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“6. Prisoners of war will be immediately set at liberty.
“7. Negotiations for a definitive Treaty of Peace will be opened at Brussels after the ratification of the Treaty.
“8. The administration of the Departments occupied by the German troops will be entrusted to French officials, but under the control of the chiefs of the German Corps of Occupation.
“9. The present Treaty confers upon the Germans no rights whatever in the portion of territories not occupied.
“10. The Treaty will have to be ratified by the National Assembly of France.”
A Convention was added for admitting 30,000 men of the German army to a three days' occupation of a certain portion of the capital; a sign and symbol of triumph which the leaders insisted on as a needful reward to them for the labours of the siege.
As the inevitable hour of decision drew near, the excitement in Paris became ominous. At half-past four on Sunday afternoon the signatures of the negotiators had ratified the Treaty; and M. Thiers returned from Versailles to Paris to communicate with the Fifteen. Till then a confident hope had been entertained by the inhabitants of the city that at all events the presence of the hated enemy within their sacred walls would be warded off. Great was their exasperation at the disappointment. Crowds wandered through the streets all night. A midnight meeting was held at the Marseillaise Club in Belleville. The National Guards marched about in military array, joining in the cry for vengeance which arose from all the Republican quarters of the city against the Prussians and against the government of M. Thiers, who was scornfully nicknamed le Roi des Capitulards.
In several places acts of violence were perpetrated. An unhappy police-agent was seized in the Place de la Bastille, and massacred under circumstances of atrocity. Some of the mutinous National Guards took possession of the dismounted cannon from the ramparts, and prepared to hold by force certain positions in the city, General Vinoy, who was in command of the small number of regular troops left within the walls, declining to interfere.
On Monday a proclamation was issued by MM. Thiers and Picard, previous to their departure the same evening for Bordeaux, appealing to the patriotism and self-restraint of the populace. “If the Convention be not respected,” they said," the armistice will be broken, and the enemy, already master of the forts, will occupy the entire city.” To the same effect General Vinoy issued an order of the day; and he exhorted the loyal majority of the National Guards to preserve peace on the momentous occasion which impended.
These measures had a tranquillizing effect. All the journals, even the most Radical, advised that a calm dignity should be maintained when the hated entrance of the enemy should take place. It was resolved that the Bourse and the Theatres should be closed ; that no newspapers should be issued; and that the Germans should find in the occupied quarters only silence, emptiness, and mourning. The authorities on their part took all possible precautions to prevent a collision between the conquerors and the vanquished. A cordon of troops was to be posted around the whole quarter of occupation. German soldiers wishing to visit the Louvre were to pass through the interior of the Tuileries. No omnibuses or cabs were to run within the guarded precincts; no shops to be open. Calmness and forbearance were earnestly counselled.
On the Tuesday Thiers and his colleagues arrived at Bordeaux, and met the Assembly in the afternoon. In the midst of the most profound silence Thiers rose and spoke as follows:
“We have accepted a painful mission; and, after having used all possible endeavours, we come with regret to submit for your approval a Bill, for which we ask urgency. Art. I. The National Assembly, forced by necessity, is not responsible, and adopts the Preliminaries of Peace signed at Versailles on the 26th of February.'
At this point M. Thiers was overpowered by his feelings, and obliged to leave the room.
M. Barthélemy St. Hilaire continued to read the Preliminaries, interrupted only by occasional exclamations of grief from his auditors; after which, having referred the Bill to a Committee consisting of the fifteen delegates just returned from Paris, the Assembly adjourned the debates to the next day.
At noon on Wednesday, the 1st of March, the deputies met again in the Great Theatre, in which the Sessions of the Assembly, while at Bordeaux, were held. Deep emotion seemed to prevail. Many ladies clothed in mourning took their seats in the galleries. The proceedings began with the presentation of various protests against the cession of territory. Then M. Victor Lefranc read the Report which had been drawn up by the members of the Peace Commission lately sent to Paris; having finished which, he said that the Commission did not propose any alteration in the negotiations; that they had done every thing that was possible to ameliorate the conditions, and to avoid the grievous cession of territory ; but they had to think of the situation of Paris, and the threats of the enemy, who had so cruelly forgotten the rights of the peoples. The occupation of Paris was also very grievous; but it was an inevitable calamity. He added, “ The actual misfortunes we are suffering are the result of causes for which we are not answerable, but the honour of France is safe. . . If you refuse to accept these Preliminaries, Paris is occupied, and the whole of France will be invaded, and God only knows what disasters will
We do not then counsel you to abandon yourselves to despair. Whatever may happen, France will retain her right of fulfilling her mission in the world. The Commission considers that in the present circumstances abstention from voting on the part of the members will be a desertion of duty, and an abdication of responsibility.”
The Assembly was much agitated.
counselled the rejection of the Preliminaries, M. Bamberger terminating his remarks by a violent attack on the late Emperor, whose name, he said, would be eternally nailed to the pillory of history,
This brought up the Corsican deputies, faithful to the traditions of the Bonaparte name. M. Conti, who had been chief of the Cabinet to Napoleon III., mounted the tribune amidst a storm of groans and hisses, and vainly endeavoured to make himself heard, while he lifted up his voice in defence of his late master. So great was the uproar that the President suspended the sitting for a quarter of an hour.
When the deputies met again, M. Target brought in a resolution, numerously signed, confirming the expulsion of Napoleon III. and his dynasty, and declaring him responsible for the ruin, invasion, and dismemberment of France. Almost the whole Assembly rose to acclaim this motion.
Conti and Gavini (another Corsican) demanded to speak, and the latter got into the tribune, and protested “ de toutes les forces de mon âme” against the resolution.
“Les Corses s'en mélent,” cried Gambetta from his place. These were the only words he spoke that afternoon.
“ To the vote!” shouted the tumultuous Assembly, interrupting Gavini.
Then Thiers arose. “Gentlemen,” he said, “I proposed to you a policy of conciliation and peace, and I hoped that all would understand our reserve with regard to the past. But when that Past, the cause of all our misfortunes, rears its head before the country, we resume our rights. Do you know, sir,” he continued, addressing Conti or Gavini,“what those Princes say whom you represent ? They say they are not the authors of this war, that it was France which would have it. Eh bien ! je leur donne ici le démenti le plus formel.” While urging the Assembly to close the incident as the wisest and most dignified course to adopt, he declared his respect for the courage of the Bonapartists, who thus stood forward to justify the master they had served. Finally, a vote was taken on Target's proposition. Six Deputies only remained seated; all the rest rose to approve it by acclamation. The counter-proof, as it is called, being taken, those six rose stoutly to signify their dissent.
Victor Hugo then made a grand tirade against the cession of territory. He spoke with his accustomed force, imagination, and extravagance.
M. Louis Blanc, speaking on the same side, was more logical and impressive.
But no orator, had he been Demosthenes himself, would have altered the foregone resolution of the majority of Deputies that day. When the close of the debate was called for, the votes in favour of accepting the Preliminaries were 546 ; those against it, 107.
The voice of the veteran Changarnier was among those that counselled acquiescence. He said, “Verging to the end of a long life, and more infirm than I perhaps seem to be, I have preserved one strong passion--the love of my country. I shall be able once more to serve her by coming respectfully before this Assembly to advise the conclusion of peace.”
The Ratifications of the Treaty of Peace were exchanged on Thursday, the 2nd, at Versailles.
A few days after, there was heard a protest from Wilhelmshöhe against the formal sentence of exclusion on the late ruler of France and his house. “In the presence of those mournful events, which impose upon all of us self-abnegation and disinterestedness, I would fain have kept silence,"—so wrote the captive Napoleon,—"but the declaration of the Assembly forces me to protest in the name of truth outraged, and the nation's rights abused.” His protest fell on careless ears.
The entry of the German troops into Paris took place, as arranged, at ten o'clock on the morning of March 1st, some battalions having come in earlier by two hours to occupy the Palais de l'Industrie in the Champs Elysées. The bridge from the Place de la Concorde to the Palais Législatif was barricaded and occupied by French Gensdarmes; so were the ends of the Rue Rivoli and the Rue Royale, and the line of the Rue St. Honoré. The Tuileries was shut up; but the Elysée was put at the disposal of General Kamecke, who commanded the in-coming forces. Crape veils covered the allegorical statues of French cities on the Place de la Concorde.
The morning dawned grey and cheerless ; but early in the forenoon the sun broke through the mist and shone on the long lines of brass-pointed helmets, bayonets, and sabres, which advanced, skirting the Arc de Triomphe, up to the Place de la Concorde. The German Emperor stayed outside, at the Longchamps race-course, and inspected the troops previous to their entry. Bismarck, it was said, rode as far as the Arc de Triomphe, smoked his cigar contemplatively for a few minutes, then cantered back to Versailles to finish off business with the Bordeaux Assembly. Some of the Germans bivouacked that night in the gardens adjacent to the Place de la Concorde; some around the Arc de Triomphe. Among the surrounding populace a morose silence prevailed.
The following morning some excitement was manifest when the German soldiers, outstepping, as was said, their prescribed bounds, visited the Courts of the Louvre and the Carrousel, and the French soldiers on guard had to force back the angry people from the gratings. But the afternoon was bright; and when the intruders, returning to the “Quartier Prussien," began to dance and make music in the merriment of their spirits, the irresistible sight-seeing proclivities of the Parisian multitude drew them to the Place de la Concorde, to look on in sympathetic amusement. It was a great relief to the anxious authorities on both sides when Friday morning beheld the invaders marching back, this time through instead of round the Arc de Triomphe,-no mischief done, no collision brought to pass. The discipline and forbearance of the German troops on this occasion were indeed beyond all praise. As they left the Arch, and felt that all the labours of the war were really over, and that their next march was to be homewards, a ringing cheer burst from their lips, and all their helmets waved in the air. “It was the only occasion,” says an eye-witness," on which I have seen the Germans indulge in military glorification. They fairly revelled in their triumph.. At exactly ten o'clock the procession came to an end. The last cheer had been given, the last helmet waved.”
On the 7th of March the Prussian head-quarters at Versailles finally broke up. The Emperor William stopped for a few days at Baron Rothschild's chateau at Ferrières ; Count Bismarck returned straight to Germany. The Imperial Crown Prince reviewed the Northern Army at Rouen on the 12th. The Crown Prince of Saxony was to be left in France at the head of the German army of occupation until a certain portion of the indemnity should be
FRANCE.- Red Republican Party in Paris--Appropriation of the Cannon-Assembly
at Bordeaux removes to Versailles - Revolution of March 18-Assassination of Generals Le Comte and Thomas-Central Committee and International Society -Origin of Communal Notions-Attitude of M. Thiers and the National Assembly -Massacre of the Place Vendôme-Communal Elections Installation of the Paris Commune-Siege of Paris-Great Sortie-Death of Flourens-General Cluseret --Progress of the Siege- Internal Dissensions and Changes." Programme” of April 19–Finance of the Commune-Attempts at Mediation-Colonel RosselDelescluze-Entrance of Versailles Troops--Conquest of Paris-Conflagrations - Massacre of Hostages-Reprisals– End of the Commune.
And now the affairs of this distracted country entered upon a new phase. The foreign enemy pacified, Government became aware that an enemy more formidable, because more fatal to all patriotic bonds of sympathy, existed in the heart of Paris. The Red Republican party, under the orders of a mysterious so-called “Central Committee,” had been organizing itself with alarming method and success in the quarters of Belleville, La Villette, and Montmartre. While the Prussian detachments remained within the walls of the capital they had preserved a prudent stillness, barricading their own precincts, and awaiting the course of events; but under pretext of placing the artillery in security from the national enemy,