Farsi    Arabic    English   

Advertisement Duty.
Russian Movements.
The United States in Europe.[201]

Karl Marx

London, Friday, Aug. 5, 1853

The act for the repeal of the Advertisement Duty received the Royal assent last night, and comes into operation this day. Several of the morning papers have already. published their reduced terms for advertisements of all kinds.

The dock-laborers of London are on the strike. The Company endeavor to get fresh men. A battle between the old and new hands is apprehended.

The Emperor of Russia[a] has discovered new reasons for holding the Principalities. He will hold them no longer as a material guarantee for his spiritual aspirations, or as an indemnity for the costs of occupying them, but he must hold them now on account of "internal disturbances" as provided by the Treaty of Balta-Liman[202]. And, as the Russians have actually put everything in the Principalities topsy-turvy, the existence of such disturbances cannot be denied. Lord Clarendon confirmed, in the sitting of the House of Lords of August 2d, the statement given in my last letter with regard to the Hospodars having been prohibited from transmitting their tribute to Constantinople, and from entertaining further communications with Turkey[b]. Lord Clarendon declared with great gravity of countenance, and a pompous solemnity of manner, that he would

"instruct, by the messenger who leaves London this night, Sir Hamilton Seymour to demand from the Russian Cabinet the explanation which England is entitled to."[c]

While Clarendon sends all the way to St. Petersburg to request explanations, the Patrie of to-day[d] has intelligence from Jassy of the 20th ultimo, that the Russians are fortifying Bucharest and Jassy; that the Hospodars of Moldavia and Wallachia[e] are placed under a Russian Board of Control composed of three members; that contributions in kind are levied on the people, and that some refractory Boyards have been incorporated in Russian regiments. This is the "explanation" of the manifesto of Prince Gorchakoff, according to which

"his august master had no intention of modifying the institutions which governed the country, and the presence of his troops would impose upon the people neither new contributions nor charges."

In the sitting of the House of Commons of the same day Lord John Russell declared, in answer to a question put by Lord Dudley Stuart, that the four powers had convened at Vienna on a common proposition to be made to the Czar, "acceptable" to Russia and to Turkey, and that it had been forwarded to St. Petersburg. In answer to Mr. Disraeli he stated:

"The proposition was in fact an Austrian proposition, though it came originally from the Government of France."

This original Frenchman, naturalized in Austria, looks very suspicious, and the Neue Preussische Zeitung[f] gives, in a Vienna letter, the explanation that

"the Russian and Austrian Cabinets have fully resolved in common not to allow English influence to predominate in the East."

The Englishman[g] observes, on the explanations of the Coalition Ministry:

"They are great in humiliation, strong in imbecility, and most eloquent in taciturnity."

Moldavia and Wallachia once Russified, Galicia, Hungary and Transylvania would be transformed into Russian "enclaves."

I have spoken in a former letter of the "hidden treasures" in the Bank of St. Petersburg, forming the metal reserve for a three times larger paper circulation[h]. Now, the Russian Minister of War[i] has just applied for the transfer of a portion of this treasure into the military chest. The Minister of Finance[j] having objected to this step, the Emperor applied himself to the Holy Synod, the depository of the Church-Property, for a loan of 60 millions of rubles. While the Czar is wanting in wealth, his troops are wanting in health. It is stated on very reliable authority, that the troops occupying the Principalities have suffered enormously from heat on their march, that the number of sick is extraordinary, and that many private houses at Bucharest and Jassy have been converted into hospitals.

The Times of yesterday denounced the ambitious plans of Russia on Turkey, but tried, at the same time, to cover her intrigues in Denmark. It does the work of its august master even while ostentatiously quarreling with him.

"We discredit," says The Times, "[...] the assertion that the Russian Cabinet has succeeded in establishing its hold upon the Court of Copenhagen, and the statement that the Danish Government have proceeded, under Russian influence, to abrogate or impair the Constitution of 1849, is wholly inaccurate. The Danish Government have caused a bill or draft to be published, containing some modifications of the Constitution now in force, but this bill is to be submitted to the discussion and vote of the Chambers when they reassemble, and it has not been promulgated by Royal authority."

The dissolution of a Legislative Assembly into four separate feudal provincial diets, the right of self-assessment canceled, the election by universal suffrage suppressed, the liberty of the press abolished, free competition supplanted by the revival of close guilds, the whole official, i.e. the only intelligent class in Denmark excluded from being eligible except on Royal permission, that you call "some modifications of the Constitution?" As well you might call Slavery a slight modification of Freedom. It is true that the Danish King[k] has not dared to promulgate this new "fundamental law" as law. He has only sent, after the fashion of Oriental Sultans, the silken string to the Chambers with orders to strangle themselves. Such a proposition involves the threat of enforcing it if not voluntarily submitted to. So much for the "some modifications of the Constitution." Now to the "Russian influence."

In what way did the conflict between the Danish King and the Danish Chambers arise? He proposed to abrogate the Lex Regia[203], viz.: The existing law of succession to the throne of Denmark. Who urged the King to take this step? Russia, as you will have seen from the note of Count Nesselrode, dated 11th May, 1853, communicated in my last letter[l]. Who will gain by that abrogation of the Lex Regia? No one but Russia. The Lex Regia enables the female line of the reigning family to succeed to the throne. By its abrogation the agnates would remove from the succession all the claims of the cognates hitherto standing in their way. You know that the kingdom of Denmark comprehends, besides Denmark Proper, viz.: the Isles and Jutland, also the two Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. The succession to Denmark Proper and Schleswig is regulated by the same Lex Regia, while in the Duchy of Holstein, being a German fee, it devolves to the agnates, according to the Lex Salica[204]. By the abrogation of the Lex Regia the succession to Denmark and Schleswig would be assimilated to that of the German Duchy of Holstein, and Russia, having the next claims on Holstein, as the representative of the house of Holstein-Gottorp, would in the quality of chief agnate, also obtain the next claim on the Danish throne. In 1848-50, Denmark, being assisted by Russian notes and fleets, made war on Germany[m] in order to maintain the Lex Regia, which forbade Schleswig to be united with Holstein, and to be separated from Denmark[205]. After having beaten the German revolution, under the pretext of the Lex Regia, the Czar confiscates democratic Denmark by abrogating the same law. The Scandinavians and the Germans have thus made the experience that they must not found their respective national claims on the feudal laws of Royal succession. They have made the better experience, that, by quarrelling amongst themselves, instead of confederating, Germans and Scandinavians, both of them belonging to the same great race, only prepare his way to their hereditary enemy, the Sclave.

The great event of the day is the appearance of American policy on the European horizon. Saluted by one party, detested by the other, the fact is admitted by all.

"Austria must look to the dismemberment of the Turkish Empire for indemnification for the loss of her Italian provinces—a contingency not rendered less likely by the quarrel [...] she has had the folly to bring on her with Uncle Sam. An American squadron in the Adriatic would be a very pretty complication of an Italian insurrection, and we may all live to see it, for the Anglo-Saxon spirit is not yet dead in the West."

Thus speaks The Morning Herald[n], the old organ of the English Aristocracy.

"The Koszta affair," says the Paris Presse, "is far from being terminated. We are informed that the Vienna Cabinet has asked from the Washington Cabinet a reparation, which it may be quite sure not to receive. Meanwhile, Koszta remains under the safeguard of the French Consul."[o]

"We must go out of the way of the Yankee, who is half of a buccanier and half a backwoodsman, and no gentleman at all," whispers the Vienna Presse.

The German papers grumble about the secret treaty pretended to have been concluded between the United States and Turkey, according to which the latter would receive money and maritime support, and the former the harbor of Enos in Rumelia, which would afford a sure and convenient place for a commercial and military station of the American Republic in the Mediterranean.

"In due course of time," says the Brussels Emancipation[p], "the conflict at Smyrna between the American Government and the Austrian one, caused by the capture of the refugee Koszta, will be placed in the first line of events of 1853. Compared with this fact, the occupation of the Danubian Principalities and the movements of the western diplomacy and of the combined navies at Constantinople, may be considered as of second-rate importance. The event of Smyrna is the beginning of a new history, while the accident at Constantinople is only the unraveling of an old question about to expire."

An Italian paper, Il Parlamento, has a leader under the title "La Politica Americana in Europa", from which I translate the following passages literally:

"It is well known," says the Parlamento, "that a long time has elapsed since the United States have tried to get a maritime station in the Mediterranean and in Italy, and more particularly at such epochs when complications arose in the Orient. Thus for instance in 1840, when the great Egyptian question was agitated, and when St. Jean d'Acre was assailed, the Government of the United States asked in vain from the King of the Two Sicilies[q] to temporarily grant it the great harbor of Syracuse. To-day the tendency of American policy for interfering with European affairs cannot be but more lively and more steadfast. There can be no doubt but that the actual Democratic Administration of the Union manifests the most clamorous sympathies with the victims of the Italian and Hungarian revolution, that it cares nothing about an interruption of the diplomatical intercourse with Austria, and that at Smyrna it has supported its system with the threat of the cannon. It would be unjust to grumble at this aspiration of the great transatlantic nation, or to call it inconsistent or ridiculous. The Americans certainly do not intend conquering the Orient a and going to have a land war with Russia. But if England and France make the best of their maritime forces, why should not the Americans do so, particularly as soon as they will have obtained a station, a point of retreat and of "approvisionnement" in the Mediterranean? For them there are great interests at stake, the republican element being diametrically opposed to the Cossack one. Commerce and navigation having multiplied the legitimate relations and contracts between all peoples of the world, none can consider itself a stranger to any sea of the Old or New Continent, or to any great question like that of the destiny of the Ottoman Empire. The American commerce, and the residents who exercise it on the shores of our seas, require the protection of the stars and stripes, and in order to make it permanent and valid in all seasons of the year, they want a port for a military marine that ranks already in the third line among the maritime powers of the world. If England and France interfere directly with all that regards the Isthmus of Panama, if the former of those powers goes as far as to invent a king of the Mosquitoes, in order to oppose territorial rights to the operations of the United States, if they have come to the final understanding, that the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific shall be opened to all nations, and be possessed by a neutral State, is it not evident then, that the United States must pretend at exercising the same vigilance with regard to the liberty and neutrality of the Isthmus of Suez, holding their eyes closely fixed on the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, which will be likely to devolve Egypt and Libya wholly or partly to the dominion of some first-rate power? Suez and Panama are the two great doorways of the Orient, which, shut till now, will hereafter compete with each other. The best way to secure their ascendency in the Transatlantic question is to cooperate in the Mediterranean question. We are assured that the American men-of-war in the neighborhood of the Dardanelles do not renounce the pretension to enter them whenever they please, without being subjected to the restrictions convened upon by the Great Powers in 1841, and this for the incontrovertible reason. that the American Government did not participate in that Convention. Europe is amazed at this boldness, because it has been, since the peace of 1783, in the habit of considering the United States as in the condition of the Swiss Cantons after the Westphalian treaty[206], viz.: as peoples allowed a legitimate existence, but which it would be too arduous to ask to enter into the aristocracy of the primitive Powers, and to give their votes on subjects of general policy. But on the other side of the Ocean the Anglo-Saxon race sprung up to the most exalted degree of wealth, civilization and power, cannot any longer accept the humble position assigned to it in the past. The pressure exercised by the American Union on the Council of Amphictyons of the Five Powers, till now the arbiters of the globe, is a new force that must contribute to the downfall of the exclusive system established by the treaties of Vienna. Till the Republic of the United States succeed in acquiring a positive right and an official seat in the Congresses arbitrating on general political questions, it exercises with an immense grandeur, and with a particular dignity the more humane action of natural rights and of the jus gentium[r]. Its banner covers the victims of the civil wars without distinction of parties, and during the immense conflagration of 1848-49 the hospitality of the American Navy never submitted to any humiliation or disgrace."

Written on August 5, 1853
Reproduced from the New-York Daily Tribune
First published in the New-York Daily Tribune, No. 3850,
and the New-York Semi-Weekly Tribune, No. 859, August 19, 1853
Signed: Karl Marx


[a] Nicholas I .—Ed.

[b] See this volume, p. 235.—Ed.

[c] Here and below the quotations are from House of Commons speeches of M.P.s, published in The Times, No. 21497, August 3, 1853.—Ed.

[d] The reference is to Charles Schiller's report, published in La Patrie, No. 216, August 4, 1853.—Ed.

[e] G. Ghica and B. Stirbei.—Ed.

[f] Neue Preussische Zeitung, No. 177, August 2, 1853.—Ed.

[g] A. Richards (below Marx quotes his article "The Demand for Explanations" in The Morning Advertiser, No. 19382, August 5, 1853.—Ed.

[h] See this volume, p. 117.—Ed.

[i] V. A. Dolgorukov.—Ed.

[j] P. F. Brok.—Ed.

[k] Frederick VII.—Ed.

[l] See this volume, pp. 237-38.—Ed.

[m] The New-York Daily Tribune has: "made over to Germany", which seems to be a misprint.—Ed.

[n] The Morning Herald, No. 22228, August 4, 1853.—Ed.

[o] Quoted from Nefftzer's report "Bulletin du jour", La Presse, August 4, 1853.—Ed.

[p] L'Emancipation, No. 204, July 23, 1853.—Ed.

[q] Ferdinand II.—Ed.

[r] International law.—Ed.

[201] This article, excluding the section "Advertisement Duty", was published under the title "Russian Movements.—Denmark.—United States and Europe" in The Eastern Question.

[202] The Balta-Liman Convention was concluded between Russia and Turkey on May 1, 1849, following the occupation of Moldavia and Wallachia by Russian and Turkish troops for the purpose of suppressing the revolutionary movement. According to the Convention the occupation was to continue until the danger of revolution was completely removed (the occupation troops were withdrawn in 1851), the Hospodars were to be appointed temporarily by the Sultan in agreement with the Tsar, and a number of measures, including an occupation, to be taken by Russia and Turkey in the event of a new revolution were laid down.

[203] A reference to amendments to the Danish Constitution of June 5, 1849 to give more powers to the Crown, drafted in 1853. The new Constitution was promulgated on October 2, 1855.

Lex Regia—the law of Danish succession promulgated on November 14, 1665 by King Frederick III of Denmark extended to women the right of succeeding to the throne. Under the London Protocol of May 8, 1852 (see Note 58 ↓) and the new law of succession of July 31, 1853 this right was abolished. Thus, Duke Christian of Glücksburg was proclaimed successor to King Frederick VII as the latter had no heir. The new law indirectly confirmed the right of members of the Russian imperial dynasty to succeed to the Danish throne.

[58] A reference to the London Protocol of May 8, 1852 on the integrity of the Danish monarchy, signed by the representatives of Austria, Denmark, England, France, Prussia, Russia and Sweden. It was based on the Protocol adopted by the above-mentioned countries (except Prussia) at the London Conference on August 2, 1850, which supported the indivisibility of the lands belonging to the Danish Crown, including the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein. The 1852 Protocol mentioned the Russian Emperor (as a descendant of Duke Charles Peter Ulrich of Holstein-Gottorp who reigned in Russia as Peter III) among the lawful claimants to the Danish throne who had waived their rights in favour of Duke Christian of Glücksburg who was proclaimed successor to King Frederick VII.

[204] A reference to the law excluding succession by the female line, which existed in a number of West-European monarchies. This was based on Salic law (Lex Salica), the law of the Salian Franks, which dated back to the sixth century. Chapter LIX of the Lex Salica allowed succession by the male line only.

[205] Marx is referring to a series of articles published in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in 1848-49 in connection with the Danish-German war over Schleswig and Holstein.

By a decision of the Vienna Congress (1815), the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein remained in the possession of the Danish monarchy (the personal union of Schleswig, Holstein and Denmark had existed since 1499), even though the majority of the population in Holstein and in Southern Schleswig were Germans. Under the impact of the March 1848 revolution in Prussia, the national movement among the German population of the duchies grew, and became radical and democratic, forming part of the struggle for the unification of Germany. Volunteers from all over the country rushed to the aid of the local population when it took up arms against Danish rule. Prussia and other states of the German Confederation also sent federal troops to the duchies. However, the Prussian ruling circles, which had declared war against Denmark, fearing a popular upsurge and an intensification of the revolution, sought an agreement with the Danish monarchy at the expense of the common interests of the German states. An armistice between Prussia and Denmark was concluded on August 26, 1848, at Malmö. On March 2, 1849, Prussia resumed hostilities, but under pressure from England and Russia, who supported Denmark, was forced to conclude a peace treaty (July 2, 1850), temporarily relinquishing its claims to Schleswig and Holstein and abandoning them to continue fighting alone. The Schleswig-Holstein troops were defeated and ceased to offer resistance.

The position of the proletarian wing of German democracy on the Schleswig-Holstein issue was set forth in a number of articles by Engels published in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, in particular "The War Comedy", "The Armistice with Denmark", "The Armistice 'Negotiations'", "The Danish Armistice", "The Danish-Prussian Armistice", "European War Inevitable", and "From the Theatre of War.—The German Navy" (see present edition, Vol. 7, pp. 42-44, 266-69, 270, 411-15 and 421-25; Vol. 8, pp. 456-57; Vol. 9, pp. 259-60). Marx refers to several publications on this question in his Notebook XXII for 1853.

[206] The Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 ended the European Thirty Years' War (1618-48) in which the Pope, the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs and the Catholic German princes fought the Protestant countries of Bohemia, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and a number of German Protestant states. The rulers of Catholic France—rivals of the Habsburgs—supported the Protestant camp. The treaty as a whole sealed the victory of the anti-Habsburg coalition, promoted the establishment of France's hegemony in Europe and added to the political disunity of Germany. Under the terms of the Treaty of Westphalia the Swiss Confederation was recognised as an independent state.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 12 (pp.239-244), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1979
MarxEngles.public-archive.net #ME0751en.html