The Life and Work
he made some very apt and true forecasts as to the course of the war.
Thus he prophesied that in the event of General MacMahon failing to
break through with his army to Belgium, he would be forced to capitulate in the plain of Sedan—and two weeks later this really happened.
These articles procured him henceforth the nickname of "General"
amongst his friends.
During this year of military service he also worked on the Deutsche
lahrbiicher and the Rheinische Zeitung, under the nom-de-plume F.
Oswald. At the same time he also published some satirical verses in a
Swiss paper, and a poem, describing himself and Marx, with whom he
was as yet personally unacquainted.
First Visit to Manchester
On the conclusion of his military service he returned to Barmen, and,
in October, 1842, he went to Manchester as agent to the spinning
factory of Ermen and Engels, of which his father was partner. On this
journey Engels called at the editorial offices of the Rheinische Zeitung,
in Cologne, and there met Marx for the first time. But this first meeting
between them was very cool. Engels had been influenced against Marx
by the brothers Bauer, with whom he was still intimate, whilst Marx
had already fallen out with them and was then finally breaking his
connection with the Berlin "free" school of philosophers, to whom
Engels still paid allegiance. In addition to philosophy, Engels was
even then keenly interested in economics, and here in Manchester,
the industrial capital of the motherland of capitalism, he had a unique
opportunity of studying economics and economic conditions at first
hand, of which he was not slow to make use. The twenty-one months
he spent in England on this occasion was of supreme importance to his
and Marx's future life's work. Studying at first hand the relations between employer and employed, observing the actual miserable conditions of the working class in a system of almost fully-fledged capitalism,
his interest in the proletarian movement grew rapidly, and we soon find
him taking an active part in the agitation of the Utopian Socialists, as
also of the purely Labour and Chartist movement. Thus he was
associated with both the Owenite paper, the New Moral World, and
with the Chartist organ, the Northern Star. His philosophic insight
and keen intellect very soon appreciated the true tendencies of
capitalist production and the present role of the workers as well as the
great historic future before the working class. In the Deutsch-Franzos-
ische Jahrbucher, he published a criticism of national economy which
Marx characterised as a sketch of true genius, not because it did not
contain many mistakes in detail and some errors in judgment, but
because of the way in which he treated the feverish acceleration
of capitalist production and the dehumanising effect of capitalist
competition. This, and his views on Malthus's theory of population, commercial crises, the wage laws, the progress of science,
and so forth, already contained the fruitful germs of scientific