In 1865, the Demokratisches Wokhenblatt, published in Leipzig, under Wilhelm Liebknecht's editorship, attacked Bakunin's personal honour severely. At the same time, Bebel wrote to Becker that Bakunin was "probably an agent of the Russian Government." Liebknecht declared that Bakunin was in the Czar's pay.
Bakunin secured the appointment of a court of arbitration to investigate the charges. Liebknecht had no proofs to adduce, and declared that his words had been misunderstood. The jury unanimously agreed that Liebknecht had behaved with "criminal levity," and made him give Bakunin a written apology. The adversaries shook hands before the Congress. Bakunin made a spill out of the apology, and lighted a cigarette with it.
Bakunin never tried to pay back Marx in the same coin. Mehring says of Bakunin's writings, that "we shall look in them in vain for any trace of venom towards the General Council of towards Marx." Bakunin preserved so keen a sense of justice and so splendid a magnanimity, that on January 28, 1872, writing to the internationalists of the Romagna about Marx and the Marxists, he said: -
"Fortunately for the International, there existed in London a group of men who were extremely devoted to the great association, and who were, in the true sense of the words, the real founders and initiators of that body. I speak of the small group of Germans whose leader is Karl Marx. These estimable persons regard as an enemy, and maltreat me as such whenever and wherever they can. They are greatly mistaken. I am in no respect their enemy, and it gives me, on the contrary, lively satisfaction when I am able to do them justice. I often have an opportunity of doing so, for I regard them as genuinely important and worthy persons, in respect both of intelligence and knowledge, and also in respect of their passionate devotion to the cause of the proletariat and of a loyalty to the cause which has withstood every possible test — a devotion and a loyalty which have been proved by the achievements of twenty years. Marx is the supreme economic and socialist genius of our day. In the course of my life, I have come into contact with a great many learned men, but I know no one else who is so profoundly learned as he. Engels, who is now secretary for Italy and Spain, Marx's friend and pupil, is also a man of outstanding intelligence. As long ago as 1846 and 1848, working together, they founded the Party of the German Communists, and their activities in this direction have continued every since. Marx edited the profound and admirable Preamble to the Provisional Rules of the International, and gave a body to the instinctively unanimous aspirations of the proletariat of nearly all countries of Europe, in that, during the years 1863-1864, he conceived the idea of the International and effected its establishment. These are great and splendid services, and it would be very ungrateful of us if we were reluctant to acknowledge their importance."
Bakunin explains the break between Marx and himself:
"Marx is an authoritarian and centralizing communist. He wants what we want, the complete triumph of economic and social equality, but he wants it in the State and through the State power, through the dictatorship of a very strong and, so to say, despotic