Eugene Pottier 1875

Request for Admission to the Freemasons

Source: Eugène Pottier, Chants Révolutionnaires (second edition), Paris, Bureau de Comité Pottier, [n.d.];
Translated: by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike)

New York, December 2, 1875

I request to participate in the labors of Freemasonry and to be admitted to your Lodge.

I know that it is composed of a group of free thinkers who, having made a clean slate of tradition and recognizing nothing higher than human reason, conscientiously apply theirs to the search for Truth and Justice.

Like you I believe that the happiness of Humanity can have no other basis. Science, freed from any dogmatic fetters, marches every day towards the discovery of the laws of our nature, and in this way prepares the social code. Humanity, in order to enter its normal path, must create itself in our own image, that is, become like man, one and multiple: one by action, multiple by his organs.

This transformation of universal conflict into universal harmony can only occur in a phase of real equality. Not the false equality of rights, but the equality of enlightenment and well-being.

These few words will serve as my profession of faith, and I believe that my life proves their sincerity.

I was born in Paris October 4, 1816, of a pious mother and a Bonapartist father. At the school of the Brothers until age 10, and primary school until 12, it is to my readings as a young man that I owe my having been able to get out of that dual rut without getting stuck in them.

In 1832 I was a republican, and in 1840 a socialist. I took obscure part in the February and June revolutions of 1848.

After the coup d'état of December 4 I remained intransigent: coming to terms with the assassins of the Law is prostituting yourself.

After more than 30 years as a proletarian, I set up us a designer in 1864. Industrial designers did not then have a union. At my instigation they founded one that had 500 members before the war and which joined en bloc the federation of the International.

It was thanks to my cooperation in this movement that I owed being elected member of the Commune in the second arrondissement. I exercised the functions of mayor until May 28. After the capture of the town hall by the Versaillais I retreated to the eleventh arrondissement.

I had accepted without reservations the program of the revolution of March 18:

Autonomy of the Commune,
Emancipation of the worker.

Throughout that period I believe that I fulfilled my duties.

In that struggle where all devoted citizens lost their lives or their liberty, I consider myself lucky to not have lost my fortune. I passed two years in exile in London and two years in Boston, attempting through work to honor my poverty and my proscription.

It was in Paris, in the final days of the struggle, that I saw, amid transports of enthusiasm, the grandiose spectacle of Freemasonry joining the Commune and planting its banners of our walls blasted by cannonballs. It was then that I swore to one day be a comrade in that worker’s phalanx.

I present myself to its construction site.

Hire me!

Eugene Pottier
238 East 30 St.