Front Page Titles (by Subject) EDITOR\'S PREFACE TO THE FOURTH GERMAN EDITION. - Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume I: The Process of Capitalist Production
Return to Title Page for Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume I: The Process of Capitalist Production
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
EDITOR'S PREFACE TO THE FOURTH GERMAN EDITION. - Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume I: The Process of Capitalist Production 
Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume I: The Process of Capitalist Production, by Karl Marx. Trans. from the 3rd German edition, by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling, ed. Federick Engels. Revised and amplified according to the 4th German ed. by Ernest Untermann (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr and Co., 1909).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
EDITOR'S PREFACE TO THE FOURTH GERMAN EDITION.
The fourth edition of this work required of me a revision, which should give to the text and foot notes their final form, so far as possible. The following brief hints will indicate the way in which I performed this task.
After referring once more to the French edition and to the manuscript notes of Marx, I transferred a few additional passages from the French to the German text.8
I have also placed the long foot note concerning the mine workers, on pages 461-67, into the text, just as had already been done in the French and English editions. Other small changes are merely of a technical nature.
Furthermore I added a few explanatory notes, especially in places where changed historical conditions seemed to require it. All these additional notes are placed between brackets and marked with my initials.9
A complete revision of the numerous quotations had become necessary, because the English edition had been published in the mean time. Marx's youngest daughter, Eleanor, had undertaken the tedious task of comparing, for this edition, all the quotations with the original works, so that the quotations from English authors, which are the overwhelming majority, are not retranslated from the German, but taken from the original texts. I had to consult the English edition for this fourth German edition. In so doing I found many small inaccuracies. There were references to wrong pages, due either to mistakes in copying, or to accumulated typographical errors of three editions. There were quotation marks, or periods indicating omissions, in wrong places, such as would easily occur in making copious quotations from notes. Now and then I came across a somewhat inappropriate choice of terms made in translating. Some passages were taken from Marx's old manuscripts written in Paris, 1843-45, when he did not yet understand English and read the works of English economists in French translations. This twofold translation carried with it a slight change of expression, for instance in the case of Steuart, Ure, and others. Now I used the English text. Such and similar little inaccuracies and inadvertences were corrected. And if this fourth edition is now compared with former editions, it will be found that this whole tedious process of verification did not change in the least any essential statement of this work. There is but one single quotation which could not be located, namely that from Richard Jones, in section 3 of chapter XXIV. Marx probably made a mistake in the title of the book. All other quotations retain their corroborative power, or even increase it in their present exact form.
In this connection I must revert to an old story.
I have heard of only one case, in which the genuineness of a quotation by Marx was questioned. Since this case was continued beyond Marx's death, I cannot well afford to ignore it.
The Berlin Concordia, the organ of the German Manufacturer's Association, published on March 7, 1872, an anonymous article, entitled: "How Marx Quotes." In it the writer asserted with a superabundant display of moral indignation and unparliamentarian expressions that the quotation from Gladstone's budget speech of April 16, 1863, (cited in the Inaugural Address of the International Workingmen's Association, 1864, and republished in Capital, volume I, chapter XXV, section 5 a) was a falsification. It was denied that the statement: "This intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power...entirely confined to classes of property," was contained in the stenographical report of Hansard, which was as good as an official report. "This statement is not found anywhere in Gladstone's speech. It says just the reverse. Marx has formally and materially lied in adding that sentence."
Marx, who received this issue of the Concordia in May of the same year, replied to the anonymous writer in the Volksstaat of June 1. As he did not remember the particular newspaper from which he had clipped this report, he contented himself with pointing out that the same quotation was contained in two English papers. Then he quoted the report of the Times, according to which Gladstone had said: "That is the state of the case as regards the wealth of this country. I must say for one, I should look almost with apprehension and with pain upon this intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power, if it were my belief that it was confined to classes who are in easy circumstances. This takes no cognizance at all of the condition of the labouring population. The augmentation I have described and which is founded, I think, upon accurate terms, is an augmentation entirely confined to classes of property."
In other words, Gladstone says here that he would be sorry if things were that way, but they are. This intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power is entirely confined to classes of property. And so far as the quasi official Hansard is concerned, Marx continues: "In the subsequent manipulation of his speech for publication Mr. Gladstone was wise enough to eliminate a passage, which was so compromising in the mouth of an English Lord of the Exchequer as that one. By the way, this is an established custom in English parliament, and not by any means a discovery made by Lasker to cheat Bebel."
The anonymous writer then became still madder. Pushing aside his second-hand sources in his reply in the Concordia, July 4, he modestly hints, that it is the "custom" to quote parliamentarian speeches from the official reports; that the report of the Times (which contained the added lie) "was materially identical" with that of Hansard (which did not contain it); that the report of the Times even said "just the reverse of what that notorious passage of the Inaugural Address implied." Of course, our anonymous friend keeps still about the fact that the report of the Times does not only contain "just the reverse" but also "that notorious passage"! Nevertheless he feels that he has been nailed down, and that only a new trick can save him. Hence he decorates his article, full of "insolent mendacity," until it bristles with pretty epithets, such as "bad faith," "dishonesty," "mendacious assertion," "that lying quotation," "insolent mendacity," "a completely spurious quotation," "this falsification," "simply infamous," etc., and he finds himself compelled to shift the discussion to another ground, promising "to explain in a second article, what interpretation we [the "veracious" anonymous] place upon the meaning of Gladstone's words." As though his individual opinion had anything to do with the matter! This second article is published in the Concordia of July 11.
Marx replied once more in the Volksstaat of August 7, quoting also the reports of this passage in the Morning Star and Morning Advertiser of April 17, 1863. Both of them agree in quoting Gladstone to the effect that he would look with apprehension, etc., upon this intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power, if it were confined to classes in easy circumstances. But this augmentation was entirely confined to classes possessed of property. Both of these papers also contain the "added lie" word for word. Marx furthermore showed, by comparing these three independent, yet identical reports of newspapers, all of them containing the actually spoken words of Gladstone, with Hansard's report, that Gladstone, in keeping with the "established custom," had "subsequently eliminated" this sentence, as Marx had said. And Marx closes with the statement, that he has no time for further controversy with the anonymous writer. It seems that this worthy had gotten all he wanted, for Marx received no more issues of the Concordia.
Thus the matter seemed to be settled. It is true, people who were in touch with the university at Cambridge once or twice dropped hints as to mysterious rumors about some unspeakable literary crime, which Marx was supposed to have committed in Capital. But nothing definite could be ascertained in spite of all inquiries. Suddenly, on November 29, 1883, eight months after the death of Marx, a letter appeared in the Times, dated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and signed by Sedley Taylor, in which this mannikin, a dabbler in the tamest of coöperative enterprises, at last took occasion to give us some light, not only on the gossip of Cambridge, but also on the anonymous of the Concordia.
"What seems very queer," says the mannikin of Trinity College, "is that it remained for professor Brentano (then in Breslau, now in Strasburg)...to lay bare the bad faith, which had apparently dictated that quotation from Gladstone's speech in the Inaugural Address. Mr. Karl Marx, who...tried to justify his quotation, had the temerity, in the deadly shifts to which Brentano's masterly attacks quickly reduced him, to claim that Mr. Gladstone tampered with the report of his speech in the Times of April 17, 1863, before it was published in Hansard, in order to eliminate a passage which was, indeed, compromising for the British Chancellor of the Exchequer. When Brentano demonstrated by a detailed comparison of the texts, that the reports of the Times and of Hansard agreed to the absolute exclusion of the meaning, impugned to Gladstone's words by a craftily isolated quotation, Marx retreated under the excuse of having no time."
This, then, was the kernel of the walnut! And such was the glorious reflex of Brentano's anonymous campaign, in the Concordia, in the coöperative imagination of Cambridge! Thus he lay, and thus he handled his blade in his "masterly attack," this Saint George of the German Manufacturers' Association, while the fiery dragon Marx quickly expired under his feet "in deadly shifts!"
However, this Ariostian description of the struggle serves only to cover up the shifts of our Saint George. There is no longer any mention of "added lies," of "falsification," but merely of "a craftily isolated quotation." The whole question had been shifted, and Saint George and his Cambridge Knight knew very well the reason.
Eleanor Marx replied in the monthly magazine To-day, February, 1884, because the Times refused to print her statements. She reduced the discussion to the only point, which was in question, namely: Was that sentence a lie added by Marx, or not? Whereupon Mr. Sedley Taylor retorted: "The question whether a certain sentence had occurred in Mr. Gladstone's speech or not" was, in his opinion, "of a very inferior importance" in the controversy between Marx and Brentano, "compared with the question, whether the quotation had been made with the intention of reproducing the meaning of Mr. Gladstone or distorting it." And then he admits that the report of the Times "contains indeed a contradiction in words"; but, but, interpreting the context correctly, that is, in a liberal Gladstonian sense, it is evident what Mr. Gladstone intended to say. (To-Day, March, 1884.) The comic thing about this retort is that our mannikin of Cambridge now insists on not quoting this speech from Hansard, as is the "custom" according to the anonymous Mr. Brentano, but from the report of the Times, which the same Brentano had designated as "necessarily bungling." Of course, Hansard does not contain that fatal sentence!
It was easy for Eleanor Marx to dissolve this argumentation into thin air in the same number of To-Day. Either Mr. Taylor had read the controversy of 1872. In that case he had now "lied," not only "adding," but also "subtracting." Or, he had not read it. Then it was his business to keep his mouth shut. At any rate, it was evident that he did not dare for a moment to maintain the charge of his friend Brentano to the effect that Marx had "added a lie." On he contrary, it was now claimed, that Marx, instead of adding a lie, had suppressed an important sentence. But this same sentence is quoted on page 5 of the Inaugural Address, a few lines before the alleged "added lie." And as for the "contradiction" in Gladstone's speech, isn't it precisely Marx who speaks in another foot note of that chapter in Capital of the "continual crying contradictions in Gladstone's budget speeches of 1863 and 1864"? Of course, he does not undertake to reconcile them by liberal hot air, like Sedley Taylor. And the final summing up in Eleanor Marx's reply is this: "On the contrary, Marx has neither suppressed anything essential nor added any lies. He rather has restored and rescued from oblivion a certain sentence of a Gladstonian speech, which had undoubtedly been pronounced, but which somehow found its way out of Hansard."
This was enough for Mr. Sedley Taylor. The result of this whole professorial gossip during ten years and in two great countries was that no one dared henceforth to question Marx's literary conscientiousness. In the future Mr. Sedley Taylor will probably have as little confidence in the literary fighting bulletins of Mr. Brentano, as Mr. Brentano in the papal infallibility of Hansard.
LONDON, June 25, 1890.
(Translated by Ernest Untermann.)
[8.] These were inserted by me in the English text of the Swan Sonnenschein edition, and will be found on pages 539, 640-644, 687-689, and 692 of this American edition.—E. U.
[9.] These were ten new notes, which I interested in the respective places of the Swan Sonnenschein edition.—E. U.