of Friedrich Engels 35
tion of the work began by Marx. Perhaps we cannot more vividly
bring to the mind of the reader the life of Engels after the death of
Marx than by quoting Engels' own description of it in his preface to the
third volume of Capital in 1874. We shall see from it, too, how much
Capital is really the work of Engels almost as much as that of Marx.
"In the first place it was a weakness of my eyes which restricted my
time of writing to a minimum for years, and which permits me even
now only exceptionally to do any writing by artificial light.
"There were, furthermore, other labours which I could not refuse,
such as new editions and translations of earlier works of Marx and
myself, revisions, prefaces, supplements, which frequently required
special study, etc. There was, above all, the English edition of the first
volume of this work, for whose text I am ultimately responsible and
which absorbed much of my time. Whoever has followed the colossal
growth of international Socialist literature during the last ten years,
especially the great number of translations of earlier works of Marx and
myself, will agree with me in congratulating myself that there is but
a limited number of languages in which I am able to assist a translator
and which compel me to accede to the request for a revision.
"This growth of literature, however, was but an evidence of a
corresponding growth of the International Working-Class Movement
itself. And this imposed new obligations on me. From the very first
days of our public activity, a good deal of the work of negotiation
between the national movements of Socialists and working people had
fallen on the shoulders of Marx and myself. This movement increased
to the extent that the movement, as a whole, gained in strength. Up
to the time of his death, Marx had borne the brunt of this burden.
But after that the ever-swelling amount of work had to be done by
"Meanwhile, the direct intercourse between the various national
Labour parties has become the rule, and fortunately it is becoming
more and more so. Nevertheless, my assistance is still in demand a good
deal more than is agreeable to me in view of my theoretical studies.
But if a man has been active in the movement for more than fifty years,
as I have, he regards the work connected with it as a duty, which must
not be shirked, but immediately fulfilled. In our stirring times, as in
the 16th century, mere theorizers on public affairs are found only on
the side of the reactionaries, and for this reason these gentlemen are
not even theoretical scientists, but simply apologists of reaction.
"The fact that I live in London implies that my intercourse with the
parties is limited in winter to correspondence, while in summer time
it largely takes place by personal interviews.
"This fact, and the necessity of following the course of the movement
in a steadily growing number of countries and a still more rapidly
increasing number of party organs, compelled me to reserve matters
which brooked no interruption for the winter months of the year.