Marx in Neue Rheinische Zeitung November 1848

Three State Trials Against the Neue Rheinische Zeitung

Source: MECW Volume 8, p. 81;
Written: by Marx on November 24, 1848
First published: in Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 153 (second edition), November 26, 1848.

Cologne, November 24. At this moment three state trials against the Neue Rheinische Zeitung are impending — we do not include the judicial proceedings against Engels, Dronke, Wolff and Marx for alleged “un-newspaper-like” political offences. — We are assured from well-informed sources that at least a dozen more inquisitions have been instituted against the “scurrilous sheet” — the official expression of the ci-devant [former] Public Prosecutor and actual Chief Public Prosecutor Hecker (c'est du Hecker tout pur [it’s genuine Hecker]).[93]

First crime. Violent attack on the maidenly “delicacy” of six royal Prussian police officers and of the king of the Cologne Public Prosecutor’s office, Herr Chief Public Prosecutor Zweiffel[94] — people’s representative in partibus infidelium,[95] who carries out his duties for the time being neither in Berlin nor in Brandenburg, but in Cologne on the Rhine. On the Rhine! on the Rhine! there our vines do grow! [Matthias Claudius, Rheinweinlied] We, too, prefer the Rhine to the Spree and the Disch Hotel to the Mielentz Hotel.[96]

Va pour la délicatesse des gens d'armes! [so much for the delicacy of the police!] As far as the “delicacy” of Herr Zweiffel is concerned, for us it is a “ noli me tangere![not to he touched!] We were morally incensed at the indelicate vote of non-confidence by which his electors are said to have caused him to beat a retreat. As true guardians of the maidenly “delicacy” of Herr Zweiffel, we request him to refute publicly the statement of Herr Weinhagen of Cleve. Herr Weinhagen stated in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung over his signature that he could communicate facts injurious to the “honour and delicacy” of Herr Zweiffel. He could even provide proof of these facts, he wrote, but he was compelled to refrain from publishing them as long as Herr Zweiffel could take refuge in the article of the Code pénal, by which every denunciation, even the most well-founded, is prosecuted as calumny unless it can be proved by a judicial verdict or authentic documents. We appeal therefore to the “honour and delicacy” of Herr Zweiffel!

Second crime. The simple Hecker and the dichotomous Hecker.

Third crime. This crime, which took place in 1848, is being prosecuted on the demand of the Imperial Ministry. The crimeSchnapphahnski! A feature article as a criminal! [97]

In its indictment, the Imperial Ministry is said to have described the Neue Rheinische Zeitung as the worst newspaper of the “bad press”. For our part, we declare the imperial authority to be the most comic of all comic authorities.