Written: [Trier, between August 4 and 10, 1844]
Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol 1, pg 580.
Publisher: International Publishers (1975)
First Published: Volwärts, No. 64, August 10, 1844
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcribed: S. Ryan
HTML Markup: S. Ryan
I received your letter at the very moment when all the bells were ringing, the guns firing, and the pious crowd flocking into the temples to convey their hallelujahs to the heavenly Lord for having so miraculously saved their earthly Lord. You can imagine with what peculiar feeling I read Heine's poems during the celebration and also chimed in with my hosannas. Did not your Prussian heart also quiver with horror at the news of that crime, that shocking, unthinkable crime? Alas, for the lost virginity, the lost honour! Such are the Prussian catchwords. When I heard the little green grasshopper, cavalry captain X., declaiming about the lost virginity, I could only believe that he meant the holy immaculate virginity of Mother Mary, for that after all is the only one officially confirmed. But as for the virginity of the Prussian state! No, I lost any belief in that long ago. As regards the terrible event, one consolation remains for the pure Prussian people, viz., that the motive for the deed was not any political fanaticism, but a purely personal desire for revenge. They console themselves with that--lucky for them--but it is precisely a new proof that a political revolution is impossible in Germany, whereas all the seeds of a social revolution are present. While there has never been a political fanatic there who dared to go to the extreme, the first one to risk an attempt at assassination was driven to it by want, dire want. For three days the man had been begging in vain in Berlin in constant danger of death from starvation--hence it was a social attempt at assassination! If something does break out, it will start from this direction--that is the most sensitive spot, and in this respect a German heart also is vulnerable!