Paris under the Commune eBook

John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 389 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.

“We have no authority to discuss the preliminaries of peace voted by the Assembly at Bordeaux.

“The member of the Central Committee, Delegate for Foreign Affairs.

“(Signed) PASCHAL GROUSSET.”

It was very logical of you, Monsieur Grousset, to avow that you had no authority to discuss the preliminaries of peace voted by the Assembly.  What right had you then to substitute yourselves for it?  He did not, however, thus remain midway in his diplomatic career, for after the election of the Commune he thought it his duty to address the following letter to the German authorities:—­

“COMMUNE OF PARIS.

“To the Commander-in-chief of the 3rd Corps.

“GENERAL,

“The delegate of the Commune of Paris for Foreign Affairs has the honour to address to you the following observations:—­

“The city of Paris, like the rest of France, is interested in the observance of the conditions of peace concluded with Prussia; she has therefore a right to know how the treaty will be executed.  I beg you, in consequence, to have the goodness to inform me if the Government of Versailles has made the first payment of five hundred millions, and if in consequence of such payment, the chiefs of the German army have fixed the date for the evacuation of the part of the territory of the department of the Seine, and also of the forts which form an integral portion of the territory of the Commune of Paris.

“I shall be much obliged, General, if you will be good enough to enlighten me in this respect.

“The Delegate for Foreign Affairs,

“(Signed) PASCHAL GROUSSET.”

The German general did not think fit, as far as we know, to send any answer to the above.

IV. (Page 88.)

GAMBON.

There are certain legendary names which when spoken or remembered evoke a second image and raise a double personality, Castor implies Pollux; Ninos, Euryalus; Damon, Pythias.  An inferior species of union connects Saint Anthony with his pig, Roland with his mare, and the infinitely more modern Gambon with his historic cow.  He was “the village Hampden” of the Empire.  By withstanding the tyranny of Caesar’s tax-gatherer and refusing to pay the imperial rates, he obtained a popularity upon which he existed until the Commune gave him power.  His history is brief.  About a year before the fall of the Second Empire, he declared that he would pay no more taxes imposed by the Government.  Thereupon, all his realizable property, consisting of one cow, was seized by the authorities and sold for the benefit of the State.  This procured him the commiseration of the entire party of irreconciliables.  A subscription was opened in the columns of the Marseillaise to replace the sequestrated animal, and “La vache a Gambon”—­“Gambon’s cow”—­became a derisive party cry.  Gambon had been a deputy in 1848, and when the Commune came into power took a constant though not remarkable part in its deliberations.  He was appointed member of the Delegation of Justice on the twentieth of April.

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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