No, no, not that one, a peaceful one a century earlier. My pal Jason at Henry Holt sent me a copy of Marx’s General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels by Tristram Hunt, which arrived at the perfect time, just when I was finally trying to understand the various turns of the German philosophical wheel from Hegel to Schelling and beyond (having read Isaiah Berlin’s “The Counter-Enlightenment” and gotten a running start). Hunt has a nice description of the young Engels attending Schelling’s 1841 Berlin lectures (as a partisan of Hegel, he was there to “shield the great man’s grave from abuse”) along with Jacob Burckhardt, Mikhail Bakunin (who called them “interesting but rather insignificant”), and Søren Kierkegaard (who said Schelling “talked ‘quite insufferable nonsense’ and, worse, committed the cardinal academic crime of ending his lectures past the hour: ‘That isn’t tolerated in Berlin, and there was scraping and hissing’). But what I came here to pass along is this fascinating passage about Paris in the 1840s, where Engels went to hang out with Marx and spare his pious German family the disgrace of his increasingly notorious presence:
In 1848, Paris had 350,000 workers, with one-third of these engaged in the textile trades and much of the remainder divided between construction, the furniture trade, jewelry, metallurgy, and domestic service. A large part of the workforce was made up of Germans—Engels described them as being “everywhere.” By the late 1840s, there were some sixty thousand of them, and such was their strength that in certain Parisian quarters barely a word of French was to be heard.
I had no idea, and I love learning this kind of forgotten detail from history books.