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Reports From The English Press

Karl Marx

London, March 20. The Duke of Newcastle has ordered the recall of Lord Lucan; Lord Panmure has published Raglan's letter attacking him, and Lord Hardinge, the fabulous Lord High Constable of the British Army, has refused him an investigation and a military tribunal. In spite of the opposition of two ministries, of the Commander-in-Chief in the Crimea and of the Commander of the Horse Guards[a] in London, Lord Lucan proved in a detailed speech in the House of Lords yesterday that not he, but Raglan alone was responsible for the sacrifice of the Light Brigade at Balaklava[93] and that the Aberdeen and Palmerston Ministries had sacrificed Lord Lucan to the displeased public in order to save the obedient, feeble-minded and tractable Comman¬der in the Crimea. The public monster had to be satisfied. A half-completed letter found on the body of General Cathcart addressed to his wife and dated November 2, three days before the battle of Inkerman[94] and a week after the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava, is decisive on this question. This letter says word for word:

"Neither Lord Lucan nor Lord Cardigan was to blame, but on the contrary, for they obeyed orders."[b]

In an article on the Vienna Conference[95], The Times today makes the characteristic comment that should the Congress become a reality, the main difficulties were [to be] expected from the Turkish side[c]. Within the framework of the four points the main concessions would have to be extorted from the Sultan, not from the Tsar.[d]

Yesterday The Times mystified its public yet again with the "authentic" announcement that the great bombardment and final storming of Sevastopol had undoubtedly taken place before March 19[e]. Whence this sudden turn from desperate hopelessness to sanguine superstition? The Times began its Crimean campaign against the overthrown coalition and its "ceterum censeo"[f] that a Committee of Inquiry was necessary at the very moment that Gladstone threatened its monopoly by the proposal to abolish the stamp duty and to limit the weight of newspapers that can be sent for one penny by post to four ounces—less than the weight of one copy of The Times. No sooner was Gladstone overthrown, than his successor, Sir George Cornewall Lewis withdrew the Bill, and The Times, hoping that everything would remain as before, suddenly transformed its bilious view of the Crimea into a mobile panorama, radiant with hope of success, in which even the army, whose obituary it published three months ago, has become active again. Today its view is again darkened, because yesterday Sir George Cornewall Lewis, against all expectations, himself brought in a Bill to abolish the newspaper stamp duty. The animosity of a writer of retrospective reviews to fresh news! The Times ejaculates. Lewis as everybody knows was editor of The Edinburgh Review.

We shall return to the Bill as soon as the details are laid before the House of Commons, but meanwhile note that it is a concession to the Manchester School[96] which retains the merit of having untiringly agitated for the introduction of free competition in the field of the press. The concession of the Palmerston Ministry to the Manchester School is a captatio benevolentiae[g] in case of the dissolution of the Lower House and new elections.

Written on March 20, 1855
First published in the Neue Oder-Zeitung, No. 139, March 23, 1855
Marked with the sign x.
Printed according to the news-paper.
Published in English for the first time in MECW.


[a] Marx uses the English expression "Horse Guards". The designation "Commander of the Horse Guards" referred to the Commander-in-Chief of the British army (see footnote [e] on p. 24 of this volume).—Ed.

[b] Cathcart's letter was quoted by Lucan in the House of Lords on March 19, 1855. The Times, No. 22006, March 20, 1855.—Ed.

[c] "The Conferences at Vienna were opened in due form...", The Times, No. 22006, March 20, 1855.—Ed.

[d] Abdul Mejid, Alexander II.—Ed.

[e] The Times, No. 22005, March 19, 1855.—Ed.

[f] Something constantly repeated. The phrase derives from the famous dictum with which, after 157 B.C., Cato the Elder concluded every speech: "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam" (For the rest I take the view that Carthage must be destroyed).—Ed.

[g] An attempt to curry favour.—Ed.

[93] The battle of Balaklava took place on October 25, 1854. Ünits of the Russian army tried to cut off the British and Turkish troops taking part in the siege of Sevastopol from their base in Balaklava. They succeeded in inflicting serious losses on the enemy, especially on the British cavalry, but failed to achieve their main objective. For a description of this battle see Engels' article "The War in the East" (see present edition, Vol. 13, pp. 518-27).

[94] In the battle of Inkerman in the Crimea (November 5, 1854) the Anglo-French forces defeated the Russian army, but the Russians' vigorous action compelled the enemy to refrain from storming Sevastopol and instead lay siege to the city. Engels described the battle in detail in his article "The Battle of Inkerman" (see present edition, Vol. 13, pp. 528-35).

[95] The Vienna Conference was to work out the terms for peace between the participants in the Crimean War. It was attended by Russia, Britain, France, Austria and Turkey and lasted, with intervals, from March 15 to June 4, 1855. The negotiations centred on the Four Points (see Note 43↓). While agreeing, with certain reservations, to Points 1, 2 and 4, Russia emphatically rejected Point 3 which, as interpreted by the Western Powers, called for a reduction of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea. Britain and France insisted on its acceptance and turned down Austria's compromise proposal that Russia and Turkey should be allowed to agree between themselves on the size of their naval forces in the Black Sea. The Conference ended without adopting any decisions.

[96] The Manchester School—a trend in political economy reflecting the interests of the industrial bourgeoisie. It favoured free trade and non-interference by the state in the economy. The Free Traders' stronghold was Manchester, where the movement was led by Cobden and Bright, two textile manufacturers who founded the Anti-Corn Law League in 1838. In the 1840s and 1850s the Free Traders were an independent political group which later formed the Left wing of the Liberal Party.

[43] The Four Points—demands made by the Western Powers on Russia as preli¬minary conditions for peace talks in their Note of August 8, 1854. Russia was required to renounce her protectorate over Moldavia, Wallachia and Serbia, which was to be replaced by an all-European guarantee; to grant freedom of navigation on the Danube; to agree to a revision of the London Convention of 1841 on the closure of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles to the warships of all nations in peacetime, and to renounce its protection of Christians in Turkey. The Tsarist government at first rejected the Four Points but in November 1854 was forced to accept them as the basis for future peace talks. The Four Points were discussed at the Vienna conferences of Ambassadors (see Note 34↓) but the attempts of the Western Powers to link the question of the Straits with demands for 'a reduction of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea caused the Russian Ambassador in Vienna, A. M. Gorchakov, to walk out of the talks.

[34] A reference to the talks between the British, French and Russian Ambassadors and Austrian Foreign Minister Buol sponsored by Emperor Francis Joseph, which opened in December 1854. Their official purpose was to work out a basis for peace negotiations between the belligerents in the Crimean War. They were a sequel to an earlier round of talks between diplomats of the Western Powers, the Prussian Ambassador and the Austrian Minister (the Russian Ambassador refused to participate) held in Vienna in 1853-54 by way of mediation in the Russo-Turkish conflict. The second round failed to resolve the differences between the belligerents in the Crimean War. In mid-March 1855 representa¬tives of Austria, Britain, France, Turkey and Russia met at a higher level at the Vienna Conference (Britain was represented by Special Envoy Lord John Russell, France by Foreign Minister Drouyn de Lhuys). That conference also produced no results (see Note 88↑).

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 14 (pp.102-103), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980
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