Thus we find that by 1884, Marx'spapers had been dusted, sorted arranged and then shifted to the house of Engels. Marx'sdaughter Eleanor alias Tussy fully shared the burden of this tiresome process of discovery. Her biographer Yvonnf Kapp, giving a vivid description of the process, writes, ?It became clear that there would be at least six month'swork to do in the house. The reams of manuscripts Marx had left, the multitude of letters that came to light?dating back to correspondence with his father in 1837?and the garret full of boxes, parcels and books had to be sorted out and examined. At first, as the house was gradually cleared, the papers assembled and dusted by Nim, more and more letters appeared.? (Yvonnf Kapp; Eleanor Marx, 2 Vols, London, 1972, p. 277).
On May 22, 1883, Engels in a letter to Marx'ssecond daughter Laura Lafargue at Paris, reported, ?Lately I have been occupied with sorting the correspondence. There is a large box full of most important letters (from 1841, nay 1837 from your grandfather Marx) to 1862. It is nearly sorted, but it will take me some hours more to complete it…. Nim helps me… awful lot of dusting required… The correspondence since 1862 he (Karl Marx) had sorted, in a possible way, himself. But before we fathom all the mysteries of that garret full of boxes, packets, parcels, books etc., some time must elapse? (Marx-Engels: Collected Works, Vol. 47, 1883-1886, Moscow 1995 p. 29).
On the same day (May 22, 1883) Engels, in a letter to Johann Phillip Becker (in Geneva) makes an intriguing statement, ?For the past few days I have been sorting letters from 1842-1862. This is in confidence, mind you, don'tlet a word of it get into the papers. Such information as is ripe for imparting will be published by me from time to time in Sozial-demokrat? (ibid, p. 26).
In the same letter Engels says, ?What surprises is that Marx has actually saved papers, letters and manuscripts from the period prior to 1848, splendid material for the biography, which I shall, of course, be writing…? (ibid, p. 26).
In a letter dated June 12, 1883 to his trusted comrade Eduard Bernstein (Zurich) whom he nominated one of the executors of his Will, Engels gave this specific information, ?Unfortunately, I only have the letters Marx wrote after 1849, but these are complete.? (ibid, p. 33).
The information contained in the above letters of Engels makes it clear that Marx-Engels correspondence during the period 1857-59, the period of our immediate concern, was preserved intact in the houses of Marx and Engels.
But Kapp, on the authority of Eleanor, makes a startling revelation. He writes, ?As Elenaor later wrote, once the letters had been transferred to his house, Engels, as Nim had told her (Eleanor), burnt lot of letters referring to himself? (ibid, p. 278). Fritz J. Raddatz, the editor of Marx-Engels Correspondence: A Selection (originally in German 1980, English translation, London 1981), in his Introduction corroborates this fact with a slightly different version. He writes, ?It (MEC) has been preserved almost in its entirety; Engels, before his death merely destroyed a few excessively intimate letters from his friends.? Does this suggest that the tempering of Marx-Engels correspondence had begun with Engels himself?
For almost a decade till his death in 1895, Engels was fully busy in giving final touches to Marx'sserious ideological writings such as Capital, (Vol two in 1885 and Vol three in 1894) and therefore could not undertake his desired project of Marx'sbiography. But before his death on August 5, 1895, Engels had, in a Will on July 29, 1893, made all the arrangements of his material as well as literary heritage. On November 14, 1894, in a letter to the executors of his Will?Samuel Moore, Eduard Bernstein and Luise Kautsky?Engels gave specific details of the distribution of his property as well as literary heritage. He left all his property to Laura Lafargue, Eleanor-Marx-Aveling and Luise Kautsky. From the literary heritage, all Marx'smanuscripts and letters (save those to and from Engels) were to go to Eleanor, as the lawful representative of Marx'sheirs. His own manuscripts and correspondence with Marx, Engels willed to August Babel and Eduard Bernstein, the two stalwarts of the German Social Democratic Party. This did not apply to the letters of Lafargues, Avelings, Frey-bergers and his relatives, which he wanted to be returned to their writers. His books, copyrights, forthcoming royalties and ? 1000 in cash, Engels left to the German Social Democratic Party in the trust of Babel and Singer (Frederick Engels: A Biography, Moscow, 1974, pp. 496)
As Willed by Engels, Eleanor took charge of her father'spapers and shifted them from Engel'shouse. According to her biographer Kapp, after Engel'sdeath, she herself tried to order the correspondence for a projected biography of her father, (but in Eleanor'swords) it proved ?rather difficult work… because I find all the letters are higgledy-piggledy. I mean that the parcels, the dear old General (Engels) made up are quite unsorted, not merely as to date, but that the letters of various writers are mixed up, and different portions of letters are occasionally in different parcels.? (Kapp, Eleanor Marx: Biography, London 1972 p. 278).
(To be continued)