All the articles on the 1857 Revolt, attributed to Marx and Engels, were published in a largely-circulated American daily paper the New York Daily Tribune (henceforth NYDT) between 1857 and 1859. There is no denying the fact that Karl Marx served as its regular correspondent from 1851 to 1862, reporting on non-American events especially pertaining to Europe. In 1853 Marx contributed eight articles on Indian affairs, which were published in the NYDT under his name. It, therefore, remains a puzzle that why should the same NYDT have chosen to publish over 30 articles on 1857 Revolt purportedly written by Marx and Engels without giving their names as authors? Further, why should the NYDT have appropriated many of these articles as its own editorial or lead articles? What is more puzzling is that why should Marx have tolerated this usurpation of his intellectual labour by some one else?
According to the official publication of the Soviet Union First Indian War of Independence 1857-1859, (henceforth FIWI) (Foreign Language Publishing House, Moscow 1959), ?In some cases the NYDT editors took considerable liberties with the articles contributed by Marx and Engels, publishing many of them unsigned in the form of editorials. There were also cases when they tempered with the text and dated the articles at will. Marx repeatedly objected against this. The FIWI continues, ?Some articles written by Marx and Engels during the period covered by this collection are omitted owing to excessive alterations by the editor of the NYDT.? (FIWI annotation no. 1, pp. 217-18). Iqbal Hussain, who during his stay in America from 1990 to 1992, carried out detailed investigation into Marx'srelations with the NYDT, has this to say, ?Much of the material that Marx and, at his request, Engels contributed, are printed in the Tribune without their names. The Tribune editors at first let Marx'sarticles appear in his name, but then began to print them as unsigned leading articles, allowing Marx'sname to appear only on what Marx considered to be lightweight reports. When he protested at this practice, they banished his name altogether.? (Karl Marx on India, Delhi 2006, prefatory note p. xv). An American writer Charles Blitzer writes: ?Marx was not happy about this practice, and between June and September of 1854, he and Dana exchanged several letters about it. Marx repeatedly insisted that either all or none of the articles he sent should be signed with his name, and be finally had his way. From April 1855 all Marx'sand Engels? articles were printed anonymously.? (Henry M. Christman (ed) The American Journalism of Marx and Engels, New York 1966, Introduction p,. xx)
Such explanations do not match with the image of Marx as an uncompromising revolutionary. And, therefore, it becomes imperative to examine Marx'srelations with the NYDT and his compulsions to tolerate such humiliations.
After the failure of 1848-49 revolution in Europe Marx took shelter in London and lived the life of an exile for 34 years till his death in 1883. With a big family to maintain, and with no means of livelihood, Marx was facing acute financial difficulties. It was at this stage that he received in August 1851 a surprise offer from Charles Dana, who was a sympathiser of Fourier'sutopian socialism and was one of the editors of the one of the most influential American newspapers the NYDT (started in 1841 and stopped publication in 1924) came forward to help Marx.
Dana invited Marx to become London correspondent of the NYDT and to contribute two articles a week at the rate of two pounds per article. Thus Marx was assured of an annual income of about ?200, sufficient to meet his family expenses. But since Marx could not write in English, he requested his friend Engels to write a series of articles on the revolution and counter revolution in Germany and thus a series of 19 articles, written by Engels in the name of Karl Marx was published by the NYDT, between October 1851 and October 1852. It was in February 1853 only that Marx was able to write directly in English language. Marx was proud of his association with the NYDT. It gave him wide readership, influence and financial sustenance.
But his correspondence with Engels shows that Marx worked for the NYDT not out of ideological affinity but out of his financial compulsions. Marx was aware of the NYDT'sbourgeoisie character. He wrote to Engels on June 14, 1853. ?The Tribune is naturally blowing up Carey'sbook (The Slave Trade, Domestic and Foreign, London 1853) like a trumpet. Indeed, both have this in common, that under the guise of Sismondian?philanthropic?socialistic anti-industrialism, they represent the Protectionist, that is, the industrial bourgeoisie of America. This also explains the secret of why the Tribune, despite all its ?isms? and socialistic humbug, can be the ?leading journal in the United States.? (Saul K. Padover, Karl Marx: An Intimate Biography, New York, 1978, p. 302)
His main interest in the NYDT was financial. On April 20, 1854 he wrote to Engels, ?The fellow must pay at least ? three per article. … With ? three per article, I would at least get out of the Dreck? (ibid p. 308).
(To be continued)