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Vibert upon the subject, who has very kindly sent me the following account, under date of March 1, 1879: "What were the causes of the civil war? After three months of siege, during which Paris had to suffer from cold and hunger, when a whole army of national guards, who only asked to fight, remained shut up within the enclosure of the fortifications, and played a ridiculous part, in consequence of the orders of General Trochu, governor of Paris, who was constantly opposed to making those sorties against the Prussians which the defence required, and which everybody demanded with great cries;-after these three months, Governor Trochu was obliged to capitulate, without having known how to use the forces at his disposition.* In consequence of the capitulation, the Prussians took possession of the forts of Paris, and found, in entering them, enormous quantities of provisions of all kinds. When the Parisian population learned this, they who had suffered so long from hunger, and who had been made to believe that all the provisions were exhausted,—there was an immense cry of fury against General Trochu, and if he had been in Paris at that time he would certainly have suffered; but, feeling himself guilty, he had taken care the evening before to retire to the fort of Mont Valerien.
"One condition of the armistice was that a body of German troops should enter Paris by the Arch of Triumph, and should proceed as far as the Place de la Concorde. As there were cannon remaining within the fortifications which the government was preparing to abandon, the national guards went in search of them, so that they should not fall into the hands of the enemy, and dragged them to the
It will be remembered that the national guards were all the male population of Paris fit to bear arms.
buttes Montmartre, where they remained in charge of the national guard. Six weeks after, the government pretended that these cannon, thus guarded, were a menace against public tranquillity, and therefore desired to seize them. The national guards, already enervated by the part they had been forced to play during the war, and by all the privations they had suffered for naught, refused the demand; therefore, when, in the night of March 26, 1871, the minister of war sent a body of artillery to seize these cannon, the troops met with an ill reception, and were obliged to retire. In the morning the news spread rapidly, and soon the whole national guard was on foot, and thoroughly decided to make the government see what services they could have rendered if they had been made use of in the Prussian war. During the day, the greater part of the troops that were in Paris fraternized with the national guard; seeing which, the government intimated to all the corps commanders that they should immediately retire with their men to Versailles. That was the beginning of the civil war."
Mr. Vibert adds: "Here, dear madam, is information which, from my point of view, is exact, and which I desire may be of use to you."
Monday, July 22d.—I call again upon Dr. and Mrs. P., of whom I have before spoken; she being a Philadelphian and he a German. In conversation, I tell him of the American young woman here who said, "I like a military government." The doctor says that such young ladies should be kept at home; but he adds that many men are no better. He says that it is perfectly disgusting to hear some of them. He adds that the American Register, published here, has got so far in support of the new republic
as to admit that it may be permanent, but it always speaks of Eugenie as her Majesty the ex-Empress, and of her son as the Prince Imperial.
Dr. P. says that all the judges in France are appointed, and most of them for life, so that nearly all who occupy these offices are of the old régime; and men of like sentiments, he says, have been put in by Thiers and MacMahon. He adds that some idea of the liberty of the press here may be inferred from the facts concerning Mr. Buisson, connected with one of the radical republican papers, who was lately condemned to two years' imprisonment and to pay a fine of four thousand francs. He adds that when these things are done, no editor dares to write a word in defence, because it is forbidden by law to criticise the decision of a judge. Concerning this last-mentioned law, however, I afterwards understand from one of my French acquaintances that a way can be found to evade it.*
At the Exposition an acquaintance finds for me some interesting statistics, some of which are in reply to a question partly before raised in this volume,-namely, what proportion of the children born in Paris are illegitimate, and what proportion in the provinces? In reply we will take the period of 1872, '73, and '74. But before giving the numbers I will state that they were drawn out on the basis of every 1000 persons, and were carried out decimally, but I have omitted the decimals and given only whole numbers. In Paris, or in the department of the Seine, out of 1000 born, 751 legitimate and 248 illegitimate; in the population of the French cities, 895 legitimate, 104
* See page 233, on the subject of judges.
illegitimate; in rural France, 957 legitimate, 42 illegitimate; and in the whole of France, including the cities, 926 legitimate, and 73 illegitimate. So we may see how in this respect of illegitimate births Paris far outruns the rest of France. Observe how in rural France not one in nineteen is thus born, and how in Paris there is about one in four. These figures, I understand, are from the tables of Réné Lafabrègue, director of the foundling hospital in the department of the Seine, which includes Paris. My French acquaintance, who finds these statistics for me, says that in this foundling hospital there were formerly turningboxes to receive children abandoned by their parents. These were so arranged that the mother or person depositing the child was not seen; but the city of Paris suppressed these long ago, thinking that they gave too much facility to mothers to abandon their children. My acquaintance adds that it has since been observed that infanticides have increased, so that there has been talk of re-establishing the tours, or boxes.
In the same building at the Exposition-I think it was that of anthropological sciences-there were some striking charts, showing the proportion of persons of two different ages who could not read and write in the department of the Yonne. In that department, out of every hundred males over twenty years of age, seventy-three (dropping the decimal) could read and write; and out of every hundred females, fifty-nine could read and write! Now, if we take those under twenty years of age, we shall see what progress has been made. Out of every hundred males between six and twenty, eighty-two knew how to read and write in 1872; and of every hundred females, eighty; the gain being much greater in proportion among the females.
Wednesday, July 24th.-I breakfast again, a parting visit, with the French gentleman and his wife before mentioned, who live patriarchally beyond one of the octroi gates of Paris. To-morrow is to be the opening day of the International Congress of Women; and madame laughingly says that those who attend are those who have thrown their caps over the mills. I do not understand this, and monsieur, her husband, gets a volume of the French Academy's dictionary, whence we learn that it is those who have braved the proprieties. Imagine a lot of French peasant-women in the north throwing their caps over the windmills!
The question of judges being elected is again up, and Mr. P., my host, tells me that there are certain judges to decide points in trade, who are elected; but not by the people at large. In general, judges are appointed by the president on the proposition of the minister of justice. All judges of civil cases are irremovable; they are pensioned off at about the age of seventy.
July 25th, 1878.-Observing lately some of the elegant omnibus-horses, I am told by the conductor that the horses of the omnibus company of Paris are only obliged to travel two hours a day. He adds that every carriage has twelve horses.
Yesterday I went on an errand into an old part of Paris, taking an omnibus from the Madeleine church to the Porte St. Martin, which structure appears to commemorate some of the deeds of Ludovico Magno, or Louis XIV. Then I walk down the Rue St. Martin to the Rue Chapon, and here I am in that quarter called the marais, or swamp. On the Rue St. Martin, at a corner, is the Church of St. Nicholas les Champs, the most weather-beaten church that