We can only hope that even at this moment, when the revolution has brought out of the darkness into the light, so many rascals and cowards, just as the sediment rises to the top when the wine is shaken, we must hope, that there will be found in Paris, nobody to undertake the mean office of spy and detective; and that the decree of M. Cluseret will remain a dead-letter, like so many other decrees of the Commune. I will not believe all I am told; I will not believe that last night several men, without any precise orders, without any legal character whatever, merely National Guards, introduced themselves into peaceful families; waking the wife and children, and carrying off the husband as one carries off a housebreaker or an escaped convict. I am told that this is a fact, that it has happened more than fifty times at Montmartre, Batignolles, and Belleville; yet I will not believe it. I prefer to believe that these tales are “inventions of Versailles” than to admit the possibility of such infamy.
Come now, Cluseret, War Delegate, whatever he likes to call himself. Where does he come from, what has he done, and what services has he rendered, to give him a right thus to impose his sovereign wishes upon us?
He is not a Frenchman; nor is he an American; for the honour of France I prefer his being an American. His history is as short as it is inglorious. He once served in the French army, and left, one does not know why; then went to fight in America during the war. His enemies affirm that he fought for the Slave States, his friends the contrary. It does not seem very clear which side he was on—both, perhaps. Oh, America! you had taken him from us, why did you not keep him? Cluseret came back to us with the glory of having forsworn his country. Immediately the revolutionists received him with open arms. Only think, an American! Do you like America? People want to make an America everywhere. Modern Republics have had formidable enemies to contend with—America and the revolution of ’98. We are sad parodists. We cannot be free in our own fashion, but are always obliged to imitate what has been or what is. But that which is adapted to one climate or country, is it always that which is the fittest thing for another? I will return, however, to this subject another time. America, who is so vaunted, and whom I should admire as much as could reasonably be wished, if men did not try to remodel France after her image, one must be blind not to see what she has of weakness and of narrowness,