Paris under the Commune eBook

John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.
(as is perfectly justifiable) of a heap of miserable little sheets which no sooner appear than they die, and of some few others edited by members of the Commune, one would be obliged to acknowledge, on the contrary, that since the 18th of March the great majority of journals have exhibited proofs of a proud and courageous independence.  Each day, without allowing themselves to be intimidated, either by menaces of forcible suppression or threats of arrest, they have fearlessly told the members of the Commune their opinion without concealment or circumlocution.  The French press has undoubtedly committed many offences during the last few years, and is not altogether irresponsible for the troubles which have overwhelmed the unhappy country; but reparation is being made for these offences in this present hour of danger, and the fearless attitude which it has maintained before these men of the Hotel de Ville, atones nobly for the past.  It has constituted itself judge; condemns what is condemnable, resists violence, endeavours to enlighten the masses.  Sometimes too—­and this is perhaps its greatest crime in the eyes of the Versailles Government—­it permits itself to disapprove entirely of the acts of the National Assembly; some journals going as far as to insinuate that the Government is not altogether innocent of the present calamities.  But what does this prove?  That the press is no more the servant of the Assembly than it is the slave of the Commune; in a word, that it is free.

And what false news is this of which the Journal Officiel of Versailles complains, and against which it seems to warn us?  Does it think it likely that we should be silly enough to give credence to the shouts of victory that are recorded each morning, on the handbills of the Commune?  Does it suppose that we look upon the deputies as nothing but a race of anthropophagi who dine every day off Communists and Federals at the tables d’hote of the Hotel des Reservoirs?  Not at all.  We easily unravel the truth, from the entanglement of exaggerations forged by the men of the Hotel de Ville; and it is precisely this just appreciation of things that we owe to those papers which the Journal Officiel condemns so inconsiderately.

But it is not of fake news alone, probably, that the Versailles Assembly is afraid.  It would not perhaps be sorry that we should ignore the real state of things, and I wager that if it had the power it would willingly suppress ill-informed journals—­although they are not Communist the least in the world—­who allow themselves to state that for six days the shells of Versailles have fallen upon Les Ternes, the Champs Elysees and the Avenue Wagram, and have already cost as many tears and as much bloodshed, as the Prussian shells of fearful memory.


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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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