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Frederick Engels

The English Whigs are decidedly unlucky. Hardly has Palmerston fallen from office for having "left England without an ally, indeed without a friend on the Continent of Europe", hardly has the first commotion surrounding his fall[128] subsided, when the whole press is resounding with cries of war and in this connection is bringing to light a morass of maladministration in the departments of war and the navy sufficient to break the neck of more than one ministry.

Ever since 1846 various military figures had been drawing the country's attention to the possibility of an invasion of England if there was a war with France. At that time the danger of such a war was too remote however, and the Quixotic manner adopted by these first alarmists merely excited laughter. General Head in particular acquired a not exactly enviable celebrity from that time on by his continual appeals to the nation to strengthen the national defences. In this context it should not be forgotten moreover that the aged Wellington was likewise declaring the existing coastal fortifications to be extremely inadequate.

Louis Napoleon's coup d'état however suddenly imparted a completely new significance to this debate. John Bull at once realised that the French military dictatorship, that parody of the Consulate, would in all probability embroil France in war, and that in these circumstances an attempt might very well be made to avenge Waterloo[129]. The most recent exploits of the English military forces were not exactly brilliant; at the Cape the Kaffirs were consistently victorious, and even on the Slave Coast an attempted English landing had been decisively beaten off by naked Negroes, despite European tactics and cannon[130]. What- would be the fate of the English soldiers once they came up against the far more dangerous "Africans" from the proving-ground of Algeria?[131] And who could guarantee that such an unscrupulous adventurer as Louis Bonaparte would not one morning, without the tedious formality of a declaration of war, appear on the English coast with ten or twelve steamships packed full of troops and a dozen ships of the line to back them up, and attempt a march on London?

It was undeniably a serious matter; the Government at once gave orders for new batteries to be installed at the entrances to the major harbours on the south and south-east coasts. But the public also took the matter seriously, and in a way which threatened to become very disagreeable for the Government. In particular there were some enquiries into the availability of forces, and it was found that at that moment, even if Ireland were reduced to the bare minimum, not more than 25,000 men and 36 cannon with draught-animals could be turned out for the defence of Great Britain, and that, as to the fleet, at present not one ship of significance in the ports was ready to sail to prevent a landing. It was found, as the Kaffir war had already shown, that the equipment of the British soldier impedes his mobility and is thoroughly unpractical; it was found that his weapons are by no means on a par with those of other European armies, and that there is not a soldier in England with a gun remotely comparable to the Prussian needle-gun or the rifle used by the French sharpshooters and riflemen. In the Commissariat of the Navy cases of quite outrageous corruption and negligence were discovered, all of which was exaggerated to mammoth proportions by alarmists and place-hunters.

The affair would seem at first sight only to concern the English aristocrats, rentiers and bourgeois who would be the first to suffer from a French invasion and possible conquest. But it must not be forgotten that the independent development of England, the slow but sure fighting-out of the conflict between bourgeoisie and proletariat, a conflict which is furthest advanced here, is of the utmost importance for the development of Europe as a whole. Although this peculiarly methodical development in England may, as in 1848 and previously in the years following 1793, sometimes be a temporary obstacle in the path of the momentarily victorious revolutionaries of the Continent, fundamentally it is nevertheless of a far more revolutionary nature than all these transient continental struggles put together. Whilst the great French Revolution foundered on the conquest of Europe, England revolutionised society with the steam engine, conquered the world market, increasingly wrested power from all those classes left behind by history and prepared the ground for the great, decisive struggle between the industrial capitalist and the industrial worker. It was of the greatest significance for the development of the whole of Europe that Napoleon never managed to fling 150,000 men across from Boulogne to Folkestone and to conquer England with the veterans of the Republican armies. During the Restoration, when the Continent was left to the tender mercies of those myrmidons of legitimacy[132] so aptly portrayed by Beranger, in England the party of the die-hards, the Tories, was suffering its first major rupture caused by Canning's Ministry, which already had very bourgeois features, and Canning and later Peel were beginning that gradual undermining of the English Constitution which has since continued without pause and which must very shortly reach the point where the whole rotten edifice comes crashing to the ground. This undermining of the old institutions of England and the basis of this undermining process, the incessant revolutionising of English society by large-scale industry are quietly going on, heedless of whether revolution or counter-revolution is for the moment carrying the day on the Continent; and if this movement is slow, it is however sure and never takes a backward step. The defeat of the Chartists on April 10, 1848[133], was exclusively a defeat and decisive rejection of foreign political influence; it is not continental political upheavals but world-wide trade crises, direct material blows calling into question the livelihood of each individual, which are the mainsprings of development in England. And now, when there are unmistakable signs that the final removal from political power of all the traditional classes by the industrial bourgeoisie and thus the dawn of the decisive day of battle between it and the industrial proletariat are imminent, a disturbance of this development now, even a temporary conquest of England by the rapacious praetorians of December 2, would have the* gravest consequences for the European movement as a whole. Only in England has industry attained such dimensions that it is the focal point of the whole -national interest, of all the conditions of existence for every class. But industry consists on the one hand of the industrial bourgeoisie and on the other of the industrial proletariat, and all the other elements comprising the nation are increasingly grouped around these opposed classes. Here therefore, where the only point that matters is who shall rule, the industrial capitalists or the industrial workers, here, if anywhere, is the ground where the class struggle in its modern form can be decided and where the industrial proletariat on the one hand has the strength to win political power and on the other finds the material means, the productive forces which enable it to make a total social revolution and ultimately to eliminate class contradictions. And it is certainly the supreme interest of the whole proletarian party in Europe to ensure that this development in England, which is leading to the greatest intensification of the contradiction between the two industrial classes and ultimately to the defeat of the ruling class by the oppressed, is not as a result of foreign conquest deflected, its momentum diminished and the decisive struggle postponed for an indefinite period.

What, then, are the prospects?

First and foremost, a country such as Great Britain, which without Ireland numbers 22 million and with Ireland 29 million inhabitants, cannot be simply taken by surprise attack. The alarmists cite the example of Carthage, which, dispersing its fleets and armies to its remotest possessions, twice succumbed to a surprise attack by the Romans[134]. But, apart from the totally altered conditions of warfare, the Roman landing in Africa in the Second Punic War only became possible after the flower of the Carthaginian armies had been destroyed in Spain and Italy and the Punic fleets driven from the Mediterranean; the surprise attack was no such thing but a very substantial military operation and the quite natural culmination of a long war which in its final stages ran consistently in Rome's favour. And the Third Punic War was scarcely a war at all but simply the crushing of the weaker party by a party ten times stronger; it was somewhat like Napoleon's confiscation of the Venetian Republic[135]. At present, however, France does not stand where she did in 1797, nor does England resemble Venice at the end of its days.

Napoleon considered at least 150,000 men necessary to conquer England. At that time England admittedly had many more soldiers at her disposal but also a much smaller population and industrial resources. And nowadays, however insignificant the available power of the English at this moment may be, at least as many would be required to conquer England. A glance at the map shows that any invasion army which landed in England would have to advance at least as far as the Tees, the Tyne or even the Tweed; if it halted at any point short of that, all the resources of the industrial districts would remain in the hands of the defenders, and in the face of the ever growing power of the latter it would have to man lines extremely deficient in marked military features and far too extended for its forces. The area south of the above-mentioned rivers, i.e. England proper, numbers 16 million inhabitants and would demand the detaching of such forces to secure communications, lay siege to or occupy the coastal fortifications and suppress the inevitable national uprising, that only very few would remain available for effective operations on the Scottish border. And however well they were commanded, it is unlikely that fewer than 150,000 men could conquer England and prevail in the face of rebellion within the country and regular warfare from the direction of Scotland and Ireland.

Now, by fresh levies and skilled concentration 150,000 men can of course be assembled at some point on the north coast of France, but this would take at least a month or two. And in this time England could concentrate quite a respectable naval force in the Channel, partly by calling on the Tagus fleet[136] and steamships from other nearby stations, and partly by mobilising the ships laid up in the ports, whilst within a further month all the steamships and some of the sailing ships from the Atlantic stations and from Malta and Gibraltar could be to hand. The landing army would therefore have to be ferried across, if not all at once, then at least in a few large detachments, since sooner or later communications with France would in any case be interrupted. At least 50,000 men would have to be landed at a time and the whole army therefore in three crossings. And furthermore, men-of-war could not be used at all or only to a limited extent for the transporting of troops in this operation, since they would have to ward off the English fleet. And France could not assemble transport for 50,000 men along with the necessary artillery and munitions in her Channel ports within six weeks, even if she were to requisition neutral shipping. However each day by which the expedition is postponed represents a further advantage for England, for time is all she needs in order to concentrate her fleet and train her recruits.

If however consideration of the English fleet precludes ferrying the landing army of 150,000 men across in more than three detachments, consideration of England's land-power must also forbid any soldier worth his salt to risk the crossing to England with fewer than 50,000 men at a time. We have seen that in the circumstances most favourable to an invasion, the English would still have a period of one or two months to prepare for such a contingency; only someone who did not know them could assume them to be incapable of organising a land-army in this time which would have no difficulty in driving an advance guard of 50,000 men into the sea before support arrived. It should be remembered that embarkation can only take place between Cherbourg and Boulogne and the landing only between the Isle of Wight and Dover, i.e. within a stretch of coast that is at no point more than four days' good marching distance from London. It should be remembered that embarkation and landing depend on wind and tide, that the English fleet in the Channel would offer resistance, and that between the first and second landings perhaps eight to ten days and at the very least four would therefore elapse, since the main body of the troops would have to be transported in sailing ships and picked up along the entire length of the coast from Cherbourg to Boulogne; a "camp at Boulogne"[137] cannot be set up on the spur of the moment. In these circumstances it is unlikely that anything will be attempted until at least 70,000-80,000 men can be flung across at one time, and for this purpose transport would first have to be found, which in turn requires time. However, since with each week by which the expedition is delayed, England's defensive strength will grow more rapidly than the enemy's transport and naval power, the attackers' position will become increasingly unfavourable; they will soon reach the point where they cannot risk anything unless they are able to ferry 150,000 men across at one time, and even they would encounter such resistance that they would be certain of eventual annihilation unless a reserve of some 100,000 men were subsequently despatched.

In a word, the conquest of England cannot be accomplished by means of a surprise attack. If the whole Continent were to unite to that end, it would need a year merely to find and assemble transport alone more than England needs to put her coasts into a state of defence, concentrate a navy which would be a match for all the continental fleets combined and could prevent them joining forces, and assemble an army which would make it impossible for any enemy to remain on English soil.

National feeling amongst the English is at this particular moment more intense than at any time since 1815, and the grave danger of an invasion would lend it an altogether new impetus. Furthermore, the population of Great Britain is by no means as unmilitary as it is made out to be; the bourgeoisie, the petty bourgeoisie and the proletariat of the big cities are admittedly much less familiar with fire-arms and therefore less fitted for the conduct of civil war than the corresponding classes on the Continent. But the population as a whole has a great deal of warlike spirit and contains very useful military elements. Nowhere are there more hunters and poachers, i.e. semi-trained light infantry and sharpshooters; and the 40,000-50,000 mechanics and engineers are better prepared for the arms workshops, the artillery and service in the engineering corps than any comparable number of chosen men in whatever continental country one cares to name. The ground itself, almost entirely devoid of major military features virtually up to the Scottish border, is hilly broken country, tailor-made for small-scale warfare. And if hitherto guerrilla warfare has only been successful in comparatively sparsely populated countries, in the case of a serious attack England in particular might well be able to demonstrate that in very densely populated countries, e.g. in the almost continuous labyrinth of buildings in Lancashire and West Yorkshire, guerrilla warfare can be rather effective.

With regard to raids aimed at plundering the wealthy ports, destroying depots and so on, England is at present admittedly in an exposed position. The fortifications are scarcely worth mentioning. Provided there are no ships lying at Spithead it is possible to sail calmly right up to the entrance of Southampton Water and land sufficient troops to exact a levy of whatever size desired from Southampton. Woolwich could perhaps be occupied and destroyed at present although this would be a somewhat greater undertaking. Liverpool's only defence is a pitiful battery of 18 iron ship's cannon lacking any form of aiming device and manned by eight to ten artillerymen and half a company of infantry. But with the exception of Brighton, all the important English coastal towns are situated within deep bays or far up rivers and have natural defences in the form of sand-banks and rocks with which only the native pilots are familiar. Any attacker attempting to find his way without a pilot through these narrow channels, which are mostly only navigable by large ships at high tide, runs the risk of losing more than he could hope to make away with, and if such an expedition met with any resistance or the slightest unexpected obstacle it would have as disastrous an outcome as the Danish expedition against Eckernförde in 1849[138]. On the other hand a rapid landing of 10,000-20,000 men from steamships in some rural area and a short plundering raid against small country towns, the positive results of which would necessarily be meagre, would admittedly be very easy to accomplish and could not be prevented at all at present.

All these fears would however melt away of their own accord as soon as the Tagus fleet, the North American squadron and some of the steamboats pursuing the slave-ships between Brazil and Africa were recalled to England and at the same time the ships laid up in the naval ports were mobilised. That would suffice to prevent any surprise attack and delay any serious attempt at invasion long enough to allow England to take the necessary further action.

Meanwhile the alarm will have the positive effect of terminating the absurd policy of maintaining 800 floating cannon in the Mediterranean, 1,000 in the Atlantic and 300 each in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, whilst there is not a single ship to protect the coasts at home; and of engaging in interminable and inglorious wars with Negroes and Kaffirs, while troops are urgently needed in the home country. The cumbersome, heavy and in every respect antiquated equipment of the army, the boundless carelessness and nonchalance of the military and naval administration, and the gross nepotism, the bribery and the fraud in these departments will by and large be eliminated. The industrial bourgeoisie will finally rid itself of the Peace Congress and Peace Society humbug, which exposed it to so much well-deserved mockery and did such harm to its political progress and thus to the whole development of England. And if war were to break out, it may very easily happen, owing to the well-known irony of world history which is enjoying an unprecedented vogue at present, that Messrs. Cobden and Bright, in their dual capacity as members of the Peace Society[139] and as men who may become ministers in the near future, would have to wage a stubborn war, perhaps against the whole continent.

Manchester, January 23, 1852


Parliament is due to meet next Tuesday, on February 3. Of the three principal issues which will take up the early debates, we have briefly discussed two already: Palmerston's dismissal[140] and the state of the defences in the event of a war with France. There remains the third, which for the development of England is by far the most important: electoral reform.

The new Reform Bill which Russell is due to present at the very outset will provide sufficient opportunity to examine the general significance of electoral reform in England more closely. For today, since we are only concerned with communicating and elucidating a number of rumours about this bill, the observation will suffice that in this whole matter the immediate issue is solely how much of their political power will be retained by the reactionary or conservative classes, i.e. the landed aristocracy, the rentiers, the stock-exchange speculators, the colonial landowners, the shipping magnates and a section of the merchants and bankers, and how much they will surrender to the industrial bourgeoisie, which heads all the progressive and revolutionary classes. For the present we are not concerned here with the proletariat at all.

The Daily News, the voice of the industrial bourgeoisie in London and a good source in such matters, gives some information about the Whig Ministry's new Reform Bill. According to this information, the intended reforms would touch upon three aspects of the British electoral system.

Hitherto every Member of Parliament had to show that he owned landed property worth at least £300 before he could be admitted. However this condition, in many cases embarrassing, was almost always evaded by bogus purchases and bogus contracts. It had long ago become ineffective as far as the industrial bourgeoisie was concerned; it is now to be dropped completely. Its abolition is one of the "six points" of the proletarian People's Charter[141], and it is interesting to observe how one of these six points (they are all six very middle-class and have already been implemented in the United States) is already being officially acknowledged.

Hitherto the electoral system was organised in the following way: according to ancient English custom some Members were sent by the counties[a] and some by the towns. Any person wanting to vote in a county had either to own land with an annual value of £2 entirely in his own right (freehold property)[b] or hold rented land with an annual value of £50. In the towns on the other hand any man could vote who occupied a house whose rent was £10 and who paid the poor-rate corresponding to that amount. Whilst in those towns which sent Members, the mass of. small tradesmen and craftsmen, i.e. all the petty bourgeoisie, were admitted to the suffrage by this arrangement, in the county elections the aristocracy's tenants-at-will[c], i.e. tenants who could be given notice to quit from one year to the next and who were therefore completely dependent on their landlords, represented the overwhelming majority. Last year Mr. Locke King proposed extending the norm of £10 rents, which applied in the towns, to the counties as well, and obtained a large majority for this proposal against the ministers in a sparsely attended House. It is said that Russell now intends to reduce the amount for the counties to £10 and for the towns to £5. The effect of such a measure would be very significant. In the towns it would immediately give the franchise to the better paid among the proletariat, which would make the election of Chartist representatives in some large towns very probable, whilst in the medium-sized and smaller towns the industrial bourgeoisie would receive an enormous increase in votes and in parliamentary seats. And in the counties all citizens of small and moderate means in small towns without their own parliamentary representatives would at once be admitted to the suffrage; they would constitute the overwhelming majority in most cases and by their numbers and relative independence of the few great noble families who control the counties at present they would put an end to the electoral terrorism hitherto practised by these magnates. Furthermore this rural petty bourgeoisie is even now increasingly succumbing to the influence of the industrial bourgeoisie and would thus open up a significant number of the counties to them.

The electoral constituencies have hitherto varied enormously in size and importance; the number of representatives bore no relationship whatsoever to the size of the population or number of electors. One or two hundred electors in one place sent as many representatives as six to eleven thousand electors in another place. This inequality was particularly marked in the towns; and particularly the small towns with few electors were the scene of the most scandalous bribery (e.g. St. Albans) or absolute electoral dictatorship by this or that great landowner. According to the report in The Daily Nexus eight of the smallest towns with the right to elect a Member of Parliament are now to be deprived of their representatives and the remaining small towns which elect Members of Parliament are to be lumped together with other neighbouring country towns, up to now represented only in the counties, in 'such a. way that the size of. the electorate is. significantly increased. This would resemble the system of urban grouping which has existed in Scotland ever since the Union with England (1707)[142]. That the industrial bourgeoisie may likewise expect an increase of political power from such a measure, timid though it is, is proved by the outstanding importance which they have for a long time attached to the equalisation of the electoral constituencies, over and above any other issue of parliamentary reform. In addition it is reported that London and Lancashire, in other words two of the principal centres of the industrial bourgeoisie, are to receive increased representation in Parliament.

If Russell really intends to present this Bill, then according to past experience, this is indeed a great deal for the little man. It appears that Peel's laurels will not let him rest and that he too has resolved to be "bold" for once. This boldness is admittedly accompanied by all the timorousness and cautious circumspection of the English Whig, and in the present state of public opinion in England will appear bold to no one but himself and his Whig colleagues. But after the hesitation, vacillation and second thoughts, after the repeated and always unsuccessful putting-out of feelers with which this diminutive peer has occupied his time since the end of the previous session, one might nevertheless have expected less than the above proposals always providing of course that he does not change his mind before Tuesday[143].

The industrial bourgeoisie, it does not need to be spelled out, are demanding a great deal more than that. They are demanding household suffrage[d], i.e. the vote for every man occupying a house or part of a house on which he is required to pay rates, voting by ballot and a total revision of constituency boundaries to ensure equal representation for equal numbers of electors and equal wealth. They will haggle hard and long with the ministry and extract every possible concession from it before agreeing a price for their support. The English industrialist is a good businessman and will certainly dispose of his vote for the highest price obtainable.

Incidentally it is already now becoming evident that even the above ministerial minimum of electoral reform cannot but have the effect of strengthening the power of that class which already controls England in practice and is making giant strides towards the political recognition of its hegemony: the industrial bourgeoisie. The proletariat, whose independent struggle for its own interests against the industrial bourgeoisie will not begin until such time as the political supremacy of that class is established, the proletariat will in any circumstances also derive some advantage from this electoral reform. How great this advantage will be however depends simply on whether the debate and eventual establishment of electoral reform occurs before the trade crisis breaks or rather coincides with it; for the proletariat, for the time being, only plays an active part, at the front of the stage, at great moments of decision, like Fate in classical tragedy.

Manchester, January 30, 1852

Written on January 23 and 30, 1852
First published in Russian in the journal Letopisi marksizma, Vol. IV, 1927
Printed according to the manuscript
Published in English for the first time
Signed: F. Engels


[a] Engels uses the English term. —Ed.
[b] In the original version the German expression is followed by the English term "freehold property" in brackets. —Ed.
[c] Engels uses the English term. —Ed.
[d] Engels uses the English term. —Ed.

[127] Engels' articles on England were intended for Die Revolution, a New York weekly published by Joseph Weydemeyer. Of the four articles written by Engels in December 1851 and January 1852, only two reached Weydemeyer, the other two having been lost on the way. But even the articles which reached Weydemeyer were not published in Die Revolution, since the journal had ceased publication. The first of these articles was published in an abridged form (without the first four paragraphs and the last one) in the Turn-Zeitung (No. 15, November 15, 1852), a newspaper published in New York of which Weydemeyer was an editor. The second article was used by Weydemeyer in a number of his own writings for the press.
In the manuscript the title "England" is written by Engels over each of the two extant articles. This title was crossed out above the second article, apparently by Weydemeyer, and it was probably he who numbered the articles with Roman numerals.

[128] Palmerston, Foreign Secretary in the Whig Ministry of Russell, was dismissed because in a conversation with the French ambassador he had expressed his approval of the Bonapartist coup d'état in France on December 2, 1851, without consulting the other members of the Ministry. The dismissal occurred on December 19, 1851, and in February 1852 Russell's Ministry was replaced by the Tory Ministry of Derby.

[129] At the battle of Waterloo (June 18, 1815) Napoleon's army was defeated by British and Prussian forces commanded by the Duke of Wellington and Blücher.

[130] From 1850 to 1853 Britain waged one of its Kaffir wars against the Xhosan tribe in Africa. In the first years of the war the local population defeated the British troops several times, but under the Peace Treaty of 1853 the Xhosas had to cede part of their lands to Britain.

In 1851 the British made an attempt to seize the Slave Coast (West Africa), for which purpose they intervened in an internecine war of the local Yoruba tribes. Despite their bombardment of the town of Lagos in December 1851, the British failed to subjugate the local population and had to content themselves with installing a henchman of theirs in power. It was not until they had "purchased" Lagos in 1861 that the British consolidated themselves on the Slave Coast and laid the foundations of their colony, Nigeria.

[131] This refers to the French colonial troops who took part in the conquest of Algeria.

[132] In his song Les mirmidons ou les funérailles d'Achille, Béranger allegorically portrayed the base and worthless rulers of France under the Restoration. There is a pun in the title: mirmidons (myrmidons) is the name of a legendary tribe in South Thessaly whose warriors fought in the Trojan War under Achilles' command; it also means dwarfs and, figuratively, base, worthless people.

[133] On the defeat of the Chartists on April 10, 1848 see Note 41 ↓.

[41] The mass demonstration in London, called by the Chartists for April 10, 1848, was to present a petition to Parliament for the adoption of the People's Charter. The Government prohibited the demonstration, and troops and police were brought to London to prevent it. The Chartist leaders, many of whom vacillated, called off the demonstration and persuaded the masses to disperse. The failure of the demonstration was used by the Government for an attack on the workers and repressions against the Chartists.

[134] Here and below the reference is to the Punic Wars (264-241, 218-201 and 149-146 B.C.) which were waged between the two major slave-owning states of antiquity, Rome and Carthage, for supremacy in the Western Mediterranean, for the conquest of new territories and for slaves. They ended in the defeat of Carthage.

[135] During the war against the first anti-French coalition (1792-97), Napoleon's army fighting the Austrian forces occupied the neutral Venetian Republic in May-June 1797. Under the Franco-Austrian treaty concluded in Campoformio in October 1797, part of the republic's territory, including Venice, was given to Austria in exchange for concessions the latter made on the frontier along the Rhine; the other part went to the Cisalpine Republic formed by Napoleon out of lands he had captured in Northern Italy; the Ionian Islands and the Venetian Republic's possessions on the Albanian coast were annexed to France.

[136] The reference is to the British fleet in Portugal, stationed in Tagus estuary, which was used by the British Mediterranean fleet as an intermediate base in the nineteenth century.

[137] An allusion to the camp at Boulogne established by Napoleon I in 1803-05 for the invasion of England across the Channel. Concentrated here were nearly 2,500 small transport ships and a 120,000-strong army of invasion. The defeat of the French fleet at Trafalgar by Admiral Lord Nelson and the formation in Europe of a new anti-French coalition including Russia and Austria compelled Napoleon to abandon his plan.

[138] The reference is to an operation in the Schleswig-Holstein war (see Note 35 ↓), when, on April 5, 1849, a Danish squadron of ten ships attacked from the sea the Schleswig town of Eckernförde, situated on the shore of a bay, with a view . to landing troops there. The ships were destroyed by cross-fire from coastal batteries.

[35] The reference is to the armistice concluded on August 26, 1848 in the Swedish town of Malmö between Denmark and Prussia for a term of seven months. Under the impact of the March 1848 revolution a national liberation uprising had flared up in the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, which were subject to the King of Denmark but populated mainly by Germans. The uprising was widely supported by the advocates of German unification. The ruling circles of Prussia, which was at war with Denmark over Schleswig and Holstein, fearing a popular outbreak and an intensification of the revolution, sought an agreement with the Danish monarchy to the detriment of overall German interests, which also had a negative effect on the military operations of the Prussian army. The armistice virtually preserved Danish rule in Schleswig and Holstein, provided for the replacement of the provisional authorities in Schleswig by a new government (in which placemen of the Danish monarchy were preponderant), the separation of the Schleswig and Holstein troops, and other terms unfavourable to the national liberation movement in the duchies. The revolutionary-democratic changes that had been introduced there were virtually nullified. (The attitude of the Frankfurt National Assembly to the armistice of Malmö is described in detail by Engels in Article X of this series; see this volume, p. 53.)

In March 1849, however, the ruling circles of Prussia, hoping to raise the prestige of the Prussian monarchy by taking part in this popular war and to realise their aggressive plans, resumed hostilities, which proceeded with varying success. However, under pressure from Britain and Russia, which supported Denmark, Prussia signed a peace treaty with Denmark on July 2, 1850, temporarily relinquishing its claims to Schleswig and Holstein and withdrew its military support in the war waged by the duchies. The Schleswig-Holstein troops were defeated and ceased all resistance. As a result, the two duchies remained part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

[139] The Peace Society - a pacifist organisation founded by the Quakers in London in 1816. The society was actively supported by the Free Traders, who thought that in conditions of peace free trade would enable England to make full use of her industrial superiority and thus gain economic and political supremacy.

[140] Here the following editorial note was added, apparently by Weydemeyer: "The letter discussing Palmerston's dismissal has not reached us, it has probably been lost on the way from England."

[141] The People's Charter, which contained the demands of the Chartists, was published on May 8, 1838, in the form of a Bill to be submitted to Parliament. It consisted of six points: universal suffrage (for men of 21 years of age), annual elections to Parliament, secret ballot, equal constituencies, abolition of property qualifications for candidates to Parliament, and salaries for M.P.s. In 1839 and 1842 petitions for the Charter were rejected by Parliament.

[142] As a result of the Union of 1707 England and Scotland were united into a single state, the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Act of Union abolished the Scottish Parliament and Scotland was given several dozen seats in the London Parliament. But the autonomous rights of the Scottish (Presbyterian) Church were preserved.

[143] Later, in a series of articles "Lord John Russell", written in the summer of 1855 (see present edition, Vol. 14), Marx characterised Russell's Reform Bill introduced in early 1852 and gave the reasons for its failure.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 11 (pp.198-209), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1979
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