Marx and Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung August 1848

Geiger and Schapper

Source: MECW Volume 7, p. 393;
Written: on August 22, 1848;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 84, August 24, 1848.

Cologne, August 22. At the request of Police Superintendent Geiger (from Koblenz), Herr Schapper has been ordered to leave Cologne, since he is not a Prussian subject but a citizen of Nassau. The Workers’ Association, of which Herr Schapper is an active member, feels compelled to make this cause its own and to protest against the arbitrary expulsion of Herr Schapper. Last Friday the protest was handed over to Herr Dolleschall in the absence of Herr Geiger. Since Herr Dolleschall declared that he knew nothing of the affair, the deputation appointed to deliver the protest was postponed to the following Tuesday, August 22, so as to be able to speak to Herr Geiger himself. Today Herr Geiger received the deputation with the declaration that the matter was no longer in his hands but that following an article in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung the Ministry had asked him, Geiger, for a detailed report on the affair. The report had been sent off today; it was. therefore no longer within his powers either to carry out or to countermand the expulsion of Schapper. One member of the deputation believed he understood Herr Geiger to say that Herr Schapper’s expulsion order emanated from the Ministry, whereupon Herr Geiger vehemently assured the deputation on his most sacred word of honour that it was he who had taken the initiative in this measure. He referred first of all to his special knowledge of the law, since he had earlier been an examining magistrate; but that was not the only reason.

“I believe that I have acted not only as Police Superintendent, but also in accordance with the dictates of reason: I have acted as I myself.

He knew full well, he added, that everything he said would be reprinted in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung and given a special interpretation, but that did not worry him: “I have acted as I myself. “ Another member of the deputation pointed out to him that if Herr Geiger had acted as “I myself”, then this “I” was surely none other than the “I” of the Police Superintendent and it was of course possible that this “I” was in accordance with the dictates of reason. But the Workers’ Association also had an “I”, the “I” of 6,000 workers, and this “I” probably carried just as much weight as Herr Geiger’s “I” and was likewise in accordance with the dictates of reason. The Workers’ Association, he added, protested against a measure that went against all existing laws and the Frankfurt National Assembly. The first member of the deputation demanded that Herr Geiger at least disavow the measure; Herr Geiger refused, and gave the deputation the assurance that for his part, until the Minister gave a reply, Herr Schapper could stay undisturbed in Cologne. Herr Geiger also refused to give an explanation as to how his report had been drawn up. Has Herr Geiger taken different decisions from Herr Gagern and is a citizen of Nassau not a German citizen, who is entitled to settle in any of the 34 German fatherlands?