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#229 - Karl Marx Estimate: $200,000+

Marx bids adieu to Paris in an unpublished letter: "I'm going to live in London"

Extremely rare ALS in French, signed “Ch. Marx,” one page, 5 x 8, August 24, [1849]. Letter bidding farewell to French journalist and politician Ferdinand Flocon on the day of Marx's departure from Paris for London. In full (translated): "My dear Flocon, I had to leave France, by order of the honest republic, without being able to say goodbye to you. Mr. Wolff, who will introduce you to this letter, represents my absence our newspaper and our party. I'm going to live in London. If you have anything to write to me, please give it to Mr. Julian Harvey, Editor of the Northern Star." In very good to fine condition, with light overall creasing, a couple of light stains, and a short tear to the top edge. Not published in Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA) III.3 [Letters January 1849-December 1850].

This is one of Marx’s few known letters from his stay in Paris between June and August 1849, where he was acquainted with Ferdinand Flocon, editor of the democratic newspaper La Réforme. Though not strictly a socialist outlet, La Réforme published pieces by radical thinkers including Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, Constantin Pecqueur, Friedrich Engels, and Karl Marx. While Marx and Engels initially had little regard for Flocon’s petty-bourgeois politics and at first viewed him chiefly as a tool for their propagandistic purposes, they soon recognized him as a man of character.

Writing on March 28, 1848, Engels observed: 'I’ve been to visit old Flocon a few times: the fellow still lives in his wretched fifth-floor flat, smokes the most common tobacco in an old clay pipe and has only bought himself a new dressing gown. Otherwise quite as republican in his habits as he was as editor of the ‘Réforme’, and just as genial, cordial, and outspoken as ever. He’s one of the most upright fellows I know.'

Interestingly, it was Flocon who invited Marx to France with an enthusiastic letter at the very moment when he was evicted from Brussels on March 1, 1848: 'Brave and loyal Marx! The soil of the French Republic is an azyle field for all friends of freedom. Tyranny has banished you: Free France reopens its doors to you.'

Though Marx accepted the invitation and temporarily settled in Paris, he again set off for Germany in April 1848, where he hoped to foment a class revolution. In May 1849 the Prussian authorities turned him out, and he returned to Paris in June, only to receive a notice of banishment to Brittany on July 19th. Marx fought the order, but lost his appeal on August 23rd. On the same day, he wrote to Engels: 'I have been banished to the Department of Morbihan, the Pontine Marshes of Brittany. You will understand that I will have no part in this disguised attempt at murder. Hence, I am leaving France. I cannot have a passport to Switzerland, so I must go to London, tomorrow.' A day later, he wrote the present farewell to his "cher Flocon" and crossed the channel to London, never again to settle on the continent.

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