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58, embassy of france89 rosmead place colombo 7, France , soufflet negoce, quai du general sarrail nogent-sur-seine france, France. The "ultras" in the Government were, I understand on good authority, opposed to it, but M. Jules Favre was supported by Picard, Gambetta, and Kératry, who. 2. National portal of French National Archives (AN): codebonus1xbet.website 3. National Archives of Pierrefitte sur Seine with a part of BCRA archives. MOST POPULAR SPORTSBOOKS
They are the ancient valets of a corrupt Court; give me your letter; if possible it shall go, 'foi de citoyen. As I passed out through the courtyard I saw postmen seated on the boxes of carts, with no horses before them. It was their hour to carry out the letters, and thus mechanically they fulfilled their duty.
English Government officials have before now been jeered at as men of routine, but the most ancient clerk in Somerset House is a man of wild impulse and boundless expedient compared with the average of functionaries great and small here. The want of "shiftiness" is a national characteristic.
The French are like a flock of sheep without shepherds or sheep-dogs. Soldiers and civilians have no idea of anything except doing what they are ordered to do by some functionary. Let one wheel in an administration get out of order, and everything goes wrong.
After my visit to the post-office I went to the central telegraph office, and sent you a telegram. The clerk was very surly at first, but he said that he thought a press telegram would pass the wires. When I paid him he became friendly. My own impression is that my twelve francs, whoever they may benefit, will not benefit the British public.
From the telegraph-office I directed my steps to a club where I was engaged to dine. I found half-a-dozen whist tables in full swing. The conversation about the war soon, however, became general. I know him well; he has utterly failed to organise the forces which he has under his command. A Garde National replied, "Of course there are brave men amongst us, but the mass will give in rather than see Paris destroyed.
They have their families and their shops. Nobody could, though everybody seemed to think that he had gone to the Prussian headquarters. After playing a few rubbers, I went home to bed at about one o'clock. The streets were absolutely deserted. Nothing in the papers this morning. In the Figaro an article from that old humbug Villemessant.
He calls upon his fellow-citizens in Paris to resist to the death. It represents the Prussians to be all round Paris. At Versailles they have converted the Palais into a barrack. Their camp fires were seen last night in the forest of Bondy. Uhlans have made their appearance at St. Near Vitry shots have been heard. In the environs of Vincennes there has been fighting. It appears General Ambert was arrested yesterday. The men immediately surrounded him, and carried him to the Ministry of the Interior, where I presume he still is.
The Rappel finds faults with Jules Favre's circular. Its tone, it says, is too humble. The Rappel gives a list of "valets of Bonaparte, ce coquin sinistre," who still occupy official positions, and demands that they shall at once be relieved from their functions. The Rappel also informs its readers that letters have been discovered where?
Butler of a friend of mine, whose house is close by the fortifications, and who has left it in his charge, has just been to see me. The house is a "poste" of the National Guard. Butler says the men do not sleep on the ramparts, but in the neighbouring houses.
They are changed every twenty-four hours. He had rather a hard time of it last night with a company from the Faubourg St. As a rule, however, he says they are decent, orderly men. They complain very much that their business is going to rack and ruin; when they are away from their shops, they say, impecunious patriots come in to purchase goods of their wives, and promise to call another day to pay for them. On Saturday night the butler reports National Guards were drawn up before his master's house, and twenty-five volunteers were demanded for a service of danger.
After some time the twenty-five stepped forward, but having heard for what they were wanted, eighteen declined to go. A British coachman just turned up offers to carry letters through—seems a sharp plucky fellow. I shall employ him as soon as the Post-office is definitely closed. British coachman does not think much of the citizen soldiers in Paris.
In my stable I make my men obey me, but these chaps they don't seem to care what their officers says to them. I seed them drill this morning; a pretty green lot they was. Why, sir, giving them fellow Chassepots is much like giving watches to naked savages. I hope it may do them good.
By-the-bye, that fire-eater, Paul de Cassagnac, has not followed the example of his brother Imperial journalists. He enlisted as a Zouave, fought well, and was taken prisoner at Sedan. He is now employed by his captors in making bread. I hope his bread will be better than his articles.
Been sitting with a friend who commands a company of National Guards. The company is now outside the fortifications. Friend tells me that the men in his company are mostly small shopkeepers. At first it was difficult to get them to come to drill, but within the last few days they have been drilling hard, and he is convinced that they will fight well.
Friend tells me that a large number of National Guards have run away from Paris, and that those who remain are very indignant with them. He requests me to beg my countrymen, if they see a sturdy Monsieur swelling it down Regent Street, to kick him, as he ought to be defending his country. I fulfil his request with the greatest pleasure and endorse it.
I have just seen a Prussian spy taken to prison. He was preceded and followed by about one hundred Mobiles. By his side rode a woman. No one touched them. Whether he and his "lady friend" were Germans I do not know; but they certainly looked Germans, and extremely uncomfortable. Been to Embassy. Messenger Johnson arrived this morning at 12 o'clock. He had driven to Rouen. At each post station he was arrested. He drove up to the Embassy, followed by a howling mob.
As he wore an unknown uniform they took him for a Prussian. Messenger Johnson, being an old soldier, was belligerently inclined. The porter of the Embassy, however, dragged him inside, and explained to the mob who he was. He had great difficulty in calming them. One man sensibly observed that in these times no one should drive through Paris in a foreign uniform, as the mass of the people knew nothing of Queen's messengers and their uniforms.
Messenger Johnson having by this time got within the Embassy gates, the mob turned on his postilion and led him off. What his fate has been no one has had time to ask. When I went upstairs I found Wodehouse sitting like patience on a stool, with a number of Britons round him, who wanted to get off out of Paris.
Wodehouse very justly told them that Lord Lyons had given them due notice to leave, and that they had chosen at their own risk to remain. The Britons seemed to imagine that their Embassy was bound to find them a road by which they might safely withdraw from the town. One very important Briton was most indignant—"I am a man of wealth and position. I am not accustomed to be treated in this manner. What is the use of you, sir, if you cannot ensure my safe passage to England?
If I am killed the world shall ring with it. I shall myself make a formal complaint to Lord Granville," said this incoherent and pompous donkey. Exit man of position fuming; enter unprotected female. Of course she was a widow, of course she had lost half-a-dozen sons, of course she kept lodgings, and of course she wanted her "hambassader" generally to take her under his wing. I left Wodehouse explaining to her that if she went out of Paris even with a pass, she might or might not be shot according to circumstances.
I will say for him that I should not be as patient as he is, were I worried and badgered by the hour by a crowd of shrieking women and silly men. Fighting is going on all round Paris. There are crowds on the Boulevard; every one is asking his neighbour for news. I went to one of the Mairies to hear the bulletins read. The street was almost impassable. At last I got near enough to hear an official read out a despatch—nothing important. The commanders at Montrouge and Vincennes announce that the Prussians are being driven back.
Every one is despondent. Soldiers have come back from Meudon demoralised. We have lost a position, it is whispered. I find a friend, upon whose testimony I can rely, who was near Meudon until twelve o'clock. He tells me that the troops of the line behaved badly. They threw away their muskets without firing a shot, and there was a regular sauve qui peut.
The Mobiles, on the other hand, fought splendidly, and were holding the position when he left. It is full of Gardes Nationaux. They are saying that if the troops of the line are not trustworthy, resistance is hopeless. A Garde National gives the following explanation of the demoralisation of the army. Semaphore telegraphs have been put up on all the high public buildings.
There are also semaphores on the forts. I see that one opposite me is exchanging signals. The crowd watch them as though by looking they would discover what they mean. The attempt to burn down the forests seems only partially to have succeeded. The Prussians appear to be using them, and the French to the last carrying on war without scouts. Evening papers just out. Not a word about Clamart. When will French Governments understand that it is far more productive of demoralisation to allow no official news to be published than to publish the worst?
Rochefort has been appointed President of a Committee of Barricades, to organise a second line of defence within the ramparts. The cannon can be distinctly heard. The reports come from different quarters. Jules Favre, I hear from a sure source, is at the Prussian headquarters. I can see the flashes of cannon in the direction of Vincennes. There appears to be a great fire somewhere. Nothing there. On the Champ de Mars I found troops returned from Clamart. They complain that they never saw their officers during the engagement, that there were no scouts in the Bois de Clamart, and that the Prussians succeeded by their old game of sticking to the cover.
At first they fell back—the French troops pressed on, when they were exposed to a concentric fire. Thousands of people clustered everywhere except where they were kept off by the Nationaux, who were guarding the batteries. The northern sky was bright from the reflection of a conflagration—as the forest of St. Germain was burning. It was almost light. We could see every shot and shell fired from the forts round St. At ten o'clock I got back to the Boulevard des Italiens.
They made so much noise that the public outside became indignant, and insisted on their giving up their orgie. From my balcony I can no longer hear the cannon; the sky, however, is even brighter from the conflagration than it was. September 20th. The firing has recommenced. We can hear it distinctly.
General Ambert has been cashiered. Figaro announces that Villemessant has returned. I do not think that he will be either killed or wounded. Paris very quiet and very despondent. Few soldiers about. The Line is reviled, the Mobile extolled. From all accounts the latter seem to have behaved well—a little excited at first, but full of pluck.
Let the siege only last a week and they will be capital soldiers, and then we shall no longer be called upon, to believe the assertions of military men, that it takes years of drill and idling in a barrack to make a soldier. My own impression always has been that Malet brought back a written answer from Bismarck offering to see Jules Favre. Can it be that, after all, the Parisians, at the mere sound of cannon, are going to cave in, and give up Alsace and Lorraine?
If they do, I give them up. If my friends in Belleville descend into the streets to prevent this ignominy, I descend with them. I got, about an hour ago, some way on the road to Charenton, when I was turned back, and a couple of soldiers took possession of me, and did not leave me until I was within the city gate. I could see no traces of any Prussians or of any fighting. Two English correspondents got as far as St. Denis this morning. After having been arrested half-a-dozen times and then released, they were impressed, and obliged to carry stones to make a barricade.
They saw no Prussians. I hear that a general of artillery was arrested last night by his men. There is a report, also, that the Government mean to decimate the cowards who ran away yesterday, pour encourager les autres. The guns of the Prussians which they have posted on the heights they took yesterday it is said will carry as far as the Arc de Triomphe. One consisted of about officers of the National Guard, most of them from the Faubourgs of St. Antoine and the Temple. They were of course accompanied by a large crowd.
Jules Ferry. The reply of the latter is not very clear. He certainly said that no shameful peace should be concluded; but whether, as some assert, he assured the officers that no portion of French soil should be ceded is not equally certain.
Shortly after this deputation had left, another arrived from the Republican clubs. It is stated that M. Jules Ferry's answer was considered satisfactory. The walls have been placarded with a proclamation of Trochu to the armed force. He tells them that some regiments behaved badly at Clamart; but the assertion that they had no cartridges is false. He recommends all citizens to arrest soldiers who are drunk or who propagate false news, and threatens them with the vigorous application of the Articles of War.
I went to dine this evening in an estaminet in the Faubourg St. It was full of men of the people, and from the tone of their observations I am certain that if M. Jules Favre concludes an armistice involving any cession of territory, there will be a rising at once. At about 11 I walked home. One would have supposed oneself in some dull great provincial town at 3 in the morning. Everything was closed. No one, except here and there a citizen on his way home, or a patrol of the National Guard, was to be seen.
September 21st. I suppose that you in England know a good deal more of what is passing at the Prussian headquarters than we do here. Jules Favre's departure was kept so close a secret, that it did not ooze out until yesterday. The "ultras" in the Government were, I understand on good authority, opposed to it, but M.
We are as belligerent and cheery to-day as we were despondent on Monday evening. When any disaster occurs it takes a Frenchman about twenty-four hours to accustom himself to it. During this time he is capable of any act of folly or despair. Then follows the reaction, and he becomes again a brave man. When it was heard that the heights at Meudon had been taken, we immediately entered into a phase of despair. It is over now, and we crow as lustily as ever. We shall have another phase of despondency when the first fort is taken, and another when the first shells fall into the town; but if we get through them, I really have hopes that Paris will not disgrace herself.
Nothing of any importance appears to have taken place at the front yesterday. The commanders of several forts sent to Trochu to say that they have fired on the Prussians, and that there have been small outpost engagements. During the day the bridges of St. I attempted this morning to obtain a pass from General Trochu. Announcing myself as a "Journaliste Anglais," I got, after some difficulty, into a room in which several of his staff were seated. But there my progress was stopped. I was told that aides-de-camp had been fired on, and that General Trochu had himself been arrested, and had been within an inch of being shot because he had had the impudence to say that he was the Governor of Paris.
I suggested that he might take me with him the next time he went out, and pointed out that correspondents rode with the Prussian staffs, but it was of no use. From Trochu I went to make a few calls. I found every one engaged in measuring the distance from the Prussian batteries to his particular house.
One friend I found seated in a cellar with a quantity of mattresses over it, to make it bomb-proof. He emerged from his subterraneous Patmos to talk to me, ordered his servant to pile on a few more mattresses, and then retreated. Anything so dull as existence here it is difficult to imagine. Before the day is out one gets sick and tired of the one single topic of conversation. We are like the people at Cremorne waiting for the fireworks to begin; and I really do believe that if this continues much longer, the most cowardly will welcome the bombs as a relief from the oppressive ennui.
Few regiments are seen now during the day marching through the streets—they are most of them either on the ramparts or outside them. From 8 to 9 in the morning there is a military movement, as regiments come and go, on and off duty. In the courtyard of the Louvre several regiments of Mobiles are kept under arms all night, ready to march to any point which may be seriously attacked. A good many troops went at an early hour this morning in the direction of St.
The weather is beautiful—a lovely autumn morning. They say that Rochefort and his friends are busily employed at Grenelle. The cannonade has been audible for the last half-hour. It is getting every moment louder. Jules Favre has returned. They say the Prussians will only treat in Paris. Just seen an American who tried to get with a letter to General Sheridan.
He got into the Prussian lines, but could not reach headquarters. September 22nd. I sent off a letter yesterday in a balloon; whether it reaches its destination, or is somewhere in the clouds, you will know before I do. The difficulties of getting through the lines are very great, and will become greater every day. The Post-office says that it tries to send letters through, but I understand that the authorities have little hope of succeeding. Just now I saw drawn up in the courtyard of the Grand Hotel a travelling carriage, with hampers of provisions, luggage, and an English flag flying.
Into it stepped four Britons. Neither French nor Prussians would, they were convinced, stop them. I did not even confide a letter to their hands, as they are certain, even if they get through the French outposts, to be arrested by the Prussians and turned back. The Government immediately met, and a proclamation was at once posted on the walls signed by all the members.
After stating it had been reported that the Government was inclined to abandon the policy to which it owed its existence, it goes on in the following words:—"Our policy is this. Neither an inch of our territory nor a stone of our fortresses.
The Government will maintain this until the end. We "manifest" by going, if we are in the National Guard, with bouquets at the ends of our muskets to deposit a crown of immortelles before the statue of Strasburg. If we are unarmed, we walk behind a drum to the statue and sing the "Marseillaise. We occasionally applaud him, but we never listen to him.
As yesterday was the anniversary of the proclamation of the First Republic, we were in a very manifesting mood. Gambetta issued proclamations every half hour, calling upon us, in more or less flowery language, to die for our country. Notwithstanding all this humbug, a large portion of them mean, I am sure, to fight it out. They have taken it into their heads that Paris can be successfully defended, and if it is not, they are determined that it shall not be their fault.
It is intended, I understand, to keep well beneath the cover of the forts, not to risk engagements more than is necessary—gradually to convert the splendid raw material of the Mobiles into good soldiers, by accustoming them to be under fire, and then, if things go well, to fall on one or other of the Prussian armies.
It is hoped, too, that the Prussian communications will be menaced. Such is the plan, and every one pretends to believe that it will succeed; whether they are right or wrong time will show. The Government, an ex-diplomatist, who has been talking to several of its members this morning, tells me, is a "unit. Of course I cannot be expected to give aid and comfort to our besiegers by telling them, if they seize this letter, what is being done inside to keep them out.
But this I think it will do them no harm to know. The National Guard man the ramparts. In the angles of the bastions there are Mobiles. At points close by the ramparts there are reserves of Mobiles and National Guards, ready at a moment's notice both by day and night to reinforce them. In the centre of the town there are reserves under arms. Outside the gates, between the forts and the ramparts, troops are massed with artillery, and the forts are well garrisoned.
A gentleman who has lately been under a cloud, as he was the inventor of the Orsini bombs, has several thousand men at work on infernal machines. This magician assures me that within a week he will destroy the German armies as completely as were the Assyrians who besieged Samaria under Sennacherib.
He is an enthusiast, but an excellent chemist, and I really have hopes that he will before long astonish our friends outside. He promises me that I shall witness his experiments in German corpore vili; and though I have in mind a quotation about being hoisted with one's own petard, I shall certainly keep him to his word. On the whole the King of Prussia, to use Mr.
Lincoln's phrase, will find it a big job to take Paris if the Parisians keep to their present mood. Washburne told me yesterday that he does not think he shall leave. There is to be a consultation of the Corps Diplomatique to-morrow, under the presidency of the Nuncio, to settle joint action. I admire the common sense of Mr. He called two days ago upon the Government to express his sympathy with them. I have serious thoughts of taking up my quarters at the English Embassy.
It belongs to me as one of the nation, and I see no reason why I should not turn my property to some account. Yesterday's papers contained an official announcement that a company of mutual assurance against the consequences of the bombardment has been formed.
Paris is divided into three zones, and according to the danger proprietors of houses situated in each of them are to be admitted into the company on payment of one, two, or three per cent. It comforts me, comparatively, to find that I am in the one per cent. Spies are being arrested every half hour. Many mistakes are made from over zeal, but there is no doubt that a good many Germans are in the town disguised in French uniforms.
The newspapers ask what becomes of them all, and suggest that they should be publicly shot. It is beautiful weather, and as I sit writing this at my open window I have great difficulty in believing that we are cut off from the rest of the world by a number of victorious armies, who mean to burn or starve us out. He says that between the first and the second of these two ultimatums there is a vast difference, and he exhorts the Government to stand by the first, but not to refuse peace if it can be obtained by the dismantling of Metz and Strasburg.
The Temps of this evening takes the same view of the proclamation. The ultra Republican journals, on the other hand, support the policy of the Government. Felix Pyat, in his organ, Le Combat, urges war to the death, and proposes that we should at once have Spartan banquets, at which rich and poor should fare alike. A proposal has been made to start a national subscription for a musket of honour to be given to the man who shoots the King of Prussia.
There are already 2, subscribers of one sou each to the testimonial. The latest proclamation I have seen on the walls is one from the Mayor of Paris, informing the public that the coachmen of Paris are not to be ill-treated by their fares because they are not on the ramparts. As the coachmen of Paris are usually excessively insolent, I shall not be sorry to hear that they have at length met with their deserts. A coachman who was driving me yesterday told me in the strictest confidence that he was a man who never meddled in politics, and, consequently, it was a matter of absolute indifference to him whether Napoleon or a "General Prussien" lived in the Tuileries; and this, I suspect, is the view that many here take, if they only dared say it.
It is amusing to observe how every one has entered into the conspiracy to persuade the world that the French nation never desired war—to hear them, one would suppose that the Rhine had never been called the national frontier of France, and that the war had been entered into by Badinguet, as they style the late Emperor, against the wishes of the army, the peasantry, and the bourgeoisie.
Poor old Badinguet has enough to answer for already, but even sensible Frenchmen have persuaded themselves that he, and he alone, is responsible for the war. He is absolutely loathed here. I sometimes suggest to some Gaul that he may possibly be back again some day; the Gaul immediately rolls his eyes, clenches his fists, and swears that if ever Badinguet returns to Paris he the Gaul will himself shoot him.
An American, who took an active part in the Confederate defence of Richmond, has just been in to see me. He does not believe that the town will hold out long, and scoffs at the mode in which it is being defended. I reserve my opinion until I have seen it under fire. Certainly they "do protest too much. The bourgeois, when he goes off to the ramparts, embraces his wife in public, and assumes a martial strut as though he were a very Curtius on the way to the pit.
Jules is perpetually hugging Jacques, and talking about the altar of his country on which he means to mount. I verily believe that the people walking on the Boulevards, and the assistants of the shops who deal out their wares, in uniform, are under the impression that they are heroes already, perilling life and limb for their country.
Every girl who trips along thinks that she is a Maid of Saragossa. It is almost impossible for an Englishman to realise the intense delight which a Frenchman has in donning a uniform, strutting about with a martial swagger, and listening to a distant cannonade. As yet the only real hardships we have suffered have been that our fish is a little stale, and that we are put on short allowance of milk.
The National Guards on the ramparts, I hear, grumble very much at having to spend the night in the open air. The only men I think I can answer for are the working men of the outer faubourgs and a portion of the Provincial Gardes Mobiles. They do mean to fight. Some of the battalions of the National Guards will fight too, but I should be afraid to trust the greater portion of them, even behind earthworks.
As for the regular troops, they are not to be trusted, and I am not sorry to think that there are 10, sailors in the forts to man the guns. We have been manifesting again to-day. I was in hopes that this nonsense was over. On the Place de la Concorde there was a crowd all the afternoon, applauding orators, and companies of National Guards were bringing bouquets to the statue of Strasburg.
After a short parley this was promised. Another demonstration took place to urge the Government not to make peace, to accept as their colleagues some "friends of the people," and to promise not to re-establish in any form a police force. An evasive answer was given to these demonstrators. It seems to me that the Government, in its endeavours to prevent a collision between the moderates and the ultras, yield invariably to the latter.
What is really wanted is a man of energy and determined will. I doubt if Trochu has either. The bold Britons who tried to run the blockade have returned. They managed to get over the bridge of Neuilly, but were arrested a few yards beyond it and brought back to General Ducrot. One of them was taken in with the passports of the five.
When the spokesman emerged, he found his friends being led off by a fresh batch of patriots for having no passports, but they at length got safely back to the Grand Hotel. Their leader, who is an intelligent man in his way, gives a very discouraging account of what he saw outside. The Mobiles were lying about on the roads, and everyone appeared to be doing much what he pleased. This afternoon I went up to the Trocadero to look at the heights on which they say that there are already Prussian guns.
They appear most uncomfortably near. Those who had telescopes declared that they could see both guns and Prussians. How can the engineers have made such a mistake? This evening I went to call upon one of the chiefs of '48, and had an interesting conversation with him. He says that many think that he and his friends ought to be in the Government, and that eventually they all will be; he added "the Reds are determined to fight, and so long as the Government does not make a humiliating peace they will support it.
A fortnight ago it was the army of Lyons, now it is the army of the Loire. How reasonable men can allow themselves to put their faith in these men of buckram, I cannot imagine. September 23rd. Firing has been going on since three o'clock this morning.
The newspapers contain accounts more or less veracious respecting fights outside the forts, in which great numbers of Prussians have been killed. Villemessant in the Figaro informs the world that he has left his wife outside, and would willingly allow one of his veins to be opened in exchange for a letter from her. We are still engaged in our old occupation—vowing to die for our country.
I hear that there has been serious fighting in the neighbourhood of St. This morning I saw another of the '48 Republicans—he seemed inclined to upset the Government more on the ground that they are incapable than because he differs with them in politics. I give this letter to a friend who will get it into the balloon, and go off to the Trocadero, to see how things are getting on. The Solferino Tower on the Buttes Montmartre has been pulled down. No one is to be allowed to hoist the Geneva flag unless the house contains at least six beds for wounded.
We have now a bread as well as a meat maximum. September 24th. We are as despondent to-day as we were jubilant yesterday. The success at the front seems to have dwindled down to an insignificant artillery combat. The Electeur Libre gives the following account of it. On the previous evening 8, Prussians had taken the redoubt of Villejuif.
The division of General Maud'huy re-took these positions. At five o'clock in the morning the Prussians tried to occupy them a second time, but failed, and at half-past seven o'clock they fell back. At nine they attacked again, when a column of our troops, issuing from the Porte d'Italie, arrived. The fray went on until ten o'clock, when the Prussians retreated towards Sceaux. This tallies to a great extent with what I was told by an officer this morning who had taken part in the engagement.
The Gazette Officielle contains a decree cashiering M. Devienne, President of the Cour de Cassation, and sending him to be judged by his own court, for having been the intermediary between Badinguet and his mistress, Marguerite Bellanger.
Two letters are published which seem to leave no doubt that this worthy judge acted as the go-between of the two lovers. George Sanders, whilom United States Consul in London, and one of the leaders of the ex-Confederacy, is here; he is preparing plans for a system of rifle pits and zigzags outside the fortifications, at the request of General Trochu.
Sanders, who took an active part in the defence of Richmond, declares that Paris is impregnable, if it be only well defended. He complains, however, that the French will not use the spade. We have been in a state of wild enthusiasm all this afternoon. At about 1 o'clock it was rumoured that 20, Prussians and 40 cannon had been taken. General Vinoy had issued forth from Vincennes, and, getting behind them, had forced them under the guns of the forts, where they were taken prisoners. The Boulevards immediately were crowded; here a person announcing that he had a despatch from the front, here another vowing he had been there himself.
Wherever a drum was heard there was a cry of "Here come the prisoners! It is a sort of Parisian Southwark. I found all the inhabitants lining the streets, waiting, too, for news. A regiment marched in, and there was a cry that it had come from the front; then artillery filed by out of the city gate.
I tried myself to pass, and had got half-way through before I was stopped, then I was turned back. The prisoners here, close by the scene of action, had dwindled down to 5, Imagine Southwark, with every man armed in it, and a battle going on at Greenwich, and you will have an idea of the excitement of Montrouge.
The Boulevards almost impassable; the streets before the Mairies absolutely impassable; no official confirmation of the victory. Everyone who is not inventing news is waiting for it. A proclamation has been issued by General Trochu conceived in a very sensible spirit, telling the National Guard that the moment is ill chosen for pacific demonstrations, with crowns and bouquets.
I hear that some of the soldiers who ran away at Clamart have been shot. Some of the papers discovered in the Tuileries are published. There is a letter from Jecker to Conti, in which he says that De Morny had promised him to get the Mexican Government to pay his claims on condition of receiving 30 per cent.
A letter from the Queen of Holland tells Napoleon that if he does not interfere in Germany his own dynasty will suffer. A note of the Emperor, without date, says, "If France boldly places itself on the terrain of the nationalities, it is necessary to prove that the Belgian nationality does not exist. The Cabinet of Berlin seeming ready to enter into negotiations, it would be well to negotiate a secret acte, which would pledge both parties.
This act would have the double advantage of compromising Prussia and of being for her a pledge of the sincerity of the Emperor. Barricades are being erected everywhere, and they are even stronger than the outer fortifications. There are, too, some agreeable little chemical surprises for the Prussians if ever they get into the town. In reply to some suggestions which I made, my friend said, "Leave these people to form their own plans.
They understand street fighting better than any one in the world. The bold Britons started again in their Derby turn-out yesterday. Nothing has been heard of them since. We do not know whether they have been imprisoned or what has become of them. I have already entrusted my letters to balloons, boatmen, peasants, and Americans, but I do not know whether they have reached you or not. The last balloon was pursued by a Prussian one, the newspapers say! Yesterday the Nuncio called together all the diplomatists still here, and they determined to try to communicate with Bismarck.
They seem to imagine that a twenty-four hours' notice will be given before a bombardment commences, when they will have time to get out. I send this letter by a Government balloon. I shall send a copy to-morrow by a private balloon, if it really does start as announced. The Gazette Officielle "unites with many citizens in asking Louis Blanc to go to England, to obtain the sympathies of the English nation for the Republic.
September 25th. No news of any importance from the front. The presence of the Prussians at the gates, and the sound of the cannon, have at last sobered this frivolous people. Frenchmen, indeed, cannot live without exaggeration, and for the last twenty-four hours they have taken to walking about as if they were guests at their own funerals.
It is hardly in their line to play the justum et tenacem of Horace. Always acting, they are now acting the part of Spartans. It is somewhat amusing to see the stern gloom on the face of patriots one meets, who were singing and shouting a few days ago—more particularly as it is by no means difficult to distinguish beneath this outward gloom a certain keen relish, founded upon the feeling that the part is well played.
One thing, however, is certain, order has at length been evolved from disorder. Except in the morning, hardly any armed men are to be seen in the streets, and even in the central Boulevards, except when there is a report of some success or during an hour in the evening, there are no crowds.
In the fighting faubourgs there is a real genuine determination to fight it out to the last. The men there have arms, and they have not cared to put on uniforms. Men, women, and children are all of one mind in the quarters of the working men. I have been much struck with the difference between one of these poor fellows who is prepared to die for the honour of his country, between his quiet, calm demeanour, and the absurd airs, and noisy brawls, and the dapper uniforms of the young fellows one meets with in the fashionable quarters.
It is the difference between reality and sham, bravery and bombast. The newspapers are beginning to complain of the number of Chevaliers of the Red Cross, who are daily becoming more numerous. Strong men, they say, should not enrol themselves in a corps of non-combatants. It is said, also, that at Clamart these chevaliers declined to go under fire and pick up the wounded, and that the ambulances themselves made a strategic movement to the rear at the commencement of the combat.
The flag of the Convention of Geneva is on far too many houses. From my window I can count fifteen houses with this flag floating over them. We have most wonderful stories about the Prussians, which, although they are generally credited, I take leave to doubt. Villagers who have slipped through the lines, and who play the part of the intelligent contraband of the American Civil War, are our informants.
They represent the Prussian army without food, almost without clothing, bitterly repenting their advance into France, demoralised by the conviction that few of their number will be again in their homes. We are treated every day, too, to the details of deeds of heroism on the part of Mobiles and Nationaux, which would make Achilles himself jealous.
There is, we are told, a wonderful artilleryman in the fort before St. Denis, the perfection of whose aim carries death and destruction into the Prussian ranks. I am not sorry to learn that the sale of the ultra papers is not large. Blanqui's office was yesterday broken into by some National Guards, who made it clear to this worthy that he had ill chosen his moment to attack the Government. I have not myself the slightest dread of a general pillage.
The majority of the working men no doubt entertain extreme Socialist ideas, but any one of them who declined to make any distinction between his property and that of his richer neighbours would be very roughly handled.
A sharp bombardment may, perhaps, make a change in public opinion, but I can only speak of the opinion of to-day. The Government declares that it can never run short of ammunition; but it seems to me that we cannot fire off powder and projectiles eternally, and that one of these mornings we shall be told that we must capitulate, as there is no more ammunition. Americans who are here, complain very much of the Parisians for not using the spade more than they do.
Earthworks, which played so large a part in the defence both of Sebastopol and Richmond, are unknown at Paris. Barricades made of paving stones in the streets, and forts of solid masonry outside, are considered the ne plus ultra of defensive works. For one man who will go to work to shovel earth, you may find a thousand who will shoulder a musket. We presume that a great army is forming beyond the Loire; but yesterday a friend of mine, who received this assurance from M.
Gambetta, could not discover that he had any reason to believe it, except the hope that it was true. It is a somewhat singular thing that Rochefort, who was regarded even by his friends as a vain, mad-brained demagogue, has proved himself one of the most sensible and practical members of the Government. He has entirely subordinated his own particular views to the exigencies of the defence of the capital; and it is owing to his good sense that the ultras have not indulged in any revolutionary excesses.
I have already endeavoured to forward to you, by land, water, and air, copies of the Tuileries papers which have been published. That poor old pantaloon, Villemessant, the proprietor and editor of the Figaro, who is somewhat roughly handled by them, attempts to defend himself in his paper this morning, but utterly fails to do so.
His interested connection with the Imperial Government is proved without the shadow of a doubt, and I trust that it will also prove the death of his newspaper, which has long been a disgrace to the press of France. I went to look after the proprietor of another paper yesterday, as he had promised me that, come what may, he would get his own and my letters through the Prussian lines.
My friend, I found, had taken himself off to safe quarters before the last road was closed. For my part I despise any Parisian who has not remained here to defend his native city, whether he be Imperialist or Republican, noble or merchant. Evening Sunday. They could stand it no longer; the afternoon was too fine.
Stern patriotism unbent, and tragic severity of demeanour was forgotten. Monsieur shone by his absence; he was at the ramparts, or was supposed to be there; but his wife, his children, his bonne, and his kitchen wench issued forth, oblivious alike of dull care and of bombarding Prussians, to enjoy themselves after their wont by gossiping and lolling in the sun.
The Strasburg fetish had its usual crowd of admirers. Guitars twanged, organs were ground, merry-go-rounds were in full swing, and had it not been that here and there some regiment was drilling, one would have supposed oneself in some country fair.
There were but few men; no fine toilets, no private carriages. It was a sort of Greenwich-park. At the Arc de Triomphe was a crowd trying to discover what was going on upon the heights above Argenteuil. Some declared they saw Prussians, while others with opera glasses declared that the supposed Prussians were only trees. This fort, because I presume it is the strongest for defence, is the favourite of the Parisians. They love it as a sailor loves his ship.
At Auteuil there were fiacres full of sightseers, come to watch the Prussian batteries at Meudon, which could be distinctly seen. Occasionally, too, there came a puff of smoke from one of the gunboats. September 26th. Do the Prussians really mean to starve us out? The Government gave out a fortnight ago that there was food then within the city for two months' consumption for a population of two millions. It is calculated that, including the Mobiles, there are not above 1,, mouths at present to feed, so that with proper care the supplies may be made to last for three months.
Prices are, however, already rising. We have a bread and a meat maximum, but to force a butcher to sell you a cutlet at the tariff price, one has to go with a corporal's guard, which cannot always be procured. The Gazette Officielle contains a decree regulating the sale of horse-flesh.
I presume if the siege lasts long enough, dogs, rats, and cats will be tariffed. I have got francs with me. It is impossible to draw upon England; consequently, I see a moment coming when, unless rats are reasonable, I shall not be able to afford myself the luxury of one oftener than once a week. When I am at the end of my francs, I shall become an advocate for Felix Pyat's public tables, at which, as far as I understand his plan, those who have money pay, and those who have not, eat.
Yesterday was a quiet day. The forts occasionally fired to "sound the enemy's lines," but that was all. But how is it all to end? In a given time the Parisians will eat themselves out and fire themselves out. The credulity of the public is as great as ever.
We are told that "France is rising, and that in a few weeks three armies will throw themselves on the Prussians, who are already utterly disorganised. If I dared, I would venture to suggest to some of my warlike friends that a town which simply defends itself by shutting its gates, firing into space, and waiting for apocryphal armies, is not acting a very heroic part.
Pyat announces in the Combat that the musket of honour which is to be given to the man who shoots the King of Prussia is to have inscribed upon it the word "Peacemaker. Resolutions were adopted blaming the Government for putting off the municipal elections. The adjournment, however, of these elections is, I am convinced, regarded as a salutary measure by a majority even of the ultras. I dropped into the English Embassy this morning to see what was doing there. Wodehouse, I understand, intends to leave before the bombardment commences.
He is a civilian, and cannot be blamed for this precautionary measure. There is a notion among the members of the Corps Diplomatique that the Prussians before they bombard the town will summon it to surrender. But it seems to me very doubtful whether they will do so. However, during the later years of his master's life, he began to perceive that he could not wholly accept all the dogmas or the more mystic ideas of his friend and master.
He concealed his differences of opinion, and Comte failed to recognise that his pupil had outgrown him, as he himself had outgrown his master Henri de Saint-Simon. He published his own ideas in his Paroles de la philosophie positive in Four years later, in a work of greater length, he published Auguste Comte et la philosophie positive, which traces the origin of Comte's ideas through Turgot, Kant, and Saint-Simon.
The work eulogises Comte's own life, his method of philosophy, his great services to the cause and the effect of his works, and proceeds to show where he himself differs from him. He approved wholly of Comte's philosophy, his great laws of society and his philosophical method, which indeed he defended warmly against John Stuart Mill. However, he stated that, while he believed in a positivist philosophy, he did not believe in a "religion of humanity".
About , after completing his translations of Hippocrates and his Pliny, he began work in earnest on his great French dictionary. Thus, his life was absorbed in literary work until the events that overthrew the Second Empire called him to take a part in politics. He felt himself too old to undergo the privations of the Siege of Paris, and retired with his family to Brittany.
Dupanloup, who resigned his seat rather than receive him. The landmark effort gave authoritative definitions and usage descriptions to every word based on the various meanings it had held in the past. When it was published by Hachette, it was the largest lexicographical work on the French language at that time. When asked whether he believed in the existence of a supreme being in the presence of Freemasons, he replied: A wise man of ancient times, who was asked the same question by a king, thought about an answer for days, but was never able to answer.
I please you not to request an answer from me.
Paris, September 18th.
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