Oh! as to that, no; a thousand times, no! I admit—since you appear to cling to it—that Cannon are an ark of strength, but under no pretext whatever will I allow that I entrusted you with the charge of organising anything whatsoever. I know nothing of you; I have never heard you spoken of. There is no one in the world of whom I am more ignorant than Ferrat, Babick, unless it be Gaillard and Pougeret (though I was national guard myself, and caught cold on the ramparts for the King of Prussia as much as anyone else). I neither know what you wish nor where you are leading those who follow you; and I can prove to you, if you like, that there are at least a hundred thousand men who caught cold too, and who, at the present moment, are in exactly the same state of mind concerning you “We are aware of having fulfilled our mission.”
You are very good to have taken so much trouble, but I have no recollection of having given you a mission to fulfil of any kind whatever!
“Assisted by your courage and presence of mind!...”
Ah, gentlemen, this is flattery!
“We have driven out the government that was betraying you.
“Our mandate has now expired...”
Always this same mandate which we gave you, eh?
“We now return it to
you, for we do not pretend to take the place of
those which the popular breath has overthrown.
“Prepare yourselves, let the Communal election commence forthwith, and give to us the only reward we have ever hoped for—that of seeing the establishment of a true republic. In the meanwhile we retain the Hotel de Ville in the name of the people.
“Hotel de Ville, Paris, 19th March, 1871.
“The Central Committee of the National Guards:
“Assy, Billioray, and others.”
Placarded up also is another proclamation signed by the citizens Assy, Billioray, and others, announcing that the Communal elections will take place on Wednesday next, 22nd of March, that is to say in three days.
This then is the result of yesterday’s doings, and the revolution of the 18th March can be told in a few words.
There were cannon at Montmartre; the Government wished to take them but was not able, thanks to the fraternal feeling and cowardice of the soldiers of the Line. A secret society, composed of several delegates of several battalions, took advantage of the occasion to assert loudly that they represented the entire population, and commanded the people to elect the Commune of Paris—whether they wished or not.
What will Paris do now between these dictators, sprung from heaven knows where, and the Government fled to Versailles?
[Footnote 14: No one may use white placards—they are reserved by the government.
The following is an extract from the Official Journal of Versailles, bearing the date of the 20th of March, which explains the official form of the announcements made by the Central Committee:—