Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung February 1849


Source: MECW Volume 8, p. 396;
Written: by Engels on February 17, 1849;
First published: in Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 225, February 18, 1849.

Cologne, February 17. Every little market town has its esprit fort; the Cologne prosecuting magistrates have theirs too. The esprit fort of the Cologne prosecuting magistrates is a certain Saedt homo novus atque ignotus [a man new and unknown] (which being translated means profound thinker).

There are two kinds of audacity: the audacity of superiority and the audacity of intellectual poverty which derives its strength from its official position, from being conscious of fighting with privileged weapons etc. Which of the two kinds the esprit fort of the Cologne prosecuting magistrates showed yesterday afternoon in expounding his case against Kinkel,[334] the public themselves will decide when the minutes of the court proceedings are available to them. At the same time they will take into consideration that Herr Saedt is still young.

However, it would not be in accordance with our journalistic function if we were any longer to withhold from the European public one utterance of our esprit fort. We know that the Demosthenes of the Cologne prosecuting magistrates tried by means of a subsequent interpretation to make amends for the passage we shall cite. But we have too much respect for the original inspiration of the ebullient genius to allow us to depreciate it by the enfeebling commentary arising from subsequent reflection.

Herr Saedt, deputy Public Prosecutor, said:

In German: “Sie dürfen alles, was ich sage, widerlegen, aber Sie dürfen meinen Vortrag nicht kritisieren.”

In French: M. Saedt, substitut du procureur du roi, s'adressant A 1'accusé:

“Libre à vous de réfuter tout ce que je viens de dire, mais il ne vous appartient pas de critiquer le réquisitoire d'un substitut du procureur du roi.” (Avis à la Réforme, à la République et à la Révolution.)

In English: The Queen’s Counsel, Mr. Saedt, to the defendant:

“You may refute all I say, but you have no right to criticise my speech” (N. B. Our English contemporaries, principally the Northern Star, are requested to publish the above).

In Italian: Sig. Saedt, accusatore publico, replicò:

“Dite quanto volete in rifutazione di questo che ho detto, ma vi è difeso di criticare il mio requisitorio.” (Avviso all’ Alba, al Contemporaneo ed alla Concordia.)

In Spanish: El fiscal, Sennor Saedt, dijo, hablando al acusado:

“Sennor, Vmd puede refutar todo que ho dicho; pero el que vengo de decir por requisitorio, es defendido de tocarlo.” (Pregamos los jornales radicales de Madrid de publicar esas lineas.)

In Danish: “De kunne gjensige alt hvad jeg siger, men De have intet Ret at kritisere mit Requisitoire (Angreb).” (De danske demokratiske Tidender ville vaere meget glaedt at meddele det danske Publikum den foregaaende Bewüs af de preussiske Magistraters Sandhed.)

Let Herr Saedt decide for himself in which language his utterance sounds most amusing.