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Chapter XLVIII, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 9 page 4


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Cluseret contrived to make his escape, and is now, we believe, in America, his adopted country. Felix Pyat disappeared while the struggle was proceeding, and his fate remains an unsolved problem. We have found no account of what became of Eudes, Gambon, Leo Meillet, and Ranvier, after the overthrow of the Commune.

The definite treaty of peace between France and Germany, which will be known in history as the Treaty of Frankfort, was signed in that city on the 10th May by Bismark, who had lately received the title of Prince from the Emperor William, and MM. Jules Favre and Pouyer-Quertier. The terms differed but little from those which were agreed to for the preliminary peace; but whatever difference there was tended to make them harder and more unpalatable for France. Instead of merely agreeing to pay the first milliard in the course of 1871, France now bound herself to pay the first half-milliard within thirty days after the French Government should have re-established its authority in Paris, and the second and third half-milliards before the end of 1871. The Communal insurrection, leading German statesmen to regard France as still more weakened and disorganised than was really the case, is justly to be charged with this increased rigour. A heavy rate of interest was also to be paid by France in respect of the unpaid portions of the indemnity; and the evacuation of French departments by the, German army was to proceed at a slower rate than had been originally arranged.

A passage from an eloquent article in the Revue des Deux Mondes may fitly terminate this chapter: - " Since after so many misfortunes in her war against the foreign enemy, France has found herself still further reduced to the necessity of reconquering herself - of reconquering Paris from the most criminal of all factions - she enjoys at least this day this last and reassuring victory. She has broken the tyranny of the subordinate malefactors, she has tamed the monster. It is the victory of right, of civilisation, of patriotism; but with what combats, what wearing anxieties, what sacrifices, has it not been necessary to purchase this victory, the saddest of all victories in civil wars! Never, surely, since human beings first lived together in society, will such a catastrophe have resounded through the world; never has the insanity of Erostratus been pushed to such a degree of malignant savagery. They began by the assassination of the 18th March; they reigned by terror and plunder; during two months they converted Paris into the rendezvous of all the Machiavelian perversities, all the infamous practices, of all the adventurers of Europe, crowding hither for the division of the spoil; they thought themselves almost immortal in their power of commanding chance 1 When they found themselves threatened, they ended with setting the great city on fire. What- the wildest and most preposterous imagination could not or would not have foreseen, that they realised as a work worthy of them while fleeing before our soldiers. Such is their history, such is the history of these late days of conflict and mourning, which, to use the expression of M. Thiers, restore Paris to her true sovereign, France; but restore her bleeding, mutilated, soiled, ransacked, and half annihilated by the flames.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

" What must we say again, when such an attempt is carried out at the moment when the nation and the city that are made its victims are under the weight of an implacable foreign occupation, under the insulting glance of the conqueror of yesterday? At such a time, it ceases to be merely a domestic revolution, more or less criminal; it becomes a complicity with the foreigner. Each blow dealt to the country delivers her up a little more to the enemy; and, in reality, this is what this Paris Commune has done, by suddenly paralysing the energies of France at the moment when she had need of all her powers to bear, without succumbing under it, the burden of her misfortunes and her obligations. Had there been nothing else to brand them with infamy, these people would have shown themselves in their true light by taking advantage of one of those dark hours which only occur once in several centuries, to urge on their country into utter perdition by divisions, impotence, and degradation in presence of the enemy."

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Pictures for Chapter XLVIII, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 9 page 4

Colonel Rossel
Colonel Rossel >>>>
Jardin des Plantes
Jardin des Plantes >>>>
The cemetery of Pere la Chaise
The cemetery of Pere la Chaise >>>>
Insurgents ravaging the streets of Paris
Insurgents ravaging the streets of Paris >>>>

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