O N E
Trie?] Bonn and Berlin
I feel myself suddenly invaded by doubt and ask myself if your heart is equal to your intelligence and spiritual qualities, if it is open to the tender feelings which here on earth are so great a source of consolation for a sensitive soul; I wonder whether the peculiar demon, to which your heart is manifestly a prey, is the Spirit of God or that of Faust. I ask myself - and this is not the least of the doubts that assail my heart - if you will ever know a simple happiness and family joys, and render happy those who surround you.
Heinrich Marx to his son, MEGA i i (2) 202.
i . C H I L D H O O D
It may seem paradoxical that Karl Marx, whom so many working-class movements of our time claim as their Master and infallible guide to revolution, should have come from a comfortable middle-class home. Yet to a remarkable extent he does himself epitomise his own doctrine that men are conditioned by their socio-economic circumstances. The German city in which he grew up gave him a sense of long historical tradition and at the same time close contact with the grim realities of the underdevelopment then characteristic of Germany. Thoroughly Jewish in their origins, Protestant by necessity yet living in a Catholic region, his family could never regard their social integration as complete. The sense of alienation was heightened in Marx's personal case by his subsequent inability to obtain a teaching post in a university system that had no room for dissident intellectuals.
Marx was born in Trier on 5 May 1818. A community of about 15,000 inhabitants, it was the oldest city in Germany1 and also one of the loveliest situated as it was in the Mosel valley, surrounded by vineyards and luxuriating in an almost Mediterranean vegetation. Under the name of Augusta Treverorum the city had been considered the Rome of the North and served as the headquarters of the most powerful of the Roman armies.
The Porta Nigra, in whose shadow (literally) Marx grew up, and the enormous fourth-century basilica were enduring monuments of Trier's imperial glory. In the Middle Ages the city had been the seat of a Prince-Archbishop whose lands stretched as far as Metz, Toul and Verdun; it was said that it contained more churches than any other German city of comparable size. Marx did not only get his lifelong Rhineland accent from Trier: more importantly, his absorbing passion for history originated in the very environment of his adolescence. But it was not just the city of Roman times that influenced him: during the Napoleonic wars, together with the rest of the Rhineland, it had been annexed by France and governed long enough in accordance with the principles of the French Revolution to be imbued by a taste for freedom of speech and constitutional liberty uncharacteristic of the rest of Germany. There was considerable discontent following incorporation of the Rhineland into Prussia in 1814. Trier had very little industry and its inhabitants were mainly officials, traders and artisans. Their activities were largely bound up with the vineyards whose prosperity, owing to customs unions and outside competition, was on the decline. The consequent unemployment and high prices caused increases in beggary, prostitution and emigration; more than a quarter of the city's population subsisted entirely on public charity.
Thus it is not surprising that Trier was one of the first cities in Germany where French doctrines of Utopian socialism appeared. The Archbishop felt himself compelled to condemn from the pulpit the doctrines of Saint Simon; and the teachings of Fourier were actively propagated by Ludwig Gall, Secretary to the City Council, who constantly emphasised the growing disparity and hence opposition between the rich and the poor.
Marx was all the more predisposed to take a critical look at society as he came from a milieu that was necessarily excluded from complete social participation. For it would be difficult to find anyone who had a more Jewish ancestry than Karl Marx. The name Marx is a shortened form of Mordechai, later changed to Markus. His father, Heinrich Marx, was born in 1782, the third son of Meier Halevi Marx who had become rabbi of Trier on the death of his father-in-law and was followed in this office by his eldest son Samuel (Karl's uncle) who died in 1827. Meier Halevi Marx numbered many rabbis among his ancestors, who came originally from Bohemia, and his wife, Chage, had an even more illustrious ancestry: she was the daughter of Moses Lwow, rabbi in Trier, whose father and grandfather were also rabbis in the same city. The father of Moses, Joshue Heschel Lwow, had been chosen rabbi of Trier in 1723, corresponded with the leading Jewish personalities of his time and had been widely known as a fearless fighter in the cause of truth. It was said of him that no important decision was taken in the Jewish world without his having first been consulted. The father of Joshue Heschel, Aron Lwow, was also rabbi in Trier and then moved to Westhofen in Alsace where he held the rabbinate for twenty years. Aron Lwow's father, Moses Lwow, came from Lemberg (the German name for Lwow) in Poland, and numbered among his ancestors Meir Katzenellenbogen, head of the Talmudic High School in Padua during the sixteenth century, and Abraham Ha-Levi Minz, rabbi in Padua, whose father had left Germany in the middle of the fifteenth century owing to persecutions there. In fact almost all the rabbis of Trier from the sixteenth century onwards were ancestors of Marx.
Less is known of the ancestry of Karl's mother, Henrietta, but she seems to have been no less steeped in the rabbinic tradition than her husband. She was Dutch, the daughter of Isaac Pressburg, rabbi of Nijme-gen. According to Eleanor (Karl's daughter), in her grandmother's family 'the sons had for centuries been rabbis'. In a letter to the Dutch socialist Polak, Eleanor wrote: 'It is strange that my father's semi-Dutch parentage should be so little known. .. my grandmother's family name was Pressburg and she belonged by descent to an old Hungarian Jewish family.
This family, driven by persecution to Holland, settled down in that country and became known as I have said, by the name Pressburg - really the town from which they came.'
Marx's father was remarkably unaffected by this centuries-old tradition of strict Jewish orthodoxy. He had broken early with his family, from whom he claimed to have received nothing 'apart from, to be fair, the love of my mother',6 and often mentioned to his son the great difficulties he had gone through at the outset of his career. At the time of Marx's birth he was counsellor-at-law to the High Court of Appeal in Trier; he also practised in the Trier County Court, and was awarded the title of Justizrat (very roughly the equivalent of a British Q.C.). For many years he was President of the city lawyers' association and occupied a respected position in civic society though he confined himself mostly to the company of his colleagues.
Although his beliefs seem to have been very little influenced by his Jewish upbringing, Heinrich Marx's 'conversion' to Christianity was one made solely in order to be able to continue his profession. The Napoleonic laws had given Jews in the Rhineland a certain equality but had attempted to impose strict controls over their commercial practices. On the transference of the Rhineland to Prussia, Heinrich Marx addressed a memorandum to the new Governor-General in which he respectfully requested that the laws applying exclusively to Jews be annulled. He spoke of his 'fellow believers' and fully identified himself with the Jewish community. But the memorandum was without effect. The Jews got the worst of both worlds: in 1818 a decree was issued keeping the Napoleonic laws in force for an unlimited period; and two years earlier the Prussian Government had decided that the Rhineland too should be subject to the laws that had been in force in Prussia since 1812. These laws, while granting Jews rights equal to those of Christians, nevertheless made their holding of positions in the service of the state dependent on a royal dispensation. The President of the Provincial Supreme Court, von Sethe, made an inspection tour of the Rhineland in April 1816 and interviewed Heinrich Marx, who impressed him as 'someone of wide knowledge, very industrious, articulate and thoroughly honest'. As a result he recommended that Heinrich Marx and two other Jewish officials be retained in their posts. But the Prussian Minister of Justice was against exceptions and Heinrich Marx was forced to change his religion to avoid becoming, as von Sethe put it, 'breadless'. He chose to become a Protestant - though there were only about 200 Protestants in Trier - and was baptised some time before August 1817. (It was at this period that he changed his name to Heinrich having been known hitherto as Heschel.) Marx's mother, who remains a shadowy figure, seems to have been more attached to Jewish beliefs than his father. When the children were baptised in 1824 - the eldest son, Karl, being then of an age to start school - her religion was entered as Jewish with the proviso that she consented to the baptism of her children but wished to defer her own baptism on account of her parents. Her father died in 1825 and she was baptised the same year. Her few surviving letters are written in an ungrammatical German without any punctuation. The fact that her letters even to her Dutch relations were in German suggests that she spoke Yiddish in her parents' home. Being very closely attached to her own family, she always felt something of a stranger in Trier. The few indications that survive portray her as a simple, uneducated, hardworking woman, whose horizon was almost totally limited to her family and home, rather over-anxious and given to laments and humourless moralising. It is therefore quite possible that Henrietta Marx kept alive in the household certain Jewish customs and attitudes.
It is impossible to estimate with any precision the influence on Marx of this strong family tradition. 'The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a mountain on the mind of the living', he wrote later.
Jewishness, above all at that time, was not something that it was easy to slough off. Heine and Hess, both intimate friends of Marx - the one a convert to Protestatism for cultural reasons, the other an avowed atheist both retained their Jewish self-awareness until the end of their lives.
Kven Marx's youngest daughter, Eleanor, though only half-Jewish, proclaimed constantly and with a certain defiant pride at workers' meetings in the East End of London: '1 am a Jewess.'The position of Jews in the Rhineland, where they were often scapegoats for the farmers' increasing poverty, was calculated to increase their collective self-awareness.
Although civil equality had been achieved under the Napoleonic laws, the inauguration of the Holy Alliance and its policy of the 'Christian state' inevitably involved an anti-semitism on the double count that the religious Jews professed an alien faith and many claimed to be a separate people.
In much of the bitterest polemic - which Marx engaged in with, for example, Ruge, Proudhon, Bakunin and Diihring - his Jewishness was dragged into the debate. Whether Marx himself possessed anti-semitic tendencies is a matter of much controversy: certainly a superficial reading of his pamphlet On the Jewish Question would indicate as much;11 and his letters contain innumerable derogatory epithets concerning Jews;12 but this does not justify a charge of sustained anti-semitism. Some students of Marx believe they have found the key to Marx's whole system of ideas in his rabbinic ancestry; but although some of his ideas - and even lifestyle - have echoes of the prophetic tradition, this tradition itself is more or less part of the Western intellectual heritage; and it would be too simplistic to reduce Marx's ideas to a secularised Judaism.
Typically Jewish attitudes were certainly not in keeping with the general views of Marx's father. According to Eleanor, he was 'steeped in the free French ideas of the eighteenth century on politics, religion, life and art'. He subscribed entirely to the views of the eighteenth-century French rationalists, sharing their limitless faith in the power of reason to explain and improve the world. In this belief these French intellectuals tempered the dogmatic rationalism of the classical metaphysicians like Leibnitz with the British empiricism of Locke and Hume. They believed that they were capable of showing that men were by nature good and all equally rational; the cause of human misery was simply ignorance, which resulted partly from unfortunate material circumstances and partly from a deliberate suppression or distortion of the truth by those in authority, whether civil or religious, in whose obvious interest it was to perpetuate the deceptions under which mankind laboured. One of the chief means of destroying this state of affairs was education; another was change in material conditions.
His surviving letters show that Heinrich Marx was indeed, in the words of his grand-daughter Eleanor, 'a real Frenchman of the eighteenth century who knew his Voltaire and Rousseau by heart'. His religion was a shallow and moralising deism: Edgar von Westphalen, Karl Marx's future brother-in-law, described Heinrich Marx as a 'Protestant a la Lessing'. His outlook on life is well summed up in the advice he gave to Karl: 'A good support for morality is a simple faith in God. You know that I am the last person to be a fanatic. But sooner or later a man has a real need of this faith, and there are moments in life when even the man who denies God is compelled against his will to pray to the Almighty... everyone should submit to what was the faith of Newton, Locke and Leibnitz.'
Heinrich Marx was also closely connected with the Rhineland liberal movement. He was a member of a literary society, the Trier Casino Club, founded during the French occupation and so called from its meeting place. The liberal movement gained force after the 1830 Revolution in France, and the Club held a dinner in 1834 (when Karl was sixteen) in honour of the liberal deputies from Trier who sat in the Rhineland Parliament. This dinner - part of a campaign for more representative constitutions - was the only one held in Prussia, though many such were held in non-Prussian areas of Germany. Although Heinrich Marx was extremely active as one of the five organisers of this political dinner, the toast he eventually proposed was characteristically moderate and deferen-tial. The nearest he got to the demands of the liberals was effusively to thank Frederick William III, to whose 'magnanimity we owe the first institutions of popular representation'. He ended: 'Let us confidently envisage a happy future, for it rests in the hands of a benevolent father, an equitable king. His noble heart will always give a favourable reception to the justifiable and reasonable wishes of his people.' Several revolutionary songs were then sung and a police report informed the Government that Heinrich had joined in the singing. The dinner caused anger in government circles, and this anger was increased by a more radical demonstration two weeks later, on the anniversary of the founding of the Casino Club, when the 'Marseillaise' was sung and the Tricolor brandished. The Prussian Government severely reprimanded the provincial governor and put the Casino Club under increased police surveillance.
Heinrich Marx was present at this second demonstration but this time refrained from joining in the singing: he was no francophile and hated what he termed Napoleon's 'mad ideology'. Although his liberal ideas were always tempered by a certain Prussian patriotism, Heinrich Marx possessed a sympathy for the rights of the oppressed that cannot have been without influence on his son.
The Marx family had enough money to live fairly comfortably. Heinrich's parents had been poor and, although his wife brought a fair dowry, he was a self-made man. The building in which Marx was born was a finely constructed three-storey house with a galleried courtyard. However, Heinrich rented only two rooms on the ground floor and three on the first floor, in which he housed seven people as well as exercised his legal practice. Eighteen months after Karl's birth, the family bought and moved into another house in Trier, considerably smaller than the previous one, but comprising ten rooms - and with a cottage in the grounds.
The family had two maids and also owned a vineyard near the city.
Nevertheless the low income tax paid by Heinrich Marx and some of his remarks in letters to his son (he urged Karl to send several of his letters together by parcel post as it was cheaper) suggest that there was not much money to spare.23
There were nine children in the Marx family of whom Karl was the third; but the eldest, Moritz David, died aged four the year after Karl's birth so that Karl occupied the position of elder son. He had an elder sister, Sophie, to whom he seems to have been particularly attached during his childhood; she later married a lawyer and lived in Maastricht in Holland. Marx's two younger brothers both died early from tuberculosis, as did two of his sisters. Of the two remaining sisters, Louise married a Dutchman, Juta, and emigrated with him to Cape Town, and Emilie married an engineer and lived in Trier. Most of the little information about Marx's childhood comes from these sisters, who told their niece, Eleanor, that as a child Marx was 'a terrible tyrant of his sisters, whom he would "drive" as his horses down the Markusberg in Trier at full speed and worse, would insist on their eating the "cakes" he made with dirty dough and dirtier hands. But they stood the "driving" and ate the "cakes" without a murmur, for the sake of the stories Karl would tell them as a reward for their compliance.'
Up to the age of twelve Marx was probably educated at home. For the subsequent five years 1830-5 he attended the High School in Trier which had formerly been a Jesuit school and then bore the name Frederick William High School. Here he received a typically solid humanist education. The liberal spirit of the Enlightenment had been introduced into the school by the late Prince-Elector of Trier, Clement Wenceslas, who had adopted the principles of his famous predecessor Febronius and tried to reconcile faith and reason from a Kantian standpoint. In order to combat the ignorance of the clergy he turned the school into a sort of minor seminary. It sank to a very low level under the French occupation, but was reorganised after the annexation of the Rhineland and recruited several very gifted teachers.25 The chief influence in the school was its headmaster, Hugo Wyttenbach, Karl's history teacher and a friend of the Marx family. He had made a favourable impression on Goethe as 'an adept of Kantian philosophy',26 and took part in the founding of the Casino Club. After a big demonstration at Hambach in favour of freedom of the Press in 1832, Wyttenbach was put under police observation and the school was searched: copies of the Hambach speeches and anti-government satire were found in the possession of pupils. As a result of the Casino affair of 1834, Karl Marx's fourth year at the school, the mathematics teacher was accused of materialism and atheism, and the improve mankind and himself, but left it to him to seek the means by which he must attain this goal, left it to him to choose the position in society which is most appropriate and from which he can best elevate both himself and society. This choice offers a great advantage over other creatures but at the same time is an act which can destroy man's entire life, defeat all his plans, and make him unhappy.
To every person there had been allotted his own purpose in life, a purpose indicated by the 'soft but true' interior voice of the heart. It was easy to be deluded by ambition and a desire for glory, so close attention was necessary to see what one was really fitted for. Once all factors had been coolly considered, then the chosen career should be eagerly pursued.
'But we cannot always choose the career for which we believe we have a vocation. Our social relations have already begun to form, to some extent, before we are in a position to determine them.'" This sentence has been hailed as the first germ of Marx's later theory of historical materialism.
However, the fact that human activity is continuously limited by the prestructured environment is an idea at least as old as the Enlightenment and the Encyclopedists. It would indeed be surprising if even the germ of historical materialism had already been present in the mind of a seventeen-year-old school-boy. It would be a mistake to think that, in his early writings, Marx was raising questions to which he would later produce answers: his later work, coming as it did after the tremendous impact on him of Hegel and the Hegelian School, contained quite different questions and therefore quite different answers. In any case, the subsequent passages of the essay, with their mention of physical or mental deficiencies, show that Marx here merely means that when choosing a career one should consider one's circumstances.
Marx then went on to recommend that a career be chosen that conferred on a man as much worth as possible by permitting him to attain a position that was 'based on ideas of whose truth we are completely convinced, which offers the largest field to work for mankind and approach the universal goal for which every position is only a means: perfection'. This idea of perfectibility was what should above all govern the choice of a career, always bearing in mind that The vocations which do not take hold of life but deal, rather, with abstract truths are the most dangerous for the youth whose principles are not yet crystallised, whose conviction is not yet firm and unshake-able, though at the same time they seem to be the most lofty ones when they have taken root deep in the breast and when we can sacrifice life and all striving for the ideas which hold sway in them.
11 ere, too, commentators have tried to discover an embryo of Marx's later idea of the 'unity of theory and practice'. Once again, this is to read into Marx's essay much more than is there. All that Marx meant is that the sort of profession that deals with abstract ideas should be approached with special circumspection, for 'they can make happy him who is called to them; but they destroy him who takes them overhurriedly, without reflection, obeying the moment'. The problem was above all a practical one and not at all posed in terms of theories.
The essay ended with a purple passage revealing a pure, youthful idealism:
History calls those the greatest men who ennoble themselves by working for the universal. Experience praises as the most happy the one who made the most people happy. Religion itself teaches that the ideal for which we are all striving sacrificed itself for humanity, and who would dare to gainsay such a statement?
When we have chosen the vocation in which we can contribute most to humanity, burdens cannot bend us because they are only sacrifices for all. Then we experience no meagre, limited, egotistic joy, but our happiness belongs to millions, our deeds live on quietly but eternally effective, and glowing tears of noble men will fall on our ashes.
The essay was marked by Wyttenbach, who qualified it as 'fairly good' and praised Marx for being rich in ideas and well organised, though he rightly criticised Marx's 'exaggerated desire for rare and imaginative expressions'.
The enthusiasm for excessive imagery and the love of poetry that Marx was to display in his first years at the university were heightened by his friendship with Baron von Westphalen who was a third important influence on the young Marx in addition to his home and school. Ludwig von Westphalen was twelve years older than Heinrich Marx, being born in 1770 into a recently ennobled family. His father, Philip von Westphalen, an upright, straightforward and extremely capable member of the rising German middle class, had been private secretary to the Duke of Brunswick during the Seven Years War, had given essential help to his master in several military campaigns culminating in the battle of Minden, and was consequently ennobled by George III of England. During the war he had married a Scottish noblewoman, Jeanie Wishart, who had come to Germany to visit her sister, whose husband, General Beckwith, commanded the English troops. Jeanie Wishart was descended from the Earls of Argyll and brought with her, among other things, the crested silver that Marx and Jenny later had so many occasions to pawn. The youngest of their sons, Ludwig von Westphalen, inherited the liberal and progressive views of his father: after the defeat of Prussia he entered the civil service of the Napoleonic kingdom of Westphalia and then became Vice-Prefect of the town of Salzwedel in North Saxony. His first wife, who had given him four children, having died, he married Caroline Heubel, the daughter of a horse trainer.
Ludwig and Caroline had three children, the eldest being Jenny, born in 1814 - two years before they were to move to Trier where he was transferred (and slightly downgraded) as city counsellor: he was not fully in agreement with the policies of the new Prussian Government and it was thought that his liberal views would be more at home in the ex-French Rhineland. The Westphalens moved into a fine house quite near to that of the Marxes,48 though they were by no means a rich family.
As Heinrich Marx and Ludwig von Westphalen were both in the city's legal service and members of the small Protestant community, it was natural that they should become friends. Jenny became very intimate with Sophie Marx and the families were in constant contact. The Baron, now over sixty, developed a particular affection for Karl. He was an extremely cultured man, spoke English as well as he spoke German, read Latin and Greek without difficulty and particularly liked romantic poetry. Eleanor Marx wrote that Baron von Westphalen 'filled Karl Marx with enthusiasm for the romantic school and, whereas his father read Voltaire and Racine with him, the Baron read him Homer and Shakespeare - who remained his favourite authors all his life'. The Baron devoted much of his time to the young Marx, and the two went for intellectual walks through the 'wonderfully picturesque hills and woods' of the neighbourhood. As well as being a man of culture, the Baron was keen on progressive political ideas and interested Marx in the personality and work of the French Utopian socialist Saint-Simon.
Heinrich Marx approved of his son's attachment to the Baron and admonished him: 'You have good fortune such as is given to few young people of your age. On the first important stretch of life you have found a friend, and a very worthy one, older and more experienced than yourself.
It will be the best test of your character, spirit and heart, indeed of your morality, if you can keep your friend and be worthy of him.'51 Marx's gratitude for the Baron's friendship was such that in 1841 he dedicated his doctoral thesis to him in a most effusive manner: Forgive me, my dear fatherly friend, for prefacing an unimportant work with a name so beloved as yours: but I am too impatient to await another opportunity of giving you a small proof of my love. May all who have doubts of the power of the spirit have, like myself, the good fortune to admire an old man who has kept his youthful impulses and who, with wise enthusiasm for the truth, welcomes all progress. Far from retreating before the reactionary ghosts and the often dark sky of our time, you have always been able, inspired by a profound and burning idealism, to perceive, behind the veils that hide it, the shrine that burns at the heart of this world. You, my fatherly friend, have always been for me the living proof that idealism is no illusion, but the true reality.
II. S T U D E N T D A Y S
In October 1835, at the early age of seventeen, Marx left home for the university. His whole family turned out at four o'clock in the morning to see him off on the steamer that took sixteen hours to travel down the Mosel to Coblenz, where the following day he took a further steamer down the Rhine to Bonn; on the third day he registered himself as a student in the Law Faculty at the University of Bonn. The enthusiasm for romanticism that Baron von Westphalen had aroused in Marx - thus supplanting to some extent the Enlightenment rationalism of home and school - was increased by the year spent at Bonn. The city itself was scarcely larger than Trier. But the university - with 700 students - served as the intellectual centre of the Rhineland; the dominant outlook there was thoroughly romantic and the most popular lectures (which Marx attended) were those given by the old A. W. Schlegel on philosophy and literature. In general, politics was little discussed: the university, like most in Germany, had experienced a wave of free speech and anti-government activity in the early 1830s, but this had been thoroughly suppressed. Marx began the year with great enthusiasm for his work, putting himself down for nine courses, which he subsequently reduced to six on his father's advice, three of which were on literary subjects. His first end-of-term report said that he followed all six courses with zeal and attention. The second term, however, following an illness from overwork at the beginning of 1836, he reduced the number of courses to four and gave much less time to formal studies.
His father continually complained of his son's inability to keep his family informed of his activities: on his arrival in Bonn he left them three weeks without news and then produced only two short letters in three months. He was also spending much more money than his family could afford - a lifelong characteristic. During the first semester, Marx shared a room with a highly respected philosophy student from Trier (who had entered the university a year earlier), became one of the thirty members of the Trier Tavern Club and was soon one of its five presidents. The activities of the club were largely confined to drinking and Marx entered so fully into the spirit that he found himself imprisoned by the university for 'disturbing the peace of the night with drunken noise' though only for twenty-four hours; and the university 'prison' was far from uncomfortable as the friends of the condemned man had the right to come and help him pass the time with beer and cards. During 1836 rivalry broke out in the university between the students from Trier and the young Prussian aristocrats in the Borussia-Korps. Sometimes it degenerated into open fighting and in August 1836 Marx was wounded above the left eye in a duel. He was also denounced to the university authorities for having 'been in the possession of forbidden weapons in Cologne', but the investigation petered out.
When not drinking and duelling, Marx spent most of his time writing poetry and joined a club of like-minded students. The club probably had political overtones: one of its members was Karl Grtin, one of the future founders of 'true' socialism; it was under police surveillance, and had contacts with other university poetry clubs that were similarly suspect. In his rare letters home Marx was in the habit of enclosing specimens of his compositions which his father found quite incomprehensible. On being asked to bear the cost of their publication, he warned his son that'although I am very pleased with your poetical gifts and have great hopes of them, I would be very sorry to see you cut in public the figure of a minor poet'. Well before the end of the academic year Heinrich Marx decided that one year at Bonn was quite enough and that his son should transfer to the University of Berlin.
Before Marx set out for Berlin, however, another problem arose: 'Scarcely was the wild rampaging in Bonn finished,' Heinrich Marx wrote to him during the summer vacation of 1836, 'scarcely were your debts paid - and they were really of the most varied nature - when to our dismay the sorrows of love appeared.' Jenny and Karl had been friends from earliest childhood. Jenny, with her dark auburn hair and green eyes, was widely noticed in Trier and had even been chosen as Queen of the Ball. The young Marx, who later described himself as 'a really furious Roland', was an insistent suitor: there had been an understanding between them before Marx left for Bonn and in the summer of 1836 this was turned into a formal engagement. By the standards of the time, the engagement was an extremely unusual one: Marx was only eighteen, Jenny was four years older, and there was also a certain difference in social status. At first only Marx's parents, and his sister Sophie - who had acted as go-between for the lovers - were let into the secret. Jenny's father gave his consent in March 1837. Marx's parents were not (initially at least) very keen on the match; and the pair had also to sustain 'years of unnecessary and exhausting conflicts'58 with Jenny's family. Marx later denied vehemently his son-in-law's statement in a newspaper that the opposition from the Westphalens was based on anti-semitism,59 and it is more likely that the conflicts arose from the generally reactionary attitudes of some members of that family.
His taste for romanticism and poetry increased by his successful if still semi-secret wooing, Marx left Trier in October 1836 for Berlin. The capital city was in almost total contrast to Bonn. Engels later graphically recalled the Berlin of the time 'with its scarcely formed bourgeoisie, its loud-mouthed petty bourgeoisie, so unenterprising and fawning, its still completely unorganised workers, its masses of bureaucrats and hangers-on of nobility and court, its whole character as mere "residence" 60 Berlin was, indeed, a very roodess city with no long-established aristocracy, no solid bourgeoisie, no nascent working class. With over 300,000 inhabitants it was nevertheless the largest German city after Vienna, and possessed a university three times the size of that in Bonn and totally different in atmosphere. Ten years earlier the student Feuerbach had written to his father: 'There is no question here of drinking, duelling and pleasant communal outings; in no other university can you find such a passion for work, such an interest for things that are not petty student intrigues, such an inclination for the sciences, such calm and such silence. Compared to this temple of work, the other universities appear like public houses.'
We are exceptionally well informed about Marx's first year in Berlin (where he was to remain four and a half years) thanks to his one surviving letter to his father written (by candlelight, during the early hours of the morning) in November 1837. It is an extraordinarily intimate letter in which he retails at great length the spiritual itinerary of his last year.
When I left you [he began] a new world had just begun to exist for me, the world of love that was at first drunk with its own desire and hopeless. Even the journey to Berlin which would otherwise have charmed me completely, exciting in me an admiration for nature and inflaming me with a zest for life, left me cold and, surprisingly, even depressed me; for the rocks that I saw were not rougher, not harsher than the emotions of my soul, the broad cities not more full of life than my blood, the tables of the inns not more overladen and their fare not more indigestible than the stocks of fantasies that I carried with me, nor, finally, was any work of art as beautiful as Jenny.
As soon as he reached Berlin he reluctantly made a few necessary visits and then completely isolated himself in order to immerse himself in science and art. The writing of lyric poetry was his first concern; at least, as he himself put it, it was 'the pleasantest and readiest to hand'.63 His poems written while he was in Bonn and those written during the autumn of 1836 in Berlin have not survived. The latter were written in three books en tided 'Book of Love, Part 1 and 2' and 'Book of Songs' - all
Marx's present to Jenny von Westphalen on his arrival in Berlin. The text reads:
'Ihuh tier I.iebe. Me inert teuren eiviggeliebten Jenny von Westphalen. Berlin, 1836, am Ernie ties llerbstes.' Translation: 'To my dear, eternally loved Jenny von Westphalen three being dedicated to Jenny von Westphalen who, according to Sophie Marx, 'wept tears of delight and pain'64 on receiving them. She kept them carefully all her life, though her daughter Laura related that 'my father treated those verses with scant respect; each time that my parents spoke of them, they laughed outright at these youthful follies'.65 According to the social-democrat historian Mehring, these poems, with one exception, were all love lyrics and romantic ballads. He had had the opportunity of reading them before the great majority were lost and judged them 'form-less in every sense of the word'.66 They were full of gnomes, sirens, songs to stars and bold knights, 'romantic in tone without the magic proper to romanticism'.67 They were, said Marx, in accordance with my attitude and all my previous development, purely idealistic. My heaven and art became a Beyond as distant as my love.
Everything real began to dissolve and thus lose its finiteness, I attacked the present, feeling was expressed without moderation or form, nothing was natural, everything built of moonshine; I believed in a complete opposition between what is and what ought to be and rhetorical reflections occupied the place of poetic thoughts, though there was perhaps also a certain warmth of emotion and desire for exuberance. These are the characteristics of all the poems of the first three volumes that Jenny received from me.
Most of the few surviving poems are those written during the first half of 1837, together with fragments of a dramatic fantasy and a comic novel.
Marx tried to publish some of these poems and sent them to Adelbert von Chamisso, editor of the annual Deutscher Musenalmanacb, but the issue had already gone to press. Although dedicated to his father, the poems were not much to his taste and Heinrich Marx even encouraged his son to attempt an ode which 'should glorify Prussia and afford an opportunity of praising the genius of the Monarch .. . patriotic, emotional and composed in a Germanic manner'.69 Marx's models, however, were Heine, Goethe and Schiller, and his verses contained all the well-known themes of German romanticism, with the exception of political reaction and nationalism. They were full of tragic love and talk of human destiny as the plaything of mysterious forces. There was the familiar subjectivism and extreme exaltation of the personality of the creative artist isolated from the rest of society, while seeking, at the same time, for a community of like-minded individuals. As a result of his love for Jenny, With disdain I will throw my gauntlet
Full in the face of the world,
And see the collapse of this pigmy giant
Whose fall will not stifle my ardour.
Then I will wander godlike and victorious
Through the ruins of the world
And, giving my words an active force,
I will feel equal to the creator.™
Other poems display a longing for something infinite and a love of death a la Novalis, while still others consist entirely of a dream world of mystical imagination. To the aesthetic idealism of these poems was added a series of typically romantic ironical attacks on 'Philistines', people like doctors and mathematicians, who followed utilitarian professions based on an ordered and rational approach to problems.
To help him in his composition, Marx had copied out large extracts from Lessing's Laokoon, Solger's Erwin, and Winckelmann's History of Art. Marx's habit of making excerpts from all the books he was reading (and sometimes adding comments of his own) stayed with him all his life, and those notebooks that remain form a valuable guide to the development of his thought.71 He also wrote a few chapters of a comic novel,
'Scorpion and Felix', in the style of Sterne and then gave that up to compose the first scene of 'Oulanem', a contemporary comic thriller whose hero was a feeble copy of the ageing Faust. 'Oulanem', too, never got beyond an immensely long first act which contained frenzied reflections on love (in all its forms), death, destruction and eternity.72 Finally there was an interesting series of epigrams on Hegel, whom Marx accused of being arrogant and obscure. In the first epigram, he says:
Because my meditations have discovered the highest of things and also the depths,
I am as crude as a god and cloak myself in darkness as he does, In my long researches and journeys on the wavy sea of thought, I found the word and remain firmly attached to my find.75
The second epigram had the same theme, opening: I teach words that are mixed up in a devilish and chaotic mess.74
The most interesting was the last epigram:
Kant and Fichte like to whirl into heaven
And search there for a distant land,
While my only aim is to understand completely What - I found in the street.
The point of this epigram is totally misunderstood if it is taken to be Marx himself speaking. As in the former epigrams, it is 'Hegel' who is speaking, criticised by Marx, the subjective romantic, for being too attached to day-to-day reality. The whole tenor of Marx's poems makes this an obvious criticism of Hegel, and it was a common one among romantic writers.
In general Marx's first contact with Berlin University brought about a great change in the views he had expressed in his school-leaving essay.
No longer was he inspired by the thought of the service of humanity and concerned to fit himself into a place where he might best be able to sacrifice himself for this noble ideal; his poems of 1837, on the contrary, reveal a cult of the isolated genius and an introverted concern for the development of his own personality apart from the rest of humanity.77
Marx's penchant for romantic poetry was undoubtedly increased by the strain of his relationship with Jenny and the uncertainty of his future.
While their engagement was still a secret from her parents, she refused to correspond with her fiance at all. 'I have gained the complete confidence of your Jenny,' Heinrich Marx wrote to his son, 'but the good, kind girl is continually tormenting herself, she is afraid of hurting you, of making you overstrain yourself, etc., etc. She is oppressed by the fact that her parents know nothing or, as I think, don't want to know anything.
She cannot understand how she, who considers herself to be such a rational being, could let herself get so carried away.' He advised his son to enclose a letter for Jenny 'full of tender, devoted sentiment. .. but taking a clear view of your relationship' and definitely 'not a letter distorted by the fantasies of a poet'.
Eventually it was decided that Marx should send a letter to the Baron declaring his intention and should give his own family a week's notice of its arrival so that his father could do his best to secure a favourable reception. Jenny herself, even when the engagement was accepted by her father, continued to be extremely apprehensive, being already past the age when most girls of her class were married. 'She has the idea', Heinrich Marx reported, 'that it is unnecessary to write to y o u . . . But what does that matter? You can be as certain as I am (and you know that I am hard to convince) that even a Prince would not be able to steal her affections from you. She is attached to you body and soul.. .'79 Jenny herself explained her state of mind:
That I am not in a condition to return your youthful romantic love, I knew from the very beginning and felt deeply even before it was explained to me so coldly, cleverly and rationally. Oh, Karl, my distress lies precisely in the fact that your beautiful, touching passionate love, your indescribably beautiful descriptions of it, the enrapturing images conjured up by your imagination, that would fill any other girl with ineffable delight, only serve to make me anxious and often uncertain.
If I gave myself over to this bliss, then my fate would be all the more frightful if your fiery love were to die, and you were to become cold and unwilling .. . You see, Karl, that is why I am not so completely grateful, so thoroughly enchanted by your love as I ought to be; that is why I am often mindful of external things, of life and reality, instead of holding fast, as you would like, to the world of love, losing myself in it and finding there a higher dearer spiritual unity with you enabling ine to forget all other things.
Occasionally even Heinrich Marx began to regret that he had sanctioned the engagement and was full of sound advice that his son was obviously not in a position to follow:
Your exalted and exaggerated love cannot bring back peace to the person to whom you have entirely given yourself and you run the contrary risk of entirely destroying her. Exemplary conduct, a manly and firm desire rapidly to raise yourself in the world without thereby alienating people's goodwill and favour: this is the only way of creating a satisfactory state of affairs and of both reassuring Jenny and raising her in her own eyes and those of the world . . . She is making an inestimable sacrifice for you and gives evidence of a self-denial such as only cold reason can fully appreciate . . . You must give her the certainty that in spite of your youth you are a man who merits the respect of the world and can earn it.'
Under the impact of his father's advice and the general atmosphere of the university, Marx's romantic period did not survive long. Poetry, even during his first year at Berlin, was not his only concern. He also read widely in jurisprudence and felt compelled to 'struggle with philosophy'.
In the Berlin Law Faculty, the progressive Hegelian standpoint was represented by Eduard Gans, whose lectures Marx attended during the first term. Gans was a baptised Jew, a liberal Hegelian who in his brilliant lectures elaborated on the Hegelian idea of a rational development in history by emphasising particularly its libertarian aspects, and the importance of social questions. Gans approved of the French Revolution of 1830, advocated a British style of monarchy, was impressed by the ideas of Saint-Simon and was eager to find solutions to overcome 'the struggle of the proletarians with the middle classes'. The opposing school of thought, known as the Historical School of Law, was represented by Karl von Savigny, whose lectures Marx also attended. The Historical School claimed to find the justification for laws in the customs and traditions of a people and not in the theoretical systems of lawgivers.
This point of view linked law closely to history but had necessarily reactionary overtones in that it looked to the past to reinforce its prin-l iples of organic development. There being no open political discussion m the- Prussia of that time, the conflict between the principles of the French Revolution and those of the reaction that succeeded it was fought out in such disputes as then existed in the Law Faculty.
It is not, therefore, surprising that Marx should have been led, through his legal studies, to engage in philosophical speculation. The two were, in his mind, closely connected and he tried to work out a philosophy of law. He prefaced this with a metaphysical introduction and the whole grew to a work of three hundred pages before he gave it up. The particular problem which he was unable to overcome in the metaphysical introduction was the conflict between what is and what ought to be, 'the hallmark of idealism which gave rise to its dominating and very destructive features and engendered the following hopelessly mistaken division of the subject-matter: firstly came what I had so graciously christened the metaphysics of law, i.e. first principles, reflections, definitions distinct from all actual law and every actual form of law - just as you get in Fichte, only here more modern and with less substance'.85 It was precisely this gap between what is and what ought to be that Marx later considered to have been bridged by the Hegelian philosophy. Marx's second objection to the metaphysical system he had constructed was its 'mathematical dogmatism'.
According to Marx, the systems of Kant and Fichte, which were the inspiration for his own ideas at this time, were open to this objection: they were abstract systems that, like geometry, passed from axioms to conclusions. In contrast, 'in the practical expression of the living world of ideas in which law, the state, nature and the whole of philosophy consist, the object itself must be studied in its own development, and arbitrary divisions must not be introduced'.86 Marx then outlined the complicated schema of his philosophy of law that comprised the second part of his treatise. The main reason for his dissatisfaction with this classification seems to have been that it was essentially empty - a desk, as he put it, into whose drawers he later poured sand.
When he got as far as the discussion of material private law, he realised that his enterprise was mistaken:
At the end of material private law I saw the falsity of the whole conception (whose outline borders on the Kantian but when elaborated veers completely away), and it again became plain to me that I could not get by without philosophy. So I was forced again with a quiet conscience to throw myself into her arms, and composed a new basic system of metaphysics at the end of which I was forced to realise the perversity of this and that of all my previous efforts.87
This brought Marx to the end of his first semester and he sought refuge from his philosophical problems in writing the poetry discussed above:
At the end of the term I again sought the dances of the Muses and the music of the Satyrs and in the last volume that I sent you the forced humour of 'Scorpion and Felix' and the misconceived fantastic drama of 'Oulanem' are shot through with idealism which finally changes completely, dissolving into purely formal an which has no objects to inspire it and no exciting progress of ideas.
But this activity, while revealing what poetry could be, at the same time made it impossible for Marx to continue: 'These last poems were the only ones in which suddenly, as though at the touch of a magic wand oh! the touch was at first shattering - the kingdom of true poetry glittered opposite me like a distant fairy palace and all my creations dissolved into nothingness.'
Not surprisingly this period of intense intellectual activity in several fields, often involving his working through the night, ended in a period of severe illness. Marx seems to have suffered quite severely from the tendency to tuberculosis that killed so many of his family: the following year his military service was put off 'because of weakness of the lungs and periodical vomiting of blood'. And in 1841 his military obligations were cancelled for good and he was declared completely invalid 'owing to the sensitivity of his lungs'.90 His doctor advised a change of scene and Marx went to the village of Stralow just outside Berlin. Here his views underwent radical change: 'A curtain had fallen, my holy of holies was rent asunder and new gods had to be installed. I left behind the idealism which, by the way, I had nourished with that of Kant and Fichte, and came to seek the idea in the real itself. If the gods had before dwelt above the earth, they had now become its centre.'
Previously Hegel's conceptual rationalism had been rejected by Marx, the follower of Kant and Fichte, the romantic subjectivist who considered the highest being to be separate from earthly reality. Now, however, it began to seem as though the Idea was immanent in the real.
Previously Marx had 'read fragments of Hegel's philosophy, but I did not care for its grotesque and rocky melody'.92 Now he had to resolve his spiritual crisis by a conversion to Hegelianism - a conversion that was as profound as it was sudden. It was probably the most important intellectual step of Marx's whole life. For however much he was to criticise Hegel, accuse him of idealism, and try to stand his dialectic 'on its feet', Marx was the first to admit that his method stemmed directly from his Master of the 1830s.
I legelianism was the dominant philosophy in Berlin where Hegel had held the chair of Philosophy from 1818 until his death in 1831. Building on (lie centrality of human reason propounded by Kant, Hegel had united into :i comprehensive system the themes of German idealist philosophy and in particular the philosophy of Fichte and Schelling: immanence, development and contradiction. 'The great merit of Hegel's philosophy', wrote Engels, 'was that for the first time the totality of the natural, historical and spiritual aspects of the world were conceived and represented as a process of constant transformation and development and an effort was made to show the organic character of this process.' Hegel started from the belief that, as he said of the French Revolution, 'man's existence has its centre in his head, i.e. in Reason, under whose inspiration he builds up the world of reality'. In his greatest work, the Phiinomenologie, Hegel traced the development of mind or spirit, reintroducing historical movement into philosophy and asserting that the human mind can attain absolute knowledge. He analysed the development of human consciousness, from its immediate perception of the here and now to the stage of self-consciousness, the understanding that allows man to analyse the world and order his own actions accordingly. Following this was the stage of reason itself - understanding the real, after which spirit - by means of religion and art - attained absolute knowledge, the level at which man recognised in the world the stages of his own reason. These stages Hegel called 'alienations', in so far as they were creations of the human mind yet thought of as independent and superior to the human mind. This absolute knowledge is at the same time a sort of recapitulation of the human spirit, for each successive stage retains elements of the previous ones at the same time as it goes beyond them. This movement that suppresses and yet conserves Hegel called Aufhebung, a word that has this double sense in German. Hegel also talked of 'the power of the negative', thinking that there was always a tension between any present state of affairs and what it was becoming. For any present state of affairs was in the process of being negated, changed into something else. This process was what Hegel meant by dialectic.
Faced with the manifest attraction of this philosophy, Marx began to clarify his ideas by writing - a procedure he had adopted before and would adopt many times later. He produced a twenty-four-page dialogue entitled 'Cleanthes, or the Starting Point and Necessary Progress of Philosophy'. For this purpose he acquainted himself with natural science, history and a study of the works of Schelling. This dialogue ended with Marx's conversion to Hegelianism: 'My last sentence was the beginning of Hegel's system and this work which had caused one endless headache . . . this my dearest child, reared by moonlight, like a false siren delivers me into the arms of the enemy.'95 Thus Marx had gone through the same evolution as classical German philosophy itself, from Kant and Fichte through Schelling to Hegel.
This process of giving up his romantic idealism and delivering himself over to 'the enemy' was an extremely radical and painful one for Marx.
I le described its immediate results:
My vexation prevented me from thinking at all for several days and I ran like a madman around the garden beside the dirty waters of the Spree 'which washes souls and makes weak tea'. I even went on a hunting party with my landlord and rushed off to Berlin and wanted to embrace every street-loafer I saw . .. My fruitless and failed intellectual endeavours and my consuming anger at having to make an idol of a view that I hated made me ill. lis conversion to Hegel was completed firstly by a thorough reading of I Iegel: while sick he 'got to know Hegel, together with most of his disciples, from the beginning to end'; and secondly, by joining a sort of Hegelian discussion group: 'through several gatherings with friends in Stralow I obtained entrance into a graduate club among whose members were several university lecturers and the most intimate of my Berlin friends, Dr Rutenberg. In the discussions here many contradictory views appeared and I attached myself ever more closely to the current philosophy which I had thought it possible to escape'.97 This club, which met regularly in a cafe in the Franzosische Strasse and subsequently in the houses of its members, was a hard-drinking and boisterous company and formed the focal point of the Young Hegelian movement.
The Young Hegelians' attack on the orthodoxies of their time started in the sphere of religion - a much safer area than politics. Here Hegel's legacy was ambiguous. Religion, together with philosophy, was for him the highest form of man's spiritual life. Religion (and by this Hegel, who remained a practising Luteran all his life, meant Protestant Christianity which he considered the highest and final form of religion) was the return of the Absolute Spirit to itself. The content of religion was the same as that of philosophy, though its method of apprehending was different. For whereas philosophy employed concepts, religion used imagination. These unsatisfactory imaginings afforded only a fragmentary and imprecise knowledge of what philosophy comprehended rationally. But religion could be linked to philosophy by means of a philosophy of religion, and 1 Iegel considered that the particular dogmatic contents of the religious imagination were necessary stages in the development of Absolute Spirit.
1 lie philosophy of religion interpreted at a higher level both naive faith
;IIKI critical reason. Thus Hegel rejected the view of the eighteenth-rent ury rationalists that religion did inadequately what only science was competent to do; in his eyes, religion (or his philosophical interpretation ill n) fulfilled man's constant psychological need to have an image of himself and of the world by which he could orientate himself.
Although in the years immediately following Hegel's death his school was united and supreme in the German universities, by the late 1830s it had already begun to split into two wings on the subject of religion.
Whereas the conservative wing of the school held to the slogan that 'the real is the rational' and saw nothing irrational in the traditional representation of religion, the radical wing opposed the conservatives' complacency with a dissatisfaction that meant it wanted to destroy the dogmas enshrined in religious representations that were now said to be outdated. These representations all had to be judged by a progressive reason, not one which, as Hegel had said, only 'paints grey with grey' and thus merely recognised what already existed. For the Master had also said that an age comprehended in thought was already in advance of its time, and the radicals drew the conclusion that the comprehension of religion already modified even its content, while its form became a pure myth. This debate started with the publication of David Strauss's Life of Jesus in 1835. Having failed to extract a picture of the historical Jesus from the gospel narratives, Strauss presented these narratives as mere expressions of the messianic idea present in primitive Christian communities, myths that were never intended to be taken as real historical narratives. It was quite natural that Young Hegelian discussion should at first be theological: most members of the Hegelian school were interested in religion above all; and the attitude of the Prussian Government made politics an extremely dangerous subject for debate. Yet granted the Establishment of the Church in Germany and the close connection between religion and politics, it was inevitable that a movement of religious criticism would swiftly become secularised into one of political opposition. It was as a member of this rapidly changing movement, which had its centre in the Berlin Doctors' Club, that Karl Marx first began to work out his views on philosophy and society.
According to one of the members of the Doctors' Club, 'in this circle of aspiring young men, most of whom had already finished their studies, there reigned supreme the idealism, the thirst for knowledge and the liberal spirit, that still completely inspired the youth of that time. In these reunions the poems and essays that we had composed were read aloud and assessed, but the greatest part of our attention was devoted to the Hegelian p h i l o s o p h y . . O f Marx's more intimate friends in the club, Adolph Rutenberg had recently been dismissed as a teacher of geography and now earned his living as a journalist; Karl Koppen was a history teacher who later became an acknowledged expert on the origins of Buddhism. Koppen published in 1840 Frederick the Great and his Opponents: dedicated to Marx, the book was a eulogy of Frederick and the principles of the Enlightenment.100 The leading light in the club was Bruno Bauer, who had been lecturing in theology at the university since 1834 and was to be Marx's closest friend for the next four years.'01 One of his contemporaries described him as follows: 'His pointed nose, with sharp bone,
|uts out boldly, his forehead is high and domed, and his mouth delicately shaped; his figure is almost Napoleonic. He is a very decided man who, under a cold exterior, burns with an inner fire. He will not brook any opposition and will sooner be a martyr to his own convictions.'102 Bauer's special field was New Testament criticism where he made a lasting contribution.
Marx himself seems to have been a lively and central figure in the club. Edgar Bauer (Bruno's brother) gave the following description of Marx in a satirical poem on club members:
But who advances here full of impetuosity?
It is a dark form from Trier, an unleashed monster, With self-assured step he hammers the ground with his heels And raises his arms in full fury to heaven
As though he wished to seize the celestial vault and lower it to earth.
In rage he continually deals with his redoubtable fist, As if a thousand devils were gripping his hair.
Koppen called his friend 'a true arsenal of thoughts, a veritable factory of ideas' and remarked that Bruno Bauer's The Christian State in our Time
- the first directly political article of the Young Hegelians - drew largely on Marx's ideas.104 Meanwhile his life-style, which was in keeping with the studied bohemianism of the Doctors' Club, led Marx to become more and more estranged from his family. While his mother merely recommended moderation in his consumption of wine, coffee and pepper, the long 'confession' of November 1837 prompted a very tart reply from his father:
Alas, your conduct has consisted merely in disorder, meandering in all the fields of knowledge, musty traditions by sombre lamplight; degeneration in a learned dressing gown with uncombed hair has replaced degeneration with a beer glass. And a shirking unsociability and a refusal of all conventions and even all respect for your father. Your intercourse with the world is limited to your sordid room, where perhaps lie abandoned in the classical disorder the love letters of a Jenny and the tear-stained counsels of your father . .. And do you think that here in this workshop of senseless and aimless learning you can ripen the fruits to bring you and your loved one happiness? . . . As though we were made of gold my gentleman-son disposes of almost 700 thalers 111 a single year, in contravention of every agreement and every usage, whereas the richest spend no more than 500.
In fact, the final report on Marx's university career declared that he had
'several times been sued for debt', and he had changed his address at least ten times during his five-year stay.
His family ties were further loosened by the death of his father in May 1838. In spite of their disagreements, Marx always retained a strong affection for his father: 'he has never tired of talking about him', wrote Eleanor, 'and always carried an old daguerreotype photograph of him.
But he would never show the photo to strangers, because, he said, it was so unlike the original.'106 On Marx's death, Engels laid the photograph in his coffin. The death of Heinrich Marx naturally reduced the income of the Marx family quite considerably. It also led to increased difficulties with the von Westphalen family, some of whom seem to have snubbed Henrietta Marx completely.107 At the same time Marx's interests began to turn definitely from law to philosophy. Although in his letter of November 1837 he had written to his father about the possibility of his becoming an assistant judge, he began now more and more to opt out of the formal aspects of the university. Gans died in 1839 and during his last three years in Berlin Marx only attended two courses: one on Isaiah given by Bruno Bauer and another on the drama of Euripides. Marx had entirely given up the writing of poetry and when he wished to present more poems to Jenny in 1839 he very sensibly copied some out from two anthologies that had recently appeared.
With the diminishing lack of support from his family, the choice of a career became all the more pressing, and the academic world seemed to offer the most immediate prospect of effective action. 'It would be stupid', Bruno Bauer wrote to him, 'if you were to devote yourself to a practical career. Theory is now the strongest practice, and we are absolutely incapable of predicting to how large an extent it will become practical."08
At the beginning of 1839 Marx decided to start work on a doctoral dissertation with a view to getting a university post as lecturer in philosophy - preferably at Bonn to which Bauer, increasingly under attack for his radical views, had been moved by the Ministry of Education. Throughout 1839 and early 1840 Marx was busy reading and making excerpts for use in his thesis. The general heading he gave to these notes was 'Epicurean Philosophy'. At the same time he was reading Hegel, Aristotle, Leibnitz, Hume and Kant, and his preliminary notes were very wide-ranging, dealing with such subjects as the relationship between Epicurean-ism and Stoicism, the concept of the sage in Greek philosophy, the views of Socrates and Plato on religion and the prospects of post-Hegelian philosophy.
Marx's choice of subject was influenced by the general interest that the Young Hegelians (particularly Bauer and Koppen) had in post-Aristotelian
Greek philosophy. There were two reasons for this interest: firstly, after the 'total philosophy' of Hegel the Young Hegelians felt themselves in the same position as the Greeks after Aristotle; secondly, they thought that the post-Aristotelian philosophies contained the essential elements of modern thought: they had laid the philosophical foundations of the Roman Empire, had profoundly influenced early Christian morality and also contained rationalist traits of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment.
For Marx, too, the Stoic, Sceptic and Epicurean philosophies were 'proto-types of the Roman mind, the form in which Greece emigrated to Rome'.109 They were 'such intense and eternal beings, so full of character, that even the modern world has to allow to them their full spiritual citizenship'.'10 'Is it not remarkable', Marx continued in the Introduction to his thesis, 'that after the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, which extend to universality, new systems appear which do not refer back to these rich intellectual figures but look further back and turn to the simplest schools - in regard to physics, to the philosophers of nature, and in regard to ethics, to the Socratic school?'In short, Marx's choice of subject was designed to throw light on the contemporary post-Hegelian situation in philosophy by the examination of a parallel period in the history of Greek philosophy.
Marx's preliminary notes for the thesis were rather obscure, partly because they were only personal notes and partly because they were often couched in the vividly metaphorical language characteristic of the Young Hegelians who saw themselves living in a general atmosphere of crisis and impending catastrophe. Bruno Bauer, for example, with whom Marx kept up a constant correspondence while he was composing his thesis, wrote in 1840: 'our epoch becomes more and more terrible and beautiful'. Or again: 'The catastrophe will be terrible and must be great. I would almost say that it will be greater and more horrible than that which heralded Christianity's appearance on the world scene.'The most interesting passage in Marx's notes was one where he dealt with the philosophical climate following on the world-philosophy of Hegel. Philosophy, he claimed, had now arrived at a turning point: 'like Prometheus who stole fire from heaven and began to build houses and settle on the earth, so philosophy, which has so evolved as to impinge on the world, turns itself against the world that it finds. So now the Hegelian philosophy.'" Marx believed that Hegel's philosophy had, by its very completeness and universality, become unreal and opposed to the world which continued to be divided. Thus philosophy itself had become split: 'The activity of this philosophy appears, too, to be rent asunder and contradictory; its objective universality returns into the subjective forms of the individual minds in which it has its life. Normal harps will sound beneath any hand; those of Aeolus only when the storm strikes them. But we should not let ourselves be misled by the storm that follows a great, a world-philosophy.'"5 'Anyone', Marx continued, 'who did not understand this necessary development had to deny the possibility of continuing to philosophise after such a total system: to such a man the appearance of Zeno or Epicurus after such a thinker as Aristotle would be incomprehensible.'
What was needed was a fundamental change of direction: In such times half-formed spirits have the opposite view to real com-manders. They believe that they can make good their losses by reducing and dividing their forces and make a peace treaty with real needs, whereas Themistocles, when Athens was threatened with destruction, persuaded the Athenians to quit their city completely and found a new Athens on another element, the sea."
Marx went on to say that in such a period two alternatives presented themselves: either to imitate feebly what had gone before or to undertake a really fundamental upheaval:
Nor should we forget that the period that follows such catastrophes is an iron one, happy if it is marked by titanic struggles, lamentable if it is like the centuries that limp behind the great period of art and busy themselves with imitating in wax, plaster and copper what sprang from Carrara marble like Pallas Athene from the head of Zeus, father of the gods. But those periods are titanic that follow a total philosophy and its subjective forms of development, for the division that forms its unity is gigantic. Thus the Stoic, Epicurean and Sceptic philosophies are followed by Rome. They are unhappy and iron for their gods are dead and the new goddess has as yet only the obscure form of fate, of pure light or of pure darkness.
In the preface to the thesis itself Marx briefly outlined previous, mistaken interpretations of Epicurus's philosophy and mentioned the insufficiency of Hegel's treatment of the period. He then added a paean in praise of the supremacy of philosophy over all other disciplines, and in particular over theology. To prove his point, Marx quoted Hume: "Tis certainly a kind of indignity to philosophy, whose sovereign authority ought everywhere to be acknowledged, to oblige her on every occasion to make apologies for her conclusions, and justify herself to every particular art and science, which may be offended at her. This puts one in mind of a king arraign'd for high treason against his subjects.' Thus Marx made his own the Young Hegelian criticism of the Master's reconciliation of philosophy and religion. He continued:
As long as a single drop of blood pulses in her world-conquering an totally free heart, philosophy will continually shout at her opponents the cry of Epicurus: 'Impiety does not consist in destroying the gods of the crowd but rather in ascribing to the gods the ideas of die crowd.'
Philosophy makes no secret of it. The proclamation of Prometheus: 'In one word - I hate all gods' is her own profession, her own slogan against all gods of heaven and earth who do not recognise man's self-consciousness as the highest divinity. There shall be none other beside it."
This 'self-consciousness' was the central concept of the philosophy that the Young Hegelians, and Bruno Bauer in particular, were elaborating.
For them, man's self-consciousness developed continually and realised that forces it had thought separate from itself - religion, for example -
were really its own creation. Thus the task of self-consciousness and its principal weapon, philosophical criticism, was to expose all the forces and ideas that stood opposed to the free development of this human self-consciousness.
This enthusiasm for the philosophy of self-consciousness was reflected in the body of the thesis where Marx criticised the mechanistic determinism of Democritus by contrasting it with the Epicurean ethic of liberty.
A native of Abdera in Thrace, writing at the end of the fifth century B.C., Democritus summed up, in his theory of atoms and the void, the previous two hundred years of Greek physical speculation. Epicurus taught more than a century later in an Athens marked by the general social chaos of the post-Alexandrine epoch and was concerned to supply principles for the conduct of individuals.Marx began his account of the relationship of the two philosophers with a paradox: Epicurus held all appearances to be objectively real but at the same time, since he wished to conserve freedom of the will, denied that the world was governed by immutable laws and thus in fact seemed to reject the objective reality of nature. Democritus, on the other hand, was very sceptical about the reality of appearance, but yet held the world to be governed by necessity. From this Marx concluded, rightly, that Epicurus's physics was really only a part of his moral philosophy. Epicurus did not merely copy Democritus's physics, as was commonly thought, but introduced the idea of spontaneity into the movement of the atoms, and to Democritus's world of inanimate nature ruled by mechanical laws he added a world of animate nature in which the human will operated. Marx thus preferred the view of Epicurus for two reasons: firstly, his emphasis on the absolute autonomy of the human spirit freed men from all superstitions of transcendent objects; secondly, the emphasis on 'free individual self-consciousness' showed one the way of going beyond the system of a 'total philosophy'.
It was above all this liberating aspect of Epicurus that Marx admired.
A few years later in The German Ideology he called Epicurus 'the genuine radically-enlightened mind of antiquity',12' and often referred to him in similar terms in his later writings. This enthusiasm for Epicurus was also seen in the appendix (to the thesis) which attacked Plutarch and particularly his treatise entitled 'It is impossible to live happily by following the principles of Epicurus';124 taking each of Plutarch's arguments separately, Marx demonstrated that the opposite conclusion followed. Although now it makes rather dry reading and often interprets the ideas of the ancients in an inappropriately subtle Hegelian perspective, Marx's thesis was a profoundly original work. One of those best qualified to judge has written that 'it is almost astonishing to see how far he got considering the materials then available'.
During these years Marx was not only concerned with writing his thesis. The other projects he was engaged in similarly reflected the Young Hegelian climate and the discussions in the Doctors' Club. He had planned to edit a literary review and was much encouraged, 'since, through the agency of Bauer, who plays a leading role among them, and of my colleague Dr Rutenberg, all the aesthetic celebrities of the Hegelian School have promised to contribute'.126 But the only result of Marx's literary endeavours was the appearance of two short poems in the Berlin review Athenaeum in 1841: these poems were his first published work. In early 1840 Marx was co-operating with Bruno Bauer in editing Hegel's Philosophy of Religion and was thinking of writing a similar book himself.
He also considered giving a course of lectures at Bonn attacking Hermes, a Catholic theologian who had tried to reconcile religion and Kantian philosophy; like all his plans at the time, he discussed the project at length with Bruno Bauer. By the summer of 1840 Marx had finished a book on the subject and sent the manuscript to Bauer enclosing a letter to a publisher, but the book was not in fact published, and Bauer wrote to Marx about the covering letter: 'Perhaps you might write in such terms to your washerwoman, but not to a publisher from whom you are asking a favour.'At the same time Marx had the idea of writing a farce entitled Fischer Vapulans using it as a vehicle to attack Die Idea der Gottheit, K. P.
Fischer's philosophical attempt to justify theism. Marx was also much concerned with logical problems and wanted to devote a work to dialectic: he took extensive notes on Aristotle and discussed the question in letters to Bauer; he proposed writing a criticism of the contemporary philosopher Trendelenburg and demonstrate that Aristotle was dialectical whereas Trendelenburg was only formal.
Meanwhile Bauer was full of good advice on how to finish his 'stupid examination' and join him in Bonn. He had already written to Marx in 1840: 'You can tell Gabler [Professor of Philosophy in Berlin] of your interests and he will be all the more enthusiastic and delighted with the examination when he learns that another Hegelian is now getting a chair.'128 And a year later he was writing: 'In any event see that Ladenberg
[Rector of the University of Berlin] smoothes the way for you. Get him to write here on your behalf and anticipate all the sorts of intrigues that there could be. See, too, if you cannot win over Eichhorn [Minister of Culture].'
Thus encouraged, Marx duly submitted his thesis in April 1841, but not to the University of Berlin: instead, he sent it to Jena, one of the small universities which 'gready facilitated the gaining of the title of Doctor'.130 In fact, Jena held the record in the production of Doctors of Philosophy. The whole affair was managed by Wolff, Professor of Literature there, a friend of Heinrich Heine and an acquaintance of Marx, who had probably informed him of the situation inside the Faculty at Jena. Marx was immediately granted his degree in absentia on 15 April 1841.
III. J O U R N A L I S M
As soon as his thesis was accepted, Marx began a very restless year which was finally to culminate in his adopting journalism as a career in mid-1842. His search for a secure means of earning his livelihood led him to commute between Trier, Bonn and Cologne, never remaining for very long in any one place. He began many projects but true to his previous life-style - finished none of them.
After six weeks at his parents' home in Trier, Marx moved to Bonn to pursue his academic career in the company of Bruno Bauer. To obtain a lectureship, the university statutes required a dissertation in addition to a doctoral thesis, so Marx began to revise his thesis for publication and also extend it in 'a longer dissertation, in which I will present in detail the cycle of Epicurean, Stoic and Sceptical philosophy in relation to all Greek Speculation'. He also appended two extended notes to his thesis.
The first of the substantial notes that Marx added to his thesis at the end of 1841 was directed primarily against Schelling, who had just been summoned to Berlin by Frederick William IV in order to 'root out the dragon-seed of Hegelianism'. In his lectures entitled 'The Philosophy of Revelation', Schelling drew a distinction between a negative and purely rational philosophy, and a positive one whose real content was the evolution of the divine in history and as it was recorded in the various mythologies and religions of mankind. Schelling's lectures were accompanied by much publicity and at first attracted wide attention: Engels, Kierkegaard and Bakunin were all present at his inaugural lecture. The reaction of the Hegelians was strong and Marx's not least: his technique here was to contrast what Schelling was then saying with his earlier writings, and point out the disparity between his dogmatic Berlin lectures and his earlier belief in the freedom of speculation. Marx went on to claim that Hegel had inverted the traditional proofs for the existence of God and thereby refuted them. For Marx, either the proofs for the existence of God were tautologies or they were 'nothing but proofs for the existence of an essentially human self-consciousness and elaborations of it'.133 Marx finished his note - with its strange mixture of post-Hegelian philosophy and the simple rationalism of the Enlightenment - by quoting two more passages from the early Schelling: 'If you presuppose the idea of an objective God, how can you speak of laws that reason independently creates, for autonomy can only be ascribed to an absolutely free being?'
'It is a crime against humanity to conceal principles that are communicable to everyone.'
The second note appended to the thesis takes up the themes already treated in the passage in the preliminary notes on the future of philosophy after Hegel's total system, and elaborates for the first time (though still in a very idealistic manner) the notions of the abolition of philosophy and praxis that were to be so central to his later thought.
At the same time as extending his thesis by means of these rather theoretical discussions, Marx was engaged in more immediate and polemical projects - mostly in collaboration with Bruno Bauer whose increasing difficulties with the government authorities seemed to be jeopardising the prospective university careers of both of them. For Bauer was engaged in writing his Criticism of the Synoptic Gospels, a work which denied the historicity of Christ and portrayed the gospels as mythical inventions.
Since March 1841 the two men had planned to found a review entitled Atheistic Archives, which would take as its foundation Bauer's gospel criticism. Certainly Marx's atheism was of an extremely militant kind. Ruge wrote to a friend: 'Bruno Bauer, Karl Marx, Christiansen and Feuerbach are forming a new "Montagne" and making atheism their slogan. God, religion, immortality are cast down from their thrones and man is proclaimed God.' And Georg Jung, a prosperous young Cologne lawyer and supporter of the radical movement, wrote to Ruge: 'If Marx, Bruno Bauer and Feuerbach come together to found a theological-philosophical review, God would do well to surround Himself with all His angels and indulge in self-pity, for these three will certainly drive Him out of His heaven... For Marx, at any rate, the Christian religion is one of the most immortal there is.'
These plans came to nothing, however. Instead, Bauer published anonymously in November what purported to be an arch-conservative pietist attack on Hegel, entitled The Trump of the Last Judgement on Hegel the Atheist and Anti-Christ. Under the cover of attacking Hegel, this tract was designed to show that he was really an atheist revolutionary. Marx may well have collaborated with Bauer in writing The Trump. .., and some indeed thought it was their joint work. At any rate they certainly intended jointly to produce a sequel, to be called Hegel's Hatred of Religious and Christian Art and his Destruction of all the Laws of the State. Marx therefore began to read a series of books on art and religion. Bauer had finished his part in December 1841, but he had to publish it without his collaborator's contribution: in December 1841 Marx was obliged to return to Trier where Baron von Westphalen had fallen seriously ill. Until his father-in-law's death on 3 March 1842, Marx stayed in the Westphalen house and helped, as Bauer put it, to 'lighten the days' of the dying man.
March was a bad month for Marx: not only did he lose his closest friend and supporter in the Westphalen household, but his hopes of a university career were shattered when Bauer was deprived of his teaching post on account of his unorthodox doctrines. While in Trier Marx had already composed an article which he sent to Arnold Ruge who edited the Deutsche Jabrbucher.
Ruge, who was to be a close colleague of Marx's for the next two years, was also an exile from university teaching; being refused a chair owing to his unorthodox views, he resigned from the university and devoted himself entirely to journalism. For this he was admirably suited: he was a man of independent means, and although having no very original mind, he wrote quickly and well and had a very wide range of contacts.
In 1838 he started the Hallische Jahrbiicher which soon became the leading periodical of the Young Hegelians. Although during the early years the contributions to the Hallische Jahrbiicher had in general addressed themselves to an enlightened Prussian state, by 1840 overtly political articles were beginning to follow on religious ones - a logic implicit in the notion of the 'Christian state'. As a result the Jahrbiicher was banned in Prussia in June 1841 and moved to Dresden, where it appeared under the title Deutsche Jahrbiicher. During 1840 the Berlin Young Hegelians had begun to write for it, and by the middle of 1841 Bauer had become a regular contributor.
Marx had already been introduced to Ruge by his Berlin friend KOppen, himself a frequent contributor. The article Marx sent to Ruge 111 Kebruary 1842 (together with a covering letter offering to review books and put all his energies at the service of the Deutsche Jahrbiicher) dealt with the new censorship instruction issued by Frederick William IV in December 1841. Frederick William IV had succeeded to the Prussian viwh f V*. , throne the year before and the Young Hegelians had expected a liberalisation to ensue. The new king certainly shared with the bourgeoisie a hatred of regimented bureaucracy: his ideal was paternalistic government.
He agreed with the bourgeoisie's claim to express their opinions in Parliament and the press, and even emphasised in the censorship instruction 'the value of, and need for, frank and loyal publicity'. Since, however, what the bourgeoisie wanted to campaign for was not a romantically paternalist society, a collision was inevitable. In his article, entitled 'Comments on the latest Prussian Censorship Instruction', Marx exposed the inconsistencies of the new censorship regulations that were supposed to relax the prevailing ones. Since they forbade attacks on the Christian religion and penalised offences against 'discipline, morals and outward loyalty', he considered that the 'censorship must reject the great moral thinkers of the past - Kant, Fichte, Spinoza, for example - as irreligious and violating discipline, morals and social respectability. And these moral-ists start from a contradiction in principle between morality and religion, for morality is based on the autonomy of the human mind whereas religion is based on its heteronomy." Further, the new regulations were inimical to good law in so far as they were directed at 'tendencies' and'intentions' as much as acts. For Marx, this was to create a society in which a single state organ regarded itself as the sole possessor of reason and morality, whereas 'an ethical state reflects the views of its members even though they may oppose one of its organs or the government itself. He was thus beginning to draw liberal democratic conclusions from Hegel's political philosophy.
Marx's article was a masterpiece of polemical exegesis, demonstrating the great pamphleteering talent in the style of Boerne that he was to exhibit throughout his life. All his articles of the Young Hegelian period - and, to a lesser extent, many of his later writings - were written in an extremely vivid style: his radical and uncompromising approach, his love of polarisation, his method of dealing with opponents' views by reductio ad absurdum, all led him to write very antithetically. Slogan, climax, anaphora, parallelism, antithesis and chiasmus (especially the last two) were all employed by Marx sometimes to excess. In the event, the authorities would not pass this particular article of his (it eventually appeared in February 1843 in Switzerland in Anekdota, a collection of articles suppressed by the Prussian censorship and issued in book form by Ruge).
Finding 'the proximity of the Bonn professors insufferable',14' Marx moved to Cologne in April 1842 with the intention of at least writing something that would find its way into print. While in Bonn he had made several visits to Cologne where he found much pleasure in champagne and discussions about Hegel. Jenny wrote to him: 'My dark little savage, how glad 1 am that you are happy, that my letter exhilarated you, that you long for me, that you live in well-papered rooms, that you have drunk champagne in Cologne, that there are Hegel clubs there, that you have dreamed and, in short, that you are my darling, my own dark little savage.'144 But the high life in Cologne turned out to be too much for him as 'the life here is too noisy and good boisterous friends do not make for better philosophy'.145 So Marx returned to Bonn where he was able to relax with Bauer. 'Marx has come back here,' his friend wrote: 'Lately we went out into the open country to enjoy once again all the beautiful views. The trip was marvellous. We were as gay as ever. In Godesberg we hired a couple of donkeys and galloped on them like madmen around the hill and through the village. Bonn society gazed at us as amazed as ever. We halloed and the donkeys brayed.' But their ways soon parted for good when Bauer went to Berlin to try and get his dismissal rescinded.
Marx meanwhile continued with his journalism. At the end of April he already had four articles to propose to Ruge. His visits to Cologne did not only consist in drinking champagne: he was gradually becoming involved in the city's liberal opposition movement, an involvement in practical politics that eventually led to his breaking with the Young Hegelians and taking over the editorship of the Rheinische Zeitung. In spite of Jenny's warning against getting 'mixed up' in politics (an activity she described as 'the riskiest thing there is'), it was an almost inevitable step for a young Rhineland intellectual of progressive views.
The political atmosphere in the Rhineland was quite different from Berlin: Rhineland-Westphalia, annexed by France from 1795 to 1814, had had the benefit of economic, administrative and political reforms. What had before been 108 small states were reorganised into four districts; feudalism was abolished, and various administrative anomalies - as regards the political, juridical and financial systems - were eliminated. The corporations and customs barriers were done away with, much could be exported to France and producers were protected against competition from England. Expansion, led by the textile industry, was so rapid that by 1810 the Prefect of the Ruhr plausibly claimed that it was the most industrial region in Europe. The majority of progressive figures in Germany of that time came from the Rhineland: the leaders of the liberal opposition, and many future activists in the 1848 revolutions, and poets such as Heine and Boerne.
One of the focal points of this political activity was the 'Cologne Circle' the Rhineland's more down-to-earth equivalent of the Doctors'
(Hub which Marx joined as soon as he established himself in Bonn. In many ways the central figure of the Cologne Circle was Georg Jung who hud also been a member of the Berlin Doctors' Club. He quickly became Marx's closest friend in the Circle, whose other members included individuals such as the financiers Camphausen and Hansemann, both future Prime Ministers of Prussia, the industrialists Mevissen and Malinckrodt, and a large number of young intellectuals such as Moses Hess, who had perhaps the best claim to have introduced communist ideas into Germany.
It was natural that the Circle should welcome the idea of a newspaper to propagate their doctrines. Already in 1840 a paper with the title Rheinische Allgemeine Zeitung had been founded by a group who considered that the Kolnische Zeitung did not adequately defend their social and economic interests. When it was evident that this paper would soon become bankrupt, Georg Jung and Moses Hess persuaded leading rich liberals of the Rhineland, including Camphausen, Mevissen and Oppenheim, to form a company which bought out the Rheinische Allgemeine Zeitung (in order to avoid having to renegotiate a concession) and republished it from 1 January 1842 under the title Rheinische Zeitung.The sub-heading of the paper was 'For Politics, Commerce and Industry', and its declared object was to defend the interests of the numerous Rhineland middle class whose aims were to safeguard the Napoleonic Code Civil and the principle of equality of all citizens before the law, and ultimately to bring about the political and economic unification of all Germany - aspirations that necessarily led them to oppose Prussia's religious policies and semi-feudal absolutism.
The holding company of the Rheinische Zeitung had no lack of money and started with a share capital of over 30,000 thalers. They were, however, unlucky in their initial choice of editors. Moses Hess had taken the leading part in founding the paper and had consequently expected to be appointed editor; but the financial backers did not want a revolutionary in the editorial chair. Their chief aim was to campaign for measures that would help the expansion of industry and commerce, such as an extension of the customs unions, accelerated railway construction and reduced postal charges. So the shareholders offered the editorship first to the protection-ist economist Friedrich List and then (when he was forced to decline for health reasons) to Hoeffken, editor of the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung and a follower of List. Swallowing his pride, Hess accepted a post as sub-editor with special reference to France. Renard, Oppenheim and Jung were appointed directors. Since Oppenheim and particularly Jung had been converted by Hess to Young Hegelian radicalism, friction soon developed between them and Hoeffken. He refused to accept articles from the Berlin Young Hegelians and was obliged to resign (on 18 January 1842) - declaring himself 'no adept of neo-Hegelianism'.
Hoeffken was replaced by Rutenberg, brother-in-law of Bruno Bauer.
He was supported by Marx, who had taken part in discussions on the organisation of the paper since September of the previous year. The new appointment made the authorities so anxious as to the tendency of the paper that suppression was suggested by the central Government; but the President of the Rhineland province, fearing that this would create popular unrest, only promised closer supervision.
From the start Marx enjoyed a great reputation in the Cologne Circle.
Jung said of him that 'Although a devil of a revolutionary, Dr Marx is one of the most penetrating minds I know.' And Moses Hess, a man of generous enthusiasm, introduced him to his friend Auerbach as follows: You will be pleased to make the acquaintance of a man who is now one of our friends, although he lives in Bonn where he will soon be lecturing. He made a considerable impression on me although our fields are very close; in brief, prepare to meet the greatest - perhaps the only genuine - philosopher now alive, who will soon . . . attract the eyes of all Germany . . . Dr Marx . . . will give medieval religion and politics their coup de grace. He combines the deepest philosophical seriousness with the most biting wit. Imagine Rousseau, Voltaire, Holbach, Lessing, Heine, and Hegel fused into one person - I say fused not juxtaposed and you have Dr Marx.
Marx had already been asked in January by Bauer why he did not write for the Rheinische Zeitung; and in March, pressed by Jung, he began to transfer his major effort from Ruge's journal to that newspaper.152 One of his first contributions, though it was not published until August, was a criticism of the Historical School of Law. Written in April 1842, this article was occasioned by the appointment of Karl von Savigny as Minister of Justice, who was expected to introduce into the legal system the romantic and reactionary ideas of the new king. Thus it was indirectly an attack on the institutions of the Prussian 'Christian state'. The Historical School of Law had just published a manifesto in honour of their founder Gustav Hugo (1764-1844), who held that historical existence was the prime justification of any law. Marx's main point was that this position forced Hugo to adopt an absolute scepticism which deprived him of any criterion of judgement. Against this position Marx employed a rationalism based on Spinoza and Kant, both of whom refused to equate the positive with the rational: 'Hugo desecrates everything that is sacred to lawful, moral, political man. He smashes what is sacred so that he can revere it as an historical relic; he violates it before the eyes of reason so that he can later honour it before the eyes of history; at the same time he also wants to honour historical eyes.' In short, the Historical School of Law had only one principle - 'the law of arbitrary power'.
AT the same time as writing the attack on Hugo, Marx decided to devote a series of articles to the debates of the Rhineland Parliament that had held a long session in Dtlsseldorf in mid-1841. He originally proposed a series of five articles on the debates, of which the first was to be the one written in early April and entitled 'Debates on the Freedom of the Press and on the Publication of the Parliamentary Proceedings': the other four were to deal with the Cologne Affair, the laws on theft of wood, on poaching and 'the really earthy question in all its vital extent, the division of land'. But the only articles to be published were those on the freedom of the Press and the theft of wood. In the parliamentary debates on the freedom of the Press, Marx found that the 'characteristic outlook of each class' was 'nowhere more clearly expressed than in these debates'. The speakers did not regard freedom as a natural gift to all rational men; for them it was 'an individual characteristic of certain persons and classes'. Such an attitude was incapable of drawing up any laws to govern the Press. Marx went on to criticise in particular the feudal romanticism of the Prussian regime, and developed ideas on evasion and projection that later turned into a full theory of ideology: because the real situation of these gentlemen in the modern state bears no relation at all to the conception that they have of their situation; because they live in a world situated beyond the real world and because in consequence their imagination holds the place of their head and their heart, they necessarily turn towards theory, being unsatisfied with practice, but it is towards the theory of the transcendent, i.e. religion.
However, in their hands religion acquires a polemical bitterness impregnated with political tendencies and becomes, in a more or less conscious manner, simply a sacred cloak to hide desires that are both very secular and at the same time very imaginary.
Thus we shall find in our Speaker that he opposes a mystical/religious theory of his imagination to practical demands . . . and that to what is reasonable from the human point of view he opposes superhuman sacred entities.
Marx finished by outlining the part laws should play in the state: 'A Press law is a true law because it is the positive existence of freedom. It treats freedom as the normal condition of the Press.. .' Marx went on to draw conclusions about the nature of law in general: 'Laws are not rules that repress freedom any more than the law of gravity is a law that represses movement... laws are rather positive lights, general norms, in which freedom has obtained an impersonal, theoretical existence that is independent of any arbitrary individual. Its law book is a people's bible of freedom.' In this case it was nonsense to speak of preventive laws, for true laws could not prevent the activities of man, but were 'the inner, vital laws of human activity, the conscious mirror of human life'. This article, the first Marx ever published, was greeted enthusiastically by his friends: Jung wrote to him that 'your article on the freedom of the Press is superb', and Ruge wrote in similar vein: 'your commentary in the paper on the freedom of the Press is marvellous. It is certainly the best that has been written on the subject.'
Marx was all the more eager to earn a living through journalism as he quarrelled definitively with his mother at the end of June 1842 and was deprived of all financial help from his family. 'For six weeks', he wrote, 'I had to stay in Trier because of a new death and the rest of the time was wasted and upset through the most disagreeable of family controversies. My family has put difficulties in my way which, despite their own prosperity, subject me to the most straitened circumstances.' This quarrel was so violent that Marx left the family house in the Simeonstrasse and put up in a nearby guest house. He remained in Trier until the wedding of his sister Sophie and in mid-July left for Bonn where he could devote himself uninterruptedly to journalism.
In spite of the tense atmosphere in Trier, Marx had found time while there to compose another major contribution to the Rheinische Zeitung.
By June 1842 the paper's radical tone provoked its large rival, the Kolnische Zeitung, into launching an attack on its 'dissemination of philosophical and religious views by means of newspapers',164 and claiming in a leading article that religious decadence involved political decadence. Marx believed the reverse to be true:
If the fall of the states of antiquity entails the disappearance of the religions of these states, it is not necessary to go and look for another explanation, for the 'true religion' of the ancients was the cult of 'their nationality', of their 'State'. It is not the ruin of the ancient religions that entailed the fall of the states of antiquity, but the fall of the states of antiquity that entailed the ruin of the ancient religions.
Marx went on to defend the right of philosophy - 'the spiritual quintessence of its time' - to comment freely on all questions, and finished his article with an outline of the ideal state according to modern philosophy, that is, Hegel and after.
But if the previous professors of constitutional law have constructed the state from instincts either of ambition or sociability or even from reason, but from the individual's reason and not social reason, the profounder conception of modern philosophy deduces the state from the idea of the all. It considers the state as the great organism in which juridical, moral and political liberties must be realised and in which each citizen, by obeying the laws of the state, only obeys the natural laws of his own reason, human reason. Sapienti sat.'
Finally, Marx welcomed the idea of the clash of parties, another favourite Young Hegelian topic: 'Without parties there is no development, without division, no progress.'
On his return to Bonn in July 1842, Marx began to be drawn more and more into the organisation of the Rheinische Zeitung, owing mainly to the incompetence of the alcoholic Rutenberg, whom Marx declared himself ashamed to have suggested for the job. Simultaneously with his closer involvement with the paper came signs of increasing disagreement with his former Berlin colleagues. They had formed themselves into a club known as the Freien, which was the successor to the old Doctors'
Club. The Freien were a group of young writers who, disgusted with the servile attitude of the Berliners, lived a style of life whose aim was in many respects simply epater les bourgeois. They spent a lot of their time in cafes and even begged in the streets when short of money. The intransigence of their opposition to established doctrines, and particularly to religion, was causing public concern. Their members included Max Stirner, who had published atheist articles in the Rheinische Zeitung as a prelude to his supremely anarcho-individualistic book The Ego and His Own\ Edgar Bauer (Bruno's brother), whose fervent attacks on any sort of liberal political compromise were taken up by Bakunin; and Friedrich Fngels, who was the author of several polemics against Schelling and liberalism.
Marx, however, was against these public declarations of emancipation, which seemed to him to be mere exhibitionism. In view of the Young Hegelians' association with the Rheinische Zeitung he also feared that the articles from Berlin might give his rival editor Hermes a further opportunity of attacking the paper. Marx was writing for a business paper in the Rhineland where industry was relatively developed, whereas the Freien were philosophising in Berlin where there was little industry and the atmosphere was dominated by the government bureaucracy. He was therefore in favour of supporting the bourgeoisie in the struggle for liberal reform, and was against indiscriminate criticism. It was indeed on his own advice that the publisher of the Rheinische Zeitung, Renard, had promised the President of the Rhineland that the paper would moderate its tone particularly on religious subjects.
The attitude of the Freien raised the question of what the editorial principles of the Rheinische Zeitung ought to be. Accordingly at the end of August, Marx wrote to Oppenheim, whose voice was decisive in determining policy, virtually spelling out his own proposals for the paper, should the editorship be entrusted to him. He wrote: If you agree, send me the article [by Edgar Bauer] on the juste-milieu so that I can review it. This question must be discussed dispassionately.
General and theoretical considerations on the constitution of the state are more suitable for learned reviews than for newspapers. The true theory must be expanded and developed in relation to concrete facts and the existing state of affairs. Therefore striking an attitude against the present pillars of the state could only result in a tightening of the censorship and even in the suppression of the paper... in any case we are annoying a large number, perhaps even the majority, of liberals engaged in political activity who have assumed the thankless and painful task of conquering liberty step by step within limits imposed by the Constitution, while we, comfortably ensconced in abstract theory, point out to them their contradictions. It is true that the author of the articles on the juste-milieu invites us to criticise, but (i) we all know how the Government replies to such provocations; and (2) it is not sufficient to undertake a critique . .. the true question is to know whether one has chosen an appropriate field. Newspapers only lend themselves to discussion of these questions when they have become questions that closely concern the state - practical questions. I consider it absolutely indispensable that the Rheinische Zeitung should not be directed by its contributors but on the contrary that it should direct them. Articles like these afford an excellent opportunity of showing the contributors the line of action to follow. An isolated writer cannot, like a newspaper, have a synoptic view of the situation.
In mid-October, as a result of this letter, Marx, who had already effectively been running the paper for some months, was made editor-in-chief.
Under Marx's editorship, the circulation of the paper more than doubled in the first months. His personality was so predominant that the censorship official could call the organisation of the paper simply 'a dictatorship of Marx'.170 In the last months of 1842 the Rheinische Zeitung began to acquire a national reputation. Robert Prutz, himself a contributor and later a prominent liberal politician, subsequently wrote of the paper: All the young, fresh, free-thinking or (as the friends of the government complained) revolutionary talent that Prussia and Germany possessed took refuge here. Fighting with a great variety of weapons, now earnest, now mocking, now learned, now popular, today in prose, tomorrow in verse, they formed a phalanx against which the censorship and police struggled in vain . . ,
And the editor appears to have been no less impressive than the paper.
Mevissen left the following vivid description of Marx at this time: Karl Marx from Trier was a powerful man of 24 whose thick black hair sprung from his cheeks, arms, nose and ears. He was domineering, impetuous, passionate, full of boundless self-confidence, but at the same time deeply earnest and learned, a restless dialectician who with his restless Jewish penetration pushed every proposition of Young Hegelian doctrine to its final conclusion and was already then, by his concentrated study of economics, preparing his conversion to communism. Under Marx's leadership the young newspaper soon began to speak very recklessly.. .
In his first task as editor, however, Marx showed himself very circumspect: he was faced with accusations of communism brought against the Rheinische Zeitung by the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung, probably inspired by Hoeffken, one-time editor of the Rheinische Zeitung, who had already attacked the Rheinische Zeitung in March for printing an article by Bruno Bauer. The basis for the accusation was that in September the Rheinische Zeitung had reviewed two articles on housing and communist forms of government, and that in October it had reported a conference at Strasbourg where followers of Fourier had put forward their ideas. All these items had been written by Hess. In his reply, Marx criticised the Augsburg paper for trying to neglect what was an important issue, but denied that the Rheinische Zeintung had any sympathy with communism: The Rheinische Zeitung, which cannot even concede theoretical reality to communistic ideas in their present form, and can even less wish or consider possible their practical realisation, will submit these ideas to thorough criticism. If the Augsburger wanted and could achieve more than slick phrases, the Augsburger would see that writings such as those by Leroux, Considerant, and above all Proudhon's penetrating work, can be criticised only after long and deep study, not through superficial and passing notions.
But these notions had to be taken seriously, for ideas were very powerful: Because of this disagreement, we have to take such theoretical works all the more seriously. We are firmly convinced that it is not the practical effort but rather the theoretical explication of communist ideas which is the real danger. Dangerous practical attempts, even those on a large scale, can be answered with cannon, but ideas won by our intelligence, embodied in our outlook, and forged in our conscience, are chains from which we cannot tear ourselves away without breaking our hearts; they are demons we can overcome only by submitting to them.
This reply reflected the general policy of the Rheinische Zeitung, which certainly treated poverty as a social and not merely a political question, but which did not see the proletariat as a new social class but only as the innocent victim of bad economic organisation.
It was not among the German working classes that socialist ideas either originated or initially took root. Germany was only just beginning to become an industrialised country, and industrial workers were far from being the majority of the population. They did not have sufficient organisation and, being mostly ex-artisans, were nostalgic for the past rather than revolutionary. Socialist ideas were spread by a party of the intellectual 6lite, who saw the proletarian masses as a possible instrument of social renewal. French Utopian socialism began to have an influence inside Germany during the 1830s.'75 In Trier itself (where Marx was born), Ludwig Gall spread Fourierist ideas; but in Berlin the poems of Heine and the lectures of Gans gained a wider audience. The first book by a native German communist was The Sacred History of Mankind, written by Moses Hess, who had picked up communist ideas after running away to Paris from his father's factory in Cologne.' The book was mystical and meandering, but contained quite clearly the idea of the polarisation of classes and the imminence of a proletarian revolution. Hess went on to convert Engels to communism and published much covert communist propaganda in the Rheinische Zeitung. A year later a tailor, Wilhelm Weitling, active in the expatriate German workers' association in Paris and Switzerland, published a booklet entitled Mankind as it is and as it ought to be. It was a messianic work which defended, against the rich and powerful of the earth who caused all inequality and injustice, the right of all to education and happiness by means of social equality and justice.
The book which most helped to spread knowledge of socialism was Lorenz von Stein's inquiry, The Socialism and Communism of Present-Day France. It was due to Stein's book that socialism and communism (the terms were generally used interchangeably in Germany at this time) began to attract attention in 1842. Commissioned by the Prussian Government, Stein had conducted an investigation into the spread of French socialism among German immigrant workers in Paris; though the author was far from sympathetic to socialists, his published report helped enormously to spread information about and even generate enthusiasm for their cause.
The climate of opinion in Cologne was particularly favourable to the reception of socialist ideas: the Rhineland liberals (unlike their Manchester counterparts) were very socially-conscious and considered that the state had far-reaching duties towards society. Mevissen, for example, had been very struck when visiting England by the decrease in wages, and had become converted to Saint-Simonianism during a stay in Paris. In the offices of the Rheinische Zeitung social questions were regularly discussed at the meetings of a group (founded by Moses Hess) which was effectively the editorial committee of the paper. Its members also included Jung, and the future communists Karl d'Ester and Anneke. It met monthly, papers were read, and a discussion followed among the members, who did not necessarily share the same political viewpoint but were all interested in social questions. Marx joined this group when he moved to Cologne in October 1842.
The interest aroused in social questions by these seminars was heightened, for Marx, by his study of socio-economic conditions in the Rhineland. In his first important article as editor (the fourth in the planned series of five dealing with the debates in the Rhineland Parliament), he discussed the more stringent laws recently proposed in regard to thefts of timber. The gathering of dead wood had traditionally been unrestricted, but the scarcities caused by the agrarian crises of the 1820s and the growing needs of industry led to legal controls. The situation had become unmanageable: five-sixths of all prosecutions in Prussia dealt with wood, and the proportion was even higher in the Rhineland. So it was now being proposed that the keeper be the sole arbiter of an alleged offence and that he alone assess the damages.
Marx discussed these questions from a legal and political standpoint, without much social and historical detail, and claimed that the state should defend customary law against the rapacity of the rich. For some things could never become the private property of an individual without injustice; moreover, 'if every violation of property, without distinction or more precise determination, is theft, would not all private property be theft?
Through my private property, do not I deprive another person of this property? Do I not thus violate his right to property?' Marx here used the language of Proudhon, but not his spirit, for he confined himself to strict legal grounds. Men's social relationships would become 'fetishes' -
dead things that maintained a secret domination over living men; the natural relationships of domination and possession were reversed, and man was determined by timber, because timber was a commodity that was merely an objectified expression of socio-political relationships. Marx maintained that this dehumanisation was a direct consequence of the advice given by the Preussische Staats-Zeitung to lawgivers: 'that, when making a law about wood and timber, they are to think only of wood and timber, and are not to try to solve each material problem in a political way - that is, in connection with the whole complex of civic reasoning and civic morality'.181 Marx concluded his article by comparing an independent observer's impression that wood was the Rhinelanders' fetish with the belief of the Cuban savages that gold was the fetish of the Spaniards.
This article illustrated Marx's growing interest in socio-economic realities. It stuck in his mind as a turning point in his intellectual evolution. As he himself wrote later: 'In the year 1842-3, as Editor of the Rheinische Zeitung, I experienced for the first time the embarrassment of having to take part in discussions on so-called material interests. The proceedings of the Rhineland Parliament on thefts of wood, and so on . . . provided the first occasion for occupying myself with the economic questions.''82 Engels, too, said later that he had 'always heard from Marx, that it was precisely through concentrating on the law of thefts of wood and the situation of the Mosel wine-growers, that he was led from pure politics to economic relationships and so to socialism'.
The Rheinische Zeitung's growing success, together with its criticism of the Rhineland Parliament, so annoyed the Government that the President of the province wrote in November to the Minister of the Interior that he intended to prosecute the author of the article on theft of wood.
Relations had already been strained by the publication in the Rheinische Zeitung in October of a secret government project to reform the divorce law, the first of Frederick William IVs measures to 'christianise' the law.
The paper followed up this exposure with three critical articles, the third of which (in mid-December) was by Marx. He agreed that the present law was too individualistic and did not take into account the 'ethical substance' of marriage in family and children. The law still 'thinks only of two individuals and forgets the family'.'84 But he could not welcome the new proposals - for it treated marriage not as an ethical, but as a religious institution and thus did not recognise its secular nature.
By the end of November the break between Marx and his former Berlin colleagues was complete. Matters came to a head with the visit of Ruge and the poet Herwegh to Berlin, where they wished to invite the Freien to co-operate in the founding of a new university. Ruge (who was always a bit of a Puritan) and Herwegh were revolted by the licentiousness and extravagant ideas of the Freien. According to Ruge, Bruno Bauer, for example, 'pretended to make me swallow the most grotesque things - e.g. that the state and religion must be suppressed in theory, and also property and family, without bothering to know what would replace them, the essential thing being to destroy everything'. On 25 November Marx made his position clear to everyone by publishing a report from Berlin whose essential points were taken from a letter sent by Herwegh to the Rheinische Zeitung. The break proved final and Marx justified his action as follows in a letter sent a few days later to Ruge: You know that every day the censorship mutilates our paper so much that it has difficulty in appearing. This has obliged me to suppress quantities of articles by the Freien. I allowed myself to annul as many as the censor. Meyen and Co. sent us heaps of scrawls pregnant with world revolutions and empty of thought, written in a slovenly style and flavoured with some atheism and communism (which these gentlemen have never studied)... I declared that I considered the smuggling of communist and socialist ideas into casual theatre reviews was unsuitable, indeed immoral, and a very different and more fundamental treatment of communism was required if it was going to be discussed at all. I then asked that religion be criticised more through a criticism of the political situation, than that the political situation be criticised through religion. For this approach is more suited to the manner of a newspaper and the education of the public, because religion has no content of its own and lives not from heaven but from earth, and falls of itself with the dissolution of the inverted reality whose theory it is.
The furore caused by the publication of the draft law on divorce had increased governmental pressure on the Rheinische Zeitung and Marx found that more and more of his time was taken up in dealing with censorship officials. 'The Rheinische Zeitung\ wrote Engels, 'managed almost always to get through the most important articles; we first of all fed smaller fodder to the censor until he either gave up his of own accord or was forced to do so by the threat: in that case the paper will not appear tomorrow."87 Until December 1842 the censorship was exercised by an official so crass that he was said to have censored an advertisement for a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy saying that divine things were no fit subject for comedy. He was frequently not astute enough to note what it was important to censor and, on being reprimanded by his superiors for his negligence, was wont to approach his daily task with the words: 'now my livelihood is at stake. Now I'll cut at everything'.188 Bios related a story told him by Marx about the same official. 'He had been invited, with his wife and nubile daughter, to a grand ball given by the President of the Province. Before leaving he had to finish work on the censorship.
But on precisely this evening the proofs did not arrive. The bewildered censor went in his carriage to Marx's lodging which was quite a distance.
It was almost eleven o'clock. After much bell-ringing, Marx stuck his head out of a third-storey window. "The proofs'" bellowed the censor.
"Aren't any!" Marx yelled down. "But - !" "We're not publishing tomorrow!" Thereupon Marx shut the window. The censor, thus fooled, was at a loss for words. But he was much more polite thereafter.'
In January 1843, Marx published a piece of research on poverty that was to be his last substantial contribution to the Rheinische Zeitung. The Mosel wine-farmers had suffered greatly from competition after the establishment of the Zollverein. Already the subject of considerable public outcry, their impoverishment prompted a report in November 1842 from a Rheinische Zeitung correspondent whose accuracy was at once questioned by von Schaper, the President of the Rhineland Province. Judging the correspondent's reply unsatisfactory, Marx prepared to substantiate the report himself. He planned a series of five articles. In the event, only three were written and only two were published before the Rheinische Zeitung was banned. Comprising a mass of detail to justify his correspondent's assertions, the two published articles were largely instrumental, in Marx's view, in the suppression of the paper. The conditions in the Mosel valley were due to objectively determined relationships: In the investigation of political conditions one is too easily tempted to overlook the objective nature of the relationships and to explain everything from the will of the person acting. There are relationships, however, which determine the actions of private persons as well as those of individual authorities, and which are as independent as are the movements in breathing. Taking this objective standpoint from the outset, one will not presuppose an exclusively good or bad will on either side.
Rather, one will observe relationships in which only persons appear to act at first."
To remedy these relations, Marx argued, open public debate was necessary: 'To resolve the difficulty, the administration and the administered both need a third element, which is political without being official and bureaucratic, an element which at the same time represents the citizen without being directly involved in private interests. This resolving element, composed of a political mind and a civic heart, is a free Press.'
Marx must already have had the impression that the days of the Rheinische Zeitung were numbered. On 24 December 1842, the first anniversary of the relaxed censorship, the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the most important liberal newspapers in Germany, published a letter from Herwegh protesting against the fact that a newspaper he had hoped to edit from Zurich had been forbidden in Prussia. In reply, Herwegh was expelled from Prussia and the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung was suppressed; on 3 January 1843, under pressure from Frederick William IV, the Saxon Government suppressed the Deutsche Jahrbiicher, and on 21
January the Council of Ministers presided over by the King decided to suppress the Rheinische Zeitung. Marx wrote to Ruge: Several particular reasons have combined to bring about the suppression of our paper: our increase in circulation, my justification of the Mosel correspondent which inculpated highly placed politicians, our obstinacy in not naming the person who informed us of the divorce law project, the convocation of the parliaments which we would be able to influence, and finally our criticism of the suppression of the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung and Deutsche Jahrbiicher.
In addition, the Tsar had personally protested to the Prussian Government against anti-Russian articles in the Rheinische Zeitung. Marx had offered to resign earlier in the hope of saving the paper, but the Government's decision was final.19' The date picked for the final issue of the paper was 31 March 1843, but the censorship was so intolerable that Marx preferred to resign on 17 March. In a declaration published in the newspaper Marx said that his resignation was due to 'the present state of the censorship',
though later he ascribed it to the desire of the shareholders to compromise with the government.
During the last few months, Marx had certainly been the main force behind the paper. By the end of December its circulation had mounted to 3500. On 18 March the censor, Saint-Paul, wrote: 'Today the wind has changed. Yesterday the man who was the spiritus rector, the soul of the whole enterprise, finally resigned . . . I am well content and today I have given to censoring scarcely a quarter of the time that it usually took.' Marx's views were certainly strongly held. Saint-Paul wrote that
'Marx would die for his views, of whose truth he is absolutely convinced'.
The decision to suppress the Rheinisch Zeitung came as a release for Marx: 'The Government', he said, 'have given me back my liberty.'
Although he was still writing, he was certain that his future lay abroad: 'In Germany I cannot start on anything fresh; here you are obliged to falsify yourself.'198 His decision to emigrate was already taken: the only remaining questions were when and where.