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.

Well! this is opportune and to the purpose.  The National Assembly has understood that, in a town like Paris, a revolution in which a third of the population is engaged, cannot be alone actuated by motives of robbery and murder;[20] and that if some of the demands of the people are illegitimate or premature, there are at least others, which it is but right should obtain justice.  Paris is never entirely in the wrong.  Certainly among the authors and leaders of the 18th March, there are many who are very guilty.  The murderers of General Lecomte and General Clement Thomas should be sought out and punished.  All honest men must demand and expect that a minute inquiry be instituted concerning the massacres in the Place Vendome.  It must be acknowledged that all the Federals, officers and soldiers, are not devils or drunkards.  A few hundred men getting drunk in the cabarets—­(I have perhaps been wrong to lay so much stress here upon the prevalence of this vice among the insurrectionists)—­a few tipsy brutes, ought not to be sufficient to authorise us to condemn a hundred thousand men, among whom are certainly to be found some right-minded persons who are convinced of the justice of their cause.  These unknown and suddenly elevated chiefs, whom the revolution has singled out, are they all unworthy of our esteem, and devoid of capacity?  They possess, perhaps, a new and vital force that it would be right and perhaps necessary to utilise somehow.  The ideas which they represent ought to be studied, and if they prove useful, put into practice.  This is what the Assembly has understood and what it has done.  By concessions which enlarge rather than diminish its influence, it puts all right-minded men, soldiers and officers, under the obligation of returning to their allegiance.  Those who, having read the proclamation of Admiral Saisset, still refuse to recognise the Government, are no longer men acting for the sake of Paris and the Republic, but rioters guilty of pursuing the most criminal paths, for the gratification of their own bad passions.  Thus the tares will be separated from the wheat, and torn up without mercy.  Yesterday and the day before, at the Place de la Bourse, at the Place des Victoires and the Bank, we were resolved on resistance—­resistance, nothing more, for none of us, I am sure, would have fired a shot without sufficient provocation—­and even this resolution cost us much pain and some hesitation.  We felt that in the event of our being attacked, our shots might strike many an innocent breast—­and perhaps at the last moment our hearts would have failed us.  Now, no thoughts of that kind can hinder us.  In recognising our demand, the Assembly has got right entirely on its side, we shall now consider all rebellion against the authority of which it makes so able a use, as an act entailing immediate punishment.  Until now, fearing to be abandoned or misunderstood by the Government, we had determined to obey the mayors and deputies elected by the people, but the Assembly, by its judicious conduct, has shown itself worthy confidence.  Let them command, we are ready to obey.

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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