The Paris Commune 1871

Letter from Garibaldi

Source: L’ Affranchi, April 5, 1871;
Translated: from the original for by Mitch Abidor.


Thank you for the honor of my nomination to the command of the National Guard of Paris, which I love, and whose glory and dangers I'd be proud to share.

Nevertheless, I owe you the following considerations:

A commandant of the Paris National Guard, a commandant of the army of Paris, and a leadership committee, whatever they might be, are three powers that cannot be reconciled with France’s current situation.

Despotism has an advantage over us in the concentration of power, and it is such a concentration that you should oppose to your enemies.

Choose an honest citizen, something which you don’t lack: Victor Hugo, Louis Blanc, Félix Pyat, as well as Edgar Quinet and other doyens of radical democracy can serve you. Generals Cremer and Billot, who I see have your confidence, can also be counted in this number.

Remember though that only one man should be charged with the supreme post and with full power. This man will choose other honest men to assist him in the difficult task of saving the country. And if you have the honor of finding a Washington, France in a short time will raise itself up from its shipwreck greater than ever.

These conditions aren’t an excuse to shirk my obligation to serve Republican France. No! I don’t despair at all of fighting myself at the side of these brave men. I am

Your truly,

G. Garibaldi