Marx in Neue Rheinische Zeitung February 1849


Source: MECW Volume 8, p. 295;
Written: by Marx on February 3, 1849;
First published: in Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 213, February 4, 1849.

Cologne, February 3. We learn from an entirely reliable source that the Brandenburg Ministry will resign before the Chambers open, and that Herr Camphausen will be presented to the Chambers at their opening as the new Prime Minister.

We were sure that something of the kind was being prepared when, a few days ago, the shrewd statesman’s friends here spread a rumour that he was tired of political activity:

Oh! the bustle makes me weary;
What use all the joy and pain?
Sweet peace come, and
In my heart begin your reign?
[Goethe, “Wandrers Nachtlied”]

and for that reason wanted to withdraw into peaceful domestic life and restrict his reflections to the less agitating field of speculation in dairy produce.

It should be clear to every intelligent person: Herr Camphausen felt the need to get himself invited once again to save the Crown and, “touched by his own magnanimity”, to play a second time the role of “midwife of the constitutional throne” with his well-known aplomb.

The bourgeois opposition in the Chamber will rejoice at this parliamentary “victory”. The Germans are forgetful and easily forgive. Those same Lefts who last year opposed Herr Camphausen will gratefully welcome his new accession to office as a great concession on the part of the Crown.

But in order that the people should not allow itself to be deceived a second time, we shall briefly recall the most outstanding deeds of this thinking statesman.

Herr Camphausen resurrected the United Diet that was buried on March 18 and reached agreement with it on some of the basic principles of the future Constitution. [274]

Herr Camphausen thereby reached agreement on the legal basis i.e. indirect denial of the revolution.

Herr Camphausen furthermore conferred on us the blessing of indirect elections. [275]

Herr Camphausen once again denied the revolution as regards one of its chief results, by transforming the Prince of Prussia’s flight into a study trip and recalling him from London.[276]

Herr Camphausen organised the civic militia in such a way that from the outset it was transformed from being the arming of the people into the arming of a class, so that the people and the militia confronted each other as enemies.

At the same time Herr Camphausen allowed the old-Prussian bureaucracy and army to be reconstituted and to become daily more capable of preparing counter-revolutionary coups d'état.

Herr Camphausen was responsible for the memorable shrapnel slaughter of practically unarmed Polish peasants.[277]

Herr Camphausen began the war against Denmark to provide an outlet for superabundant patriotism and to restore the popularity of the Prussian Guards. Having achieved this aim, he made every effort to help secure the adoption in Frankfurt of the disgraceful Malmö armistice[278], which was essential for Wrangel’s march on Berlin.

Herr Camphausen confined himself to abolishing a few reactionary old-Prussian laws in the Rhine Province, but left the whole police-state civil-code legislation in existence in all the old provinces.

Herr Camphausen was the first to intrigue against the unity — at that time still definitely revolutionary — of Germany, first of all by convening alongside the Frankfurt National Assembly his Berlin agreement parliament and subsequently by acting in, every way against the decisions and influence of the Frankfurt Assembly.

Herr Camphausen demanded of his Assembly that it should restrict its constitutional mandate merely to ‘reaching agreement’. Herr Camphausen further demanded of it that it should issue an address to the Crown in which it acknowledged this — as if it were a constitutional chamber which could be adjourned or dissolved at will.

Herr Camphausen further demanded of it that it should deny the revolution and even made this a question of confidence in the Cabinet.

Herr Camphausen laid before his Assembly a draft Constitution, which is on much the same lines as the imposed Constitution and aroused a universal storm of indignation at the time.

Herr Camphausen boasted of having been the Minister of mediation, but this mediation was nothing but mediation between the Crown and the bourgeoisie for joint betrayal of the people.

Herr Camphausen at last resigned when this betrayal had been fully negotiated and was sufficiently mature to be put into practice by the Government of Action and its constables. [279]

Herr Camphausen became the ambassador to the so-called Central Authority and continued to be so under all the Ministries. He remained ambassador at the time when in Vienna the Croatian, Ruthenian and Wallachian troops violated German territory, fired on Germany’s leading city and set it ablaze and treated it more outrageously than any Tilly treated Magdeburg.[280] He remained ambassador and did not lift a finger.

Herr Camphausen remained ambassador under Brandenburg, thereby taking his share in the Prussian counter-revolution, and subscribed his name to the recent Prussian Circular Note which openly and without disguise demanded the restoration of the old Federal Diet.[281]

Herr Camphausen now at last takes over the Ministry in order to cover the retreat of the counter-revolutionaries and to safeguard the November and December achievements for us for a long time to come.

These are some of the great deeds of Herr Camphausen. If he now becomes Minister he will hasten to add to the list. For our part, we shall keep the most precise possible account of them.