HISTORY OF THE COMMUNE OF 1871/Storia della Comune ,1871 di Lissagaray AT, TV.’ -ELEANOR MARX AVELING.

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Lissagaray, 1838-1901;  Aveling, Eleanor Marx, 1855-1898

HISTORY  OF  THE COMMUNE OF 1871  -TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF

http://archive.org/details/historyofcommune00lissuoft

http://www.marxists.org/history/france/paris-commune/index.htm

http://www.marxists.org/history/france/archive/lissagaray/index.htm

LISSAGAE AT, TV.’ -ELEANOR MARX AVELING.  NEW YORK:

Published by the INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING CO., 23 Duane St.

 ndr (un libro rarissimo sulla Comune, scritto da una delle figli di Karl Marx e da Lissagray letterato, giornalista e politico francese. Socialista non che partecipante alla Comune )

1898.  INTRODUCTION, The folowing translation of Lissagaray’s “Histoire de la  Commune” was made many years ago, at the express wish  of the author, who, besides making many emendations in his work, wrote nearly a hundred pages especially for this English version. The translation, in fact, was made from  the “Histoire de la Commune” as prepared for a second edition an edition which the French Government would not allow to be published. This explanation is necessary in view of the differences between the translation and the first edition of Lissagaray’s book.

Written in 1876, there are necessarily passages in this  history out of date to-day; as, for example, the references to the prisoners in New Caledonia, the exiles, and the  amnesty. But for two reasons I prefer leaving this translation as it was originally. To have it “written up to date”  would only be making patchwork of it. Secondly, I am  loth to alter the work in any way. It had been entirely revised and corrected by my father. I want it to remain  as he knew it.  Lissagaray’s “Histoire de la Commune” is the only authentic  and reliable history as yet written of the most memorable  movement of modern times. It is true Lissagaray was  JL__a soldier ofthe Commune, but he has had the courage and” Honesty to speak the truth. He has not attempted  to hide the errors of his party, or to gloss over the fatal weaknesses of the Revolution; and if he has erred, it has  been on the side of moderation, in his anxiety not to make  a single statement that could not be corroborated by. ov  whelming proofs of its truth. Wherever it was possible,  the statements of the Versaillese in their Parliamentary Inquiries, in their press, and in their books are used in  preference to the statements of friends and partisans; and  whenever the evidence pf . Communards is given, it is invariably sifted with scrupplous care. And it is this impartiality, this careful avoidance of any assertion that could be considered doubtful, which should recommend this work to English readers.  In England especially most persons are still quite ignorant of the events which led up to, and forced the people of Paris  into making that revolution which was to save France from  the shame and disgrace of a fourth Empire.. To most English  people the Commune still spells ^rtipine,^faar, and lust,”

and when they speak of its “atrocities,” they have some  vague idea of hostages ruthlessly massacred by brutal revolutionists, of houses burnt down by furious petroleuses. Is  it not time that English people at last learnt the truth?

Is it not time they were reminded that for the sixty-five  hostages shot, not by the Commune, but by a few people  made mad by the massacre of prisoners by the Versaillese,  the troops of law and order shot down thirty thousand men,  women, and children, for the most part long after all fighting  had ceased? If any Englishman, after reading Lissagaray’s

“History of the Commune,” still has any doubt as to what  the “atrocities” of the Commune really were, he should turn

to the Parisian correspondence for May and June, 1871, of  the Times, Daily News, and Standard. 1 There he can learn

1 I need but refer readers to the Times’ account of the murders at  Moulin Saquet and Clamart, long before the entry of the Versaillese  into Paris, and to the accounts in the Englsh press of the wholesale  what kind of “order reigned in Paris” after the glorious  victory of Versailles. NOT is it enough that we should be clear as to the “atrocities” of the Commune. It is time people understood the  true meaning of this Revolution; and this can be summed  up in a few words. It meant the government of the people  by the people. It was the first attempt of the proletariat  to govern itself. The workers of Paris expressed this when  in their first manifesto they declared they “understood it massacres after their entry. Here are a few extracts taken at random: ” The shambles have been established at the end of the Boulevard

Malesherbes, and it is a lugubrious spectacle to see men and women, of all ages and conditions of life, defile past at intervals in that fatal direction. A party of three hundred moved across the boulevard only a few moments ago. … At Satory, on Wednesday, a thousand of the captured insurgents revolted and got rid of their handcuffs. . . The soldiers fired  into the crowd, and three hundred insurgents were shot. … In one of the convoys of prisoners … a woman was being driven on by a gendarme, who goaded her with the point of his sabre till the blood ran. . . .M. Gallifet halted the column, selected eighty-two [prisoners], and had them shot there and then. … As many as one thousand Communists

were shot after their capture (June 1st). . . . Human life has become so cheap, that a man is shot more readily than a dog. Summary executions  are still [long after the fighting had ceased] going on wholesale. Times, May- June 1871. “Several hundred insurgents who took refuge in the Madeleine were, it is said, bayoneted in the church. . . . Eleven waggon-loads of dead  bodies of insurgents have been buried in the common ditch of Issy. . . .  No quarter was given to any man, woman, or child. . . . Batches of as many as fifty and one hundred at a time are shot.” Daily News, May- June 1871.

“The wholesale executions continue indiscriminately. Prisoners are taken down in batches to certain . . . places where firing-parties are stationed, and deep trenches dug beforehand. . . . At one of these, the  Caserne Napoleon, since last night five hundred persons have been shot.. . . There are invariably women and boys among them. . . . Prisoners

are soon disposed of by a volley and tumbled into a trench, when, if not killed by the shots, death from suffocation must soon put an end to their pain. Two court-martials alone are shooting at the rate of five hundred a day. Two thousand dead bodies are collected round the Pan- theon.” Standard, June 1871.

 

 

 

VIII  Was their imperious duty and their absolute right to render  themselves masters of their own destinies by seizing upon  governmental power.” The establishment of the Commune  meant not the replacing of one form of class-rule by another,  but the abolishing of all class-rule. It meant the substitution  of true co-operative, i. e., communistic, for capitalistic production, and the participation in this Revolution of workers  of all countries meant the internationalising, not only the  nationalising, of the land and of private property.  And the same men who now cry out against the use of

force used force and what force! to vanquish the people of  Paris. Those who denounce Socialists as mere firebrands and dynamitards used fire and sword to crush the people into  submission.  And what has been the result of these massacres, of this  slaying of thousands of men, women, and children? Is  Socialism dead? Was it drowned in the blood of the people  of Paris? Socialism to-day is a greater power than it has  ever been. The bourgeois Republic of France may join hands  with the Autocrat of Russia to blot it out; Bismarck may  pass repressive laws, and democratic America may follow in his wake and still it moves! And because Socialism is today a power, because in England even it is “in the air,” the  time has come for doing justice to the Commune of Paris.  The time has come when even the opponents of Socialism  will read, at least with patience if not with sympathy, an  honest and truthful account of the greatest Socialist move- ment thus far of the century.

 

ELEAXOR MARX AVELING.

 

June (Whit -Week) 1886.

 

PKEFACE.

The history of the Third Estate was to have been the prologue to this history. But time bresses; the victims are gliding into their graves; the^_^^^eg2jjf the Eadicals  threaten to surpass the worn-out calumnies of the Monarchists.

I limit myself for the present to the strictly necessary introduction. Who made the Eevolution of the 18th March? What part was taken by the Central Committee? What was the Commune? How comes it that 100,000 Frenchmen are lost to

their country? Who is responsible? Legions of witnesses will answer.

No doubt it is an exile who speaks, but an exile who has been neither member, nor officer, nor functionary of the

Commune; who for five years has sifted the evidence;who has  not ventured upon a single assertion without accumulated proofs; who sees the victor on the look-out for the slightest  inaccuracy to deny all the rest; who knows no better plea for the vanquished than the simple and sincere recital of their history. This history, besides, is due to their children, to all the workingmen of the earth. The child has the right to know the reason of the paternal defeats, the Socialist party the campaign of its flag in all countries. He who tells the people revolutionary legends, he who amuses them with sensational  stories, is as criminal as the geographer who would draw up false charts for navigators.

LONDON, November 1877.

CONTENTS.

PEOLOGUE.

PAGE

HOW THE PRUSSIANS GOT PARIS AND THE RURALS FRANCE . . 1

CHAPTEE I.

FIRST ATTACKS OF THE COALITION AGAINST PARIS THE BAT-

TALIONS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD FEDERALISE AND SEIZE

THEIR CANNON THE PRUSSIANS ENTER PARIS 58

CHAPTEE II.

THE COALITION OPENS FIRE ON PARIS THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE

CONSTITUTES ITSELF M. THIERS ORDERS THE ASSAULT .

CHAPTEE III.

THE EIGHTEENTH OF MARCH 78

CHAPTEE IV.

THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE CONVOKES THE ELECTORS THE MAYORS

OF PARIS AND DEPUTIES OF THE SEINE TURN AGAINST IT . 88

CHAPTEE V. /

THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE AFFIRMS ITSELF, REORGANISES THE PUB-

LIC SERVICES, AND HOLDS PARIS 101

CHAPTEE VI.

THE MAYORS, THE DEPUTIES, THE JOURNALISTS, THE ASSEMBLY

COMBINE AGAINST PARIS THE REACTION MARCHES ON THE

PLACE VENDOME, AND IS PUNISHED 108

xii CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VII.

PAGE

THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE TRIUMPHS OVER ALL OBSTACLES AND

CONSTRAINS THE MAYORS TO CAPITULATE …. 116

^ . CHAPTER VIII.

PROCLAMATION OF THE COMMUNE “j * 126

CHAPTER IX.

THE COMMUNE AT LYONS, ST. ETIENNE, AND CREUZOT . . .131

CHAPTER X.

THE COMMUNE AT MARSEILLES, TOULOUSE, AND NARBONNE . . 142

CHAPTER XI.

THE COUNCIL OF THE COMMUNE WAVERS FROM ITS FIRST SITTINGS

THE MAYORS AND ADJUNCTS ELECTED DESERT EN MASSE . 153

CHAPTER XII.

SORTIE OF THE THIRD APRIL THE PARISIANS ARE REPULSED

EVERYWHERE FLOURENS AND DUVAL ARE KILLED THE VER-

SAILLESE MASSACRE SOME PRISONERS , 162

CHAPTER XIII.

THE COMMUNE IS VANQUISHED AT MARSEILLES AND NARBONNE . 171

CHAPTER XIV.

THE GREAT RESOURCES OF THE COMMUNE THE GREAT WEAKNESS ‘

OF THE COUNCIL NOMINATION OF CLUSERET DECREE CONCERN-

ING THE HOSTAGES THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE THE BANK . 182

CHAPTER XV.

THE FIRST COMBATS OF NEUILLY AND ANSNIERES ORGANISATION

AND DEFEAT OF THE CONCILIATORS 190

CONTENTS. xiii

PAGE

CHAPTER XVI.

THE MANIFESTO OP THE COUNCIL THE COMPLIMENTARY ELEC- /

TIONS OP THE 16th APRIL SHOW A MINORITY WITHIN THE

COUNCIL FIRST DISPUTES THE GERMS OF DEFEAT . . . 199

CHAPTER XVII.

OUR PARISIENNES SUSPENSION OF ARMS FOR THE EVACUATION OF

NEUILLY THE ARMY OF VERSAILLES AND THAT OF PARIS . 207

CHAPTER XVIII.

THE PUBLIC SERVICES FINANCE WAR POLICE EXTERIOR

JUSTICE EDUCATION LABOUR AND EXCHANGE . . . 217

CHAPTER XIX.

THE FREEMASONS JOIN THE COMMUNE THE FIRST EVACUATION

OF THE FORT OF ISSY CREATION OF THE COMMITTEE OF

PUBLIC SAFETY , 236

CHAPTER XX.

ROSSEL REPLACES CLUSERET THE RIVALRIES THE DEFENCE OF

THE FORT OF ISSY 246

CHAPTER XXI.

PARIS IS BOMBARDED THE FORT OF ISSY SUCCUMBS THE COUN-

CIL ELECTS A NEW COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC SAFETY ROSSEL

FLIES , 254

CHAPTER XXII.

THE CONSPIRACIES AGAINST THE COMMUNE 265

CHAPTER XXIII.

M. THIERS’ POLICY WITH REGARD TO THE PROVINCES THE EX-

TREME LEFT BETRAYS PARIS . . 271

xiv CONTENTS.

CHAPTEE XXIY.

THK IMPOTENCE OF THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC SAFETY

EVACUATION OF THE FORT OF VANVES AND OF THE VILLAGE

OF ISSY THE MANIFESTO OF THE MINORITY THE EXPLO-

SION IN THE AVENUE RAPP FALL OF THE VENDOME COLUMN 288

CHAPTER XXV. /

PARIS ON THE EVE OF DEATH 293

CHAPTER XXVI.

THE VERSAILLESE ENTER PARIS ON SUNDAY, 21ST MAY, AT THREE

O’CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON THE COUNCIL OF THE COM-

MUNE DISSOLVES 304

CHAPTER XXVII.

MONDAY 22ND THE VERSAILLESE INVADE THE QUARTERS OF THE

EAST PARIS RISES 313

CHAPTER XXVIII.

TUESDAY 23RD MONTMARTRE IS TAKEN THE WHOLESALE MAS-

SACRES WE LOSE GROUND PARIS ON FIRE THE LAST

NH3HT OF THE HOTEL-DE-VILLE …… 326

CHAPTER XXIX.

” WEDNESDAY 24TH THE MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL EVACUATE

THE HOTEL-DE-VILLE THE PANTHEON IS TAKEN THE VER-

SAILLESE SHOOT THE FEDERALS BY HUNDREDS THE FE-

DERALS SHOOT SIX HOSTAGES THE NIGHT OF THE CANNON . 339

CHAPTER XXX.

THURSDAY 25TH THE WHOLE LEFT BANK FALLS INTO THE HANDS

OF THE TROOPS DELESCLUZE DIES THE BRASSARDIERS STI-

MULATE THE MASSACRE THE MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL

EVACUATE THE MAIRIE OF THE ELEVENTH ARRONDISSEMENT 353

CONTENTS. xv

PAGE

CHAPTEE XXXI.

THE RESISTANCE CENTRES IN BELLEVILLE FRIDAY, FORTY-EIGHT

HOSTAGES ARE SHOT IN THE RUE HAXO SATURDAY 27TH,

THE WHOLE TWENTIETH ARRONDISSEMENT IS INVADED THE

PERE LACHAISE IS TAKEN SUNDAY 28TH, THE BATTLE ENDS

AT ELEVEN O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING MONDAY 29TH, THE

FORT OF VINCENNES IS SURRENDERED ….. 365

CHAPTEE XXXII.

THE VERSAILLESE FURY THE SLAUGHTER-HOUSES THE PRE-

VOTAL COURTS THE DEATH OF VARLIN THE BURIALS . . 382

CHAPTEE XXXIII.

THE CONVOYS OF PRISONERS THE ORANGERIE THE ARRESTS

SATORY THE DENUNCIATORS THE PRESS THE LEFT IN-

SULTS THE VANQUISHED DEMONSTRATIONS IN FOREIGN

COUNTRIES 395

CHAPTEE XXXIV.

THE PONTOONS THE FORTS THE PRISONS THE FIRST TRIALS . 40

CHAPTEE XXXV.

THE COURTS-MARTIAL-^THE EXECUTIONS BALANCE-SHEET OF THE

CONDEMNATIONS ……. 424

CHAPTEE XXXVI.

NEW CALEDONIA EXILE BALANCE-SHEET OF BOURGEOIS VENGEANCE

THE LIBERAL CHAMBER AND THE AMNESTY . 445

APPENDIX 467

note

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosper-Olivier_Lissagaray

http://archive.org/details/historyofcommune00lissuoft

 http://www.marxists.org/history/france/paris-commune/index.htm

http://www.marxists.org/history/france/archive/lissagaray/index.htm

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