pen flirt with his plough. Oh, this rustic coquette, who adorns herself with artificial flowers! I think that writers with this earthly position--for, after all, a position on ploughland is surely earthly--would be desirable, and even more so if in the future the plough were to think and write instead of the pen, while the pen, on the other hand, were to perform serf labour in return. Perhaps, in view of the present uniformity of the German governments, this will come to pass, but the more uniform the governments, the more multiform nowadays are the philosophers, and it is to be hoped that the multiform army will conquer the uniform one.

Ad rem, since among us, loyal, moral Germans, politica is included in formalia, whence Voltaire deduced that we have the profoundest textbooks on public law.

Therefore, as regards the matter, I found that the article "On Christian Art" which has now been transformed into "On Religion and Art, with Special Reference to Christian Art", must be entirely redone because of the tone of the Posaune, which I conscientiously followed:

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And light unto my path."
"Thy commandments make me wiser than mine enemies, For they are ever with me," and
"The Lord shall roar from Zion"

— this tone of the Posaune and the irksome constraint of the Hegelian exposition should now be replaced by a freer, and therefore more thorough exposition. In a few days, I have to go to Cologne, where I set up my new residence, for I find the proximity of the Bonn professors intolerable. Who would want to have to talk always with intellectual skunks, with people who study only for the purpose of finding new dead ends in every corner of the world!

Owing to these circumstances, therefore, I was not able, of course, to send herewith the criticism of the Hegelian philosophy of law for the next Anekdota (as it was also written for the Posaune); I promise to send the article on religious art by mid-April, if you are prepared to wait so long. This would be the more preferable for me, since I am examining the subject from a new point de vue and am giving also an epilogue de romanticis as a supplement. Meanwhile I shall most actively, to use Goethe's language, continue to work on the subject and await your decision. Be so kind as to write to me on this to Cologne, where I shall be by the beginning of next month. As I have not yet any definite domicile there, please send me the letter to Jung's address.

In the article itself I necessarily had to speak about the general essence of religion; in doing so I come into conflict with Feuerbach to a certain extent, a conflict concerning not the principle, but the conception of it. In any case religion does not gain from it.

I have heard nothing about Köppen for a long time. Have you not yet approached Christiansen in Kiel? I know him only from his history of Roman law, which, however, contains also something about religion and philosophy in general. He seems to have an excellent mind, although when he comes to actual philosophising, his writing is horribly incomprehensible and formal. Perhaps, he has now begun to write plain German. Otherwise he seems to be à la hauteur des principes.

I shall be very pleased to see you here on the Rhine.



I have just had a letter from Bauer in which he writes that he wants to travel northwards again, owing to the silly idea that there he will be better able to conduct his proceedings against the Prussian Government. Berlin is too close to Spandau. At all events, it is good that Bauer is not allowing the matter to take its own course. As I have learned here from my future brother-in-law, aristocrat comme il faut, people in Berlin are particularly vexed at Bauer's bonne foi.

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

Letters of Marx and Engels 1842

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge
In Dresden

Written: Bonn, April 23 [1842];
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pp. 387-388;
Publisher: International Publishers (1975);
First Published: journal Documente des Socialismus, Bd I, 1902;
Translated: Clemens Dutt;
Transcribed: S. Ryan.

Dear Friend,

You must not become impatient if my contributions are delayed for a few days more – but only for a few days. Bauer will probably inform you orally that this month, owing to all kinds of external muddles, it has been almost impossible for me to work.

Nevertheless, I have almost finished. I shall send you four articles: 1) “On Religious Art,” 2) “On the Romantics,” 3) “The Philosophical Manifesto of the Historical School of Law” 4) "The Positivist Philosophers", whom I have teased a little. These articles, in content, are connected.

You will receive the article “On Religious Art” as a duodecimo extract, for the work has steadily grown into almost book dimensions, and I have been drawn into all kinds of investigations which will still take a rather long time.

I have abandoned my plan to settle in Cologne, since life there is too noisy for me, and an abundance of good friends does not lead to better philosophy.

I have sent the Rheinische Zeitung a long article on our last Rhine Province Assembly with a light introduction about the Preussische Staats-Zeiutng. In connection with the debates on the press I have returned again to the question of censorship and freedom of the press, examining it from other viewpoints.

Thus, Bonn remains my residence for the time being; after all, it would be a pity if no one remained here for the holy men to get angry with.

Yesterday Hasse came from Greifswald, in regard to whom the only thing I have admired is his enormous top-boots, like those of a village priest. He spoke, too, just like the top-boot of a village priest, he knew nothing about anything, is preparing to publish a book in several volumes about the boring Anselm of Canterbury, on which he has been working for ten years. He thinks that the present critical trend is a moment which must be overcome. He speaks of religiosity as a product of life experience, by which he probably means his successful rearing of children and his fat belly, for fat bellies undergo all sorts of experiences and, as Kant says: if it goes behind it becomes an F., if it goes upwards it becomes religious inspiration. What a man this pious Hasse is with his religious constipation!

We were very much amused with what you wrote in your letters about Vatke’s lack of a “full heart.” This super-clever, diplomatic Vatke, who would so much like to be the greatest critic and the greatest believer who always knows everything better than anyone else, this Vatke has for one party no heart, and for the other no head. Hic jacet Vatke – a notable example of what the passion for cards and religious music leads to.

Fichte, who has wrapped himself in the mantle of his unpopularity, has spread the half-ambiguous rumour that he has been invited to Tubingen. The faculty is not meeting his wish to be held fast by an increase in salary.

Sack has made a trip to Berlin with the most pious intentions to speculate on the insanity of his brother and to get himself appointed in his place.

Nothing but wars and debauchery, says Thersites, and if the university here cannot be reproached with wars, at least there is no lack of debauchery.

Do you not want to carry out your plan of a trip to the Rhine?



Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

Letters of Marx and Engels 1842

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

in Dresden

Written: Trier, July 9 [1842];
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pg 398-391;
Publisher: International Publishers (1975);
First Published: Documente des Socialismus, Bd I, 1902;
Translated: Clemens Dutt;
Transcribed: S. Ryan.

Dear Friend,

If events had not apologised for me, I would have abandoned any attempt at an excuse. It stands to reason that I regard it as an honour to contribute to the Anekdota and only unpleasant extraneous circumstances prevented me from sending you my articles.

From April to the present day I have been able to work for a total of perhaps only four weeks at most, and that not without interruption. I had to spend six weeks in Trier in connection with another death. The rest of the time was split up and poisoned by the most unpleasant family controversies. My family laid obstacles in my way, which, despite the prosperity of the family, put me for the moment in very serious straits. I cannot possibly burden you with the story of these private scandals; it is truly fortunate that scandals of a public nature make it impossible for a man of character to be irritated over private ones. During this time I was writing for the Rheinische Zeitung, to which I should long ago have sent my articles, etc., etc. I would have informed you long before about these intermezzos, had I not hoped from day to day to be able to complete my work. In a few day's time I am going to Bonn and shall not touch a thing until I have finished the contributions for the Anekdota. Of course, in this state of affairs I was not able to elaborate in particular the article "On Art and Religion" as thoroughly as the subject requires.

Incidentally, do not imagine that we on the Rhine live in a political Eldorado. The most unswerving persistence is required to push through a newspaper like the Rheinische Zeitung. My second article on the Provincial Assembly, dealing with the question of clerical discords, was deleted by the censor. I showed in this article how the defenders of the state adopted a clerical standpoint, and the defenders of the church a state standpoint. This incident is all the more unpleasant for the Rheinische Zeitung because the stupid Cologne Catholics fell into the trap, and defence of the Archbishop would have attracted subscribers. Incidentally, you can hardly imagine how contemptible are oppressors and at the same time how stupidly they dealt with the orthodox blockhead. But the matter has had a successful ending: before the entire world, Prussia has kissed the Pope's mule, and our government automatons walk the streets without blushing. The Rheinische Zeitung has now put in an appeal about the article. In general, the fight for the Rheinische Zeitung is beginning. In the Kölnische Zeitung, the author of the leading articles, Hermes, – ex-editor of the former political Hannoverzeitung, has taken the side of Christianity against the philosophical newspapers in Königsberg and Cologne. If the censor does not again play some trick, a reply from me will be published in the next Supplement. The religious party is the most dangerous in the Rhine area. The opposition has of late become too accustomed to opposing within the church.

Do you know any details about the so called "Free"? The article in the Kölnische Zeitung was, to say the least, undiplomatic. It is one thing to declare for emancipation--that is honest; it is another thing to start off by shouting it out as propaganda; that sounds like bragging and irritates the philistine. And then, reflect on who are these "Free", a man like Meyen, etc. But, at any rate, if there is a suitable city for such ventures, it is Berlin.

I shall probably be drawn into a prolonged polemic with the Cologne Hermes. No matter how ignorant, shallow and trivial the man is, thanks precisely to these qualities he is the mouthpiece of philistinism and I intend not to let him go on chattering. Mediocrity should no longer enjoy the privilege of immunity. Hermes will also try to saddle me with "The Free", about whom, unfortunately, I do not know the slightest thing for sure. It is fortunate that Bauer is in Berlin. He, at least, will not allow any "stupidities" to be committed, and the only thing that disquiets me in this affair (if it is true and not merely a deliberate newspaper fabrication), is the probability that the insipidity of the Berliners will make their good cause ridiculous and that in a serious matter they will not be able to avoid various "stupidities". Anyone who has spent as much time among these people as I have will find that this anxiety is not without foundation.

How are you getting on with your Jahrbücher?

As you are at the centre of philosophical and theological news, I should like nothing better than to learn something from you about the present situation. True, the movement of the hour-hand is visible here, but not that of the minute-hand.

Old Marheineke seems to have considered it necessary to provide the whole world with documentary proof of the complete impotence of the old Hegelianism. His vote is a disgraceful vote.

Will the Saxons in this Assembly not denounce the censorship? Fine constitutionalism! Hoping to hear from you soon,



Rutenberg is a weight on my conscience. I brought him on to the editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung, but he is absolutely incapable. Sooner or later he will be shown the door.

What do you advise if the article on the Archbishop is not stamped for publication by the high police censorship? It must appear in print because of 1) our Provincial Assembly, 2) the government, 3) the Christian state. Should I, perhaps, send it to Hoffmann and Campe? It does not seem to me suitable for the Anekdota.

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

Letters of Marx and Engels 1842

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge
In Dresden

Written: Cologne, November 30 1842;
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pp. 393-395;
Publisher: International Publishers 1975;
First Published: journal Documente des Socialismus, Bd I, 1902;
Translated: Clemens Dutt;
Transcribed: S. Ryan.

Dear Friend,

My letter today will be confined to the “confusion” with “The Free.”

As you already know, every day the censorship mutilates us mercilessly, so that frequently the newspaper is hardly able to appear. Because of this, a mass of articles by “The Free” have perished. But I have allowed myself to throw out as many articles as the censor, for Meyen and Co. sent us heaps of scribblings, pregnant with revolutionising the world and empty of ideas, written in a slovenly style and seasoned with a little atheism and communism (which these gentlemen have never studied). Because of Rutenberg’s complete lack of critical sense, independence and ability, Meyen and Co. had become accustomed to regard the Rheinische Zeitung as their own, docile organ, but I believed I could not any longer permit this watery torrent of words in the old manner. This loss of a few worthless creations of “freedom,” a freedom which strives primarily “to be free from all thought,” was therefore the first reason for a darkening of the Berlin sky.

Rutenberg, who had already been removed from the German department (where his work consisted mainly in inserting punctuation marks) and to whom, only on my application the French department was provisionally transferred – Rutenberg, thanks to the monstrous stupidity of our state providence, has had the luck to be regarded as dangerous, although he was not a danger to anyone but the Rheinische Zeitung and himself. A categorical demand was made for the removal of Rutenberg. Prussian providence, this despotisme prussien, le plus hypocrite, le plus fourbe, spared the manager an unpleasant step, and the new martyr, who has already learned to display consciousness of martyrdom in facial expression, behaviour and speech with some virtuosity, is exploiting this turn of events. He writes to all the corners of the earth, he writes to Berlin that he is the banished principle of the Rheinische Zeitung, which is adopting a different position in relation to the government. It goes without saying that this also evoked demonstrations from the heroes of freedom on the banks of the Spree, “whose muddy water washes souls and dilutes tea.”

Finally, on top of this came your and Herwegh’s attitude to “The Free” to cause the cup of the angry Olympians to overflow.

A few days ago I received a letter from little Meyen, whose favourite category is, most appropriately, what ought to be. In this letter I am taken to task over my attitude 1) to you and Herwegh, 2) to “The Free,” 3) to the new editorial principle and the position in relation to the government. I replied at once and frankly expressed my opinion about the defects of their writings, which find freedom in a licentious, sansculotte-like, and at the same time convenient, form, rather than in a free, i.e., independent and profound, content. I demanded of them less vague reasoning, magniloquent phrases and self-satisfied self-adoration, and more definiteness, more attention to the actual state of affairs, more expert knowledge. I stated that I regard it as inappropriate, indeed even immoral, to smuggle communist and socialist doctrines, hence a new world outlook, into incidental theatrical criticisms, etc., and that I demand a quite different and more thorough discussion of communism, if it should be discussed at all. I requested further that religion should be criticised in the framework of criticism of political conditions rather than that political conditions should be criticised in the framework of religion, since this is more in accord with the nature of a newspaper and the educational level of the reading public; for religion in itself is without content, it owes its being not to heaven but to the earth, and with the abolition of distorted reality, of which it is the theory, it will collapse of itself. Finally, I desired that, if there is to be talk about philosophy, there should be less trifling with the label “atheism” (which reminds one of children, assuring everyone who is ready to listen to them that they are not afraid of the bogy man), and that instead the content of philosophy should be brought to the people. Voilà tout.

Yesterday I received an insolent letter from Meyen, who had not yet received this work and who now questions me on every possible thing: 1) I should state on whose side I am in their quarrel with Bauer, about which I know absolutely nothing; 2) why did I not allow this and that to go through; I am threatened with being accused of conservatism; 3) the newspaper should not temporise, it must act in the most extreme fashion, i.e., it should calmly yield to the police and the censorship instead of holding on to its positions in a struggle, imperceptible to the public but nevertheless stubborn and in accordance with its duty. Finally, an infamous report is given of Herwegh’s betrothal, etc., etc.

All this is evidence of a terrible dose of the vanity which does not understand how, in order to save a political organ, one can sacrifice a few Berlin windbags, and thinks of nothing at all except the affairs of its clique. Moreover, this little man strutted like a peacock, solemnly laid his hand on his breast and on his dagger, let fall something about “his” party, threatened me with his displeasure, declaimed à la Marquis Posa, only somewhat worse, etc.

Since we now have to put up from morning to night with the most horrible torments of the censorship, ministerial communications, complaints of the Oberpräsident, accusations in the Provincial Assembly, howls from shareholders, etc., etc., and I remain at my post only because I consider it my duty to prevent, to the best of my ability, those in power from carrying out their plans, you can imagine that I am somewhat irritated and that I replied rather sharply to Meyen. It is possible, therefore, that “The Free” will withdraw for a while. Therefore I earnestly beg that you yourself help us by contributing articles, and also ask your friends to do the same.



Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

Letters of Marx and Engels 1843

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

in Dresden

Written: Cologne, January 25 [1843];
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pg 396-398;
Publisher: International Publishers (1975);
First Published: journal Documente des Socialismus, Bd I, 1902;
Translated: Clemens Dutt;
Transcribed: S. Ryan.


You probably already know that the Rheinische Zeitung has been banned, suspended, and is under sentence of death. The termination of its life has been fixed for the end of March. During this period of grace before execution, the newspaper is being subjected to a double censorship. Our censor, a decent fellow, is under the censorship of von Gerlach, Regierungspräsident here, a passively obedient blockhead. When ready, our newspaper has to be presented to the police to be sniffed at, and if the police nose smells anything un-Christian or un-Prussian, the newspaper is not allowed to appear.

The ban resulted from the coincidence of several special causes: its wide circulation; my own "Justification of the Correspondent from the Mosel," in which very highly placed statesmen were thoroughly exposed; our stubborn refusal to name the person who sent us the text of the law on marriage; the convocation of the provincial estates, which we could influence by our agitation; finally, our criticism of the ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung, and on the Deutsche Jahrbücher.

The ministerial rescript, which will appear in the newspapers in a day or so, is if possible more feeble than the previous ones. The following are given as motives:

1) The lie that we had no permission, as though in Prussia, where not even a dog can exist without its police number, the Rheinische Zeitung could have appeared even a single day without fulfilling the official conditions for existence.

2) The censorship instruction of December 24 aimed at establishing a censorship of tendency. By tendency it meant the illusion, the romantic belief in possessing a freedom which one would not allow oneself to possess realiter. Whereas the rationalist Jesuitism which prevailed under the former government had a stern, rational physiognomy, this romantic Jesuitism demands imagination as its main requisite. The censored press should learn to live under the illusion of freedom, and of that magnificent man who majestically permitted this illusion. But whereas the censorship instruction wanted censorship of tendency, now the ministerial rescript explains that in Frankfurt a ban, suppression has been invented for a thoroughly bad tendency. It states that the censorship exists only in order to censor eccentricities of a good tendency, although the instruction said precisely the opposite – namely, that eccentricities of a good tendency are to be permitted.

3) The old balderdash about a bad frame of mind, empty theory, hey-diddle-diddle, etc.

Nothing has surprised me. You know what my opinion of the censorship instruction has been from the outset. I see here only a consequence; in the suppression of the Rheinische Zeitung I see a definite advance of political consciousness, and for that reason I am resigning. Moreover, I had begun to be stifled in that atmosphere. It is a bad thing to have to perform menial duties even for the sake of freedom; to fight with pinpricks, instead of with clubs. I have become tired of hypocrisy, stupidity, gross arbitrariness, and of our bowing and scraping, dodging, and hair-splitting over words. Consequently, the government has given me back my freedom.

As I wrote to you once before, I have fallen out with my family and, as long as my mother is alive, I have no right to my property. Moreover, I am engaged to be married and I cannot, must not, and will not, leave Germany without my fiancée. If, therefore, the possibility arose that I could edit the Deutscher Bote with Herwegh in Zurich, I should like to do so. I can do nothing more in Germany. Here one makes a counterfeit of oneself. If, therefore, you will give me advice and information on this matter, I shall be very grateful.

I am working on several things, which here in Germany will find neither censor nor bookseller, nor, in general, any possible existence. I await an early reply from you.



Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

Letters of Marx and Engels 1843

Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge

in Dresden

Written: Cologne, March 13 [1843];
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pp. 398-399;
Publisher: International Publishers (1975);
First Published: journal Documente des Socialismus, Bd I, 1902;
Translated: Clemens Dutt;
Transcribed: S. Ryan.

Dear Friend,

As soon as it is at all possible I shall set my course straight for Leipzig. I have just had a talk with Stucke, who seems to have been greatly impressed by most of the statesmen in Berlin. This Dr. Stucke is an extremely good-natured man.

As for our plan, as a preliminary I will tell you of my own conviction. When Paris was taken, some people proposed Napoleon’s son with a regency, others Bernadotte, while yet others suggested that Louis Philippe should rule. But Talleyrand replied: “Louis XVIII or Napoleon. That is a principle, anything else is intrigue.”

In the same way I could call almost anything else, other than Strasbourg (or at any rate Switzerland), not a principle, but an intrigue. Books of more than 20 printed sheets are not books for the people. The most that one can venture on there are monthly issues.

Even if the publication of the Deutsche Jahrbücher were again permitted, at the very best we could achieve a poor copy of the deceased publication, and nowadays that is no longer enough. On the other hand, Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher – that would be a principle, an event of consequence, an undertaking over which one can be enthusiastic. It goes without saying that I am only expressing my own unauthoritative opinion, and for the rest submit myself to the eternal powers of fate.

Finally – newspaper affairs compel me to close – let me tell you also about my personal plans. As soon as we had concluded the contract, I would travel to Kreuznach, marry and spend a month or more there at the home of my wife’s mother, so that before starting work we should have at any rate a few articles ready. The more so since I could, if necessary, spend a few weeks in Dresden, for all the preliminaries, the announcement of the marriage, etc., take considerable time.

I can assure you, without the slightest romanticism, that I am head over heels in love, and indeed in the most serious way. I have been engaged for more than seven years, and for my sake my fiancée has fought the most violent battles, which almost undermined her health, partly against her pietistic aristocratic relatives, for whom “the Lord in heaven” and the “lord in Berlin” are equally objects of religious cult, and partly against my own family, in which some priests and other enemies of mine have ensconced themselves. For years, therefore, my fiancée and I have been engaged in more unnecessary and exhausting conflicts than many who are three times our age and continually talk of their “life experience” (the favourite phrase of our Juste-Milieu).

Apropos, we have received an anonymous reply to Prutz’s report against the new Tübingen Jahrbücher. I recognised Schwegler by the handwriting. You are described as an over-excited agitator, Feuerbach as a frivolous mocker, and Bauer as a man of wholly uncritical mind! The Swabians! The Swabians! That will be a fine concoction!

On the subject of your very fine, truly popular written complaint, we have inserted a superficial article by Pfützner – half of which, moreover, I have deleted – for lack of a better criticism and of time. P. P. does not go sufficiently deep into the matter and the little capers he cuts tend to turn him into a laughing-stock instead of making his enemy ridiculous.


I have arranged for the books for Fleischer. Your correspondence published at the beginning is interesting. Bauer on Ammon is delightful. The “Sorrows and Joys of the Theological Mind” seems to me a not very successful rendering of the section of the Phenomenology: “The Unfortunate Consciousness.” Feuerbach’s aphorisms seem to me incorrect only in one respect, that he refers too much to nature and too little to politics. That, however, is the only alliance by which present-day philosophy can become truth. But things will probably go as they did in the sixteenth century, when the nature enthusiasts were accompanied by a corresponding number of state enthusiasts. I was most of all pleased by the criticism of the good Literarische Zeitung.

You have probably already read Bauer’s self-defence. In my opinion, he has never before written so well.

As far as the Rheinische Zeitung is concerned I would not remain under any conditions; it is impossible for me to write under Prussian censorship or to live in the Prussian atmosphere.

I have just been visited by the chief of the Jewish community here, who has asked me for a petition for the Jews to the Provincial Assembly, and I am willing to do it. However much I dislike the Jewish faith, Bauer’s view seems to me too abstract. The thing is to make as many breaches as possible in the Christian state and to smuggle in as much as we can of what is rational. At least, it must be attempted – and the embitterment grows with every petition that is rejected with protestations.


Letter from Marx to Carl Friedrich Bachman - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to Carl Friedrich Bachman

Correspondence of Karl Marx 1841

Letter from Marx to Carl Friedrich Bachman

in Jena

Written: April 6, 1841;
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pg 379;
Publisher: International Publishers (1975);
First Published: Archiv für die Geschichte des Sozialismus und der Arbeiterbewegung, 1926;
Translated: Clemens Dutt;
Transcribed: S. Ryan.

Dear Sir,

I send you herewith a dissertation for a doctor's degree on the difference between the natural philosophy of Democritus and the natural philosophy of Epicurus, and enclose the litterae petitoriae, curriculum vitae, my leaving certificates from the universities of Bonn and Berlin, and, finally, the legal fees of twelve friedrichsdors. At the same time, in the event of my work being found satisfactory by the faculty, I humbly beg you to hasten as much as possible the conferring of the doctor's degree since, on the one hand, I can only remain a few weeks longer in Berlin and, on the other hand, external circumstances make it highly desirable for me to obtain the doctor's degree before my departure.

I should like the leaving certificates to be returned, as they are originals.

I remain, Sir, with great respect,

Your most devoted servant,

Karl Heinrich Marx

Letter from Marx to Dagobert Oppenheim - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to Dagobert Oppenheim

Letters of Marx and Engels 1841

Letter from Marx to Dagobert Oppenheim

In Cologne

Written: [Bonn, approximately August 25, 1842];
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pg 391-393;
Publisher: International Publishers (1975);
First Published: Rheinische Briefe und Akten zur Geschichte der politischen Bewegung 1830-1850, 1. Bd., Essen, 1919;
Translated: Clemens Dutt;
Transcribed: S. Ryan.

Dear Oppenheim,

I enclose a manuscript from Ruge. No. 1 that is not usable, but No. 2, on the state of affairs in Saxony, you will probably be able to use.

Send me Mayer's article in the Rheinische Zeitung on the system of local government and, if possible, all Hermes' articles against the Jews. I will then send you as soon as possible an article which, even if it does not finally settle the latter question, will nevertheless make it take another course.

Will the article on Hanover go through? At least try to make a small start with it soon. It is not so much a matter of this article itself as of a series of useful articles from that quarter which I can then promise you. The author of the article wrote to me yesterday:

"I do not think my attacks on the opposition will do harm to sales of the newspaper in Hanover; on the contrary, people there am fairly generally so far advanced that the views I put forward will be accepted as correct."

If it is in accord with your views on the subject, send me also the Juste-Milieu article for criticism. The subject must be discussed dispassionately. In the first place, quite general theoretical arguments about the state political system are more suitable for purely scientific organs than for newspapers. The correct theory must be made clear and developed within the concrete conditions and on the basis of the existing state of things.

However, since it has now happened, two things should be borne in mind. Every time we come into conflict with other newspapers, the matter can, sooner or later, be used against us. Such a clear demonstration against the foundations of the present state system can result in an intensification of the censorship and even the suppression of the newspaper. It was in this way that the South-German Tribüne came to an end. But in any case we arouse the resentment of many, indeed the majority, of the free-thinking practical people who have undertaken the laborious task of winning freedom step by step, within the constitutional framework, while we, from our comfortable armchair of abstractions, show them their contradictions. True, the author of the Juste-Milieu article invites criticism; but 1) we all know how governments respond to such challenges; 2) it is not enough for someone to express readiness to hear criticism, for which in any case his permission will not be asked; the question is whether he has selected the appropriate arena. Newspapers only begin to be the appropriate arena for such questions when these have become questions of the real state, practical questions.

I consider it essential that the Rheinische Zeitung should not be guided by its contributors, but that, on the contrary, it should guide them. Articles of the kind mentioned afford the best opportunity for indicating a definite plan of operations to the contributors. A single author cannot have a view of the whole in the way the newspaper can.

If my views do not coincide with yours, I would--if you do not find it inappropriate-give this criticism to the Anekdota, as a supplement to my article against Hegel's theory of constitutional monarchy. But I think it is better when the newspaper is its own doctor.

Hoping for an early reply from you,



Letter from Marx to Oscar Ludwig Bernhard Wolf - Karl Marx

Letters: Letter from Marx to OSCAR LUDWIG BERNHARD WOLFF

Letters of Marx and Engels 1841

Letter from Marx to Oscar Ludwig Bernhard Wolf

in Jena

Written: Berlin, April 7 [1841]
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pg 380.
Publisher: International Publishers (1975)
First Published: the yearlyArchiv für die Geschichte des Sozialismus und der Arbeiterbewegung, 1926
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcribed: S. Ryan
HTML Markup: S. Ryan

Dear Herr Professor,

In expressing my most sincere thanks for your great kindness in fulfilling my request, I take the liberty of informing you that I have just sent my dissertation, together with the accompanying material, to the faculty of philosophy, and I beg you, in accordance with your kind offer, to be so good as to hasten the dispatch of the diploma. I thought that I had already made too great a claim on your kindness to dare to trouble you still further by sending my dissertation direct to you.

Assuring you of my most sincere gratitude and highest respect,

I remain

Yours most devotedly,

Karl Heinrich Marx

Marginal Notes to the Accusations of the Ministerial Rescript - Karl Marx

Marginal Notes to the Accusations of the Ministerial Rescript by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Marginal Notes to the Accusations of the Ministerial Rescript [132]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 359
Written: on February 12, 1843
First published: in the book Rheinische Briefe und Akten zur Geschichte der politischen Bewegung 1830-1850, 1. Bd., Essen, 1919.


“From the outset, it” (the Rheinische Zeitung)"pursued such a “reprehensible course” etc. “Unmistakably,” it is stated, “the intention continued to prevail in the newspaper to attack the basis of the state constitution, to develop theories which aim at undermining the monarchical principle, to maliciously cast suspicion on the actions of the government in the eyes of the public, to incite some estates of the nation against others, to arouse dissatisfaction with the existing legal conditions, and to promote very hostile trends against friendly powers. Its views on alleged defects of administration, apart from the fact that they were mostly without foundation and largely devoid of thoroughness and expert knowledge, were not couched in a serious, calm and dignified tone, but marked by malicious hostility towards the state and its administrative forms and organs”.

It is obvious that a trend does not become reprehensible merely because the government declares it to be so. Even the Copernican system of the universe was not only found reprehensible by the supreme authority of the time, but was actually condemned. Furthermore, it is everywhere the law that the accuser should provide the proof. Finally, there is attributed to the Rheinische Zeitung the “unmistakable intention” of committing the crimes laid to its charge. But an intention only becomes recognisable, and the more so unmistakable, when it has been realised in acts.

But if even for a moment we were to concede (what, however, we expressly deny) that all the accusations of the ministerial rescript were well founded, the result nevertheless would be that in their present indefinite and ambiguous formulation they would provide just as much and just as little reason for a ban on any newspaper whatever as for a ban on the Rheinische Zeitung.

First of all, it is said that there prevailed in the Rheinische Zeitung “the unmistakable intention to attack the basis of the state constitution”. It is well known, however, that there unmistakably prevails a great diversity of opinion on the Prussian constitution and its basis. Some deny that the basis has any constitution, others that the constitution has any basis.

One view is held by Stein, Hardenberg, Schön, another one by Rochow, Arnim, and Eichhorn. Hegel in his day believed that he had laid the basis for the Prussian constitution in his philosophy of law, and the government and the German public concurred in this belief. One way by which the government proved this was the official dissemination of his writings; the public, however, did so by accusing him of being the philosopher of the Prussian state, as one can read in the old Leipzig conversational dictionary .133 What Hegel believed at that time, Stahl believes today. In 1831, by a special order of the government, Hegel lectured on the philosophy of law.

In 1830, the Staats-Zeitung declared that Prussia was a monarchy surrounded by republican institutions. Today it says Prussia is a monarchy surrounded by Christian institutions.

In view of this great diversity of opinion on the Prussian constitution and its basis, it seems natural that the Rh. Z. also should have its opinion, which of course may differ from the current view of the government, but which nevertheless can quote in its favour both Prussian history and many elements of the present-day life of the state as definitively highly placed authorities.

Far from intending to attack the basis of the Prussian constitution, therefore, the Rh. Z., on the contrary, was convinced that it was attacking only deviations from this basis.

In regard to the banning of the Rh. Z, an official article in the Allgemeine Königsburger Zeitung described Prussia as a state of liberal sovereignty. This is a definition which is not to he found in Prussian law and allows of all possible interpretations.,

“Liberal sovereignty” can be understood in two ways: either that freedom is merely the personal frame of mind of the King, and therefore his personal quality, or that freedom is the spirit of sovereignty, and is therefore realised, or at least should be realised, also through free institutions and laws. In the former case we have a despotisme éclairé [Enlightened despotism] and the person of the prince is contrasted to the state as a whole as to a mindless and unfree material. In the latter case, and this was the view of the Rh. Z., one does not confine the prince within the bounds of his personality, but regards the whole state as his body, so that the institutions are the organs in which he lives and acts, and the laws are the eyes by which he sees.

Further it is said to have been the intention of the Rh. Z. “to develop theories which aim at undermining the monarchical principle”.

Once again, the question arises: What is to be understood by the “monarchical principle"? The Rh. Z, for instance, maintained that the predominance of distinctions between the estates, one-sided bureaucracy, censorship, etc., contradicted the monarchical principle, and it has always tried to prove its assertions, and has not put them forward as mere ideas. In general, however, the Rh. Z. has never given special preference to a special form of state. It was concerned for a moral and rational commonweal; it regarded the demands of such a commonweal as demands which would have to be realised and could be realised under every form of state. Hence it did not treat the monarchical principle as a principle apart; it treated monarchy rather as the realisation of the state principle in general. If this was an error, it was not an error of underestimation, but of overestimation.

Further, the Rh. Z. has never tried maliciously to cast suspicion on the actions of the government in the eyes of the public. On the contrary, it is out of goodwill that it has tried to cast suspicion on those measures of the government itself that are contrary to the spirit of the people. Furthermore, it has never abstractly counter-posed the government to the people; on the contrary, it has considered defects of the state to be just as much defects of the people as of the government.

As far as thoroughness and expert knowledge are concerned, as also the tone of the Rh. Z, at least not a single newspaper in Germany has shown more thoroughness or expert knowledge. As for its tone, it is truly serious, calm and dignified, compared with the rowdy tone of the servile (conservative) journals. In this respect, the Rh. Z. has been accused, not unjustly, of unpopularity, of being too scientific in its form, which directly contradicts the ministry’s accusation.

No more has the Rh. Z. tried to incite some estates of the nation against others; on the contrary, it has tried to incite every estate against its own egoism and limitations, it has everywhere brought civic reason to bear against estate unreason, and human love against estate hatred. Moreover, if it has sinned in this respect, it has only committed a sin that is sanctioned by the law and usage of the Rhine Province.

The reproach of having wanted to “arouse dissatisfaction with the existing legal conditions” cannot in this indefinite formulation even he regarded as a reproach.

Even the government has tried to arouse dissatisfaction with the existing legal conditions, for example with the old Prussian marriage situation. All reform and revision of the law, all progress, rests on such dissatisfaction.

Since legal development is not possible without development of the laws, and since development of the laws is impossible without criticism of them, and since every criticism of the laws sets the mind and therefore also the heart of the citizen at variance with the existing laws, and since this variance is experienced as dissatisfaction, it follows that a loyal participation of the press in the development of the state is impossible if it is not permitted to arouse dissatisfaction with the existing legal conditions.

The reproach that the Rh. Z. persecutes loyal organs by unworthy ridicule, which is obviously intended to refer to the newspaper controversy, cannot provide grounds for a ban. From all sides, the Rh. Z. has been denounced, has had mud cast at it, and been attacked. It was its duty to defend itself. Moreover, there is no official press.

The Rh. Z. has not insulted foreign powers, but has only condemned their insults against Germany. In this respect it has merely pursued a national policy. As far as the states of the German Confederation are concerned, it has only expressed the view of the majority of the representatives of the people in these states.

As regards religion, the newspaper has treated it in accordance with Article II of the 1819 censorship decree, that is to say, it has opposed religious truths being fanatically transplanted into politics and the confusion of ideas arising therefrom.


If the Rh. Z. had wanted to promote systematic opposition to the government, it would have had to employ entirely opposite tactics.

It would have flattered the prejudices of the Rhine Province, instead of opposing them. Above all, it would have paid homage to its religious prejudices and have exploited the antithesis between North-German and South-German culture after the manner of the ultramontane, instead of introducing North-German culture in the Rhine Province.

It would have based itself on French, and not German, theories.

It would have put forward the provincial spirit with its special limitations in opposition to the idea of state unity; hence, like Görres, it would above all have taken the provincial assemblies under its protection.

It would have considered that all that was good came from the estates while all that was bad came from the government, as ordinary liberalism does. In its criticism of the Rhine estates it would not have laid stress on the general wisdom of the government in contrast to the private egoism of the estates, as it has done in contrast to many Rhine a liberals. Lastly, it would have joined in the chorus of other newspapers and demanded extended rights for the commissions, instead of describing such a demand as contrary to the interests of the state.


Finally, it is strangely exaggerating to speak of the malice of the whole tendency, since in that case

1. the fight for the Customs Union,
2. for Prussia in the matter of the Russian cartel,
3. for Prussian hegemony,
4. the constant reference to Prussia as the progressive state,
5. the praise of Prussian popular institutions, such as the army, administration, etc.,

would likewise be ill-intentioned.

Neither has the Rh. Z. one-sidedly opposed the bureaucracy. On the contrary, it has brought the influence of the latter to bear:

1. against Bülow-Cummerow,
2. against the romantic trend.

On the contrary, it was the only liberal newspaper which recognised also the good aspect of the bureaucracy, as well as the good aspect of the old Prussian legislation.

Thus, the Rh. Z. alone has defended the main principle of the new divorce law, in contradiction to almost all other newspapers.

Thus, lastly, it was the first and almost the sole newspaper to welcome the Cabinet Order on corrections as a progressive step.

We cite these examples only to prove that the Rh. Z. has not conducted a systematic, abstract opposition, but has always asserted only what it was convinced was rational, from whatever side it proceeded.


On the Commissions of the Estates in Prussia - Karl Marx

On the Commissions of the Estates in Prussia by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

The Supplement to Nos. 335 and 336 of The Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung on the Commissions of the Estates in Prussia [110]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 292.
Written: on December 10, 19 and 30, 1842
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung Nos. 345, 354 and 365, Dec. 11, 20 and 31, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 345, December 11, 1842

Cologne, December 10. In the Supplement to No. 335 of the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung there is a not uninteresting essay on the commissions of the estates in Prussia. Since we wish to criticise it, we must preface our remarks by stressing a simple principle which, however, is often overlooked in a passionate party controversy. The presentation of a state institution is not the state institution itself. Hence a polemic against this presentation is not a polemic against the state institution. The conservative press, which continually reminds us that the view held by the critical press should be rejected as being merely an individual opinion and a distortion of reality, continually forgets that it itself is not the object in question, but only an opinion on that object, and that therefore to combat it is not always to combat that object. Every object that is made a matter for praise or blame in the press becomes a literary object, hence an object for literary discussion.
What makes the press the most powerful lever for promoting culture and the intellectual education of the people is precisely the fact that it transforms the material struggle into an ideological struggle, the struggle of flesh and blood into a struggle of minds, the struggle of need, desire, empiricism into a struggle of theory, of reason, of form.
The essay in question reduces the arguments against the institution of the commissions of the estates to two main heads, to arguments against their composition and arguments against their purpose.
At the outset we must condemn as a basic logical defect that the composition has been the first object of discussion, the examination of the purpose being reserved for a subsequent article. The composition cannot be anything but the external mechanism, the guiding and regulating soul of which lies in its purpose. But who would think of judging the expediency of a machine’s composition before examining and ascertaining its purpose? It could be that the composition of the commissions is open to criticism because it corresponds to their purpose, inasmuch as this purpose itself cannot be recognised as a true purpose. It could also be that the composition of the commissions is worthy of recognition because it does not correspond to their purpose, going beyond the latter. Hence this order of the presentation is an initial mistake, but one which vitiates the whole presentation.
On almost all sides, the essay states, the complaint has been made with remarkable unanimity that
“predominantly only landed property has been taken into account in connection with the right of representation in the estates."
In opposition to this, attention has been drawn, on the one hand, to the progress of industry and, on the other hand, “with still greater emphasis” to intelligence and “its right to participate in the representation of the estates”.
By the basic law on the provincial assemblies of the estates, landed property is made the condition for estate membership, a provision which was logically continued in regard to the commissions of the estates formed of members of the provincial assemblies. Thus, although landed property is the general condition for participating in the right of estate representation, it is by no means the sole criterion. Confusion of those two essentially different principles, however, underlay
“to a great extent the lively objections which have been raised against the composition of the commissions of the estates”.
Landownership represents all estates. This fact the author admits. He adds, however, that it is not simply landownership as such, not abstract landownership, but landownership under certain secondary circumstances, landownership of a particular kind. Landownership is the general condition for estate representation, but it is not the sole condition.
We fully agree with the author when he asserts that the additional conditions essentially alter the general principle of representation through landownership. At the same time, however, we must declare that opponents who consider that the general principle is already too restricted cannot by any means be refuted by proof that this principle, which is restricted in itself, has been retarded as still not restricted enough, but as necessarily requiring that further restrictions alien to its nature should be added to it. Apart from the very general requirements of an unblemished reputation and a minimum age of thirty years — the former being, on the one hand, self-evident and, on the other hand, open to indefinite interpretation — there are the following special conditions:
“1. Ten years’ uninterrupted landownership; 2. membership of a Christian church; 3. possession of land formerly held directly under le emperor for the first estate; 4. possession of property entailing imperial knighthood for the second estate; 5. a magistracy or dvil profession for the urban estate; 6. self-management of landed property as the main occupation for the fourth estate."
These are not conditions which arise from the essence of landownership, but which, from considerations foreign to the latter, add limits that are foreign to it, restrict its essence instead of making it more general.
According to the general principle of representation through landownership, there would be no distinction between Jewish and Christian landownership, -between landownership by a lawyer and by a merchant, between landownership that is ten years old and one that is one year old. According to this general principle, all these distinctions do not exist. Hence if we ask what the author has shown, we can only reply: the restriction of the general condition of landownership by special conditions which are not part of its nature, by considerations based on the difference between the estates.
And the author admits:
“Closely connected is the complaint heard from many sides that, in regard to these commissions of the estates too, the difference between estates which belongs only to the past has been brought in again and applied as a principle of estate organisation, in alleged contradiction with the present state of our social conditions, and with the demands of the spirit of the time."
The author does not examine whether the general condition of landownership is in contradiction with representation of the estates or even makes it impossible Otherwise it could hardly have escaped him that, if the estate principle were consistently applied, a condition which forms an essential feature only of the peasant estate could not possibly be. made a general condition for the representation of the other estates, whose existence in no way depends on landownership. For the representation of the estates can only be determined by the essential difference between them, and hence not by anything which lies outside this essence. If, therefore, the principle of representation of landownership is annulled because of special estate considerations, then this principle of representation of the estates is annulled because of the general condition of landownership, and neither principle comes into its own. Furthermore, even if a difference between the estates is accepted, the author does not examine whether this difference which is presumed to exist in the institution in question characterises the estates of the past or those of the present. Instead he discusses the difference between the estates in general. It will be as little possible to eradicate it, he says,
“as to destroy the difference existing in nature between the elements and to go back to a chaotic unity”.
one could reply to the author: just as no one would think of destroying the difference between the natural elements and going back to a chaotic unity, no one would want to eradicate the difference between the estates. At the same time, however, one would have to demand of the author that he should make a more thorough study of nature and rise from the first sensuous perception of the various elements to a rational perception of the organic life of nature. Instead of the spectre of a chaotic unity, he would become aware of the spirit of a living unity. Even the elements do not persist in inert separation. They are continually being transformed into one another and this transforming alone forms the first stage of the physical life of the earth, the meteorological process. In the living organism, all trace of the different elements as such has disappeared. The difference no longer consists in the separate existence of the various elements, but in the living movement of distinct functions, which are all inspired by one and the same life, so that the very difference between them does not exist ready-made prior to this life but, on the contrary, continually arises out of this life itself and as continually vanishes within it and becomes paralysed. just a . s nature does not confine itself to the elements already present, but even at the lowest stage of its life proves that this diversity is a mere sensuous phenomenon that has no spiritual truth, so also the state, this natural realm of the spirit, must not and cannot seek and find its true essence in a fact apparent to the senses. The author, therefore, has provided only a superficial basis for the “divine order of the world” by confining himself to the difference between the estates as its final and definitive result.
But, in the author’s opinion,
“care must be taken that the people is not set in motion as a crude, inorganic mass”.
Therefore, there can be
“no question as to whether in general estates ought to exist, but only the question of establishing to what extent and in what proportion the existing estates are called upon to take part in political activity”.
The question that arises here, of course, is not to what extent the estates exist, but to what extent they ought to continue their existence right up to the highest sphere of state life. If it would be unfitting to set the people in motion as a crude, inorganic mass, it would be just as much impossible to achieve an organised movement of the people if it were resolved mechanically into rigid and abstract constituents, and an independent movement, which could only he a convulsive one, were demanded of these inorganic, forcibly established parts. The author starts out from the view that in the actual state the people exists as a crude, inorganic mass, apart from some arbitrarily seized on differences of estate. Hence he knows no organism of the state’s life itself, but only a juxtaposition of heterogeneous parts which are encompassed superficially and mechanically by the state. But let us be frank. We do not demand that in the representation of the people actually existing differences should he left out of account. On the contrary, we demand that one should proceed from the actual differences created and conditioned by the internal structure of the state, and not fall back from the actual life of the state into imaginary spheres which that life has already robbed of their significance. And now take a look at the reality of the Prussian state as it is known and obvious to everyone. The true spheres, in accordance with which the state is ruled, judged, administered, taxed, trained and schooled, the spheres in which its entire movement takes place, are the districts, rural communities, governments, provincial administrations, and military departments, but not the four categories of the estates, which are intermingled in a diverse array among these higher units and owe the distinctions between them not to life itself, but only to dossiers and registers. And those distinctions, which owing to their very essence are dissolved at every moment in the unity of the whole, are free creations of the spirit of the Prussian state, but are by no means raw materials imposed on the present time by blind natural necessity and the dissolution process of a past period! They are members but not parts, they are movements but not states [Stand], they are differences of unity but not units of difference. just as our author will not wish to assert that, for instance, the great movement by which the Prussian state changes daily into a standing army and a militia is the motion of a crude, inorganic mass, so must he not assert this of a representation of the people which is based on similar principles. We repeat once more: we demand only that the Prussian state should not break off its real state life at a sphere which should he the conscious flowering of this state life; we demand only the consistent and comprehensive implementation of the fundamental institutions of Prussia, we demand that the real organic life of the state should not be suddenly abandoned in order to sink back into unreal, mechanical, subordinated, non-state spheres of life. We demand that the state should not dissolve itself in carrying out the act that should be the supreme act of its internal unification. We shall give further criticism of the essay in question in a subsequent article.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 354, December 20, 1842

Cologne, December 19. The author wants to establish according to his point of view
“to what extent the existing estates are called upon to take part in political activity”.
As already pointed out, our author does not examine to what extent the estates presupposed by the electoral law are the existing estates, to what extent estates exist at all; on the contrary, he takes as the basis of his examination something which it should have been the main task of his investigation to prove. Hence, he goes on to argue:
“The purpose of the commissions is so clearly laid down, both in the ordinances of June 21 of this year on their formation and in the royal Cabinet Order of August 19 on their convocation to form a central commission, that there can be absolutely no doubt on the subject. According to the wording of the above-mentioned Cabinet Order, the estate advisory council in the individual provinces should be supplemented by an element of unity. In accordance with this, therefore, first of all the general purpose of the commissions of the estates is the same as that of the provincial estates, insofar as it is likewise a matter of advisory co-operation in public affairs, and especially in the work of legislation. And, on the other hand, the characteristic feature of the activity assigned to them is its centralisation. Hence, concerning the doubts which have been raised as to the composition of the commissions of the estates, what would have to be done is to prove to what extent their union in a central commission contains grounds why the elements from which they are formed cannot correspond to the purpose of their central activity. Instead of such a proof being attempted, it has merely been asserted that the composition of the commissions of the estates (which is based on the same principle as the composition of the provincial estates) may well suffice for advising on subordinate provincial interests, but not for an activity embracing the whole state. In contradiction to this were advanced the above-mentioned complaints, which, if they were well founded, would be applicable also to the provincial estates."
From the very beginning we have drawn attention to the illogicality of wanting to examine the expediency of the composition of the commissions of the estates before criticising their purpose. It was bound to happen that in an unguarded moment our author would presuppose the expediency of their “purpose” in order to be able to deduce the expediency of their “composition”. He tells us that the purpose of the commissions is clear!
Granting this clarity, this formal correctness of the “purpose”, does that even so much as touch on the content and the truth of this content? The commission, according to our author, differ from the “provincial estates” only by their “centralisation”. Hence it has to be proved, he says, “to what extent their union in a central commission contains grounds why the elements from which they are formed cannot correspond to the purpose of their central activity”.
We must reject this demand as illogical. The question that arises is not to what extent the union of the provincial estates in a central commission contains grounds why the component elements cannot correspond to their central activity. On the contrary, the question is to what extent the component elements of the provincial estates contain grounds which paralyse a true union in a real central commission, and hence also real central activity. The union cannot make the component elements impossible, but the component elements can make the union impossible. If, however, a real union, a true centralisation is presupposed, then the question of the possibility of a central activity loses all meaning, for the central activity is merely the expression, the result, the vitality of a true centralisation. A central commission in itself involves a central activity. How then does the author prove that the component elements of the provincial estates are suitable for central commissions? How, therefore, does he prove the real and not illusory existence of a central commission?
He says:
“If they” (the complaints advanced against the composition of the commissions) ,.were well founded, they would be applicable also to the provincial estates."
Of course, for ;what is asserted is precisely that these elements are not suitable for a central whole. But can the author believe that he has refuted his opponents merely by himself becoming aware of and formulating their objections?
Instead of confining himself to the statement that complaints against the composition of the commissions of the estates are complaints against the composition of the provincial estates, he ought to show to what extent objections against the provincial estates cease to be objections against the commissions of the estates. The author should not ask himself why the commissions of the estates are not in accord with a central activity, he should ask himself by what means they should he made capable of a central activity. It has been shown at some length and with concrete examples in these pages how little the provincial estates are called upon to participate in legislation (whether this participation is in the shape of advice or joint action, which can make a difference in the power but by no means in the capability of the provincial estates). Moreover, the commissions do not even arise from the provincial assemblies as moral persons; on the contrary, they arise from the provincial assemblies resolved into their mechanical component parts. It is not the Provincial Assembly which elects the commissions, but the diverse isolated parts of the Assembly, which each separately elect their deputies to the commission. This election is therefore based on a mechanical dissolution of the body of the Assembly into its individual component parts, on an itio in partes. [division into parts] Hence it is possible that not the majority, but the minority of the Assembly is represented in the commissions, for a deputy from the knightly estate, for instance can have a majority in his estate although he has no majority in the Assembly, since such a majority may in fact arise by the minority representing the knightly estate combining with representatives,. of the urban or the peasant estate. Consequently, the objections raised against the composition of the Assembly are not just simply, but doubly applicable to the commissions, since in the latter the individual estate is withdrawn from the influence of the Assembly as a whole and kept within its own special limits. But let us leave even this out of account.
We take as our starting point a fact which the author will concede without argument. We assume that the composition of the provincial estates fully corresponds to their purpose, that is to say, the purpose of representing their particular provincial interests from the standpoint of their particular estate interests. This character of the provincial assemblies will be the character of all their activities. It will therefore also be the character of their elections to the commissions and the character of the commission deputies themselves, for an assembly which corresponds to its purpose will certainly remain true to its purpose in regard to its most important activity, in regard to the representatives whom it itself elects. What new element then suddenly turns the representatives of provincial interests into representatives of state interests and gives their particular activity the nature of a general activity? Obviously, it cannot be any other element than the fact of a common place of assembly. But can mere abstract space give a man of character a new character and chemically decompose his spiritual essence? It would be paying homage to the most materialistic mechanism to ascribe such an organising soul -to mere space, particularly in view of the fact that at the meeting of the commission the existing separateness is also spatially recognised and represented.
After what has been said above, we can only regard the further grounds by which our author seeks to justify the composition of the commissions as attempts to justify the composition of the provincial estates.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 365, December 31, 1842

Cologne, December 30. As we have shown in a previous article, what the eulogist of the commissions of the estates defends in the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung is not their composition, but the composition of the provincial assemblies.
It seems to him
“surprising to find intelligence put forward as a particular element requiring representation as an estate alongside industry and landed property”.
We are glad to agree for once with the author and to be able to restrict ourselves to explaining his statement instead of refuting it. What does this surprise at those claims of intelligence amount to? Does he consider that intelligence is not at all an element of estate representation, or are we to believe perhaps that the article in question merely asserts that it is not a particular element? Estate representation, however, recognises only particular elements, which exist side by side. Hence something that is not a particular element, is not at all an element for estate representation. The article in question quite rightly calls the way in which intelligence enters into the representation of estates “the general property of intelligent beings”, hence not a particular property of estate representatives, for a property which I have in common with everyone else and to the same extent as everyone else, cannot constitute my character, My superiority, my special nature. In an assembly of naturalists it is not sufficient to share in the “general property” of an intelligent being, but in an estate assembly it is sufficient to possess intelligence as a general property, to belong to the natural-historical genus of “intelligent beings”.
Intelligence should have a place in the provincial estate as a general human property, but intelligence should not belong to man as a particular property of a provincial estate; that is to say, intelligence does not make man a member of a provincial estate, it merely makes the member of a provincial estate a man. Our author will concede that, consequently, no special position is allotted to intelligence in the Assembly. Every newspaper advertisement is a fact of intelligence. But who on that account would seek representatives of literature in advertisements? A field cannot speak, only the owner of the field can. Hence the field must appear in an intelligent form in order to make its voice heard. Wishes, interests, do not speak; only man speaks. But do field, interest, wish, lose their limitation because they assert themselves as something human, something intelligent? It is not a question of mere form, it is a question of the content of intelligence. If, as we readily concede to the author, intelligence not only does not need any representation as an estate, but even needs a non-estate representation, conversely, estate representation needs intelligence, but only a very limited intelligence, just as every man needs sufficient reason to realise his aims and interests, which still does not in any way make his aims and interests the aims and interests of “reason”.
The utilitarian intelligence which fights for its hearth and home differs, of course, from the free intelligence Which fights for what is right despite its hearth and home. There is a kind of intelligence which serves a particular purpose, a particular matter, and there is another kind of intelligence which masters every matter and serves only itself.
The author, therefore, desires only to say: intelligence is not a property of any estate; he does not ask whether estate is an intelligent property! He comforts himself with the idea that intelligence is a general property of the estate, but he refuses us the comfort of a proof that estate is a particular property of intelligence!
It is quite consistent, not only with our author’s principles, but with those of estate representation, for him to convert the question of the right of representation of “intelligence” in the provincial assemblies into the question of the right of representation of the learned estates, of the estates which have made a monopoly of intelligence, of intelligence which has become an estate. Our author is right to the extent that, given estate representation, it can also only be a question of intelligence that has become an estate. But he is wrong in not acknowledging the right of the learned estates, for where the estate principle prevails all estates must be represented. just as he errs in excluding clerics, teachers and private men of learning, and does not even mention lawyers, physicians, etc., as possible candidates, he completely misconceives the nature of estate representation when he puts “state servants” belonging to the government on the same footing as the abovementioned estates of learned men. In a state based on estates, government officials are the representatives of state interests as such, and therefore are hostile towards the representatives of the private interests of the estates. Although government officials are not a contradiction under people’s representation, they are very much so under estate representation.
The article in question seeks further to prove that in the French and English constitutions the representation of landed property is as great as, if not greater than, in the Prussian constitution based on estates. Even if this were really the case, would it cease to be a defect in Prussia because it occurs also in England and France? We do not need to explain that this comparison is quite inadmissible if only because the French and English deputies are elected not as representatives of landownership but as representatives of the people, and, as far as particular interests are concerned, a Fould, for instance, remains a representative of industry although he pays a comparatively insignificant land tax in some corner of France. We will not repeat what we pointed out in our first article, namely, that the principle of estate representation annuls the principle of landownership representation, and vice versa, and that hence there is neither real landownership representation nor real estate representation, but only an inconsistent amalgamation of the two principles. We do not intend to examine further the basic error of a comparison which seizes on the different figures for England, France and Prussia, without taking into account their necessary connection with the different conditions in these countries. We stress only one aspect, namely, that in France and England account is taken of the benefit the state derives from landed property and of the burdens the owner has to bear, whereas in Prussia, on the contrary, what is taken into account, for instance, in connection with the majority of manorial estates and mediatised lands is how free they are from state burdens and how independent their private use is. Not what someone possesses, but what he possesses of advantage to the state, not ownership, but, so to speak, the state activity of ownership, gives the right to representation in France and England, whose systems, by the way, we by no means agree with.
The author seeks further to prove that big landed property is not disproportionately represented compared with small landed property. On this point, as on that discussed above, we refer the reader to the work Ueber ständische Verfassung in Preussen (Cotta’s publishing house, Stuttgart and Tilbingen) and to Ludwig Buhl’s book on the Prussian provincial estates. How incorrect the existing distribution is, quite apart from the difference between big and small landed property, can be shown from the following examples. The land value of the city of Berlin is 100 million talers, whereas that of the manorial estates in the Mark of Brandenburg is only 90 million talers. Yet the former sends only three deputies to the Assembly, whereas the owners of the latter elect 20 deputies from among themselves. Even among the towns, distribution according to the accepted scale of landownership is not consistently adhered to. Potsdam sends one deputy to the Assembly, although the value of its landed property is hardly one-tenth of that of Berlin. Potsdam has one deputy per 30,000 inhabitants, whereas Berlin has one per 100,000 inhabitants. The contrast is still more glaring if the smaller towns, which for historical reasons have been granted an individual vote [Virilstimme], are compared with the capital.
For the rest, in order to establish the true relations between representation of intelligence and representation of landed property as an estate, let us return once more to the author’s classical thesis, his above-mentioned justified surprise at finding “intelligence put forward as a particular element requiring representation as an estate alongside industry and landed property”.
The author rightly does not seek the origin of the provincial assemblies in state necessity, and he regards them not as a state need, but as a need of particular interests against the state. It is not the basic rational mind of the state, but the pressing need of private interests that is the architect of the political system based on estates, and at all events intellect is no needy, egoistic interest, but the general interest. Hence representation of intelligence in an assembly of the estates is a contradiction, a nonsensical demand. Moreover, we call the author’s attention to the consequences which so inevitably follow if need is made the principle of people’s representation that our author himself for a moment recoils from them in horror and rejects not merely particular demands coming from the representation of particular interests, but the demand for this representation itself.
Either the need is real, and then the state is unreal because it fosters particular elements which do not find their legitimate satisfaction in the state, and therefore become organised as special bodies alongside the state and have to enter into a contractual relation with the state. Or the need really receives satisfaction in the state, and hence its representation against the state is illusory or dangerous. For a moment the author comes down on the side of illusion. He remarks as regards industry that even if it were not adequately represented in the provincial assemblies, it would still have ways enough for giving effect to its interests in the state and in relation to the government. Hence he maintains that estate representation, representation based on the principle of need, is an illusion, because the need itself is illusory. For what holds good of industry as an estate holds good for all estates, but for the estate of landed property even to a higher degree than for industry, since the former is already represented through the district president [Landrat], the district estates, etc., that is to say, through fully constituted state bodies.
From what has been said, it is obvious that not only can we not agree with the complaints about the restricted scope of the standing orders of the commissions, but, on the contrary, we must seriously protest against any extension of them as being against state interests. The liberalism which wants representation of intelligence in the Provincial Assembly is equally wrong. Not only is intelligence not a particular element of representation, it is not an element at all; it is a principle which cannot take part in any compound of elements, but can only produce a division into parts based on itself. There can be no question of intelligence as an integrating part, but only as the organising soul. We are concerned here not with a complement but with an antithesis. The question is: “representation of intelligence” or “representation of estates”. The question is whether a particular interest should represent political intelligence or whether the latter should represent particular interests. Political intelligence will, for example, regulate landed property according to state principles, but it will not regulate state principles according to landed property. Political intelligence will assert landed property not in accordance with its private egoism, but in accordance with the state nature of landed property. It will not determine the essence of the whole in accordance with this particular essence, but will determine the latter in accordance with the essence of the whole. On the contrary, landed property with the right of representation does not adapt itself to intelligence but adapts intelligence to itself, like a watch-maker who does not want to set his watch by the sun, but wants to make the sun follow his watch. The question can be summed up in a few words: Should landed property criticise and he master over political intelligence or should it be the other way round?
For intelligence nothing is external, because it is the inner determining soul of everything, whereas, conversely, for a definite element like landed property everything is external that is not landed property itself. Hence not only the composition of the Provincial Assembly, but its activities also are mechanical, for it must treat all general interests and even particular interests different from itself as things extraneous and alien. All that is particular, such as landed property, is in itself limited. It must therefore he dealt with as something limited, that is to say, it must be dealt with by a general power superior to it, but it cannot deal with the general power according to its own needs.
The provincial assemblies, owing to their specific composition, are nothing but an association of particular interests which are privileged to assert their particular limits against the state. They are therefore a legitimised self-constituted body of non-state elements in the state. Hence by their very essence they are hostile towards the state, for the particular in its isolated activity is always the enemy of the whole, since precisely this whole makes it feel its insignificance by making it feel its limitations.
If this granting of political independence to particular interests were a necessity for the state, it would be merely the external sign of an internal sickness of the state, just as an unhealthy body must break out in boils according to natural laws. One would have to decide between two views: either that the particular interests, assuming the upper hand and becoming alien to the political spirit of the state, seek to impose limits on the state, or that the state becomes concentrated solely in government and as compensation concedes to the restricted spirit of the people merely a field for airing its particular interests. Finally, the two views could he combined. If, therefore, the demand for representation of intellect is to have any meaning, we must expound it as the demand for conscious representation of the intelligence of the people, a representation which does not seek to assert individual needs against the state, but one whose supreme need is to assert the state itself, and indeed as its own achievement, as its own state. In general, to be represented is something passive; only what is material, spiritless, unable to rely on itself ‘ imperilled, requires to be represented; but no element of the state should be material, spiritless, unable to rely on itself, imperilled. Representation must not be conceived as the representation of something that is not the people itself. It must be conceived only as the people’s self-representation as a state action which, not being its sole, exceptional state action, is distinguished from other expressions of its state life merely by the universality of its content. Representation must not be regarded as a concession to defenceless weakness, to impotence, but rather as the self-reliant vitality of the supreme force. In a true state there is no landed property, no industry, no material thing, which as a crude element of this kind could make a bargain with the state; in it there are only spiritual forces, and only in their state form of resurrection, in their political rebirth, are these natural forces entitled to a voice in the state’ The state pervades the whole of nature with spiritual nerves, and at every point it must be apparent that what is dominant is not matter, but form, not nature without the state, but the nature of the state, not the unfree object but the free human being.


Polemical Articles Against The Allgemeine Zeitung - Karl Marx

Polemical Articles Against The Allgemeine Zeitung by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Polemical Articles Against The Allgemeine Zeitung [131]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 357
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung Nos. 3 and 12, January 3 and 12, 1843

Rheinische Zeitung No. 3, January 3, 1843

The lady of Augsburg has reached the stage when the fair sex itself no longer dares to simulate youth, and now has no more terrible accusation to make against her sisters than that of youth. In No. 360, however, the worthy Sibyl’s means of estimating age has surprisingly misled her. She speaks about a cooling off of the “youthful ardour” of the Rheinische Zeitung in connection with a correspondent who happens to be a sexagenarian and could hardly have expected to find a testimonial to his youth in the columns of the Augsburg Allg. Zeitung. But that is what happens! Freedom is sometimes too old, sometimes too young; it is never on the order of the day, at any rate not on that of the Augsburg Allg. Ztg., which is more and more emphatically rumoured to be published in Augsburg.

Rheinische Zeitung No. 12, January 12, 1843

If the editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung desired to add to the above correspondence a postscript in the manner of the Allg. A. Ztg., since she was so kind as to recognise the ensign Pistol in the Rheinische Zeitung, we could only give her a choice between Doll Tearsheet and Mistress Quickly. Her manly confession of faith, however, we would expect from the friend of those ladies, from Falstaff:

“Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour pricks me off when I come on? how then? Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honour? Ag word. What is in that word honour? What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning!- Who hath it? He that died a Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. is it insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not five with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it: — therefore I'll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon, and so ends my catechism”. [Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part One, Act V, Scene 1]

Thus, too, ends the political catechism of the Augsburg A. Z.; thus she reminds the press that one could lose arm and leg in critical times, thus she detracts from honour, because she has renounced any honour which could be detracted from.

The Augsburg A. Z. promised to engage us ‘in a fight over principles and she has kept her promise. She has used no principles, hence her principles, against us in the struggle. Now and again she has assured us of her indignation, cast petty suspicions, attempted minor corrections, made a big show of small performance, and laid claim to superiority of age. In regard to this last point, to her tide of veteran, we could say what M. Dézamy says to M. Cabet:

Que monsieur Cabet ait bon courage: avec tant de titres, il ne peut nianquer d'obtenir bientôt ses invalides!” [Let Monsieur Cabet take heart; with so many titles, he cannot fail to obtain his disability pension soon!]

Madame Augsburg survives because of a mistake in calculation, an anachronism. Form, the only thing she possessed in earlier days, even form, the parfum littéraire, she has lost. It has been replaced by a philistine, diffuse and arrogant formlessness, and no one is likely to regard the platitude of “Herr Puff” and the simile of “the bullfrog that tried to blow itself up into an ox” as elegant because he finds the same sort of thing in the Augsburg A. Z.


Renard’s Letter to Oberpräsident Von Schaper - Karl Marx

Renard's Letter to Oberpräsident Von Schaper by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Renard’s Letter to Oberpräsident Von Schaper [104]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 282;
Written: on November 17, 1842;
First published: in the book Rheinische Briefe und Akten zur Geschichte der politischen Bewegung 1830-1850, 1. Bd., Herausgegehen von Hansen, Essen, 1919;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

Highly respected Herr Oberpräsident!
Your Excellency!
Through Regierungspräsident Herr von Gerlach in Cologne, on the 12th of this month, Your Excellency has put before me a rescript of the censorship ministry and, in addition, two decrees, and called for my observations on them to be minuted. Considering the importance of the explanations demanded of me, rather than making a statement to be minuted, I have preferred to address myself today to Your Excellency in writing.
1. As regards the rescript of the censorship ministry and in particular the demand that the Rheinische Zeitung should alter its tendency and adopt one agreeable to the government, I am able to interpret this demand only in relation to the form, a moderation of which, insofar as the content allows, can be conceded. judging by the recently issued censorship instruction, and also by His Majesty’s views frequently expressed elsewhere, it seems to us that the tendency of a newspaper which, like the Rheinische, is not a mere unprincipled amalgam of dry reports and fulsome praise, but throws light on state conditions and institutions through conscious’ criticism inspired by a noble purpose, can only he a tendency acceptable to the government. Moreover, until now the responsible editor has never been informed of any disapproval of this tendency. Furthermore, since the Rh. Ztg. is subjected to the strictest censorship, how could its suppression be justified as a first warning?
I can assure Your Excellency that in the future, too, the Rh. Ztg. will continue to the best of its ability to help in paving the path of progress, along which Prussia leads the rest of Germany. For that very reason, however, I must reject the reproach levelled at me in the rescript that the Rh. Ztg. has sought to spread French sympathies and ideas in the Rhineland. The Rh. Ztg. has, on the contrary a made its main task to direct towards Germany the glances which so many people still fastened on France, and to evoke a German instead of a French liberalism, which can surely not be disagreeable to the government of Frederick William IV. In this connection, the Rh. Ztg. has always pointed to Prussia, on whose development that of the rest of Germany depends. Proof of this tendency is provided by the articles on “Prussian hegemony”, aimed polemically against the anti-Prussian b strivings of the Augsburg newspaper. Proof is provided by all the articles on the Prussian Customs Union aimed against the articles of the Hamburg Correspondent and other newspapers, in which the Rh. Ztg. depicted in the greatest detail the accession of Hanover, Mecklenburg and the Hanseatic towns as the only beneficial course. Proof is provided above all by the continual reference to North-German science in contrast to the superficiality not only of French, but also of South-German theories. The Rh. Zeitung was the first Rhenish, and in general the first South-German, newspaper to introduce the North-German spiritc in the Rhine Province and in South Germany, and how could the divided races be more inseparably linked than by spiritual unity, which is the soul of political unity and its only guarantee against all external storms?
As to the alleged irreligious tendency of the :Rh. Ztg., it cannot be unknown to the supreme authorities that in regard to the content of a certain positive creed-and it is a question only of this and not of religion, which we have never attacked and never will attack-the whole of Germany, and especially Prussia, is divided into two camps, both of which include among their champions men occupying high positions in science and the state. In an unresolved controversy, should a newspaper take neither side or only one that has been officially prescribed to it? Moreover, we have never gone outside the terrain proper to a newspaper, but have touched on dogmas such as church doctrines and conditions in general only insofar as other newspapers make religion into constitutional law and transfer it from its own sphere into that of politics. It will even be easy to cover each of our utterances with the similar and stronger utterances of a Prussian king, Frederick the Great, and we consider this authority to be one which Prussian publicists may very well invoke.
The Rheinische Zeitung is therefore entitled to believe that it has pre-eminently carried out the wish for an independent free-minded press which His Majesty formulated in the censorship instruction, and that it has thereby contributed not a little towards the benedictions which at the present time the whole of Germany conveys to His Majesty our King in his ascendant career.
The Rh. Ztg., Your Excellency, was not founded as a commercial speculation or in expectation of any profit. A large number of the most esteemed men of Cologne and the Rhine Province, justly displeased with the pitiful state of the German press, believed that they could not better honour the will of His Majesty the King than by founding the Rh. Ztg. as a monument of the nation, a newspaper which voices the speech of free men in a principled and fearless way and, what is at all events a rare phenomenon, enables the King to hear the true voice of the people. The unprecedentedly rapid growth of this newspaper’s circulation proves how well it has understood the wishes of the people. This was the aim for which those men contributed their capital, and for which they shrank from no sacrifice. Let Your Excellency now decide for yourself whether it is possible or permissible for me, as the spokesman of these men, to declare that the Rheinische Zeitung will alter its tendency, and whether its suppression would be not so much an act of violence against a private individual, but rather an act of violence against the Rhine Province and the German spirit in general.
In order, however, to prove to the government how very ready I am to comply with its wishes, insofar as they are compatible with the function of an independent newspaper, I am willing, as has been the case for some time past, as far as possible to set aside all ecclesiastical or religious subjects, so long as other newspapers or political conditions themselves do not necessitate reference to them a
2. Secondly, as regards Your Excellency’s demand for the immediate dismissal of Dr. Rutenherg, I already told Regierungspräsident von Gerlach on February 14 that Dr. Rutenberg was in no way an editor of the Rheinische keitung, but only did the work of a translator. In response to the threat, conveyed to me through Regierungspräsident von Gerlach, of the immediate suppression of the newspaper if Rutenherg were not at once dismissed, I have yielded to force and have for the time being removed him from any participation in the newspaper. Since, however, I am not aware of any legal provision which would justify this point of the rescript, I request Your Excellency to specify any such provision, and, if necessary, to give a speedy ruling whether the decision reached is to remain in force or not, so that I can claim my legal rights through the appropriate channels.
3. As regards the third point, the submission of an editor for approval, according to the censorship law of October 18, 1819, § [IX], only the supreme censorship authorities are entitled to demand the submission of an editor for approval. I know of no provision which transfers this entitlement to the Oberpräsidents. Therefore I request specification of any such provision or, if necessary, of a censorship ministry decree which orders this. Very willingly, but only in that case, will I submit an editor for approval.


Stylistic Exercises of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung - Karl Marx

Stylistic Exercises of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Stylistic Exercises of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 373
Written: on March 13, 1843
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 72-73, March 14, 1843

Cologne, March 13. The Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung has replied today 146 to our article of March 9 on the deputies to the Provincial Assembly a We do not want to hold back from our readers some samples. of this masterpiece of style. Among other delicacies is the following:

“Thus in far-reaching strokes, not it is true with a halberd, but with its accustomed cudgel the Rhein. Ztg. has let fly at a spectre” (just think! An accustomed cudgel! To let fly in strokes with a cudgel!)"which it believed it perceived in an article of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, and as is self-evident” (what a luxury, to expend words on things that are self-evident!) “all its strokes fell wide” (fell wide! wide of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, perhaps on its editor!), “and the attacked” (the spectre was indeed only attacked!) “newspaper finds itself quite unhurt and intact”.

What generous logic, which does not leave to the sagacity of its readers even the conclusion that strokes which fell wide of the attacked newspaper did not fall on the attacked newspaper! What luxury of understanding, what a thoroughgoing narration Only it should be mentioned how interesting it must have seemed to the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung to proclaim that its back was intact. How the imagination of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung is preoccupied with its splendid idea of the “spectre” and the Rhein. Ztg. letting fly at it, and of the cudgel-blows that fell wide, can be demonstrated by the following variations, as ingenious as they are surprising, on this superlative theme. In enumerating them, we will not fail to call attention to their fine nuances and shades. Thus:

1. “ In far-reaching strokes with its accustomed cudgel, the Rhein. Ztg. of March 9 has thus let fly at a spectre which it believed it perceived in an article of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, and as is self-evident all its strokes fell wide”.

2. “But the article which made the Rhein. Ztg. a spirit-seer (previously the spirit was a spectre, and since when could the Rhein. Ztg. have detected any spirit in the obscure ultramontane paper?) “and consequently a heroine fighting a shadow”.

So this time the shadow of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung at least is said to have been hit!

3. “The Rhein. Ztg., however, which is certainly aware also that in respect of everything substantial, true and solid” (the back of the Rhein- und Mosel Zeitung?) “its powers become a laughing-stock” (and what spiritual power would not become a laughing-stock in respect of a back?), “and which nevertheless for once wants to show that it has horns” (the “accustomed cudgel” has mysteriously turned into “horns") “and can butt” (previously, let fly in far-reaching strokes), “has thought up” (previously “seen” or “believed it has seen") “a spectre which it would like to have regarded as the real spirit of our article” (a repetition to remind the reader of the facts of the matter!), “and against which it vents its anger to its heart’s content and tests its strength” (a clever rhetorical performance), “just as in a bull-baiting the baited beast” (somewhat earlier the Rh. Ztg. was “the man with the cudgel”, so surely the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung is the “beast") “vents its anger on a straw figure thrown to it, and considers itself the victor when it has torn it to pieces”.

It is truly Homeric! just think of its epic amplitude. And how Aesopian, too, this profound insight into animal psychology! This subtle interpretation of the mental state of a bull that considers itself the victor!

It would be “very childish and ingenuous” and no less “insipid and trivial” to want to discuss the subject itself with such an “eminent publicist”. therefore we shall only add the following for a characterisation of the man.

In its article which was so unfortunately attacked, the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitungmerely” expressed “doubt” “whether the attainment of their” (i.e., of the originators of the circular on the election of Herr Camphausen and Herr Merkens) “hopes would really bring back the period of the old Hansa”, but there was in its “article no talk” of “a return to obsolete and decayed conditions”. Let him who can, understand that!


The Rhein. Ztg. tried to “put forward an obvious lie in saying: ‘Among the interests to be represented in the Provincial Assembly, the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung. mentions only a freer political system of local government and an extension of the rights of the estates’ whereas one can read in the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung the addition: ‘the disclosure of so many other undecided questions in the development of the people’s life’.”

Has then the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung formulated or even mentioned a single one of these “undecided questions"? Does it believe that such vague indecisive phrases as “disclosure of many other undecided questions” could serve as an equivalent of naming these questions for a definite demand to the deputies of the Provincial Assembly? And now let our readers take one more look at the originality of style of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung:

Among “the interests to be represented in it” (i.e., in the Provincial Assembly) is “the disclosure of so many undecided questions in the development of the people’s life"!

An undecided question in the development of the people’s life! A disclosure to be represented!


The Attitude of Herwegh and Ruge to “The Free” - Karl Marx

Attitude of Herwegh and Ruge by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

The Attitude of Herwegh and Ruge to “The Free” [107]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 287;
Written: in November 1842;
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 333, November 29, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

Berlin, November 25. The Elberfelder Zeitung and, from it, the Didaskalia contain the news that Herwegh has visited the society of “The Free”, but found it beneath all criticism. Herwegh has not visited this society, and therefore could have found it neither beneath nor above criticism. Hemegh and Ruge found that “The Free” are compromising the cause and the party of freedom by their political romanticism, their mania for genius and boasting, and this moreover was frankly stated by them and perhaps may have given offence. Consequently, if Herwegh did not visit the society of “The Free”, who as individuals are excellent people for the most part, it was not because he upholds some other cause, but solely because, as one who wants to be free from French authorities, he hates and finds ludicrous the frivolity, the typically Berlin style of behaviour, and the insipid aping of the French clubs. Rowdiness, blackguardism, must be loudly and resolutely a repudiated in a period which demands serious, manly and soberminded persons for the achievement of its lofty aims.


The Industrialists of Hanover and Protective Tariffs - Karl Marx

Industrialists of Hanover and Protective Tariffs by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

The Industrialists of Hanover and Protective Tariffs [106]

Editorial Note

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 286;
Written: in November 1842;
First published: in the Supplement to Rheinische Zeitung No. 326, November 22, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

We can acknowledge the historical basis of the author’s reasoning, and we can further concede, as the facts testify, that during the last 400-500 years England, especially, has done a great deal to protect its industry and crafts, although we need not necessarily agree with the system of protective tariffs. England’s example is its own refutation because it is precisely in England that the pernicious results come into prominence of a system which is no Ion er the system of our time, however much it might have corresponded to medieval conditions, based on division and not on unity, which, in the absence of general protection, a rational state and a rational system of individual states, had to provide special protection for each particular sphere. Trade and industry ought to he protected, but the debatable point is precisely whether protective tariffs do in reality protect trade and industry. We regard such a system much more as the organisation of a state of war in time of peace, a state of war which, aimed in the first place against foreign countries, necessarily turns in its implementation against the country which organises it. But in any case an individual country, however much it may recognise the principle of free trade, is dependent on the state of the world in general, and therefore the question can be decided only by a congress of nations, and not by an individual government.
The editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung


The Local Election of Deputies to the Provincial Assembly - Karl Marx

The Local Election of Deputies to the Provincial Assembly by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

The Local Election of Deputies to the Provincial Assembly

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 366
Written: in March 1843
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 68, March 9, 1843

Cologne, March 9. The Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, which is so modest as to be neither “the most widely read newspaper of the Rhine Province” nor an “exponent of political thought”, remarks in connection with the election of deputies from the city of Cologne, inter alia:

“We are quite ready to regard Herr Merkens and Herr Camphausen as very honourable men” ("so are they all, all honourable men”, [Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2] as it is said in the tragedy) “and even” (just think of it!) “even to bestow applause on the Rheinische Zeitung” (a most valuable gift) “when it triumphantly counterposes these men to the opponents the rights of our province. Bui we must all the more sharply and resolutely condemn the reasons for which an attempt has been made to exert an influence on the election of these men, not because-these reasons are undeserving of any consideration, but because they deserve no such exclusive consideration, but only a secondary one”.

The fact is that the following lithographed circular had been distributed to various electors of Cologne city:

“What the city of Cologne has to represent first and most importantly in the forthcoming Provincial Assembly is indisputably the conditions of its trade and industry. Hence the choice must fall on men who, besides being of an honourable disposition and occupying an independent civic position among us, are closely acquainted with the course of these relations in all respects and are able to grasp, illuminate and expound them from the correct standpoint”.

Then follows the reference to the above-mentioned, certainly very honourable men. After which the circular states in conclusion:

“Our dry already today occupies a powerful position in the commercial world. But a still greater extension of its trade and industry is in store for it, and the time for this development is not far distant. Shipping by sail, steam, towage, and the railways, will bring back to our city the period of the old Hansa, only its true interest must be represented with understanding and circumspection in the forthcoming Provincial Assembly.

A number of electors, Cologne, Feb. 24”.

This circular elicited the following Capuchin’s tirade from the extremely witty Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung:

“If anywhere material local interests prevail to such an extent that there is not even a faint glimmering of spiritual and general needs, is it any wonder that those who hold the reins of government in their hands pay attention only to the former, and the latter are ordered only according to their discretion? O you great city of Cologne, you holy city of Cologne, you witty city of Cologne, what a low point the spiritual state and historical recollections of many of your children have reached! By the realisation of wishes and hopes that could at most make you into a big money-bag, they dream of bringing back the period of the old Hansa!!!”

The Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung does not find fault with the election of the deputies; it find fault with the reasons which are said to have “exerted an influence” on the election. And what were these reasons? The newspaper quotes one circular addressed to various electors, in which the “conditions of trade and industry” are described as the most important objects of Cologne’s representation in the forthcoming Provincial Assembly. How does the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung know that this circular, which incidentally, as the newspaper itself admits, reached only “various” electors, exerted such an effect on the minds of the electors that it primarily and exclusively decided the election of Herr Merkens and Herr Camphausen? Because the election of these gentlemen is recommended in a circular for quite special reasons, and because in fact these gentlemen were elected, does it in any way follow that their election is a result of that recommendation and its special motivation?

The Rhein:- und Mosel-Ztg. bestows applause on the Rheinische Zeitung when it “triumphantly counterposes these men” (Herr Camphausen and Herr Merkens) “to the opponents of the rights of our province”. What moves it to this “bestowal of applause"? Obviously the character of those elected. Is this character supposed to have been less well known in Cologne than in Koblenz? Among the interests to he represented in the Provincial Assembly, the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung mentions only a “freer political system of local government and an “extension of the rights of the estates”. Does it think that it is not known in Cologne that Herr Merkens has distinguished himself in various provincial assemblies by his struggle for a “free political system of local government”, and that in one Provincial Assembly he even defended this courageously and indefatigably in opposition to almost the entire Assembly? But in regard to “the extension of the interests of the estates” it is very well known in Cologne that Herr Merkens has primarily protested against the narrowing of these interests by autonomy, that nevertheless he stood just as resolutely for the interests of the estates being kept within their proper bounds when they opposed the general interest. General law and reason, as in the debates on the law on wood thefts and hunting. If, therefore, the general qualification of Herr Merkens to be a deputy to the Provincial Assembly is established beyond all doubt by his whole parliamentary career, if Herr Camphausen’s exceptional, universal culture, high intelligence and serious honourable character are generally known and recognised, how does the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung know that the erection of these gentlemen is due not to these obvious reasons, but rather to the above-quoted circular?

No! No! the honourable newspaper will reply to us, that is not what I maintain, not all! My delicate spiritual cast of mind is merely offended by the originators of -that circular, by those materialists who have laid stress not on the spiritual and true interests of the people, but on other and much lower motives, and who for improper reasons have sought to exert an influence on the election of those men and on those- “children of Cologne” whose “spiritual state and historical recollections” have sunk so low!

If the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung is only concerned about the originators of that anonymous document, why does it raise such an outcry? Why does it say:

“If anywhere material local interests prevail to such an extent that there is not even a faint glimmering of spiritual and general needs, is it any wonder that those who hold the reins of government in their-hands pay attention only to the former, and the latter are ordered only according to their discretion?”

Do then material local interests prevail exclusively in Cologne because they prevail exclusively in an anonymous circular? -No more than juristic interests prevail exclusively in Cologne because these interests are exclusively asserted in another circular which likewise reached various electors! Are not dull children to be found in every town as in every family? Would it be fair to judge the character of a town or a family from these children?

Closer examination, however, shows that the circular is in fact not so bad as the honourable Koblenz newspaper wants to make us believe. It is even completely justified by the function of the provincial estates as fixed by law. Their legal function consists partly. in asserting the general interest of the province, and partly in asserting their special estate interests. That Herr Camphausen and Herr Merkens are worthy representatives of Rhenish provincial interests is a general conviction that did not need to be confirmed or even so much as mentioned by the originators of the circular.

Since the general qualification of these Gentlemen as deputies to the Provincial Assembly was above all discussion, the question therefore concerned only the special requirements of a Cologne deputy. The question was what city interests Cologne should “first and most importantly” represent in the “forthcoming Provincial Assembly! Would anyone want to deny that these are the “conditions of trade and industry"? But neither would the simple denial suffice; proof would have to be given.

The Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung particularly objects to the passage:

“Shipping by sail, steam, towage, and the railways, will bring back to our city the period of the old Hansa”

Oh, woe to the poor city of Cologne! How it is deceived! How it deceives itself! “By the realisation of wishes and hopes,” moans the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, “that could at most make you into a big money-bag, they dream of bringing back the period of the old Hansa!”

Poor Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung! It does not understand that the phrase “period of the old Hansa” is intended to mean only the period of the old flourishing of trade, that in reality the death-knell would have to sound for “all spiritual and general needs”, that its “spiritual state” would have to be totally deranged, and that all “historical recollections” would have to be quite blotted out if Cologne wanted to bring back the political, social and intellectual period of the Hansa towns, the period of the Middle Ages! Would the government not have to make “spiritual and general needs” exclusively its private domain if a town were to have so completely estranged itself from all rational and healthy awareness of the present time as to live only in a dream of the past! Would it not be even the duty of the government, its duty of self-preservation, to tighten its Hold on the reins if the attempt was made in all seriousness to blow sky-high the whole present and future in order to bring back obsolete and decayed conditions.

We want to tell our readers the plain truth. There took place in Cologne — and that is the clearest testimony to its political vitality — a serious election struggle, a struggle between the men of the present and the men of the past. The men of the past, the men who would like to see the “period of the old Hansa towns” restored in its entirety, have been driven from the field despite all machinations. And now along come these fantastic materialists, for whom every steamship and even railway should have demonstrated ad oculos their utter lack sense, and talk hypocritically of “spiritual state” and “historical recollections”, and lament by the waters of Babylon over “the great city of Cologne, the holy city of Cologne, the witty city of Cologne” — and it is to be hoped that their tears will not dry up so soon!


The Polemical Tactics of the Augsburg Newspaper - Karl Marx

Polemical Tactics of the Augsburg Newspaper by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

The Polemical Tactics of the Augsburg Newspaper

Source: MECW Volume 1, p 288.
Written: on November 29, 1842
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 334, November 30, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

“It is merely a lust of the blood
and a permission of the will"
[Shakespeare, Othello, Act I, Scene 3.].
Cologne, November 29. In its occasional polemic against the Rheinische Zeitung, the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung employs tactics which are as characteristic as they are laudable and which, if consistently pursued, cannot fail to impress the superficial section of the public. To every rebuff merited by its attacks on the principles and trend of the Rheinische Zeitung, to every essential subject of dispute, to every principled attack on the part of the Rheinische Zeitung, the response of the Augsburg newspaper has been to wrap itself in the ambiguous cloak of silence, so that it always remains impossible to decide whether this silence owes its inconspicuous existence to a consciousness of weakness which makes it unable to reply, or to a consciousness of superiority which makes it unwilling to reply. We have no special reproaches to make’ to the Augsburg newspaper on this account, since it merely treats us as it treats Germany, for which it believes it can most beneficially show its sympathy by a thoughtful silence, only rarely interrupted by travel notes, health bulletins and paraphrased nuptial poems. It may well be that the Augsburg newspaper is right to regard its silence as a contribution to the public welfare.
Besides tactics of silence, however, the lady of Augsburg employs another method of controversy, which by its verbose, complacent and arrogant loquacity is, as it were, the active complement to the previous passive and melancholy quietude. The lady of Augsburg is silent when it is a question of a fight over principles, over the essence of a matter, but she lies in wait, observes from afar, and seizes the opportunity when her opponent neglects her dress, makes a faux pas in the dance, or drops her handkerchief — and then she “minces virtue and does shake the head”. [Shakespeare, King Lear, Act IV, Scene 6] She blares into the air her long-suppressed, well-meant anger with imperturbable aplomb, with all the indignation of prudery in dress, and calls out to Germany: “There you see, that is the character, that is the frame of mind, that is the consistency of the Rheinische Zeitung!"
“There’s hell, there’s darkness, there is the sulphurous pit, burning, scalding stench, consumption; fie, fie, fie! pah; pah! Give me an ounce of civet; good apothecary!"[ibid.]
By means of such noisy impromptus, the lady of Augsburg is able not only to remind the forgetful public of her vanished virtue, her honourable character and mature age, not only to adorn her sunken temples with outdated and faded recollections, but even to gain surreptitiously some other practical successes besides these petty, harmless successes of coquetry. She confronts the Rheinische Zeitung as a sturdy fighter, quasi re bene gesta [As if everything had been done well], blustering, upbraiding, provoking, and her petulant provocations make the world forget her senile silence and quite recent retreat. In addition, the appearance is created and diligently cultivated, that the fight between the Augsburg A. Z. and the Rheinische Zeitung turns on this kind of paltriness, scandal-mongering and sartorial solecisms. The host of unintelligent and irresponsible people who fail to understand the essential fight in which we speak and the lady of Augsburg is silent, but who, on the other hand, recognise their own beautiful soul in the captious fault-finding and petty criticisms of the Augsburg A. Z., applaud and pay homage to the honourable lady who castigates her unruly opponent with such skill and moderation, more to educate than to hurt her. In No. 329 of the Augsburg A. Z.. there is another sample of this over-subtle, repellent, small-town polemic.
A correspondent reports from the Main that the Augsburg Allg. Ztg. praised Julius Mosen’s political novel The Congress of Verona because it was put out by Cotta’s publishing house. We confess that, owing to its worthlessness, we only occasionally glance at the literary criticism section of the Augsburg A. Z., and are not acquainted with its criticism of Mosen. In this matter we put our trust ti discrition in the conscience of the correspondent. Assuming the fact to be correct, the report is not in itself improbable for, according to recent explanations which have been met with a refutation based on trickery and not solid reasons, the independence of the critical conscience of the Augsburg A. Z. in respect of the place of printing in Stuttgart is at least open to doubt. Hence all that remains is that we did not know where the political novel was printed, and enfin not to know that is not a mortal political sin.
Later, apprised of the misstatement about the place of printing, the editorial board stated in’ a note:
“We have just learnt that The Congress of Verona by the poet Julius Mosen, was not published by Cotta and we therefore request our readers to make this correction to the report from the Main in No. 317 of this year.
Since the chief reproach levelled by the Main correspondent against the Augsburg Allgemine Zeitung was based solely on the premise that The Congress of Verona had been published by Cotta, since we have explained that this was not the case, and since every argument is invalidated if its premise is abolished, we were entitled at any rate to make the extravagant demand on our readers’ intelligence that they should correct the report from the Main in the light of this statement, and we could believe that we had atoned for our injustice to the Augsburg A. Z. But look at the Augsburg’s logic! The Augsburg’s logic interprets out correction as follows:
“If Mosen’s Congress of Verona had been published by Cotta, it would have to be regarded by all friends of right and freedom as a nasty and unsaleable book; since, however, we have subsequently learnt that it was published in Berlin, we request our respected readers to welcome it, in the poet’s own words, as one of the spirits of eternal youth. which stride on along their radiant path and mercilessly trample on the old gang”.
“That fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper: draw me a clothier’s yard. — I’ the clout, i’ the clout, hewgh!"
“That,” exclaims the lady of Augsburg triumphantly, “that is what the Rheinische Zeitung calls its frame of mind, its consistency!"
Has the Rheinische Zeitung ever declared the consistencies of the Augsburg’s logic to be its consistency or the frame of mind on which this logic is based to be its frame of mind? The lady of Augsburg was entitled only to conclude: “That is the way in which consistency and frame of mind are misunderstood in Augsburg!” Or does the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung seriously believe that by means of Mosen’s toast we would have liked to provide a corrective commentary to assess The Congress of Verona? We discussed the Schiller festival at rather great length in a feature article. We pointed to Schiller “as the prophet of the new movement of minds” (No. 326,” correspondence from Leipzig) and noted the resulting significance of the Schiller festival. Why had we to repudiate Mosen’s toast, which emphasised this significance? Could it be because it contains a sany against the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung, which the latter had already deserved because of its condemnation of Herwegh? All that, however, had nothing to do with the report from the Main, for then we should have had to write, as the lady of Augsburg imputes to us, “The reader must judge the report from the Main in No. 317 in the light of Mosen’s poem in No. 320. The Augsburg’s logic deliberately invents this nonsense in order to be able to throw it at us. The verdict of the Rheinische Zeitung in the feature article of No. 317 on Mosen’s “Bernhard von Weimar” proves, although it needs no proof, that in regard to Mosen it has not departed by a hair’s breadth from its customary factual criticism.
For the rest, we admit to the lady of Augsburg that even the Rheinische Zeitung is scarcely able to ward off the literary condottieri, that importunate and disgusting rabble which has sprung up all over Germany in the newspaper era of which the Augsburg A. Z. is the embodiment.
Finally, the Augsburg newspaper reminds us of the ballista which
“throws out big words and phm” that leave reality untouched”.
The Augsburg A. Z.., of course, touches on every possible reality, Mexican reality, Brazilian reality, but not German reality, not even Bavarian reality, and if for once it does touch on something of the kind, it invariably takes appearance for reality and the reality for appearance. When it is a matter of spiritual and true reality, the Rheinische Zeitung could exclaim to the lady of Augsburg in the words of Lear: “Do thy worst, blind Cupid.... Read thou this challenge”, and the lady of Augsburg would reply with Gloucester: “Were all thy letters suns, I could not see” [Shakespeare, King Lear., Act IV, Scene 6].


The Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung As Grand Inquisitor - Karl Marx

Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung As Grand Inquisitor by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

The Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung As Grand Inquisitor

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 370
Written: on March 11, 1843
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 71, March 12, 1843.

Cologne, March 11. A few days ago the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung published a bull of excommunication against the pious Kölnische Zeitung. Today the Trier’sche Zeitung stands before the court of inquisition in Koblenz, and rightly so.

For, in connection with Friedrich von Sallet, the Trier’sche Zeitung says among other things

“We have before us his book, the Laien-Evangelium, which without falsification reveals for us the holy, eternal truths of the gospel”.He” (Sallet) “endeavoured to be a man in the highest sense, following the example given by Jesus, and, as the true champion of the Lord, revealed eternal truth”.

“Anyone who reads that”. says the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, “and knows nothing more about this man who is given such high praise, would he not believe that Herr von Sallet must have been a faithful Christian and in his Laien-Evangelium must have preached the Lord’s word with fiery zeal? But what in truth is the content of this gospel? It is that false and pernicious doctrine which a Strauss, a Feuerbach, a Bruno Bauer, and all the apostles of modem paganism, whatever their names are, expound in lecture-rooms and in their writings for a narrow circle of learned people and so on”.

As an authentic proof of its assertion, the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung quotes

“a passage from this Laien-Evangelium, namely, that in which a parallel is drawn between the traitor Judas and the Christ of the gospels, i.e., Christ as depicted in the Bible”.

The proofs cited strikingly demonstrate Sallet’s attitude of deliberate opposition to historical Christianity.

A mistaken feeling of humanity may be offended by the ruthless polemic of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung against a man who has only just died, but is not the apologia of the Trier’sche Zeitung more inhuman, and equally offensive? Do I honour the deceased by giving a false account of his spiritual personality? Sallet indeed endeavoured to reveal truth, but by no means the truth of the gospel. Sallet certainly endeavoured to be a true human being, but by no means a champion of ecclesiastical truth.

On the contrary, Sallet believed that he could make rational truth effective only in opposition to holy truth, and that he could make the moral human being effective only in opposition to the Christian human being, and that is why he wrote his Laien-Evangelium. And what happened? Did the Trier’sche Zeitung’s apologist honour the man when he turned all his efforts upside down? Would it be an honour for Luther if one said he was a good Catholic, or for Pope Ganganelli if one called him a Maecenas for the Jesuits? What hypocrisy! What weakness! Sallet was a republican; can you be his friend if you make a great show of declaring his royalism? Sallet loved truth above all; do you believe there is no better way to pay homage to him than by an untruth? Or are Christianity and friendship at odds in your person? All right! Admit it then, and say: Sallet was a good man, etc., but a bad Christian! Deplore that, if you like, deplore it publicly, but do not pretend that his works are an illuminating testimony to his Christianity. If you condemn what your friend strove for, then condemn it sans-gêne as the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung does, but not in a hypocritical, devious way, not by praising him for being what he was not, and therefore rejecting precisely what he really was.

Even if we admit that the Laien-Evangelium itself could give rise to such a conception, that Sallet here has by no means got things clear in his own mind, that he himself believes he is teaching the true meaning of the gospel, and that it is easy to counterpose quite Christian-sounding contradictory excerpts to the quotation given by the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, that newspaper is still correct in claiming that he puts forward a self-made Christianity instead of historical Christianity.

Finally, a few words more on the passages quoted by the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung! They suffer from a fundamental defect, that of being unpoetical. And what an altogether mistaken idea it is to want to treat theological controversies poetically! Has it ever occurred to a composer to set dogma to music?

Leaving aside this heresy against art, what is the content of the passage quoted? Sallet finds it incompatible with the divinity of Christ that Christ knows the treacherous intention of Judas and does not attempt to reform him or to frustrate the crime. Hence Sallet exclaims (as cited by the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung):

Woe to whoever — in dazzled delusion —
Contrived to invent such traits of the Lord,
And caricatured him to let him retain
This morsel of knowledge of man’s human nature.'

Sallet’s verdict testifies to the fact that he was neither a theologian nor a philosopher. As a theologian he could not have been disturbed by the contradiction with human reason and morality, for the theologian does not judge the gospel by human reason and morality; on the contrary, he judges these by the gospel. On the other hand, as a philosopher he would have regarded such contradictions in the nature of religious thought as well founded, and therefore he would have conceived the contradiction as a necessary product of the Christian outlook and would by no means have condemned it as a falsification of the latter.

May the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung vigorously continue its work of faith and clothe all and sundry Rhenish newspapers in the sanbenito. We shall see whether the half-and-half, lukewarm ones, who are neither hot nor cold, will get on better with the terrorism of faith than with the terrorism of reason.


The ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung

Ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

The Ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung [115]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 311;
Written: on December 31, 1842, January 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 15, 1843;
First published: in Rheinische Zeitung Nos. 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13 & 16, January 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13 & 16, 1843;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

The Ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung
Within the Prussian State

Rheinische Zeitung No. 1, January 1, 1843

Cologne, December 31. The German press begins the New Year with apparently gloomy prospects. The ban that has just been imposed on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung in the states of Prussia is surely a sufficiently convincing refutation of all the complacent dreams of gullible people about big concessions in the future. Since the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung, which is published under Saxon censorship, is being banned for its discussion of Prussian affairs, this at the’ same time puts an end to the hope of an uncensored discussion of our own internal affairs. This is a factual consequence which no one will deny.

The main accusations levelled against the Leipziger Allemeine Zeitung were approximately the following:

“It continually reports rumours, at least half of which subsequently prove to he false. Moreover, it does not keep to the facts, but pries for hidden motives. And no matter how false its conclusions in this respect often are, it invariably voices them with all the ardour of infallibility and often with the most malicious passion. Its whole activity is unsteady, ‘indiscreet’ and ‘immature'; in a word, it is bad activity”.

Supposing all these accusations were well founded, are they accusations against the arbitrary character of the Leipziger Allemeine Zeitung, or are they not rather accusations against the necessary character of the young popular press that is only just coming into being? Is it a question only of the existence of a certain kind of press or is it a question of the non-existence of a real press, i.e., a popular press?

The French, English and every kind of press began in the same way as the German press, and the same reproaches have been deserved by and made against each of them. The press is, and should be, nothing but the public, admittedly often “passionate, exaggerated and mistaken, expression of the daily thoughts and feelings of a people that really thinks as a people”. Like life itself, therefore, it is always in a state of becoming, and never of maturity. It is rooted in the people and honestly sympathises with all the latter’s hopes and fears, love and hatred, joys and sorrows. What it has learned by listening in hope and fear, it proclaims loudly, and it delivers its own judgment on it, vigorously, passionately, one-sidedly, as prompted by its feelings and thoughts at the given moment. What is erroneous in the facts or judgments it puts forward today, it will itself refute tomorrow. It represents the real “naturally arising” policy, which its opponents love so much in other cases.

The reproaches which in recent days have been continuously levelled against the young “press” cancel each other out. See, it is said, what a firm, steady, definite policy the English and French newspapers pursue. They are based on real life, their views are the views of an existing, quite mature force. They impose no doctrines on the people, but are themselves the real doctrines of the people and its parties. You, however, do not voice the thoughts and interests of the people, you only manufacture them or, rather, you foist them on the people. You create the party spirit, you are not created by it. Thus, on one occasion, the press is blamed because there are no political parties, on another occasion it is accused of wanting to remedy this defect and create political parties. But it is self-evident that where the press is young, the popular spirit also is young, and the daily public political thinking of an only just awakening popular spirit will be less mature, more shapeless and hasty than that of the popular spirit which has become great, strong and self-confident in the course of political struggles. Above all, a people which is only just awakening to political consciousness is less concerned about the factual correctness of an occurrence than about its moral soul, through which it has its effect. Whether fact or fiction, it remains an embodiment of the thoughts, fears and hopes of the people, a truthful fairy-tale. The people see this, their own nature, reflected in the nature of their press, and if they did not see this, they would regard the press as something unessential and not worthy of sympathy, for the people do not allow themselves to be deceived. Hence, although the young press may daily compromise itself, may allow evil passions to penetrate it, the people see in it their own condition and they know that, despite all the poison which malice or lack of understanding introduces, its essence always remains true and pure, and in its ever flowing, ever swelling stream, the poison becomes truth and a healing medicine. The people know that their press has shouldered their sins, that it is prepared to suffer humiliation for the sake of the people and that for their glory, renouncing distinction, self-satisfaction and irrefutability, it represents the rose of the moral spirit amid the thorns of the present.

We must, therefore, regard all the reproaches levelled against the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung as reproaches against the young popular press, hence against the real press, for it stands to reason that the press cannot become real without passing through the necessary stages of its development which arise from its inherent nature. We must, however, declare that to condemn the popular press is to condemn the political spirit of the people. Nevertheless, at the beginning of this article we described the prospects for the German press as apparently gloomy. And that is so, for the struggle against something that exists is the first form of its recognition, its reality and its power. And only struggle can convince both the government and the people, as well as the press itself, that the press has a real and necessary right to existence. Only struggle can show whether this right to existence is a concession or a necessity, an illusion or a truth.

The Kölnische Zeitung and the Ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung

Rheinische Zeitung No. 4, January 4, 1843

Cologne, January 3. In its issue of December 31, the Kölnische Zeitung printed an article dated “Leipzig, 27th” by its correspondent, which reported the ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung almost exultantly. Yet the Cabinet Order on the ban, contained in the issue of the Staats-Zeitung received here yesterday, is dated December 28. The riddle is solved by simply noting the fact that the news of the ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung was received with the post here on December 31 and the Kölnische Zeitung considered it proper to fabricate not only the correspondence, but also the correspondent, and present its own voice as coming from the good city of Leipzig. The “mercantile” fantasy of the Kölnische Zeitung was so “adroit” as to confuse concepts. It transferred the residence of the Kölnische Zeitung to Leipzig, because it had become impossible for the residence of the Leipziger Zeitung to be in Cologne. If the editors of the Kölnische Zeitung, even after cooler reflection, had wanted to defend the exercise of their fantasy as sober, factual truth, we should be compelled to report, in connection with the mysterious correspondence from Leipzig, yet another fact, which

“goes beyond all bounds of decency and even in our country” would seem “to every moderate and reasonable person to be an incomprehensible indiscretion”.

As for the ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung itself, we have already expressed our view. We have not disputed, as if they were sheer inventions, the shortcomings for which the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung has been condemned. But we have maintained that they are shortcomings which arise from the very nature of the popular press itself and therefore must he tolerated as arising in the course of its development, if people are at all willing to tolerate its course of development.

The Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung is not the entire German popular press, but it is a necessary component part of it. In the natural development of the popular press, each of the different elements which determine the nature of this press must first of all discover for itself its specific form of development. Hence the whole body of the popular press will be divided into different newspapers with different complementary characteristics, and if, for example, the predominant interest of one is in political science, that of another will be in political practice, or if the predominant interest of one is in new ideas, that of another will be in new facts. Only if the elements of the popular press are given the opportunity of unhampered, independent and one-sided development and of achieving independent existence in separate organs, can a “good” popular press be formed, i.e., one which harmoniously combines all the true elements of the popular spirit, so that the true moral spirit will be entirely present in each newspaper, just as the fragrance and soul of the rose is present in each of its petals. But for the press to achieve its purpose it is above all necessary that it should not have any kind of purpose prescribed for it from outside, and that it should be accorded the recognition that is given even to a plant, namely, that it has its own inherent laws, which it cannot and should not arbitrarily evade.

The Good and the Bad Press

Rheinische Zeitung No. 6, January 6, 1843

Cologne, January 5. We have already had to hear in abstracto a great deal about the difference between the “good” and the “bad” press. Let us illustrate this difference now with an example.

The Elberfelder Zeitung of January 5, in an article dated from Elberfeld, describes itself as a “good press”. The Elberfelder Zeitung of January 5 carries the following report:

“Berlin, December 30. The ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung has on the whole made only a slight impression here."

On the other hand, the Düsseldorfer Zeitung, agreeing with the Rheinische Zeitung, reports:

“Berlin, January 1. The unconditional ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung is causing a ve” great sensation here, since it was very eagerly read by the Berliners”, etc.

Which press then, the “good” or the “bad”, is the “true” press? Which expresses actual reality, and which expresses it as it would like it to be? Which expresses public opinion, and which distorts it? Which, therefore, deserves the confidence of the state?

The explanation given by the Kölnische Zeitung does little to satisfy us. In its reply to our remark about its reporting “almost exultantly” the ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung, it confines itself not only to the part concerning dates, but to a misprint. The Kölnische Zeitung itself must know very well that the sentence: “The riddle is solved by simply noting the fact that the news of the ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung was received with the post here on December 31”, should have read “on December 30” and did not read so only because of a misprint. On December 30 at noon, as we can prove if necessary, the Rheinische Zeitung, and therefore probably also the Kölnische Zeitung, received this news through the local post-office.

Reply to the Attack of a “Moderate” Newspaper

Rheinische Zeitung No. 8, January 8, 1843

Cologne, January 7. A moderate Rhenish newspaper, as the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung in its diplomatic language calls it, i.e., a newspaper of moderate forces, of very moderate character and of the most moderate understanding, has distorted our assertion that “the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung is a necessary component part of the German popular press, into the assertion that lying is a necessary part of the press. We will not take undue offence at this moderate newspaper extracting a single sentence from our argument and not considering that the ideas put forward in the article in question as well as in an earlier one are worthy of its lofty and honourable attention. just as we cannot demand of someone that he should jump out of his own skin, so we must not demand that an individual or party should jump out of its spiritual skin, and venture on a salto mortale beyond the limits of its mental horizon; least of all can we demand this of a party which takes its narrow-mindedness for holiness. Therefore, we will not discuss what that inhabitant of the intellectual realm of mediocrity should have done in order to refute us, but will only discuss its actual deeds.

First of all, the old sins of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung are enumerated: its attitude to the Hanover events,"’ its party polemic against Catholicism (hinc illae lacrimae! [Hence those tears!] Would our lady friend regard the same behaviour, only in the opposite direction, as one of the mortal sins of the Münchener politische Blätter?), its bits of gossip, etc., etc. We recall, in this connection, some lines from Alphonse Karr’s magazine Les Guipes. M. Guizot, the story goes, calls M. Thiers a traitor, and M. Thiers calls M. Guizot a traitor, and, unfortunately, both are right. If all German newspapers of the old style wanted to reproach one another for their past, the examination of the case would be reduced to the formal question whether they sinned through what they did or through what they did not do. We are prepared to grant our lady friend the innocent advantage over the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung that she has not only not led a bad life, but that she has shown no signs of life at all.

Meanwhile, the article of ours which is incriminated spoke not of the past, but of the present character of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung, although it stands to reason that we would have no less serious objections against a ban on the Elberfelder Zeitung, the Hamburger Correspondent, or the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung published in Koblenz, since the legal position is not altered by the moral character or even the political and religious opinions of individuals. On the contrary, the lack of rights of the press is beyond all doubt once its existence is made dependent on its frame of mind. Up to now, indeed, there has been no legal code or court of law for a frame of mind.

The “moderate” newspaper accuses the last phase of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung of false information, distortions and lies, and accuses us with righteous indignation of regarding lying as a necessary element of the popular press. Suppose we actually admitted this frightful conclusion, suppose we actually maintained that lying is a necessary element of the popular press, in particular of the German popular press? We do not mean a lying frame of mind, lying in the spiritual sense, but lying in regard to facts, lying in the material sense. Stone him! Stone him! our Christian-minded newspaper would cry. Stone him! Stone him! the whole chorus would join in. But let us not be too hasty, let us take the world as it is, let us not be ideologists — and we can certify that our lady friend is no ideologist. Let our “moderate” newspaper cast a critical eye over its own columns. Does it not, like the Preussische Staats-Zeitung, like all the German newspapers and all the world’s newspapers, daily report false information from Paris, gossip about imminent ministerial changes in France, fables that some Paris newspaper has concocted, which the following day, or even an hour later, will be refuted? Or perhaps the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung presumes that lying in regard to facts is a necessary element of columns headed England, France, Spain or Turkey, but a damnable crime, meriting the death penalty, in columns headed Germany or Prussia? Whence this double set of weights and measures? Whence this dual view of truth? Why should one and the same newspaper be allowed the frivolous light-heartedness of a gossip-monger in one column, and have to display the sober irrefutability of an official organ in another column? It is obviously because for German newspapers there should exist only a French, English, Turkish, Spanish time, but no German time, only a German timelessness. But should not rather those newspapers be praised, and praised from the state point of view, which wrest from foreign countries and win for the Fatherland the attention, the feverish interest and the dramatic tension which accompany every coming into being, and above all the coming into being of contemporary history! Suppose even that these newspapers have aroused dissatisfaction, W humour! It is, after all, German dissatisfaction, German ill humour that they arouse; after all, they have given back to the state minds that had turned away from it, even though at first these minds are excited and ill-humoured! And they have aroused not only dissatisfaction and ill humour, they have also aroused fears and hopes, joy and sorrow, they have aroused, above all, real sympathy for the state, they have made the state close to the heart, a domestic affair of its members. Instead of St. Petersburg, London or Paris, they have made Berlin, Dresden, Hanover, etc., the capital cities on the map of the German political mind, a feat more glorious than the transfer of the world capital from Rome to Byzantium.

And if the German and Prussian newspapers which have set themselves the task of making Germany and Prussia the main interest of the Germans and Prussians, the task of transforming the mysterious, priestly nature of the state into a clear-cut, secular nature accessible to all and belonging to all, and of making the state part of the flesh and blood of its citizens; if these newspapers are inferior to the French and English newspapers as regards factual truth, if their behaviour is often unskilful and fanciful, bear in mind that the German knows his state only from hearsay, that closed doors are not at all transparent to the eye, that a secret state organisation is not at all a public state organisation, and do not ascribe to the newspapers what is the defect of the state alone, a defect which precisely these newspapers are seeking to remedy.

Therefore, we repeat once more: “The ‘Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung’ is a necessary component part of the German popular press.” It has primarily satisfied immediate interest in political fact, we have primarily satisfied interest in political thought. In this connection, it stands to reason that fact does not preclude thought any more than thought precludes fact; but it is a matter here of the predominant character, the distinguishing feature.

Reply to the Denunciation by a “Neighbour” Newspaper

Rheinische Zeitung No. 10, January 10, 1843

Cologne, January 9. It would be quite contrary to the nature of things if the “good” press everywhere did not try now to win its knightly spurs by attacking us, headed by the Augsburg prophetess Hulda, whom, in response to her repeated challenge, we shall presently take to task. Today we shall deal with our invalid neighbour, the most worthy Kölnische Zeitung! Toujours perdrix! [always the same!]

First of all “something preliminary” or a “preliminary something”, a reminder with which we wish to preface today’s denunciation by this newspaper to make it intelligible, a most delightful little story of the way in which the Kölnische Zeitung tries to gain the “respect” of the government, how it asserts “true freedom” in contrast to “arbitrariness” and knows how to set itself “bounds” from within. The kind reader will recall that No. 4 of the Rheinische Zeitung directly accused the Kölnische Zeitung of having fabricated its correspondence from Leipzig, which announced almost exultantly the much discussed ban. The reader will recall that at the same time the Kölnische Zeitung was given the friendly advice to refrain from any serious attempt to defend the genuineness of that document, with the definite warning that otherwise we should be compelled “in connection with the mysterious correspondence from Leipzig” to make public yet another unpleasant fact. The kind reader will also recall the timid, evasive reply of the Kölnische Zeitung of January 5, our corrective rejoinder in No. 6, and the “patient silence” which the Kölnische Zeitung thought best to observe in regard to this. The fact referred to is the following: the Kölnische Zeitung found that the ban on the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung was justified because that newspaper published a report which

“goes beyond all bounds of decency and even in our country must seem to every moderate and reasonable person to he an incomprehensible indiscretion”.

It is obvious that what was meant was the publication of Herwegh’s letter. It might perhaps have been possible to agree with this opinion of the Kölnische Zeitung if only the Kölnische Zeitung a few days earlier had not itself wanted to publish Herzvegh’s letter, and only failed to do so because it came up against “bounds” imposed from “outside”, which thwarted its good intention.

In saying this we by no means want to accuse the Kölnische Zeitung of a disloyal yearning, but we must leave it to the public to judge whether it is a comprehensible discretion or whether it is not, on the contrary, a violation of all the bounds of decency and public morals, when one accuses one’s neighbour, as if it were a crime deserving the death penalty, of the very action that one was oneself about to perform, and which only failed to be one’s own action because of an external obstacle. After this explanation, it will be understandable why the had conscience of the Kölnische Zeitung has led it to reply to us today with a denunciation. It says:

“It is asserted there” (in the Rheinische Zeitung) “that the exceptionally sharp, almost insulting, at any rate unpleasant, tone which the press adopts towards Prussia has no other basis than the desire to draw to oneself the attention of the government and to awaken it. For, according to the Rheinische Zeitung, the people has already far outgrown the existing state forms, which suffer from a peculiar hollowness; the people, like the press, has no faith in these institutions and still less in the possibility of their development from within."

The Kölnische Zeitung accompanies these words with the following exclamation:

“Is it not astounding that side by side with such statements complaints are still heard about inadequate freedom of the press? Can one demand more than the freedom to tell the government to its face that ‘all state institutions are old rubbish, unsuitable even as a transition to something better’."

First of all we should come to an agreement about how to quote. The author of the article in the Rheinische Zeitung raises the question: what is the explanation for this sharp tone of the press precisely in relation to Prussia? He replies: “I think that the reason is to be found chiefly in the following.” He does not assert, as the Kölnische Zeitung falsely attributes to him, that there is no other reason; on the contrary, he gives his view merely as his own belief, as his personal opinion. The author further admits, about which the Kölnische Zeitung says nothing, that

“the upsurge in 1840 partially penetrated state forms, endeavouring to imbue them with a full content and life”.

Nevertheless, it is felt

“that the popular spirit passes them by, hardly grazing them, and that it is almost unable as yet to recognise them or take them into account even as a transition to further development”.

The author continues:

“We leave open the question whether these forms have a right to exist or not; it is enough that the people, like the press, has no complete faith in the state institutions, still less in the possibility of their development from within and from below”.

The Kölnische Zeitung changes the words “has no complete faith” into “has no faith”, and in the last part of the sentence quoted above it leaves out the words “and from below”, thus substantially altering the meaning.

The press, our author continues, therefore constantly addressed itself to the government, because

“it seemed to he still a matter of the forms themselves, within which the government could be told freely, openly and weightily of the justified moral will of the people, its ardent desires, and its needs”.

Summing up these quotations, does the article in question assert, as the Kölnische Zeitung alleges it tells “the government to its face”, “that all state institutions are old rubbish, unsuitable even as a transition to something better” ?

Is it a question here of all state institutions? It is a question only of the state forms in which “the will of the people” could be “freely, openly and weightily” expressed. And what until recently were these state forms? Obviously, only the provincial estates. Has the people had special faith in these provincial estates? Has the people expected a great popular development out of them? Did loyal Billow-Cummerow consider them a true expression of the people’s will? But not only the people and the press, the government as well has admitted that we still lack state forms themselves, or would it, without such an admission, have had any reason for setting up a new state form in the shape of the “commissions"? — That, however, the commissions, too, have not been satisfactory in their present form, is a thing that we have not been alone in asserting; the same opinion h been expressed in the Kölnische Zeitung by a member of a commission.

The further assertion that the state forms, precisely as forms, are still in contrast to their content, and that the spirit of the people does not feel “at home” in them as in its own forms, does not recognise them as the forms of its own life, this assertion only repeats what has been said by many Prussian and foreign newspapers, but chiefly by conservative writers, namely, that the bureaucracy is still too powerful, that not the whole state, but only part of it, the “government”, leads a state life in the proper sense of the term. As to how far present state forms are suitable, partly for themselves becoming imbued with living content, partly for incorporating the supplementary state forms, the Kölnische Zeitung should have sought the answer to this question in the articles in which we examine the provincial estates and the provincial commissions in relation to the whole system of our state organisation. There it would have found information which even its wisdom could grasp.

“We do not demand that in the representation of the: people actually existing differences should be left out of account. On the contrary, we demand that one should proceed from the actual differences created and conditioned by the internal structure of the state.” “We demand only the consistent and comprehensive development of the fundamental institutions of Prussia, we demand that the real organic life of the state should not he suddenly abandoned in order to sink back into unreal, mechanical, subordinated, non-state spheres of fife” (Rheinische Zeitung, 1842, No. 345).

But what does the worthy Kölnische Zeitung put into our mouths? — “that all state institutions are old rubbish, unsuitable even as a transition to something better"! It almost seems as if the Kölnische Zeitung thinks it can make up for the deficiency of its own courage by ascribing to others the impudent creations of its cowardly but malicious fantasy.

The Denunciation of the Kölnische Zeitung and the Polemic of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung

Rheinische Zeitung No. 13, January 13, 1843

Cologne, January 11
"Votre front à mes yeux montre peu d'allégresse!
Serait-ce ma présence, Eraste, qui vous blesse?
Qu'est-ce donc? qu'avez-vous? et sur quels dé6plaisirs,
Lorsque vous me voyez, poussez-vous des soupirs?” [Moliére]

These words apply in the first place to our “lady neighbour of Cologne"! The Kölnische Zeitung prefers not to expand on the theme of its “alleged denunciation”; it drops this main point and complains only that on this occasion the “editorial board” has been involved in the polemic not in the most pleasant manner. But, dear lady neighbour, if the Kölnische Zeitung correspondent identifies one of our Berlin reports with the Rheinische Zeitung, why should not the Rheinische Zeitung be allowed to identify with the Kölnische Zeitung the Rhine report published in reply by the Kölnische Zeitung? Now, ad vocem the fact:

“It” (the Rheinische Zeitung) “accuses us not of any fact, but of an intention!”.

We accuse the Kölnische Zeitung not merely of an intention, but of a fact of that intention. Owing to accidental external circumstances, a fact, the acceptance of Herwegh’s letter for publication, was transformed for the Kölnische Zeitung into an intention, although. its intention had already been transformed into a fact. Every fact which has been thwarted is reduced to a mere intention, but does this make it any less a fact in the eyes of the court? At any rate it would be a very peculiar virtue that found justification for its actions in accidental circumstances which prevented their realisation and made them not a deed, but the mere intention of a deed. But our loyal lady neighbour puts a question not, it is true, to the Rheinische Zeitung, which, it has an awkward suspicion, will not be so easily “at a loss” for a reply because of its “decency and conscientiousness”, but to

“that small section of the public which perhaps is not yet qu ite clear how far the suspicions (it ought to say: defence against suspicions) “of this newspaper deserve to be believed”.

The question the Kölnische Zeitung puts is: how does the Rheinische Zeitung know

“that we did not combine with this intention” (i.e., the intention to publish Herwegh’s letter) “the other intention as well” (signo haud probato [in no way proved]), “namely, to add the rebuke which the childish petulance of the author deserved?"

But how does the Kölnische Zeitung know what was the intention of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung in publishing Herwegh’s letter? Why, for example, could it not have had the harmless intention of being the first to publish an item of news? Or why not, perhaps, the loyal intention of simply submitting the letter to the judgment of public opinion? We should like to relate an anecdote to our lady neighbour. In Rome, the publication of the Koran is prohibited. But a cunning Italian found a way out of the situation. He published a refutation of the Koran, i.e., a book, the title page of which bore the heading “Refutation of the Koran”, but after the title page it contained a simple reprint of the Koran. Have not all.heretics employed such a ruse? Was not Vanini burned at the stake in spite of the fact that in his Theatrum mundi, while propagating atheism, he carefully and ostentatiously brought out all the arguments against it? Did not even Voltaire in his book La Bible enfin expliquie preach unbelief in the text and belief in the notes, and did anyone believe in the purifying power of these notes? But, our worthy lady neighbour concludes,

“if we had this intention, could our acceptance for publication of an already well-known document be put on a par with the original publication?”.

But, dearest lady neighbour, the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung, too, only published a letter that had already been circulated in many copies. “In faith, my lord, you are too wilful-blame.” [Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part One, Act Ill, Scene 1]

The papal encyclical ex cathedra [as incontestable truth] of August 15, 1832, the day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, states:

“It is madness (deliramentum) to assert that every man is entitled to freedom of conscience; freedom of the press cannot be sufficiently abhorred”.

This pronouncement transfers us from Cologne to Koblenz, to the “moderate” newspaper, the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung. After the quotation given above, that newspaper’s woeful outcry against our defence of press freedom becomes understandable and justified, however strange it is after that to hear also that she would like to be included “among the very zealous friends of the press”. From the paper’s “moderate” columns today have sprung forth not, it is true. two lions but a lion’s skin and a lion’s cowl, to which we shall pay due attention from the point of view of natural history. No. 1 expresses its feelings, inter alia, as follows:

“On its part” (i.e., of the Rheinische Zeitung) “the struggle is conducted in such a loyal way that from the outset it assures us that, for the sake of the ‘legal position’ which is so dear to its,heart, it would protest even against a ban on the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung. This assurance would be in an equal degree flattering and soothing for us but for the fact that in the same breath there happened to escape from the mouth of the knight who champions every freedom of the press that has been violated a vilification of the Münchener historisch-politische Blätter, which is well known to have been long ago actually banned here."

It is strange that at the very moment when the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung pronounces sentence on newspapers for lying in regard to facts, it itself lies in regard to facts. The passage referred to reads literally as follows:

“First of all, the old sins of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung are enumerated: its attitude to the Hanover events, its party polemic against Catholicism (hinc illae lacrim"!). Would our lady friend regard the same behaviour, only in the opposite direction, as one of the mortal sins of the Münchener politische Blätter?”.

In these lines the Münchener politische Blätter declares a “party polemic” against Protestantism. Did we thereby justify the ban? Could we have wanted to justify it by finding again in the Münchener politische Blätter — “only in the opposite direction” — “the same behaviour” that in the case of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung we said gave no grounds for a ban? On the contrary! We appealed to the conscience of the Rhein- und Mosei-Zeitung, asking whether one and the same behaviour justified a ban when coming from one side, but did not justify a ban when coming from the other side! We asked it, therefore, whether it pronounced its sentence on the behaviour itself or rather only on the trend of the behaviour. And the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung has replied to our question, saying in effect that it does not, as we do, condemn religious party polemics, but only the kind of party polemic which has the temerity to be Protestant. If, at the very time when we were defending the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung against the ban “that had just been imposed” on it, we, together with the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, mentioned the party polemic of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung against Catholicism, had we not the right without the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung to mention the party polemic of the Münchener politische Blätter, which had been “banned long ago"? To the “small degree of publicness oi the state”, the “immaturity” of a “daily”, public and inexperienced “political thinking”, the nature of “contemporary history that is coming into being”, all grounds on which we excused the newspapers lying in respect of facts, No. 1 kindly added a new one, namely, the factual intellectual weakness of a large part of the German press. The Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung has proved by its own example that incorrect thinking inevitably and unintentionally produces incorrect facts, and therefore distortions and lies.

We come now to No. 2, to the lion’s cowl, for the additional grounds of No. 1 undergo here a more extensive process of confusion. The lion’s cowl first of all informs the public about the state of its feelings, which is of no great interest. It says that it had expected “an outburst of fury”, but that we gave only “a genteel rejoinder, apparently lightly tossed off”. Its thanks for this “unexpected leniency” are, however, alloyed with a vexatious doubt

“whether this unexpected leniency is in fact a sign of generosity or, on the contrary, the result of spiritual discomfort and exhaustion”.

We do not intend to explain to our pious gentleman how clerical comfort could, indeed, be a reason for spiritual discomfort, we will pass on at once to the “content of the rejoinder in question”. The pious gentleman admits he “unfortunately cannot conceal” that, according to his “extremely moderate understanding”, the Rheinische Zeitung “merely seeks to conceal its embarrassment behind empty wrangling over words”. And so as not, for a moment, to allow any semblance of “hypocritical meekness or modesty”, the pious gentleman demonstrates his “extremely moderate” understanding with the most convincing, most irrefutable proofs. He begins as follows:

“’the old sins of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung: its attitude to the Hanover events, its party polemic against Catholicism, its bits of gossip’, etc., cannot, of course, be denied; but — our excellent pupil of the great philosopher Hegel supposes — these offences are fully excused by the fact that other newspapers also are guilty of similar transgressions (which is tantamount to saying that a scoundrel brought before the court could not justify himself better than by referring to the base tricks of his numerous comrades still at liberty)”.

Where have we asserted that “the old sins of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung are fully excused by the fact that other newspapers also are guilty of similar transgressions"? Where have we even merely tried to “excuse” these old sins? Our actual argument, which is easily distinguished from its reflection in the mirror of the “extremely moderate understanding”, was as follows: First of all the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung enumerates the “old sins” of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung. We specify these sins, and then we continue:

“If all German newspapers of the old style wanted to reproach one another for their past, the examination of the case would be reduced to the formal question whether they sinned through what they did or through what they did not do. We are prepared to grant our lady friend, the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, the innocent advantage over the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung that she has not only not led a bad life, but that she has shown no signs of life at all”.

Thus, we do not say “other newspapers also”, we say “all German newspapers of the older style”, among which we expressly include the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, cannot excuse themselves entirely by references to one another but that they can rightly address the same reproaches to themselves. The Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung could lay claim only to the doubtful advantage of having sinned by what it did not do, thus contrasting its sins of omission to the sins of commission of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung. We can explain to the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung its passive badness by a fresh example. It now vents its fanatic spleen on the defunct Leipziger Allgenwine Zeitung, whereas during the lifetime of the latter it published extracts from it instead of refuting it. The comparison by which the “extremely moderate understanding” tries to clarify our argument requires a small, but essential correction. It should have spoken not about one scoundrel who excuses himself before the court by referring to the other scoundrels still at liberty, but about two scoundrels, of whom the one who has not reformed and has not been imprisoned, triumphs over the other, who has been put in prison, although he has reformed.

“In addition,” the “extremely moderate understanding” continues, “in addition, ‘the legal position is not altered by the moral character or even the political and religious opinions of individuals'; consequently, even a totally bad newspaper, precisely because it is merely bad, has a right to that bad existence Gust as everything else which is bad in the world, precisely because of its bad existence, cannot be disputed its right to exist)”.

It seems that the pious gentleman wants to convince us not only that he never studied any of the “great” philosophers, but that he did not even study any of the “lesser” ones.

The passage, which in the fantastic exposition of our friend acquired such wonderfully distorted and confused features, read — before it was refracted through the prism of the “extremely moderate understanding” — as follows:

“Meanwhile, the article of ours which is incriminated spoke not of the past, but of the present character of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung, although it stands to reason that we would have no less serious objections against a ban, etc., etc., on the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung published in Koblenz, since the legal position is not altered by the moral character or even the political and religious opinions of individuals. On the contrary, the lack of rights of the press is beyond all doubt once its existence is made dependent on its frame of mind. Up to now, indeed, there has been no legal code or court of law for a frame of mind”.

We merely assert, therefore, that a person cannot be imprisoned, or deprived of his property or any other legal right because of his moral character or because of his political or religious opinions. The latter assertion seems particularly to excite our religious-minded friend. We demand that the legal position of a bad being should be unassailable, not because it is bad, but insofar as its badness remains within a frame of mind, for which there is no court of law and no legal code. Thus we contrast a bad frame of mind, for which no court of law exists, to bad deeds, which, if they are illegal, come within the scope of the court and the laws punishing such deeds. We assert, therefore, that a bad being, despite its badness, has the right to exist, as long as it is not illegal. We do not assert, as our pseudo-echo reports, that a bad being, precisely “because it is merely bad”, “cannot be disputed its right to exist”. On the contrary, our worthy well-wisher must have realised that we dispute that he and the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung have the right to be bad, and therefore we are trying as far as possible to make them good, without considering we are entitled on that account to attack the “legal position” of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung and its shield-bearer. Here is yet another example of the “measure of understanding” of our pious zealot:

“If, however, the organ ‘of political thought’ goes so far as to assert that newspapers such as the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung (and especially, it stands to reason, such as itself, the Rheinische Zeitung) ‘should rather be praised, and praised from the state point of view’, since even supposing they have aroused dissatisfaction and ill humour, it is, after all, German dissatisfaction and German ill humour that they have aroused, then we cannot fail to express our doubts about this strange ‘service to the German Fatherland’."

In the original, the passage quoted reads:

“But should not rather those newspapers be praised, and praised from the state point of view, which wrest from foreign countries and win for the Fatherland the attention, the feverish interest and the dramatic tension which accompany every coming into being, and above all the coming into being of contemporary history! Suppose even that these newspapers have aroused dissatisfaction, ill humourl It is, after all, German dissatisfaction, German ill humour that they arouse; after all, they have given back to the state minds that had turned away fropi it, even though at first these minds are excited and ill-humouredl And they have aroused not only dissatisfaction and ill humour, etc., they have aroused, above all, real sympathy for the state, they have made the state close to the heart, a domestic affair, etc.”

Our worthy man, therefore, omits the connecting intermediate links. It is as if we said to him, “My dear fellow, be grateful to us: we are enlightening your understanding, and even if you are a little annoyed, nevertheless it is your understanding that gains by it”, and as if our friend replied, “Whatl I have to be grateful to you because you annoy mel” After these samples of “extremely moderate understanding”, no particularly deep psychological investigations are required to understand the immoderate fantasy of our author, which makes it appear to him that we are already “marching with fire and sword through the German regions” in cohorts. Finally our friend throws off the mask. “Ulrich von Hutten and his companions”, who, as is well known, include Luther, will forgive the lion’s cowl of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung its impotent anger. We can only blush at an exaggeration which ranks us with such great men and, since one good turn deserves another, we wish to rank our friend with chief pastor Goeze. Therefore, with Lessing, we cry out to him:

“And here is my brief knightly challenge. Write, Herr Pastor, and inspire others to write as much as they possibly can. I, too, shall write. If I allow that you are right in regard to the slightest matter in which you are wrong, then I can never touch a pen aon.”

The Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung

Rheinische Zeitung No. 16, January 16, 1843

Cologne, January 15. No. 1 of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, dated January 11, which we touched upon a few days ago as an outrider of the lion’s article, today tries to prove, by an example, how little

“the one which overbalances in its dialectics” (the Rheinische Zeitung) is capable “of clearly grasping a simple, clearly formulated proposition”.

No. 1 claims that in fact it did not at all say that the Rheinische Zeitung had tried to justify the ban on the Münchener politische Blätter,

“but that, at the very moment when it puts itself forward as the champion of unconditional freedom of the press, it does not hesitate to vilify a newspaper which was actually banned, and therefore the chivalry with which it gave assurance of readiness to enter the lists against a ban on the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung is not worth much”.

Outrider No. 1 overlooks that there could he two reasons for his disquiet about our chivalrous behaviour in the event of a ban on the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung and that both of them have already been answered. The worthy outrider, we must suppose, does not trust our assurance because in the alleged vilification of the Münchener politische Blätter he sees a hidden justification for banning it. We had the more right to presuppose such a train of thought in our worthy outrider because that mean man has the peculiar cunning to wish to detect the true opinion behind statements that seem to him to have unconsciously “slipped out”. In that case we can calm the worthy outrider by proving to him how impossible it is for there to be any connection between our statement about the Münchener politische Blätter and a justification for banning it.

The second possibility is that No. 1 finds it altogether regrettable and unchivalrous of us to accuse a newspaper which has actually been banned, such as the Münchener politische Blätter, of a party polemic against Protestantism. He regards this as a vilification. In that case we asked the worthy outrider:

“If, at the very time when we were defending the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung against the ban ‘that had just been imposed’ on it, we, together with the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung, mentioned the party polemic of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung against Catholicism, had we not the right without the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung to mention the party polemic of the Münchener politische Blätter, which had been banned long ago?”.

That is to say: we do not vilify the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung by mentioning with the consent of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung its party polemic against Catholicism. Will our assertion about the pro-Catholic party polemic of the Münchener politische Blätter become vilification because it is so unfortunate as not to have the consent of the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung?

No. 1 has done nothing beyond calling our assertion a vilification, and since when have we been obliged to take No. 1’s word for anything? We said: The Münchener politische Blätter is a Catholic party newspaper, and in this respect it is a Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung in reverse. The outrider in the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung says: The Münchener politische Blätter is not a party newspaper and is not a Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung in reverse. It is not, the outrider says,

“such a repository of untruths, stupid bits of gossip and mocking at non-Catholic creeds”.

We are not theological polemicists for one side or the other, but it is enough to read the Münchener politische Blätter’s psychological description of Luther based on vulgar tittle-tattle, it is enough to read what the Rhein- und Mosel-Zeitung says about “Hutten and his companions”, to decide whether the “moderate” newspaper adopts a standpoint from which it could objectively judge what is religious party polemic and what is not.

Finally, the worthy outrider promises us a “more detailed characterisation of the Rheinische Zeitung”. Nous verrons. The small party between Munich and Koblenz has already once given its opinion that the “political” sense of the Rhinelanders should either be exploited for certain non-state pursuits or suppressed as an dt annoyance”. Can this party fail to be annoyed when it sees the proof of its own complete unimportance in the rapid spread of the Rheinische Zeitung throughout the Rhine Province? Perhaps the present moment is unfavourable for showing annoyance? We think that all this is not badly conceived and only regret that this party, not having a more important organ, has to be satisfied with the worthy outrider and his insignificant “moderate” newspaper. One can judge the strength of the party from this organ.


The divorce bill - Karl Marx

Karl Marx writes on the divorce bill, December 19, 1842.

The Divorce Bill by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

The Divorce Bill [114]

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 307
Written: on December 18, 1842
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 353, December 19, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

Cologne, December 18. In regard to the Divorce Bill the Rheinische Zeitung has adopted quite a special position, and so far no proof has been given anywhere that this position is untenable. The Rheinische Zeitung agrees with the Bill inasmuch as it considers the hitherto existing Prussian legislation on marriage immoral, the hitherto innumerable and frivolous grounds for divorce impermissible, and the existing procedure not in accord with the dignity of the matter concerned, which, incidentally, can he said of the old Prussian court procedure as a whole. On the other hand, the Rheinische Zeitung has put forward the following main objections to the new Bill: 1) Instead of reform there has been a mere revision, hence Prussian law was retained as the basic law, which has resulted in considerable half-heartedness and, uncertainty; 2) the legislation treats marriage not as a moral, but as a religious and church institution, hence the secular essence of marriage is ignored; 3) the procedure is very defective and consists of a superficial combination of contradictory elements; 4) it cannot be ignored that there are, on the one hand, seventies of a police nature which are contrary to the concept of marriage and, on the other, too great leniency in regard to what are called considerations of fairness; 5) the whole formulation of the Bill leaves much to be desired as regards logical consistency, precision, clarity and comprehensive points of view.

Insofar as opponents of the Bill condemn one or other of these defects, we agree with them; on the other hand, we can by no means approve of their unconditional apologia for the former system. We repeat once more the statement we made previously:

“If legislation cannot decree morality, it can still less pronounce immorality to be legally valid.” When we ask these opponents (who are not opponents of the church conception and of the other shortcomings we have indicated) on what they base their arguments, they always speak to us about the unfortunate position of the husband and wife tied together against their will. They adopt a eudemonic standpoint, they think oly of the two individuals and forget about the family. They forget that almost every divorce is the break-up of a family and that even from the purely juridical standpoint the children and their property cannot be made to depend on arbitrary will and its whims. If marriage were not the basis of the family, it would no more be the subject of legislation than, for example, friendship is. Thus, the above-mentioned opponents take into account only the individual will or, more correctly, the arbitrary desire of the married couple, but pay no attention to the will of marriage, the moral substance of this relationship. The legislator, however, should regard himself as a naturalist. He does not make the laws, he does not invent them, he only formulates them, expressing in conscious, positive laws the inner laws of spiritual relations. just as one would have to reproach the legislator for the most unbridled arbitrary behaviour if he replaced the essence of the matter by his own notions, so also the legislator is certainly no less entitled to regard it as the most unbridled arbitrariness if private persons seek to enforce their caprices in opposition to the essence of the matter. No one is forced to contract marriage, but everyone who has done so must be compelled to obey the laws of marriage. A person who contracts marriage does not create marriage, does not invent it, any more than a swimmer creates or invents the nature and laws of water and gravity. Hence marriage cannot be subordinated to his arbitrary wishes; on the contrary, his arbitrary wishes must be subordinated to marriage. Anyone who arbitrarily breaks a marriage thereby asserts that arbitrariness, lawlessness, is the law of marriage, for no rational person will have the presumption to consider his actions as privileged, as concerning him alone; on the contrary, he will maintain that his actions are legitimate, that they concern everybody. But what do you oppose? You oppose the legislation of arbitrariness, but surely you do not want to raise arbitrariness to the level of a law at the very moment when you are accusing the legislator of arbitrariness.

Hegel says: In itself, according to the concept, marriage is indissoluble, but only in itself, i.e., only according to the concept. his says nothing specific about marriage. All moral relations are indissoluble according to the concept, as is easily realised if their truth is presupposed. A true state, a true marriage, a true friendship are indissoluble, but no state, no marriage, no friendship corresponds fully to its concept, and like real friendship, even in the family, like the real state in world history, so, too, real marriage in the state is dissoluble. No moral existence corresponds to its essence or, at least, it does not have to correspond to it. just as in nature decay and death appear of themselves where an existence has totally ceased to correspond to its function, just as world history decides whether a state has so greatly departed from the idea of the state that it no longer deserves to exist, so, too, the state decides in what circumstances an existing marriage has ceased to be a marriage. Divorce is nothing but the statement of the fact that the marriage in question is a dead marriage, the existence of which is mere semblance and deception. It is obvious that neither the arbitrary decision of the legislator, nor the arbitrary desire of private persons, but only the essence of the matter can decide whether a marriage is dead or not, for it is well known that the statement that death has occurred depends on the facts, and not on the desires of the parties involved. But if, in the case of physical death, precise, irrefutable proof is required, is it not clear that the legislator should be allowed to register the fact of a moral death only on the basis of the most indubitable symptoms, since preserving the life of moral relationships is not only his right, but also his duty, the duty of his self-preservation!

Certainty that the conditions under which the existence of a moral relationship no longer corresponds to its essence are correctly registered, without preconceived opinions, in accordance with the level attained by science and with the generally accepted views — this certainty, of course, can only exist if the law is the conscious expression of the popular will, and therefore originates with it and is created by it. We will add a few words about making divorce easier or more difficult: Can you consider a natural object to be healthy, strong, truly organised, if every external impact, every injury, is capable of destroying it? Would you not feel insulted if someone put forward as an axiom that your friendship could not withstand the. slightest accident and must be dissolved by any caprice? In regard to marriage, the legislator can only establish when it is permissible to dissolve it, that is to say, when in its essence it is already dissolved. juridical dissolution of marriage can only be the registering of its internal dissolution. The standpoint of the legislator is the standpoint of necessity. The legislator, consequently, gives due honour to marriage, acknowledges its profound moral essence, if he considers it strong enough to withstand a multitude of collisions without harm to itself. Indulgence of the wishes of individuals would turn into harshness towards the essence of the individuals, towards their moral reason, which is embodied in moral relationships.

Finally, we can only term it undue haste when from many quarters the accusation of hypocrisy is levelled against countries with strict laws on divorce, among which the Rhine Province is proud to be included. Only people whose field of vision does not go beyond the moral corruption around them can dare to make such accusations. In the Rhine Province, for example, these accusations are considered ridiculous and are regarded at most as proof that even the idea of moral relationships can be lost, and every moral fact regarded as a fairy-tale or a falsehood. This is the direct result of laws that are not dictated by respect for human beings; it is a mistake which is not done away with by contempt for the material nature of man becoming contempt for his ideal nature and blind obedience to a super-moral and supernatural authority being demanded instead of conscious subordination to moral and natural forces.


The divorce bill, editorial note - Karl Marx

Karl Marx on the divorce bill, 15 November 1842.

The Divorce Bill by Karl Marx

Karl Marx

The Divorce Bill — Editorial Note [101]

Criticism of a Criticism

Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 274;
Written: in mid-November 1842;
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung No. 319, November 15, 1842;
Transcribed: in 2000 for by Andy Blunden.

The criticism of the Divorce Bill given here has been outlined from the standpoint of Rhenish jurisprudence just as the criticism published earlier (see the Supplement to No. 310 of the Rhein. Ztg.) was based on the standpoint and practice of old Prussian jurisprudence. A third criticism remains to be made, a criticism from a pre-eminently general point of view, that of the philosophy of law. It will no longer suffice to examine the individual reasons for divorce, pro et contra. It will be necessary to set forth the concept of marriage and the consequences of this concept. The two articles we have so far published agree in condemning the interference of religion in matters of law, without, however, expounding to what extent the, essence of marriage in and for itself is or is not religious, and without, therefore, being able to explain how the consistent legislator must necessarily proceed if he is guided by the essence of things and cannot be at all satisfied with a mere abstraction of the definition of this essence. If the legislator considers that the essence of marriage is not human morality, but spiritual sanctity, and therefore puts determination from above in the place of self-determination, a supernatural sanction in the place of inner natural consecration, and in the place of loyal subordination to the nature of the relationship puts passive obedience to commandments that stand above the nature of this relationship, can then this religious legislator be blamed if he also subordinates marriage to the church, which has the mission of implementing the demands and claims of religion, and if he places secular marriage under the supervision of the ecclesiastical authorities? Is that not a simple and necessary consequence? It is self-deception to believe that the religious legislator can be refuted by proving that one or other of his rulings is contrary to the secular nature of marriage. The religious legislator does not engage in a polemic against the dissolution of secular marriage; his polemic is rather against the secular essence of marriage, and he seeks partly to purge it of this secularity and partly, where this is impossible, to bring home at all times to this secularity, as a merely tolerated party, its limits and to counteract the sinful defiance of its consequences. Wholly inadequate, however, is the point of view of Rhenish jurisprudence, which is shrewdly expounded in the criticism published above. It is inadequate to divide the nature of marriage into two parts, a spiritual essence and a secular one, in such a way that one is assigned to the church and the individual conscience, the other to the state and the citizens' sense of law. The contradiction is not abolished by being divided between two different spheres; on the contrary, the result is a contradiction and an unresolved conflict between these two spheres of life themselves. And can the legislator be obliged to adopt a dualism, a double world outlook? Is not the conscientious legislator who adheres to the religious point of view bound to elevate to the sole authority in the real world and in secular forms that which he recognises as truth itself in the spiritual world and in religious forms, and which he worships as the sole authority? This reveals the basic defect of Rhenish jurisprudence, its dual world outlook, which, by a superficial separation of conscience and the sense of law, does not solve but cuts in two the most difficult conflicts, which severs the world of law from the world of the spirit, therefore law from the spirit, and hence jurisprudence from philosophy. On the other hand, the opposition to the present Bill reveals even more glaringly the utter lack of foundation of the old Prussian jurisprudence. If it is true that no legislation can decree morality, it is still truer that no legislation can recognise it as binding in law. Prussian law “2 is based on an intellectual abstraction which, being in itself devoid of content, conceived the natural, legal, moral content as external matter which in itself knows no laws and then tried to model, organise and arrange this spiritless and lawless matter in accordance with an external aim. It treats the objective world not in accordance with the latter's inherent laws, but in accordance with arbitrary, subjective ideas and an intention that is extraneous to the matter itself. The old Prussian jurists have shown but little insight into this character of Prussian law. They have criticised not its essence, but only individual external features of its existence. Hence, too, they have attacked not the nature and style of the new Divorce Bill, but its reforming tendency. They thought they could find in bad morals proof that the laws were bad. We demand from criticism above all that it should have a critical attitude to itself and not overlook the difficulty of its subject-matter.

The editorial board of the Rhein. Zeitung.


Volume 02

An Evening - Frederick Engels

An Evening by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1840

An Evening

Written: in July 1840
First published: in the Telegraph für Deutschland No. 125, August 1840
Signed: Friedrich Oswald

To-morrow comes!


I sit in the garden. ‘Neath the ocean’s rim
The old day’s sun has slowly slipped from sight,
And hidden shafts that draw their strength from him
Now fill the heavens with scintillating light.
But with day’s brilliance fading from the sky,
The flowers stand and grieve in silent sadness;
Meanwhile the birds, safe in the tree-tops high,
Carol their love-songs full of joy and gladness.
Ships that have traced the oceans with their wake
Now lie at anchor in the peaceful bay.
From end to end the timbered bridges shake
As the tired people trudge their homeward way.
The cool wine bubbles in the crystal glass.
I leaf through Caldetön’s great comedies,
Drinking my fill to very drunkenness
On heady wine and headier tragedies.


The radiance in the West is almost gone.
Patience! A new day’s coming — Freedom’s day!
The sun shall mount his ever-shining throne
And Night’s black cares be banished far away.
New flowers shall grow, but not in nursery beds
We raked ourselves and sowed with chosen seeds:
All earth shall be their garden full of light;
’ Written in English in the original. (Shelley, Queen Mab.)
All plants shall flourish in far alien lands.
The Palm of Peace shall grace the Northern strands,
The Rose of Love shall crown the frozen wight,
The sturdy Oak shall seek the Southern shore
To make the club that strikes the despot down,
And he who brings his nation peace once more
Shall wear upon his head the oak-leaf crown.
The Aloe, flourishing all over Earth,
Is like the People’s spirit everywhere,
As prickly, coarse, and lacking grace as they are,
Till, with a crash, there suddenly bursts forth
Through every obstacle a blossom bright —
The Freedom flame, that glowed concealed from sight;
Its scent is far more like to reach the Lord
Than all the incense of the pious fraud.
Only the Cypress-trees are left alone,
Abandoned in the grove, their meaning gone.


The birds on their green branches greet the dawn
With paeans of tumultuous song, and know
That when the drifting cloudlets have withdrawn
Their steamy summits to the vales below,
Then shall the sun begin to mount his throne —
These birds are minstrel singers, every one;
Their words fly free as the free winds that blow;
And winds and words as one united go.
These songsters do not haunt the castle walls
(Those stately homes have long since tumbled down),
But, in proud oaks unbent by howling squalls,
Boldly they look towards the rising sun,
Though they be dazzled when his brilliance falls
To ring the earth with radiant light around.
1, too, am one of Freedom’s minstrel band.
’twas to the boughs of Börne’s great oak-tree
I soared, when in the vales the despot’s hand
Tightened the strangling chains round Germany.
Yes, I am of those plucky birds that make
Their course through Freedom’s bright aethereal sea.
Though I be just a sparrow in their wake,
Rather that little sparrow would I be
Than the caged nightingale that can’t take wing
And only to a prince’s car may sing.


No longer does the cargo vessel press
Across the ocean to enrich the few
Or swell the greedy merchant’s revenue:
It bears the seeds of human happiness.
It is a noble stallion prancing high,
Whose rider slays all hypocrites and crawlers,
It is the fearless scourge of human dolours,
It is a thought that dreams of Liberty.
The flag bears not the royal coat of arms
For the ship’s frightened crew to tremble under;
It bears the cloud on which, after the thunder,
After the lightning bolts of raging storms,
The reconciling Freedom rainbow forms.


The bridge of Love shall throw its spans unseen
Across from heart to heart; between the piers
Runs Passion’s wild and ever-rushing stream,
The swiftly flowing torrent of the years.
The bridge is diamond hard: it will not sag.
Across goes Freedom’s bravely shining flag.
Across goes Man. Where'er his feet may lead him,
Wherever he may choose to cast his eye,
He sees a friendly roof against the sky
And knows that food and drink are there to meet him;
A very home from home awaits to greet him,
Wherever he may make his bed and lie.
A bridge of purer faith shall pierce the clouds.
Man shall ascend it, climbing without fear
Its heavenward steps to gaze on, humbly proud,
The Eternal Archetype of All the Spirits.
Out of his bosom issues forth Mankind,
And to his bosom Men return again,
All conscious links in the great spirit-chain
By which Eternal Matter is confined.


New wine shall fill your glasses to the brim,
Pure Freedom wine’s intoxicating brew:
Not the unwary senses to bedim,
But jaded senses to exchange for new,
That with revived perception you may hear
The spheres in heaven singing high and low;
That the blood coursing through your veins may clear,
Transformed into pure Aether, which flows through
The Infinities; that your eye-beams may spear
Primordial Space, like warriors bold that go
To storm the starry summits without fear.
Between, like jack-o'-Lanterns in the sky,
Images of past woe are gliding by.


And there shall rise another Calderön,
Pearl-fisher in the tide of poetry,
With images like flames ascending from
The layered wood of the sweet Cedar-tree.
With golden lyre, he shall exalt in song
The bloody stamping out of Tyranny.
Mankind shall hear proud Victory’s refrain,
And Peace shall flourish in the world again.
He too shall sing how Mankind made a stand
Against the cruel hordes of Tyranny
Upon Mantible Bridge* [88]; how that brave band
Fought on through levelled spears to victory
And so set foot on Freedom’s hallowed land;
How Doctor of His Honour** came to be
Man, like the Constant Prince,*** condemned to languish
In chains until deliverance from anguish;
How Freedom came, The Daughter of the Air,****
Descending earthwards from aethereal space
To sing her magic songs, so wondrous fair;

How Life became a Dream***** of joy and grace,
And how the Cup of Happiness shone clear
Of furious ferment showing not a trace;
And how the sun shall put the clouds to flight,
Bringing sweet April-and-May-Mornings****** light.


But say, when is the new sun going to rise?
When will the bad old times be cracked asunder?
We saw the old sun sinking in the skies —
How long must night’s oppression keep us under?
The melancholy moon peers through the cloud,
And white mists, bivouacked in the vales below,
Hide all that lives on earth beneath their shroud.
Like blind men tapping through the dark we go.
Patience! For look, already heavenward bound,
The sun would chase the gloomy clouds away.
The very mists that crawl along the ground
Are Spirits’ dawn-breeze-wakened roundelay.
The morning star dances his upward way.
The mists are pierced by shafts of blood-red fire.
Do not the flowers unfold to greet the day?
Do you not hear the joyful feathered choir?
Now half the heavens are filled with radiance bright.
The snow-capped mountains blaze with ruby light.
The golden clouds rear up their noble heads
Like the sun’s fiery chariot-drawing steeds.
Look yonder, where the densest light rays run
In joyous throng to greet the new-born sun!

Notes by Engels:

* La puente de Mantible.
** El midico de su honra..
*** El principe constante.
**** La hija del aire.
***** La vida es sueño.
****** Mañano do Abril y Mayo.


Book Wisdom - Frederick Engels

Book Wisdom by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1839

Book Wisdom [3]

Written: in March 1839
First published: in Der Bremer Stadtbote No. 8, March 24, 1839
Signed: Th. Hildebrandt

He is not wise who from his reading draws
Nothing but floods of useless erudition.
For all his learning, life’s mysterious laws
Are a closed book beyond his comprehension.
He who acquires a thorough textbook grounding
In Botany, won’t hear the grass that grows.
Nor will he ever teach true understanding
Who tells you all the dogma that he knows.
Oh, no! The germ lies hid in man’s own heart.
Who seeks the art of life must look within.
Burning the midnight oil will not impart
The secret of emotion’s discipline.
The man is lost who hears his own heart’s voice
And spurns it, wilfully misapprehending.
Of all your words so noble and so wise
The most profound is human understanding.


Ernst Moritz Arndt - Frederick Engels

Ernst Moritz Arndt by Frederick Engels

Ernst Moritz Arndt [98]

Written: in October-December 1840
First published: in Telegraph für Deutschland Nos. 2-5, January 1841
Signed: F. Oswald

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 2, January 1841

Like the faithful Eckart of the legend, old Arndt stands on the Rhine and warns the youth of Germany, who for many years now have been gazing across to the French Venusberg and the seductive, passionate maidens, the ideas, [99] that beckon from its pinnacles. But the wild youths do not heed the old hero and storm across, and not all of them remain in enervated prostration like the new Tannhäuser Heine.

This is Arndt’s position in relation to the German youth of today. Though all hold him in high esteem, his ideal of German life does not satisfy them; they want more freedom to act, fuller, more exuberant vitality, ardent, impetuous throbbing in the veins of world history which carry Germany’s life-blood. Hence the sympathy for France, not, of course, the sympathy of submission about which the French romance, but that loftier and freer form whose nature has been so admirably set forth by Börne in his Franzosenfresser, in contrast to Germanising one-sidedness.

Arndt has sensed that the present is estranged from him, that it does not respect him for his thought but respects his thought for the sake of his strong, manly personality. Hence, as a man whose life had been given meaning both by his talent and conviction and by the course of developments over a number of years, he was faced with the duty of leaving his nation a memorial of his cultural development, his way of thinking and his times, which he has done in his much discussed Erinnerungen aus dem äussern Leben.

Disregarding its trend for the moment, Arndt’s book is also aesthetically a most interesting publication. This concise, pithy language has not been heard in our literature for a long time and deserves to make a lasting impression on many of the young generation. Better firm than flabby! There are, of course, authors for whom the essence of the modern style is that every ripple of the muscles, every taut sinew of speech should be prettily enveloped in soft flesh, even at the risk of appearing effeminate. No, give me the manly, bony structure of Arndt’s style rather than the spongy manner of certain “modern” stylists! Particularly since Arndt has avoided the idiosyncrasies of his comrades of 1813 so far as possible and comes near to affectation only in the absolute use of the superlative (as in the southern Romance languages). Nor should one look in him for that repulsive mixing of languages which has again become the fashion; on the contrary, he shows how few alien shoots we need graft on our language without being at a loss. The carriage of our thoughts does indeed run better on most roads with German rather than French or Greek horses’, a fact which ridicule of the extremes of the puristic trend does not alter.

Let us now examine the book more closely. Most of it is taken up with the idyll of his early life, which is drawn with a genuinely poetic hand. Anyone who has spent his first years as Arndt did, can be eternally thankful to God! Not in the dust of a big city, where the joys of the individual are crushed by the interests of the whole, not in children’s homes or philanthropic prisons, where budding vigour is blunted; no, it was under the open sky in fields and woods that nature formed the man of steel at whom an effeminate generation gazes as at a northern warrior. The great plastic force with which Arndt depicts this period of his life almost compels one to believe that all idyllic composition are superfluous as long as our authors experience such idylls as Arndt did. What will appear most strange to our century is the self-discipline of the young Arndt, which combines German chastity with Spartan vigour. But this vigour, so naive, so free from any Jahn-like bragging, as it hums to itself its hoc tibi proderit olim [this will come in handy one day], cannot be recommended enough to our stay-at-home youths. Young men who shun cold water like mad dogs, who put on three or four layers of clothing when the weather is the least bit frosty, who make it a point of honour to obtain exemption from military service on grounds of physical weakness, are truly a fine support for the Fatherland! As for chastity, it is regarded as a crime even to speak of it in an age where one’s first inquiry in every town is the way to the “gate where the last of The houses stand”. [From Goethe’s ballad Der Gott und die Bajadere] I am certainly no abstract moralist, I detest all ascetic nonsense, and shall never pass judgment on fallen love; but it grieves me that moral seriousness threatens to disappear and that sensuality strives to set itself up as the highest good. The emancipation of the flesh in practice will always have to blush beside an Arndt.

With the year 1800 Arndt enters the profession allotted to him. Napoleon’s armies flood Europe, and as the French Emperor’s power increases Arndt’s hatred of him grows; the, Greifswald professor protests in the name of Germany against the oppression and has to flee. At last the German nation rises up and Arndt returns. We could wish that this part of the book contained more detail; Arndt retires modestly into the background before the arming of the nation and its deeds. Instead of leaving us to guess that he was not inactive he should have described his part in the developments of the time in greater detail, and told us the history of these days from the subjective standpoint. Later events are treated still more briefly. What is remarkable here is on the one hand the increasingly pronounced tendency to orthodoxy in religious matters, on the other the mysterious, almost servile, kiss-the-rod manner in which Arndt speaks of his suspension. But those who find this strange will have been convinced by Arndt’s statements issued recently in the public press, in which he regards his reinstatement as an act of justice, not of grace and favour, that he still possesses his ‘ old firmness and determination.

Arndt’s book gains particular importance, however, from the simultaneous publication of a mass of memoirs on the war of liberation. The glorious period when the German nation, for the first time in centuries, rose once more in all its power and greatness and opposed foreign oppression is vividly brought close to us again. And we Germans cannot recall these battles often enough if we are to keep awake our somnolent national consciousness; of course not in the sense of a party which believes it has now done everything and regards itself complacently in the mirror of history, resting on the laurels of 1813, but rather in the opposite sense. For the greatest result of the struggle was not the shaking off of foreign rule, whose elaborate artificiality, resting as it did solely on the Atlas shoulders of Napoleon, was bound to come crashing down of its own accord sooner or later, nor was it the “freedom” which was won; it was the deed itself, or rather an aspect of it, which only very few people at the time clearly sensed. That we became conscious of the loss of our national sanctuaries, that we armed ourselves without waiting for the most gracious permission of the sovereigns, that we actually compelled those in power to take their place at our head [Cf, K. Bade, Napoleon im jahre 1813, Altona, 1840 — Note by F. Engels], in short, that for a moment we acted as the source of state power, as a sovereign nation, that was the greatest gain of those years, and therefore after the war the men who had felt this most clearly and had acted accordingly with the greatest resolution, were bound to appear dangerous to the governments. — But how soon the moving power went to sleep again! The bane of disunity absorbed for the parts the impulse so much needed for the whole, split the general German interest into a multitude of provincial interests and made it impossible to provide Germany with a foundation for state life such as Spain created for herself in the Constitution of 1812. [100] On the contrary, the gentle spring rain of general promises which surprised us from the “higher regions” was too much for our hearts bowed down by oppression, and we fools did not reflect that there are promises the breaking of which can never be excused from the point of view of the nation, but very easily from that of the individual. (?) Then came the Congresses <[101] giving the Germans time to sleep off their intoxication with freedom and wake up to find themselves back in the old relationship of Your Most Gracious Majesty and Your Most Humble Servant. Those who had not yet lost their old aspirations, and could not reconcile themselves to having no active part in the life of the nation, were driven by all the forces of the time into the blind alley of Germanisation. Only a few distinguished spirits broke out of the labyrinth and found the path which leads to true freedom.

The Germanisers wanted to complete the facts of the war of liberation and to free a now materially independent Germany from foreign intellectual hegemony as well. But for that very reason Germanisation was negation, and the positive elements with which it plumed itself lay buried in an unclarity from which they never quite emerged; what did come up into the daylight of reason was for the most part paradoxical enough. Its whole world view was philosophically without foundation since it held that the entire world was created for the sake of the Germans, and the Germans themselves had long since arrived at the highest stage of evolution. The Germanising trend was negation, abstraction in the Hegelian sense. It created abstract Germans by stripping off everything that had not descended from national roots over sixty-four purely German generations. Even its seemingly positive features were negative, for Germany could only be led towards its ideals by negating a whole century and her development, and thus its intention was to push the nation back into the German Middle Ages or even into the primeval German purity of the Teutoburger Wald. Jahn embodied this trend in its extreme. This one-sidedness turned the Germans into the chosen people of Israel and ignored all the innumerable seeds of world history which had grown on soil that was not German. It is against the French especially, whose invasion had been repulsed and whose hegemony in external matters is based on the fact that they master, more easily than all nations at least, the form of European culture, namely, civilisation — it is against the. French that the iconoclastic fury was directed most of all. The great, eternal achievements of the revolution were abhorred as “foreign frivolities” or even “foreign lies and falsehoods”; no one thought of the kinship between this stupendous act of the people and the national uprising of 1813; that which Napoleon had introduced, the emancipation of the Israelites, trial by jury, sound civil law in place of the pandects, [102] was condemned solely because of its initiator. Hatred of the French became a duty. Every kind of thinking which could rise to a higher viewpoint was condemned as un-German. Hence patriotism too was essentially negative and left the Fatherland without support in the struggle of the age, while it went to great pains to invent bombastic German expressions for foreign words which had long been assimilated into German. If this trend had been concretely German, if it had taken the German for what he had become in two thousand years of history, if it had not overlooked the truest element of our destiny, namely, to be the pointer on the scales of European history, to watch over the development of the neighbouring nations, it would have avoided all its mistakes — On the other hand, one must not ignore the fact that Germanisation was a necessary stage in the formation of our national spirit and that together with the succeeding stage it formed the contrast on whose shoulders the modern world view rests.

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 3, January 1841

This contrast to the Germanising trend was the cosmopolitan liberalism of the South-German estates which worked for the negation of national differences and the formation of a great, free, united humanity. It corresponded to religious rationalism and stemmed from the same source, the philanthropy of the previous century, whereas the Germanising trend consistently led to theological orthodoxy, at which almost all its adherents (Arndt, Steffens, Menzel) arrived in due course. The one-sidedness of cosmopolitan liberalism has so often been exposed by its opponents, albeit in a one-sided fashion, that I can be brief where this trend is concerned. The July revolution at first seemed to favour it, but this event was exploited by all parties. The actual destruction of the Germanising trend or rather of its propagating power dates from the July revolution and was inherent in it. Yet so was the collapse of the cosmopolitan trend; for the overwhelming significance of the great week [The events of the July revolution in France (July 27-August 2, 1830)] was the restitution of the French nation in its position as a great power, whereby the other nations were compelled to close their ranks as well.

Even before this latest world-shaking event two men had been working quietly on the development of the German, or as it is preferably called the modern, spirit, two men who almost ignored each other in their lifetime and whose complementary relationship was not to be recognised until after their death, Börne and Hegel. Börne has often and most unjustly been branded as a cosmopolitan, but he was more German than his opponents. The Hallische Jahrbücher has recently linked a discussion of “political practice” with the name of Herr von Florencourt [103]; but he is certainly not its representative. He stands at the point where the extremes of the Germanising trend and cosmopolitanism meet, as happened in the Burschenschaften, [104] and was only superficially affected by the later developments of the national spirit. The man of political practice is Börne, and his place in history is that he fulfilled this calling perfectly. He tore the ostentatious finery off the Germanising trend and also unmercifully exposed the shame of cosmopolitanism, which merely had impotent, more pious wishes. He confronted the Germans with the words of the Cid: Lengua sin manos, cuemo osas fablar? [Tongue without hands, how dare you speak? (Poema del Cid.)] No one has described the glory of the deed like Börne. With him all is life, all is vigour. Only of his writings can it be said that they are deeds for freedom. Do not speak to me here of “reasoned definitions”, of “finite categories"! The manner in which Börne understood the position of the European nations and their destiny is not speculative. Yet Börne was the first to show the relationship of Germany and France in its reality and thereby did a greater service to the idea than the Hegelians, who were meanwhile learning Hegel’s Enzyklopädie by heart and thought that they had thereby done enough for the century. That same portrayal also proves how high Börne stands above the level of cosmopolitanism. Rational one-sidedness was as necessary for Börne as excessive schematism for Hegel; but instead of understanding this we do not get beyond the crude and often false axioms of the Briefe aus Paris.

By the side of Börne and opposed to him, Hegel, the man of thought, presented big already completed system to the nation. Authority did not take the trouble to work its way through the abstruse forms of Hegel’s system and his brazen style; but then, how could it have known that this philosophy would venture from the quiet haven of theory onto the stormy sea of actuality, that it was already brandishing its sword in order to strike directly against existing practice? For Hegel himself was such a solid, orthodox man, whose polemic was directed at precisely those trends which the state power rejected, at rationalism and cosmopolitan liberalism! But the gentlemen at the helm did not appreciate that these trends were only combated in order to make room for the higher, that the new teaching must first root itself in recognition of the nation before it could freely develop its living consequences. When Börne attacked Hegel he was perfectly right from his standpoint, but when authority protected Hegel, when it elevated his teaching almost to a Prussian philosophy of the state, it laid itself open to attack, a fact which it now evidently regrets. Or did Altenstein, whose more advanced standpoint was a legacy of a more liberal age, receive such a free hand here that everything was laid to his account? Be that as it may, when after Hegel’s death the fresh air of life breathed upon his doctrine, the “Prussian philosophy of the state” sprouted shoots of which no party had ever dreamt. Strauss will remain epoch-making in the theological field, Gans and Ruge in the political. Only now do the faint nebulae of speculation resolve themselves into the shining stars of the ideas which are to light the movement of the century. One may accuse Ruge’s aesthetic criticism of being prosaic and confined within the schematism of the doctrine; yet credit must go to him for showing the political side of the Hegelian system to be in accord with the spirit of the time and for restoring it in the nation’s esteem. Gans had done this only indirectly, by carrying the philosophy of history forward into the present; Ruge openly expressed the liberalism of Hegelianism, and Köppen supported him; neither was afraid of incurring enmity, both pursuing their course, even at the risk of a split in the school, and all due respect to their courage for it! The enthusiastic, unshakeable confidence in the idea, inherent in the New Hegelianism, is the sole fortress in which the liberals can find safe retreat whenever reaction gains a temporary advantage over them with aid from above.

These are the most recent developments of German political consciousness, and the task of our age is to complete the fusion of Hegel and Börne. There is already a good deal of Börne in Young Hegelianism, and Börne would have little hesitation in signing many an article in the Hallische Jahrbücher. However, the combining of thought and action is in part not yet conscious enough, in part it has not yet penetrated the nation. Börne is still looked upon by many as the exact opposite of Hegel, but just as Hegel’s practical importance for the present (not his philosophical significance for eternity) is not to be judged by the pure theory of his system, neither is Börne to be flatly rejected because of his one-sidedness and his extravagances, which have never been denied.

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 4, January 1841

I trust that I have characterised the attitude of the Germanising trend to the present day sufficiently and may now proceed to a detailed review of the trend’s individual aspects as expounded by Arndt in his book. The wide gulf which separates Arndt from the present generation is expressed most clearly in the fact that he is indifferent to those matters of state for which we sacrifice our life-blood. Arndt declares himself a decided monarchist; good. Yet he never once discusses whether the monarchy is to be constitutional or absolute. The point of difference is this: Arndt and his whole company believe that the well-being of the state consists in sovereign and people being attached to each other by sincere love and co-operating with each other in the striving for the common good. We, however, are convinced that the relationship between the governing and the governed must first be regulated by law before it can become and remain amicable. First law, then equity! Where is there a sovereign so bad that he does not love his people and is not loved by them — I speak here of Germany — simply because he is their sovereign? But where is there a sovereign who can claim to have brought his people any real advance since 1815? Is it not all our own work; is not what we own our in spite of control and supervision? It is all very fine to talk of the love between a sovereign and his people, and since the great poet [An ironical reference to Balthasar Gerhard Schumacher] of “Heil Dir im Siegerkranz” sang that “a free man’s love makes the steep heights secure where sovereigns stand”, ever since then infinite nonsense has been talked about it. The kind of government threatening us from a certain quarter might be called an up-to-date reaction. Patrimonial courts to promote the formation of a high aristocracy; guilds to reawaken a “respectable” burgher estate; encouragement of all so-called historical seeds, which in reality are old, cut-off stalks.

But it is not only in this respect that the Germanising trend has let itself be cheated of freedom of thought by a determined reaction; its ideas on the constitution are the whispered promptings of the gentlemen of the Berliner politisches Wochenblatt. It was painful to see how even the solid, quiet Arndt allowed himself to be dazzled by the sophisticated glitter of the “organic state”. Phrases about historical development, making use of the given factors, organism, and so on, must once have possessed a charm which entirely eludes us now because we realise that they are mostly fine words which do not seriously mean what they actually signify. Challenge these ghosts point-blank! What do you understand by the organic state? A state whose institutions have grown with and out of the nation in the course of the centuries, and which have not been constructed from theory. Very well; now apply this to Germany! This organism is supposed to consist of the citizens being divided into nobility, burghers and peasants, and everything else that goes with it. All this is supposed to lie hidden in nuce in the word organism. Is that not deplorable, shameful sophistry? Self-development of the nation, does that not look exactly like freedom? You grasp at it with both hands and what you get is the full burden of the Middle Ages and the ancien regime. Fortunately this sleight-of-hand cannot be laid to Arndt’s account. Not the supporters of division into estates, but we, its opponents, want an organic state life. The point at the moment is not “construction from theory”; it is what they want to blind us with: the self-development of the nation. We alone are serious and sincere about it. But these gentlemen do not know that every organism becomes inorganic as soon as it dies; they set the corpses of the past in motion with their galvanic wires and try to fool us that this is not a mechanism but life. They want to promote the self-development of the nation and fasten the ball and chain of absolutism to its ankle so that it will go ahead more quickly. They do not want to know that what they call theory, ideology, or God knows what, has long passed into the blood and sap of the nation and in part has already come to life; that not we, therefore, but they have lost their way in the utopias of theory. For that which was indeed still theory half a century ago has developed as an independent element in the state organism since the revolution. Moreover, and this is the main thing, does the development of mankind not rank above that of the nation?

And what about the estates? The dividing line between burghers and peasants simply does not exist; not even the historical school [105] takes it seriously; it is put there only pro forma, to make the separation of the nobility more plausible to us. Everything turns on the nobility. When the nobility goes, so does the estates system. And with the nobility’s position as an estate things look even worse than with its composition [A pun on the German words Stand and Bestand]. An entailed hereditary estate is absolute nonsense according to modern conceptions. Not in the Middle Ages, of course. In those days in the free cities of the Empire (as in Bremen, for example, even today) there were hereditary guilds with hereditary privileges, pure bakers’ blood and pure pewterers’ blood. Indeed, what is the pride of the nobility compared with the consciousness: My ancestors have been beer-brewers for twenty generations We still have butchers’, or in the more poetical Bremen name, bone-choppers’ blood in the nobility, since the military profession, laid down by Herr Fouqué as proper to it, is continual butchery and bone-chopping. For the nobility to regard itself as an estate, when no calling is exclusively reserved for it under the law of any state, neither the military nor that of the large landowner, is ridiculous arrogance. Anything written on the nobility could have as a motto this line by the troubadour William of Poitiers: “I'll make a song about sheer nothing.” And since the nobility feels its own inner nothingness, no nobleman can hide the pain of it, from the very intelligent Baron of Sternberg to the very unintelligent C. L. F. W. G. von Alvensleben. The tolerance which would leave the nobility the pleasure of regarding itself as something special so long as it does not demand any privileges is most misplaced. For as long as the nobility represents something special, it will desire and must have privileges. We stand by our demand: No estates, but a great, united nation of citizens with equal rights!

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 5, January 1841

Another thing which Arndt demands of his state is entails, in general an agrarian legislation laying down fixed conditions for landed property. Apart from its general importance, this point also deserves attention because here too the up-to-date reaction already mentioned threatens to put things back on the footing before 1789. How many have been raised to the nobility recently on condition that they institute an entail guaranteeing the prosperity of the family! — Arndt is definitely against the unlimited freedom and divisibility of landed property; he sees as its inevitable consequence the division of the land into plots none of which could support its owner. But he fails to see that complete freeing of the land provides the means of restoring in general the balance which in individual cases it may, of course, upset. While the complicated legislation in most German states and Arndt’s equally complicated proposals will never eliminate, but only aggravate anomalies in agrarian relations, they also hinder a voluntary return to the proper order in the event of any dislocation, necessitate extraordinary interference by the state and hinder the progress of this legislation by a hundred petty but unavoidable private considerations. By contrast, freedom of the land allows no extremes to arise, neither the development of big landowners into an aristocracy, nor the splitting up of fields into patches so small as to become useless. If one scale of the balance goes down too far, the content of the other soon becomes concentrated in compensation. And even if landed property were to fly from hand to hand I would rather have the surging ocean with its grand freedom than the narrow inland lake with its quiet surface, whose miniature waves are broken every three steps by a spit of land, the root of a tree, or a stone. It is not merely that the permission to entail means the consent of the state to the formation of an aristocracy; no, this fettering of landed property, like all entails, works directly towards a revolution. When the best part of the land is welded to individual families and made inaccessible to all other citizens, is not that a direct provocation of the people? Does not the right of primogeniture rest on a view of property which has long ceased to correspond to our ideas? As if one generation had the right to dispose absolutely of the property of all future generations, which at the moment it enjoys and administers, as if the freedom of property were not destroyed by so disposing of it that all descendants are robbed of this freedom! As if human beings could thus be tied to the soil for all eternity Incidentally, landed property well deserves the attention which Arndt devotes to it and the importance of the subject would certainly merit thorough discussion from the highest standpoint of the present time. Previous theories all suffer from the hereditary disease of German men of learning who think they must assert their independence by each having a separate system of his own.

If the retrograde aspects of Germanisation deserve closer examination partly for the sake of the revered man, who defends them as his own convictions, partly because of the favour which they have found of late in Prussia, another of its tendencies must be all the more decisively rejected because it is again threatening to prevail among us: hatred of the French. I will not join issue with Arndt and the other men of 1813, but the servile twaddle which without any principle all newspapers now serve up against the French is utterly repulsive to me. It requires a high degree of obsequiousness to be convinced by the July convention [106] that the Eastern question is a matter of life or death for Germany and that Mohammed Ali endangers our nationhood. By supporting the Egyptian, France has from that standpoint indeed committed against the German nation the same crime of which she became guilty at the beginning of the century. It is sad that for half a year already one has not been able to open a newspaper without meeting this newly awakened French-eating fury. And what is it for? To give the Russians enough additional land and the English enough trading power so that they can get us Germans in a vice and crush us to smithereens! The stable principle of England and the system of Russia, these are the sworn enemies of European progress, not France and her movement. But because two German sovereigns have found it proper to join the convention, the affair has suddenly become a German concern, France is the old godless, “Gallic” sworn enemy, and the perfectly natural arming of a truly insulted France is a crime against the German nation. The ridiculous clamour of a few French journalists for the Rhine frontier is thought worthy of lengthy rejoinders, which are unfortunately never read by Frenchmen, and Becker’s song “They shall not have it"’ ["Sie sollen ihn nicht haben” — the first line of N. Becker’s song Der deutsche Rhein ] is par force turned into a folk-song. I do not grudge Becker his song’s success and I will not examine its poetic content, I am even glad to hear such expressions of German sentiment from the left bank of the Rhine, but I share the view of the articles already published in this journal which have just come to hand that it is ridiculous to want to elevate this modest poem into a national anthem. “They shall not have it.” So again negative? Can you be satisfied with a negative folk -song? Can German nationhood find support solely in polemic against foreign countries? The text of the Marseillaise is not worth much in spite of all its enthusiasm, but how much more noble is its reaching out beyond nationality to mankind. And now, after Burgundy and Lorraine have been torn from us, after we have let Flanders become French and Holland and Belgium independent, after France has already advanced in Alsace as far as the Rhine and only a relatively small part of the once German left bank of the Rhine is still ours, we are not ashamed to talk big and to write: at least you shall not have the last piece. Oh, the Germans! And if the French had the Rhine, we would cry with the most ridiculous pride: they shall not have it, the free German Weser, and so on to the Elbe and Oder, until Germany was divided up between France and Russia, and it was only left for us to sing: they shall not have it, the free stream of German theory, so long as it calmly flows into the ocean of infinity, so long as a single unpractical ideal fish flaps a fin on its bottom! Instead of which we should do penance in sackcloth and ashes for the sins through which we have lost all those beautiful lands, for the disunity and the betrayal of the idea, for the provincial patriotism which deserts the whole for the sake of local advantage, and for the lack of national consciousness. True, it is a fixed idea with the French that the Rhine is their property, but to this arrogant demand the only reply worthy of the German nation is Arndt’s: “Give back Alsace and Lorraine[”

For I am of the opinion, perhaps in contrast to many whose standpoint I share in other respects, that the reconquest of the German-speaking left bank of the Rhine is a matter of national honour, and that the Germanisation of a disloyal Holland and of Belgium is a political necessity for us. Shall we let the German nationality be completely suppressed in these countries, while the Slavs are rising ever more powerfully in the east? Shall we give up the Germanness of our most beautiful provinces to buy the friendship of France; possession going back barely a century which could not even assimilate what was conquered-shah we accept this and the treaties of 1815 [the decisions of the Vienna Congress] as a judgment of the world spirit against which there is no appeal?

On the other hand, however, we are not worthy of the Alsatians so long as we cannot give them what they now have: a free public life in a great state. Without doubt, there will be another war between us and France, and then we shall see who is worthy of the left bank of the Rhine. Until then we can well leave the question to the development of our nationhood and of the world spirit, until then let us work for a clear, mutual understanding among the European nations and strive for the inner unity which is our prime need and the basis of our future freedom. So long as our Fatherland remains split we shall be politically null, and public life, developed constitutionalism, freedom of the press, and all else that we demand will be mere pious wishes always only half-fulfilled; so let us strive for this and not for the extirpation of the French! Nevertheless, Germanising negation has still not fully completed its task: there is still plenty to be sent home over the Alps, the Rhine, and the Vistula. The Russians can have the pentarchy, [107] the Italians their papism with all its hangers-on, their Bellini, Donizetti and even Rossini if they want to make him out greater than Mozart and Beethoven, and the French their arrogant opinion of us, their vaudevilles and operas, their Scribe and Adam. We want to chase all these crazy foreign habits and fashions, all the superfluous foreign words back whence they came; we want to cease to be the dupes of foreigners and want to stand together as a single, indivisible, strong, and with God’s will free German nation.


F. W. Krummacher’s Sermon on Joshua - Frederick Engels

F. W. Krummacher’s Sermon on Joshua by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1839

F. W. Krummacher’s Sermon on Joshua [28]

Written: in May 1839
First published: in the Telegraph für Deutschland No. 84, May 1839

In a recent sermon in Elberfeld on Joshua 10:12-13, where Joshua bids the sun stand still, Krummacher advanced the interesting thesis that pious Christians, the Elect, should not suppose from this passage that Joshua was here accommodating himself to the views of the people, but must believe that the earth stands still and the sun moves round it. In defence of this view he showed that it is expressed throughout the Bible. The fool’s cap which the world will give them for that, they, the Elect, should cheerfully put in their pockets with the many others they have already received. — We should be happy to receive a refutation of this sad anecdote, which comes to us from a reliable source.


From Elberfeld - Frederick Engels

From Elberfeld by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1839

From Elberfeld

Written: in the autumn of 1839
First published: in the Telegraph für Deutschland No. 178, November 1839
Signed: S. Oswald

For some time there have been loud and bitter complaints about the deplorable power of scepticism; here and there one looked gloomily at the toppled edifice of the old faith, anxiously waiting for the clouds covering the sky of the future to break. With a similar feeling of melancholy I laid down the Lieder eines heimgegangenen Freundes; they are the songs of a dead man, a genuine Wuppertal Christian, recalling the happy time when one could still cherish a childlike belief in a doctrine whose contradictions can now be counted on the fingers, when one burned with pious zeal against religious liberalism, a zeal at which people now smile or blush. — The very place of printing shows that these verses must not be judged by ordinary standards, that no brilliant thoughts, no unfettered soaring of a free spirit are to be found here; indeed, it would be unfair to expect anything but a product of pietism. The only proper standard that can be applied to these poems is provided by earlier Wuppertal literature, about which I have already vented my irritation at length to allow one of its products for once to be judged from a different standpoint. And here it is undeniable that this book reveals progress. The poems, which appear to come from a layman, although not an uneducated one, are in their thought at least on the level of those of the preachers Döring and Pol; at times even a faint hint of romanticism, as far as that can go together with the Calvinistic doctrine, is unmistakable. As regards form, they are undeniably the best that Wuppertal has produced so far; new or unusual rhymes are often used not without skill; the author even rises to the distich or the free ode, forms which are actually too elevated for him. [Friedrich Wilhelm] Krummacher’s influence is unmistakable; his phrases and metaphors are used everywhere. But when the poet sings:

Pilgrim: Though lamb of Jesus’ flock you be,
No ornament of His I see
On Thee, O lamb so still.

Little Lamb: Oppressed, but only to arise,
The lamb shall go to Paradise.
Be silent, Pilgrim, be a lamb;
Meek and low through gate may go,
Be silent, pray, and be a lamb,

this is no imitation, but Krummacher himself! Nevertheless one can find passages in these poems which are truly moving by their genuineness of feeling; but, alas, one can never forget that this feeling is for the most part morbid! And yet, even here one can see how fortifying and comforting a religion which has truly become a matter of the heart is, even in its saddest extremes.

Dear reader, forgive me for presenting you with a book which can be of infinitely little interest to you; you were not born in Wuppertal, perchance you have never stood on its hills and seen the two towns [Barmen and Elberfeld] at your feet. But you too have a homeland and perhaps return to it with the same love as 1, however ordinary it looks, once you have vented your anger at its perversities.


German Volksbuecher - Frederick Engels

German Volksbücher by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1839

German Volksbücher

Written: in May-October 1839
First published: in Telegraph für Deutschland Nos. 186 and 188-191, Nov. 1839
Signed: Friedrich Oswald

[German Volksbücher were similar to the English chap-books of the same period, that is, cheap popular books intended for the mass of the people and containing legends, tales, poetry, etc.]

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 186, November 1839

Is it not a great commendation for a book to be a popular book, a book for the German people? Yet this gives us the right to demand a great deal of such a book; it must satisfy all reasonable requirements and its value in every respect must be unquestionable. The popular book has the task of cheering, reviving and entertaining the peasant when he returns home in the evening tired from his hard day’s work, making him forget his toil, transforming his stony field into a fragrant rose garden; it has the task of turning the craftsman’s workshop and the wretched apprentice’s miserable attic into a world of poetry, a golden palace, and showing him his sturdy sweetheart in the guise of a beautiful princess; but it also has the task, together with the Bible, of clarifying his moral sense, making him aware of his strength, his rights, his freedom, and arousing his courage and love for his country.

If, generally speaking, the qualities which can fairly be demanded of a popular book are rich poetic content, robust humour, moral purity, and, for a German popular book, a strong, trusty German spirit, qualities which remain the same at all times, we are also entitled to demand that it should be in keeping with its age, or cease to be a book for the people. If we take a look in particular at the present time, at the struggle for freedom which produces all its manifestations — the development of constitutionalism, the resistance to the pressure of the aristocracy, the fight of the intellect against pietism and of gaiety against the remnants of gloomy asceticism — I fail to see how it can be wrong to demand that the popular book should help the uneducated n and show him the truth and reasonableness of these =s, although, of course, not by direct deduction; but on no account should it encourage servility and toadying to the aristocracy or pietism. It goes without saying, however, that customs of earlier times, which it would be absurd or even wrong to practise today, must have no place in a popular book.

By these principles we should, and must, also judge those books which are now genuinely popular German books and are usually grouped together under this name. They are products in part of medieval German or Romance poetry, in part of popular superstition. Earlier despised and derided by the upper classes, they were, as we know, sought out by the romantics, adapted, even extolled. But romanticism looked at their poetic content alone, and how incapable it was of grasping their significance as popular books is shown by Görres’ work on them [J. Görres, Die teutschen Volksbücher]. Görres, as he has shown but lately, actually versifies all his judgments. Nevertheless, the usual view of these books still rests on his work, and Marbach even refers to it in the announcement of his own publication. The three new revised adaptations of these books, by Marbach in prose, and Simrock in prose and poetry two of which are again intended for the people [29] call for another precise examination of the material adapted here from the point of view of its popular value.

So long as opinions about the poetry of the Middle Ages vary so widely, the assessment of the poetic value of these books must be left to the individual reader; but naturally no one would deny that they really are genuinely poetic. Even if they cannot pass the test as popular books, their poetic content must be accorded full recognition; yes, in Schiller’s words:

What in immortal song shall live forever,
Is doomed to die in life,
[From Schiller’s poem Die Götter Griechenlands]

many a poet may find yet one more reason to save for poetry by means of adaptation what proves impossible to preserve for the people.

There is a very significant difference between the tales of German and Romance origin. The German tales, genuine folk stories, place the man in action in the foreground; the Romance give prominence to the woman, either as one who suffers (Genovefa), or as one who loves, passive towards passion even in her love. There are only two exceptions, Die Haimomkinder and Fortunat, both Romance but also folk legends; while Octavianus, Melusina, etc., are products of court poetry which only reached the people later in prose adaptations. — Of the humorous tales only one, Salomon und Morolf, is not directly of Germanic origin, while Eulenspiegel, Die Schildbürger, etc., are indisputably ours.

If we view all these books in their entirety and judge them by the principles stated at the beginning, it is clear that they satisfy these requirements only in the one respect that they have poetry and humour in rich measure and in a form which is easily understood in general even by the least educated, but in other respects they are far from adequate, some of them a complete contradiction, others only partially acceptable. Since they are the products of the Middle Ages, they naturally fail entirely in the special purpose which the present age might require them to fulfil. Thus in spite of the outward richness of this branch of literature and in spite of the declamations of Tieck and Görres, they still leave much to be desired; whether this gap is ever to be filled is another question which I will not take it upon myself to answer.

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 188, November 1839

To proceed now to individual cases, the most important one is undoubtedly the Geschichte vom gehörnten Siegfried. — I like this book; it is a tale which leaves little to be desired; it has the most exuberant poetry written sometimes with the greatest naivety and sometimes with the most beautiful humorous pathos; there is sparkling wit — who does not know the priceless episode of the fight between the two cowards? It has character, a bold, fresh, youthful spirit which every young wandering craftsman can take as an example, even though he no longer has to fight dragons and giants. And once the misprints are corrected, of which the (Cologne) edition in front of me has more than a fair share, and the punctuation is put right, Schwab’s and Marbach’s adaptations will not be able to compare with this genuinely popular style. [30] The people have also shown themselves grateful for it; I have not come across any other popular book as often as this one.

Herzog Heinrich der Löwe. — Unfortunately I have not been able to get hold of an old copy of this book; the new edition printed in Einbeck [31] seems to have replaced it entirely. It starts with the genealogy of the House of Brunswick going back to the year 1735; then follows a historical biography of Herzog Heinrich and the popular legend. It also contains a tale which tells the same story about Godfrey of Bouillon as the popular legend of Heinrich der Löwe, the story of the slave Andronicus ascribed to a Palestinian abbot called Gerasimi with the end substantially altered, and a poem of the new romantic school of which I cannot remember the author, in which the story of the lion is told once more. Thus the legend on which the popular book is based disappears entirely under the trappings with which the munificence of the clever publisher has furnished it. The legend itself is very beautiful, but the rest is of no interest; what do Swabians care about the history of Brunswick? And what room is there for the wordy modern romance after the simple style of the popular book? But that has also disappeared; the adapter, a man of genius, whom I see as a parson or schoolmaster at the end of the last century, writes as follows:

“Thus the goal of the journey was reached, the Holy Land lay before their eyes, they set foot on the soil with which the most significant memories of religious history are linked! The pious simplicity which had looked forward in longing to this moment Changed into fervent devotion here, found complete satisfaction here and became the keenest joy in the Lord.”

Restore the legend in its old language, add other genuine folk legends to make a complete book, send this out among the people, and it would keep the poetic sense alive; but in this form it does not deserve to circulate among the people.

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 189, November 1839

Herzog Ernst. — The author of this book was no great poet, for he found all the poetical elements in oriental fairy-tales. The book is well written and very entertaining for the people; but that is all. Nobody will believe any longer in the reality of the fantasies which occur in it; it can therefore be left in the hands of the people without alteration.

I now come to two legends which the German people created and developed, the most profound that the folk poetry of any people has to show. I mean the legends of Faust and of Der ewige Jude. They are inexhaustible; any period can adopt them without altering their essence; and even if the adaptations of the Faust legend after Goethe belong with the Iliads post Homerum, they still always reveal to us new aspects, not to mention the importance of the Ahasucrus legend for the poetry of later times. But how do these legends appear in the popular books! Not as products of the free imagination are they conceived, no, as children of a slavish superstition. The book about the Wandering Jew even demands a religious belief in its contents which it seeks to justify by the Bible and a lot of stale legends; it contains only the most superficial part of the legend itself, but preaches a very lengthy and tedious Christian sermon on the Jew Ahasuerus. The Faust legend is reduced to a common witches’ tale embellished with vulgar sorcerer’s anecdotes; what little poetry is preserved in the popular comedy has almost completely disappeared. These two books are not only incapable of offering any poetical enjoyment, in their present shape they are bound to strengthen and renew old superstitions; or what else is to be expected of such devilish work? The awareness of the legend and its contents seems to be disappearing altogether among the people, too; Faust is thought to be no more than a common sorcerer and Ahasuerus the greatest villain since Judas Iscariot. But should it not be possible to rescue both these legends for the German people, to restore them to their original purity and to express their essence so clearly that the deep meaning does not remain entirely unintelligible even to the less educated? Marbach and Simrock have still to adapt these legends; may they exercise wise judgment in the process!

We have before us yet another series of popular books, namely, the humorous ones, Eulenspiegel, Salomon und Morolf, Der Plaff vom Kalenberge, Die sieben Schwaben, and Die Schildbürger. This is a series such as few other nations have produced. The wit, the natural manner of both arrangement and workmanship, the good-natured humour which always accompanies the biting scorn so that it should not become too malicious, the strikingly comical situations could indeed put a great deal of our literature to shame. What author of the present day has sufficient inventiveness to create a book like Die Schildbürger? How prosaic Mundt’s humour appears compared with that of Die sieben Schwaben! Of course, a quieter time was needed to produce such things than ours which, like a restless businessman, is always talking about the important questions it has to answer before it can think of anything else. — As regards the form of these books, little needs changing, except for removing the odd flat joke and distortions of style. Several editions of Eulenspiegel, marked with the stamp of Prussian censorship, are not quite complete; there is a coarse joke missing right at the beginning which Marbach illustrates in a very good woodcut.

In sharp contrast to these are the stories of Genovefa, Griseldis and Hirlanda, three books of Romance origin, each of which has a woman for heroine, and a suffering woman at that; they illustrate the attitude of the Middle Ages to religion, and very poetically too; only Genovefa and Hirlanda are too conventionally drawn. But, for heaven’s sake, what are the German people to do with them today? One can well imagine the German people as Griseldis, of course, and the princes as Markgraf Walther; but then the comedy would have to end quite differently from the way it does in the popular book; both sides would resent the comparison here and there on good grounds. If Griseldis is to remain a popular book I see it as a petition to the High German Federal Assembly for the emancipation of women. But one knows, here and there, how this kind of romantic petition was received four years ago, which makes me wonder greatly that Marbach was not subsequently counted among the Young Germans. [32] The people have acted Griseldis and Genovefa long enough, let them now play Siegfried and Reinald for a change; but the right way to get them to do so is surely not to praise these old stories of humiliation.

The first half of the book Kaiser Octavianus belongs to the same class, while the second half is more like the love stories proper. The story of Helena is merely an imitation of Octavianus, or perhaps both are different versions of the same legend. The second half of Octavianus is an excellent popular book and one which can be ranked only with Siegfried; the characterisation of Florens and his foster-father Clemens is excellent, and so is that of Claudius; Tieck had it very easy here. [33] But running right through is there not the idea that noble blood is better than common blood? And how often do we not find this idea among the people themselves! If this idea cannot be banished from Octavianus — and I think it is impossible — if I consider that it must first be eradicated where constitutional life is to arise, then let the book be as poetic as you like, censeo Carthaginem esse delendam. [I am of the opinion that Carthage must be destroyed]

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 190, November 1839

In contrast to the tearful tales of suffering and endurance I have mentioned are three others which celebrate love. They are Magelone. Melusina and Tristan. I Like Magelone best as a popular book; Melusina is again full of absurd monstrosities and fantastic exaggerations so that one could almost see it as a kind of Don Quixote tale, and I must ask again: what do the German people want with it? On top of that the story of Tristan and Isolde — I will not dispute its poetic value because I love the wonderful rendering by Gottfried von Strassburg, [34] even if one may find defects here and there in the narrative — but there is no book that it is less desirable to put into the hands of the people than this. Of course, here again there is a close connection with a modern theme, the emancipation of women; a skilful poet would today hardly be able to exclude it from an adaptation of Tristan without falling into a contrived and tedious form of moralising poetry. But in a popular book where this question is out of place the entire narrative is reduced to an apology for adultery and whether that should be left in the hands of the people is highly questionable. In the meanwhile the book has almost disappeared and one only rarely comes across a copy.

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 191, November 1839

Die Haimonskinder and Fortunat, where we again see the man in the centre of the action, are another couple of true popular books. Here the merriest humour with which the son of Fortunat fights all his adventures, there the bold defiance, the unrestrained relish in opposition which in youthful vigour stands up to the absolute, tyrannical power of Charlemagne and is not afraid, even before the eyes of the prince, to take revenge with its own hand for insults it suffered. Such a youthful spirit that allows us to overlook many weaknesses must prevail in the popular book; but where is it to be found in Griseldis and its like?

Last but not least, the Hundertjährige Kalender, a work of genius, the super-clever Traumbuch, the unfailing Glücksrad, and similar progeny of miserable superstition. Anyone who has even glanced at his book, knows with what wretched sophistries Görres made excuses for this rubbish. All these dreary books have been honoured with the Prussian censor’s stamp. They are, of course, neither revolutionary, like Börne’s letters [L. Börne, Briefe aus Paris], nor immoral, as people claim Wally [K. Gutzkow, Wally, die Zweiflerin] is. We can see how wrong are the charges that the Prussian censorship is exceedingly strict. I hardly need waste any more words on whether such rubbish should remain among the people.

Nothing need be said of the rest of the popular books; the stories of Pontus, Fierabras, etc., have long been lost and so no longer deserve the name. But I believe I have shown, even in these few notes, how inadequate this literature appears, when judged according to the interest of the people and not the interest of poetry. What is necessary are adaptations of a strict selection which do not needlessly depart from the old style and are issued in attractive editions for the people. To eradicate forcibly any which cannot stand up to criticism would be neither easy nor advisable; only that which is pure superstition should be denied the stamp of the censor. The others are disappearing as it is; Griseldis is rare, Tristan almost unobtainable. In many areas, in Wuppertal, for example, it is not possible to find a single copy; in other places, Cologne, Bremen, etc., almost every shopkeeper has copies in his windows for the peasants who come into town.

But surely the German people and the best of these books deserve intelligent adaptations? Not everybody is capable of producing such adaptations, of course; I know only two people with sufficient critical acumen and taste to make the selection, and skill to handle the old style; they are the brothers Grimm. But would they have the time and inclination for this work? Marbach’s adaptation is quite unsuitable for the people. What can one hope for when he starts straight away with Griseldis? Not only does he lack all critical sense, but he cannot resist making quite unnecessary omissions; he has also made the style quite flat and insipid — compare the popular version of the Gehörnter Siegfried and all the others with the adaptation. There is nothing but sentences torn apart, and changed word order for which the only justification was Herr Marbach’s mania to appear original here since he lacked all other originality. What else could have driven him to alter the most beautiful passages of the popular book and furnish it with his unnecessary punctuation? For anyone who does not know the popular version, Marbach’s tales are quite good; but as soon as one compares the two, one realises that Marbach’s sole service has been to correct the misprints. His woodcuts vary greatly in value. — Simrock’s adaptation is not yet far enough advanced for judgment to be passed on it; but I trust him more than his rival. His woodcuts are also consistently better than Marbach’s.

These old popular books with their old-fashioned tone, their misprints and their poor woodcuts have for me an extraordinary, poetic charm; they transport me from our artificial modern “conditions, confusions and fine distinctions” into a world which is much closer to nature. But that is not what matters here; Tieck, of course, made this poetic charm his chief argument — but what weight has the authority of Tieck, Görres and all other romantics when reason contradicts it and when it is a question of the German people?


Joel Jacoby - Frederick Engels

Joel Jacoby by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1840

Joel Jacoby

Written: in January-March 1840
First published: in the Telegraph für Deutschland No. 55, April 1840
Signed: Friedrich Oswald

Görres’ troupe of tight-rope dancers has acquired a valuable recruit in Joel Jacoby. The role of clown was previously performed by Herr Guido Görres, whose jokes, however, were not appreciated by the public; but in his Kampf und Sieg the new member has recently again demonstrated his vocation for this role in surprising fashion. Such a versatile man, who can wear with equal grace the red cap and purple of David, the frock-coat of a candidate eager for a post, or the penitential shirt of a catechumen, who finds pleasure in acting as a walking advertisement, carrying in front of him an issue of the Berliner politisches Wochenblatt and behind him the publications list of Manz in Regensburg — such a man is quite at his ease in all roles. Now he makes his first appearance without being in the least embarrassed, and while “Prosperity and peace, struggle and victory, sound their strains for you”, he has one eye on the Order of the Red Eagle and the other on the bishop’s mitre.

“What should I give you for your refreshment?” he asks the public. “Do you want something from the year 1832 or 1834, 1836 or 1839? What should I declaim, Marat or Jarcke, David or Görres or Hegel?” But he is generous and gives us a ragout of all the reminiscences that spring up in the desert of his mind, and it is true that he gives us something refreshing.

One is perplexed how to deal with this nonsense. I shall readily be permitted not to analyse the perfidy of disposition and chaotic confusion of ideas which distinguish also this work of the author; we are indeed faced with a semi-lunatic in whose mind his own shapeless thought embryos have other people’s ideas grafted on them to produce an unbridled orgy! How much, for example, can our poet know of his own past if he calls himself “a quiet man"! He, who for the past eight years has continually shouted, raged and stormed for the revolution, against the revolution, for Prussia, for the Pope. He, a quiet man? He, whose plaints were always equivalent to complaints [A pun on the German words Klagen and Verklagen] the born informer who always cast suspicion on a massive scale — does he belong to the country’s quiet men?

Franz Karl Joel Jacoby’s confusion of language is in keeping with his confusion of ideas. I would never have believed that the German language could be so closely linked with the most confused conceptions. Words which have never been seen in company with one another are here thrown together; ideas which are mutually antagonistic are here coupled together by an all-powerful verb; the most lawful and innocent expressions occur suddenly among reminiscences from Joel’s revolutionary years, among suspicious-looking phrases of Menzel’s, Leo’s and Görres’, among incorrectly understood thoughts of Hegel’s, and over all this the poet brandishes his riding-whip so that the whole wild pack rushes along, knocking one another over, turning somersaults, and reeling, until it finally comes to rest in the bosom of the church as the sole source of salvation.

The actual content of this masterpiece, which is composed in accordance with a pseudo-parallelism, in the old “grand manner of saying everything twice” (and even three or six times!), consists of the lyrical laments of a Jew and a catechumen, and then the laments of a Catholic, where the author abandons one-sided lyrical subjectivity and develops a genuine modern drama, in the centre of which the vigorous personality of the author acts a tragic role (he is at least mournful enough to look at), and over whose disconsolate confusion rises the medieval dawn of the Catholic Church. The new prophet Joel rises up in gigantic form out of the modern chaos and predicts the downfall of all revolutionary, liberal, Hegeling, [49] and Protestant efforts, which will give way to a new age of absence of thought. A curse is pronounced on everything that does not bow down before the crosier. Only the “Prussian Fatherland” receives pia desideria [Pious wishes]; on the other hand, the Carlist Basques and the “Belgian nightingale” [50] perish to the joy of their master Loyola. One sees that the terrorism of the Jacobin era remains firmly in Herr Jacoby’s memory. A bloody judgment is held on all enemies of Jesuitism and the monarchist principle, above all on the new philosophers, who carry a dagger in a sheath of mind-confusing ideas, and among their many-coloured rags the well-known shroud (at least Herr Jacoby knows it very well from former days) in which the priests and princes together sleep their sleep of death. But the new prophet knows them, “I have always understood you,” he says himself. On the other hand, he acquits the master [Hegel] because a few of the latter’s ideas have entered Herr Jacoby’s heated brain like snowflakes, and there, of course, have turned to water. In face of the chorus of vultures and owls that now follows, as also in face of the infernal rejoicing, criticism is justly silent.

In Joel Jacoby we see the horrifying extreme to which all knights of unreason are driven in the end. That is the final outcome of all hostility to free thought, of all opposition to the absolute power of the mind, whether it appears in the form of wild, unruly sansculottism or the unthinking servile mind; whether it is represented by the parted hair of the pietist or the tonsure of the priest. Joel Jacoby is a living trophy, a sign of the victory which the thinking mind has achieved. Anyone who has ever entered the lists on behalf of the nineteenth century can gaze in triumph on this unfortunate poet of our time, for sooner, or later all its other adversaries will suffer the same fate.


Karl Beck - Frederick Engels

Karl Beck by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1839

Karl Beck

Written: in November-early December 1839
First published: in the Telegraph für Deutschland Nos. 202-203, December 1839
Signed: Friedrich Oswald

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 202, December 1839

I am a Sultan, driven by storms that blow,
My warrior hosts are armoured forms of song,
And grief has laid a turban on my brow
With many mysteries its folds among.
[K. Beck, Nächte. Gepanzerte Lieder. From the poem Der Sultan]

With these bombastic words Herr Beck approached the German poets’ ranks, demanding admission; in his eyes the proud awareness of his calling, about his lips an expression of modern world-weariness. Thus he stretched out his hand for the laurel wreath. Two years have passed since then; does the laurel appeasingly cover the “mysterious folds” of his brow?

There was much boldness in his first collection of poems. Gepanzerte Lieder, a Neue Bibel, a Junges Palästina [35] — the twenty-year-old poet jumped straight from the top form into the third heaven! That was a fire such as had not blazed for a long time, a fire which gave out much smoke because it came from wood that was too fresh and green.

The Young Literature developed so rapidly and brilliantly that its adversaries perceived they stood to lose rather than gain by arrogant rejection or condemnation. It was high time to take a closer look at it and to attack its real weaknesses. Thus, the Young Literature was, of course, recognised as an equal. Soon quite a number of these weaknesses were found — whether real or apparent does not concern us here., but the loudest claim was that the former Young Germany had wanted to dethrone lyric poetry. Heine, of course, fought against the Swabian[36]; Wienbarg made bitter comments on the humdrum lyrics and their eternal monotony; Mundt rejected all lyrics as being out of tune with the times and prophesied a literary Messiah of prose. That was too much. We Germans have always been proud of our songs; if the Frenchman boasted of his hard-won charter and derided our censorship, we pointed proudly to philosophy from Kant to Hegel and to the line of songs from the Song of Ludwig [37] to Nikolaus Lenau. Are we to be deprived of this lyrical treasure? Behold, there comes the lyrical poetry of the “Young Literature” with Franz Dingelstedt, Ernst von der Haide, Theodor Creizenach and Karl Beck.

Beck’s Nächte appeared shortly before Freiligrath’s poems. [F. Freiligrath, Gedichte] We know what a sensation both these collections of poems made. Two young lyrical poets had emerged with whom at that time none of the younger could be ranked. A comparative study of Beck and Freiligrath was made in the Elegante Zeitung [Zeitung für die elegante Welt] by Kühne [38] in the manner familiar from the Charaktere. I would like to apply Wienbarg’s remark about G. Pfizer to this criticism. [39]

The Nächte are chaos. Everything lies in motley disorder. Images, often bold, like strange rock formations; seeds of a future life, but drowned in a sea of phrases; now and then a flower begins to bud, an island to take firm shape, a crystal layer to form. But still everything is in confusion and disorder. The words:

Oh, how the frenzied, flashing images
Race through my wrathful, thunder-laden head,
[K. Beck, Nächte. Gepanzerte Lieder. Zweiundzwanzigste Nacht]

fit not Börne but Beck himself.

The image which Beck gives of Börne in his first attempt is terribly distorted and untrue; Kühne’s influence here is unmistakable. Apart from the fact that Börne would never have used such phrases, he also knew nothing of all the desperate world-weariness which Beck ascribes to him. Is that the clear-headed Börne, the strong, imperturbable character whose love warmed but did not burn, least of all himself? No, it is not Börne, but merely a vague ideal of a modern poet composed of Heine’s coquetry and Mundt’s flowery phrases; the Lord preserve us from its realisation! Frenzied and flashing images never raced in Börne’s head; his locks never stood on end with curses against heaven; in his heart midnight never sounded, but always morning; his sky was never blood-red but always blue. Fortunately, Börne was never filled with such dreadful despair that he could have written Die achtzehnte Nacht. If Beck ‘ did not gabble so much about the Red of Life with which his Börne writes I should believe that he had never read the Franzosenfresser. [L. Börne, Menzel, der Franzosenfresser] Let Beck take the most melancholy passage of the Franzosenfresser and it is bright day compared with his affected night-of-storm despair. Is not Börne poetic enough in himself, must he first be spiced with this newfangled worldweariness? I say newfangled because I can never believe that this sort of thing is a part of genuinely modern poetry. Börne’s greatness is precisely that he was above the miserable flowery phrases and cliquish catchwords of our days.

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 203, December 1839

Before a definite judgment of the Nächte could be formed, Beck had already come forward with a new series of poems. Der fahrende Poet showed him to us from a different angle. The storm had blown itself out and order began to emerge out of chaos. One had not expected such excellent descriptions as those in the first and second songs; nor had one believed that Schiller and Goethe, who had fallen into the clutches of our pedantic aesthetics, could offer material for such a poetic unity as is to be found in the third song, nor that Beck’s poetic reflection could hover in almost philistine calm over the Wartburg as now in fact it did.

With Der fahrende Poet Beck had formally entered literature. Beck announced the Stille Lieder, and the journals reported that he was working on a tragedy, Verlorene Seelen.

A year passed. Except for a few poems nothing was heard of Beck. The Stille Lieder remained unpublished and nothing definite could be learned of the Verlorene Seelen. Eventually, his Novellistische Skizzen appeared in the Elegante. An attempt at prose by such an author would command attention in any event. I doubt, however, whether this attempt satisfied even a single friend of Beck’s Muse. The earlier poet could be recognised in a few metaphors; with careful cultivation the style could be developed quite nicely; but that is all one can say for this little tale. Neither in profundity of thought nor poetic imagination did it rise above the usual sphere of literature meant for entertainment; the invention was rather ordinary and indeed ugly, and the execution was commonplace.

A friend told me during a concert that Beck’s Stille Lieder had arrived. just then the adagio of a Beethoven symphony began. The songs will be like this, I thought; but I was mistaken, there was little Beethoven and a great deal of Bellini lamentation. I was shocked when I took the booklet in my hands. The very first song was so infinitely trivial, so cheaply mannered, only given a spurious originality by an affected turn of phrase.

Only the enormous dreaming in these songs still recalls the Nächte. That a lot of dreaming was done in the Nächte could be excused; it could be overlooked in Der fahrende Poet; but now Herr Beck never comes out of his sleep at all. He is dreaming already on page 3; p. 4, p. 8, p. 9, p. 15, p. 16, p. 23, p. 31, p. 33, p. 34, p. 35, p. 40, etc., dreams everywhere. In addition there is a whole series of dream images. It would be ridiculous if it were not so sad. The hope of originality dwindled to a few new metres, and to make up for it there are suggestions of Heine and an infinitely childish naivety which runs most repulsively through almost all the songs. The first part, Lieder der Liebe. Ihr Tagebuch, suffers particularly. I would not have expected such weak, revolting pap from the blazing flame, the noble, strong spirit that Beck wants to be. Only two or three songs are tolerable. Sein Tagebuch is a little better; here there is occasionally a real song to make up for the frequent nonsense and drivel. The worst of the drivel in Sein Tagebuch is Eine Träne. We know what Beck produced earlier in tear poetry. There he let “the suffering, that bloody, raw corsair, sail in the quiet sea of tears” [K. Beck, Nächte. Gepanzerte Lieder. From the poem Der Sultan] and “grief, the dumb, cold fish”, splash about in it. Now this is joined by:

Teardrop, not in vain
So large and round a-brimming,
All life’s joy and pain
In your lap (?) are swimming.
So much, so much in you
My love and lute are swimming too,
Teardrop, not in vain
So large and round a-brimming.
[K. Beck, Stille Lieder. From Die Träne]

How stupid it is! The better part of the whole booklet is to be found in the dream images, and some of the songs there are at least heartfelt. Particularly Schlaf wohl! which, to judge by the date of its first publication in the Elegante, [40] must belong to the earlier of these songs. The final poem is among the better ones, although somewhat verbose, and at the end there is again the “tear the strong shield of the world spirit”. [K. Beck, Stille Lieder]

To conclude there are attempts at the ballad. The Zigeunerkönig, with an opening which smacks strongly of Freiligrath’s descriptive manner, is weak compared with the vivid portrayal of gipsy life in Lenau, and the gushing phrases, which are meant to make us find the poem fresh and strong, only render it more repulsive. Das Räslein is, however, a prettily reproduced moment. Das ungrische Wachthaus is in the same class as the Zigeunerkönig; the last ballad of this cycle is an example of how a poem can have flowing and sonorous verses and beautiful phrases without leaving much impression. The earlier Beck would have presented the sinister robber Janossyk more vividly in three striking images. And this Beck must have a final dream on the last page but one and so the booklet ends, but not the poem, the continuation of which is promised for the second slim volume. What does this mean? Are poems, like journals, to end with “to be continued"?

After several theatre managements had declared it impossible to produce, Verlorene Seelen was, we hear, destroyed by the author; he now appears to be working on another tragedy, Saul; at least, the Elegante has only published the first act and the [Allgemeine] TheaterChronik an extensive prospectus of it. This act has already been reviewed in these columns. [41] Unfortunately I can only confirm what is said there. Beck, whose uncontrolled and uncertain fantasy makes him incapable of presenting characters in the round, who compels all his personages to use the same phrases, Beck, who showed in his interpretation of Börne how little he can understand a character, let alone create one, could not have hit upon a more unfortunate idea than to write a tragedy. Beck was forced unwittingly to borrow the exposition from a recently published model, [42] to make his David and Merob speak in the tearful tone of Ihr Tagebuch, to present Saul’s changes of mood with the crudeness of a comedy at a country fair. Hearing this Moab speak you begin to realise the significance of Abner as his model; is this Moab, this coarse, bloody disciple of Moloch, more like an animal than a man, supposed to be Saul’s “evil spirit"? A child of nature is not a beast, and Saul, who opposes the priests, does not for that reason find pleasure in human sacrifice. In addition, the dialogue is wooden beyond measure, the language feeble, and only a few tolerable images, which, however, cannot carry the weight of even one act of a tragedy, recall the expectations which Herr Beck no longer seems capable of fulfilling. [43]


Landscapes - Frederick Engels

Landscapes by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1840


Written: at the end of June and in July 1840
First published: in Telegraph für Deutschland Nos. 122-123, July/August 1840
Signed: Friedrich Oswald

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 122, July 1840

Hellas had the good fortune of seeing the nature of her landscape brought to consciousness in the religion of her inhabitants. Hellas is a land of pantheism; all her landscapes are — or, at least, were — embraced in a harmonious framework. And yet every tree, every fountain, every mountain thrusts itself too much in the foreground, and her sky is far too blue, her sun far too radiant, her sea far too magnificent, for them to be content with the laconic spiritualisation of Shelley’s spirit of nature, [The words “spirit of nature” are in English in the original. In Shelley’s works, in particular in Queen Mab, the pantheistic figurative symbol of Pan appears. down with burning anger on the bare barren sand — there you have a representation of the Jewish world outlook] of an all-embracing Pan. Each beautifully shaped individual feature lays claim to a particular god, each river will have its nymphs, each grove its dryads — and so arose the religion of the Hellenes. Other regions were not so fortunate; they did not serve any people as: the basis of its faith and had to await a poetic mind to conjure into existence the religious genius that slumbered in them. — If you stand on the Drachenfels or on the Rochusberg at Bingen, and gaze over the vine-fragrant valley of the Rhine, the distant blue mountains merging with the horizon, the green fields and vineyards flooded with golden sunlight, the blue sky reflected in the river — heaven with its brightness descends on to the earth and is mirrored in it, the spirit descends into matter, the word becomes flesh and dwells among us — that is the embodiment of Christianity. The direct opposite of this is the North-German heath; — here there is nothing but dry stalks and modest heather, which, conscious of its weakness, dare not raise itself above the ground; here and there is a once defiant tree now shattered by lightning; and the brighter the sky, the more sharply does its self-sufficient magnificence demarcate it from the poor, cursed earth lying below it in sackcloth and ashes, and the more does its eye, the sun, look down with burning anger on the bare barren sand — there you have a representation of the Jewish world outlook.

The heathland has been much reviled, all literature [In the third volume of Blasedow the old man is concerned for the heath. — Note by Engels.] has heaped curses on it and, as in Platen’s Oedipus, it has been used only as a background for satire, but people have scorned to seek out its rare charms, its hidden poetic connections. One must really have grown up in a beautiful region, on mountain heights or forest[crowned crags, to feel properly the frightening, depressing character of the North-German Sahara, but also to be able to detect with pleasure the beautiful features of this region, which, like the mirage in Libya, are not always visible to the eye. The really found only in the potato fields on the t the homeland of the Saxons, the most S, is poetic even in its desolation. On a stormy night, when clouds stream ghost-like past the moon, when dogs bay to one another at a distance, gallop on snorting horses over the endless heath and leap with loose reins over the weathered granite blocks and the burial mounds of the Huns; in the distance the water of the moor glitters in the reflected moonlight, will-o'-the-wisps flit over it, and the howling of the storm sounds eerily over the wide expanse; the ground beneath you is unsafe, and you feel that you have entered the realm of German folk-lore. Only after I became acquainted with the North-German heathland did I properly understand the Grimm brothers’ Kinder- und Haus-Mirchen. It is evident from almost all these tales that they had their origin here, where at nightfall the human element vanishes and the terrifying, shapeless creations of popular fantasy glide over a desolate land which is eerie even in the brightness of midday. They are a tangible embodiment of the feelings aroused in the solitary heath dweller when he wends his way in his native land on such a wild night, or when he looks out over the desolate expanse from some high tower. Then the impressions which he has retained from childhood of stormy nights on the heath come back to his mind and take shape in those fairy-tales. You will not overhear the secret of the origin of the popular fairy-tales on the Rhine or in Swabia, whereas here every lightning night — bright lightning night, says Laube — speaks of it with tongues of thunder.

The summer thread of my apologia for the heath, carried by the wind, would probably continue to be spun out, if it had not become entangled with an unfortunate signpost painted in the colours of the land of Hanover [Yellow and white] I have long pondered over the significance of these colours. It is true that the royal Prussian colours do not show what Thiersch tries to find in them in his bad song about Prussia [80]; nevertheless, by their prosiness they remind one of cold, heartless bureaucracy and of all that the Rhinelander still cannot find quite plausible about Prussianism. The sharp contrast between black and white can provide an analogy for the relation between king and subject in an absolute monarchy; and since, according to Newton, they are not colours at all, they can be an indication that the loyal frame of mind in an absolute monarchy is that which does not hold a brief for any colour. The gay red and white flags of the people of the Hanse towns were at least fitting in olden days; the French esprit displays its iridescence in the tricolour, the colours of which have been appropriated by phlegmatic Holland too, probably in derision of itself; the most beautiful and significant, of course, is still the unhappy German tricolour. But the Hanoverian colours! Imagine a dandy in white trousers who has been chased for an hour at full speed through road-side ditches and newly ploughed fields, imagine Lot’s pillar of salt [81] — an example of the Hanoverian Nunquam retrorsum [Never turning back (inscription under the rampant steed of the Hanoverian coat of arms)] of former times as a warning for many-imagine this honourable memorial splashed with mud by ill-bred Bedouin youths, and you have a Hanoverian frontier post with its coat of arms. Or does the white signify the innocent basic law of the state and the yellow the filth with which it is being bespattered by certain mercenary pens?

To continue with the religious character of various regions, the Dutch landscapes are essentially Calvinist. The absolute prose of a distant view in Holland, the impossibility of its spiritualisation, the grey sky that is indeed the only one suited to it, all this produces the same impression on us as the infallible decisions of the Dordrecht Synod. [82] The windmills, the sole moving things in the landscape, remind one of the predestined elect, who allow themselves to be moved only by the breath of divine dispensation; everything else lies in “spiritual death”. And in this barren orthodoxy, the Rhine, like the flowing, living spirit of Christianity, loses its fructifying power and becomes completely choked up with sand. Such, seen from the Rhine, is the appearance of its Dutch banks; other parts of the country may be more beautiful, I do not know them. — Rotterdam, with its shady quays, its canals and ships, is an oasis for people from small towns in the interior of Germany; one can understand here how the imagination of a Freiligrath could ply with the departing frigates to distant, more luxuriant shores. Then there are the cursed Zeeland islands, nothing but reeds and dykes, windmills and the tops of chiming church steeples, between which the steamboat winds its way for hours!

But then, with what a blissful feeling we leave behind the philistine dykes and tight-laced Calvinist orthodoxy and enter the realm of the free-ranging spirit! Helvoetsluys vanishes, on the right and the left the banks of the Waal sink into the rising, jubilant waves, the sandy yellow of the water changes to green, and now what is behind is forgotten, and we go forward into the dark-green transparent sea!

And now have done with grieving,
And shed that bitter load.
And you'd go travelling onwards
Time to be up and leaving
To take the great highroad.
The sky leans gently downwards
To mingle with the sea —
In tired despondency?

The sky bends downwards, holding
The world with all its charms,
Happy to be enfolding
Such beauty in his arms.
As if to kiss her lover
The wave leaps up to the sky,
And you'd wish life was over,
In dark despondency?

The God of Love, descending,
Makes all this world his own;
To dwell here without ending,
He gives himself through Man.
And does that God not really
Abide within your breast?
Then let him reign more freely
And shine his worthiest.

Then climb on to the rigging of the bowsprit and gaze on the waves, how, cleft by the ship’s keel, they throw the white spray high over your head, and look out, too, over the distant green surface of the sea, where the foaming crests of the waves spring up in eternal unrest, where the sun’s rays are reflected into your eyes from thousands of dancing mirrors, where the green of the sea merges with the blue of the sky and the gold of the sun to produce a wonderful colour, and all your trivial cares, all remembrance of the enemies of light and their treacherous attacks disappear, and you stand upright, proudly conscious of the free, infinite mind! I have had only one impression that could compare with this; when for the first time the divine idea of the last of the philosophers [probably Hegel] this most colossal creation of the thought of the nineteenth century, dawned upon me,: I experienced the same blissful thrill, it was like a breath of fresh sea air blowing down upon me from the purest sky; the depths of speculation lay before me like the unfathomable sea from which one cannot turn one’s eyes straining to see the ground below; in God we live, move and have our being! We become conscious of that when we are on the sea; we feel that God breathes through all around us and through us ourselves; we feel such kinship with the whole of nature, the waves beckon to us so intimately, the sky stretches so lovingly over the earth, and the sun shines with such indescribable radiance that one feels one could grasp it with the hand.

The sun sinks in the north-west; on its left a shining streak rises from the sea — the Kentish coast and the southern bank of the Thames estuary. Already the twilight mist lies on the sea, only in the west is the purple of evening spread over the sky and over the water; the sky in the east is resplendent in deep blue, from which Venus already shines out brightly; in the south-west a long golden streak in the magical light along the horizon is Margate, from the windows of which the evening redness is reflected. So now wave your caps and greet free England with a joyful shout and a full glass. Good night, and a happy awakening in London!

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 123, August 1840

You who complain of the prosaic dullness of railways without ever having seen one should try travelling on the one from London to Liverpool. If ever a land was made to be traversed by railways it is England. No dazzlingly beautiful scenery, no colossal mountain masses, but a land of ‘soft rolling hills which has a wonderful charm in the English sunlight, which is never quite clear. It is surprising how various are the groupings of the simple figures; out of a few low hills, a field, some trees and grazing cattle, nature composes a thousand pleasant landscapes. The trees, which occur singly or in groups in all the fields, have a singular beauty that makes the whole neighbourhood resemble a park. Then comes a tunnel, and for a few minutes the train is in darkness, emerging into a deep cutting from which one is suddenly transported again into the midst of smiling, sunny fields. At another time the railway track is laid on a viaduct crossing a long valley; far below it lie towns and villages, woods and meadows, between which a river takes its meandering course; to the right and left are mountains which fade into the background, and the valley is bathed in a magical light, half-mist and half-sunshine. But you have hardly had time to survey the wonderful scene before you are carried away into a bare cutting and have time to recreate the magical picture in your imagination. And so it goes on until night falls and your wearied eyes close in slumber. Oh, there is rich poetry in the counties of Britain! It often seems as if one were still in the golden days of merry England and might see Shakespeare with his fowling-piece moving stealthily behind a hedge on a deer-poaching expedition, or you might wonder why not one of his divine comedies actually takes place on this green meadow. For wherever the scenes are supposed to occur, in Italy, France or Navarra, his baroque, uncouth rustics, his too-clever schoolmasters, and his deliciously bizarre women, all belong basically to merry England b and it is remarkable that only an English sky is suited to everything that takes place. Only some of the comedies, such as the Midsummer Night’s Dream, are as completely adapted to a southern climate as Romeo and Juliet, even in the characters of the play.

And now back to our Fatherland! Picturesque and romantic Westphalia has become quite indignant at its son Freiligrath, who has entirely forgotten it on account of the admittedly far more picturesque and romantic Rhine. Let us console it with a few flattering words so that its patience does not give out before the second issue appears. [83] Westphalia is surrounded by mountain ranges separating it from the rest of Germany, and it lies open only to Holland, as if it had been cast out from Germany. And yet its children are true Saxons, good loyal Germans. And these mountains offer magnificent points of view; in the south the Ruhr and Lenne valleys, in the east the Weser valley, in the north a range of mountains from Minden to Osnabrück — everywhere there is a wealth of beautiful scenery, and only in the centre of the province is there a boring expanse of sand which always shows up through the grass and corn. And then there are the beautiful old towns, above all Münster with its Gothic churches, with its market arcades, and with Annette Elisabeth von Droste-Hillshoff and Levin Schücking. The last-named, whose acquaintance I had the pleasure of making there, was kind enough to draw my attention to the poems of that lady, [84] and I could not let this opportunity slip without bearing part of the blame which the German public has incurred in regard to these poems. In connection with them it has once again been proved that the much-vaunted German thoroughness treats the appreciation of poetry much too light-heartedly; people leaf through it, examine whether the rhymes are pure and the verses fluent, and whether the content is easy to understand and rich in striking, or at least dazzling, images, and the verdict is complete. But poems like these, which are marked by a sincerity of feeling, a tenderness and originality in the depiction of nature such as only Shelley can achieve, and a bold Byronic imagination-clothed, it is true, in a somewhat stiff form and in a language not altogether free from provincialism — such poems pass away without leaving a trace. Anyone,, however, who is prepared to read them rather more slowly than usual — and, after all, one only takes up a book of poems in the hours of a siesta — could very well find that their beauty prevents him from going to sleep! Furthermore, the poetess is a fervent Catholic, and how can a Protestant take any interest in such? But whereas pietism makes the man, the schoolmaster, the chief curate Albert Knapp, ridiculous, the childish faith of Fräulein von Droste becomes her very well. Religious independence of mind is an awkward matter for women. Persons like George Sand, Mistress Shelley [Mary Wollstonecraft-Shelley, née Godwin], are rare; it is only too easy for doubt to corrode the feminine mind and raise the intellect to a power which it ought not to have in any woman. If, however, the ideas by which we children of the new stand or fall are truth, then the time is not far off when the feminine heart will beat as warmly for the flowers of thought of the modern mind as it does now for the pious faith of its fathers — and the victory of the new will only be at hand when the young generation takes it in with its mother’s milk.


Letters from Wuppertal - Frederick Engels

by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1839

Letters from Wuppertal [4]

Written:in March 1839
First published:in the Telegraph für Deutschland Nos. 49, 50, 51 and 52 for March and Nos. 57 and 59 for April, 1839.


Telegraph für Deutschland No. 49, March 1839

As is well known, people understand by this name, held in much ill-repute among the Friends of Light, [5] the two towns of Elberfeld and Barmen, which stretch along the valley for a distance of nearly three hours’ travel. The purple waves of the narrow river flow sometimes swiftly, sometimes sluggishly between smoky factory buildings and yarn-strewn bleaching-yards. Its bright red colour, however, is due not to some bloody battle, for the fighting here is waged only by theological pens and garrulous old women, usually over trifles, nor to shame for men’s actions, although there is indeed enough cause for that, but simply and solely to the numerous dye-works using Turkey red. Coming from Düsseldorf, one enters the sacred region at Sonnborn; the muddy Wupper flows slowly by and, compared with the Rhine just left behind, its miserable appearance is very disappointing. The area is rather attractive: the not very high mountains, rising sometimes gently, sometimes steeply, and heavily wooded, march boldly into green meadows and in fine weather the blue sky reflected in the Wupper causes the red colour to disappear completely. After a bend round a cliff, one sees the quaint towers of Elberfeld straight ahead (the humble houses are concealed behind gardens), and a few minutes later one reaches the Zion of the obscurantists. Almost outside the town is the Catholic church; it stands there as if it has been expelled from the sacred walls. It is in Byzantine style, built very badly by a very inexperienced architect from a very good plan; the old Catholic church has been demolished to make room for the left wing, not yet built, of the Town Hall; only the tower remains and serves the general good after a fashion, namely, as a prison. Immediately afterwards one comes to a large building, its roof supported by columns, but these columns are of a most remarkable kind; they are Egyptian at the bottom, Doric in the middle, and Ionic at the top; moreover, for very sound reasons, they dispense with all superfluous accessories, such as a plinth and capitals. This building used to be called the museum, but the Muses kept away and there remained only a huge burden of debt so that not very long ago the building was sold by auction and became a casino, a name which adorns the bare façade, dispelling all reminders of the former poetic name. Incidentally, the building is so clumsily proportioned that at night it looks like a camel. Here begin the dull streets, devoid of all character; the fine new Town Hall, only half completed, is situated so awkwardly owing to lack of space that its front faces a narrow, ugly side street. Finally, one comes to the Wupper again, and a fine bridge shows that you are approaching Barmen, where at least more attention is paid to architectural beauty. As soon as you cross the bridge, everything assumes a more friendly character; large, massive houses tastefully built in modern style take the place of those mediocre Elberfeld buildings, which are neither old-fashioned nor modern, neither beautiful nor a caricature. New stone houses are springing up everywhere; the pavement ends and the street continues as a straight highway, built up on both sides. Between the houses one catches sight of the green bleaching-yards; the Wupper is still clear here, and the closely approaching mountains with their lightly sketched outlines, and the manifold alternation of forests, meadows and gardens from which red roofs peep out everywhere, make the area increasingly attractive the farther one goes. Halfway along the avenue one sees the façade of the Lower Barmen church, set somewhat back; it is the valley’s most beautiful building, very well constructed in the noblest Byzantine style. But soon the pavement begins again and the grey slate houses jostle one another. There is, however, far more variety here than in Elberfeld, for the monotony is broken by a fresh bleaching-yard here, a house in modern style there, a stretch of the river or a row of gardens lining the street. All this leaves one in doubt whether to regard Barmen as a town or a mere conglomeration of all kinds Of buildings; it is, indeed, just a combination of many small districts held together by the bond of municipal institutions. The most important of these districts are: Gemarke, the ancient centre of the Reformed faith; Lower Barmen in the direction of Elberfeld, not far from Wupperfeld and above Gemarke; farther on Rittershausen, which has Wichlinghausen on the left, and Hekinghausen with the remarkably picturesque Rauhental on the right. These are all inhabited by Lutherans of both churches [6]; the Catholics — at most two or three thousand — are scattered throughout the valley. After Rittershausen, the traveller at last leaves behind the Berg area and goes through the turnpike to enter the Old-Prussian Westphalian region.

This is the outward appearance of the valley which in general, apart from the gloomy streets of Elberfeld, makes a very pleasant impression; but the latter, as experience shows, is lost on the inhabitants. There is no trace here of the wholesome, vigorous life of the people that exists almost everywhere in Germany. True, at first glance it seems otherwise, for every evening you can hear merry fellows strolling through the streets singing their songs, but they are the most vulgar, obscene songs that ever came from drunken mouths; one never hears any of the folk-songs which are so familiar throughout Germany and of which we have every right to he proud. All the ale-houses are full to overflowing, especially on Saturday and Sunday, and when they close at about eleven o'clock, the drunks pour out of them and generally sleep off their intoxication in the gutter. The most degraded of these men are those known as Karrenbinder, totally demoralised people, with no fixed abode or definite employment, who crawl out of their refuges, haystacks, stables, etc., at dawn, if they have not spent the night on a dung-heap or on a staircase. By restricting the previously indefinite numbers of ale-houses, the authorities have now to some extent curbed this annoyance.

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 50, March 1839

The reasons for this state of affairs are perfectly clear. First and foremost, factory work is largely responsible. Work in low rooms where people breathe more coal fumes and dust than oxygen — and in the majority of cases beginning already at the age of six — is bound to deprive them of all strength and joy in life. The weavers, who have individual looms in their homes, sit bent over them from morning till night, and desiccate their spinal marrow in front of a hot stove. Those who do not fall prey to mysticism are ruined by drunkenness. This mysticism, in the crude and repellent form in which it prevails there, inevitably produces the opposite extreme, with the result that in the main the people there consist only of the “decent” ones (which is what the mystics are called) and the dissolute riff-raff. This division into two hostile groups, irrespective of their nature, is capable by itself of destroying the development of any popular spirit, and indeed what hope is there in a place where even the disappearance of one of the groups would be of no avail, since the members of both are equally consumptive? The few healthy people to be found there are almost exclusively joiners or other craftsmen, all of whom have come from other regions. Robust people can also be found among the local-born leather-workers, but three years of such a life suffice to ruin them physically and mentally: three out of five die from consumption, and it is all due to drinking spirits. But this would not have assumed such horrifying proportions if the factories were not operated in such a reckless way by the proprietors and if mysticism did not take the form it does and did not threaten to gain an increasing hold. Terrible poverty prevails among the lower classes, particularly the factory workers in Wuppertal; syphilis and lung diseases are so widespread as to be barely credible; in Elberfeld alone, out of 2,500 children of school age 1,200 are deprived of education and grow up in the factories — merely so that the manufacturer need not pay the adults, whose place they take, twice the wage he pays a child. But the wealthy manufacturers have a flexible conscience, and causing the death of one child more or one less does not doom a pietist’s soul to hell, especially if he goes to church twice every Sunday. For it is a fact that the pietists among the factory owners treat their workers worst of all; they use every possible means to reduce the workers’ wages on the pretext of depriving them of the opportunity to get drunk, yet at the election of preachers they are always the first to bribe their people.

In the lower social strata mysticism is most prevalent among the craftsmen (I do not include manufacturers here). It is a pitiful sight to see one of them in the street, a bent figure in a very long frock-coat, with his hair parted in the pietist fashion. But anyone who really wants to get to know this breed should visit the workshop of a pious blacksmith or boot-maker. There sits the master craftsman, on his right the Bible, on his left — very often at any rate — a bottle of schnapps. Not much is done in the way of work; the master almost always reads the Bible, occasionally knocks back a glass and sometimes joins the choir of journeymen singing a hymn; but the chief occupation is always damning one’s neighbour. One sees that the tendency here is the same as everywhere else. [7] Their proselytising zeal is not without fruit. In particular, many godless drunkards, etc., are converted, mostly in a miraculous way. But this is not surprising; these proselytes are all enervated, spiritless people, and persuading them is a mere bagatelle; they become converted, allow themselves to be moved to tears several times a week, and secretly continue their old way of life. Some years ago all this business suddenly came to light, to the . horror of all the hypocrites. An American speculator turned up calling himself Pastor Jürgens; he preached several times attracting large crowds, for most people imagined that being an American he must be dark-skinned or even black. How amazed they were that he was not merely white but preached in such a way that he had the whole church in tears; incidentally, the reason for this was that he himself began to whimper when all other means of moving his audience had failed. The believers were unanimous in their wonder; true, there was some opposition from a few sensible people, but they were simply decried as godless. Soon Jürgens began to organise secret gatherings; he received rich gifts from his prominent friends and lived in clover. His sermons attracted larger crowds than any others, his secret gatherings were filled to overflowing, his every utterance made both men and women weep. All were now convinced that he was at the very least a demi-prophet and would build a new Jerusalem, until one day the fun came to an end. What was going on at his secret gatherings suddenly came to light; Herr Jürgens was arrested and spent a few years doing penance for his piety, while under investigation in Hamm. Later he was released, after promising to make amends, and sent back to America. It also became known that he had already practised his tricks in America, for which he had been deported, and in order not to get out of practice had given a rehearsal in Westphalia, where, owing to the leniency, or rather the weakness, of the authorities, he had been freed without further inquiries and had finally crowned his dissolute life by another repetition in Elberfeld. When it was revealed what had actually taken place at the gatherings of this noble creature, everyone rose up against him, and no one wanted to have anything to do with him; everyone turned away from him, from Lebanon to the Dead Sea, that is to say, from Mount Rittershaus to the weir at Sonnborn on the Wupper.

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 51, March 1839

But the real centre of all pietism and mysticism is the Reformed community in Elberfeld. From the early days it was marked by a strict Calvinist spirit, which in recent years owing to the appointment of extremely bigoted preachers — at present four of them officiate there — has developed into the most savage intolerance and falls little short of the papist spirit. Regular trials of heretics take place at the meetings; the behaviour of anyone who fails to attend the meetings is reviewed; they say: so and so reads novels, it is true the title-page states that it is a Christian novel, but Pastor Krummacher has said that novels are godless books; or so and so seems to be a God-fearing man, but the day before yesterday he was seen at a concert — and they wring their hands in horror at the abominable sin. And if a preacher is reputed to be a rationalist (by this they mean anyone whose opinion differs in the slightest from theirs), he is taken to task and carefully watched to see whether his frock-coat is perfectly black and his trousers of the orthodox colour; woe to him if he allows himself to be seen in a frock-coat with a bluish tinge or wearing a rationalist waistcoat! If someone turns out not to believe in predestination, they say at once: he is almost as bad as a Lutheran, a Lutheran is little better than a Catholic, and Catholics and idolaters are damned by their very nature. But what sort of people are they who talk in this way? Ignorant folk who hardly know whether the Bible was written in Chinese, Hebrew or Greek, and who judge everything, whether relevant or not, from the words of a preacher who has been recognised for all time as orthodox.

This spirit had existed ever since the Reformation gained the upper hand here, but it remained unnoticed until the preacher G. D. Krummacher, who died a few years ago, began to foster it in precisely this community. Soon mysticism was in full bloom, but Krummacher died before the fruit ripened; this occurred only after his nephew, Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Krummacher, had developed and formulated the doctrine in such a strict form that one is at a loss whether to regard the whole thing as nonsense or blasphemy. Now the fruit has ripened, but no one knows how to pluck it and so in time it will inevitably fall off miserably rotten.

Gottfried Daniel Krummacher, brother of the Dr. F. A. Krummacher who was well known for his parables in Bremen, died about three years ago in Elberfeld after a long period of office. When over twenty years ago a preacher in Barmen taught predestination from his pulpit in a less strict form than Krummacher, the congregation began smoking in the church, created a disturbance and prevented him from preaching on the pretext that such a heretical sermon was no sermon at all, so that the authorities were compelled to intervene. Krummacher then wrote a dreadfully rude letter to the Barmen magistracy, such as Gregory VII might have written to Henry IV, [8] demanding that the bigots should not be touched, since they were only defending their beloved Gospel. He also preached a sermon on the same lines, but he was only ridiculed. All this is characteristic of his frame of mind, which he preserved to his dying day. Moreover, he was a person of such peculiar habits that thousands of anecdotes were told of him, judging by which he should be regarded either as a strange eccentric or an exceptionally rude individual.

Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Krummacher is a man of about forty, tall, strong, with an impressive figure, but since he settled in Elberfeld his circumference has noticeably increased. He has a very peculiar way of dressing his hair, which is imitated by all his supporters. Who knows, some day it may become the fashion to wear one’s hair à la Krummacher, but such a fashion would surpass all preceding ones, even powdered wigs, in lack of taste.

As a student he was involved in the demagogy of the gymnastic associations, composed freedom songs, carried a banner at the Wartburg festival [9], and delivered a speech which is said to have made a great impression. He still frequently recalls those dashing times from the pulpit, saying: when I was still among the Hittites and Canaanites. Later the Reformed community in Barmen chose him for their pastor and his real reputation dates from this period. He had hardly been appointed before he caused a split by his doctrine of strict predestination, not only between Lutherans and Reformists, but also among the latter, between the strict and moderate supporters of predestination. On one occasion an old orthodox Lutheran coming back a little tipsy from seeing friends had to cross a broken-down bridge. That seemed to him somewhat dangerous in his condition and he began to reflect: if you get over safely it will be all right, but if not you will fall into the Wupper and then the Reformists will say that this was as it should be; but that is not as it should be. So he turned back, looked for a shallow place and then waded across waist-deep, with the blissful feeling that he had robbed the Reformists of a triumph.

When a vacancy occurred in Elberfeld, Krummacher was chosen for it, and immediately all dissension ceased in Barmen, whereas in Elberfeld it became still fiercer. Already Krummacher’s inaugural sermon made some people angry and delighted others; the dissension continued to increase, particularly because soon every preacher, although they all held the same views, formed his own party consisting of his congregation alone. Later people got bored with the business and the eternal shouting of I am for Krummacher, I am for Kohl, etc., ceased, not through love of peace, but because the parties became more and more distinct from one another.

Krummacher is undeniably a man of excellent rhetorical, and also poetic, talent; his sermons are never boring, the train of thought is confident and natural; his strength lies primarily in painting gloomy pictures — his description of hell is always new and bold no matter how often it occurs — and in antitheses. On the other hand, he very often resorts to biblical phraseology and the images found in the latter, which, although his use of them is ,always ingenious, are bound in the end to be repetitive; interspersed with them one finds an extremely prosaic picture from daily life or a story based on his own life-history and his most insignificant experiences. He drags all this into the pulpit, whether appropriate or not; not long ago he regaled his reverent audience with two sermons about a journey to Württemberg and Switzerland, in which he spoke of his four victorious disputes with Paulus in Heidelberg and Strauss in Tübingen, naturally quite differently from Strauss’ account of the matter in a letter. — In some passages his declamation is very good, and his powerful, explicit gesticulations are often entirely appropriate, but at times incredibly affected and lacking in taste. Then he thrashes about in the pulpit, bends over all sides, bangs his fist on the edge, stamps like a cavalry horse, and shouts so that the windows resound and people in the street tremble. Then the congregation begins to sob; first the young girls weep, then the old women join in with a heart-rending soprano and the cacophony is completed by the wailing of the enfeebled drunken pietists, who would be thrilled to the marrow by his words if they still had any marrow in their bones; and through all this uproar Krummacher’s powerful voice rings out pronouncing before the whole congregation innumerable sentences of damnation, or describing diabolical scenes.

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 52, March 1839

And what a doctrine this is! It is impossible to understand how anyone can believe in such things, which are in most direct contradiction to reason and the Bible. Nevertheless, Krummacher has formulated the doctrine so sharply, following and firmly adhering to all its consequences, that nothing can be refuted once the basis is accepted, namely, the inability of man on his own to

desire what is good, let alone do it. Hence follows the need for this ability to come from outside, and since man ‘cannot even desire what is good, God has to press this ability on him. Owing to God’s free will, it follows that this ability is allotted arbitrarily, and this also, at least apparently, is supported by the Scriptures. — The entire doctrine is based on such pretence of logic; the few who are chosen will, nolentes, volentes, be saved, the rest damned for ever. “For ever? — Yes, for ever!!” (Krummacher.) Further, the Scriptures say: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me [John 14:6.]. But the heathen cannot come to the Father by Christ, because they do not know Christ, so they all exist merely to fill up hell. — Among Christians, many are called but few are chosen; but the many who are called are called only for the sake of appearance, and God took care not to call them so loudly that they obeyed him; all this to the glory of God and in order that they should not be forgiven. It is also written: for the wise men of this world the wisdom of God is foolishness [Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:18]; the mystics regard this as an order to make their creed quite meaningless so that this statement may be fulfilled. How all this fits in with the teaching of the apostles who speak of rational worship of God and the rational milk of the Gospel is a secret beyond human understanding.

Such doctrines spoil all Krummacher’s sermons; the only ones in which they are not so prominent are the passages where he speaks of the contradiction between earthly riches and the humility of Christ, or between the arrogance of earthly rulers and the pride of God. A note of his former demagogy very often breaks through here as well, and if he did not speak in such general terms the government would not pass over his sermons in silence.

The aesthetic value of his sermons is appreciated only by very few in Elberfeld; for, compared with his three colleagues, nearly all of whom have an equally large congregation, he appears as figure one, and the others as mere noughts who serve only to enhance his value. The oldest of these noughts is called Kohl ["Kohl” is a surname but also a German word meaning rubbish], which at the same time characterises his sermons. The second is Hermann, no descendant of the Hermann, [10] to whom a monument is now being erected which should survive history and Tacitus. The third is Ball, namely, a ball for Krummacher to play with. All three are highly orthodox and imitate the worst aspects of Krummacher in their sermons. The Lutheran pastors in Elberfeld are Sander and Hülsmann, who used to be deadly enemies, when the former was still in Wichlinghausen and became involved in the famous quarrel with Hülsmann in Dahle, now in Lennep, the brother of his present colleague. In their present position, they behave with courtesy to each other, but the pietists try to revive the dissension between them by constantly accusing Hülsmann of all kinds of misdemeanours against Sander. The third in this company is Döring, whose absent-mindedness is most odd; he is incapable of uttering three sentences with a connected train of thought, but he can make three parts of a sermon into four by repeating one of them word for word without being at all aware of it. Probatum est. His poems will be dealt with later.

The Barmen preachers differ little from one another; all are strictly orthodox, with a greater or lesser admixture of pietism. Only Stier in Wichlinghausen is worthy of some attention. It is said that Jean Paul knew him as a boy and discovered excellent talents in him. Stier held office of pastor in Frankleben near Halle, and during this period he published several writings in prose and verse, an improved version of the Lutheran catechism, a substitute for it, and a small book as an aid to its study for dull-witted teachers, and also a booklet on the lack of hymn books in the province of Saxony, which was particularly praised by the Evangelische Kirch-Zeitung [11] and did at least contain more rational views on church songs than those which can be heard in blessed Wuppertal, although it also has many unfounded judgments. His poems are extremely boring; he also distinguished himself by making some of Schiller’s pagan poems acceptable to the orthodox. For example, lines from Die Götter Griechenlands he revised as follows:

When vain Earth you held in domination
With Sin’s treacherous and deceitful bond,
Leading many a mortal generation,
Hollow Idols of a mythic land!
When your sinful cult still scintillated,
Things were different, different then by far,
When with flowers your shrines were decorated,
Venus Amathusia!

Really very ingenious, truly mystical indeed! For six months now Stier has been in Wichlinghausen in place of Sander, but so far he has not enriched Barmen literature.

Langenberg, a little place near Elberfeld, by its whole character still belongs to Wuppertal. The same industry as there, the same spirit of pietism. Emil Krummacher, brother of Friedrich Wilhelm, has his post there; he is not such a strict believer in predestination as his brother, but imitates him very much, as the following passage from his last Christmas sermon shows:

“With our earthly bodies we are still sitting here on wooden benches, but our spirits together with minions of believers are borne aloft to the sacred heights and, after observing the rejoicing of the heavenly hosts, they go down to lowly Bethlehem. And what do they see there? First of all, a poor stable, and in the poor, poor stable a poor manger, and in the poor manger poor, poor hay and straw, and on the poor, poor hay and straw lies like the poor child of a beggar, in poor swaddling clothes, the rich Lord of the world.”

Something should now he said about the mission-house, but the book Harfenklänge, by an ex-missionary [J. Ch. F. Winkler], which has already been mentioned on the pages of this journal [Telegraph für Deutschland] is sufficient testimony to the spirit that prevails there. [12] Incidentally, the inspector of this mission-house, Dr. Richter, is a learned man, an eminent orientalist and naturalist, and has also published an Erklärte Hausbibel.

Such are the activities of the pietists in Wuppertal; it is difficult to imagine that such things can still take place in our day; however, it looks as though even this rock of old obscurantism will not be able to withstand the surging flood of time any longer; the sand will be washed away and the rock will collapse with a great fall.


Telegraph für Deutschland No. 57, April 1839

It goes without saying that in an area so full of pietist activities this spirit, spreading in all directions, pervades and corrupts every single aspect of life. It exerts its chief influence on the education system, above all on the elementary schools. Part of them are wholly controlled by the pietists; these are the church schools, of which each community has one. The other elementary schools, over which the civil administration has greater influence, enjoy more freedom, although they, too, are under the supervision of the clerical school inspectors. Here too the retarding effect of mysticism is very obvious; for whereas the church schools still drum nothing but the catechism into their pupils, apart from reading, writing and arithmetic, as of old under the Elector Karl Theodor of blessed memory, in the other schools the rudiments of some sciences are taught, and also a little French, with the result that after leaving school many of the pupils try to continue their education. These schools are rapidly developing and since the Prussian Government came to office, [13] they have advanced far ahead of the church schools, behind which they used to lag considerably. The church schools, however, have a much greater attendance because they are far cheaper, and many parents still send their children to them partly out of an attachment to religion, partly because they consider that intellectual progress of the children gives worldliness the upper hand.

Wuppertal maintains three high schools: the municipal school in Barmen, the modern secondary school in Elberfeld, and the grammar school in the same city.

The Barmen municipal school, which is very poorly financed and therefore very badly staffed, nevertheless does everything in its power. It is wholly in the hands of a limited, niggardly governing body which in most cases also selects only pietists as teachers. The headmaster is also not averse to this trend, but is guided by firm principles in discharging his duties and manages very skilfully to keep every teacher in his place. Next to him comes Herr Johann Jakob Ewich, who can teach well from a good textbook and in history teaching is a zealous supporter of the Nösselt system of anecdotes. He is the author of many pedagogical works of which the greatest, i.e., in size, is entitled Human, published in Wesel by Bagel, two volumes, 40 printed sheets, price 1 Reichstaler. They are all full of lofty ideas, pious wishes and impracticable proposals. It is said that in practice his teaching lags far behind his beautiful theory.

Dr. Philipp Schifflin, the second senior teacher, is the most efficient teacher in the school. Probably no one in Germany has delved so deeply into the grammatical structure of modern French as he has. He took as his starting point, not the old Romance language, but the classical language of the last century, particularly that of Voltaire, and went on from there to the style of the most modern authors. The results of his research are contained in his Anleitung zur Erlernung der französischen Sprache, in drei Cursen, of which the first and second courses have already appeared in several editions, and the third will be out by Easter. Without doubt, next to Knebel’s, this is the best textbook on the French language which we possess; it met with universal approval as soon as the first course appeared and already enjoys an almost unprecedented circulation throughout Germany and even as far as Hungary and the Baltic provinces of Russia.

The remaining teachers are young graduates, some of whom have been excellently trained, while others are full of all sorts of jumbled knowledge. The best of these young teachers was Herr Köster, a friend of Freiligrath; an annual report contains his outline of poetics, from which he has totally excluded didactic poetry, and put the classes usually allotted to it under the epic or lyric ; this article testified to his insight and clarity. [14] He was invited to Düsseldorf, and since the members of the governing body knew him as being opposed to every kind of pietism, they very willingly released him. The very opposite of him is another teacher [Rudolf Riepe] who, when asked by a fourth-form pupil who Goethe was, replied: “an atheist”.

The Elberfeld modern secondary school is very well financed and can therefore select better teachers and arrange a fuller curriculum. On the other hand, it is addicted to that horrible system of filling up exercise books which can make a pupil dull-witted in six months. Incidentally, the administration is little in evidence: the headmaster [P. K. N. Egen] is away half the year and proves his presence only by excessive severity. Linked with the modern secondary school is a trade school where the pupils spend half their lives scribbling away. Of the teachers one must mention Dr. Kruse who spent six weeks in England and wrote a little work on English pronunciation which is remarkable for being completely unusable; the pupils have a very bad reputation and were the cause of Diesterweg’s complaints about the Elberfeld youth.

The Elberfeld grammar school is in very straitened circumstances, but is recognised as one of the best in the Prussian state. It is the property of the Reformed community, but suffers little from the latter’s mysticism, since the preachers are not interested in it and the school inspectors have no understanding of grammar school affairs; but it has to suffer all the more because of their stinginess. These gentlemen have not the slightest idea of the advantages of the Prussian grammar school education; they try to provide the modern secondary school with everything — money and pupils — and at the same time reproach the grammar school for being unable to meet its expenditure out of school fees. Negotiations are now taking place for the government, which is very concerned in the matter, to take over the grammar school. If this does not happen, it will have to close down in a few years’ time for lack of funds. The selection of teachers is now also in the hands of the school inspectors, people capable, it is true, of making very accurate entries in a ledger, but with no conception at all of Greek, Latin or mathematics. Their guiding principle in selection is as follows: it is better to choose a mediocre Reformist than an efficient Lutheran or, worse still, a Catholic. But as there are far more Lutherans than Reformists among the Prussian philologists, they have hardly ever been able to apply this principle.

Dr. Hantschke, a royal professor and temporary headmaster, comes from Luckau in Lausitz, writes poetry and prose in Ciceronian Latin and is also the author of a number of sermons, works on education and a textbook for the study of Hebrew. He would have been made permanent headmaster long ago if he were not a Lutheran and if the school inspectorate were less miserly.

Dr. Eichhoff, the second senior teacher, in conjunction with his junior colleague, Dr. Beltz, wrote a Latin grammar which, however, was not very well reviewed by F. Haase in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung. [15] His best subject is Greek.

Dr. Clausen, — the third senior teacher, is, undoubtedly, the most capable man in the entire school, with an expert knowledge in all spheres of learning, and outstanding in history and literature. His lectures have a rare charm; he is the only one who can arouse a feeling for poetry among the pupils, a feeling which would otherwise be bound to perish miserably among the philistines of Wuppertal. As far as I know, his only written work is a thesis in an annual report, “Pindaros der Lyriker”, which won him a high reputation among grammar school teachers in Prussia and beyond her borders. [16] It did not, of course, reach the book market.

These three schools were not founded until 1820; previously Elberfeld and Barmen had one Rektoratsschule [17] each and numerous private institutions which could not provide an adequate education. Their influence can still be felt in the Barmen merchants of the older generation. Not a trace of education; anyone who plays whist and billiards, who can talk a little about politics and pay a pretty compliment is regarded as an educated man in Barmen and Elberfeld. The life these people lead is terrible, yet they are so satisfied with it; in the daytime they immerse themselves in their accounts with a passion and interest that is hard to believe; in the evening at an appointed hour they turn up at social gatherings where they play cards, talk politics and smoke, and then leave for home at the stroke of nine. So they live day in, day out, with never a change, and woe to him who interferes with their routine; he can be sure of most ungracious treatment in all the best houses. — Fathers zealously bring up their sons along these lines, sons who show every promise of following in their fathers’ footsteps. The topics of conversation are pretty monotonous: Barmen people talk more about horses, Elberfeld people about dogs; and when things are at their height there may also be appraisals of fair ladies or chat about business matters, and that is all. Once every half a century they also talk about literature, by which they mean Paul de Kock, Marryat, Tromlitz, Nestroy and their like. In politics they are all good Prussians, because they are under Prussian rule and a priori very much against liberalism, but all this is only for as long as it suits His Majesty to preserve the Napoleonic Code, for all patriotism would disappear with its abolition. No one knows anything about the literary significance of Young Germany; it is regarded as a secret alliance, something like demagogues, under the chairmanship of Messrs. Heine, Gutzkow, and Mundt. [18] Some of the upper-class youth have probably read a little Heine, perhaps the Reisebilder, omitting the poems in it, or the Denunziant [H. Heine, Salon, Preface to Vol. 3], but they have only a hazy notion of the rest from the mouths of pastors or officials. Freiligrath is known personally to most of them and has the reputation of being a good fellow. When he came to Barmen he was deluged with visits from these green noblemen (as he calls the young merchants); however, he very soon realised what they were like and kept away from them; but they pursued him, praised his poems and his wine, and did their utmost to get on close terms with a man who had something in print, because for these people a poet is nothing, but an author whose works have been printed is everything. Gradually Freiligrath ceased to associate with these people and now meets only a few, since Köster left Barmen. Freiligrath’s employers [19] in their precarious situation have always behaved in a decent and friendly manner towards him; surprisingly he is an extremely accurate and diligent office worker. It would be quite superfluous to speak of his poetic achievements after Dingelstedt — in the Jahrbuch der Literatur and Carrière in the Berlin Jahrbücher have given such an accurate assessment of him. [20] It seems to me, however, that neither of them has paid sufficient attention to the fact that however far afield his thoughts may roam, he is still extremely attached to his homeland. This can be seen from his frequent allusions to German folk-tales, e.g., the Unkenkönigin (p. 54), Snewittchen [21] (p. 87), and others to which (p. 157) an entire poem (Im Walde) is devoted, from his imitation of Uhland (the Edelfalk, p. 82, Die Schreinergesellen, p. 85; the first of the Zwei Feldherrngräber also reminds one of Uhland, but only to his advantage), then Die Auswanderer and, above all, his incomparable Prinz Eugen. One must pay more attention to these few points in his poetry the farther Freiligrath strays in the opposite direction. A deep insight into the state of his feelings is afforded by Der ausgewanderte Dichter, particularly the excerpts published in the Morgenblatt [22]; here he already realises that he cannot feel at home in distant parts unless he has his roots in true German poetry.

Telegraph für Deutschland No. 59, April 1839

Journalism occupies the most important place in Wuppertal literature proper. At the top is the Elberfelder Zeitung edited by Dr. Martin Runkel, which under his perspicacious guidance won for itself a considerable and well-deserved reputation. He took over the editorship when two newspapers, the Allgemeine and the Provinzialzeitung, were merged; the newspaper came into being under somewhat unfavourable auspices; the Barmer Zeitung competed with it, but thanks to his efforts to get his own correspondents and to his leading articles Runkel gradually made the Elberfelder Zeitung one of the main newspapers in the Prussian state. True, in Elberfeld, where only a few people read the leading articles, the newspaper met with little recognition, but it received a much greater welcome elsewhere, which the decline of the Preussische Staats-Zeitung may have helped to bring about. The literary supplement, the Intelligenzblatt, does not rise above the usual level. The Barmer Zeitung, the publisher, editors and censors of which have frequently changed, is at present under the guidance of H. Püttmann, who from time to time writes reviews in the Abend-Zeitung. He would very much like to improve the newspaper, but his hands are tied by the well-justified parsimony of the publisher. Nor does the feature page with some of his poems, reviews or extracts from larger writings provide a remedy. The newspaper’s companion, the Wuppertaler Lesekreis, derives its material almost exclusively from Lewald’s Europa. In addition, there is also the Elberfeld Täglicher Anzeiger along with the Fremdenblatt — a product of the Dorfzeitung, which is unrivalled for its heart-rending poems and bad jokes — and the Barmer Wochenblatt, an old nightcap, with pietist asses’ ears sticking out constantly from its literary lion’s skin.

Of the other types of literature, the prose is of no value at all; if one takes away the theological or, rather, pietist works and a few booklets on the history of Barmen and Elberfeld, written very superficially, there is nothing left. But poetry is much cultivated in the “blessed valley” and a fair number of poets have taken up residence there.

Wilhelm Langewiesche, a bookseller in Barmen and Iserlohn, writes under the name of W. Jemand [Jemand means “someone"]; his main work is a didactic tragedy Der ewige Jude which is, of course, inferior to Mosen’s treatment of the same subject. As a publisher, he is more important than his Wuppertal rivals, which is very easy, incidentally, since the two of them, Hassel in Elberfeld and Steinhaus in Barmen, publish only genuinely pietist works. Freiligrath lives in his house.

Karl August Döring, the preacher in Elberfeld, is the author of numerous prose and poetry works; to him Platen’s words are applicable: “You are a river in full spate which no one can swim to the end. [A. Platen, Der romantische Oedipus, Act III, Scene 4]

He divides his poems into religious songs, odes and lyrics. Sometimes, by the middle of a poem he has forgotten the beginning and is carried away into most peculiar regions; from the Pacific islands with their missionaries to hell, and from the sighs of a contrite soul to the ice of the North Pole.

Lieth, the headmaster of a girls’ school in Elberfeld, is the author of poems for children; most of them are written in a now outmoded fashion and cannot bear comparison with the poems of Rückert, Güll and Hey, yet there are a few nice things to be found among them.

Friedrich Ludwig Willfing, indisputably the greatest Wuppertal poet, born in Barmen, is a man of unmistakable genius. Should you see a lanky individual, about forty-five years of age, wrapped in a long reddish-brown frock-coat half as old as its owner, above his shoulders a countenance that defies description, on his nose gold-rimmed spectacles through the lenses of which every glance from his lustrous eyes is refracted, his head crowned by a green cap, in his mouth a flower, in his hand a button which he has just twisted off his frock-coat — this is the Horace of Barmen. Day in, day out he walks on the Hardtberg hoping to come across a new rhyme or a new beloved. Until his thirtieth year this indefatigable man worshipped Pallas Athena, then fell into the hands of Aphrodite, who presented him with nine Dulcineas, one after the other; these are his Muses. Speak not of Goethe, who found a poetic aspect in everything, or of Petrarch, who embodied every glance, every word of his beloved in a sonnet — Willfing leaves them far behind. Who counts the grains of sand beneath his beloved’s feet? The great Wülfing. Who sings of Minchen (the Clio of the nine Muses), her stockings bespattered in a swampy meadow? No one but Willfing. — His epigrams are masterpieces of the most eccentric, popular crudity. When his first wife died he wrote an announcement of her death which reduced all maidservants to tears and an even finer elegy: “Wilhelmine — the most beautiful of all names!” Six weeks later he became betrothed again; and now he has a third wife. This ingenious man has new plans every day. When still in the full flowering of his poetic talent, he thought of becoming a button-maker, then a farmer, then a paper-merchant; finally he ended up in the haven of candle-making, so as to make his lamp shine in some way or other. His writings are like the sand on the sea-shore.

Montanus Eremita, an anonymous Solingen writer, [23] should be included here as a neighbour and friend. He is the most poetical historiographer of the Berg area; his verses are less absurd than tedious and prosaic.

Here, too, belongs Johann Pol, a pastor in Heedfeld near Iserlohn, who has written a slim volume of poems.

Kings come from God and missionaries too,
But Goethe the poet comes from mankind alone.

This reflects the spirit of the entire book. But Pol is also a wit, for he says: “Poets are lamps, philosophers are the servants of truth.” And what imagination is shown by the two opening lines of his ballad Attila an der Marne.

Like the monstrous avalanche, like sword and flint hard cutting all,
Through the blazing towns and ruins whirls the Scourge of God on Gaul.

He has also composed psalms, or rather combined fragments from the psalms of David. His greatest work is a song in praise of the quarrel between Hillsmann and Sander, written in a most riginal way, in epigrams. The whole thing centres round the idea that the rationalists dared

To slander and blaspheme against Lord God.

Neither Voss nor Schlegel have ever ended a hexameter with such a perfect spondee. Pol is even better than Döring at grouping his poems: he divides them into “religious chants and songs and miscellaneous poems”. [24]

F. W. Krug, candidate of theology, author of Poetische Erstlinge und prosaische Reliquien, and translator of a number of Dutch and French sermons, has also written a touching short novel [F. W. Krug, Kämpfe und Siege des jungen Wahlheim oder Lebersbilder aus dem Reiche des Wahren, Guten und Schönen] the manner of Stilling in which, among other things, he presents new evidence supporting the Mosaic account of the creation. A delightful book.

In conclusion, I must also mention a clever young man who has the idea that since Freiligrath can be a business clerk and a poet simultaneously, he should be able to as well. It is to be hoped that German literature will soon be enriched by some of his short novels, which will not be inferior to the best; the only shortcomings of which he can be accused are hackneyed treatment, ill-conceived design and careless style. I would willingly quote extracts from one of them, if decency did not forbid it, but soon perhaps a publisher will take pity on the great D. [Dürholt, a clerk in Barmen] dare not give his full name lest his wounded modesty leads him to sue me for libel) and publish his short novels. He also wants to be a close friend of Freiligrath.

This just about covers the literary manifestations of the world-famous valley to which, perhaps, should be added a few wine-inspired geniuses who from time to time try their hand at rhyming’, and whom I can warmly recommend to Dr. Duller as characters for a new novel. This whole region is submerged in a sea of pietism and philistinism, from which rise no beautiful, flower-covered islands, but only dry, bare cliffs or long sandbanks, among which Freiligrath wanders like a seaman off course.


Modern Literary Life 1: Karl Gutzkow as Dramatist; 2 Modern Polemics - Frederick Engels

Modern Literary Life by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1840

Modern Literary Life [56]

Written: in March 1840
First published: in the Mitternachtzeitung für Leser Nos. 51-54, March 1840, and Nos. 83-87, May 1840
Signed: Friedrich Oswald

Karl Gutzkow As Dramatist

Mitternachtzeitung für gebildete Leser No. 51, March 26,1840

One would have thought that after Gutzkow’s well-known article in the Jahrbuch der Literatur [57] his opponents would feel moved to equally noble revenge; with the possible exception of Kühne, who was really dismissed too superficially here also. But one little knows the egoism of our literature if one expects any such thing. It was most significant that the Telegraph in its literary share-list took each writer’s evaluation of himself as the price at par. So it was predictable that Gutzkow’s latest writings would receive no special welcome from this quarter.

Nevertheless there are those among our critics who pride themselves on their impartiality to Gutzkow, and others who admit to a decided predilection for his literary work. The latter spoke very highly of his Richard Savage [58] the Savage which Gutzkow wrote in feverish haste in twelve days, while his Saul, [59] where one can see with how much love the poet worked on it, how carefully he nurtured it, they dismiss with a few words of half-hearted recognition. At the very time when Savage was making its fortune on every stage and all the journals were filled with reviews, those to whom knowledge of this play was denied should have been prompted to trace Gutzkow’s dramatic talent in Saul, which was available to them in print. But how few journals gave even a superficial criticism of this tragedy! One really does not know what to think of our literary life if one compares this neglect with the discussions aroused by Beck’s Fahrender Poet, a poem which is surely farther from classicism than Gutzkow’s Saul!

But before discussing this play we must consider the two dramatic studies in the Skizzenbuch [60] The first act of Marino Falieri, an unfinished tragedy, shows how well Gutzkow can fashion and shape each single act by itself, how skilfully he can handle the dialogue and endow it with refinement, grace and Wit. But there is not enough action, one can relate the content in three words, and so on the stage it would bore even those who can appreciate the beauties of the execution. Any improvement, it is true, would be difficult since the action is so constructed that to move anything from the second act to the first would only do harm elsewhere. But here the true dramatist proves his worth, and if Gutzkow is one, as I am convinced he is, he will solve the problem satisfactorily in the tragedy as a whole which he has promised to and will, we hope, soon complete.

Hamlet in Wittenberg already gives us the outline of a whole. Gutzkow has done well to give only the outlines here, since the most successful part, the scene in which Ophelia appears, would offend if depicted in greater detail. I find it inexplicable, however, that in order to introduce doubt, that German element, into Hamlet’s heart, Gutzkow should bring him together with Faust. There is no need whatever to bring this trait into Hamlet’s soul from without, since it is already there, and is inborn in him. Otherwise Shakespeare also would have especially motivated it. Gutzkow here refers to Börne, but it is precisely Börne who not only demonstrates the split in Hamlet but also establishes the unity of his character [L. Börne, Hamlet, von Shakespeare]. And by what agency does Gutzkow introduce these elements into Hamlet’s mind? Perhaps through the curse which Faust pronounces on the young Dane? Such deus-ex-machina effects would make all dramatic poetry impossible. Through Faust’s conversations with Mephistopheles which Hamlet overhears? If so, firstly, the curse would lose its significance, and, secondly, the thread leading from this character of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is often so fine as to be lost to sight, and, thirdly, could Hamlet speak so casually of other things immediately afterwards? It is different with the appearance of Ophelia. Here Gutzkow has seen through Shakespeare, or if not that, has supplemented him. It is a case of Columbus and the egg, after the critics have argued about it for two hundred years a solution is given here which is as original as it is poetical and probably the only possible one. The execution of the scene is also masterly. Those who were not convinced by a certain scene in Wally [61] that Gutzkow also has imagination and is not coldly matter-of-fact, can learn it here. The tender, poetic bloom on the delicate figure of Ophelia is more than one is entitled to expect from mere outlines. — The verses spoken by Mephistopheles are totally unsuccessful. It would require a second Goethe to reproduce the language of Goethe’s Faust, the melody that rings in the seeming doggerel; in anybody else’s hands these light verses would become wooden and ponderous. On the interpretation of the principle of evil I will not argue with Gutzkow here.

Now we come to our main work, König Saul. Gutzkow has been upbraided for having his Savage preceded by a number of trumpet blasts and fanfares in the Telegraph, although all the fuss is about two or three short notices; it does not occur to anybody that others have had their works welcomed by paid musicians; but because it is Gutzkow, who has told someone a home truth and perhaps done someone else a slight injustice, it is made out to be a great crime. With König Saul there is no room for such reproaches; it came into the world unannounced either by notices below the line or excerpts in the Telegraph. There is the same modesty in the drama itself; no spectacular effects with thunder and lightning rise like volcanic islands from a sea of watery dialogue, no pompous monologues are intoned whose inspired or moving rhetoric has to conceal a number of dramatic blunders; everything develops calmly and organically, and a conscious, poetic force leads the action safely to its conclusion. And will our critics read such a work once and then write an article whose bright, flowery flourishes show from what thin, sandy soil they sprout? I regard as a great merit of König Saul the fact that its beauties are not on the surface, that one must look for them, that after a single reading one may well throw the book contemptuously into a corner. Let an educated man forget how famous Sophocles is and then let him choose between Antigone and Saul; I am convinced that after a single reading he would find both works equally bad. By that I do not, of course, mean to say that Saul can be compared to the greatest poetic work of the greatest Greek; I only wish to indicate the degree of perverseness with which frivolous superficiality can judge. It was entertaining to see how certain sworn enemies of the author now suddenly believed themselves to have won an enormous triumph, how jubilantly they pointed to Saul as a monument to all Gutzkow’s hollowness and lack of poetry, how they did not know what to make of Samuel and pretended it was always being said of him “I don’t know if he is alive or dead”. It was amusing how beautifully they unconsciously revealed their boundless superficiality. But Gutzkow may be reassured; it happened thus to the prophets who came before him, and in the end his Saul will be among the prophets. Thus they despised Ludwig Uhland’s plays until Wienbarg opened their eyes [62]Precisely Uhland’s plays have much in common with Saul in the modest simplicity of their dress.

Mitternachtzeitung für gebildete Leser No. 52, March 27, 1840

Another reason why superficiality could dismiss Saul so easily lies in the peculiar conception of historical fiction. With historical works which are as well known as the first book of Samuel and regarded in so many and various ways, everyone has his own peculiar standpoint which he wishes to see recognised or heeded at least to some extent in the case of a poetic adaptation. One reader is for Saul, another for David, a third for Samuel; and everybody, however solemn his assurances that he is willing to let the poet have his views, is nevertheless piqued if his own are not respected. But Gutzkow has done well here to leave the common highway where even the most ordinary cart finds a rut. I would like to see the man who would undertake to create a purely historical Saul in a tragedy. I cannot be satisfied with the attempts hitherto made to place the story of Saul on a purely historical basis. Historical criticism of Old Testament scripture has not yet got beyond the bounds of old-fashioned rationalism. A Strauss would still have much to do here if he wanted to separate strictly and clearly what is myth, what is history, and what is interpolated by the priests. Furthermore, have not a thousand failures shown that the Orient as such is an infertile ground for drama? And where in the story is that higher power which emerges victorious when the individuals who have outlived themselves break down? Surely not David? He remains as before amenable to the influence of the priests and is a poetic hero at most in the unhistorical light in which the Bible presents him. Consequently Gutzkow has not only taken advantage here of the right belonging to every poet, he has also removed the obstacles standing in the way of a poetic presentation. How then would a purely historical Saul appear in all the trappings of his time and nationality? Imagine him speaking in Hebrew parallelisms, all his ideas relating to Jehovah and all his images to the Hebrew cult; imagine the historical David speaking in the language of the psalms — to imagine an historical Samuel is altogether impossible — and then ask yourselves whether such figures would be even tolerable in drama? Here the categories of period and nationality had to be removed, here the outlines of the characters as they appear in biblical history and in previous criticism had to undergo many very necessary changes; indeed, a great deal here which historically was known to them only as notions or at most as vague representations had to be developed into clear concepts. Thus the poet had the perfect right, for example, to assume that his characters were familiar with the concept of the church. — And one cannot but heartily applaud Gutzkow when one observes how he solved his problem here. The threads from which he wove his characters are all to be found, however entangled, in his source; many had to be pulled out and thrown away, but only the most biased criticism can charge him with having interwoven anything alien, except in the scene with the Philistines.

Grouped in the centre of the drama. are three characters by whose original portrayal alone Gutzkow made his material truly tragic. Here he shows a genuinely poetic view of history; no one will ever be able to convince me that a “coldly matter-of-fact” person “a debater”, would be capable of selecting from a confused tale precisely that which would produce the greatest tragic effect. These three characters are Saul, Samuel and David. Saul concludes one period of Hebrew history,, the age of the judges, the age of heroic legend; Saul is the last Israelite Nibelung whose generation of heroes has left him behind in an age he does not understand and which does not understand him. Saul is an epigone whose sword was originally destined to gleam through the mist of the age of myth but whose misfortune it was to have lived to see the age of advancing culture, an epoch which is ‘alien to him, which covers his sword with rust, and which he therefore seeks to drive back. He is otherwise a noble person to whom no human feeling is alien, but he does not recognise love when he encounters it in the apparel of the new age. He sees this new age and its manifestations as the work of the priests, whereas the priests only prepare it, are only tools in the hands of history from whose hierarchical seed sprouts an unsuspected plant; he fights the new epoch, but it prevails over him. It gains giant strength overnight and smashes the great, noble Saul together with all who oppose it.

Samuel stands at the transition to culture; here as always the priests, as the privileged possessors of education, prepare the state of culture among primitive peoples, but education penetrates to the people, and the priests must resort to other weapons if they want to preserve their influence on the people. Samuel is a genuine priest whose holy of holies is the hierarchy; he firmly believes in his divine mission, and is convinced that if the rule of the priests is overthrown Jehovah’s wrath will descend on the people. To his horror he sees that the people already know too much when they demand a king; he sees that moral power, the imposing frock of the priest, no longer suffices with the people; he must resort to the weapons of cleverness and unwittingly becomes a Jesuit. But the very crooked ways he now pursues are doubly hateful to the king who could never be the priests’ friend, and in the struggle Saul’s eyes soon become as sharp for priestly tricks as they are blind to the signs of the times.

The third element, which emerges victorious from this struggle, the representative of a new historical epoch in which Judaism attains a new stage of consciousness, is David, equal to Saul in his humanity, and far exceeding him in his understanding of the age. At first he appears as Samuel’s pupil, barely having left school; but his reason has not so bowed itself before authority as to lose its resilience; it springs up and restores his independence to him. Samuel’s personality ma still impress him, but his intellect always comes to his aid, his poetic imagination rebuilds the new Jerusalem for him as often as Samuel destroys it with the lightning of his anathemas. Saul cannot become reconciled with him since both are pursuing opposite aims, and when he says that he hates only what priestly deceit has put into David’s soul, he is again confusing the effects of priestly lust for power with the signs of the new age. Thus David develops before our eyes from a foolish boy to the bearer of an epoch, and so the seeming contradictions in his portrayal vanish.

In order not to interrupt the development of these three characters, I have deliberately passed over a question raised by all critics who took the trouble to read Saul once, the question of whether Samuel appears as a living person in the witches’ scene and at the end or whether his ghost delivers the speeches there recorded. Let us suppose that no easy or thoroughly satisfactory answer is to be found in Saul; would that be such a great fault? I think not — take him for what you like, and if you feel inclined start boring discussions about it; after all one finds the same thing in Shakespeare’s Hamlet whose madness all the critics and commentators have discussed for the past two hundred years “three long and three broad and altogether polygonally” [A quotation from Wienbarg’s article “Ludwig Uhland, als Dramatiker"] and from all angles. Gutzkow has not made the problem so very difficult, however. He has long known how ridiculous ghosts are in broad daylight, how mal à propos the Black Knight appears in Die Jungfrau von Orleans [Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orleans, Act III, Scene 9] and that all ghostly apparitions would be quite out of place in Saul. In the witches’ scene especially the mask is easy to see through, even if the old high priest had not appeared earlier in a similar manner, before there was any talk of Samuel’s death.

Of the play’s remaining characters the best drawn is Abner, who devotes himself to Saul with utter conviction and due to perfect compatibility of temperament and in whom the warrior and enemy of the priests has relegated the man wholly into the background. Least successful, by contrast, are Jonathan and Michal. Jonathan indulges throughout in phrases about friendship, and insists on his love for David without, however, proving it in anything but words; he dissolves completely in the friendship for David, thereby losing all manliness and strength. His butter-like softness cannot properly be called character. Gutzkow was confused here as to what he should do with Jonathan. In any case he is superfluous like this. Michal is kept quite vague ani is characterised to some extent only by her love for David. How very unsuccessful these two figures are can best be seen in the scene where they converse about David. What is said there about love and friendship lacks all the striking sharpness, all the wealth of thought, to which we are accustomed in Gutzkow. Mere phrases which are neither quite true nor quite false, nothing remarkable, nothing significant. — Zeruiah is a Judith; I don’t know whether it was Gutzkow or Kühne who once said that Judith, like every woman who transcends the limits of her sex, must die after her deed if she does not want to appear unattractive; Zeruiah also dies accordingly. — In itself the characterisation of the Philistine princes is excellent and rich in entertaining features, but whether it fits into the play is a question still to be settled.

Mitternachtzeitung für gebildete Leser No. 53, March 30, 1840

I trust I shall be excused for not giving a consecutive analysis of the dramatic action; only one point must be emphasised here, namely, the exposition. This is excellent and contains features in which Gutzkow’s great dramatic talent is unmistakable. Wholly in keeping with Gutzkow’s quick, impetuous manner, the mass of the people appears only in short scenes. There is something awkward about large crowd scenes; if one is not a Shakespeare or a Goethe they easily become trivial and insignificant. By contrast, a few words spoken by a couple of warriors or other men from the crowd are often very effective and achieve perfectly their aim of sketching public opinion; moreover, they can appear much more frequently without being conspicuous and tiresome. So much for the first and fourth scenes of the first act. The second and third scenes contain Saul’s monologue and his conversation with Samuel, which are the finest and most poetic passages of the play. The classically restrained passion of the dialogue is characteristic of the spirit in which the whole play is written. After the general state of the action has been rapidly outlined in these scenes, we are introduced to more specific matters in the fifth scene between Jonathan and David. This scene suffers somewhat from a confusion of thought; several times one loses sight of the dialectical thread — without any doubt the result of the unsuccessful drawing of Jonathan right from the start. The final scene in the act is masterly, however. We are already familiar to some extent with the chief characters, and here they are brought together; David and Saul meet with the serious intention of being reconciled. Her e the poet had to develop their different natures, show their incompatibility and bring about the inevitable conflict instead of the intended reconciliation. And this task, which only the most lively awareness, the most acute delineation of the characters, the surest look into the human soul can deal with satisfactorily, is solved here unsurpassably; the transitions in Saul’s mind from one extreme to the other are so true psychologically, so finely motivated, that I must judge this scene the best in the whole play, in spite of the unfortunate episode with the son-in-law.

In the second act, the scene with the Philistines is striking, or, to use Kühne’s expression, “freshly piquant”, but I doubt whether its rich wit suffices to secure it a place in the tragedy. When Gutzkow lifted his Saul above the concepts of his age and ascribed to him a consciousness which he did not have, that can be justified; however, this scene introduces a purely modern concept, and David is standing on German soil here. That is damaging, at least for the tragedy. Comic scenes could still occur, but they would have to be of ‘a different kind. The comic element in tragedy is not there, as superficial criticism says, for the sake of variation or contrast, but rather to give a more faithful picture of life, which is a mixture of jest and earnest. But I doubt if Shakespeare would have been satisfied with such reasons. In real life does not the most moving tragedy invariably appear m comic dress? I will only remind you of the character who, though he appears in a novel as he must, is yet the most tragic I know, Don Quixote. What is more tragic than a man who from sheer love of humanity and misunderstood by his own age falls into the most comic follies? Still more tragic is Blasedow, a Don Quixote of the future, whose consciousness is more heightened than that of his model. Incidentally, I must here defend Blasedow against the otherwise penetrating criticism in the Rheinisches Jahrbuch which charges Gutzkow with having treated a tragic idea comically. [63] Blasedow had to he treated comically, like Don Quixote. If he is treated seriously, he becomes a prophet of world-weariness, a quite ordinary one, torn by emotion; remove the foil of comedy from the novel, and you have one of those formless, unsatisfactory works with which modern literature began. No, Blasedow is the first sure sign that Young Literature has left behind the period, necessary though it was, of wretchedness, of the Wallys and of the Nächte “written in red life”. — The truly comic in tragedy is to be found in the fool in King Lear or the grave-digger scenes in Hamlet.

Mitternachtzeitung für gebildete Leser No. 54, March 31, 1840

Here also that pitfall of the dramatist, the two last acts, has not been negotiated. by the author entirely without, damage. The fourth act contains nothing but decisions. Saul decides, Astharoth decides twice, Zeruiah decides, David decides. Then the witches’ scene which also yields only meagre results. The fifth act consists of nothing but battle and reflection. Saul reflects a little too much for a hero, David too much for a poet. One often thinks that one is hearing not a poet-hero but a poet-thinker, perhaps Theodor Mundt. In general Gutzkow has a way of making monologues less conspicuous by having them spoken in the presence of others. But since such monologues can rarely lead to decisions and are purely reflective, there are still more than enough real monologues.

The language of the play, as was to be expected of Gutzkow, is thoroughly original. We again find those images of Gutzkow’s prose which are so expressive that one is unaware of moving from simple, naked prose — into the flourishing region of the modern style, those pithy, apt expressions which frequently sound almost like proverbs. There is nothing of the lyric poet in Gutzkow, except in the lyrical moments of the action, when lyrical enthusiasm grips him unawares, and he is able to use prose, Hence the songs put into David’s mouth are either unsuccessful or insignificant. When David says to the Philistines:

I need but make you up as verses
For fun into a wreath,
[K. Gutzkow, König Saul, Act II, Scene 7]

what does it mean? — The basic thought of such a song is often very pretty, but the execution invariably miscarries. In other respects, too, one notices in the language that Gutzkow does not possess sufficient skill in writing verse, which is, of course, better than making the verses more flowing, but also more insipid, with old phrases.

Unsuccessful images have not been entirely avoided either. For example:

The anger of the priest
From whom the people first did wrest the crown
And then in whose emaciated hand
It should have been a staff.
[K. Gutzkow, König Saul, Act I, Scene 3.]

Here the crown is already an allegory for kingdom and cannot become the abstract basis for the second image of the staff. This is all the more striking as the mistake could so easily have been avoided, and proves clearly that verse still presents difficulties for Gutzkow.

Circumstances have prevented me from gaining a knowledge of Richard Savage. I admit, however, that the immoderate applause which greeted the first performances made me suspicious of the play. I recalled what had happened three years ago with Griseldis. [64] Since then enough disapproving voices have made themselves heard, the first and most thorough, as far as one can judge without knowing the play from accounts given in journals, strangely enough in a political paper, the Deutscher Courier. [65] But I can easily spare myself a criticism, for what journal has not already reviewed it? Let us wait, therefore, until it is available in print.

Werner, [66] Gutzkow’s most recent work, has received the same applause in Hamburg. To judge by its antecedents, the play is probably not only of great value in itself, but may be the first really modern tragedy. It is strange that Kühne, who has so often reviewed the modern tragedy that one might almost think he himself was writing one, has allowed himself to be forestalled by Gutzkow. Or does he not feel called upon to try his hand at drama?

However, we hope that Gutzkow, having prepared the way to the stage for the Young Literature, will continue with original, vital plays to drive shallowness and mediocrity from the usurped theatre. It cannot be done through criticism, however devastating; that we have seen. Those who pursue the same tendencies as himself will support him most strongly, and thus new hope is rising in us for the German drama and the German theatre.

Modern Polemics [67]

Mitternachtzeitung für gebildete Leser No. 83, May 21, 1840

The Young Literature has a weapon through which it has become invincible and gathers under its banners all young talents. I mean the modern style, which in its concrete vitality, sharpness of expression, and variety of nuances offers to every young writer a bed in which the river or the stream of his genius can comfortably roll on without his originality — if he has any — being infected too strongly with alien elements, Heine’s carbonic acid or Gutzkow’s caustic lime. It is a pleasure to see how every young author seeks to adopt the modern style with its proudly soaring rockets of enthusiasm which at their highest point dissolve in a gaily coloured shower of poetical fire or burst in crackling sparks of wit. In this respect the criticisms in the Rheinisches Jahrbuch, which I mentioned earlier in my first article of this series, are of importance; they are the first sign of the effect which a new literary epoch has had on Rhenish soil, fairly alienated from German poetry. Here is the whole modern style with its light and shade, its original but apt descriptions, and its iridescent poetic spotlight.

In these circumstances we can say of our authors not only: le style c'est l'homme [G. L. Buffon], but also: le style c'est la littérature. The modern style bears the stamp of mediation, not only between the celebrities of the past, as L. Wihl recently remarked, but also between production and criticism, poetry and prose. It is Wienbarg in whom these elements interpenetrate most intimately; in Die Dramatiker der retztzeit the poet has been absorbed into the critic. The same would apply to the second volume of Kühne’s Charaktere if there were more coherence in the style. — German style has gone through its dialectical mediation process; from the naive directness of our prose there emerged the language of the intellect which culminated in the lapidary style of Goethe, and the language of the imagination and the heart, the splendour of which has been revealed to us by Jean Paul. Mediation began with Börne, but in him the intellectual element nevertheless still dominated, especially in the Briefe, while Heine helped the poetical side to come into its own. Mediation is completed in the modern style; imagination and intellect do not unconsciously flow into each other, nor do they stand in direct opposition; they are united in style, as in the human mind, and since their unification is conscious, it is also lasting and genuine. Hence I cannot admit that fortuitousness which Wihl still tends to vindicate in the modern style, and I am compelled to discern a genetic, historical development here. — The same mediation occurs in literature; there is almost no one in whom production and criticism are not combined; even among the lyric poets Creizenach has written Der schwäbische Apoll and Beck a work on Hungarian literature, [68] and the reproach that the Young Literature is getting lost in criticism has its foundation far more in the mass of critics than of criticisms. Or do not the productions of Gutzkow, Laube, Mundt and Kühne significantly outweigh their critical writings, both in quantity and quality? Thus the modern style remains a reflection of literature. There is, however, one aspect of style which is always a sure test of its essence: the polemical. With the Greeks polemic took the form of poetry, becoming plastic with Aristophanes. The Romans clad it in the gown of the hexameter which was suitable for everything, and Horace, the lyric poet, developed it likewise lyrically into satire. In the Middle Ages, when the lyric was in full flower, it passed with the Provençals into sirventes and chansons, with the Germans into the Lied. When bare intellect made itself master of poetry in the seventeenth century, the epigram of the later Roman period was sought out to serve as the form for polemical wit. The French fondness for classical imitation produced Boileau’s Horacising satires. In Germany, the previous century, which fastened on to anything until German poetry began to develop in complete independence, tried all polemical forms until Lessing’s antiquarian letters found in prose the medium which permits the freest development of polemics. Voltaire’s tactics, which deal the opponent a blow now and then, are truly French; so is the sniping war of Béranger, who in the same French manner puts everything into a chanson. But what about modern polemics?

Forgive me, dear reader, you have probably long ago guessed the aim of this diatribe; but I happen to be a German and cannot rid myself of my German nature which always starts with the egg. Now, however, I will be all the more direct; it is a question of the dissensions in modern literature, the justification of the parties and especially the dispute at the root of all the rest, the dispute between Gutzkow and Mundt, or, as the matter now stands, between Gutzkow and Kühne. This dispute has now been going on for two years in the midst of oar literary developments and could not but have upon them an influence partly favourable, partly unfavourable. Unfavourable because the smooth course of development is always disturbed when literature lets itself become the arena of personal sympathies, antipathies. and idiosyncrasies; favourable because ‘ to speak in Hegelian terms, it stepped out from the one-sidedness in which it found itself as a party, and proved its victory through its very destruction; also because, contrary to the expectations of many, the “younger generation” did not take sides, but used the opportunity to free itself from all alien influences and to devote itself to independent development. If then a few have taken sides, they prove thereby how little confidence they have in themselves and of what little consequence they are to literature.

Whether. Gutzkow picked up the first stone, whether Mundt was the first to put his hand to his left hip, may be left unexamined; suffice it that stones were thrown and swords drawn. It is only a question of the deeper causes of a war which was bound to break out sooner or later; for nobody who has watched its whole course without bias will believe that, on either side there prevailed subjective motives, spiteful envy or frivolous love of fighting. Only in Kühne’s case was personal friendship with Mundt a motive, and in itself surely no ignoble one, for accepting Gutzkow’s challenge.

Mitternachtzeitung für gebildete Leser No. 84, May 22, 1840

Gutzkow’s literary work and aspirations bear the stamp of a sharply defined individuality. Only a few of his numerous writings leave a wholly satisfying impression and yet it cannot be denied that they are among the finest products of German literature since 1830. Why is this so? I believe I see in him a dualism that has much in common with the schism in Immermann’s mind which Gutzkow himself first tore open. Gutzkow possesses the greatest power of intellect, as is recognised by all German authors of belies-lettres, of course; his judgment is never at a loss, his eye finds its bearings with wonderful facility in the most complex phenomena. Alongside this intellect there is, however, an equally powerful heat of passion which expresses itself as enthusiasm in his productions and puts his imagination in that state of, I would almost say, erection, in which alone spiritual creation is possible. His works, though they are often very protracted compositions, come into being in a flash, and if on the one hand one can see in them the enthusiasm with which they are written, on the other this haste prevents the calm working out of detail and, like Wally, they remain mere sketches. More calm prevails in the later novels, most of all in Blasedow, which is chiselled with a plasticity altogether unusual in Gutzkow up to now. His earlier figures were character drawings rather than characters, metewra [High above] hovering between heaven and earth, as Karl Grün says. Nevertheless, Gutzkow cannot prevent the enthusiasm from giving way momentarily to intellect; in this mood are written those passages of his works which produce the disagreeable impression already mentioned. it is this mood which Kühne in his insulting language called “senile shivers”. — But it is also this passionate disposition which leads Gutzkow so easily into outbursts of wrath, often about the most insignificant things, and which brings into his polemic a gushing hatred, a wild vehemence, which Gutzkow surely regrets afterwards; for he must see how unwisely he acts in moments of fury. That he does see this is proved by the well-known article in the Jahrbuch der Literatur on whose objectivity he somewhat flatters himself — he knows, then, that his polemic is not free of momentary influences. — To these two sides of his mind, whose unity Gutzkow does not yet appear to have found, there is also added a boundless feeling of independence; he cannot bear the lightest fetters, and whether they were of iron or cobweb, he would not rest until he had smashed them. When against his will he was counted as belonging to Young Germany with Heine, Wienbarg, Laube and Mundt, and when this Young Germany began to degenerate into a clique, he was overcome by a malaise which left him only after his open breach with Laube and Mundt. But effectively as this desire for independence has preserved him from alien influence, it easily becomes heightened into a rejection of everything different, a withdrawal into himself, an excess of self-reliance, and then it borders on egoism. I am far from accusing Gutzkow of consciously striving for unrestricted domination in literature, but at times he uses expressions which make it easier for his opponents to charge him with egoism. His passionate disposition alone drives him to give himself wholly as he is, and so one can discern at once the whole man in his works. — Add to these spiritual characteristics a life continually wounded over the last four years by the censor’s scissors and the restrictions imposed on his free literary development by the police, and I may hope to have sketched the main features of Gutzkow’s literary personality.

While the latter’s nature thus proves to be thoroughly original, in Mundt we find an amiable harmony of all spiritual powers, which is the first prerequisite for a humourist: a calm intellect, a good German heart, and in addition the necessary imagination. Mundt is a genuinely German character, who, however, for precisely this reason, rarely rises above the ordinary and often enough verges on the prosaic. He possesses amiability, German thoroughness, sterling honesty, but he is not a poet concerned with artistic development. Mundt’s works prior to the Madonna are insignificant; the Moderne Lebenswirren is rich in good humour and fine detail, but worthless as a work of art and tedious as a novel; in the Madonna enthusiasm for new ideas gave him an impetus which he had not known before, but again the impetus did not produce a work of art, merely a mass of good ideas and splendid images. Nevertheless, the Madonna is Mundt’s best work, for the showers of rain sent into the literary sky shortly afterwards by the German cloud-gatherer Zeus [69] cooled Mundt’s enthusiasm considerably. The modest German Hamlet strengthened his protestations of harmlessness with innocent little novels in which the ideas of the times appeared with trimmed beard and combed hair, and submitted in the frock-coat of a suppliant a most abject petition for most gracious assent. His Komödie der Neigungen did his reputation as a poet an injury which he attempted to heal with Spaziergange und Weltfahrten instead of with new, rounded poetical works. And if Mundt does not throw himself into production with his earlier enthusiasm, if instead of travel books and journalistic articles he does not give us poems, then there will soon be no more talk of Mundt the poet. one could observe a second retreat by Mundt in his style. His preference for Varnhagen, in whom he thought he had discovered Germany’s greatest master of style, led him to adopt the latter’s diplomatic turns of phrase, affected expressions and abstract flourishes; and Mundt entirely failed to see that the fundamental principle of the modern style — concrete freshness and liveliness — was thereby violated to the core.

Mitternachtzeitung für gebildete Leser No. 85, May 25, 1840

Besides these differences, the intellectual. development of the two disputants had been wholly opposed. Gutzkow manifested from the start an enthusiasm for Börne, the “modern Moses”, which still lives on in his soul as fervent adoration; Mundt sat in the secure shade thrown by the giant tree of Hegel’s system and for a time betrayed the conceit of most Hegelians; in the early yea of his literary activity the axioms of the philosophical padishah that freedom and necessity are identical and that the aspirations of the South-German liberals are one-sided, prejudiced Mundt’s political views. Gutzkow left Berlin with distaste at conditions there and acquired a predilection for South Germany in Stuttgart which never left him; Mundt felt at home in Berlin life, loved to sit at the aestheticising tea-parties and distilled from the intellectual activity of Berlin his Persönlichheiten und Zustände, [70] that literary hothouse product which suffocated all free poetic activity in him and in others. It is saddening to see how Mundt, in the second issue of Freihafen for 1838, reviewing a work by Münch, goes into raptures in his description of such a personality, raptures to which he could never be roused by a work of poetry.[71] Berlin conditions — it is as if this word were invented for Berlin — made him forget everything else and he even let himself be misled into a ridiculous contempt for the beauties of nature, such as is revealed in the Madonna.

So Gutzkow and Mundt confronted each other when the ideas of the age suddenly made their paths cross. They would soon have separated, perhaps waved greetings to each other from afar and been happy to recall their meeting, had not the setting up of Young Germany and the Roma locuta est of the most serene Federal Diet compelled them both to unite. The state of affairs was thus radically altered. Their common fate obliged Gutzkow and Mundt to give weight in their judgments of each other to considerations the observation of which was bound in the long run to become unbearable for both of them. Young Germany, or Young Literature, as it called itself after the catastrophe from above so as to sound more harmless and not to exclude others with similar aims, was near to degenerating into a clique, and that against its will. From all sides one found oneself compelled to drop opposing tendencies, to cover up weaknesses, to overstress agreement. This unnatural, forced pretence could not last long. Wienbarg, the finest figure in Young Germany, withdrew; Laube had from the start protested against the conclusions which the state permitted itself; Heine in Paris was too isolated to quicken the literature of the day with the electric sparks of his wit; Gutzkow and Mundt, by mutual agreement, as I would like to think, were frank enough to break the public peace.

Mundt polemicised little and insignificantly, but once he let himself be misled into conducting his polemic in a manner inviting the sharpest censure. At the end of the article “Görres und die katholische Weltanschauung” (Freihafen, 1838, II) he says that if German religiousness will have nothing to do with Young Germany, the movement has sufficiently shown that it contains more than enough rotten elements as far as religion is concerned. It is clear that this refers not only to Heine, who does not concern us here, but to Gutzkow. However, even if the accusations were true, Mundt should at least have enough respect for those to whom he is bound by common fate not to champion narrow-mindedness, philistinism and pietism against them! Mundt could hardly behave worse than when he says in pharisaic triumph: God, I thank thee that I am not as Heine, Laube and Gutzkow, and that in the eyes of German religiousness if not of the German Confederation, I can pass as respectable!

Gutzkow, by contrast, took real pleasure in polemics. He pulled out all the stops and followed the allegro moderate of the Literarische Elfen [72] with an allegro furioso of literary notices. He had the advantage over Mundt in that he could expose the latter’s literary whims in full focus and place them within range of the permanently loaded gun of his wit. Almost every week at least one blow against Mundt could be found in the Telegraph. He knew how to profit by the overwhelming advantage which possession of a weekly journal gives over an opponent limited to a quarterly and his own works; it is particularly remarkable that Gutzkow intensified his polemic, allowing his contempt for Mundt’s literary gifts to appear only gradually, while the latter treated Gutzkow as an inferior personality immediately after the declaration of war, without regard for such a descending climax. — The usual artifices of political journals, recommending articles of the same colour in other journals, smuggling in hidden malice under the guise of recognition and praiseworthy objectivity, etc., were carried over into the literary sphere in this polemic; whether their own articles appeared under the pseudonyms of provincial correspondents cannot, of course, be determined, since right from the start there streamed to each party a crowd of obliging, nameless assistants, who would have felt very flattered if their labours were taken for the works of their commanding generals. Marggraff attributes most of the blame for the dispute to these interlopers who with their zeal wished to buy commendatory notices below the line. [73]

Towards the end of 1838 a third fighter entered the lists, Kühne, whose armoury we must review for the moment. For a long time Mundt’s personal friend and without doubt the Gustav to whom Mundt once appeals in the Madonna, his literary character also has much in common with Mundt, although on the other hand a French element is clearly evident in him. He is linked with Mundt particularly by their common development through Hegel and the social fife of Berlin, which determined Kühne’s taste for personalities and conditions and Varnhagen von Ense, the true inventor of these literary hybrids. Kühne is also one of those who give much praise to Varnhagen’s style and overlook the fact that what is good in it is really only an imitation of Goethe.

Mitternachtzeitung für gebildete Leser No. 86, May 26, 1840

The chief foundation of Kühne’s literary stature is esprit, that French, quickly combining intellect, linked with a lively imagination. Even the extreme of this trend, the cult of the phrase, is so little alien to Kühne that, on the contrary, he has achieved a rare mastery in handling it, and one cannot read reviews such as that of the second volume of Mundt’s Spaziergänge (Elegante Zeitung, May 1838) without a certain enjoyment. Naturally, it also happens often enough that this play with phrases makes a disagreeable impression and one is reminded of a few apt words of Mephistopheles which have become commonplace. [Goethe, Faust, Erster Teil, Studierzimmer: “Mit Worten gut sich trefflich streiten mit Worten ein System bereitein... “] In a journal one may well tolerate passages interwoven with phrases in this fashion; but when in a work like the Charaktere a passage occurs which reads quite well but lacks all real content — and that is more than once the case — this shows too much levity in selection. On the other hand, his French cleverness makes Kühne one of our best journalists, and it would surely be easy for him, with greater activity, to lift the Elegante Zeitung far above its present level. But oddly enough, Kühne is far from displaying the agility of mind which alone seems to correspond to the esprit in which he recalls Laube. — Kühne displays this trans-Rhenish nature most clearly as a critic. While Gutzkow does not rest until he has got to the bottom of his subject and forms his judgment from that alone without regard to any favourable or mitigating minor considerations, Kühne places the subject in the light of a witty thought, which, it is true, consideration of the object has most often inspired. When Gutzkow is one-sided, it is because he judges without due regard of person, more by the object’s weaknesses than its virtues and demands classical creations from budding poets like Beck; when Kühne is one-sided, he endeavours to regard all aspects of his object from a single viewpoint which is neither the highest, nor the most illuminating, and excuses the playfulness of Beck’s Stille Lieder with the truly apt phrase that Beck is a lyrical musician.

In Kühne one must further distinguish two periods; the beginning of his literary career was marked by a bias towards the Hegelian doctrine and, so it seems to me, by a devotion to Mundt or a community of views with him in which independence was not always duly respected. The Quarantäne marks his first step towards emancipation from these influences; Kühne’s views did not find their full development until the literary troubles after 1836. For a comparison of Kühne’s and Gutzkow’s poetic aims two works written at the same time are available, the Quarantäne im Irrenhause and Seraphine. Both reflect the whole personality of their authors. Gutzkow portrayed the reasonable and the genial side of his character in Arthur and Edmund; Kühne, as a beginner, revealed himself fully and more artlessly in the hero of the Quarantäne, as he looks for a way out of the labyrinth of the Hegelian system. Gutzkow excels, as always, in the sharpness of his portrayal of the soul, in the psychological motivation; almost the entire novel takes place in the mind. Such an intellectual compounding of the motives from nothing but misunderstandings, however, destroys all quiet enjoyment, even of the interspersed idyllic situations, and no matter how masterly Seraphine is on the one hand, it is a failure on the other. Kühne, by contrast, bubbles over with witty reflections on Hegel, German soul-searching and Mozart’s music, with which he fills three-quarters of the book, but in the end succeeds only in boring the readers and spoiling the novel as such. Seraphine does not contain a single well-drawn character; and Gutzkow’s aim, which was to show his ability to portray female characters, is realised least of all. The women in all his novels are either trivial, like Celinde in Blasedow, devoid of real womanliness, like Wally, or unlovely through a lack of inner harmony, like Seraphine herself. He almost seems to realise this himself when he makes Michal say in Saul:

You can lay open, like the human brain,
The very heart of woman,
You can show all a woman’s heart is made of;
But that which is the spirit of fife within it
No scalpel can lay bare, nor keen comparison.
[K. Gutzkow, Köng Saul, Act III, Scene 3]

The same lack of precise characterisation is displayed in the Quarantäne. The hero is not a complete character but a personification of the transitional epoch in the present-day consciousness, who therefore lacks all individuality. The remaining characters are almost all made too indeterminate so that one cannot properly say of most of them whether they are successes or failures.

Kühne had long been challenged by Gutzkow but had replied only indirectly by praising Mundt’s merits excessively and rarely mentioning Gutzkow’s. Eventually Kühne also came out in opposition to him, at first calmly and critically rather than polemically; he called Gutzkow a debater, but would not concede to him any further literary claim; soon afterwards, however, he began his offensive in a manner which perhaps no one had expected, with the article “Gutzkows neueste Romane [74]. Here with much wit Gutzkow’s dual nature is distorted into caricature and traced in his writings, but there is also such a mass of unworthy expressions, unfounded assertions and ill-concealed innuendoes that the polemic only benefited Gutzkow. He replied with a brief reference to the Jahrbuch der Literatur for 1839 (why has that for 1840 not yet appeared?) which carried his article on the latest literary disputes. The policy of winning minds by impartiality was shrewd enough, and the restraint which this article cost Gutzkow must be recognised; if it was not entirely satisfactory and, in particular, disposed too easily of Kühne, who can surely not be denied an important influence on present-day literature or a sound talent for the historical novel, although not yet very clear in the Klosternovellen, this can gladly be overlooked until his opponents have done as well or have excelled him.

Mitternachtzeitung für gebildete Leser No. 87, May 28, 1840

This Jahrbuch der Literatur, however, bore within itself the seed of a new split, Heine’s “Schwabenspiegel”. [75] Probably only a few of those involved know what actually happened; I find it best to pass over this whole embarrassing story. Or could not Heine muster the required number of sheets again soon to bring out an uncensored volume, which would also contain the complete “Schwabenspiegel"? Then one could at least see what the Saxon censorship considered, fit to cut and whether the mutilation is indeed to be laid to the charge of any censorship authority. [76] Enough, the flames of war were fanned again. Kühne behaved unwisely by accepting the stupid article on Savage and by accompanying Dr. Wihl’s explanation (which it was surely too much to expect the Elegante to accept, rather as if Beck had sent his declaration against Gutzkow to the Telegraph) with a currish parody which the other side likewise rejected with a bark. [77] This dog-fight is the most shameful blot on all modern polemics; if our men of letters start treating each other like beasts and applying the principles of natural history in practice, German literature will soon be like a menagerie and the long-awaited Messiah of literature will fraternise with Martin and van Amburgh.

To prevent the once more slackening polemic from going to sleep, an evil spirit stirred up the dispute between Gutzkow and Beck. [78] I have already given my judgment of Beck elsewhere, but, as I willingly admit, not without bias. The retrogressive step which Beck took in Saul and in the Stille Lieder made e suspicious and unfair to the Nächte and the Fahrender Poet. I ought not to have written the article, much less sent it to the journal which printed it. I may therefore be permitted to correct my judgment to the effect that I accord recognition to Beck’s past, the Nächte and Fahrender Poet, but that it would go against my conscience as a critic if I did not describe the Stille Lieder and the first act of Saul as retrogressive. The faults of Beck’s first two works were inevitable because of his youth, nay, in the press of images and the immature impetuousness of thought one might be inclined to see a superabundance of strength, and in any case here was a talent of which one might have the highest hopes. — Instead of those flaming images, instead of that wildly excited youthful strength, there is a tiredness, a languor in the Stille Lieder, which was least to be expected of Beck, and the first act of Saul is equally feeble. But perhaps this flabbiness is only the natural, momentary consequence of that over-excitement, perhaps the following acts of Saul will make up for all the defects of the first — but Beck is a poet, and even in its most severe and just censure criticism should show a proper respect for his future creative work. Every true poet deserves such reverence; and I myself would not like to be taken for an enemy of Beck’s, since, as I readily admit, I am indebted to his poetic works for the most varied and enduring stimulation.

The dispute between Gutzkow and Beck might well have been avoided. It cannot be denied that in the exposition of his Saul Beck followed Gutzkow to some extent, unwittingly, of course, but that does not detract from his honesty, only from his originality. Instead of being indignant about it, Gutzkow should rather have felt flattered. And Beck, instead of laying stress on the originality of his characters, which no one had called in doubt, had indeed to take up the gauntlet once it was thrown down, as he in fact did, but should also have revised the act, which one trusts he will have done.

Gutzkow now adopted a hostile position to all the Leipzig men of letters and has since harried them unremittingly with literary witticisms. He sees them as a regular band of organised ruffians which harasses him and literature in every possible way; but he would truly do better to adopt a different method of attack if he does not want to give up the fight. Personal connections and their reaction on public opinion are inevitable in Leipzig literary circles. And Gutzkow should ask himself whether he has never succumbed to this sometimes unfortunately unavoidable sin; or must I remind him of certain Frankfurt acquaintances? Is it surprising if the Nordlicht, the Elegante and the Eisenbahn occasionally agree in their judgments? The description clique is quite unfitting for these circumstances.

This is how matters stand at present; Mundt has withdrawn and no longer bothers about the dispute; Kühne also is rather tired of the interminable warfare; Gutzkow is also sure to see soon that his polemic must eventually become boring to the public. They will gradually begin to challenge each other to novels and plays; they will see that a journal is not to be judged by a biting literary article, that the nation’s educated circles will award the prize to the best poet, not the most impetuous polemicist; they will get used to a calm existence side by side, and, perhaps, learn to respect each other again. Let them take Heine’s conduct as an example, who in spite of the dispute does not conceal his esteem for Gutzkow. Let them determine their relative value not by their own subjective estimation, but by the conduct of the younger people to whom literature will sooner or later belong. Let them learn from the Hallische Jahrbücher that polemic may only be directed against the children of the past, against the shadows of death. Let them consider that otherwise literary forces may arise between Hamburg and Leipzig which will overshadow their polemic fireworks. The Hegelian school, in its latest, free development, and the younger generation, as they prefer to be called, are advancing towards a unification which will have the most important influence on the development of literature. This unification has already been achieved in Moritz Carrière and Karl Grün.


Night Ride - Frederick Engels

Night Ride by Frederick Engels

Night Ride

Written: at the end of 1840
First published: in the Deutscher Courier No. 1, January 3, 1841
Signed: Friedrich Oswald

One night, my carriage bore me all alone
Across that well-known German territory
Where many a heart, by power beaten down,
Rages in impotent and blazing fury.

In fury that the freedom bought so dear
With struggle and with ceaseless vigilance
Had been cast out, for venal tongues to jeer
And cavil at with cruel insolence.

A mist lay on the meadows, deep and calm.
At times, a gust of wind would smite amain
The poplar-trees and they, in quick alarm
Aroused from sleep, soon slumbered on again.

Clear was the air. Sharp hung the sickle moon,
A sword of Damocles above the town
Towards which I sped.
The wrath of kings flies soon
From far away to strike its victims down.

Around the carriage wheels run leaping packs
Of dogs that bark at me.
And do they howl just like the Capital’s paid writer-hacks,
Having caught wind of my free-thinking soul?

What do I care? Sunk in my cushions low,
I live in dreams of many brave tomorrows.
Make no mistake — just before dawn, we know,
The nightmare plumbs the deepest of its horrors.

Yes, morning comes at last in silence stealing.
A single star shines forth to light its way.
The pious wake to bells of freedom pealing —
No tocsin now, but peace this joyful day!

The spirit’s tree has coiled its root-limbs round
The past, to crush all things outworn and old,
And now its branches strew the world around
With shining blossoms of eternal gold!

And so I slept, and woke that morning after,
And saw the earth all happy, cleansed and bright,
And Stüve’s city [Osnabrack, whose burgomaster was Johann Karl Bertram Stüve ]filled with joy and laughter,
City of Freedom, bathed in morning light.


On Anastasius Gruen

On Anastasius Grün by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1840

On Anastasius Grün

Written: in the first half of April 1840
First published: in the Telegraph für Deutschland No. 61, April 1840
Signed: F. 0.

In connection with Anastasius Grün’s application for the post of chamberlain, one is involuntarily reminded of the verses he published two years ago in the Elegante. The poem was entitled Apostasie and concluded:

God’s will, you'll know how well I fare
By this flag overhead.
God’s truth, if ever you see me there,
I'm sick or good as dead.
Then think of me as dead and gone:
Bitter, to cast one’s eye,
Living, on one’s own gravestone,
As one is passing by. [79]

It sounds almost like a premonition.


On the Death of Immermann - Frederick Engels

On the Death of Immermann by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1840

On the Death of Immermann

Written: in September 1840
First published: in Morgenblatt für gebildete Leser No. 243, October 10, 1840
Signed: Friedrich Oswald

In the camp’s finest tent we'd sat all night
And mingled Spanish wine with German song.
The fields were turning grey in dawn’s first light;
Our eyes were aching — we'd stayed up so long.
The sun’s rays peeped into our tent and found
Our sherry bottles drained, in disarray.
The hour was late. Time we were homeward bound.
Come, let us mount the horses and away!

We flew. After carousing all night long,
What bliss to feel the freshness of the morrow.
Still in our ears the sound of strings and song;
Still far away the long day’s care and worry.
The shades of night had vanished. From the sky
Light fell on river, trees, fields bathed in dew.
We all looked up to trace with joyful eye
The sun’s bright progress through the cloudless blue.

We're home. Our steeds coursed well. Now I stand here
Upon the threshold of work’s tribulations.
Here is the paper. Let me draw fresh cheer
By drinking from the well-spring of the nations.
Russia, Great Britain, Turkish catastrophes!
And now for Germany — does all go well?
Ah, here.... What? Dead? Can I believe my eyes?
You, Immermann, must also bid farewell?
Defiant heart, so full of noble scorn,
Must you depart, then, for eternity,
Now that we see the rose despite the thorn
And bow to you in all humility?
Now that, like Schiller, proudly you beheld
Your people hang on every word from you?
Now that the love within your bosom held
Had blossomed forth with shining rays anew?

Aloof in German poetry’s sacred grove,
You shunned your fellow bards’ vociferous throng,
And by the Rhine in solitude you wove
The images of many a gentle song.
The mob’s harsh clamour never came to hurt you
In the flower garden where you toiled away.
So few the stories they could spread about you;
Living, you were a legend in your day.

Because the maltitude, that never can
Conceive what power inspires the poet’s lays,
Why should they heed the silent, serious man
Who wanders far from their well-trodden ways?
But you, 0 Immermann, that now have died,
Wanted to wrestle with yourself, alone,
And all the bitter jarring strife inside
That you grew up with, master on your own.

So, meditating through the long dark night
That held in thrall our German poetry,
In solitude you fought the inner fight
And battled through to see the dawning day.
When far above your dwelling’s mossy stones
July’s wild thunder rolled away at last,
You sent into the world your Epigones,
That requiem for a generation past.

And yet you saw the rising generation,
Those in whose hearts the youthful fires blaze,
Speak loudly to defend your reputation,
Your right to wear the bard’s full crown of bays.
In your abode you saw us drawing nigh,
You saw us silent at your feet, as we
Looked up into your rapt and thoughtful eye
And listened to your rolling poetry.

Now that the people, who forgot your name,
Have welcomed you with shouts of joy, bestowing
On you your rightful laurels of acclaim,
0 Immermann, is this a time for going?
Farewell! Here in this land of Germany
Poets to match your skill are very few.
I settled down to work, and swore to be
As German, and as strong and firm as you.


On the Invention of Printing - Frederick Engels

On the Invention of Printing by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1840

On the Invention of Printing [48]

Translated: in the first half of 1840
First published: in the Gutenberrgs-Album, Braunschweig, 1840
Signed: Friedrich Engels

Shall then the Poet’s voice sing, only telling
Of bloody Ambition, Thrones in all their pride,
When Fame’s shrill trumpets sound about him, swelling
The lips in places where the Gods abide?
Have you forgotten shame? And do you waste
The precious gift of Praise with its bright light
On men to curses and to execration
Ever condemned by History outright?
Awake, awake! Song, that’s become so shy,
Soar up above the clouds,
With might unmatched to lofty triumph fly!
And he who wants the world to find his song
Well worthy of the laurels on his brow,
Must make his song from now
Unfold well worthy of the world, and strong!

They were not prodigal in olden days,
But freely at the Altar
Of beneficial Spirit, of Invention,
They spent the sacrificial smoke of Praise.
Saturn came down, and with the mighty plough
Divided he the Earth’s maternal breast.
And then mankind beheld
The living seeds grow on the barren ground.
Heaven received Man’s gratitude profound:
God of the Golden Age is Saturn called.
And were you not a God, you who once found
Body for Thought, for Word,
Fixing in signs the life of speech that would
Have otherwise flown off, by no ties bound?
Without you, Time had gone,
Still self-consuming, sinking, dying, down,
Buried forever in oblivion.
You came. ‘Twas then that Thought
Saw the swift widening of the narrow sphere
That once enfolded its long infancy.
It winged its way into that world so vast,
Where mighty dialogue doth fill the air
Between Time Future and deed-heavy Past.
You've helped the blind to see!
Immortal one, enjoy the honours rare,
The lofty hymns of praise,
That are your due alone, Exalted Spirit!
And Nature, just as if the one invention
Were of itself enough to prove her power,
Rests from that time and, parsimonious,
Gives the world no such wonder any more.

But Nature in the end bestirs herself,
To give another token: the icy Rhine
Sees Gutenberg come forth: “O vain endeavours!
What does it help you, that you can inspire
Your thoughts with life by writing,
If thought dies, petrified, dumb in the dire
Darkness of lethargy and long forgetting?
Say, can a single vessel be enough
E'er to contain the billowing sea that rages?
Much less can Man’s gifts of the Spirit be
Unfolded in a single volume’s pages!
What lacks? The art of flight? But when bold Nature
Created in one image countless beings,
Now, after hers, there comes my own Invention!
That, echoing a thousandfold, Truth might
Embrace the world with powerful proclamation,
Soaring aloft with Clarity’s sheer flight!”

He spoke. And there was Print. And lo! all Europe,
Astounded, moved, forthwith herself bestirs
With thunderous sound. As if by storm winds fanned,
Swift-rushing onward roars
The wrathful fire that has so long lain deep
In the dark bowels of the Earth, asleep.
O evil Pile, raised up for Ignorance there
By base brutality and Tyrants’ wrath!
Rocks glowing, the Volcano gushes forth,
And your foundations tremble in their fear!
What is this monster of the evil spirit,
This foul abortion, that, all scruples gone,
Founds on the old decaying Capitol
Its loathsome and abominable Throne,
And now bids to destroy, yea, murder all?

It stands, although the structure of its power
Is crumbling slowly. But one day that Throne
Shall fall and cast its ruins o'er the land.
A fastness perching on a crag alone
Thus crowns the summit of a mountain high.
The Sons of War once took up their abode
In its security.
Ruling by force of stolen power, they
Would sally forth exultant to the fray.
Deserted and alone,
The Keep stands in the forest, seen by none.
It still surveys, though crumbling with neglect,
The world all round with menacing aspect.
One day it shall fall down,
And then the fields shall groan,
Covered with ruins. Meanwhile, it shall be
Scarecrow and bogey to all folk that lived
In fear and terror of it recently.

That, then, was the first wreath of bay to deck
The brow of Reason; but Intellect now rises
Courageously, athirst for certain knowledge,
Encompassing the world in its embraces.
Copernicus soars to the starry places
Hitherto shrouded in a heavy pall;
And then he sees, immeasurably far,
Day’s bringer, our forever festive star,
The brightest luminary of them all.
Then Galileo feels beneath his feet
The Earth’s ball rolling; but blind Italy
Rewards him with a prison cell’s disgrace.
Meanwhile, the Earth sails onward ceaselessly
And swiftly through the infinite sea of space,
And with it, fast as lightning, sweep the stars,
Shimm'ring in flight. Then Newton’s fiery spirit
Is flung aloft into their very midst.
He follows, understands them,
Charting the tracks of forces
That keep them racing in their whirling courses.

What does it help you, then, to conquer Heaven,
To find the law that moves eternally
Air’s circle and the seas? To split the ray
Of light incorporeal; or to dig down
Into the bowels of Earth and snatch the cradle
Of gold and crystal? Spirit, return once more
To Man!

And so it did, only to pour
Its bitterness into lamentations loud:
"How is the Intellect with blindness cowed!
How rings that chain of iron
Forged by the frenzied powers of Tyranny,
From pole to pole each with the other vying,
And pins Man helpless lying,
Upon his death-bed, tired of slavery!
This must be ended.”

And the Despots heard,
And wielded in their vile and villainous hands
Two weapons to depend on — Fire and Sword.

“O senseless ones! Those very high-piled faggots
That threaten to devour me horribly,
That burn to keep me from the Truth away,
Are beacons guiding me along Truth’s way,
Are Torches to light up Truth’s victory!
Truth fondly I desire;
With rapture drunk, my heart to Truth gives prayer,
My spirit looks on Truth; I follow her,
Not of the sword afraid, nor yet of fire.
That being so, then shall I still demur?
Can I turn back again,
Retrace my steps? The waves of Tagus never
Run back towards the source from which they came
Once they have flowed into the mighty sea.
The mountains seek to bar its course in vain;
They cannot stay it in its onward motion.
It rushes in the train
Of Destiny that roars into the Ocean.”

And then the great day came
On which a mortal man arose outraged,
In wrath from all-encompassing disgrace,
And, with almighty voice,
Called out to all the World: Mankind is free!
And narrow boundaries no longer caged
The sacred call: it rose up on the wing
Of the great echo Gutenberg invented,
Soared up, a wondrous thing,
And swift, in mighty inspiration,
O'erleapt the mountains and the ocean wide
And o'er the very winds held domination.
It was not shouted down by Tyranny,
And loud and lusty rang on every side
The joyful cry of Reason: Man is free!

Oh, free, yes, free! Sweetest of words, the breast
Swells, beating faster at the sound of you;
My spirit, that you imbue,
O'erbrimming with your holy inspiration,
Soars to serene celestial dominions,
Bearing me on its fiery beating pinions.
Where are you all that hear
My singing, mortal beings? From on high,
I see the awesome prison doors of Fate
Open, the impenetrable veil of Time
Is torn apart — the Future lies before me!
I see full clear that Earth never again
Shall be the wretched planet where Ambition
And War with its fierce countenance can reign.

Now both of them are gone from Earth for ever,
As Plague and Storm, those torturers, prepare
To leave the zone they've pillaged and laid bare,
When Polar ice-winds threaten to blow over.
AB people felt their true equality;
With strength untamed, brave heroes struggled for
That right and won it with triumphant glee.
There are no Slaves or Tyrants any more.
Now Love and Peace fill all the World around,
And Love and Peace breathe over all the Earth,
And “Love and Peace!” both near and far resound.
And up aloft, upon his golden Throne
In blessing doth the Lord his sceptre raise,
Dispensing Air and joy all round below,
So that on all Earth’s ways
They might, as once of old, abundant flow.

Do you not see that column soaring there,
Towering in all its splendour to the sky,
A-throb with flashing light, eye-dazzling?
Less mighty are the pyramids so high,
The work of slaves who toiled in abject fear
Of one whose glory came from suffering.
See there, unwavering,
The eternal incense rise,
As the whole Earth gives thanks to Gutenberg.
For such beneficence, a modest prize!
Hail to the one who broke the insensate power
Of battering violence; raised the might of Reason,
The strength of soul, high o'er the world to fly!
Praise him who raised the Truth in triumph high,
Making his hands’ work fruitful for all time!
Sing the Well-Doer’s praise in song sublime!



Open Letter to Dr.Runkel - Frederick Engels

Open Letter To Dr. Runkel by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1839

Open Letter To Dr. Runkel [26]

Written: on May 6, 1839
First published: in the Elberfelder Zeitung No. 127, May 9, 1839

To Herr Dr. Runkel in Elberfeld

Elberfeld, May 6th

You have violently attacked me and my “Letters from Wuppertal” in your newspaper and accused me of deliberate distortion, ignorance of the conditions, personal abuse and even untruths. It does not matter to me that you call me a Young German, for I neither accept the charges you level against Young Literature nor have the honour of belonging to it. Up to now I have felt nothing but respect for you as a man of letters and journalist; I have even expressed my opinion to this effect in the second article, where I deliberately refrained from mentioning your poems in the Rheinisches Odeon [27] since I could not have praised them. Anyone can be accused of deliberate distortion, and this tends to be done wherever an account does not conform to the preconceived notions of the reader. Why do you not give a single example as evidence? As for ignorance of the conditions, I should have expected this reproach least of all did I not know what a meaningless expression this phrase has become, used everywhere for lack of anything better. I have possibly spent twice as much time as you in Wuppertal, have lived in Elberfeld and Barmen and have had the most favourable opportunity to observe closely the life of all social estates.

Herr Runkel, I do not, as you accuse me of doing, make any claim to genius, but it would indeed require an extraordinarily dull intelligence not to acquire a knowledge of the conditions in such circumstances, especially if one makes the effort to do so. As for personal abuse — a preacher or a teacher is just as much a public figure as a writer, and you would surely not call a description of his public actions personal abuse. Where have I spoken of private matters, or even of such as would require a mention of my name, where have I ridiculed such things? As for the alleged untruths, much as I would like to avoid coming to blows or even causing a sensation, I find myself compelled, in order not to compromise the Telegraph or my anonymous honour, to challenge you to point out a single one of the “multitude of untruths”. To be honest, there are in fact two. Stier’s adaptation is not printed word for word, and Herr Egen’s travels are not that bad. But please, now be so kind as to complete the clover leaf! You say further that I have not shown a single bright side of the district. That is so; I have throughout acknowledged competence in individual cases (though I have not shown Herr Stier in his theological importance, which I truly regret), but in general I was unable to find any purely bright sides; and I await a description of the latter from you. Furthermore, it never occurred to me to say that the red Wupper becomes clear again in Barmen. That would be nonsense, or does the Wupper flow uphill? In conclusion I would ask you not to pass judgment before you have read the whole, and in future to quote Dante accurately or not at all; he does not say: qui si entra nell’ etemo dolore [Here is the gateway to eternal pain], but per me si va nell’ eterno dolore [Through me you pass into eternal pain; Dante, La Divina Commedia] (Inferno, III, 2).

The author of the Letters from Wuppertal


Platen - Frederick Engels

Platen by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1840


Written: in December 1839
First published: in the Telegraph für Deutschland No. 31, February 1840
Signed: Friedrich Oswald

Among the poetic offspring of the Restoration period, whose powers were not crippled by the electric shocks of the year 1830 and whose fame only became established in the present literary epoch, there are three who are distinguished by a characteristic similarity: Immermann, Chamisso, and Platen. All three possess unusual individuality, considerable character, and an intellectual power which at least outweighs their poetic talent. In Chamisso, it is sometimes imagination and feeling that predominate, and at other times calculating intellect; especially in the terza rimas the surface is altogether cold and rationalistic, but underneath one hears the beating of a noble heart; in Immermann, these two qualities oppose each other and constitute the dualism which he himself acknowledges and the extreme features of which his strong personality can bend together but not unite; lastly, in Platen, poetic power has abandoned its independence and finds itself at ease under the domination of the more powerful intellect. If Platen’s imagination had not been able to rely on his intellect and his magnificent character, he would not have become so famous. Hence he represented the intellectual in poetry, the form; hence also his wish to end his career with a great work of art was not granted. He was well aware that such a great work was essential to make his fame lasting, but he felt also that his powers were still inadequate for it and he put his hopes on the future and his preparatory work; meanwhile, time passed, he did not get beyond the preparatory work and finally died.

Platen’s imagination followed timorously the bold strides of his intellect, and when it was a matter of a work of genius, when his imagination should have ventured on a bold leap that the intellect could not accomplish, it had to shrink back. That was the source of Platen’s error in considering the products of his intellect to be poetry. His poetic creative powers sufficed for anacreontic ghazals and sometimes flashed like a meteor in his comedies; but let us admit merely that most of what was characteristic of Platen is the product of the intellect, and will always be recognised as such. People will tire of his excessively affected ghazals and his rhetorical odes; they will find the polemics of his comedies for the most part unjustified, but they will have to pay full respect to the wit of his dialogue and the loftiness of his parabases, and see the justification of his one-sidedness in the greatness of his character. Platen’s literary standing in public opinion will change; he will go farther from Goethe, but will come closer to Börne.

That his views, too, make him more akin to Börne is evident not only from a host of allusions in his comedies but already from several poems in his collected works, of which I shall mention only the ode to Charles X. A number of songs inspired by the Polish struggle for freedom were not included in this collection, although they were bound to be of great interest for a characterisation of Platen. They have now been issued by another publishing firm as a supplement to the collected works. [46] I find my view of Platen confirmed by them. Thought and character here have to be the substitute for poetry to a greater extent and more noticeably than anywhere else. For that reason Platen seldom feels at home in the simple style of the song; there have to be lengthy, extended verses, each of which can embody a thought, or artificial ode metres, the serious, measured course of which seems almost to demand a rhetorical content. With the art of verse, thoughts also come to Platen and that is the strongest proof of the intellectual origin of his poems. He who demands something else from Platen will not find satisfaction in these Polish songs, but he who takes up this booklet with these expectations will find himself richly compensated for the lack of poetic fragrance by an abundance of exalted, powerful thoughts that have sprung from a most noble character, and by a “magnificent passionateness”, as the preface aptly says. It is a pity that these poems were not published a few months earlier, ‘when German national consciousness rose against the imperial Russian European pentarchy [47]; they would have been the best reply to it. Perhaps the pentarchist, too, would have found in them many a motto for his work. [Allusion to K. Goldmann’s book Die europäische Pentarchie]


Preface to MECW Volume 2

Preface by Progress Publishers

Marx-Engels Collected Works Volume 2

Works of Frederick Engels, 1838-1842


The Second Volume of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels contains Engels’ early writings and letters dating from the years 1838 to 1842, grouped together in two main sections. A special section contains his poetic and prose works in manuscript of an earlier period (1833-37); other biographical material is given in appendices.

Engels’ outlook developed on similar lines to that of the young Marx. He had steeped himself in the progressive philosophical and political ideas of the time, and was moved by a sense of protest against the reactionary order in Germany. His ambition was to take part in the ideological and political controversies on the eve of her bourgeois revolution. Like Marx, Engels became an adherent of the Hegelian philosophy, drawing revolutionary conclusions from it and soon afterwards coming under the influence of Ludwig Feuerbach’s ideas, which helped to crystallise the materialist aspects of his thinking.

Engels, however, found it much harder than Marx to arrive at a progressive outlook. He came from the conservative and religious family of a Barmen industrialist and was forced by his father to leave school and go into business. This meant that he had to complete his education independently, to find his own way through the labyrinth of contemporary religious, philosophical, political and literary trends, and in much painful soul-searching to rise above the religious convictions nurtured in him since early childhood. It was in the main Engels’ critical analysis of religion and theology that led him to progressive philosophical ideas. Literature, too, had an important part to play in his development, particularly in his early years.

While espousing the rational elements in the views of Ludwig Börne and the writers of the Young Germany movement, and in Hegel’s philosophy and the Young Hegelians’ radical theories, Engels came to realise at each stage of his intellectual development the inconsistencies and limitations in their ideas, subjecting them to critical analysis as he carved out his own path to other views which were more profound and more radical. His attention was soon drawn to the contradictions of the society in which he lived and to the wretched conditions of the working masses. This was an additional stimulus to his turning his back on the bourgeois outlook. By late 1842 he had become an advocate of communist reconstruction of the existing social system, though he still saw this largely in utopian terms.

This stage in Engels’ intellectual evolution can be broadly summed up as the emergence and rapid development of revolutionary-democratic ideas, followed in the second half of 1842, two years before he and Marx began to work closely together, by his incipient transition from idealism to materialism, and from a revolutionary-democratic outlook to communism.

Engels’ early journalistic writings make up the first section of this volume. At the age of eighteen he became a regular contributor to the press and published many letters, articles and essays on literary and sociopolitical subjects in various journals and newspapers, as well as some poems and philosophical pamphlets. His first published work, the poem The Bedouin (September 1838), breathed a spirit of liberty.

A good dozen articles and letters from the young Engels’ pen appeared in the columns of the Hamburg journal, Telegraph für Deutschland, a mouthpiece of the Young Germany movement edited by Karl Gutzkow. Engels had already begun to discern the contradictory nature of Young Germany, but remained firmly in favour of its demands for a constitution, freedom of the press, abolition of all forms of religious coercion, and emancipation of women.

It was in the Telegraph für Deutschland that Engels published, in the spring of 1839, his first major journalistic work, “Letters from Wuppertal”, describing life in his home town of Barmen and neighbouring Elberfeld. With an eye for detail remarkable for his years Engels describes in these letters the grim working conditions in the factories, the terrifying poverty, the widespread disease and the drunkenness among the poorer classes. He likewise paints the true portrait of broad sections of the German bourgeoisie, with their philistinism, obscurantism and religious bigotry. With them pietism served as a mask for the inhuman exploitation of the unfortunate masses and the poverty of intellectual life. Engels’ highly critical attitude to the social conditions of his day is pointedly expressed in the irony and sarcasm with which he describes the mores of the burghers of Wuppertal.

In the article “German Volksbücher”, Engels attacks the “popular literature” which gave either overt or covert expression to the interests of the reactionary classes. Condemning the serving up of pious homilies and the idealisation of meekness in pseudo folktales, Engels demands books to foster the people’s proud awareness of its rights and dignity, to help arouse its courage and love for its country.

Subsequent articles by Engels, such as “Karl Beck”, “Platen”, “Retrograde Signs of the Times” and “Immermann’s Memorabilien”, show that already at this early stage he was coming to understand very well the processes then at work in German literature and distinctive aspects of the relationship between literature and society. In the article “Retrograde Signs of the Times”, he remarks that criticism should not only expose tendencies to hark back in art and literature, but also their links, often not visible at first glance, with related phenomena in politics and in public and social life.

Engels’ revolutionary-democratic approach to literature undeniably set him apart from other critics and writers of his day. This is especially evident in his articles on poets like August von Platen, Karl Immermann and Karl Beck. Beck’s poems had at first led Engels to expect great things in view of the love of freedom professed in them, but later proved a source of considerable disappointment. Engels stressed that contemporary poetry should not express a futile Weltschmerz but rather the positive fight for freedom and against tyranny, philistinism and religious bigotry (see this volume, p. 43).

It was in the autumn of 1839 that Engels acquainted himself with Hegel’s philosophy, to which he was led to turn after reading David Strauss Das Leben Jesu. Engels adopted a radical, revolutionary approach to Hegel’s philosophy from the start, and this helped him to escape the influence of the conservative aspects of Hegel’s ideas and, in particular, to recognise the narrowness of his political views. While Hegel presented the constitutional monarchy as the culmination of the process of historical development and even implied that the Prussian monarchy might well be regarded as the final stage of evolution of absolute spirit, Engels opposed to this the open-endedness of historical progress and mankind’s advancement (pp. 47-48).

In his article “Requiem for the German Adelszeitung”, published in April 1840, basing himself on the Hegelian theory of world history as the implementation of the idea of freedom, Engels attacked conservative trends in philosophy, romantic historiography, the “historical school of law”, etc., which proclaimed the eternal and immutable character of the medieval social system and the privileges of the nobility. Pouring scorn on the political programme of the Adelszeitung, Engels wrote: “The foreword teaches us that world history exists ... solely to prove that there must exist three estates: the nobility, which has to fight, the burghers — to think, and the peasants — to plough” (pp. 68-69). In this and other articles he attacked the feudal-monarchic institutions of Germany which had outlived their day, the bureaucracy and the censorship.

Engels’ revolutionary-democratic convictions were expressed still more clearly in his articles “Siegfried’s Native Town” (published in December 1840) and “Ernst Moritz Arndt” (published in January 1841). In these he calls for an all-out struggle against conservatism and philistinism, praises the urge to perform heroic exploits in the name of freedom, and protests against the suppression of “every free movement” (p. 136). Condemning the antipathy to the democratic principles of the French Revolution which was kept alive and encouraged by the German nobility, he proclaims a programme of democratic reform in Germany, including such demands as elimination of the vestiges of feudalism, liquidation of absolutism together with the social estates, introduction of trial by jury and formation of a united democratic state. He declares that “so long as our Fatherland remains split we shall be politically null, and public life, developed constitutionalism, freedom of the press, and all else that we demand will be mere pious wishes always only half-fulfilled” (p. 150).

In the article “Ernst Moritz Arndt”, Engels praises Arndt’s generation of German patriots for their role in the liberation struggle against Napoleon, while pointing out the national limitations inherent in their ideas. He castigates the German nobility’s reactionary Teutomania and arrogant attitudes towards. ot)ler nations, while at the same time rejecting the abstract cosmopolitanism and nihilism on the national question to be found among many representatives of the liberal bourgeoisie. But while criticising nationalist ideology in many of its aspects Engels had yet to dissociate himself completely from all the nationalist tendencies to be found in the work of such writers as Arndt. He echoed Arndt’s ideas about the return of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany and the “Germanisation of a disloyal Holland and of Belgium” (p. 149). But the main aspect of Engels’ article was not the re-echoing of Arndt’s demands, which he very soon came to regard as unwarranted, but his opposition to national prejudices, his stand for the idea of the equal-rights of nations, and his strongly voiced conviction that every nation deserves respect and makes its own specific contribution to world civilisation.

While still contributing to Gutzkow’s journal, Engels also wrote articles for a number of other German periodicals. His article “Modern Literary Life”, published in the Mitternachtzeitung (March-May 1840), shows his increasingly critical attitude to the adherents of the Young Germany movement. He draws attention to their inconsistency and irresolution, their incapacity for energetic action, their lack of ideological unity, and their unprincipled literary wrangling. By this time, Engels was clearly aware that the Young Germany movement had retreated a long way from the political radicalism of its forerunner, Börne, and lacked a coherent outlook. In “Modern Literary Life” he stressed the need to integrate progressive philosophy with political activity, an idea he was later to elaborate in a number of other articles. He expressed his conviction that essential in the fight for freedom was “cooperation between science and life”, between philosophy and the modem political trends, between Hegel and Börne (pp. 50-51).

Of particular interest in this volume are Engels’ reports in the newspaper Morgenblatt für gebildete Leser, which give a picture of the political, religious and cultural life of Bremen, where Engels worked in the office of a trading company between July 1838 and March 1841. “An Outing to Bremerhaven” (written in July 1840 but published in August 1841) reflects his sensitive awareness of social problems, and in particular his search for the cause of the working people’s underprivileged status, desperate poverty and lack of rights.

In the autumn of 1841 Engels went to Berlin for his military service. For a year he underwent military training in a brigade of the Guards’ Artillery and in his spare time attended lectures and seminars at Berlin University as a non-matriculated student. Finding himself at the centre of a fierce controversy between the various philosophical schools, he made contact with the Berlin group of Young Hegelians, who had formed a study circle which went by the name of “The Free”, and took a most active part in their fervent battle of ideas. At this stage his philosophical and political convictions had assumed an even more radical and consistently revolutionary-democratic character.

An important element of Engels’ writings in this period is his spirited defence of the philosophy of Hegel and the Young Hegelians from attacks by adherents of religious and conservative principles, and in particular by Schelling. Schelling, an old man by then, had veered to the right and lately been invited by the king of Prussia to Berlin University so as to root out the “dreadful dragon of Hegelianism” (p. 192). After regularly attending the lectures given by this prophet of irrationalism Engels dashed off a series of critical studies — Schelling on Hegel, Schelling and Revelation and Schelling, Philosopher in Christ — showing the reactionary, mystical character of Schelling’s latter-day ideas and the absurdity of his attempts to discredit Hegel, whom at one time he had praised. Engels still shares the Hegelian belief in the Weltgeist as the moving force behind historical development, but he is more clearly aware of the need to reject the conservative elements in Hegel’s thinking and go beyond “the limits within which Hegel himself had confined the powerful, youthfully impetuous flood of conclusions from his teaching” (p. 196). Engels gave a revolutionary meaning to Hegel’s doctrine of the omnipotence of thought and the triumph of reason and truth, which he saw as the triumph of democracy.

The pamphlet Schelling and Revelation bears obvious traces of the influence of Feuerbach’s Wesen des Chistenthums which Engels read in the second half of 1841. Following in Feuerbach’s footsteps while not as yet realising the essentially materialist character of his criticism of religion, Engels here takes his first step towards a materialist view of consciousness, and of the relation between reason (spirit) and nature. The pamphlet also testifies to a considerable advance in the evolution of Engels’ atheism. Feuerbach’s book, together with various works by Bruno Bauer on the history of early Christianity, helped Engels to shed the influence of religion.

An interesting work by Engels to be found in this volume is the satirical poem entitled The Insolently Threatened Yet Miraculously Rescued Bible written together with Edgar Bauer in June-July 1842. It is a sharp attack in Young Hegelian style on religious obscurantism and fanaticism. At the same time Engels is aware of the inconsistencies and the patchwork character of the Young Hegelian trend. He is pointedly ironical about the contradiction between the revolutionary talk of many members of “The Free” and their incapacity for practical action, which was already becoming evident by that time. Making no secret of where his own sympathies lie Engels names the most radical thinkers and writers of contemporary Germany, among whom he ranked Marx. Even before the two men met, Engels paints a dynamic and vivid portrait of Marx as an impassioned and indefatigable champion of the revolutionary cause.

A swarthy chap of Trier, a marked monstrosity.
He neither hops nor skips, but moves in leaps and bounds,
Raving aloud. As if to seize and then pull down
To Earth the spacious tent of Heaven up on high (p. 336).

Engels’ work on the opposition newspaper Rheinische Zeitung, from April 1842, marked the beginning of a new stage in his political and intellectual development. Marx, who also contributed to this paper, became one of its editors in the autumn of 1842. Between April and December 1842, Engels published seventeen articles and sketches in the Rheinische Zeitung (including “Diary of a Guest Student”, “Rhenish Festivals”, “Polemic Against Leo”, “On the Critique of the Prussian Press Laws”) in which he advocated radical social reform, freedom of speech and the press, and criticised conservative ideology and the timidity of the liberals. Engels’ articles for the Rheinische Zeitung contributed to setting the paper’s revolutionary-democratic tone, which it acquired under Marx’s editorship.

It was at this time that Engels made a clean break with the Young Germany movement. His review of Glossen und Randzeichnungen zu Texten am unserer Zeit, published in the Rheinische Zeitung, condemned the eclecticism and political spinelessness of its spokesmen who, to use his words, “have sunk into lethargy” (p. 280). Engels treated the ideas and political attitudes of this movement with still harsher criticism in his review of Alexander Jung’s book Vorlesungen über die moderne Literatur der Deutschen, published in the July issues’ of the Young Hegelian journal, Deutsche Jahrbücher. In this review Engels champions a committed literature and hurls passionate invective at the philosophy of “the golden mean”, which sought artificially to reconcile opposites.

In the columns of the Rheinische Zeitung, in particular in articles such as “North- and South-German Liberalism” and “Centralisation and Freedom”, Engels openly opposes bourgeois liberal ideology and treats the conciliatory stand of the Young Germany movement as merely one of its manifestations. Engels’ attitude to the liberal opposition was a genuinely dialectical one, a far cry from the nihilist attitude of “The Free”, who prided themselves on their show of radicalism. He recognised, given the conditions of that particular period, the progressive nature of the criticism directed by opposition spokesmen at the reactionary order in the German states. Yet he was aware that liberal moderation and inconsistency were serious obstacles to revolutionary initiative and efforts to arouse the people’s revolutionary energy.

The article “Centralisation and Freedom” shows that by the autumn of 1842 Engels was convinced of the limitations of liberalism and of its increasingly anti-popular tendencies in Germany and all over Europe. As a revolutionary democrat, he condemns the idealisation of the July monarchy in France and the Guizot régime, which was openly violating “the principles of popular sovereignty, of a free press of an independent jury, of parliamentary government” (p. 355) With deep historical insight he grasped the connection between bureaucratic centralisation and the absolutist state, going on to observe how the bourgeois régime of the July monarchy represented a direct continuation of the old absolutist order.

While attacking bourgeois liberalism, Engels continued his onslaught against the absolute monarchy, against the Prussian state and the ideologists of the “Christian German state”. This is clearly expressed in his article, “Frederick William IV, King of Prussia”, written in the autumn of 1842. which predicts inevitable revolutionary upheavals in Germany like those in France at the end of the eighteenth century. The censorship forbade the article being printed in Germany and it appeared in a collection published in Switzerland.

The first section of this volume closes with reports specially sent to the Rheinische Zeitung from England, where Engels went at the end of November 1842. His experiences in England, then the bastion of the capitalist world, were to play a decisive role in the development of his materialist ideas and his full turn to communism. These reports were written during his first few weeks in England and clearly indicate the subsequent direction of his ideas. He had been closely following the progress of the socialist and communist movements for some time, and was coming round to the view that communism alone could solve the social question. His acquaintance with economic and social conditions in England and with the English labour movement did much to confirm this opinion.

In the reports entitled “The Internal Crises”, “The English View of the Internal Crises”, “The Position of the Political Parties”, “The Condition of the Working Class in England” and “The Corn Laws”, Engels describes the mounting economic and political struggle in England, which he understood as rooted in the incompatibility of interests of the various classes. He describes with evident sympathy the English workers’ resistance to capitalist exploitation, in particular the activities of the Chartists. There was no doubt in his mind that the English working class was destined to play a crucial role in the coming social revolution: all that it needed to put an end to the domination of the propertied classes was to become aware of its real strength and to organise its ranks. Engels had still to overcome completely the contradictory aspects of his former outlook, with its Hegelian attribution of the dominant role in history to ideas rather than material interests. Yet he could not be blind to the fact that in an industrially developed country like England: “it will be interests and not principles that will begin and carry through the revolution; ... the revolution will be social, not political” (p. 374).

The second section of this volume contains Engels’ letters to his school friends Wilhelm and Friedrich Graeber, his sister Marie, his brother Hermann, the writer Levin Schücking and the journalist Arnold Ruge. They shed much light on the formation of his character, and show the wide range of his interests, his conviviality, his literary and artistic tastes and the workings of his rich and subtle mind.

Engels’ developing ideas in literature, philosophy, religion and politics emerge most clearly in his letters to the Graeber brothers, which reflect his gradual escape from religion. From the outset he conceived a violent dislike for pietism and the hypocritical orthodox forms of Christianity, and gradually came to doubt the very essence of Christian dogma. In his correspondence with the Graeber brothers, both clergymen, Engels conducted serious discussions on the authenticity of the Gospel legends and on the contradictions to be found in the Bible. Concentrated critical analysis, his searching study of the history of Christianity, his wide acquaintance with critical works on the Gospels, and his grasp of the Hegelian dialectic set Engels on a path which was to lead him to a scientific interpretation of religion and his subsequent elaboration of scientific atheism.

Engels’ letters dating from the years 1838 to 1842 give a clear idea of his literary interests, the extent of his reading, and his flair for subtle criticism. Originally Engels dreamed of the poet’s laurels and now and again quotes his own verses in his letters. Indeed, some of his poems made their way into print: they are often imitative in form, and it is the epigrams and satirical parodies which betray the greatest degree of originality. However, certain poems are set apart by their perceptive political and philosophical content, and their revolutionary implications. A good example is the ode on the anniversary of the July 1830 revolution in France which Engels sent to Friedrich Graeber in the summer of 1839 (pp. 463-64). It is a veritable hymn to revolution which the poet celebrates as a surge of vital energy among the popular masses, a truly popular festival.

Engels’ critical view of his own work made him realise that poetry was not his true vocation. This merely meant, however, that he turned with all the more energy to other forms of literary activity, to literary, social and political criticism. His letters bear witness to the intensity of his work in these fields. Engels’ original ideas, which subsequently found expression in his articles of literary criticism, were first expounded in his letters to the Graeber brothers before they appeared in print.

He was also to try his hand at translation, and rendered into German a poem, On the Invention of Printing (A la invencidn de la imprenta), by the Spanish poet M. J. Quintana. Even as a boy he had shown great interest in the study of foreign languages, for which, as his letters make clear, he had a phenomenal flair, and he was widely read in several languages. His letters to his school friends and the writer Levin Schücking show that what he looked for in literature was above all love of liberty and humanistic ideas. This explains his predilection for Shelley and his plans for publishing his own translations of the latter’s verse, which however, were never to materialise. He valued most in Shelley, whom he was always to admire, his praise of freedom and his furious protest at oppression. Engels used Shelley’s words “To-morrow comes!” as an epigraph to his poem An Evening, in which he expresses the conviction that the dark despair then reigning in Germany would give way to “Freedom’s day” (p. 107).

Engels often declares his political convictions more openly in his letters than in his literary writings, which were subject to censorship; he expounds them without concealing his hatred and contempt for despotism, the arbitrary rule of monarchs, the social arrogance of the aristocracy and the prosperous bourgeoisie, and the general atmosphere of political and intellectual bondage in his native land. Much of what Engels writes in his letters is permeated by a truly democratic spirit and reveals how, as he came to realise the transforming role of revolution in history, he began to advocate revolutionary methods for removing social and political barriers standing in the way of Germany’s advance and unification.

Engels had a tremendous zest for life, which shows itself abundantly in his letters. He took great interest in art and painting, travel and sport. He was something of a connoisseur of beer, wines and tobacco. He spent much of his leisure time riding, fencing, swimming and going for long walks. His letters to his favourite sister, Marie, also reveal his love of music: he was a keen concert-goer and opera-lover, and admired the works of Bach, Handel, Gluck, Mozart, Mendelssohn and above all Beethoven, and even attempted to write chorales himself. He was extremely sensitive to the grandeur and beauty of nature, and his landscape descriptions are often detailed and compelling (see “Landscapes”, “Wanderings in Lombardy”, etc.).

The two main sections of this volume are followed by a section of Early Literary Experiments, containing the poems Engels wrote in his schooldays and chapters of A Pirate Tale, written in 1837, in which for his heroes he turned to the Greek corsairs fighting against Turkish rule. This fragment and the poems shed some light on the very earliest formation of Engels’ literary tastes and social ideals.

The documents included in the appendices are also of biographical interest, and enable us to form some idea of the setting in which Engels spent his childhood and youth. This applies in particular to the letters from his father, one of which, addressed to Karl Snethlage (October 5, 1842), testifies to the strained relations which by then existed in the family, and to the pious and conservative father’s deep anxiety about his son’s free-thinking. To a large extent this accounted for the decision to send Engels to England, where it was hoped the eldest son would be cured of the malaise besetting German youth and return to the bosom of the Church. Engels’ father never imagined that in England Frederick would become a proletarian revolutionary and communist, to remain one till the end of his days.

This volume contains all the extant writings and letters of the young Engels, nearly all of which are here published in English for the first time. The supplementary material has not previously been published in English. Engels’ original drawings, musical notations, etc., are reproduced in the letters.

Letters written in a number of languages are printed in the original with a word-for-word translation in the footnotes. Words underlined by the author in the manuscripts are given in italics. Headings of articles and the dates and places of letters, provided by the editors, where the author’s own are missing, are given in square brackets. The asterisks indicate footnotes by the author; the editors’ footnotes are indicated by index letters, and reference notes by superior numbers.

This volume was compiled by Lev Golman and Vladimir Sazonov of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, who also prepared the preface and the greater part of the notes. Some notes, the name index, the index of quoted and mentioned literature and of periodicals, were prepared by Albina Gridchina. Yuri Vasin also assisted in the arrangement of the reference material.

All the articles, letters, etc., in this volume have been translated from the German, unless otherwise stated.

The prose was translated by jack Cohen, Clemens Dutt, Barbara Ruhemann and Christopher Upward, and edited by Frida Knight, Margaret Mynatt and Alick West (Lawrence & Wishart Ltd.), Kate Cook and Richard Dixon (Progress Publishers). The poems were translated by Alex Miller in consultation with Diana Miner and Victor Schnittke, except for The Single Combat of Eteocies and Polynices translated from Engels’ Greek composition by Robert Browning.

The volume was prepared for the press by the editors Lydia Belyakova, Yelena Chistyakova, Victor Schnittke and Lyudgarda Zubrilova, and the assistant-editor Tatyana Butkova, for Progress Publishers, and Irene Bach, scientific editor, for the Institute of Marxism-Leninism.


Reports from Bremen - Frederick Engels

Reports from Bremen by Frederick Engels

Works of Frederick Engels, 1840

Reports from Bremen

Written: in July 1840
First published: in Morgenblatt für gebildete Leser Nos. 181-182, July 30-31, 1840
Signed: F. 0.

Theatre. Publishing Festival

Morgenblatt für gebildete Leser No. 181, July 30, 1840

Bremen, July

As far as I know, no periodical of any note has a permanent correspondent in Bremen, and it could easily be concluded from this consensus gentium [universal opinion] that there is nothing to write about from here. But that is not the case; for have we not a theatre, which only recently had in succession Agnese Schebest, Caroline Bauer, Tichatscheck, and Mme Schröder-Devrient performing as visiting stars, and whose repertory could compete in quality with many other more famous theatres. Have not Gutzkow’s Richard Savage and Blum’s Schwärmerei nach der Mode already been shown here? The first of these two plays has by now been discussed to excess; I consider that a very recent review of it in the Hallische Jahrbücher, [85] if one leaves out the frequent hostile remarks, contains very much that is true and, in particular, hits on its basic mistake, namely, that the relationship between mother and child, as an unfree relationship, can never provide the basis for a drama. Perhaps Gutzkow was aware of this mistake beforehand, but he was right in not allowing that to prevent him from carrying out his plan; for if he wanted to break into the theatrical world with a single play he had to make some concessions to established theatrical routine, which he could always withdraw later if his plan was successful. He had to give his play an original foundation, even if this could not stand up to poetic criticism, and even if his scenes became melodramatic and effect-seeking. One can find fault with Richard Savage, one can condemn it, but one must also admit that by it Gutzkow proved his dramatic talent. — I would not say anything at all about Blum’s Schwärmerei nach der Mode had this play not been loudly hailed as “timely” in many journals. But there is absolutely nothing timely about it, neither in the characters, nor in the action, nor in the dialogue. It is true that Blum performed one service by having the courage to bring pietism on to the stage, but one cannot so easily dispose of this sprained foot of Christianity. One must at last stop looking for deception, greed or refined sensuality concealed behind pietism; real pietism decisively turns away from such exaggerations and extremes as were displayed in Königsberg, or such abuses as Stephan from Dresden indulged in. When Stephan with his unfortunate company came here to take ship for New Orleans, and no one had as yet the slightest moral suspicion of him, I myself saw how distrustfully the pietists here behaved towards him. Anyone who wants to write about this trend should try going to the “Quakers”, as they are called here, and see the love these people show towards one another, how quickly friendship is established between two complete strangers who know nothing more of each other than that they are both “believers”, with what assurance, consistency and determination they follow their path, and with what subtle psychological tact they are able to discover all their little faults, and I am convinced he would not write another Schwärmerei nach der Mode. Pietism is just as right in condemning this play as it is wrong in respect of the free thinking of our century. — Hence, too, the only notice of the play taken by the pietists here was to ask whether it contained “blasphemous speeches”.

The Gutenberg festival [86] has’ also been celebrated here, in the ultima Thule [An island lying at the extreme north of the habitable world, mentioned in ardent legends and in Virgil’s Georgics] of German culture, and indeed in a more gladdening way than in the other two Hanse towns. For several years past the printers had been putting by something from their wages each week to ensure a worthy celebration of the festival. Already at an early stage, a committee was set up, but here too difficulties were encountered from the state in holding the festival. Small cabals, mostly connected with particular personalities, developed, as is inevitable in such small states. For a while, nothing was heard of the whole affair, and it seemed that at most a “craftsmen’s gala” was being organised. Only on the eve of the festival did the interest become more general, the programme was issued, Professor Wilhelm Ernst Weber, well known for his excellent translations of the ancient classics and his commentaries on German poets, drew attention to the next day’s event by his speech in the big hall, and the merchants were undecided whether they ought not to grant their office workers a half-holiday next day. The festival day came; all ships on the Weser flew their flags, and at the lower end of the town were two ships, the mast-tops of which were connected by a long line of innumerable flags to form a huge arch of honour. On one of these ships was mounted the only available gun, which thundered throughout the day. The committee, together with all the assembled printers, marched in a solemn procession to the church and from there to the newly-built steamship Gutenberg which, with its snow-white, gilt-ornamented hull, is the finest steamer that ever sailed the Weser. For this, its inaugural journey, it was festively decorated with garlands and flags; the procession went on board, cruised with music and singing up the Weser as far as the bridge; there a halt was made, a choral was sung and one of the printers delivered a speech. While all the participants in the festival took part in a luncheon on board arranged by the ship’s owner, Herr Lange von Vegesack, the Gutenberg proceeded with a speed that did honour to its builder through the arch of flags to Lankenau, a pleasure resort below the town, thousands of people hailing it with shouts of “hurrah” from the bridge and the quayside. It was the festive procession and the Weser excursion that gave the celebration the character of a people’s festival, but even more so the distribution, at first restricted but later liberal, of tickets for an evening in a public garden which had been taken over and illuminated for the occasion. There the committee repaired after a banquet, and the festival concluded under the bright illuminations with music and the drinking of Haut-Sauternes, St. Julien an champagne.


Morgenblatt für gebildete Leser No. 182, July 31, 1840

Bremen, July

For the rest, life here is rather monotonous and small-townish; the haute volée, i.e., the families of patricians and monied aristocrats, are spending the summer on their landed estates; the middle-class ladies even in this fine period of the year cannot tear themselves away from their tea-parties, where cards are played and tongues wag; and the merchants day after day visit the museum, the stock exchange, or their club, to talk about coffee and tobacco prices and the state of the negotiations with the Customs Union [87]; few go to the theatre. — Interest in the current literature of the Fatherland as a whole is not to be found here; it is pretty generally held that Goethe and Schiller set the coping-stones of the arch of German literature, and that in any case the romantic writers served only as later ornamentations. People subscribe to a reading-club, partly because it is the fashion, partly because a siesta can be more comfortable with a periodical; but they are interested only in scandal and anything that the papers may say about Bremen. With many educated people this apathy may of course be due to lack of leisure, for here the merchant especially is always compelled to keep his business in mind, and any time he may have left over is taken up by the duties of etiquette towards his usually numerous relatives, visits, etc. On the other hand, there is a seclusive kind of literature here which has an ample circulation, partly through pamphlets, most of which are concerned with theological controversies, and partly through periodicals. The Bremer Zeitung, tactfully edited and with informative reports, used to en . a considerable reputation over a wide area, which however has decreased since its involuntary involvement in the political affairs of the neighbouring state. Its West-European articles are intelligently written, even if they are not definitely liberal-minded. A supplement to the newspaper, the Bremisches Conversationsblatt, tried to represent Bremen in current German literature and carried clever articles by Professor Weber and Dr. Stahr in Oldenburg; poems were supplied by Nicolaus Delius, a talented young philologist who could gradually achieve an honourable position also as a poet. But it proved difficult to recruit important outside contributors, and so the newspaper