We have a court-martial; it is presided over by the citizen Rossel, chief of the grand staff of the army. It has just condemned to death the Commandant Girod, who refused to march against the “enemy.” The Executive Committee, however, has pardoned Commandant Girod. Let us look at this matter a little. If the Executive Committee occupies its time in undoing what the court-martial has done, I can’t quite understand why the executive has instituted a court-martial at all. If I were a member of the latter I should get angry. “What! I should say, they instal me in the hall where the courts-martial are held, they appoint guards to attend upon me, and my president has the right to say, ’Guards, remove the prisoner.’ In a word, they convert me into something which resembles a judge as much as a parody can resemble the work burlesqued, and when I, a member of the court-martial, desire to take advantage of the rights that have been conferred upon me, and order the Commandant Girod to be shot, they stand in the way of justice, and save the life of him I have condemned. This is absurd! I had a liking for this commandant, and I wished him to die by my hands.”
Never mind, court-martial, take it coolly; you will have your revenge before long. At this moment there are at least sixty-three ecclesiastics in the prisons of Mazas, the Conciergerie, and La Sante. Although they are not precisely soldiers, they will be sent before you to be judged, and you may do just what you like with them, without any fear of the executive commission interposing its veto. The refractory also will give you work to do, and against them you can exercise your pleasure. As to the Commandant Girod, his is a different case, you understand. He is the friend of citizen Delescluze. The members of the Commune have not so many friends that they can afford to have any of them suppressed. But don’t be downcast; a dozen priests are well worth a major of the National Guard.
It is precisely because the men that the Commune sends to the front, fight and die so gloriously, that we feel exasperated against its members. A curse upon them, for thus wasting the moral riches of Paris! Confusion to them, for enlisting into so bad a service, the first-rate forces which a successful revolt leaves at their disposal. I will tell you what happened yesterday, the 22nd of April, on the Boulevard Bineau; and then I think you will agree with me that France, who has lost so much, still retains some of the bright, dauntless courage which was her. pride of old.