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A Diplomatic Impropriety

Karl Marx

London, October 2. Considerable surprise has been caused here by a speech of Sir Alexander Malet, the British envoy accredited to the German Federal Diet[377]. For in the speech[a], which was made at a dinner in Homburg given on the occasion of the capture of Sevastopol, he launched into a strong attack on the King of Prussia[b] and his Ministers. The British envoy said bluntly that the British people were entitled to expect a different policy from Prussia, especially since the majority of the Prussian people had never concealed their sympathies for the Western Powers. Sir Alexander is of the opinion that if Prussia had sided with the Western Powers, Austria would have acted energetically and it would have been impossible for Russia to oppose the Prussian coalition. Prussia is thus, as it were, made directly responsible for the war. As the King of Prussia is a member of the German Confederation, at which Sir Alexander is accredited as British envoy, it is widely believed that this attack will in any case give rise to serious representations. If he is defended by his government, it will be a pointer to Britain's future policy; if the contrary is the case one can certainly expect the recall of the envoy.

Written on October 2, 1855
First published in the Neue Oder-Zeitung, No. 465, October 5, 1855
Marked with, the sign x.
Published in English for the first time in MECW.


[a] An account of it was published in The Times, No. 22172, September 29, 1855.—Ed.

[b] Frederick William IV.—Ed.

[337] The Literary Association of the Friends of Poland was set up in London in 1832 and was modelled on the Literary Society established in Paris by the conservative, aristocratic-monarchist wing of the Polish refugee community (Adam Czartoryski's followers) in the same year.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 14 (p.553), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980
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