The Utopian Communist: A Biography of Wilhelm Weitling

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thorough and conscientious craftsman and a quiet, harmless, and
peaceful citizen. He early manifested a strange craving for "sys­
tem" in everything, and he had a weakness for reading and book-
learning; but he was no ascetic, and enjoyed to the full all the
pleasures of genial intercourse with his comrades. There was some­
thing tender and sensitive and almost feminine about his character,
and his hands were as soft as a woman's, yet he was very much of
a man, and a good and jovial companion. On the pages of Weit­
ling's Wanderbuch, which he received in Hamburg where he
worked as a ladies' tailor for six months, the comments of each
new employer were recorded, as he reported on the ability and
the character traits of his employee, before Weitling moved on
to work for another master in a new neighborhood. There is no
evidence from these early years spent as a journeyman tailor that
Weitling had any special interest in the political scene or in the
still more complicated problems of economics.^1
We can get some notion of what Weitling looked like when he
was twenty years old from the report of the Hamburg police, re­
corded in his Wanderbuch. At that time, he was a young man
about six feet tall, with medium-blond hair, a broad forehead, blue
eyes, oval face, and a neatly trimmed blond beard. The record
indicated that he still was using the middle name, Christian, but
this he dropped soon thereafter. Fifteen years later, in the court
record made in Zurich after his arrest and imprisonment, he was
described as a "tailor and typesetter," thirty-five years of age,
rather frail and with a haggard face. His hair and eyebrows had
turned dark brown and his beard was black.^2

For seven years, Weitling wandered through the little German

(^1) Details are given in Weitling's "Note Book," a manuscript now in the pos­
session of his son, Terijon Weitling; see also such general accounts as Franz
Mehring's biographical introduction to Jubilee Edition of Weitling's Garan-
tieen der Harmonie und Freiheit (Berlin, 1908); Wolfgang Joho, Wilhelm
Weitling: Der Ideengehalt seiner Schriften, entwickelt aus den geschichtlichen
Zusammenhängen (Heidelberg, 1932); F. Caille, Wilhelm Weitling: Theoricien
du Communisme, 1808-1870 (Paris, 1905).
(^2) See Ernst Barnikol, Weitling der Gefangene, und seine Gerechtigkeit (Kiel,
1929), 195, 196.

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