[To the Editor of The Free Press]
September 16, 1859
Sir,—You will have seen that the Times[a] of to-day intimates that the cannon planted on the forts of Taku, were of Russian make, and directed by Russian officers. Lord Palmerston's mob paper, the Daily Telegraph, in its summary, says:—
"It is now proved, as mercantile circulars show, and as is conclusively set forth in the interesting statement of our Correspondent at St. Petersburg, dated September 7, long before the news of the attack was known, that the conspiracy had an imperial origin — that it had been schemed for months — that it was rumoured abroad before our flotillas could have entered the Gulf of Pecheli.... We now perceive, moreover, how closely the policy of Russia is interwoven with that of Pekin; we detect great movements on the Amoor; we discern large Cossack armies manoeuvring far beyond lake Baikal, in the frozen dreamland on the twilight borders of the Old World; we trace the course of innumerable caravans; we espy a special Russian envoy[b] making his way, with secret designs, from the remoteness of Eastern Siberia to the secluded Chinese Metropolis; and well may public opinion in this country burn at the thought that foreign influences have had a share in procuring our disgrace and the slaughter of our soldiers and sailors."
Lord Palmerston is again at his antiquated tricks. He will make a new war on China in order to thwart the designs of Russia, in the same way that he made his war upon Afghanistan.
Written on September 16, 1859
First published in The Free Press, No. 10, September 28, 1858
"The Disaster in China", The Times, No. 32413, September 16, 1859.—Ed.
N. N. Muravyev.—Ed.
The item was written by Marx during his work on the second part of his article "The New Chinese War" (this volume, pp. 508-24) and included almost textually in it.
In The Free Press it was published under the title "Russia's Part in the Defence of the Pei-ho" (signed K. M.).
Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 16
(p.525), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980