Marx and Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung September 1848

Counter-Revolution in Cologne

Source: MECW Volume 7, p. 452;
Written: on September 25, 1848;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 112, September 26, 1848.

Cologne, September 25. Scarcely had the official news of the formation of the counter-revolutionary Government reached the Rhine when the Public Prosecutor’s office here suddenly developed not only an almighty appetite for arrests but a zeal for activity such as was not encountered even in the old police state.

The counter-revolutionary campaign started this morning. Its heroes have won victories in some fields and suffered defeats in others — a fate that has befallen even greater generals. The intention was to lead away a few dozen Cologne democrats as early morning spoils and to delight the local wailers[294] over their breakfasts with the news. However, part of the prey was wrested from these gentlemen. For example, Wachter, captain of the 9th Company of the civic militia, was snatched by the people from the clutches of the Holy Hermandad.[295] Six guardians of the law forced their way into the house of our fellow citizen Moll. The crowd that quickly gathered around the house and its threatening attitude caused two of these gentlemen to flee into the attic and a third into the cellar. Unfortunately the house has only one exit. Moll acceded to the wishes of these terrified gentlemen and asked the people to allow the brigade of six men to withdraw in safety.

Becher and Schapper, on the other hand, were led off to gaol in the early hours of the morning. There are reports that in addition to Bürgers several other members of the editorial staff of our newspaper are on the proscribed list and that attempts have been made to arrest them.

If these gentlemen go ahead with their plans, it will soon be a mystery how the editorial work of our newspaper is to be carried out. But we believe we can declare that all the manoeuvres directed against us will fail in their main aim and that our readers will continue as usual to receive the newspaper regularly. It is merely a question of who will first lose their sense of humour: the gentlemen from the Public Prosecutor’s office or the editors of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung.

We would add that even now some policemen etc. are on their way to Mülheim to punish several hated democrats there with arrest and imprisonment.