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turn, all made their appearance on the steps of the The news of the proceedings which have just entrance doorway, from which General Trochu been related reached the besiegers in an exagand M. Jules Favre addressed short speeches to the gerated and distorted form, and raised their populace, thanking them for the confidence they expectations of a speedy capture of the city. had shown in them by that day's voting. On the Internal discord had from the first been reckoned following morning the official announcement of upon by Count von Bismarck as a powerful ally; the result of the plebiscitum showed that 321,373 and it may therefore be easily understood that the had voted Yes, against 53,585 No. The voting of intelligence of the outbreak after the surrender of the army, which was not included in the above, Metz was received with great satisfaction, which was subsequently published, with the following was, however, followed by disappointment when results: 236,623 Yes, against 9053 No; giving a the actual truth came to be known. general total of 557,996 Yes, against 62,618 No, To the great bulk of the French community being as nearly as possible at the rate of nine to this futile attempt at open rebellion brought a one. By order of the government, in the course positive relief. The fact of its utter failure secured of the day about a dozen of the leaders in the them to a certain extent against the efforts of the proceedings of the 31st were arrested, amongst disaffected, and by means of the plebiscite afforded them Citizen Felix Pyat, who was at once con- an opportunity of placing General Trochu and his ducted to the Conciergerie. Citizens Flourens colleagues more firmly in their seats. Backed by and Blanqui succeeded in concealing themselves. the universal suffrages of the citizens, the proviA decree appeared in the Journal Officiel appoint- sional government had now real claims to general ing General Clement Thomas commander-in-chief respect, and was enabled to proclaim that henceof the national guard, in place of General Tami- forth it would not permit "a minority to attack sier, who had been severely injured in the tumult the rights of the majority, and by defying the laws, of the 31st.
to become the effective allies of Prussia.”
The Provisional Government at Tours and the Fall of Metz-Imprudent Proclamation charging Marshal Bazaine with Treason-Bad Feeling
caused by it in the Army—Protest of the Moniteur against the Proclamation and its Reasons for the “ betrayal" of France-Reception of the News of the Capitulation in other parts of France-General Feeling in the North that it was useless to attempt to continue the Struggle after such a Disaster, and Efforts made there to bring about Peace—The Actual Position of Affairs at this Time-Patriotic Addresses and Promises of Resistance from other parts of France-Strange Proceedings of the “League of the South "-Divisions, and Distrust of the Republic in many Quarters—The Energetic Exertions of M. Gambetta—The Capitulation of Metz most fortunate for the Germans—Improvement in the French Troops and slight Successes on their Side- The German Commander arranges for raising the Siege of Paris if necessary—Capture of Dijon by Von Werder— The German Mistake as to the Strength of the French Army of the Loire-Hesitation of its Commander— The Actual Condition of that Army at this time-Its strange medley of Uniforms and ArmsQualifications of General d'Aurelles de Paladine for its Command–His Strict Discipline and its Beneficial Results—He resolves to attempt to annihilate the Bavarian Force in and around Orleans—Repulse of a Bavarian Reconnoitring Party on November 6—The French prepare to assume the Offensive-Retreat of Von der Tann from Orleans—The Battle of Coulmiers—General Description of the Engagement, Fierceness of the German resistance at Baccon—They are at last compelled to retreat and leave the French Masters of the FieldGeneral Review of the Engagement and its Results—Energetic Measures of Von Moltke to prevent the expected March of the French on Paris–M. Gambetta visits the French Camp and issues a Proclamation of Thanks to the Troops—The Mistake of the French in not following up their Victory-General Paladine's Reasons for refusing to Advance — Temporary Alarm of the German Headquarters—The Operations in the North of France under General Manteuffel-Capture of Verdun after a Prolonged and Determined Resistance-Bombardment and Capitulation of Thionville and La Fère- The Germans advance to Amiens- Great Battle near the City on November 27—Defeat of the French after a most Obstinate Struggle— Retreat of the French from Amiens and the Entry of the Germans—Vain Attempt to defend the City by the Commandant of the Citadel.
On receipt of intelligence of the fall of Metz, the demagogue holding no office, and without any Provisional Government at Tours seem to have feeling of responsibility, were inexcusable in the been lost in rage and humiliation. Assuming leaders of a great nation. It would seem, indeed, that Metz could have held out, and that Bazaine as if the government were eager to accuse, lest had betrayed it to the enemy, they issued an they should themselves be accused. It was of imprudent proclamation, declaring that he had them that France had a right to demand why, " committed treason,” had made himself the accom- during their six weeks' tenure of power, nothing plice of the “ man of Sedan,” had been guilty of whatever had been done or attempted to relieve “crime beyond the reach even of the chastise- Metz. They had allowed the
Metz. They had allowed the enemy to go where ments of justice;” and that the “ army of France, they liked outside Paris, and to besiege and deprived of its national character, had unknowingly capture such towns as seemed best to them. Not become the instrument of a reign of servitude.” a single victory or success of importance had the So great was the irritation created among officers republic yet obtained; and fearing lest it should by this proclamation, that on the following day be asked of them why Metz had been allowed to fall the Tours government issued another to the effect, unaided, after a siege of ten weeks, the government that the soldiers were “deceived, not dishonoured;" apparently hastened to throw the blame upon the that “those who called them accomplices were generals who commanded. Their accusation succalumniators;" that “ their brothers of the army ceeded with the mass, whose favourite cry was of the Rhine have already protested against the ever treachery, but it lost them much of the respect cowardly attempt, and have withdrawn their hands and confidence of intelligent France. with horror from the accursed capitulation”— The effect of the proclamation on the army was which, considering they were not asked to sign, pernicious. The serious difficulties which the sevbut only to submit to it, and did submit, was not eral commanders had to encounter in maintaining very intelligible. Altogether, the conduct of this discipline, proved that the soldiers were not so well government at Tours was not fitted to reassure disposed to obey and confide in their chiefs that the public. M. Gambetta and his companions, the minister of War could afford thus to inspire in fact, forgot at the time that they occupied the them with mistrust. Admiral Fourichon refused position of ministers of France, and that language to sign the proclamation. A triumvirate of three and behaviour which might be pardonable in a civilians it was that brought the accusation against Bazaine—the soldier who had fought the battles drilled and armed, whom it seemed vain, as well as inost honourable to France during the campaign, cruel, to send against the tried and successful warwho gave breathing time to Paris to fortify itself, riors of Prussia; and many who had been hopeful who had occupied 250,000 of the enemy's troops till then now cried for peace. Winter was apfor two months and a half, who had held out until proaching, which would tell, indeed, against the forced by famine to surrender—and that accusation invader, but would also aggravate the sufferings was recklessly urged without inquiry and without of the poorer classes of Frenchmen. The harvest knowledge. The army was indignant that no
had been bad, the fields in many places cut up efforts, no bravery, no sacrifices were accounted by the struggles of embattled hosts; trade and of in the moment of a reverse, and that the men commerce were almost destroyed; rinderpest was who were trumpeted as heroes one day should be spreading with alarming rapidity among the cattle; denounced as traitors the next. The Moniteur, and the requisitions of the Germans became more without mentioning the proclamation itself, in- onerous every day. In the north of France, where dignantly protested against this cry of "treason” this feeling of apprehension especially prevailed, being raised upon the occasion of every misfortune. an appeal to the members of the provincial counWe have been betrayed, indeed, it said, but cils was circulated in favour of peace. This docunot as the multitude imply, by one or more indi- ment stated that, as the ministry had postponed the viduals, who have sold us to the enemy for some elections till the retreat of the enemy, while Prussia pieces of money, but by the incapacity and care- would only conclude peace with a government lessness of most of those who have exercised an empowered by the nation; and that as these coninfluence upon the success of the war, either in flicting views might prolong the war, it behoved declaring it, or preparing for it, or conducting it. men of influence, such as those composing the The sovereign first was betrayed, a little by the councils, to meet, and send a petition or deputareports of his ambassadors and marshals, much tion to the government, urging the importance of by his own blindness, his obstinacy before the taking immediate steps to enable the nation to hostilities had commenced, and his indecision declare either for peace, or for the continuation afterwards. The generals have been betrayed by of the war, if the Prussian conditions should be their incapacity, and by the disorganization of deemed unacceptable. * One must place justice the administration, and by the negligence of their higher even than patriotism,” the circular prosubordinates. The inferior officers have been ceeded, “and must confess that it was France betrayed by the vices of an organization, which which, badly influenced, declared war against doubtless it was not their place to reform; but Prussia, and that, had the fortune of war been they have been betrayed also by their too great so favourable to it that its armies had penetrated confidence, by the insufficiency of their military to Berlin, it would scarcely have made peace knowledge and preparatory studies. The soldiers, except on a rectification of frontier at the expense in their turn, have been betrayed by the bad tactics of Germany. France, therefore, should not deem of their chiefs ; but they have betrayed themselves it unreasonable if Prussia to-day makes the same frequently by their insubordination and undis- demand, as long as it restricts it within reasonable cipline. Let us examine and correct ourselves, limits. They will not be humbled who submit and we shall be no longer betrayed.
to a peace, but rather those senseless people who, Throughout the country the news of the fall of in their mad pride and presumptuous patriotism, Metz was variously received, and to many French-approved the war, and contributed to its being men, chiefly in the northern departments, it appeared declared.” hopeless to continue the war after so terrible a mis- The tone of several of the northern papers was fortune, following on the crushing blows that had in somewhat similar strain. The Courrier du Havre descended on the nation. Almost the last regular
Almost the last regular exclaimed : “ Peace! That is the cry which at army of any importance which France possessed this moment millions of voices raise in all quarters had been handed over to the enemy, with
of the earth, as well as in down-trodden France; and munitions of war that could not easily be in Germany, intoxicated with unexpected triumph, replaced. Of the fighting men who remained the in intelligent England, in practical America, in majority were raw troops, hastily raised, imperfectly far-sighted Russia, in loyal Spain, and in Italy,
where war is still fresh in people's recollection. | pects, from alınost every part of France except Everywhere this cry is raised to the Almighty, the north addresses were sent to Tours, assuring and seeks to make heaven gracious, seeing that the government of support, and declaring that the the leaders of the peoples are without mercy.” population were ready to die rather than surrender, The Journal de Fécamp, commenting on this or accept a dishonourable peace. At Marseilles article, said : “ Yes ; conquered and humbled the body styling itself the League of the South France desires and demands peace. All resist- issued a manifesto; concluding with a decree that, ance is for the future unavailing. It will only in all the departments which have adhered to the add new hecatombs of a million of corpses League, all citizens must hold themselves in readi. to the million of corpses mouldering on the ness to quit their homes at the first summons, and fields of Wissembourg, Reichshofen, Jaumont, and to march under the standards of the republic Sedan. We are conquered, scattered, as a nation against Prussian and monarchical despotism. “ The has never been before. Let us cease to delude point of rendezvous for the national forces will ourselves with new hopes, and to calculate on an be the city of Valence and the surrounding plains. impossible resistance. We are honourably con
We are honourably con- The delegates of the co-operating departments are quered. Our army, which is no more, has made designated as general commissioners of the League heroic exertions. It has even won the respect of of the South. They will traverse the departments the victor. Honour is saved. We are conquered. to preach a holy war, to call together republican Let us humble ourselves.
assume the committees in the various localities, and to act dignity of misfortune. Silent and modest, let us in concert with them in order to effect, by all
possubmit. Peace, peace alone, which is everywhere sible means, a general uprising." The expense of demanded by all France, can save the country's equipping the forces of the League was to be met suture, by its men and resources being spared. In by public subscription, and the general commisview of the country's misfortune, we must at this sioners were to arrange with the republicans of each hour have the courage to bow our necks, and sue department for the election of cantonal delegates, for peace."
who should attend the general assembly of the Looking to the heroic efforts subsequently put League of the South at Marseilles, on November forth by Frenchmen on the Loire, or even by those 5. The document concluded by saying, that in the northern departments themselves, such lan- “ In the name of the republic, one and indivisible, guage appears craven and unpatriotic; but a calm the members of municipal and administrative review of the situation at this time could hardly bodies owe the most energetic assistance, as citifail to excite the most anxious fear for the future zens, to the members of the League of the South, of France. The war had been begun with 400,000 created for the defence of the republic, and to men, ready for service, with some 1200 field-pieces, their representatives. Done at Marseilles, October, and with two first-class fortresses on the frontier 1870." to support the operations: 100,000 men killed and It would have been better for France had these wounded had fallen, and 300,000 were prisoners. southern republicans seen, that the safety of their The 1200 field guns had nearly all been captured, country at this painful crisis depended not so and the fortresses had surrendered; the emperor much upon the promulgation of the republic, as and his imperial guard were in the enemy's upon unity of co-operation with the government hands, the most experienced officers wounded or of “ National Defence," and the sinking of all prisoners; and would France, with a third of its political predilections until the common enemy had territory occupied, be able with raw levies to turn been overthrown. M. Gambetta himself, however, the tide which had swept away its veteran army? had set the example of so mixing up republicanism The loss of men sustained by the Germans in actual with his measures for national defence that, of the fighting was not greater than that of the French, two, he frequently appeared to be holding up while the balance of prisoners was enormously in rather the banner of the revolution than that of their favour. It would be next to a miracle if the France; which led one of the most influential raw levies of France could chase away the invader, papers, referring to his proclamation after the or even long hold him in check.
surrender of Metz, to remark, “ It is the republic, In spite, however, of such discouraging pros- one and indivisible, that must be greeted before everything. One and indivisible! And how are however, though not generally loved for itself, you to avoid the division of the territory when was accepted as representing, for the time being, you scatter broadcast divisions in hearts and the principle of nationality and the determination minds, by charging with treason all those who to fight; and with the majority the Provisional do not bow the knee before you, or who destroy, Government, up to the present time (November), even unintentionally, your calculations and your had gained rather than lost in popularity by its lies?” The article went on to observe that, while determination not to lower the national flag. Gambetta was stigmatizing Bazaine as a traitor, Men argued that France was lost if she permitted a Marseilles club was condemning Gambetta as a herself to be disheartened, even by such a successcoundrel. “How," it was asked, “could any sion of defeats as those she had endured ; and new form of government be permanently established no people that values its own historic reputation in the midst of such revolting confusion? or what can blame them for so thinking. M. Gambetta chance existed of the struggle being effectively car- became the most influential man in the Provisional ried on against the invasion ?" A French clerical Government, because he was the most earnest in paper, the Union, also speaking of the sarcasm devising means for continuing the war. Being implied in the words “one and indivisible," when minister of the Interior as well as of the departcompared with the distracted state of the country, ment of War he had, by the authority of the said that “at this moment it would be betraying government in Paris, been invested with two votes our country not to tell the truth. Every day in the Ministerial Council of Tours. He thus which is passing is only deepening the abyss into acquired nearly dictatorial powers; for unless all which we are plunged. Resistance to the enemy
the other three voted against him-a not very is weak; the Prussian flood is still rising, and likely circumstance—his will would be law. The anarchy is extending its ravages more and more. present and succeeding chapters will show with There are two governments, one at Paris, the what almost frantic energy he used this power. other at Tours. The investment of the capital The national defence during the autumn and renders concert impossible, and the official bulletin winter was mainly due to him; and though the is exposed to registering contradictory decisions. prolonged and agonizing struggle was destined to There exists at Marseilles a revolutionary power, fail, the endeavour cannot be said to have been which is self-constituted, and oppresses a noble utterly vain, for, as we shall presently show, city; Lyons has again become a free town in this France was never so near victory during the whole sense, that as the violent administration of that course of the war, as in the autumn months that great city only breathes demagogic ardour, it is followed the capitulation of Metz. free from everything which restrained it. In The internal state of the country being so almost all our departments there is a tendency unsettled, the prospects of France in entering on among the prefects to obey Paris or Tours as little another stage of the war, were thus far from as possible. The country is on the way to being cheering. On the one side were the hosts of covered with governments, and all this being Germany, by this time flushed with their unbroken developed alongside the Prussian invasion. These successes, and, confident in their skilful generals, are frightful complications which have no name their splendid organization, their enormous in political language."
sources, and their perfect discipline and equipment, There was a great deal of truth in all this, regarding themselves as invincible. On the other though it is difficult to say that any one in parti- side were the half-formed armies of France, concular was responsible for the state of semi-anarchy sisting for the most part of men who knew nothing that prevailed. In fact, when it is considered of actual war, who had never been under fire, that France had now been two months without who had little confidence in themselves and less any definite ruling power, and that nowhere in the in their leaders; who in many instances were world is faction so general, it seems almost a poorly furnished with the necessary weapons, wonder to find order or unity of action present at and some of whom seemed to think that little all. As a rule, the artizans supported a republic, more was needed in meeting the enemy than to while the peasantry and trading classes were in cry “Long live the Republic.” As we shall see, favour of some form of monarchy. The republic, however, in their future struggles they displayed