MARX, Karl (1818-1883). Autograph letter signed ('Karl Marx') to Collet Dobson Collet, 1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park, London, 26 September 1866, in English, 3½ pages, 8vo (175 x 112mm), bifolium (remnants of paste to blank lower half of p.4, minor soiling to p.1, puncture to vertical centre fold).
A REVIEW OF THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM IN THE GERMAN STATES. Marx, evidently responding to an enquiry from Collet, lists ten significant points about the German electoral and parliamentary systems, beginning with the facts that members of the Prussian lower house are paid, but those of the electoral colleges are not, that election costs are paid out of provincial exchequers (adding an observation on the division of electoral districts -- 'Aliquot parts of the population choose each one member for Parliament'), and that there is no qualification for becoming a member of parliament or of the electoral colleges. A substantial paragraph is devoted to explaining the income-based composition of these electoral colleges: 'The primary voters include all men from the age of 25 years who pay any direct tax. Certain direct taxes are paid by almost everybody, even servants'; these voters are divided into three electoral classes, depending on how much tax they pay, and 'Each of the three electoral classes so formed elects the same number of secondary electors who form the electoral body that finally nominates the members of Parliament'. After explaining two other details of the Prussian system, Marx explains that 'The modes of election throughout Germany are far from uniform. Generally, however, the system of double elections prevails', though he notes that in Bavaria there is not the Prussian division into classes; in terms of probity and discipline, 'Cases of electoral bribery are absolutely unknown in all German states', 'The daily attendance of members of Parliament is rigorously enforced' and there exists no equivalent of the British 'count-out'; finally, ministers can take part in parliamentary debates even if not members, but cannot of course vote.