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.
be attributed in particular the demand for the carrying into execution the decree relating to the hostages.  On this point here is Urbain’s proposal, copied from the Official Journal of the 18th May:—­“I demand that either the Commune or the Committee of Public Safety should decree that the ten hostages in our custody should be shot within twenty-four hours, in retaliation for the murders of our cantiniere and of the bearer of our flag of truce, who were shot in defiance of the law of nations.  I demand that five of the hostages should be executed solemnly in the centre of Paris, in presence of deputations from all the battalions, and that the rest should be shot at the advanced posts in presence of the soldiers who witnessed the murders.  I trust my proposal will be agreed to.”  By this proposal Urbain has linked his name to the horrible crime committed on the hostages.  Latterly he was a member of the military committee, and his ability served well the cause of the insurgents.  He was condemned by the court-martial of Versailles to hard labour for life, September 2, 1871.

XIV.

THE DEVASTATIONS OF PARIS.

The following is the way in which the fires were prepared:—­In some instances a number of men, acting as avant-courriers, went first, telling the inhabitants that the Quarter was about to be delivered to the flames, and urging them to fly for their lives; in other oases, the unfortunate people were told that the whole city would be burnt, and that they might as well meet death where they were as run to seek it elsewhere.  In some places—­in the Rue de Vaugirard, for instance—­it is asserted that sentinels were placed in the streets and ordered to fire upon everyone who attempted to escape.  One incendiary, who was arrested in the Rue de Poitiers, declared that he received ten francs for each house which he set on fire.  Another system consisted in throwing through the cellar doors or traps tin cans or bottles filled with petroleum, phosphorus, nitro-glycerine, or other combustibles, with a long sulphur match attached to the neck of the vessel, the match being lighted at the moment of throwing the explosives into the cellar.  Finally, the batteries at Belleville and the cemetery of Pere la Chaise sent destruction into many quarters by means of petroleum shells.

Eudes, a general of the Commune, sent the following order to one of his officers:—­

“Fire on the Bourse, the Bank, the Post Office, the Place des Victoires, the Place Vendome, the Garden of the Tuileries, the Babylone Barracks; leave the Hotel de Ville to Commandant Pindy and the Delegate of War, and the Committee of Public Safety and of the Commune will assemble at the mairie of the eleventh Arrondissement, where you are established; there we will organize the defence of the popular quarters of the city.  We will send you cannon and ammunitions from the Parc Basfroi.  We will hold out to the last, happen what may.

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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