Saturday, September 29, 2012

404th Anniversary Birthday Greetings- John Milton, Revolutionary And Poet

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for John Milton for background information about this important republican publicist of the English Revolution of the 17th century.


Milton And The English Revolution, Christopher Hill, Penguin Press, New York 1972

The name and work of the late British Marxist historian Christopher Hill should be fairly well known to readers of this space who follow my reviews on the subject of the 17th century English Revolution. That revolution has legitimately been described as the first one of the modern era and had profound repercussions, especially on the American Revolution and later events on this continent. Although Hill was an ardent Stalinist, seemingly to the end of his life, his works, since they were not as subjected to the conforming pressures of the Soviet political line that he adhered to, are less influenced by that distorting pressure. To our benefit.

More importantly, along the way Professor Hill almost single-handedly brought to life the under- classes that formed the backbone of the plebeian efforts during that revolution. We would, surely, know far less about Fifth Monarchists, Brownists, Ranters, panters, Shakers, Quakers and fakers without the sharp eye of the good professor. All to the tune of, and in the spirit of that famous last line from John Milton's "Paradise Lost" about the locus of paradise, except instead of trying to explain the ways of god to man the professor has tried to explain ways of our earlier plebeian brothers and sisters to us.

That said, on this the 400th Anniversary year of the birth of John Milton the great English revolutionary and poet it is fitting that the occasion be commemorated by a review of one of Professor Hill's major literary/historical works, "Milton and The English Revolution". Now with a figure like Milton, so central to the Western literary canon, it is, after 400 years of critique, entirely possible to analysis his life and work from a merely literary or religious point of view and "deep-six" his central role as a propagandist for Cromwell's republican English Commonwealth, as a defender of regicide in "The Tenure Of Kings and Magistrates" or as a man emerged in the various radical religious and political controversies of his day. The literary and political fight against such reductionism is, in fact, both the purpose of Hill's book and his core argument in order to take back the person of John Milton for the revolution. And along the way dispel the proposition that Milton was a cloistered "up-tight" Puritan exemplar, especially through his analysis of Milton's tracts on divorce and an examination of his career during the tumultuously 1640's. To this reviewer's mind Hill succeeds in the first task although I still have reservations in imagining the figure of a `rakish' John Milton on the second.

As always in dealing with the controversies of the mid-17th in England it is best to have knowledge of the various religious controversies that were swirling through all classes as the showdown with the king, and more importantly, the theory of 'divine right' of kings and the heavy monarchical/church state apparatus based on it. Hill's main argument on this point is that Milton's known theological divergences from then orthodox Laudian Church of England dogma or, for that matter; orthodox Puritan dogma as well made him a prime candidate to be the leading propagandist for the republican side in the dispute.

Thus, Milton intellectually was totally emerged in the on-going controversies over mortalism, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the literalness (and timing) of the Second Coming, the virgin birth, arminianism, Arianism and the thousand and one varieties on this theme that had more than one champion in its day. As Hill notes these controversies may seem rather abstract or of merely academic interest today but then one could pay with his or her life for a wrong move. Most famously, look at the fate of Quaker James Nayler, for one, for the truth of that matter-and remember that man drew a severe sentence for his `folly' during the fairly "enlightened" Cromwellian Protectorate.

If one recognizes, as I following Professor Hill do, the politically shrewd aspect of Milton's career as well as that of his role as thoughtful if somewhat arbitrary advocate for various political causes that were dear to his heart then his role as propagandist for the Republic is easier to understand. As Secretary of Foreign Tongues he was the voice of the English Revolution to the known world. In that capacity, rather than that of a 'private intellectual' the reading of such treatises as his defense of regicide "Tenure of Kings And Magistrates" and his rebuttal to Charles I in "Eikonoklastes" makes more sense.

At one time I placed Milton as something of the 17th century equivalent of the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky in the 20th century who, according to no less an authority than George Bernard Shaw, was the "prince of pamphleteers" of his era. I now believe this earlier characterization of mine made Milton more organizationally and theoretically committed to the fate of the revolution, as he suffered later disillusions with the revolution under the Commonwealth, than he actually was. However, among the literary set of the English Revolution, his is the most outstanding voice trying to push the revolution, the "revolution of the saints" to put it in the parlance of the day, to the left. All the way to 1660 and beyond, despite his physical blindness. And then in defeat to explain what went wrong, as well.

Although Hill has drawn in this little political biography a portrait of Milton as a man enmeshed in his times his seminal poetic and other literary work after his narrow escape from the clutches of a vengeful Charles II in 1660- the trilogy, "Paradise Lost", "Paradise Regained" and "Samson Agonistes" are also well analyzed. I do not, however, want to enter into that post-revolutionary literary/political discussion which takes up the last part of the book here, interesting as it is. As mentioned above more than enough ink has been spilled over the last four hundred years deciphering the meanings of those works by the literary set. The reader can read this section and make up his or her mind without my layman's literary comments. To conclude then, this book pays due homage to the prime literary defender of the "Good Old Cause", a cause that WAS worth fighting for. All Honor To The Memory Of John Milton, Revolutionary And Poet.

When Literature Talked Politics- The Role of Literature In Revolutionary Politics-17th Century Style

Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for John Milton's Paradise Lost. Then you are on your own. But read it.

Book Review

Politics Of Discourse; The Literature and History Of Seventeenth-Century England, edited by Kevin Sharpe and Steven N. Zucker, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1987

No question these days in modern European democratic societies literature, high literature anyway, and politics do not mix, except by accident. This however has not always been true, and as the academic book under review here, Politics of Discourse, testifies to in the early modern democratic period the fit between the two was far tighter than the modern mind could imagine. And no where was this combination more prevalent that in 17th century England, from the immediate pre-revolutionary period through to the late restoration period. The specialized essays that make up this volume give a pretty clear impression that, at least at the level of “high culture” and courtier/bourgeois society, one could not be knowledgeable about the affairs of the day without reading the polemics, parables, and panegyrics of such luminaries as Ben Jonson, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Andrew Marvell, Thomas Carew, and John Dryden.

Of course the 17th century in England was the high point, or rather one of the high points, in the struggle over the role of religion in public life from such questions as toleration, an established state church, the nature of worship and liturgy, religious qualifications for public office, and the great internal and foreign policy struggles between international Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. So public men, literary sorts or not, had be aware of the stakes involved when they went about the business of polemicizing for their views. No question that given the very undemocratic nature of monarchical society under James I and Charles I (and the later Charles and James) that one had to couch their polemics for their positions in oblique terms. This is, after all, the great age of the parable, the masque, and the ethereal epic poem. Moreover, democratic stirrings or not, religious sentiment in public and private life at both the patrician and plebeian cultural levels drove all literary and political conversation, especially the manic drive to prove one’s point by reference to Scripture. Still this period produced some of the masterworks of English literature, none better than John Milton’s defense of Republican England under Cromwell, in Paradise Lost.

That said this book is not for those who are not at least somewhat familiar with the history of 17th century English, especially some knowledge of the issues around the titanic struggles in mid-century in the revolutionary period, the Puritan Revolution proper. With that in mind there are a few outstanding essay here worthy of taking the time to read: a great exposition on the Scottish historical sources that Shakespeare may, or may not have been familiar with when creating his saga on monarchical legitimacy in Macbeth; an interesting study of a literary patroness, Lucy, Countess of Bedford, to detail the audience that any literary figure needed to address their works to; a generally overlooked subject during this period, that of a courtier literary figure and his defense of the monarchy, Thomas Carew; the trials, tribulations and twists of a literary politician trying to read which way the wind was blowing in creating his works, Andrew Marvell; the usages of the fable in the Restoration period to telegraph dissent (a literary devise still necessarily in use today, unfortunately); and, lastly, a couple of great essays on the great defender of the English revolution and of its republican virtues, John Milton.

Those last essays were my reason for reading this volume, especially the essay on the politics of Paradise Lost by Mary Ann Radzinowicz, featuring some ideas that the great British Marxist historian and Milton devotee Christopher Hill alerted us to in an earlier time, but the others mentioned deserve a reading as well.

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin-From The "Ancient Dreams, Dreamed" Sketches -"Markin's Big Date"

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of Eddie Cochran performing Sittin’ in the Balcony to add a zest to this sketch.

Sittin' In The Balcony Recorded by Eddie Cochran Written by John D. Loudermilk

                         D7 G I'm just a sittin' in the balcony just a watching the movie D7 G Or maybe it's a symphony I wouldn't know D7 G I don't care about the symphonies just a cymbal and a timpani D7 G I'm just a sitting in the balcony on the very last row C G I'll hold your hand and I'll kiss you too A7 D7 The feature's over but we're not through G D7 G Just a sittin' in the balcony holding hands in the balcony D7 G Just a sittin' in the balcony on the very last row C G We may stop loving to watch bugs bunny A7 D7 But he can't take the place of my honey G D7 G Just a sittin' in the balcony just a smooching in the balcony D7 G Just a sittin' in the balcony on the very last row C G D7 G Just a hugging and a kissing with my baby in the very last row

You never knew what kind of story Peter Paul Markin my old yellow brick road compadre going back to the1960s was going to come up with back in those California “on the bus” searching for the great American West night days as we roamed up and down that state on Captain Crunch’s merry prankster bus. One day (night, more likely) he might be all high politics and want to talk about what was wrong with various slogans put forth on the workers’ government question at the Fourth Congress of the Communist International in 1922. The next day (or maybe that same night if we had hit the right kind of “high” for the occasion) he might just draw back to recall some childhood or teenage angst story. When he went into that mode it usually meant he wanted to discuss some forlorn “chick” that got away in those woe begotten days, or ones that didn’t and he wished they had.

This one though is about one that didn’t get away but didn’t work out either. Amazingly, thinking about it later after he told me this story, I noticed how many such no win tales he kept locked in that mind of his. For this one Peter Paul (I am under the equivalent of a court order not to use his nickname, his childhood stuck to adulthood nickname Pee-Pee when writing about him) reached way back to his elementary school days down at the Adamsville Housing Authority apartments (the “projects” in his terms) where he came of age. And where he “discovered” girls, although not without the usual ten tons of trauma, angst and alienation.

Of course the ins and outs of the boy-girl thing have eluded every guy from ten to ten times ten since girls were invented so his story is not one that I found so bizarre. Just the particulars of his dilemma. See, for a guy who thought nothing of spouting off those facts about the trials and tribulations of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International Peter Paul was (and is) an extremely shy guy. And was back in the back the day time he was talking about, maybe more so. His thing was always to kind of overwhelm the girls with about ten thousand arcane facts on about eleven thousand different things that he had read about.

Well, we all have our ways of relating to the world, and the opposite sex (or the same-sex these days as far as preferences go). Personally I always thought he was crazy to do that routine when I saw him in action later when we were on the road. But some girls (and women more than I would have figured) were easily impressed by such odd-ball foolishness. My thing, personally, was just to say pretty things about them and take my chances like most normal guys.

Enter Belinda, Belinda Boylston, a blonde-haired stick (local Adamsville corner boy short-hand for girls who had not gotten a figure yet but who, well, who had some other charms only immature teen boys would notice) who had just that year (1958) moved into the new middle-class single family colonial-style houses up the street build for those, unlike Peter Paul’s family, moving up in the golden age of American post- World War II prosperity. She had entered the school in October and so was not aware like all the other girls in his class of his special “skills.” And not knowing that she one day, maybe the second or third day of class, gave him a smile, a thin Mona Lisa smile. He blushed, blushed seven shades of red the lightest being blood red. Done. Gone. Finished.

After that in class Peter Paul poured it on especially when he noticed that she was paying attention when he answered a question, or just started to ramble on. (Jesus, I know that one.) But how was he going to get to talk to her. That is where Billie Bradley, the king hell king of the young teen Adamsville corner boy night came to the rescue. Or rather his sister, Celina, who was a year ahead of the boys, did. She corralled Belinda one day at lunch and just came right out with it. Did she like Peter Paul, or not? Of course came the since time immemorial- let him ask me himself. And with that our tale ends.

Not end ends but ends for the few weeks that it took Peter Paul to get up the courage to talk to Belinda. And only under threat that Billie Bradley was going to take a run after her himself. Well the long and short of it was that Belinda had not been coquettish (although she could be that) when she gave her answer to Celina but was pretty shy herself. She had planned to have her new friend, Maude, Maude Riley, ask Peter Paul if he liked her but Celina got there first.

And so, finally, like some false-fated lovers out of some Greek tragedy (or Hollywood B script) they talked and she agreed to go on a “date.” with one Peter Paul Markin that next Saturday. Now this twelve year old “date” business is not (or was not) like a real date that older teens and we adults have but is strictly around the block stuff. First off it was strictly day time, strictly going to the movies or the beach (in summer) and strictly a few hours, no more. And with no car to drive them to the movies (nobody then, even shy nobodies, and I hope not now either, wanted to be chauffeured by some old foggy parents when they only had that precious few hours to make an impression) they took the bus to the Stand Theater in Adamsville Square for the Saturday matinee double-feature.

Peter Paul dressed in his best shirt and pants and his hair combed picked up Belinda at her house. Belinda looked nice too in her just slightly filling out cashmere sweater all the rage in those days. After the obligatory hi and goodbye (and parental list of dos and don’ts) they headed to the bus stop. Here is a funny part, or I thought it was funny. After leaving the Boylston house they were like two magpies talking about a storm like they had known each other forever. And every once in a while as he was talking she gave Peter Paul that fatal (to him) Mona Lisa smile.

Finally they got to the Square and headed for the theater. Peter Paul said the rest of the afternoon was a little hazy. They entered the theater although he confessed that on a stack of seven bibles he could not remember the movies being played that day. Maybe Peggy Sue Meets Godzilla he though, something like that. And here is why things were a little hazy. Now parents and old foggies when they go to the movie theater are looking for the best seats to view the film. Twelve year olds then (and maybe now too for all I know) on their first “date” had a different decision to make. Orchestra seats or balcony? The answer meant an ordinary old foggy-type date or holding hands, and lips, upstairs. Peter Paul shyly asked Belinda where she wanted to sit. She gave him that thin Mona Lisa smile and pointed upstairs.

I wish I could give a postscript that Peter Paul and Belinda lived happily ever after, or until something else came along. However in this wicked old world some things just can’t work out, work out for twelve and thirteen year olds. Peter Paul and Belinda were an “item” for the rest of the school year, or most of it. Then Belinda’s father got a promotion that required a transfer to another part of the state. Such is life. But he still remembers that Mona Lisa smile as she, unable to talk she was so shy at that moment, pointed to those stairs.

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin- The Girl With The Bette Davis Eyes-Part Three- “Marked Woman”- A Film Review

Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for the 1930s social drama Marked Woman.

DVD Review

Marked Woman, starring Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Warner Brothers, 1937

You know sometimes the distance between a femme fatale and just an ordinary working woman down on her uppers is very slight, very slight indeed. So, say Frank never showed up at that ocean front diner out in California to watch Cora come through that back of the house door to the dining area in The Postman Always Rings Twice and seal his fate (and hers) as they dashed through every kind of murderous impulse and savage passion. Femme Cora would probably still be serving them off the arm, still be listening to Nick’s grousing, and maybe growing old gracelessly down by the seashore, Or, say, Robert Mitchum had actually done what he was paid to do in Out Of The Past and turned the errant femme Jane Greer over to Kirk Douglas for retribution instead of dashing through every kind of murderous impulse and savage passion with her. Dear Jane might still be sunning herself and drinking high-shelf drinks in some cabana and rattling around some big old hacienda. Or, finally, what if Irish Blackie had just turned the other corner and not been almost knocked over by that horse-driven carriage carrying on Rita Hayworth in The Lady From Shang-hai instead of dashing through every kind of, what, oh yes, every kind of murderous impulse and savage passion with her. Maybe, just maybe, Rita would have grown old weaving baskets or watching sub-titled films while passing the time at some high-end opium den. See for the femmes it is always a close thing, a very close thing.

So imagine how close that margin is when just an average girl, an average working class girl down on her uppers but loathe to spend her life in seven to three six day shift factories , just trying to do, well, do the best she can. That bit of social reality, that 1930s bit of social reality, is the theme behind the film under review, Warner Brothers’ Marked Woman (from the period when that studio was well-known for producing such socially significant drama). See, if you were (are) a sugar daddy “kept” woman then you have your well-honed femme charms to see you through. But say you are some Mary (yes, Mary will do as a name just fine for this point), not bad for looks, but just a little too world-wise, a little too jaded, just a little too smart, and just a little too un-femme to have the Mayfair swells lined up at your door. Then you either serve them off the arm, swab a mop, or tend some ungodly machine, unless of course you decide, as our film Mary did (played by Bette Davis, the girl with the, uh, Bette Davis eyes) to become a “hostess” at one of Johnny Vanning’s hot spot New York night clubs and “clip” the customers for drinks and dimes. And that was our Mary’s choice; she decided that she would see that career path through to “easy street” come hell or high water.

Of course this hostess dodge is just a polite way to say working girl (non-factory),whore or prostitute so let’s not fall into dreamland about what was expected, expected when master gangster Johnny Vanning took over the New York clubs and was determined to create more huge profit centers to add to his enterprises. Not if you wanted to stay above water, literally. But as the story unfolds the difference between that water and living to tell the tale was a near thing. See Mary had things figured out, or thought she did, her and her four other hostess roommates who were sharing a place to cut down on expenses in high-priced New York. Of course she didn’t count on two things to mess up her easy street plans -one that a “mark” she had set up for Johnny ‘s gambling tables was not able to pay his gambling debts, not even close, and therefore wound up rather dead for his mistake. Mary, as an accomplice of Johnny’s on this caper, threw the hammer-headed crusading District Attorney (played against type a bit by Humphrey Bogart then known mainly for the Duke Mantee gangster on the lam role in the also Betty Davis- starring Petrified Forest) a fast ball and Johnny walked, walked free as a bird and Mary thumbed her smart nose at old John Law.

The second thing was more serious, involving her visiting kid sister who got caught up in the dragnet around Johnny’s trial, and around knowledge of her sister’s real livelihood (a livelihood keeping sis in pencils and books at old something U) and decided she could not go back to college. On a fling she attended one of Johnny’s parties and wound up very dead for her troubles after she caught on that she was not really the hostess type and ran afoul of Johnny’s wrath. Mary, finally catching on that she was in a no win situation working in gangland, although only finally catching on after she took a merciless beating from Johnny’s boys, decided to play ball with the law for real this time. Naturally Johnny had to go down on that sister rap and he and his boys were convicted on the testimony of Mary and her other hostess friends. DA Humphrey got his glory and big headlines but what did Mary and the other women get? No question, being a working girl, working those mean streets and hard on the shoe leather clip joints then wasn’t exactly the road to easy street, no way. The streets were not for dreaming then. Now either come think of it.




In the summer of 2006 I originally wrote the following commentary (used in subsequent election cycles and updated a little for today’s purpose) urging the recruitment of independent labor militants as write-in candidates for the mid-term 2006 congressional elections based on a workers party program. With the hoopla already in full gear for the 2012 election cycle I repost that commentary below with that same intention of getting thoughtful leftists to use the 2012 campaign to further our propagandistic fight for a workers’ party that fights for a workers government.

A Modest Proposal-Recruit, Run Independent Labor Militants In The 2012 Elections

All “anti-parliamentarian”, “anti-state”, “non-political” anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist brothers and sisters need read no further. This writer does not want to sully the purity of your politics with the taint of parliamentary electoral politics. Although I might remind you, as we remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Barcelona Uprising, that your political ancestors in Spain were more than willing to support the state and enter the government when they got the chance- the bourgeois government of a bourgeois state. But, we can fight that issue out later. We will, hopefully, see you on the barricades with us when the time comes.

As for other militants- here is my modest proposal. Either recruit fellow labor militants or present yourselves as candidates to run for public office, especially for Congress, during the 2012 election cycle. Why? Even a quick glance at the news of the day is calculated to send the most hardened politico screaming into the night. The quagmire in Afghanistan (and unfinished business in Iraq and threats to Iran), immigration walls, flag-burning amendments, anti -same-sex marriage amendments, the threat to separation of church state raised by those who would impose a fundamentalist Christian theocracy on the rest of us, and the attacks on the hard fought gains of the Enlightenment posed by bogus theories such as ‘intelligent design.’ And that is just an average day. Therefore, this election cycle provides militants, at a time when the dwindling electorate is focused on politics, a forum to raise our program and our ideas. We use this as a tool, like leaflets, petitions, meetings, demonstrations, etc. to get our message across. Why should the Donkeys, Elephants, and the other smaller bourgeois parties have a monopoly on the public square?

I mentioned in the last paragraph the idea of program. Let us face it if we do not have a program to run on then it makes no sense for militants to run for public office. Given the political climate our task at this time is to fight an exemplary propaganda campaign. Our program is our banner in that fight. The Democrats and Republicans DO NOT RUN on a program. The sum of their campaigns is to promise not to steal from the public treasury (or at least not too much), beat their husbands or wives, or grossly compromise themselves in any manner. On second thought, given today’s political climate, they may not promise not to beat their husbands or wives or not compromise themselves in any untoward manner. You, in any case, get the point. Damn, even the weakest neophyte labor militant can make a better presentation before working people that this crowd. This writer presents a five point program (you knew that was coming, right?) that labor militants can run on. As point five makes clear this is not a ‘minimum’ program but a program based on our need to fight for power.


The quagmire in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East (Iraq, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Iran) is the fault line of American politics today. Every bourgeois politician has to have his or her feet put to the fire on this one. Not on some flimsy ‘sense of the Congress’ softball motion for withdrawal next, year, in two years, or (my favorite) when the situation is stable. Moreover, on the parliamentary level the only real vote that matters is the vote on the war budget. All the rest is fluff. Militants should make a point of trying to enter Congressional contests where there are so-called anti-war Democrats or Republicans (an oxymoron, I believe) running to make that programmatic contrast vivid.

But, one might argue, that would split the ‘progressive’ forces. Grow up, please! That argument has grown stale since it was first put forth in the “popular front” days of the 1930’s. If you want to end the wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere fight for this position on the war budget. Otherwise the same people (yes, those 'progressive Democrats') who almost unanimously voted for the last war budget get a free ride on the cheap. War President Barack Obama desperately needs to be opposed by labor militants. By rights this is our issue. Let us take it back.


It is a ‘no-brainer’ that no individual, much less a family can live on the minimum wage (now $7/hr. or so). What planet do these politicians live on? We need an immediate fight for a living wage, full employment and decent working conditions. We need universal free health care for all. End of story. The organized labor movement must get off its knees and fight to organize Wal-Mart and the South. A boycott of Wal-Mart is not enough. A successful organizing drive will, like in the 1930’s; go a long way to turning the conditions of labor around.


Down with the Death Penalty! Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants who make it here! Stop the Deportations! For the Separation of Church and State! Defend abortion rights! Down with anti-same sex marriage legislation! Full public funding of education! Stop the ‘war on drugs’, basically a war on blacks and minority youth-decriminalize drugs! Defend political prisoners! This list of demands hardly exhausts the “culture war” issues we defend. It is hard to believe that in the year 2012 over 200 years after the American Revolution and the French Revolution we are fighting desperately to preserve many of the same principles that militants fought for in those revolutions. But so be it.


The Donkeys, Elephants and other smaller bourgeois parties have had their chance. Now is the time to fight for our own party and for the interests of our own class, the working class. Any campaigns by independent labor militants must highlight this point. And any campaigns can also become the nucleus of a workers’ party network until we get strong enough to form at least a small party. None of these other parties, and I mean none, are working in the interests of working people and their allies. The following great lesson of politic today must be hammered home. Break with the Democrats, Republicans!


We need our own form of government. In the old days the bourgeois republic was a progressive form of government. Not so any more. That form of government ran out of steam about one hundred years ago. We need a Workers Republic. We need a government based on workers councils with a ministry (I do not dare say commissariat in case any stray anarchists are still reading this) responsible to it. Let us face it if we really want to get any of the good and necessary things listed above accomplished we are not going to get it with the current form of government.

Why the XYZ part? What does that mean? No, it is not part of an algebra lesson. What it reflects is that while society is made up mainly of workers (of one sort or another) there are other classes (and parts of classes) in society that we seek as allies and could benefit from a workers government. Examples- small independent contractors, intellectuals, the dwindling number of small farmers, and some professionals like dentists. Yes, with my tongue in my cheek after all my dental bills, I like the idea of a workers and dentists government. The point is however you formulate it you have got to fight for it.

Obviously any campaign based on this program will be an exemplary propaganda campaign for the foreseeable future. But we have to start now. Continuing to support or not challenging the bourgeois parties does us no good. That is for sure. While bourgeois electoral laws do not favor independent candidacies write-in campaigns are possible. ROLL UP YOUR SHEEVES! GET THOSE PETITIONS SIGNED! PRINT OUT THE LEAFLETS! PAINT THOSE BANNERS! GET READY TO SHAKE HANDS AND KISS BABIES.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pete Seeger Redux- Appleseed Record- 2012

Click on the headline to link to a "YouTube" film clip of Bruce Springsteen performing his "Ghost Of Tom Joad".

CD Review

Sowing The Seeds-The Tenth Anniversary, Pete Seeger and various artists, Appleseed Records, 2007

Most of the musical reviews in this space center on individual and group performers or particular musical genres, especially folk, blues and classic rock and roll. Very occasionally this space salutes record labels like Chess, Sun, Rounder, Smithsonian/Folkway, Red House, and here, Appleseed Records. On those occasions the record label may be as important to the genre as the performances of the artists because they established a genre, drove it forward, keep it alive or acted as a repository, or all of the above. That is the case here with a CD salute to the 10th Anniversary of Appleseed Records (2007).

For the history of the label there is a more than informative booklet that comes with the 2-disc CD set, including plenty of discology–type information about each track. I want to concentrate here on the performers and the performances to give the reader who may not be familiar with any of this some sense of what the label has tried to do. I will just drop the name Pete Seeger in first place here because it is his spirit that has driven this project, his sense of the desperate necessity of preserving and continuing the folk and political protest traditions and because many of the songs here are performed by him, or are covered by other artists. Beyond that the litany of performers range from “born again” folkie Bruce Springsteen, actor and activist Tim Robbins, Pete’s half-sister , Peggy, a folk legend in her own right, old time folkies like Eric Andersen and Tom Paxton, and some newer folkies like Ani DiFranco. A nice mix.

Of course, that description begs the question of what is good here. What do you need to listen to get the essence of the Appleseed tradition? Well, Pete and Bruce on Bruce’s “Ghost Of Tom Joad” that evokes the original Great Depression “Grapes Of Wrath” pathos (and very timely today when such messages are needed). A patriotic (too patriotic for my tastes) Pete on “Bring Them Home”. Tom Paxton’s heartfelt and fully justified tribute to the fallen New York 9/11 fire fighters, “The Bravest”. David Bromberg’s rousing, bluesy “Try Me One More Time”. And today very appropriate, as well, Pete Seeger tune's, “The Emperor Is Naked Today-O”.



As the sun
Rose on the rim of eastern sky
And this one
World that we love was trying to die
We said stand!
And sing out for a great hooray-o!
Your child may be the one to exclaim
The emperor is naked today-o!

Four winds that blow
Four thousand tongues, with the word: survive
Four billion souls
Striving today to stay alive
We say stand!
And sing out for a great hooray-o!
Why don't we be the ones to exclaim
The emperor is naked today-o!

Men - have failed
Power has failed, with papered gold.
Shalom - salaam
Will yet be a word where slaves were sold
We say stand!
And sing out for a great hooray-o!
We yet may find the way to exclaim
The emperor is naked today-o!

Originally titled "As the Sun"
Words and Music by Pete Seeger (1970)
(c) 1977, 1979 by Fall River Music Inc.

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin-From The "Ancient Dreams, Dreamed" Sketches-Adamsville South Monday, Summer 1957

Adamsville South Monday, Summer 1957



[Click on the headline to this sketch to link to a YouTube film clip of Danny and The Juniors performing their classic  At The Hop to give a little flavor of the time of this entry-JLB].

Setting The Mood- Peter Paul Markin In His Own Words

I, once a while back, was asked, in earnest, what I meant by the “blue-pink western skies” that has formed the backdrop for several of Josh’s sketches. Or rather the way I would prefer to formulate it, and have taken some pains to emphasize it this way, “the search for the blue-pink great American West night.” Well, of course, there was a literal part to the proposition since ocean-at-my back (sometimes right at my back) New England homestead meant unless I wanted to take an ill-advised turn at piracy or high-seas hijacking or some such thing east that the hitchhike road meant heading west.


So that night is clearly not in the vicinity of the local Blues Hills or of the Berkshires since early childhood ocean-fronted Massachusetts, those are too confined and short-distanced to even produce blues skies much less that west-glanced sweet shade just before heaven, if there was a heaven shade, blue-pink. And certainly not hog-butcher-to-the-world, sinewy Midwest Chicago night, Christ no, nor rarefied, deep-breathed, rockymountainhigh Denver night, although jaded sojourner-writer not known for breathe-taking, awe-bewilderment could have stopped there for choice of great western night. Second place, okay.


But no, onward, beyond, beyond pioneer, genetically-embedded pioneer America, past false god neon blue-pink glitter Las Vegas in the Nevada desert night to the place where, about fifty miles away from sanctified west coast, near some now nameless abandoned ghost town, nameless here for it is a mere speck on the map and you would not know the name, you begin, ocean man that you are, if you are, and organically ocean-bred says you are, to smell the dank, incense-like, seaweed-driven, ocean-seized air as it comes in from the Japanese stream, or out there somewhere in the unknown, some Hawaii or Guam or Tahiti of the mind, before the gates of holy city, city of a thousand, thousand land’s end dreams, San Francisco. That is where the blue-pink sky devours the sun just before the be-bop, the bop-bop, the do wang-doodle night, the great American Western star-spangled (small case) night I keep reaching for, like it was some physical thing and not the stuff of dreams. And it started early.


<b>The scene below stands (or falls) as a moment in support of that eternal search.


Scene One: The Prequel- Adamsville South Monday, Summer 1957


I wake up early, with a sudden start like something hit me but it kind of missed, kind of just glanced off me, something that felt like a pebble, maybe thinner and a little lighter, but I don’t see anything out of my watery, half-closed eyes. And I don’t feel anything around me in this feeble excuse for a bed that my father lashed together out of old blankets when my previous mattress fell apart, something like you see down at the Plymouth Plantation when the Pilgrims, a few hundred years ago, made beds for their kids except not with the corn husking filler they used. See, Ma and Pa couldn’t see their way clear to getting me a new one since my younger brother, Kevin, really needed one for his “problem”. A “problem” that I don’t understand about, and that nobody ever talks about, even Grandma, and she talks about everything and will tell me anything, anything but that, at least when I am around they don’t talk about it, okay.


Maybe, I wouldn’t understand it even if they blabbed about it all day, but here I am with this low-rent sleeping bag, our lord in the manger kind of a bed. And Kevin’s sleeping like a king in the room across the hall all by himself away from this midget-sized room that they must have thought of when kids were smaller than they are these days, what with us drinking more milk with “Big Brother” Bob Emery every school day when we go home at lunchtime. Ma says I should be thankful (including to the Lord, as she always says, without fail) that I have any bed at all as some kids in India don’t even have that. The reasons for that, I guess, are ‘cause those people don’t thank the Lord, or at least thank our “the Lord.”


Darn it, I now suddenly remember, whatever it was that hit me, maybe something from outer space, broke up a nice half-formed dream that was just starting to get somewhere and that was about being on some television show and winning something like a thousand dollars and me getting to buy stuff for me and my friends like serious bicycles or a big record player, and getting girls stuff too, like a box of candy from the Rexall drugstore up in Adamsville Square, and just like that its gone, gone, now long gone. Just like shutting off the television before the end and the good guys, or whoever has the right to be on the right side of the law like Maverick, wins; just like missing American Bandstand before Dick Clark gets to the big dance off thing at the end where everybody’s jumping and grooving and having a good time, the band is rocking, and the guys, especially the guys that get the cute girls and not the left-over ones that they must just put on to be nice, or something are smiling, smiling the smile of the just. Double darn it.


Ya, something’s out of whack, something’s definitely out of whack, or it’s gonna be. Every time I have one of these broken-up dreams something goes awry pretty soon only not today please, and I am scared, no, really scared about it this time. Wouldn’t you be? I suddenly notice something in a split-second that confirms this bad omen coming-Oh no, not again, for the hundredth hundredth time this ratty old summer, this boring never-ending summer that I wish would end so bad I am praying, and praying hard, that it will be over and we can go back to the cool air in Adamsville South Elementary School that we left the last part of last month. I told you it was bad, bad as all that. I’m all sweaty, I feel under my arms, underarms sticky, underwear, all cottony, sticking to me like it’s part of my skin forever, eyes sticky and half shut from a nighttime’s worth of perspiration, and maybe more than a night at that. I don’t think I took a bath yesterday, did I? I sniff, no. Sticky, that me, that’s gonna be my middle name before long if this mind-numbing weather keeps up.


Heck, I’m tired, tired to hell and back, no, farther than that, of these half-sleep, restless nights; god awful humid, sultry, breathless summer’s nights, no relief and no air conditioning in sight. No air, no wind coming from the channel across the parking lot from our house, or I should say apartment. No air, less than no air, coming from Adamsville Bay, so still that throwing a rock on it would make ripples all the way to Merrymount. And certainly no air coming from god forsaken Hough’s Neck. I know that for sure, ‘cause I went over there, walked all the way up to Rock Island and down that dusty dirt road all the way to Nut Island almost before I realized that the air had died, or gone on vacation.


Ma, making fun of me and my sweating every second of every minute of every day for about a week now, the other day told me that this was my own personal preview of what it is gonna be like for me in hell, if I don’t change my ways. Yes, ma. But that is just her con, she’s always conning me and my brothers, trying make us do good by bringing God, his son, his holy ghost, his mother, his father, his sisters and brothers and whoever else she can conjure up using to make us do good, to do as she’s says every chance she gets in order to do God’s work, but that’s impossible using her tried and true method. She must have learned that “method” from some priest over at Saint Boniface, or something. She sure didn’t learn it from that cool doctor, Doctor Spock, I think was his name, that I saw on TV the other day on that Mike Dowling, or one of them talk shows. He knows a lot about kids, they say, at least that’s what someone said. I wouldn’t know, I ‘m stuck with Ma, and that ain’t no nice to kids lady, nor does she want to be. 


Saying all that ain’t doing me any good, lying here in a pool of sweat, thinking about getting up. But I’m getting mad, even though I know getting mad today is tempting fate, I guess I was born mad, or got that way early because even though I know it’s gonna get me in trouble , I’m mad . You would think that in the year 1957, in a year when everybody else seems to have money and is spending it, that even in this woe begotten tiny airless apartment filled to the brim with three growing boys and two grown, overgrown if you ask me, adults; in this woe begotten tiny airless room filled to the brim with two growing boys, one sleeping like a log, sleeping the sleep of the just, I guess, across from me right now; in this woe begotten no account housing project where you can’t get anything fixed without about twenty forms and a six month wait and even then you have to wait, nothing less. Even for a light fixture it takes a civil war. Christ, how long, in this woe begotten town before we could have this “necessity,” air- conditioning.  Ma says we can’t afford it, or whatever her excuse of the week is. “How about a fan, Ma?” Nope, can’t afford the extra electricity ‘cause Dad just got laid off, whatever that means. He’s always getting laid off so I can’t tell what is so different about this time so that we can’t get air conditioning. Johnny Jakes has it, and his father hasn’t ever worked. Can’t, for some reason.


Enough of this, I‘m getting up, if only to splash some water on my face and get my eyes unstuck, or get a cool drink of water to bring down what has got be about a 110 degrees of temperature running through my body, maybe 115. Nah, that can’t be right, we learned about body temperatures in class. I would have to be some alien from outer space maybe. But I’m feverish, that’s for sure. Just then I am stopped short by a sound, a familiar sound. A sound that if I had just one sound to hear in the whole universe of sounds that I have heard in my long eleven year old life it would be that one. The sound of fleeing this hellish, airless place for parts unknown, any unknown. Ya, that old, sweet, lonesome, high whistle sound that cuts me to the bone, that sweet old fog horn sound when the air is like pea soup down the channel ‘cause that means a big old firemen’s red, rubber tire-draped tugboat, or maybe two, is bringing a low-riding, rusty old tanker, or some ship to port across the channel to the Proctor & Gamble factory, the place of a thousand perfume smells, as we call it when the wind is up and all the world here smells like a bar of soap.


If I live to be a hundred, if I live to be a thousand, I’m always gonna watch, even if only in my mind, when some old tanker comes down the line, dragging or getting dragged by that old tug, whistling away, to keep river traffic away, and like it just as much then I bet. I know what I will be doing this morning, or the first part of the morning, heat or no heat, air- conditioning or no air- conditioning. I will be perched on my very own private, for invited guests only which means nobody, viewing stand at the little point along the shoreline that is my real home, or the home that I wish was my home except maybe in winter, just across from where the big boy boat will settle in.


“Hey, a boat’s coming in, I’m off,” I yell to no one in particular. And from not one of those no one in particulars do I get an answer. My brothers don’t suffer the sweats like I do, they have their own problems which I already sense will be their undoing later, but it ain’t the sweats and so they just sleep away. I rush, and I mean rush, to the bathroom, use the toilet, splash that life-saving water on my face, it always feels good, brush my teeth perfunctorily, and run down the stairs. “Ma, a ship’s coming in,” I say excitedly, even though it’s about the hundredth time I’ve seen one come in, to my mother who is distracted by something, as usual, especially when my father is out of work, and especially today, Monday, when he goes off in search of new work with a lot of hope about getting some job that will keep the wolves from the doors, that is the constant phrase that he uses to deal with the situation. I’ll tell you about him sometime but today I ain’t got any time for nothing but my ship coming in, and that ain’t no lie either.


“Well, it is not our ship that is coming in so don’t worry about it and just eat your breakfast,” she, dear old Ma, blurred out, and then I know she is in a fit and even if my ship wasn’t coming in I know the ropes enough to know to keep low, very low and out of the range of fire that I know is coming from her direction. I go to the cabinet, grab a cracked, slightly cracked bowl, get a spoon and go over to the stove, take the cover off the pot, steam escaping, and without even looking start dishing out my Quaker Oats oatmeal. Rain, shine, sleet or snow, summer, winter, spring or fall that is my nectar of the gods. With a little milk, when we have it, and even if we don’t a little Karo syrup, I am fortified for the day. Ma, can be a pain, Ma and I have a thousand battles a week over two thousand different things, and I know that already things are never gonna be right between us, even if at times we have an armed truce but, mark this down I always got my oatmeal, and always when I wanted it. I guess that put her on the right side of the angels, a little.


A few gulps later, washed down with about a half glass of milk, I am out the door. Hell, even my blessed oatmeal gets short shrift when the tankers blow in. Now going out the door most places that you know about means just going out the door straight.  Bu in this urban planner’s nightmarish hangover not at 666 Taffrail Road. First you have the obstacle course of getting around the ten million poles and fences that are plucked right in the “courtyard” when my mother and the other housewives in the other three units that make up our mega-plex hang out their daily washing, or dry their curtains or whatever people like my mother do to keep places like this from reverting back to caveman times. Then I have to cross the parking lot, a lot filled with all kinds of cars, for those that have them. These days we don’t have one, in case I didn’t tell you before, because Dad is out of work so we are all reduced to waiting for an eternity for that slow-rolling, seems never to be here when you need it, Eastern Mass. bus that ambles on to Adamsville Square, making so many stops that I usually just walk it, if I am in a hurry to get something, even on a hot, sweltering summer day like this.


As I hit the already hot asphalt of the lot I look around longingly at the vast array of cars; Plymouths with fins that look like a fish; Chevies, my favorite, sleek and so, Timmy McDevitt tells me, go real fast when you get onto Route 128 and let her rip; Fords that look like something they want to use to go up into space with, and I don’t know what else, but there are plenty. Finally I get to the lower parking lot that’s for guests or people who don’t get a parking spot in front of their house, or maybe just run out of steam before making the turn into hell-bent Taffrail Road. I don’t know and I am now passed that spot on the move along the fence anyhow to get to the little opening that will take me to my grand viewing area. I’m okay though, I still hear the old tug whistle coming up the line so I have some time to wait.


I get to my little sliver of land, just a little jut out of the shoreline, covered with old, oil-slicked quarry rock probably from the ground around here about a million years ago, ‘cause this town is known for its granite rock, cause it’s a granite city, even though the real work done around here is over at the Five Rivers Shipyard that is just across the bridge from the Proctor & Gamble factory, and where even on this hot, god forsaken morning I can faintly hear the sounds of metal being banged by hammers or whatever they use to put the ship together, and the flashes of welders’ torches as they put that banged metal in seamless water-tight condition.


I also notice some empty beer cans, cigarette butts, chip bags left haphazardly all over my viewing stand, somebody last night, or the night before, must have said the hell with it and got out one of the sweltering houses and came over here to get whatever little, little breeze that could be eked out of the windless night. I rule the day here in this spot, especially when the boats come in, no question about that, but what others do at night I have no control over. I just wish they wouldn’t leave a mess on my sacred site.


But that is all so much made-up irritation, probably ‘cause I am so hot, for now I can see the first glimmer of the smokestack of a ship coming up the line. I wonder whose oil it is, Esso? Texaco? Shell? Esso has been in the lead this year, and they are bigger ships and ride real low in the water coming in, and real high going out. I can start to see specks on the bridge, human specks that are busy doing the work of preparing the ship for the dock.


I wonder, wonder a lot, about these guys and the work they do and whether they like it and like being on the sea and whether they ever have any trouble like in stories that I read down at the Thomas Crane Library attached to the school, and where they have been and what adventures they have had, and where, and with whom. Maybe that’s the life for me. And I wonder about the girls they know from all over and whether they are nicer than the girls in the "projects" who are beginning to get on my nerves, for some reason. At least I don’t know what to do or what to say around them, or what they want me to do, or want me to say. I hope this is just being a boy kid and that it goes away, and I hope it a lot.


Oh, there she is, an Esso. The tugs are in position, gently nudging her and getting her ready to go dockside, tie up and unload. Wonder how long she will stay? Usually its takes a couple of days and then they are gone, sometimes in the middle of the night and they are not there in the morning depending on the tides and the traffic on the roads, oh, ocean roads, that is.


Hey, it’s almost lunchtime, guess I’ll go home and eat and go down the cellar, maybe to try to cool off. I know one thing now though that kind of had me worried and kind of bothered me for a while 'cause I am just a kid. I now know I will always take time to watch the boats as they blow in, and dream about catching a boat out, wherever I am. Maybe, that is an omen, a good omen, about my future. I'll let you know.


From The Pens Of Karl Marx And Friedrich Engels-Their Struggles To Build Communist Organizations-The Early Days-Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany (1852)

Click on the headline to link to the Marx-Engels Internet Archives for an online copy of the article mentioned in the headline.
Markin comment:

The foundation article by Marx or Engels listed in the headline goes along with the propaganda points in the fight for our communist future mentioned in other posts in this space. Just below is a thumbnail sketch of the first tentative proceedings to form a communist organization that would become a way-station on the road to building a Bolshevik-type organization in order fight for the socialist revolution we so desperately need and have since Marx and Engels first put pen to ink.

Marx/Engels Internet Archive-The Communist League

A congress of the League of the Just opened in London on June 2, 1847. Engels was in attendance as delegate for the League's Paris communities. (Marx couldn't attend for financial reasons.) Engels had a significant impact throughout the congress -- which, as it turned out, was really the "inaugural Congress" of what became known as the Communist League. This organization stands as the first international proletarian organization. With the influence of Marx and Engels anti-utopian socialism, the League's motto changed from "All Men are Brothers" to "Working Men of All Countries, Unite!" Engels: "In the summer of 1847, the first league congress took place in London, at which W. Wolff represented the Brussels and I the Paris communities. At this congress the reorganization of the League was carried through first of all. ...the League now consisted of communities, circles, leading circles, a central committee and a congress, and henceforth called itself the 'Communist League'."

The Rules were drawn up with the participation of Marx and Engels, examined at the First Congress of the Communist League, and approved at the League's Second Congress in December 1847. Article 1 of the Rules of the Communist League: "The aim of the league is the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the rule of the proletariat, the abolition of the old bourgeois society which rests on the antagonism of classes, and the foundation of a new society without classes and without private property." The first draft of the Communist League Programme was styled as a catechism -- in the form of questions and answers. Essentially, the draft was authored by Engels. The original manuscript is in Engels's hand. The League's official paper was to be the Kommunistische Zeitschrift, but the only issue produced was in September 1847 by a resolution of the League's First Congress. It was First Congress prepared by the Central Authority of the Communist League based in London. Karl Schapper was its editor.

The Second Congress of the Communist League was held at the end of November 1847 at London's Red Lion Hotel. Marx attended as delegate of the Brussels Circle. He went to London in the company of Victor Tedesco, member of the Communist League and also a delegate to the Second Congress. Engels again represented the Paris communities. Schapper was elected chairman of the congress, and Engels its secretary. Friedrich Lessner: "I was working in London then and was a member of the communist Workers' Educational Society at 191 Drury Lane. There, at the end of November and the beginning of December 1847, members of the Central Committee of the Communist League held a congress. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels came there from Brussels to present their views on modern communism and to speak about the Communists' attitude to the political and workers' movement. The meetings, which, naturally, were held in the evenings, were attended by delegates only... Soon we learned that after long debates, the congress had unanimously backed the principles of Marx and Engels..."

The Rules were officially adopted December 8, 1847. Engels: "All contradiction and doubt were finally set at rest, the new basic principles were unanimously adopted, and Marx and I were commissioned to draw up the Manifesto." This would, of course, become the Communist Manifesto. ************
Markin comment on this series:

No question that today at least the figures of 19th century communist revolutionaries, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, are honored more for their “academic” work than their efforts to build political organizations to fight for democratic and socialist revolutions, respectively, as part of their new worldview. Titles like Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital, The Peasants Wars In Germany, and the like are more likely to be linked to their names than Cologne Communist League or Workingmen’s International (First International). While the theoretical and historical materialist works have their honored place in the pantheon of revolutionary literature it would be wrong to neglect that hard fact that both Marx and Engels for most of their lives were not “arm chair" revolutionaries or, in Engels case, merely smitten by late Victorian fox hunts with the upper crust. These men were revolutionary politicians who worked at revolution in high times and low. Those of us who follow their traditions can, or should, understand that sometimes, a frustratingly long sometimes, the objective circumstances do not allow for fruitful revolutionary work. We push on as we can. Part of that pushing on is to become immersed in the work of our predecessors and in this series specifically the work of Marx and Engels to create a new form of revolutionary organization to fight the fights of their time, the time from about the Revolutions of 1848 to the founding of various socialist parties in Europe in the latter part of the 19th century.
Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

Poles, Tschechs, and Germans
MARCH 5th, 1852.
FROM what has been stated in the foregoing articles, it is already evident that unless a fresh revolution was to follow that of March, 1848, things would inevitably return, in Germany, to what they were before this event. But such is the complicated nature of the historical theme upon which we are trying to throw some light, that subsequent events cannot be clearly understood without taking into account what may be called the foreign relations of the German Revolution. And these foreign relations were of the same intricate nature as the home affairs.

The whole of the eastern half of Germany, as far as the Elbe, Saale, and Bohemian Forest, has, it is well known, been reconquered during the last thousand years, from invaders of Slavonic origin. The greater part of these territories have been Germanized, to the perfect extinction of all Slavonic nationality and language, for several centuries past; and if we except a few totally isolated remnants, amounting in the aggregate to less than a hundred thousand souls (Kassubians in Pomerania, Wends or Sorbians in Lusatia)[1] , their inhabitants are, to all intents and purposes, Germans. But the case is different along the whole of the frontier of ancient Poland, and in the countries of the Tschechian tongue, in Bohemia and Moravia. Here the two nationalities are mixed up in every district, the towns being generally more or less German, while the Slavonic element prevails in the rural villages, where, however, it is also gradually disintegrated and forced back by the steady advance of German influence.

The reason of this state of things is this: ever since the time of Charlemagne, the Germans have directed their most constant and persevering efforts to the conquest, colonization, or, at least, civilization of the east of Europe. The conquest of the feudal nobility between the Elbe and the Oder, and the feudal colonies of the military orders of knights in Prussia and Livonia, only laid the ground for a far more extensive and effective system of Germanization by the trading and manufacturing middle classes, which in Germany, as in the rest of Western Europe, rose into social and political importance since the fifteenth century. The Slavonians, and particularly the Western Slavonians (Poles and Tschechs), are essentially an agricultural race; trade and manufactures never were in great favor with them. The consequence was that, with the increase of population and the origin of cities in these regions, the production of all articles of manufacture fell into the hands of German immigrants, and the exchange of these commodities against agricultural produce became the exclusive monopoly of the Jews, who, if they belong to any nationality, are in these countries certainly rather Germans than Slavonians. This has been, though in a less degree, the case in all the east of Europe. The handicraftsman, the small shopkeeper, the petty manufacturer, is a German up to this day in Petersburg, Pesth, Jassy, and even Constantinople; while the money-lender, the publican, the hawker—a very important man in these thinly populated countries—is very generally a Jew, whose native tongue is a horribly corrupted German. The importance of the German element in the Slavonic frontier localities, thus rising with the growth of towns, trade and manufactures, was still increased when it was found necessary to import almost every element of mental culture from Germany; after the German merchant and handicraftsman, the German clergyman, the German schoolmaster, the German savant came to establish himself upon Slavonic soil. And lastly, the iron thread of conquering armies, or the cautious, well-premeditated grasp of diplomacy, not only followed, but many times went ahead of the slow but sure advance of denationalization by social development. Thus, great parts of Western Prussia and Posen have been Germanized since the first partition of Poland, by sales and grants of public domains to German colonists, by encouragements given to German capitalists for the establishment of manufactories, etc., in those neighborhoods, and very often, too, by excessively despotic measures against the Polish inhabitants of the country.

In this manner the last seventy years had entirely changed the line of demarcation between the German and Polish nationalities. The Revolution of 1848 calling forth at once the claim of all oppressed nations to an independent existence, and to the right of settling their own affairs for themselves, it was quite natural that the Poles should at once demand the restoration of their country within the frontiers of the old Polish Republic before 1772. It is true, this frontier, even at that time, had become obsolete, if taken as the delimitation of German and Polish nationality; it had become more so every year since by the progress of Germanization; but then, the Germans had proclaimed such an enthusiasm for the restoration of Poland, that they must expect to be asked, as a first proof of the reality of their sympathies to give up their share of the plunder. On the other hand, should whole tracts of land, inhabited chiefly by Germans, should large towns, entirely German, be given up to a people that as yet had never given any proofs of its capability of progressing beyond a state of feudalism based upon agricultural serfdom? The question was intricate enough. The only possible solution was in a war with Russia. The question of delimitation between the different revolutionized nations would have been made a secondary one to that of first establishing a safe frontier against the common enemy. The Poles, by receiving extended territories in the east, would have become more tractable and reasonable in the west; and Riga and Mitau would have been deemed, after all, quite as important to them as Danzig and Elbing. Thus the advanced party in Germany, deeming a war with Russia necessary to keep up the Continental movement, and considering that the national re-establishment even of a part of Poland would inevitably lead to such a war, supported the Poles; while the reigning middle class partly clearly foresaw its downfall from any national war against Russia, which would have called more active and energetic men to the helm, and, therefore, with a feigned enthusiasm for the extension of German nationality, they declared Prussian Poland, the chief seat of Polish revolutionary agitation, to be part and parcel of the German Empire that was to be. The promises given to the Poles in the first days of excitement were shamefully broken. Polish armaments got up with the sanction of the Government were dispersed and massacred by Prussian artillery; and as soon as the month of April, 1848, within six weeks of the Berlin Revolution, the Polish movement was crushed, and the old national hostility revived between Poles and Germans. This immense and incalculable service to the Russian autocrat was performed by the Liberal merchant-ministers, Camphausen and Hansemann. It must be added that this Polish campaign was the first means of reorganizing and reassuring that same Prussian army, which afterward turned out the Liberal party, and crushed the movement which Messrs. Camphausen and Hansemann had taken such pains to bring about. "Whereby they sinned, thereby are they punished." Such has been the fate of all the upstarts of 1848 and 1849, from Ledru Rolin to Changarnier, and from Camphausen down to Haynau.

The question of nationality gave rise to another struggle in Bohemia. This country, inhabited by two millions of Germans, and three millions of Slavonians of the Tschechian tongue, had great historical recollections, almost all connected with the former supremacy of the Tschechs. But then the force of this branch of the Slavonic family had been broken ever since the wars of the Hussites in the fifteenth century. The province speaking the Tschechian tongue was divided, one part forming the kingdom of Bohemia, another the principality of Moravia, a third the Carpathian hill-country of the Slovaks, being part of Hungary. The Moravians and Slovaks had long since lost every vestige of national feeling and vitality, although mostly preserving their language. Bohemia was surrounded by thoroughly German countries on three sides out of four. The German element had made great progress on her own territory; even in the capital, in Prague, the two nationalities were pretty equally matched; and everywhere capital, trade, industry, and mental culture were in the hands of the Germans. The chief champion of the Tschechian nationality, Professor Palacky, is himself nothing but a learned German run mad, who even now cannot speak the Tschechian language correctly and without foreign accent. But as it often happens, dying Tschechian nationality, dying according to every fact known in history for the last four hundred years, made in 1848 a last effort to regain its former vitality—an effort whose failure, independently of all revolutionary considerations, was to prove that Bohemia could only exist, henceforth, as a portion of Germany, although part of her inhabitants might yet, for some centuries, continue to speak a non-German language.

LONDON, February, 1852.


[1] Lusatia, an ancient territory of Germany, north of Bohemia, to which the whole of it originally belonged. Later it belonged to Saxony, and still later, in 1815, was divided between Saxony (the northern part) and Prussia (the southern).

Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

Panslavism — The Schleswig-Holstein War.
MARCH 15th, 1852.
BOHEMIA and Croatia (another disjected member of the Slavonic family, acted upon by the Hungarian, as Bohemia by the German) were the homes of what is called on the European continent "Panslavism." Neither Bohemia nor Croatia was strong enough to exist as a nation by herself. Their respective nationalities, gradually undermined by the action of historical causes that inevitably absorbs into a more energetic stock, could only hope to be restored to anything like independence by an alliance with other Slavonic nations. There were twenty-two millions of Poles, forty-five millions of Russians, eight millions of Serbians and Bulgarians; why not form a mighty confederation of the whole eighty millions of Slavonians, and drive back or exterminate the intruder upon the holy Slavonic soil, the Turk, the Hungarian, and above all the hated, but indispensable Niemetz, the German? Thus in the studies of a few Slavonian dilettanti of historical science was this ludicrous, this anti-historical movement got up, a movement which intended nothing less than to subjugate the civilized West under the barbarian East, the town under the country, trade, manufactures, intelligence, under the primitive agriculture of Slavonian serfs. But behind this ludicrous theory stood the terrible reality of the Russian Empire; that empire which by every movement proclaims the pretension of considering all Europe as the domain of the Slavonic race, and especially of the only energetic part of this race, of the Russians; that empire which, with two capitals such as St. Peterburg and Moscow, has not yet found its centre of gravity, as long as the "City of the Czar" (Constantinople, called in Russian Tzarigrad, the Czar's city), considered by every Russian peasant as the true metropolis of his religion and his nation, is not actually the residence of its Emperor; that empire which, for the last one hundred and fifty years, has never lost, but always gained territory by every war it has commenced. And well known in Central Europe are the intrigues by which Russian policy supported the new-fangled system of Panslavism, a system than which none better could be invented to suit its purposes. Thus, the Bohemian and Croatian Panslavists, some intentionally, some without knowing it, worked in the direct interest of Russia; they betrayed the revolutionary cause for the shadow of a nationality which, in the best of cases, would have shared the fate of the Polish nationality under Russian sway. It must, however, be said for the honor of the Poles, that they never got to be seriously entangled in these Panslavist traps, and if a few of the aristocracy turned furious Panslavists, they knew that by Russian subjugation they had less to lose than by a revolt of their own peasant serfs.

The Bohemians and Croatians called, then, a general Slavonic Congress at Prague, for the preparation of the universal Slavonian Alliance. This Congress would have proved a decided failure even without the interference of the Austrian military. The several Slavonic languages differ quite as much as the English, the German, and the Swedish, and when the proceedings opened, there was no common Slavonic tongue by which the speakers could make themselves understood. French was tried, but was equally unintelligible to the majority, and the poor Slavonic enthusiasts, whose only common feeling was a common hatred against the Germans, were at last obliged to express themselves in the hated German language, as the only one that was generally understood! But just then another Slavonic Congress was assembling in Prague, in the shape of Galician lancers, Croatian and Slovak grenadiers, and Bohemian gunners and cuirassiers; and this real, armed Slavonic Congress, under the command of Windischgratz, in less than twenty-four hours drove the founders of an imaginary Slavonian supremacy out of the town, and dispersed them to the winds.

The Bohemian, Moravian, Dalmatian, and part of the Polish deputies (the aristocracy) to the Austrian Constituent Diet, made in that Assembly a systematic war upon the German element. The Germans, and part of the Poles (the impoverished nobility), were in this Assembly the chief supporters of revolutionary progress; the mass of the Slavonic deputies, in opposing them, were not satisfied with thus showing clearly the reactionary tendencies of their entire movement, but they were degraded enough to tamper and conspire with the very same Austrian Government which had dispersed their meeting at Prague. They, too, were paid for this infamous conduct; after supporting the Government during the insurrection of October, 1848, an event which finally secured to them a majority in the Diet, this now almost exclusively Slavonic Diet was dispersed by Austrian soldiers, the same as the Prague Congress, and the Panslavists threatened with imprisonment if they should stir again. And they have only obtained this, that Slavonic nationality is now being everywhere undermined by Austrian centralization, a result for which they may thank their own fanaticism and blindness.

If the frontiers of Hungary and Germany had admitted of any doubt, there would certainly have been another quarrel there. But, fortunately, there was no pretext, and the interests of both nations being intimately related, they struggled against the same enemies, viz., the Austrian Government and the Panslavistic fanaticism. The good understanding was not for a moment disturbed. But the Italian Revolution entangled at least a part of Germany in an internecine war, and it must be stated here, as a proof how far the Metternichian system had succeeded in keeping back the development of the public mind, that during the first six months of 1848, the same men that had in Vienna mounted the barricades, went, full of enthusiasm, to join the army that fought against the Italian patriots. This deplorable confusion of ideas did not, however, last long.

Lastly, there was the war with Denmark about Schleswig and Holstein. These countries, unquestionably German by nationality, language and predilection, are also from military, naval and commercial grounds necessary to Germany. Their inhabitants have, for the last three years, struggled hard against Danish intrusion. The right of treaties, besides, was for them. The Revolution of March brought them into open collision with the Danes, and Germany supported them. But while in Poland, in Italy, in Bohemia, and later on, in Hungary, military operations were pushed with the utmost vigor, in this the only popular, the only, at least partially, revolutionary war, a system of resultless marches and counter-marches was adopted, and an interference of foreign diplomacy was submitted to, which led, after many an heroic engagement, to a most miserable end. The German Government betrayed, during the war, the Schleswig-Holstein revolutionary army on every occasion, and allowed it purposely to be cut up, when dispersed or divided, by the Danes. The German corps of volunteers were treated the same.

But while thus the German name earned nothing but hatred on every side, the German Constitutional and Liberal Governments rubbed their hands for joy. They had succeeded in crushing the Polish and the Bohemian movements. They had everywhere revived the old national animosities, which heretofore had prevented any common understanding and action between the German, the Pole, the Italian. They had accustomed the people to scenes of civil war and repression by the military. The Prussian army had regained its confidence in Poland, the Austrian army in Prague; and while the superabundant patriotism ("die Patriotische Ueberkraft," as Heine has it) of revolutionary but short-sighted youth was led in Schleswig and Lombardy, to be crushed by the grape-shot of the enemy, the regular army, the real instrument of action, both of Prussia and Austria, was placed in a position to regain public favor by victories over the foreigner. But we repeat: these armies, strengthened by the Liberals as a means of action against the more advanced party, no sooner had recovered their self-confidence and their discipline in some degree, than they turned themselves against the Liberals, and restored to power the men of the old system. When Radetzky, in his camp beyond the Adige, received the first orders from the "responsible ministers" at Vienna, he exclaimed: "Who are these ministers? They are not the Government of Austria! Austria is now nowhere but in my camp; I and my army, we are Austria; and when we shall have beaten the Italians we shall reconquer the Empire for the Emperor!" And old Radetzky was right–but the imbecile "responsible" ministers at Vienna heeded him not.

LONDON, February, 1852.


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

The Paris Rising — The Frankfort Assembly
MARCH 18th, 1852.
As early as the beginning of April, 1848, the revolutionary torrent had found itself stemmed all over the Continent of Europe by the league which those classes of society that had profited by the first victory immediately formed with the vanquished. In France, the petty trading class and the Republican faction of the bourgeoisie had combined with the Monarchist bourgeoisie against the proletarians; in Germany and Italy, the victorious bourgeoisie had eagerly courted the support of the feudal nobility, the official bureaucracy, and the army, against the mass of the people and the petty traders. Very soon the united Conservative and Counter-Revolutionary parties again regained the ascendant. In England, an untimely and ill-prepared popular demonstration (April 10th) [A mass meeting at Kennington Commons, called by the Chartist Convention] turned out a complete and decisive defeat of the popular party. In France, two similar movements (16th April and 15th May) were equally defeated. In Italy, King Bomba regained his authority by a single stroke on the 15th May. In Germany, the different new bourgeois Governments and their respective constituent Assemblies consolidated themselves, and if the eventful 15th of May gave rise, in Vienna, to a popular victory, this was an event of merely secondary importance, and may be considered the last successful flash of popular energy. In Hungary the movement appeared to turn into the quiet channel of perfect legality, and the Polish movement, as we have seen in our last, was stifled in the bud by Prussian bayonets. But as yet nothing was decided as to the eventual turn which things would take, and every inch of ground lost by the Revolutionary parties in the different countries only tended to close their ranks more and more for the decisive action.

The decisive action drew near. It could be fought in France only; for France, as long as England took no part in the revolutionary strife, or as Germany remained divided, was, by its national independence, civilization, and centralization, the only country to impart the impulse of a mighty convulsion to the surrounding countries. Accordingly, when, on the 23rd of June, 1848, the bloody struggle began in Paris, when every succeeding telegraph or mail more clearly exposed the fact to the eyes of Europe, that this struggle was carried on between the mass of the working people on the one hand, and all the other classes of the Parisian population, supported by the army, on the other; when the fighting went on for several days with an exasperation unequalled in the history of modern civil warfare, but without any apparent advantage for either side–then it became evident to every one that this was the great decisive battle which would, if the insurrection were victorious, deluge the whole continent with renewed revolutions, or, if it was suppressed, bring about an at least momentary restoration of counter-revolutionary rule.

The proletarians of Paris were defeated, decimated, crushed with such an effect that even now they have not yet recovered from the blow. And immediately, all over Europe, the new and old Conservatives and Counter-Revolutionists raised their heads with an effrontery that showed how well they understood the importance of the event. The Press was everywhere attacked, the rights of meeting and association were interfered with, every little event in every small provincial town was taken profit of to disarm the people to declare a state of siege, to drill the troops in the new manoeuvres and artifices that Cavaignac had taught them. Besides, for the first time since February, the invincibility of a popular insurrection in a large town had been proved to be a delusion; the honor of the armies had been restored; the troops hitherto always defeated in street battles of importance regained confidence in their efficiency even in this kind of struggle. From this defeat of the ouvriers of Paris may be dated the first positive steps and definite plans of the old feudal bureaucratic party in Germany, to get rid even of their momentary allies, the middle classes, and to restore Germany to the state she was in before the events of March. The army again was the decisive power in the State, and the army belonged not to the middle classes but to themselves. Even in Prussia, where before 1848 a considerable leaning of part of the lower grades of officers towards a Constitutional Government had been observed, the disorder introduced into the army by the Revolution had brought back those reasoning young men to their allegiance; as soon as the private soldier took a few liberties with regard to the officers, the necessity of discipline and passive obedience became at once strikingly evident to them. The vanquished nobles and bureaucrats now began to see their way before them; the army, more united than ever, flushed with victory in minor insurrections and in foreign warfare, jealous of the great success the French soldiers had just attained–this army had only to be kept in constant petty conflicts with the people, and the decisive moment once at hand, it could with one great blow crush the Revolutionists, and set aside the presumptions of the middle class Parliamentarians. And the proper moment for such a decisive blow arrived soon enough.

We pass over the sometimes curious, but mostly tedious, parliamentary proceedings and local struggles that occupied, in Germany, the different parties during the summer. Suffice it to say that the supporters of the middle class interest in spite of numerous parliamentary triumphs, not one of which led to any practical result, very generally felt that their position between the extreme parties became daily more untenable, and that, therefore, they were obliged now to seek the alliance of the reactionists, and the next day to court the favor of the more popular factions. This constant vacillation gave the finishing stroke to their character in public opinion, and according to the turn events were taking, the contempt into which they had sunk, profited for the movement principally to the bureaucrats and feudalists.

By the beginning of autumn the relative position of the different parties had become exasperated and critical enough to make a decisive battle inevitable. The first engagements in this war between the democratic and revolutionary masses and the army took place at Frankfort. Though a mere secondary engagement, it was the first advantage of any note the troops acquired over the insurrection, and had a great moral effect. The fancy Government established by the Frankfort National Assembly had been allowed by Prussia, for very obvious reasons, to conclude an armistice with Denmark, which not only surrendered to Danish vengeance the Germans of Schleswig, but which also entirely disclaimed the more or less revolutionary principles which were generally supposed in the Danish war. This armistice was, by a majority of two or three, rejected in the Frankfort Assembly. A sham ministerial crisis followed this vote, but three days later the Assembly reconsidered their vote, and were actually induced to cancel it and acknowledge the armistice. This disgraceful proceeding roused the indignation of the people. Barricades were erected, but already sufficient troops had been drawn to Frankfort, and after six hours' fighting, the insurrection was suppressed. Similar, but less important, movements connected with this event took place in other parts of Germany (Baden, Cologne), but were equally defeated.

This preliminary engagement gave to the Counter-Revolutionary party the one great advantage, that now the only Government which had entirely–at least in semblance–originated with popular election, the Imperial Government of Frankfort, as well as the National Assembly, was ruined in the eyes of the people. This Government and this Assembly had been obliged to appeal to the bayonets of the troops against the manifestation of the popular will. They were compromised, and what little regard they might have been hitherto enabled to claim, this repudiation of their origin, the dependency upon the anti-popular Governments and their troops, made both the Lieutenant of the Empire, his ministers and his deputies, henceforth to be complete nullities. We shall soon see how first Austria, then Prussia, and later on the smaller States too, treated with contempt every order, every request, every deputation they received from this body of impotent dreamers.

We now come to the great counter-stroke in Germany, of the French battle of June, to that event which was as decisive for Germany as the proletarian struggle of Paris had been for France; we mean the revolution and subsequent storming of Vienna, October, 1848. But the importance of this battle is such, and the explanation of the different circumstances that more immediately contributed to its issue will take up such a portion of The Tribune's columns, as to necessitate its being treated in a separate letter.

LONDON, February, 1852.


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

The Vienna Insurrection
MARCH 19th, 1852.
WE now come to the decisive event which formed the counter-revolutionary part in Germany to the Parisian insurrection of June, and which, by a single blow, turned the scale in favor of the Counter-Revolutionary party,—the insurrection of October, 1848, in Vienna.

We have seen what the position of the different classes was, in Vienna, after the victory of 12th March. We have also seen how the movement of German-Austria was entangled with and impeded by the events in the non-German provinces of Austria. It only remains for us, then, briefly to survey the causes which led to this last and most formidable rising of German-Austria.

The high aristocracy and the stock-jobbing bourgeoisie, which had formed the principal nonofficial supports of the Metternichian Government, were enabled, even after the events of March, to maintain a predominating influence with the Government, not only by the Court, the army and the bureaucracy, but still more by the horror of "anarchy," which rapidly spread among the middle classes. They very soon ventured a few feelers in the shape of a Press Law, a nondescript Aristocratic Constitution, and an Electoral Law based upon the old division of "estates." The so-called Constitutional ministry, consisting of half Liberal, timid, incapable bureaucrats, on the 14th of May, even ventured a direct attack upon the revolutionary organizations of the masses by dissolving the Central Committee of Delegates of the National Guard and Academic Legion, a body formed for the express purpose of controlling the Government, and calling out against it, in case of need, the popular forces. But this act only provoked the insurrection of the 15th of May, by which the Government was forced to acknowledge the Committee, to repeal the Constitution and the Electoral Law and to grant the power of framing a new Fundamental Law to a Constitutional Diet, elected by universal suffrage. All this was confirmed on the following day by an Imperial proclamation. But the reactionary party, which also had its representatives in the ministry, soon got their "Liberal" colleagues to undertake a new attack upon the popular conquests. The Academic Legion, the stronghold of the movement party, the centre of continuous agitation, had, on this very account, become obnoxious to the more moderate burghers of Vienna; on the 26th a ministerial decree dissolved it. Perhaps this blow might have succeeded, if it had been carried out by a part of the National Guard only, but the Government, not trusting them either, brought the military forward, and at once the National Guard turned round, united with the Academic Legion, and thus frustrated the ministerial project.

In the meantime, however, the Emperor and his Court had, on the 16th of May, left Vienna, and fled to Innspruck. Here surrounded by the bigoted Tyroleans, whose loyalty was roused again by the danger of an invasion of their country by the Sardo-Lombardian army, supported by the vicinity of Radetzky's troops, within shell-range of whom Innspruck lay, here the Counter-Revolutionary party found an asylum, from whence, uncontrolled, unobserved and safe, it might rally its scattered forces, repair and spread again all over the country the network of its plots. Communications were reopened with Radetzky, with Jellachich, and with Windischgratz, as well as with the reliable men in the administrative hierarchy of the different provinces; intrigues were set on foot with the Slavonic chiefs, and thus a real force at the disposal of the Counter-Revolutionary camarilla was formed, while the impotent ministers in Vienna were allowed to wear their short and feeble popularity out in continual bickerings with the revolutionary masses, and in the debates of the forthcoming Constituent Assembly. Thus the policy of leaving the movement of the capital to itself for a time; a policy which must have led to the omnipotence of the movement party in a centralized and homogeneous country like France, here in Austria, in a heterogeneous political conglomerate, was one of the safest means of reorganizing the strength of the reactionists.

In Vienna the middle class, persuaded that after three successive defeats, and in the face of a Constituent Assembly based upon universal suffrage, the Court was no longer an opponent to be dreaded, fell more and more into that weariness and apathy, and that eternal outcry for order and tranquillity, which has everywhere seized this class after violent commotions and consequent derangement of trade. The manufactures of the Austrian capital are almost exclusively limited to articles of luxury, for which, since the Revolution and the flight of the Court, there had necessarily been little demand. The shout for a return to a regular system of government, and for a return of the Court, both of which were expected to bring about a revival of commercial prosperity—this shout became now general among the middle classes. The meeting of the Constituent Assembly in July was hailed with delight as the end of the revolutionary era; so was the return of the Court, which, after the victories of Radetzky in Italy, and after the advent of the reactionary ministry of Doblhoff, considered itself strong enough to brave the popular torrent, and which, at the same time, was wanted in Vienna in order to complete its intrigues with the Slavonic majority of the Diet. While the Constituent Diet discussed the laws on the emancipation of the peasantry from feudal bondage and forced labor for the nobility, the Court completed a master stroke. On the 19th of August the Emperor was made to review the National Guard; the Imperial family, the courtiers, the general officers, outbade each other in flatteries to the armed burghers, who were already intoxicated with pride at thus seeing themselves publicly acknowledged as one of the important bodies of the State; and immediately afterwards a decree, signed by Herr Schwarzer, the only popular minister in the Cabinet, was published, withdrawing the Government aid, given hitherto to the workmen out of employ. The trick succeeded; the working classes got up a demonstration; the middle class National Guards declared for the decree of their minister; they were launched upon the "Anarchists," fell like tigers on the unarmed and unresisting workpeople, and massacred a great number of them on the 23rd of August. Thus the unity and strength of the revolutionary force was broken; the class-struggle between bourgeois and proletarian had come in Vienna, too, to a bloody outbreak, and the counter-revolutionary camarilla saw the day approaching on which it might strike its grand blow.

The Hungarian affairs very soon gave them the opportunity to proclaim openly the principles upon which it intended to act. On the 5th of October an Imperial decree in the Vienna Gazette—a decree countersigned by none of the responsible ministers for Hungary—declared the Hungarian Diet dissolved, and named the Ban Jellachich, of Croatia, civil and military governor of that country—Jellachich, the leader of South Slavonian reaction, a man who was actually at war with the lawful authorities of Hungary. At the same time orders were given to the troops in Vienna to march out and form part of the army which was to enforce Jellachich's authority. This, however, was showing the cloven foot too openly; every man in Vienna felt that war upon Hungary was war upon the principle of constitutional government, which principle was in the very decree trampled upon by the attempt of the emperor to make decrees with legal force, without the countersign of a responsible minister. The people, the Academic Legion, the National Guard of Vienna, on the 6th of October rose in mass, and resisted the departure of the troops; some grenadiers passed over to the people; a short struggle took place between the popular forces and the troops; the minister of war, Latour, was massacred by the people, and in the evening the latter were victors. In the meantime, Ban Jellachich, beaten at Stuhlweissenburg by Perczel, had taken refuge near Vienna on German-Austrian territory; the Viennese troops that were to march to his support now took up an ostensibly hostile and defensive position against him; and the emperor and court had again fled to Olmutz, on semi-Slavonic territory.

But at Olmutz the Court found itself in very different circumstances from what it had been at Innspruck. It was now in a position to open immediately the campaign against the Revolution. It was surrounded by the Slavonian deputies of the Constituent, who flocked in masses to Olmutz, and by the Slavonian enthusiasts from all parts of the monarchy. The campaign, in their eyes, was to be a war of Slavonian restoration and of extermination, against the two intruders, upon what was considered Slavonian soil, against the German and the Magyar. Windischgratz, the conqueror of Prague, now commander of the army that was concentrated around Vienna, became at once the hero of Slavonian nationality. And his army concentrated rapidly from all sides. From Bohemia, Moravia, Styria, Upper Austria, and Italy, marched regiment after regiment on routes that converged at Vienna, to join the troops of Jellachich and the ex-garrison of the capital. Above sixty thousand men were thus united towards the end of October, and soon they commenced hemming in the imperial city on all sides, until, on the 30th of October, they were far enough advanced to venture upon the decisive attack.

In Vienna, in the meantime, confusion and helplessness was prevalent. The middle class, as soon as the victory was gained, became again possessed of their old distrust against the "anarchic" working classes; the working men, mindful of the treatment they had received, six weeks before, at the hands of the armed tradesmen, and of the unsteady, wavering policy of the middle class at large, would not trust to them the defence of the city, and demanded arms and military organization for themselves. The Academic Legion, full of zeal for the struggle against imperial despotism, were entirely incapable of understanding the nature of the estrangement of the two classes, or of otherwise comprehending the necessities of the situation. There was confusion in the public mind, confusion in the ruling councils. The remnant of the German Diet deputies, and a few Slavonians, acting the part of spies for their friends at Olmutz, besides a few of the more revolutionary Polish deputies, sat in permanency; but instead of taking part resolutely, they lost all their time in idle debates upon the possibility of resisting the imperial army without overstepping the bounds of constitutional conventionalities. The committee of safety, composed of deputies from almost all the popular bodies of Vienna, although resolved to resist, was yet dominated by a majority of burghers and petty tradesmen, who never allowed it to follow up any determined, energetic line of action. The council of the Academic Legion passed heroic resolutions, but was in no way able to take the lead. The working classes, distrusted, disarmed, disorganized, hardly emerging from the intellectual bondage of the old regime, hardly awaking, not to a knowledge, but to a mere instinct of their social position and proper political line of action, could only make themselves heard by loud demonstrations, and could not be expected to be up to the difficulties of the moment. But they were ready—as they ever were in Germany during the revolution—to fight to the last, as soon as they obtained arms.

That was the state of things in Vienna. Outside, the reorganized Austrian army flushed with the victories of Radetzky in Italy; sixty or seventy thousand men well armed, well organized, and if not well commanded at least possessing commanders. Inside, confusion, class division, disorganization; a national guard, part of which was resolved not to fight at all, part irresolute, and only the smallest part ready to act; a proletarian mass, powerful by numbers but without leaders, without any political education, subject to panic as well as to fits of fury almost without cause, a prey to every false rumor spread about, quite ready to fight, but unarmed, at least in the beginning, and incompletely armed, and barely organized when at last they were led to battle; a helpless Diet, discussing theoretical quibbles while the roof over their heads was almost burning; a leading committee without impulse or energy. Everything was changed from the days of March and May, when, in the counter-revolutionary camp, all was confusion, and when the only organized force was that created by the revolution. There could hardly be a doubt about the issue of such a struggle, and whatever doubt there might be, was settled by the events of the 30th and 31st of October, and 1st November.

LONDON, March, 1852.


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

The Storming of Vienna—The Betrayal of Vienna
APRIL 9th, 1852.
WHEN at last the concentrated army of Windisgratz commenced the attack upon Vienna, the forces that could be brought forward in defence were exceedingly insufficient for the purpose. Of the National Guard only a portion was to be brought to the entrenchments. A Proletarian Guard, it is true, had at last been hastily formed, but owing to the lateness of the attempt to thus make available the most numerous, most daring. and most energetic part of the population, it was too little inured to the use of arms and to the very first rudiments of discipline to offer a successful resistance. Thus the Academic Legion, three to four thousand strong, well exercised and disciplined to a certain degree, brave and enthusiastic, was, militarily speaking, the only force which was in a state to do its work successfully. But what were they, together with the few reliable National Guards, and with the confused mass of the armed proletarians, in opposition to the far more numerous regulars of Windischgratz, not counting even the brigand hordes of Jellachich, hordes that were, by the very nature of their habits, very useful in a war from house to house, from lane to lane? And what but a few old, outworn, ill-mounted, and ill-served pieces of ordnance had the insurgents to oppose to that numerous and well-appointed artillery, of which Windischgratz made such an unscrupulous use?

The nearer the danger drew, the more grew the confusion in Vienna. The Diet, up to the last moment, could not collect sufficient energy to call in for aid the Hungarian army of Perczel, encamped a few leagues below the capital. The committee passed contradictory resolutions, they themselves being, like the popular armed masses, floated up and down with the alternately rising and receding tide of rumors and counter-rumors. There was only one thing upon which all agreed—to respect property; and this was done in a degree almost ludicrous for such times. As to the final arrangement of a plan of defence, very little was done. Bem, the only man present who could have saved Vienna, if any could then in Vienna, an almost unknown foreigner, a Slavonian by birth, gave up the task, overwhelmed as he was by universal distrust. Had he persevered, he might have been lynched as a traitor. Messenhauser, the commander of the insurgent forces, more of a novel-writer than even of a subaltern officer, was totally inadequate to the task; and yet, after eight months of revolutionary struggles, the popular party had not produced or acquired a military man of more ability than he. Thus the contest began. The Viennese considering their utterly inadequate means of defence, considering their utter absence of military skill and organization in the ranks, offered a most heroic resistance. In many places the order given Bem, when he was in command, "to defend that post to the last man," was carried out to the letter. But force prevailed. Barricade after barricade was swept away by the imperial artillery in the long and wide avenues which form the main streets of the suburbs; and on the evening of the second day's fighting the Croats occupied the range of houses facing the glacis of the Old Town. A feeble and disorderly attack of the Hungarian army had been utterly defeated; and during an armistice, while some parties in the Old Town capitulated, while others hesitated and spread confusion, while the remnants of the Academic Legion prepared fresh intrenchments, an entrance was made by the imperialists, and in the midst of the general disorder the Old Town was carried.

The immediate consequences of this victory, the brutalities and executions by martial law, the unheard-of cruelties and infamies committed by the Slavonian hordes let loose upon Vienna, are too well known to be detailed here. The ulterior consequences, the entirely new turn given to German affairs by the defeat of the revolution in Vienna, we shall have reason to notice hereafter. There remain two points to be considered in connection with the storming of Vienna. The people of that capital had two allies—the Hungarians and the German people. Where were they in the hour of trial?

We have seen that the Viennese, with all the generosity of a newly freed people, had risen for a cause which, though ultimately their own, was in the first instance, and above all, that of the Hungarians. Rather than suffer the Austrian troops to march upon Hungary, they would draw their first and most terrific onslaught upon themselves. And while they thus nobly came forward for the support of their allies, the Hungarians, successful against Jellachich, drove him upon Vienna, and by their victory strengthened the force that was to attack that town. Under these circumstances it was the clear duty of Hungary to support, without delay, and with all disposable forces, not the Diet of Vienna, not the Committee of Safety or any other official body at Vienna, but the Viennese revolution. And if Hungary should even have forgotten that Vienna had fought the first battle of Hungary, she owed it to her own safety not to forget that Vienna was the only outpost of Hungarian independence, and that after the fall of Vienna nothing could meet the advance of the imperial troops against herself. Now, we know very well all the Hungarians can say and have said in defence of their inactivity during the blockade and storming of Vienna: the insufficient state of their own force, the refusal of the Diet or any other official body in Vienna to call them in, the necessity to keep on constitutional ground, and to avoid complications with the German central power. But the fact is, as to the insufficient state of the Hungarian army, that in the first days after the Viennese revolution and the arrival of Jellachich, nothing was wanted in the shape of regular troops, as the Austrian regulars were very far from being concentrated; and that a courageous, unrelenting following up of the first advantage over Jellachich, even with nothing but the Land Sturm that had fought at Stuhlweissenburg, would have sufficed to effect a junction with the Viennese, and to adjourn to that day six months every concentration of an Austrian army. In war, and particularly in revolutionary warfare, rapidity of action until some decided advantage is gained is the first rule, and we have no hesitation in saying that upon merely military grounds Perczel ought not to have stopped until his junction with the Viennese was affected. There was certainly some risk, but who ever won a battle without risking something? And did the people of Vienna risk nothing when they drew upon themselves—they, a population of four hundred thousand—the forces that were to march to the conquest of twelve millions of Hungarians? The military fault committed by waiting until the Austrians had united, and by making the feeble demonstration at Schwechat which ended, as it deserved to do, in an inglorious defeat—this military fault certainly incurred more risks than a resolute march upon Vienna against the disbanded brigands of Jellachich would have done.

But, it is said, such an advance of the Hungarians, unless authorized by some official body, would have been a violation of the German territory, would have brought on complications with the central power at Frankfort, and would have been, above all, an abandonment of the legal and constitutional policy which formed the strength of the Hungarian cause. Why, the official bodies in Vienna were nonentities! Was it the Diet, was it the popular committees, who had risen for Hungary, or was it the people of Vienna, and they alone, who had taken to the musket to stand the brunt of the first battle for Hungary's independence? It was not this nor that official body in Vienna which it was important to uphold; all these bodies might, and would have been, upset very soon in the progress of the revolutionary development; but it was the ascendancy of the revolutionary movement, the unbroken progress of popular action itself, which alone was in question, and which alone could save Hungary from invasion. What forms this revolutionary movement afterwards might take, was the business of the Viennese, not of the Hungarians, so long as Vienna and German Austria at large continued their allies against the common enemy. But the question is, whether in this stickling of the Hungarian government for some quasi-legal authorization, we are not to see the first clear symptom of that pretence to a rather doubtful legality of proceeding, which, if it did not save Hungary, at least told very well, at a later period, before the English middle class audiences.

As to the pretext of possible conflicts with the central power of Germany at Frankfort, it is quite futile. The Frankfort authorities were de facto upset by the victory of the counter-revolution at Vienna; they would have been equally upset had the revolution there found the support necessary to defeat its enemies. And lastly,the great argument that Hungary could not leave legal and constitutional ground, may do very well for British free-traders, but it will never be deemed sufficient in the eyes of history. Suppose the people of Vienna had stuck to "legal and constitutional means" on the 13th of March, and on the 6th of October, what then of the "legal and constitutional" movement, and of all the glorious battles which, for the first time, brought Hungary to the notice of the civilized world? The very legal and constitutional ground upon which it is asserted the Hungarians moved in 1848 and 1849 was conquered for them by the exceedingly illegal and unconstitutional rising of the people of Vienna on the 13th March. It is not to our purpose here to discuss the revolutionary history of Hungary, but it may be deemed proper if we observe that it is utterly useless to professedly use merely legal means of resistance against an enemy who scorns such scruples; and if we add, that had it not been for this eternal pretence of legality which Gorgey seized upon and turned against the Government, the devotion of Gorgey's army to its general, and the disgraceful catastrophe of Villagos, would have been impossible. And when, at last, to save their honor, the Hungarians came across the Leitha, in the latter end of October, 1848, was not this quite as illegal as any immediate and resolute attack would have been?

We are known to harbor no unfriendly feeling toward Hungary. We stood by her during the struggles; we may be allowed to say that our paper, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, [1] has done more than any other to render the Hungarian cause popular in Germany, by explaining the nature of the struggle between the Magyar and Slavonian races, and by following up the Hungarian war in a series of articles which have had paid them the compliment of being plagiarized in almost every subsequent book upon the subject, the works of native Hungarians and "eyewitnesses" not excepted. We even now, in any future continental convulsion, consider Hungary as the necessary and natural ally of Germany. But we have been severe enough upon our own countrymen, to have a right to speak out upon our neighbors; and then we have here to record facts with historical impartiality, and we must say that in this particular instance, the generous bravery of the people of Vienna was not only fat more noble, but also more far-sighted than the cautious circumspection of the Hungarian Government. And, as a German, we may further be allowed to say, that not for all the showy victories and glorious battles of the Hungarian campaign, would we exchange that spontaneous, single-handed rising, and heroic resistance of the people of Vienna, our countrymen, which gave Hungary the time to organize the army that could do such great things.

The second ally of Vienna was the German people. But they were everywhere engaged in the same struggle as the Viennese. Frankfort, Baden, Cologne, had just been defeated and disarmed. In Berlin and Breslau the people were at daggers-drawn with the army, and daily expected to come to blows. Thus it was in every local center of action. Everywhere questions were pending that could only be settled by the force of arms; and now it was that for the first time were severely felt the disastrous consequences of the continuation of the old dismemberment and decentralization of Germany. The different questions in every State, every province, every town, were fundamentally the same; but they were brought forward everywhere under different shapes and pretexts, and had everywhere attained different degrees of maturity. Thus it happened that while in every locality the decisive gravity of the events at Vienna was felt, yet nowhere could an important blow be struck with any hope of bringing the Viennese succor, or making a diversion in their favor; and there remained nothing to aid them but the Parliament and Central Power of Frankfort; they were appealed to on all hands; but what did they do?

The Frankfort Parliament and the bastard child it had brought to light by incestuous intercourse with the old German Diet, the so-called Central Power, profited by the Viennese movement to show forth their utter nullity. This contemptible Assembly, as we have seen, had long since sacrificed its virginity, and young as it was, it was already turning grey-headed and experienced in all the artifices of painting and pseudo-diplomatic prostitution. Of the dreams and illusions of power, of German regeneration and unity, that in the beginning had pervaded it, nothing remained but a set of Teutonic clap-trap phraseology, that was repeated on every occasion, and a firm belief of each individual member in his own importance, as well as in the credulity of the public. The original naivety was discarded; the representatives of the German people had turned practical men, that is to say, they had made it out that the less they did, and the more they prated, the safer would be their position as the umpires of the fate of Germany. Not that they considered their proceedings superfluous; quite the contrary. But they had found out that all really great questions, being to them forbidden ground, had better be let alone, and there, like a set of Byzantine doctors of the Lower Empire, they discussed with an importance and assiduity worthy of the fate that at last overtook them, theoretical dogmas long ago settled in every part of the civilized world, or microscopical practical questions which never led to any practical result. Thus, the Assembly being a sort of Lancastrian School for the mutual instruction of members, and being, therefore, very important to themselves, they were persuaded it was doing ever more than the German people had a right to expect, and looked upon everyone as a traitor to the country who had impudence to ask them to come to any result.

When the Viennese insurrection broke out, there was a host of interpellations, debates, motions, and amendments upon it, which, of course, led to nothing. The Central Power was to interfere. It sent two commissioners, Welcker, the ex-Liberal, and Mosle, to Vienna. The travels of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza form matter for an Odyssey in comparison with the heroic feats and wonderful adventures of those two knight-errants of German Unity. Not daring to go to Vienna, they were bullied by Windischgratz, wondered at by the idiot Emperor, and impudently hoaxed by the Minister Stadion. Their despatches and reports are perhaps the only portion of the Frankfort transactions that will retain a place in German literature; they are a perfect satirical romance, ready cut and dried, and an eternal monument of disgrace for the Frankfort Assembly and its Government.

The left side of the Assembly had also sent two commissioners to Vienna, in order to uphold its authority there—Froebel and Robert Blum. Blum, when danger drew near, judged rightly that here the great battle of the German Revolution was to be fought, and unhesitatingly resolved to stake his head on the issue. Froebel, on the contrary, was of opinion that it was his duty to preserve himself for the important duties of his post at Frankfort. Blum was considered one of the most eloquent men of the Frankfort Assembly; he certainly was the most popular. His eloquence would not have stood the test of any experienced Parliamentary Assembly; he was too fond of the shallow declamations of a German dissenting preacher, and his arguments wanted both philosophical acumen and acquaintance with practical matters of fact. In politics he belonged to "Moderate Democracy," a rather indefinite sort of thing, cherished on account of this very want of definiteness in its principles. But with all this Robert Blum was by nature a thorough, though somewhat polished, plebeian, and in decisive moments his plebeian instinct and plebeian energy got the better of his indefiniteness, and, therefore, indecisive political persuasion and knowledge. In such moments he raised himself far above the usual standard of his capacities.

Thus, in Vienna, he saw at a glance that here, not in the midst of the would-be elegant debates of Frankfort, the fate of his country would have to be decided. He at once made up his mind, gave up all idea of retreat, took a command in the revolutionary force, and behaved with extraordinary coolness and decision. It was he who retarded for a considerable time the taking of the town, and covered one of its sides from attack by burning the Tabor Bridge over the Danube. Everybody knows how, after the storming, he was arrested, tried by court-martial, and shot. He died like a hero. And the Frankfort Assembly, horrorstruck as it was, yet took the bloody insult with a seeming good grace. A resolution was carried, which, by the softness and diplomatic decency of its language, was more an insult to the grave of the murdered martyr than a damning stain upon Austria. But it was not to be expected that this contemptible Assembly should resent the assassination of one of its members, particularly of the leader of the Left.

LONDON, March, 1852.


[1] "Die Neue Rheinische Zeitung" (The New Rhenish Gazette). After the March revolution, 1848, Marx returned from Paris to Germany, and settling down—for the time being—at Cologne, founded this paper. Although the "Neue Rheinische Zeitung" never went in for propounding "Communist schemes," as Mr. Dawson, e. g., says it did, it became a very nightmare to the Government. Reactionaries and Liberals alike denounced the "Gazette," especially after Marx's brilliant defence of the Paris Insurrection of June. The state of siege being declared in Cologne, the "Gazette" was suspended for six weeks—only to appear with a bigger reputation and bigger circulation than before. After the Prussian "coup d'etat" in November, the "Gazette" published at the head of every issue an appeal to the people to refuse to pay taxes, and to meet force by force. For this and certain other articles the paper was twice prosecuted. On the first occasion the accused were Marx, Engels, and Korff; on the second and more important trial, they were Marx, Schapper, and Schneider. The accused were charged with "inciting the people to armed resistance against the Government and its officials." Marx mainly conducted the defence, and delivered a brilliant speech. "Marx refrains" (in this speech) "from all oratorical flourish; he goes straight to the point, and without any peroration ends with a summary of the political situation. Anyone would think that Marx's own personality was to deliver a political lecture to the jury. And, in fact, at the end of the trial, one of the jurors went to Marx to thank him, in the name of his colleagues, for the instructive lecture he had given them." (See Bernstein's work, "Ferdinand Lassalle.") The accused were unanimously acquitted by the jury. Among the better known of the contributors of the "New Rhenish Gazette," edited by Marx, were Engels, W. Wolff, Werth, Lassalle; while Freiligrath wrote for it his splendid revolutionary poems. Perhaps one of the grandest of these is the celebrated "Farewell of the "Rhenish Gazette"." when on the 19th May, l849, the final number of the paper—suppressed by the Government—appeared, printed in red type.

"When the last of crowns like glass shall break,
On the scene our sorrows have haunted.
And the people the last dread 'Guilty' shall speak,
By your side ye shall find me undaunted.
On Rhine or on Danube, in word and deed,
You shall witness, true to his vow,
On the wrecks of thrones, in the midst of the freed
The rebel who greets you now."

(Translated by Ernest Jones.)


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

The Prussian Assembly—The National Assembly
APRIL 17th, 1852.
ON the 1st of November Vienna fell, and on the 9th of the same month the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in Berlin showed how much this event had at once raised the spirit and the strength of the Counter-Revolutionary party all over Germany.

The events of the summer of 1848 in Prussia are soon told. The Constituent Assembly, or rather "the Assembly elected for the purpose of agreeing upon a Constitution with the Crown," and its majority of representatives of the middle class interest, had long since forfeited all public esteem by lending itself to all the intrigues of the Court, from fear of the more energetic elements of the population. They had confirmed, or rather restored, the obnoxious privileges of feudalism, and thus betrayed the liberty and the interests of, the peasantry. They had neither been able to draw up a Constitution, nor to amend in any way the general legislation. They had occupied themselves almost exclusively with nice theoretical distinctions, mere formalities, and questions of constitutional etiquette. The Assembly, in fact, was more a school of Parliamentary savoir vivre for its members, than a body in which the people could take any interest. The majorities were, besides, very nicely balanced, and almost always decided by the wavering centers whose oscillations from right to left, and vice versa, upset, first the ministry of Camphausen, then that of Auerswald and Hansemann. But while thus the Liberals, here as everywhere else, let the occasion slip out of their hands, the Court reorganized its elements of strength among the nobility, and the most uncultivated portion of the rural population, as well as in the army and the bureaucracy. After Hansemann's downfall, a ministry of bureaucrats and military officers, all staunch reactionists, was formed, which, however, seemingly gave way to the demands of the Parliament; and the Assembly acting upon the commodious principle of "measures, not men," were actually duped into applauding this ministry, while they, of course, had no eyes for the concentration and organization of Counter-Revolutionary forces, which that same ministry carried on pretty openly. At last, the signal being given by the fall of Vienna, the King dismissed its ministers, and replaced them by "men of action," under the leadership of the present premier, Manteufel. Then the dreaming Assembly at once awoke to the danger; it passed a vote of no confidence in the Cabinet, which was at once replied to by a decree removing the Assembly from Berlin, where it might, in case of a conflict, count upon the support of the masses, to Brandenburg, a petty provincial town dependent entirely upon the Government. The Assembly, however, declared that it could not be adjourned, removed or dissolved, except with its own consent. In the meantime, General Wrangle entered Berlin at the head of some forty thousand troops. In a meeting of the municipal magistrates and the officers of the National Guard, it was resolved not to offer any resistance. And now, after the Assembly and its Constituents, the Liberal bourgeoisie, had allowed the combined reactionary party to occupy every important position, and to wrest from their hands almost every means of defence, began that grand comedy of "passive and legal resistance" which they intended to be a glorious imitation of the example of Hampden [John Hampden, Member of Parliament and central figure of the English Revolution], and of the first efforts of the Americans in the War of Independence. Berlin was declared in a state of siege, and Berlin remained tranquil; the National Guard was dissolved by the Government, and its arms were delivered up with the greatest punctuality. The Assembly was hunted down during a fortnight, from one place of meeting to another, and everywhere dispersed by the military, and the members of the Assembly begged of the citizens to remain tranquil. At last the Government having declared the Assembly dissolved, it passed a resolution to declare the levying of taxes illegal, and then its members dispersed themselves over the country to organize the refusal of taxes. But they found that they had been woefully mistaken in the choice of their means. After a few agitated weeks, followed by severe measures of the Government against the Opposition, everyone gave up the idea of refusing the taxes in order to please a defunct Assembly that had not even had the courage to defend itself.

Whether it was in the beginning of November, 1848, already too late to try armed resistance, or whether a part of the army, on finding serious opposition, would have turned over to the side of the Assembly, and thus decided the matter in its favor, is a question which may never be solved. But in revolution as in war, it is always necessary to show a strong front, and he who attacks is in the advantage; and in revolution as in war, it is of the highest necessity to stake everything on the decisive moment, whatever the odds may be. There is not a single successful revolution in history that does not prove the truth of these axioms. Now, for the Prussian Revolution, the decisive moment had come in November, 1848; the Assembly, at the head, officially, of the whole revolutionary interest, did neither show a strong front, for it receded at every advance of the enemy; much less did it attack, for it chose even not to defend itself; and when the decisive moment came, when Wrangle, at the head of forty thousand men, knocked at the gates of Berlin, instead of finding, as he and all his officers fully expected, every street studded with barricades, every window turned into a loophole, he found the Gates open, and the streets obstructed only by peaceful Berliner burghers, enjoying the joke they had played upon him, by delivering themselves up, hands and feet tied, unto the astonished soldiers. It is true, the Assembly and the people, if they had resisted, might have been beaten; Berlin might have been bombarded, and many hundreds might have been killed, without preventing the ultimate victory of the Royalist party. But that was no reason why they should surrender their arms at once. A well-contested defeat is a fact of as much revolutionary importance as an easily-won victory. The defeats of Paris in June, 1848, and of Vienna in October, certainly did far more in revolutionizing the minds of the people of these two cities than the victories of February and March. The Assembly and the people of Berlin would, probably have shared the fate of the two towns above-named; but they would have fallen gloriously, and would have left behind themselves, in the minds of the survivors, a wish of revenge which in revolutionary times is one of the highest incentives to energetic and passionate action. It is a matter of course that, in every struggle, he who takes up the gauntlet risks being beaten; but is that a reason why he should confess himself beaten, and submit to the yoke without drawing the sword?

In a revolution he who commands a decisive position and surrenders it, instead of forcing the enemy to try his hands at an assault, invariably deserves to be treated as a traitor.

The same decree of the King of Prussia which dissolved the Constituent Assembly also proclaimed a new Constitution, founded upon the draft which had been made by a Committee of that Assembly, but enlarging in some points the powers of the Crown, and rendering doubtful in others those of the Parliament. This Constitution established two Chambers, which were to meet soon for the purpose of confirming and revising it.

We need hardly ask where the German National Assembly was during the "legal and peaceful" struggle of the Prussian Constitutionalists. It was, as usual, at Frankfort, occupied with passing very tame resolutions against the proceedings of the Prussian Government, and admiring the "imposing spectacle of the passive, legal, and unanimous resistance of a whole people against brutal force." The Central Government sent commissioners to Berlin to intercede between the Ministry and the Assembly; but they met the same fate as their predecessors at Olmütz, and were politely shown out. The Left of the National Assembly, i. e., the so-called Radical party, sent also their commissioners; but after having duly convinced themselves of the utter helplessness of the Berlin Assembly, and confessed their own equal helplessness, they returned to Frankfort to report progress, and to testify to the admirably peaceful conduct of the population of Berlin. Nay, more; when Herr Bassermann, one of the Central Government's commissioners, reported that the late stringent measures of the Prussian ministers were not without foundation, inasmuch as there had of late been seen loitering about the streets of Berlin sundry, savage-looking characters, such as always appear previous to anarchical movements (and which ever since have been named "Bassermannic characters"), these worthy deputies of the Left and energetic representatives of the revolutionary interest actually arose to make oath, and testify that such was not the case! Thus within two months the total impotency of the Frankfort Assembly was signally proved. There could be no more glaring proofs that this body was totally inadequate to its task; nay, that it had not even the remotest idea of what its task really was. The fact that both in Vienna and in Berlin the fate of the Revolution was settled, that in both these capitals the most important and vital questions were disposed of, without the existence of the Frankfort Assembly ever being taken the slightest notice of—this fact alone is sufficient to establish that the body in question was a mere debating-club, composed of a set of dupes, who allowed the Governments to use them as Parliamentary puppet, shown to amuse the shopkeepers and petty tradesmen of petty States and petty towns, as long as it was considered convenient to divert the attention of these parties. How long this was considered convenient we shall soon see. But it is a fact worthy of attention that among all the "eminent" men of this Assembly there was not one who had the slightest apprehension of the part they were made to perform, and that even up to the present day ex-members of the Frankfort Club have invariably organs of historical perception quite peculiar to themselves.

LONDON, March, 1852.


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

The Restoration of Order
—Diet and Chamber
APRIL 24th, 1852
THE first months of the year 1849 were employed by the Austrian and Prussian Governments in following up the advantages obtained in October and November, 1848. The Austrian Diet, ever since the takings of Vienna, had carried on a merely nominal existence in a small Moravian country-town, named Kremsir. Here the Slavonian deputies, who, with their constituents. had been mainly instrumental in raising the Austrian Government from its prostration, were singularly punished for their treachery against the European Revolution. As soon as the Government had recovered its strength, it treated the Diet and its Slavonian majority with the utmost contempt, and when the first successes of the Imperial arms foreboded a speedy termination of the Hungarian War, the Diet, on the 4th of March, was dissolved, and the deputies dispersed by military force. Then at last the Slavonians saw that they were duped, and then they shouted: "Let us go to Frankfort and carry on there the opposition which we cannot pursue here!" But it was then too late, and the very fact that they had no other alternative than either to remain quiet or to join the impotent Frankfort Assembly, this fact alone was sufficient to show their utter helplessness.

Thus ended for the present, and most likely for ever, the attempts of the Slavonians of Germany to recover an independent national existence. Scattered remnants of numerous nations, whose nationality and political vitality had long been extinguished, and who in consequence had been obliged, for almost a thousand years, to follow in the wake of a mightier nation, their conqueror, the same as the Welsh in England, the Basques in Spain, the Bas-Bretons in France, and at a more recent period the Spanish and French Creoles in those portions of North America occupied of late by the Anglo-American race—these dying nationalities, the Bohemians, Carinthians, Dalmatians, etc., had tried to profit by the universal confusion of 1848, in order to restore their political status quo of A. D. 800. The history of a thousand years ought to have shown them that such a retrogression was impossible; that if all the territory east of the Elbe and Saale had at one time been occupied by kindred Slavonians, this fact merely proved the historical tendency, and at the same time physical and intellectual power of the German nation to subdue, absorb, and assimilate its ancient eastern neighbors; that this tendency of absorption on the part of the Germans had always been, and still was one of the mightiest means by which the civilization of Western Europe had been spread in the east of that continent; that it could only cease whenever the process of Germanization had reached the frontier of large, compact, unbroken nations, capable of an independent national life, such as the Hungarians, and in some degree the Poles: and that, therefore, the natural and inevitable fate of these dying nations was to allow this process of dissolution and absorption by their stronger neighbors to complete itself. Certainly this is no very flattering prospect for the national ambition of the Panslavistic dreamers who succeeded in agitating a portion of the Bohemian and South Slavonian people; but can they expect that history would retrograde a thousand years in order to please a few phthisical bodies of men, who in every part of the territory they occupy are interspersed with and surrounded by Germans, who from time almost immemorial have had for all purposes of civilization no other language but the German, and who lack the very first conditions of national existence, numbers and compactness of territory? Thus, the Panslavistic rising, which everywhere in the German and Hungarian Slavonic territories was the cloak for the restoration to independence of all these numberless petty nations, everywhere clashed with the European revolutionary movements, and the Slavonians, although pretending to fight for liberty, were invariably (the Democratic portion of the Poles excepted) found on the side of despotism and reaction. Thus it was in Germany, thus in Hungary, thus even here and there in Turkey. Traitors to the popular cause, supporters and chief props to the Austrian Government's cabal, they placed themselves in the position of outlaws in the eyes of all revolutionary nations. And although nowhere the mass of the people had a part in the petty squabbles about nationality raised by the Panslavistic leaders, for the very reason that they were too ignorant, yet it will never be forgotten that in Prague, in a half-German town, crowds of Slavonian fanatics cheered and repeated the cry: "Rather the Prussian knout than German Liberty!" After their first evaporated effort in 1848, and after the lesson the Austrian Government gave them, it is not likely that another attempt at a later opportunity will be made. But if they should try again under similar pretexts to ally themselves to the counter-revolutionary force, the duty of Germany is clear. No country in a state of revolution and involved in external war can tolerate a Vendee in its very heart.

As to the Constitution proclaimed by the Emperor at the same time with the dissolution of the Diet, there is no need to revert to it, as it never had a practical existence, and is now done away with altogether. Absolutism has been restored in Austria to all intents and purposes ever since the 4th March, 1849.

In Prussia, the Chambers met in February for the ratification and revision of the new Charter proclaimed by the King. They sat for about six weeks, humble and meek enough in their behavior toward the Government, yet not quite prepared to go the lengths the King and his ministers wished them to go. Therefore, as soon as a suitable occasion presented itself, they were dissolved.

Thus both Austria and Prussia had for the moment got rid of the shackles of parliamentary control. The Governments now concentrated all power in themselves, and could bring that power to bear wherever is was wanted: Austria upon Hungary and Italy, Prussia upon Germany. For Prussia, too, was preparing for a campaign by which "order" was to be restored in the smaller States.

Counter-revolution being now paramount in the two great centres of action in Germany,—in Vienna and Berlin,—there remained only the lesser States in which the struggle was still undecided, although the balance there, too, was leaning more and more against the revolutionary interest. These smaller States, we have said, found a common centre in the National Assembly at Frankfort. Now, this so-called National Assembly, although its reactionist spirit had long been evident, so much so that the very people of Frankfort had risen in arms against it, yet its origin was of more or less revolutionary nature; it occupied an abnormal, revolutionary position in January; its competence had never been defined, and it had at last come to the decision—which, however, was never recognized by the larger States—that its resolutions had the force of law. Under these circumstances, and when the Constitutionalist-Monarchial party saw their positions turned by the recovering Absolutists, it is not to be wondered that the Liberal, monarchical bourgeoisie of almost the whole of Germany should place their last hopes upon the majority of this Assembly, just as the petty shopkeepers in the rest, the nucleus of the Democratic party, gathered in their growing distress around the minority of that same body, which indeed formed the last compact Parliamentary phalanx of Democracy. On the other hand, the larger Governments, and particularly the Prussian Ministry, saw more and more the incompatibility of such an irregular elective body with the restored monarchical system of Germany, and if they did not at once force its dissolution, it was only because the time had not yet come, and because Prussia hoped first to use it for the furthering of its own ambitious purposes.

In the meantime, that poor Assembly itself fell into a greater and greater confusion. Its deputations and commissaries had been treated with the utmost contempt, both in Vienna and Berlin; one of its members, in spite of his parliamentary inviolability, had been executed in Vienna as a common rebel. Its decrees were nowhere heeded; if they were noticed at all by the larger powers, it was merely by protesting notes which disputed the authority of the Assembly to pass laws and resolutions binding upon their Governments. The Representative of the Assembly, the Central Executive power, was involved in diplomatic squabbles with almost all the Cabinets of Germany, and, in spite of all their efforts, neither Assembly nor Central Government could bring Austria and Prussia to state their ultimate views, plans and demands. The Assembly, at last, commenced to see clearly, at least so far, that it had allowed all power to slip out of its hands, that it was at the mercy of Austria and Prussia, and that if it intended making a Federal Constitution for Germany at all, it must set about the thing at once and in good earnest. And many of the vacillating members also saw clearly that they had been egregiously duped by the Governments. But what were they, in their impotent position, able to do now? The only thing that could have saved them would have been promptly and decidedly to pass over into the popular camp; but the success, even of that step, was more than doubtful; and then, where in this helpless crowd of undecided, shortsighted, self-conceited beings, who, when the eternal noise of contradictory rumors and diplomatic notes completely stunned them, sought their only consolation and support in the everlastingly repeated assurance that they were the best, the greatest, the wisest men of the country, and that they alone could save Germany—where, we say, among these poor creatures, whom a single year of Parliamentary life had turned into complete idiots, where were the men for a prompt and decisive resolution, much less for energetic and consistent action?

At last the Austrian Government threw off the mask. In its Constitution of the 4th of March, it proclaimed Austria an indivisible monarchy, with common finances, system of customs-duties, of military establishments, thereby effacing every barrier and distinction between the German and non-German provinces. This declaration was made in the face of resolutions and articles of the intended Federal Constitution which had been already passed by the Frankfort Assembly. It was the gauntlet of war thrown clown to it by Austria, and the poor Assembly had no other choice but to take it up. This it did with a deal of blustering, which Austria, in the consciousness of her power, and of the utter nothingness of the Assembly, could well afford to allow to pass. And this precious representation, as it styled itself, of the German people, in order to revenge itself for this insult on the part of Austria, saw nothing better before it than to throw itself, hands and feet tied, at the feet of the Prussian Government. Incredible as it would seem, it bent its knees before the very ministers whom it had condemned as unconstitutional and antipopular, and whose dismissal it had in vain insisted upon. The details of this disgraceful transaction, and the tragicomical events that followed, will form the subject of our next.

LONDON, April, 1852.


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

The Triumph of Prussia
JULY 27th, 1852.
WE now come to the last chapter in the history of the German Revolution; the conflict of the National Assembly with the Governments of the different States, especially of Prussia; the insurrection of Southern and Western Germany, and its final overthrow by Prussia.

We have already seen the Frankfort National Assembly at work: We have seen it kicked by Austria, insulted by Prussia, disobeyed by the lesser States, duped by its own impotent Central "Government," which again was the dupe of all and every prince in the country. But at last things began to look threatening for this weak, vacillating, insipid legislative body. It was forced to come to the conclusion that "the sublime idea of Germany unity was threatened in its realization," which meant neither more nor less than that the Frankfort Assembly, and all it had done, and was about to do, were very likely to end in smoke. Thus it set to work in good earnest in order to bring forth, as soon as possible, its grand production, the "Imperial Constitution." There was, however, one difficulty. What Executive Government was there to be? An Executive Council? No; that would have been, they thought in their wisdom, making Germany a Republic. A "president"? That would come to the same. Thus they must revive the old Imperial dignity. But—as, of course, a prince was to be emperor—who should it be? Certainly none of the Dii minorum gentium, [minor gods] from Reuss-Schleitz-Greitz-Lobenstein-Ebersdorf up to Bavaria; neither Austria nor Prussia would have borne that. It could only be Austria or Prussia. But which of the two? There is no doubt that, under otherwise favorable circumstances, this august Assembly would be sitting up to the present day, discussing this important dilemma without being able to come to a conclusion, if the Austrian Government had not cut the Gordian knot, and saved them the trouble.

Austria knew very well that from the moment in which she could again appear before Europe with all her provinces subdued, as a strong and great European power, the very law of political gravitation would draw the remainder of Germany into her orbit, without the help of any authority which an Imperial crown, conferred by the Frankfort Assembly, could give her. Austria had been far stronger, far freer in her movements, since she shook off the powerless crown of the German Empire—a crown which clogged her own independent policy, while it added not one iota to her strength, either within or without Germany. And supposing the case that Austria could not maintain her footing in Italy and Hungary, why, then she was dissolved, annihilated in Germany too, and could never pretend to reseize a crown which had slipped from her hands while she was in the full possession of her strength. Thus Austria at once declared against all imperialist resurrections, and plainly demanded the restoration of the German Diet, the only Central Government of Germany known and recognized by the treaties of 1815; and on the 4th of March, 1849, issued that Constitution which had no other meaning than to declare Austria an indivisible, centralized, and independent monarchy, distinct even from that Germany which the Frankfort Assembly was to reorganize.

This open declaration of war left, indeed, the Frankfort wiseacres no other choice but to exclude Austria from Germany, and to create out of the remainder of that country a sort of lower empire, a "little Germany," the rather shabby Imperial mantle of which was to fall on the shoulders of His Majesty of Prussia. This, it will be recollected, was the renewal of an old project fostered already some six or eight years ago by a party of South and Middle German Liberal doctrinaires, who considered as a godsend the degrading circumstances by which their old crotchet was now again brought forward as the latest "new move" for the salvation of the country.

They accordingly finished, in February and March 1849, the debate on the Imperial Constitution, together with the Declaration of Rights and the Imperial Electoral Law; not, however, without being obliged to make, in a great many points, the most contradictory concessions—now to the Conservative or rather Reactionary party —now to the more advanced factions of the Assembly. In fact, it was evident that the leadership of the Assembly, which had formerly belonged to the Right and Right Centre (the Conservatives and Reactionists), was gradually, although slowly, passing toward the Left or Democratic side of that body. The rather dubious position of the Austrian deputies in an Assembly which had excluded their country from Germany, and in which they yet were called upon to sit and vote, favored the derangement of its equipoise; and thus, as early as the end of February, the Left Centre and Left found themselves, by the help of the Austrian votes, very generally in a majority, while on other days the Conservative faction of the Austrians, all of a sudden, and for the fun of the thing, voting with the Right, threw the balance again on the other side. They intended, by these sudden soubresauts, to bring the assembly into contempt, which, however, was quite unnecessary, the mass of the people being long since convinced of the utter hollowness and futility of anything coming from Frankfort. What a specimen of a Constitution, in the meantime, was framed under such jumping and counter-jumping, may easily be imagined.

The Left of the Assembly—this elite and pride of revolutionary Germany, as it believed itself to be—was entirely intoxicated with the few paltry successes it obtained by the good-will, or rather the ill-will, of a set of Austrian politicians, acting under the instigation and for the interest of Austrian despotism. Whenever the slightest approximation to their own not very well-defined principles had, in a homoeopathically diluted shape, obtained a sort of sanction by the Frankfort Assembly, these Democrats proclaimed that they had saved the country and the people. These poor, weak-minded men, during the course of their generally very obscure lives, had been so little accustomed to anything like success, that they actually believed their paltry amendments, passed with two or three votes majority, would change the face of Europe. They had, from the beginning of their legislative career, been more imbued than any other faction of the Assembly with that incurable malady Parliamentary cretinism, a disorder which penetrates its unfortunate victims with the solemn conviction that the whole world, its history and future, are governed and determined by a majority of votes in that particular representative body which has the honor to count them among its members, and that all and everything going on outside the walls of their house—wars, revolutions, railway-constructing, colonizing of whole new continents, California gold discoveries, Central American canals, Russian armies, and whatever else may have some little claim to influence upon the destinies of mankind—is nothing compared with the incommensurable events hinging upon the important question, whatever it may be, just at that moment occupying the attention of their honorable house. Thus it was the Democratic party of the Assembly, by effectually smuggling a few of their nostrums into the "Imperial Constitution," first became bound to support it, although in every essential point it flatly contradicted their own oft-proclaimed principles, and at last, when this mongrel work was abandoned, and bequeathed to them by its main authors, accepted the inheritance, and held out for this Monarchical Constitution, even in opposition to everybody who then proclaimed their own Republican principles.

But it must be confessed that in this the contradiction was merely apparent. The indeterminate, self-contradictory, immature character of the Imperial Constitution was the very image of the immature, confused, conflicting political ideas of these Democratic gentlemen. And if their own sayings and writings—as far as they could write—were not sufficient proof of this, their actions would furnish such proof; for among sensible people it is a matter of course to judge of a man, not by his professions, but his actions; not by what he pretends to be, hut by what he does, and what he really is; and the deeds of these heroes of German Democracy speak loud enough for themselves, as we shall learn by and by. However, the Imperial Constitution, with all its appendages and paraphernalia, was definitely passed, and on the 28th of March, the King of Prussia was, by 290 votes against 248 who abstained, and 200 who were absent, elected Emperor of Germany minus Austria. The historical irony was complete; the Imperial farce executed in the streets of astonished Berlin, three days after the Revolution of March 18th, 1848, by Frederick William IV., while in a state which elsewhere would come under the Maine Liquor Law—this disgusting farce, just one year afterwards, had been sanctioned by the pretended Representative Assembly of all Germany. That, then, was the result of the German Revolution!

LONDON, July, 1852.


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

The Assembly and the Governments
AUGUST 19th, 1852.
THE National Assembly of Frankfort, after having elected the King of Prussia Emperor of Germany (minus Austria), sent a deputation to Berlin to offer him the crown, and then adjourned. On the 3rd of April, Frederick William received the deputies. He told them that, although he accepted the right of precedence over all the other princes of Germany, which this vote of the people's representatives had given him, yet he could not accept the Imperial crown as long as he was not sure that the remaining princes acknowledged his supremacy, and the Imperial Constitution conferring those rights upon him. It would be, he added, for the Governments of Germany to see whether this Constitution was such as could be ratified by them. At all events, Emperor or not, he always would be found ready, he concluded, to draw the sword against either the external or the internal foe. We shall see how he kept his promise in a manner rather startling for the National Assembly.

The Frankfort wiseacres, after profound diplomatic inquiry, at last came to the conclusion that this answer amounted to a refusal of the crown. They then (April 12th) resolved: That the Imperial Constitution was the law of the land, and must he maintained; and not seeing their way at all before them, elected a Committee of thirty, to make proposals as to the means how this Constitution could be carried out.

This resolution was the signal for the conflict between the Frankfort Assembly and the German Governments which now broke out. The middle classes, and especially the smaller trading class, had all at once declared for the new Frankfort Constitution. They could not wait any longer the moment which was "to close the Revolution." In Austria and Prussia the Revolution had, for the moment, been closed by the interference of the armed power. The classes in question would have preferred a less forcible mode of performing that operation, but they had not had a chance; the thing was done, and they had to make the best of it, a resolution which they at once took and carried out most heroically. In the smaller States, where things had been going on comparatively smoothly, the middle classes had long since been thrown back into that showy, but resultless, because powerless, parliamentary agitation, which was most congenial to themselves. The different States of Germany, as regarded each of them separately, appeared thus to have attained that new and definite form which was supposed to enable them to enter henceforth the path of peaceful constitutional development. There only remained one open question, that of the new political organization of the German Confederacy. And this question, the only one which still appeared fraught with danger, it was considered a necessity to resolve at once. Hence the pressure exerted upon the Frankfort Assembly by the middle classes, in order to induce it to get the Constitution ready as soon as possible; hence the resolution among the higher and lower bourgeoisie to accept and support this Constitution, whatever it might be, in order to create a settled state of things without delay. Thus from the very beginning the agitation for the Imperial Constitution arose out of a reactionary feeling, and sprang up among these classes which were long since tired of the Revolution.

But there was another feature in it. The first and fundamental principles of the future German Constitution had been voted during the first months of spring and summer, 1848, a time when popular agitation was still rife. The resolutions then passed, though completely reactionary then, now, after the arbitrary acts of the Austrian and Prussian Governments, appeared exceedingly Liberal, and even Democratic. The standard of comparison had changed. The Frankfort Assembly could not, without moral suicide, strike out these once-voted provisions, and model the Imperial Constitution upon those which the Austrian and Prussian Governments had dictated, sword in hand. Besides, as we have seen, the majority in that Assembly had changed sides, and the Liberal and Democratic party were rising in influence. Thus the Imperial Constitution not only was distinguished by its apparently exclusive popular origin, but at the same time, full of contradiction as it was, it yet was the most Liberal Constitution in all Germany. Its greatest fault was, that it was a mere sheet of paper, with no power to back its provisions.

Under these circumstances it was natural that the so-called Democratic party, that is, the mass of the petty trading class, should cling to the Imperial Constitution. This class had always been more forward in its demands than the Liberal-Monarchico-Constitutional bourgeoisie; it had shown a bolder front, it had very often threatened armed resistance, it was lavish in its promises to sacrifice its blood and its existence in the struggle for freedom; but it had already given plenty of proofs that on the day of danger it was nowhere, and that it never felt more comfortable than the day after a decisive defeat, when everything being lost, it had at least the consolation to know that somehow or other the matter was settled. While, therefore, the adhesion of the large bankers, manufacturers, and merchants was of a more reserved character, more like a simple demonstration in favor of the Frankfort Constitution, the class just beneath them, our valiant Democratic shopkeepers, came forward in grand style, and, as usual, proclaimed they would rather spill their last drop of blood than let the Imperial Constitution fall to the ground.

Supported by these two parties, the bourgeois adherents of the Constitutional Royalty, and the more or less Democratic shopkeepers, the agitation for the immediate establishment of the Imperial Constitution gained ground rapidly, and found its most powerful expression in the Parliaments of the several States. The Chambers of Prussia, of Hanover, of Saxony, of Baden, of Wurtemberg, declared in its favor. The struggle between the Governments and the Frankfort Assembly assumed a threatening aspect.

The Governments, however, acted rapidly. The Prussian Chambers were dissolved, anti-constitutionally, as they had to revise and confirm the Constitution; riots broke out at Berlin, provoked intentionally by the Government, and the next day, the 28th of April, the Prussian Ministry issued a circular note, in which the Imperial Constitution was held up as a most anarchical and revolutionary document, which it was for the Governments of Germany to remodel and purify. Thus Prussia denied, point-blank that sovereign constituent power which the wise men at Frankfort had always boasted of, but never established. Thus a Congress of Princes, a renewal of the old Federal Diet, was called upon to sit in judgment on that Constitution which had already been promulgated as law. And at the same time Prussia concentrated troops at Kreuznach, three days' march from Frankfort, and called upon the smaller States to follow its example, by also dissolving their Chambers as soon as they should give their adhesion to the Frankfort Assembly. This example was speedily followed by Hanover and Saxony.

It was evident that a decision of the struggle by force of arms could not be avoided. The hostility of the Governments, the agitation among the people, were daily showing themselves in stronger colors. The military were everywhere worked upon by the Democratic citizens, and in the south of Germany with great success. Large mass meetings were everywhere held, passing resolutions to support the Imperial Constitution and the National Assembly, if need should be, with force of arms. At Cologne, a meeting of deputies of all the municipal councils of Rhenish Prussia took place for the same purpose. In the Palatinate, at Bergen, Fulda, Nuremberg, in the Odenwald, the peasantry met by myriads and worked themselves up into enthusiasm. At the same time the Constituent Assembly of France dissolved, and the new elections were prepared amid violent agitation, while on the eastern frontier of Germany, the Hungarians had within a month, by a succession of brilliant victories, rolled back the tide of Austrian invasion from the Theiss to the Leitha, and were every day expected to take Vienna by storm. Thus, popular imagination being on all hands worked up to the highest pitch, and the aggressive policy of the Governments defining itself more clearly every day, a violent collision could not be avoided, and cowardly imbecility only could persuade itself that the struggle was to come off peaceably. But this cowardly imbecility was most extensively represented in the Frankfort Assembly.

LONDON, July, 1852.


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

SEPTEMBER 18, 1852.
THE inevitable conflict between the National Assembly of Frankfort and the States Governments of Germany at last broke out in open hostilities during the first days of May, 1849. The Austrian deputies, recalled by their Government, had already left the Assembly and returned home, with the exception of a few members of the Left or Democratic party. The great body of the Conservative members, aware of the turn things were about to take, withdrew even before they were called upon to do so by their respective Governments. Thus, even independently of the causes which in the foregoing letters have been shown to strengthen the influence of the Left, the mere desertion of their posts by the members of the Right, sufficed to turn the old minority into a majority of the Assembly. The new majority, which, at no former time, had dreamed of ever obtaining that good fortune, had profited by their places on the opposition benches to spout against the weakness, the indecision, the indolence of the old majority, and of its Imperial Lieutenancy. Now all at once, they were called on to replace that old majority. They were now to show what they could perform. Of course, their career was to be one of energy, determination, activity. They, the elite of Germany, would soon be able to drive onwards the senile Lieutenant of the Empire, and his vacillating ministers, and in case that was impossible they would—there could be no doubt about it—by force of the sovereign right of the people, depose that impotent Government, and replace it by an energetic, indefatigable Executive, who would assure the salvation of Germany. Poor fellows! Their rule—if rule it can be named, where no one obeyed—was a still more ridiculous affair than even the rule of their predecessors.

The new majority declared that, in spite of all obstacles, the Imperial Constitution must be carried out, and at once; that on the 15th of July ensuing, the people were to elect the deputies of the new House of Representatives, and that this House was to meet at Frankfort on the 15th of August following. Now, this was an open declaration of war against those Governments that had not recognized the Imperial Constitution, the foremost among which were Prussia, Austria, Bavaria, comprising more than three-fourths of the German population; a declaration of war which was speedily accepted by them. Prussia and Bavaria, too, recalled the deputies sent from their territories to Frankfort, and hastened their military preparations against the National Assembly, while, on the other hand, the demonstrations of the Democratic party (out of Parliament) in favor of the Imperial Constitution and of the National Assembly, acquired a more turbulent and violent character, and the mass of the working people, led by the men of the most extreme party, were ready to take up arms in a cause which, if it was not their own, at least gave them a chance of somewhat approaching their aims by clearing Germany of its old monarchical encumbrances. Thus everywhere the people and the Governments were at daggers drawn upon this subject; the outbreak was inevitable; the mine was charged, and it only wanted a spark to make it explode. The dissolution of the Chambers in Saxony, the calling in of the Landwehr (military reserve) in Prussia, the open resistance of the Government to the Imperial Constitution, were such sparks; they fell, and all at once the country was in a blaze. In Dresden, on the 4th of May, the people victoriously took possession of the town, and drove out the King, while all the surrounding districts sent re-inforcements to the insurgents. In Rhenish Prussia and Westphalia the Landwehr refused to march, took possession of the arsenals, and armed itself in defence of the Imperial Constitution. In the Palatinate the people seized the Bavarian Government officials, and the public moneys, and instituted a Committee of Defence, which placed the province under the protection of the National Assembly. In Wurtemberg the people forced the King to acknowledge the Imperial Constitution, and in Baden the army, united with the people, forced the Grand Duke to flight, and erected a Provincial Government. In other parts of Germany the people only awaited a decisive signal from the National Assembly to rise in arms and place themselves at its disposal.

The position of the National Assembly was far more favorable than could have been expected after its ignoble career. The western half of Germany had taken up arms in its behalf; the military everywhere were vacillating; in the lesser States they were undoubtedly favorable to the movement. Austria was prostrated by the victorious advance of the Hungarians, and Russia, that reserve force of the German Governments, was straining all its powers in order to support Austria against the Magyar armies. There was only Prussia to subdue, and with the revolutionary sympathies existing in that country, a chance certainly existed of attaining that end. Everything then depended upon the conduct of the Assembly.

Now, insurrection is an art quite as much as war or any other, and subject to certain rules of proceeding, which, when neglected, will produce the ruin of the party neglecting them. Those rules, logical deductions from the nature of the parties and the circumstances one has to deal with in such a case, are so plain and simple that the short experience of 1848 had made the Germans pretty well acquainted with them. Firstly, never play with insurrection unless you are fully prepared to face the consequences of your play. Insurrection is a calculus with very indefinite magnitudes, the value of which may change every day; the forces opposed to you have all the advantage of organization, discipline, and habitual authority: unless you bring strong odds against them you are defeated and ruined. Secondly, the insurrectionary career once entered upon, act with the greatest determination, and on the offensive. The defensive is the death of every armed rising; it is lost before it measures itself with its enemies. Surprise your antagonists while their forces are scattering, prepare new successes, however small, but daily; keep up the moral ascendancy which the first successful rising has given to you; rally those vacillating elements to your side which always follow the strongest impulse, and which always look out for the safer side; force your enemies to a retreat before they can collect their strength against you; in the words of Danton, the greatest master of revolutionary policy yet known, de l'audace, de l'audace, encore de l'audace!

What, then, was the National Assembly of Frankfort to do if it would escape the certain ruin which it was threatened with? First of all, to see clearly through the situation, and to convince itself that there was now no other choice than either to submit to the Governments unconditionally, or take up the cause of the armed insurrection without reserve or hesitation. Secondly, to publicly recognize all the insurrections that had already broken out, and to call the people to take up arms everywhere in defence of the national representation, outlawing all princes, ministers and others who should dare to oppose the sovereign people represented by its mandatories. Thirdly, to at once depose the German Imperial Lieutenant, to create a strong, active, unscrupulous Executive, to call insurgent troops to Frankfort for its immediate protection, thus offering at the same time a legal pretext for the spread of the insurrection, to organize into a compact body all the forces at its disposal, and, in short, to profit quickly and unhesitatingly by every available means for strengthening its position and impairing that of its opponents.

Of all this the virtuous Democrats in the Frankfort Assembly did just the contrary. Not content with letting things take the course they liked, these worthies went so far as to suppress by their opposition all insurrectionary movements which were preparing. Thus, for instance, did Herr Karl Vogt at Nuremberg. They allowed the insurrections of Saxony, of Rhenish Prussia, of Westphalia to be suppressed without any other help than a posthumous, sentimental protest against the unfeeling violence of the Prussian Government. They kept up an underhand diplomatic intercourse with the South German insurrections but never gave them the support of their open acknowledgment. They knew that the Lieutenant of the Empire sided with the Governments, and yet they called upon him, who never stirred, to oppose the intrigues of these Governments. The ministers of the Empire, old Conservatives, ridiculed this impotent Assembly in every sitting, and they suffered it. And when William Wolff, [1] a Silesian deputy and one of the editors of the New Rhenish Gazette, called upon them to outlaw the Lieutenant of the Empire—who was, he justly said, nothing but the first and greatest traitor to the Empire, he was hooted down by the unanimous and virtuous indignation of those Democratic Revolutionists! In short, they went on talking, protesting, proclaiming, pronouncing, but never had the courage or the sense to act; while the hostile troops of the Governments drew nearer and nearer, and their own Executive, the Lieutenant of the Empire, was busily plotting with the German princes their speedy destruction. Thus even the last vestige of consideration was lost to this contemptible Assembly; the insurgents who had risen to defend it ceased to care any more for it, and when at last it came to a shameful end, as we shall see, it died without anybody taking any notice of its unhonored exit.

LONDON, August, 1852.


[1] The "Wolff" here alluded to is Wilhelm Wolff, the beloved friend of Marx and Engels, who—to distinguish him from the many other "Wolffs" in the movement at this period—was known to his intimates as "Lupus." It is to this Silesian peasant that Marx dedicated the first volume of "Capital."

To My Never-To-Be-Forgotten Friend
The Brave, True, Noble Fighter In The Vanguard
Of The Proletariat,

Born at Tornau, June 21st, 1809. Died in exile at Manchester, 9th May, 1864."


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

Petty Traders
OCTOBER 2, 1852.
IN OUR last we showed that the struggle between the German Governments on the one side, and the Frankfort Parliament on the other, had ultimately acquired such a degree of violence that in the first days of May, a great portion of Germany broke out in open insurrection; first Dresden, then the Bavarian Palatinate, parts of Rhenish Prussia, and at last Baden.

In all cases, the real fighting body of the insurgents, that body which first took up arms and gave battle to the troops consisted of the working classes of the towns. A portion of the poorer country population, laborers and petty farmers, generally joined them after the outbreak of the conflict. The greater number of the young men of all classes, below the capitalist class, were to be found, for a time at least, in the ranks of the insurgent armies, but this rather indiscriminate aggregate of young men very soon thinned as the aspect of affairs took a somewhat serious turn. The students particularly, those "representatives of intellect," as they liked to call themselves, were the first to quit their standards, unless they were retained by the bestowal of officer's rank, for which they, of course, had very seldom any qualifications.

The working class entered upon this insurrection as they would have done upon any other which promised either to remove some obstacles in their progress towards political dominion and social revolution, or, at least, to tie the more influential but less courageous classes of society to a more decided and revolutionary course than they had followed hitherto. The working class took up arms with a full knowledge that this was, in the direct bearings of the case, no quarrel of its own; but it followed up its only true policy, to allow no class that has risen on its shoulders (as the bourgeoisie had done in 1848) to fortify its class-government, without opening, at least, a fair field to the working classes for the struggle for its own interests, and, in any case, to bring matters to a crisis, by which either the nation was fairly and irresistibly launched in the revolutionary career, or else the status quo before the Revolution restored as nearly as possible, and, thereby, a new revolution rendered unavoidable. In both cases the working classes represented the real and well-understood interest of the nation at large, in hastening as much as possible that revolutionary course which for the old societies of civilized Europe has now become a historical necessity, before any of them can again aspire to a more quiet and regular development of their resources.

As to country people that joined the insurrection, they were principally thrown into the arms of the revolutionary party, partly by the relatively enormous load of taxation, and partly of feudal burdens pressing upon them.

Without any initiative of their own, they formed the tail of the other classes engaged in the insurrection, wavering between the working men on the one side, and the petty trading class on the other. Their own private social position, in almost every case, decided which way they turned; the agricultural laborer generally supported the city artisan; the small farmer was apt to go hand in hand with the small shopkeeper.

This class of petty tradesmen, the great importance and influence of which we have already several times adverted to, may be considered as the leading class of the insurrection of May, 1849. There being, this time, none of the large towns of Germany among the center of the movement, the petty trading class, which in middling and lesser towns always predominates, found the means of getting the direction of the movement into its hands. We have, moreover, seen that, in this struggle for the Imperial Constitution, and for the rights of the German Parliament, there were the interests of this peculiar class at stake. The Provisional Governments formed in all the insurgent districts represented in the majority of each of them this section of the people, and the length they went to may therefore be fairly taken as the measure of what the German petty bourgeoisie is capable of—capable, as we shall see, of nothing but ruining any movement that entrusts itself to its hands.

The petty bourgeoisie, great in boasting, is very impotent for action, and very shy in risking anything. The mesquin [small-minded] character of its commercial transactions and its credit operations is eminently apt to stamp its character with a want of energy and enterprise; it is, then, to be expected that similar qualities will mark its political career. Accordingly the petty bourgeoisie encouraged insurrection by big words, and great boasting as to what it was going to do; it was eager to seize upon power as soon as the insurrection, much against its will, had broken out; it used this power to no other purpose but to destroy the effects of the insurrection. Wherever an armed conflict had brought matters to a serious crisis, there the shopkeepers stood aghast at the dangerous situation created for them; aghast at the people who had taken their boasting appeals to arms in earnest; aghast at the power thus thrust into their own hands; aghast, above all, at the consequences for themselves, for their social positions, for their fortunes, of the policy in which they were forced to engage themselves. Were they not expected to risk "life and property," as they used to say, for the cause of the insurrection? Were they not forced to take official positions in the insurrection, whereby, in the case of defeat, they risked the loss of their capital? And in case of victory, were they not sure to be immediately turned out of office, and to see their entire policy subverted by the victorious proletarians who formed the main body of their fighting army? Thus placed between opposing dangers which surrounded them on every side, the petty bourgeoisie knew not to turn its power to any other account than to let everything take its chance, whereby, of course, there was lost what little chance of success there might have been, and thus to ruin the insurrection altogether. Its policy, or rather want of policy, everywhere was the same, and, therefore, the insurrections of May, 1849, in all parts of Germany, are all cut out to the same pattern.

In Dresden, the struggle was kept on for four days in the streets of the town. The shopkeepers of Dresden, the "communal guard," not only did not fight, but in many instances favored the proceedings of the troops against the insurgents. These again consisted almost exclusively of working men from the surrounding manufacturing districts. They found an able and cool-headed commander in the Russian refugee Michael Bakunin, who afterwards was taken prisoner, and now is confined in the dungeons of Munkacs, Hungary. The intervention of numerous Prussian troops crushed this insurrection.

In Rhenish Prussia the actual fighting was of little importance. All the large towns being fortresses commanded by citadels, there could be only skirmishing on the part of the insurgents. As soon as a sufficient number of troops had been drawn together, there was an end to armed opposition.

In the Palatinate and Baden, on the contrary, a rich, fruitful province and an entire state fell into the hands of the insurrection. Money, arms, soldiers, warlike stores, everything was ready for use. The soldiers of the regular army themselves joined the insurgents; nay, in Baden, they were amongst the foremost of them. The insurrections in Saxony and Rhenish Prussia sacrificed themselves in order to gain time for the organization of the South German movement. Never was there such a favorable position for a provincial and partial insurrection as this. A revolution was expected in Paris; the Hungarians were at the gates of Vienna; in all the central States of Germany, not only the people, but even the troops, were strongly in favor of the insurrection, and only wanted an opportunity to join it openly. And yet the movement, having once got into the hands of the petty bourgeoisie, was ruined from its very beginning. The petty bourgeois rulers, particularly of Baden—Herr Brentano at the head of them—never forgot that by usurping the place and prerogatives of the "lawful" sovereign, the Grand Duke, they were committing high treason. They sat down in their ministerial armchairs with the consciousness of criminality in their hearts. What can you expect of such cowards? They not only abandoned the insurrection to its own uncentralized, and therefore ineffective, spontaneity, they actually did everything in their power to take the sting out of the movement, to unman, to destroy it. And they succeeded, thanks to the zealous support of that deep class of politicians, the "Democratic" heroes of the petty bourgeoisie, who actually thought they were "saving the country," while they allowed themselves to be led by their noses by a few men of a sharper cast, such as Brentano.

As to the fighting part of the business, never were military operations carried on in a more slovenly, more stolid way than under the Baden General-in-Chief Sigel, an ex-lieutenant of the regular army. Everything was got into confusion, every good opportunity was lost, every precious moment was loitered away with planning colossal, but impracticable projects, until, when at last the talented Pole Mieroslawski, took up the command, the army was disorganized, beaten, dispirited, badly provided for, opposed to an enemy four times more numerous, and withal, he could do nothing more than fight, at Waghäusel, a glorious though unsuccessful battle, carry out a clever retreat, offer a last hopeless fight under the walls of Rastatt, and resign. As in every insurrectionary war where armies are mixed of well-drilled soldiers and raw levies, there was plenty of heroism, and plenty of unsoldierlike, often unconceivable panic, in the revolutionary army; but, imperfect as it could not but be, it had at least the satisfaction that four times its number were not considered sufficient to put it to the rout, and that a hundred thousand regular troops, in a campaign against twenty thousand insurgents, treated them, militarily with as much respect as if they had to fight the Old Guard of Napoleon.

In May the insurrection had broken out; by the middle of July, 1849, it was entirely subdued, and the first German Revolution was closed.

LONDON. (Undated.)


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany

The Close of the Insurrection
OCTOBER 23, 1852.
WHILE the south and west of Germany was in open insurrection, and while it took the Governments from the first opening of hostilities at Dresden to the capitulation of Rastatt, rather more than ten weeks, to stifle this final blazing up of the first German Revolution, the National Assembly disappeared from the political theater without any notice being taken of its exit.

We left this august body at Frankfort, perplexed by the insolent attacks of the Governments upon its dignity, by the impotency and treacherous listlessness of the Central Power it had itself created, by the risings of the petty trading class for its defence, and of the working class for a more revolutionary ultimate end. Desolation and despair reigned supreme among its members; events had at once assumed such a definite and decisive shape that in a few days the illusions of these learned legislators as to their real power and influence were entirely broken down. The Conservatives, at the signal given by the Governments, had already retired from a body which, henceforth, could not exist any longer, except in defiance of the constituted authorities. The Liberals gave the matter up in utter discomfiture; they, too, threw up their commissions as representatives. Honorable gentlemen decamped by hundreds. From eight or nine hundred members the number had dwindled down so rapidly that now one hundred and fifty, and a few days after one hundred, were declared a quorum. And even these were difficult to muster, although the whole of the Democratic party remained.

The course to be followed by the remnants of a parliament was plain enough. They had only to take their stand openly and decidedly with the insurrection, to give it, thereby, whatever strength legality could confer upon it, while they themselves at once acquired an army for their own defence. They had to summon the Central Power to stop all hostilities at once; and if, as could be foreseen, this power neither could nor would do so, to depose it at once and put another more energetic Government in its place. If insurgent troops could not be brought to Frankfort (which, in the beginning, when the State Governments were little prepared and still hesitating, might have been easily done), then the Assembly could have adjourned at once to the very center of the insurgent district. All this done at once, and resolutely, not later than the middle or end of May, might have opened chances both for the insurrection and for the National Assembly.

But such a determined course was not to be expected from the representatives of German shopocracy. These aspiring statesmen were not at all freed from their illusions. Those members who had lost their fatal belief in the strength and inviolability of the Parliament had already taken to their heels; the Democrats who remained, were not so easily induced to give up dreams of power and greatness which they had cherished for a twelvemonth. True to the course they had hitherto pursued, they shrank back from decisive action until every chance of success, nay, every chance to succumb, with at least the honors of war, had passed away. In order, then, to develop a fictitious, busy-body sort of activity, the sheer impotency of which, coupled with its high pretension, could not but excite pity and ridicule, they continued insinuating resolutions, addresses, and requests to an Imperial Lieutenant, who not even noticed them; to ministers who were in open league with the enemy. And when at last William Wolff, member for Striegan, one of the editors of the New Rhenish Gazette, the only really revolutionary man in the whole Assembly, told them that if they meant what they said, they had better give over talking, and declare the Imperial Lieutenant, the chief traitor to the country, an outlaw at once; then the entire compressed virtuous indignation of these parliamentary gentlemen burst out with an energy which they never found when the Government heaped insult after insult upon them.

Of course, for Wolff's proposition was the best sensible word spoken within the walls of St. Paul's Church; of course, for it was the very thing that was to be done, and such plain language going so direct to the purpose, could not but insult a set of sentimentalists, who were resolute in nothing but irresolution, and who, too cowardly to act, had once for all made up their minds that in doing nothing, they were doing exactly what was to be done. Every word which cleared up, like lightning, the infatuated, but intentional nebulosity of their minds, every hint that was adapted to lead them out of the labyrinth where they obstinated themselves to take up as lasting an abode as possible, every clear conception of matters as they actually stood, was, of course, a crime against the majesty of this Sovereign Assembly.

Shortly after the position of the honorable gentlemen in Frankfort became untenable, in spite of resolutions, appeals, interpellations, and proclamations, they retreated, but not into the insurgent districts; that would have been too resolute a step. They went to Stuttgart, where the Wurtemberg Government kept up a sort of expectative neutrality. There, at last, they declared the Lieutenant of the Empire to have forfeited his power, and elected from their own body a Regency of five. This Regency at once proceeded to pass a Militia law, which was actually in all due force sent to all the Governments of Germany.

They the very enemies of the Assembly, were ordered to levy forces in its defence! Then there was created—on paper, of course—an army for the defence of the National Assembly. Divisions, brigades, regiments, batteries, everything was regulated and ordained. Nothing was wanted but reality, for that army, of course, was never called into existence.

One last scheme offered itself to the General Assembly. The Democratic population from all parts of the country sent deputations to place itself at the disposal of the Parliament, and to urge it on to a decisive action. The people, knowing what the intentions of the Wurtemberg Government were, implored the National Assembly to force that Government into an open and active participation with their insurgent neighbors. But no. The National Assembly, in going to Stuttgart, had delivered itself up to the tender mercies of the Wurtemberg Government. The members knew it, and repressed the agitation among the people. They thus lost the last remnant of influence which they might yet have retained. They earned the contempt they deserved, and the Imperial Lieutenant put a stop to the Democratic farce by shutting up, on the 18th of June, 1849, the room where the Parliament met, and by ordering the members of the Regency to leave the country.

Next they went to Baden, into the camp of the insurrection; but there they were now useless. Nobody noticed them. The Regency, however, in the name of the Sovereign German people, continued to save the country by its exertions. It made an attempt to get recognized by foreign powers, by delivering passports to anybody who would accept of them. It issued proclamations, and sent commissioners to insurge those very districts of Wurtemberg whose active assistance it had refused when it was yet time; of course, without effect. We have now under our eye an original report, sent to the Regency by one of these commissioners, Herr Roesler (member for Oels), the contents of which are rather characteristic. It is dated, Stuttgart, June 30, 1849. After describing the adventures of half a dozen of these commissioners in a resultless search for cash, he gives a series of excuses for not having yet gone to his post, and then delivers himself of a most weighty argument respecting possible differences between Prussia, Austria, Bavaria, and Wurtemberg, with their possible consequences. After having fully considered this, he comes, however, to the conclusion that there is no more chance. Next, he proposes to establish relays of trustworthy men for the conveyance of intelligence, and a system of espionage as to the intentions of the Wurtemberg Ministry and the movements of the troops. This letter never reached its address, for when it was written the "Regency" had already passed entirely into the "foreign department," viz., Switzerland; and while poor Herr Roesler troubled his head about the intentions of the formidable ministry of a sixth-rate kingdom, a hundred thousand Prussian, Bavarian, and Hessian soldiers had already settled the whole affair in the last battle under the walls of Rastatt.

Thus vanished the German Parliament, and with it the first and last creation of the Revolution. Its convocation had been the first evidence that there actually had been a revolution in January; and it existed as long as this, the first modern German Revolution, was not yet brought to a close. Chosen under the influence of the capitalist class by a dismembered, scattered, rural population, for the most part only awaking from the dumbness of feudalism, this Parliament served to bring in one body upon the political arena all the great popular names of 1820-1848, and then to utterly ruin them. All the celebrities of middle class Liberalism were here collected. The bourgeoisie expected wonders; it earned shame for itself and its representatives. The industrial and commercial capitalist class were more severely defeated in Germany than in any other country; they were first worsted, broken, expelled from office in every individual State of Germany, and then put to rout, disgraced and hooted in the Central German Parliament. Political Liberalism, the rule of the bourgeoisie, be it under a Monarchical or Republican form of government, is forever impossible in Germany.

In the latter period of its existence, the German Parliament served to disgrace forever that section which had ever since March, 1848 headed the official opposition, the Democrats representing the interests of the small trading, and partially of the farming class. That class was, in May and June, 1849, given a chance to show its means of forming a stable Government in Germany. We have seen how it failed; not so much by adverse circumstances as by the actual and continued cowardice in all trying movements that had occurred since the outbreak of the revolution; by showing in politics the same shortsighted, pusillanimous, wavering spirit, which is characteristic of its commercial operations. In May, 1849, it had, by this course, lost the confidence of the real fighting mass of all European insurrections, the working class. But yet, it had a fair chance. The German Parliament belonged to it, exclusively, after the Reactionists and Liberals had withdrawn. The rural population was in its favor. Two-thirds of the armies of the smaller States, one-third of the Prussian army, the majority of the Prussian Landwehr (reserve or militia), were ready to join it, if it only acted resolutely, and with that courage which is the result of a clear insight into the state of things. But the politicians who led on this class were not more clear-sighted than the host of petty tradesmen which followed them. They proved even to be more infatuated, more ardently attached to delusions voluntarily kept up, more credulous, more incapable of resolutely dealing with facts than the Liberals. Their political importance, too, is reduced below the freezing-point, But not having actually carried their common-place principles into execution, they were, under very favorable circumstances, capable of a momentary resurrection, when this last hope was taken from them, just as it was taken from their colleagues of the "pure Democracy" in France by the coup d'etat of Louis Bonaparte.

The defeat of the south-west German insurrection, and the dispersion of the German Parliament, bring the history of the first German insurrection to a close. We have now to cast a parting glance upon the victorious members of the counter-revolutionary alliance; we shall do this in our next letter. [1]

LONDON, September 24, 1852.


[1] After repeated search I have been unable to find the "next letter" referred to in the above paragraph; and, if it was ever written, there seems no doubt it was never published.—E. M. A.


Revolution and Counter-revolution in Germany


The Late Trial at Cologne
DECEMBER 22, 1852.
You will have ere this received by the European papers numerous reports of the Communist Monster Trial at Cologne, Prussia, and of its result. But as none of the reports is anything like a faithful statement of the facts, and as these facts throw a glaring light upon the political means by which the continent of Europe is kept in bondage, I consider it necessary to revert to this trial.

The Communist or Proletarian party, as well as other parties, had lost, by suppression of the rights of association and meeting, the means of giving to itself a legal organization on the Continent. Its leaders, besides, had been exiled from their countries. But no political party can exist without an organization; and that organization which both the liberal bourgeois and the Democratic shopkeeping class were enabled more or less to supply by the social station, advantages, and long-established, every-day intercourse of their members, the proletarian class, without such social station and pecuniary means, was necessarily compelled to seek in secret association. Hence, both in France and Germany, sprung up those numerous secret Societies which have, ever since 1819, one after another, been discovered by the police, and prosecuted as conspiracies; but if many of them were really conspiracies, formed with the actual intention of upsetting the Government for the time being,— and he is a coward that under certain circumstances would not conspire, just as he is a fool who, under other circumstances, would do so;—there were some other Societies which were formed with a wider and more elevated purpose, which knew that the upsetting of an existing Government was but a passing stage in the great impending struggle, and which intended to keep together and to prepare the party, whose nucleus they formed, for the last decisive combat which must, one day or another, crush forever in Europe the domination, not of mere "tyrants," "despots" and "usurpers," but of a power far superior, and far more formidable than theirs; that of capital over labor.

The organization of the advanced Communist party in Germany was of this kind. In accordance with the principles of the "Manifesto" [1] (published in 1848), and with those explained in the series of articles on "Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany," published in the New York Daily Tribune, this party never imagined itself capable of producing, at any time and at its pleasure, that revolution which was to carry its ideas into practice. It studied the causes that hall produced the revolutionary movement in 1848, and the causes that made them fail. Recognizing the social antagonism of classes at the bottom of all political struggles, it applied itself to the study of the conditions under which one class of society can and must be called on to represent the whole of the interests of a nation, and thus politically to rule over it. History showed to the Communist party how, after the landed aristocracy of the Middle Ages, the monied power of the first capitalists arose and seized the reins of government; how the social influence and political rule of this financial section of capitalists was superseded by the rising strength since the introduction of steam, of the manufacturing capitalists, and how at the present moment two more classes claim their turn of domination, the petty trading class and the industrial working class. The practical revolutionary experience of 1848-1849 confirmed the reasonings of theory, which led to the conclusion that the Democracy of the petty traders must first have its turn, before the Communist working class could hope to permanently establish itself in power and destroy that system of wage-slavery which keeps it under the yoke of the bourgeoisie. Thus the secret organization of the Communists could not have the direct purpose of upsetting the present Governments of Germany. Being formed to upset not these, but the insurrectionary Government, which is sooner or later to follow them, its members might, and certainly would, individually, lend an active hand to a revolutionary movement against the present status quo in its turn; but the preparation of such a movement, otherwise than by spreading of Communist opinions by the masses, could not be an object of the Association. So well was this foundation of the Society understood by the majority of its members, that when the place-hunting ambition of some tried to turn it into a conspiracy for making an extempore revolution, they were speedily turned out.

Now, according to no law upon the face of the earth, could such an Association be called a plot, a conspiracy for purposes of high treason. If it was a conspiracy, it was one against, not the existing Government, but its probable successor. And the Prussian Government was aware of it. That was the cause why the eleven defendants were kept in solitary confinement during eighteen months, spent, on the part of the authorities, in the strangest judicial feats. Imagine, that after eight months' detention, the prisoners were remanded for some months more, "there being no evidence of any crime against them!" And when at last they were brought before a jury, there was not a single overt act of a treasonable nature proved against them. And yet they were convicted, and you will speedily see how.

One of the emissaries of the society was arrested in May, 1851, and from documents found upon him, other arrests followed. A Prussian police officer, a certain Stieber, was immediately ordered to trace the ramifications, in London, of the pretended plot. He succeeded in obtaining some papers connected with the above-mentioned seceders from the society, who had, after being turned out, formed an actual conspiracy in Paris and London. These papers were obtained by a double crime. A man named Reuter was bribed to break open the writing-desk of the secretary of the Society, and steal the papers therefrom. But that was nothing yet. This theft led to the discovery and conviction of the so-called Franco-German plot, in Paris, but it gave no clue as to the great Communist Association. The Paris plot, we may as well here observe, was under the direction of a few ambitious imbeciles and political chevaliers d'industrie in London, and of a formerly convicted forger, then acting as a police spy in Paris; their dupes made up, by rabid declamations and blood-thirsty rantings, for the utter insignificance of their political existence.

The Prussian police, then, had to look out for fresh discoveries. They established a regular office of secret police at the Prussian Embassy in London. A police agent, Greif by name, held his odious vocation under the title of an attache to the Embassy — a step which should suffice to put all Prussian embassies out of the pale of international law, and which even the Austrians have not yet dared to take. Under him worked a certain Fleury, a merchant in the city of London, a man of some fortune and rather respectably connected, one of those low creatures who do the basest actions from an innate inclination to infamy. Another agent was a commercial clerk named Hirsch, who, however, had already been denounced as a spy on his arrival. He introduced himself into the society of some German Communist refugees in London, and they, in order to obtain proofs of his real character, admitted him for a short time. The proofs of his connection with the police were very soon obtained, and Herr Hirsch, from that time, absented himself. Although, however, he thus resigned all opportunities of gaining the information he was paid to procure, he was not inactive. From his retreat in Kensington, where he never met one of the Communists in question, he manufactured every week pretended reports of pretended sittings of a pretended Central Committee of that very conspiracy which the Prussian police could not get hold of. The contents of these reports were of the most absurd nature; not a Christian name was correct, not a name correctly spelt, not a single individual made to speak as he would be likely to speak. His master, Fleury, assisted him in this forgery, and it is not yet proved that "Attache" Greif can wash his hands of these infamous proceedings. The Prussian Government, incredible to say, took these silly fabrications for gospel truth, and you may imagine what a confusion such depositions created in the evidence brought before the jury. When the trial came on, Herr Stieber, the already mentioned police officer, got into the witness-box, swore to all these absurdities, and, with no little self-complacency, maintained that he had a secret agent in the very closest intimacy with those parties in London who were considered the prime movers in this awful conspiracy. This secret agent was very secret indeed, for he had hid his face for eight months in Kensington, for fear he might actually see one of the parties whose most secret thoughts, words and doings, he pretended to report week after week.

Messrs. Hirsch and Fleury, however, had another invention in store. They worked up the whole of the reports they had made into an "original minute book" of the sittings of the Secret Supreme Committee, whose existence was maintained by the Prussian police; and Herr Stieber, finding that this book wondrously agreed with the reports already received from the same parties, at once laid it before the jury, declaring upon his oath that after serious examination, and according to his fullest conviction, that book was genuine. It was then that most of the absurdities reported by Hirsch were made public. You may imagine the surprise of the pretended members of that Secret Committee when they found things stated of them which they never knew before. Some who were baptized William were here christened Louis or Charles; others, at the time they were at the other end of England, were made to have pronounced speeches in London; others were reported to have read letters they never had received; they were made to have met regularly on a Thursday, when they used to have a convivial reunion, once a week, on Wednesdays; a working man, who could hardly write, figured as one of the takers of minutes, and signed as such; and they all of them were made to speak in a language which, if it may be that of Prussian police stations, was certainly not that of a reunion in which literary men, favorably known in their country, formed the majority. And, to crown the whole, a receipt was forged for a sum of money, pretended to have been paid by the fabricators to the pretended secretary of the fictitious Central Committee for this book; but the existence of this pretended secretary rested merely upon a hoax that some malicious Communist had played upon the unfortunate Hirsch.

This clumsy fabrication was too scandalous an affair not to produce the contrary of its intended effect. Although the London friends of the defendants were deprived of all means to bring the facts of the case before the jury — although the letters they sent to the counsel for the defence were suppressed by the post — although the documents and affidavits they succeeded in getting into the hands of these legal gentlemen were not admitted in evidence, yet the general indignation was such that even the public accusers, nay, even Herr Stieber — whose oath had been given as a guarantee for the authenticity of that book—were compelled to recognize it as a forgery.

This forgery, however, was not the only thing of the kind of which the police was guilty. Two or three more cases of the sort came out during the trial. The documents stolen by Reuter were interpolated by the police so as to disfigure their meaning. A paper, containing some rabid nonsense, was written in a handwriting imitating that of Dr. Marx, and for a time it was pretended that it had been written by him, until at last the prosecution was obliged to acknowledge the forgery. But for every police infamy that was proved as such, there were five or six fresh ones brought forward, which could not, at the moment, be unveiled, the defence being taken by surprise, the proofs having to be got from London, and every correspondence of the counsel for the defence with the London Communist refugees being in open court treated as complicity in the alleged plot!

That Greif and Fleury are what they are here represented to be has been stated by Herr Stieber himself, in his evidence; as to Hirsch, he has before a London magistrate confessed that he forged the "minute book," by order and with the assistance of Fluery, and then made his escape from this country in order to evade a criminal prosecution.

The Government could stand few such branding disclosures as came to light during the trial. It had a jury — six nobles, two Government officials. These were not the men to look closely into the confused mass of evidence heaped before them during six weeks, when they heard it continually dinned into their ears that the defendants were the chiefs of a dreadful Communist conspiracy, got up in order to subvert everything sacred—property, family, religion, order, government and law! And yet, had not the Government, at the same time, brought it to the knowledge of the privileged classes, that an acquittal in this trial would be the signal for the suppression of the jury: and that it would be taken as a direct political demonstration—as a proof of the middle-class Liberal Opposition being ready to unite even with the most extreme revolutionists—the verdict would have been an acquittal. As it was, the retroactive application of the new Prussian code enabled the Government to have seven prisoners convicted, while four merely were acquitted, and those convicted were sentenced to imprisonment varying from three to six years, as you have, doubtless, already stated at the time the news reached you.

LONDON, December 1, 1852.


[1] "The Manifesto." This is the celebrated "Communist Manifesto," which the Communist Congress, held in London, November, 1847, delegated Marx and Engels to draw up. It was published in 1848 (in London). The fundamental proposition of the Manifesto, Engels writes in his introduction to the "Communist Manifesto," translated by S. Moore, and published by W. Reeves, "is that in every historical epoch, the prevailing mode of economic production and exchange, and the social organization necessarily following from it, form the basis upon which is built up, and from which alone can be explained, the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently the whole history of mankind has been a history of class struggles, contests between exploiting and exploited, ruling and oppressed classes; that nowadays a stage has been reached where the exploited and oppressed class—the proletariat—cannot attain its emancipation without at the same time, and once and for all emancipating society at large from all exploitation, oppression, class distinctions, and class struggles." As to this fundamental propostion of the Manifesto, it "belongs," says Engels, "wholly and solely to Marx." The "Communist Manifesto" has been translated into well-nigh every language, and is, again to quote Engels, "the most international production of all Socialist literature."