Coeurderoy and Vauthier, “The Barrier of the Combat” (1852)

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The Barrier of the Combat,
or the last great assault which has just been engaged between the citizens Mazzini, Ledru-Rollin, Louis Blanc, Étienne Cabet, Pierre Leroux, Martin Nadaud, Malarmet, A. Bianchi (de Lille) and other Hercules of the north.
Ernest Cœurderoy and Octave Vauthier
Bruxelles, 1852


This was written long ago. The slight impact made by the manifestos of Mazzini, Ledru, L. Blanc and their companions had at first discouraged us from publishing it.
After the meeting of the outcasts of the Seine, who had taken refuge in London, which took place on June 13, we could no longer hush up what we believed it useful to say.
We have changed nothing of what you are going to read; we have added this epigraph pulled from the Saltimbanques: IT MUST BEEEEEE!!!
London, June 1852.


            Il le faaallait!!!!
(Les Saltimbanques.)
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from les brambles?”
            (Gospel of Matthew.)
When the Revolution is ready to emerge from the womb of humanity, the two opposing terms of the social problem emerge, facing one another, and the an-archy that seethes in the bowels of the people should lead the madness for power in the cracked brains of those who claim to lead them.
The struggle is thus engaged, hand to hand, inexorable, for it can only end with the destruction of one of the two forces
That is where we are.
A breathless France must have, at the present hour, either the empire to take it in hand or the liberty to emancipate it.
Every neutral system has become unbearable to it.
It is bored with the eunuchs who, for sixty years, made it turn in the tight circle of their constitutional reforms.
In the end, either the people must reign unconditionally, or they must abdicate.
Coco Romieu was seized by a luminous inspiration when he predicted to the surprised politicians the coming of the Caesars.
Well, here they are! They all cry: “The European democracy has no need of a Caesar.”
And yet, if they agitate, if they compete so much, it is because each of them hopes to raise himself to supreme power over his downcast adversaries.
It is only that at base.
It is very truly a question of humanity, of its destiny, of the reign of justice on earth; and it is a question of pointing out on the horizon of the world the black point whether the storm gathers, from which will come the lightning, shattering everything, scattering everything, in order to make harmony flow from this chaos of debris.
They do not see so far, these rhetoricians of the late empire engaged in vain discussions for supremacy over the sound of the crackling of a crumbling world.
Take you time, your eminences; what’s your hurry? The Revolution ground you to powder, presumptuous Phaetons, the day you tried your hand at driving it.
You are dead and well dead. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dance, fools, dance!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Step right up, you showy bourgeois, overworked re-vo-lu-tion-aries[1], socialist martyrs, exhausted Romans of the old republican theater, you who love to listen to the toothless lions and masturbated tigers snarl; you who take pleasure in seeing the rabbits beat the drums, the clever hares shoot pistols, and china dogs fence with wooden swords.
Step right up, tenderhearted ladies; there will be no dead, no wounded; blood will not flow; it is nothing but a blackguarding.
That’s the spectacle that begins!!!
Enter, enter, follow the crowd, you’ll only pay at the exit, and if you are satisfied.
There‘s something for all tastes:
Do you want action? Here’s the actionnaire.[2] — Devoured by ambition, dried-up, sallow and feverish, — forehead creased with anxiety, the eye bright with a dark fire, — the attitude ascetic, — the hand contorted on its pen or on the handle of a stylus: it is Mazzini the monk; Man, Pope and God; Italy, Europe, Humanity.
Do you want government? Help yourself! — Tiny body, vast ability, — subtle mind, narrow view, — abundance of style, absence of general observations, — leader of the lead workers, Napoleon of labor, — shocking denial of the physical and intellectual equality dreamed of by his accomplice Cabet, at once governor and servant, — communist and proprietor, — fraternal and selfish, — Montagnard and socialist, — revolutionary and doctrinaire, — vain and intelligent, — pitiful heroes of March 17, April 16, May 15 and June 23, — at once the Thiers and the Guizot of the party: that is Louis Blanc.
Do you want humanity? Here is the man. — It is brother Pierre and his brother Jules Leroux, inviting us all to be brothers, and circulating with his triad.
Would you go to Icaria? Let’s go. —Presumptuous zero — spoil-sauce writer — political porter — reformer-grocer, bending under a brutal level the intelligence, the heart/feelings, and the figure of all men; weighing, in its inflexible balance, the ration of his faithful children — prison warden driving with his stick his colony of convicts — inscrutable oracle — veiled Vestal before which the flock of Icarus kneel: — There is Môossieu Étienne Cabet.
Go on, old rebut, return to your shop; sell in peace your tasteless foodstuffs, and roll some cones equal to the Républicain Social “written by the people” and you.
Do you like departmental socialism? They put it in everything. — In fact, a little grain of departmental socialism can’t hurt anything; if it does no good, it can do no harm, — just like the national guard of Louis-Philippe. — What is the man, a little bit concerned with the future of his country, who has not dreamed of departmental socialism? The need for it has made itself generally felt; it was in the most profound aspirations of the thinkers. No doubt you will ask us what is departmental socialism? What is its formula? Its reason for being? Its means? Its aim? Dame! Those are not our concern; stop by the office of the editor-in-chief. For us, seekers of truth, the name of departmental socialism is enough for our happiness. It is unknown, that is true; it is only a fetus, we are forced to admit it; it still has no form, nor color, nor physical properties; it is even insipid, we agree; perhaps it will not live? Who knows! But, in the end, it exists, and we are convinced that that from this day on there will not be a pas montagnard or socialist manifesto will be made which does not have its little nuance of departmental socialism.
departmental socialism, we tell you, will come eventually. And to get well started and prevent all counterfeiting, it is good that the public be warned that departmental socialism has been created and brought into the world by the citizen A. Bianchi,[3] of Lille (Nord).
Now that you know the personages, we will tear off the masks! “There should be no secrets or reservations from peoples and powers. He disgraces himself and fails in respect for his fellows, who, in publishing his opinions, employs evasion and cunning.”[4]
You do not want to deliver, future dictators; well! we will lay you out on the dissection table and carry out the Cesarean operation.
By summoning you one after the other at the bar of your highest tribunals you have carelessly delivered your cases to us.
Here is what the Revolution finds there:
In yours, Mr. Mazzini:
1° That you have established yourself as an authority, against French socialism, — which fits, moreover, your habits, — public prosecutor of we know not what bastard Republic, unlike anything ever seen except in Rome while you were all-powerful;
2° That your accusations are so badly coordinated that they are destroyed by one another;
3° That with an entirely southern luxury of empty synonyms you have accused socialism of Revelation, Materialism, Skepticism, Cosmopolitanism and Egoism.
— Of Revelation! Because it “has claimed to produce, at a fixed hour, from isolated minds, an organization which could be produced only by the cooperation of all human faculties.”
— Of Materialism! Because it “has repeated with Bentham and Volney that life is the search for happiness.”
— Of Skepticism! “because it has dried up the sources of faith in the heart of the worker.”
— Of vague Cosmopolitanism! “because it has weakened, destroyed the national sentiment.”
— And finally, of Egoism! because, “with Proudhon, it has denied all government.”
Therefore, pronouncing through us, who only record its ruling, the Revolution condemns you:
Whereas the Humanitary Revelation is made, as socialism affirms, by a succession of individual revelations.
If God is God, humanity cannot be his prophet, as you yourself affirm. So follow the evolution of your own thought, and you will learn that before an idea appears complete in the mind, each special faculty of the intelligence reveals as aspect of it, that it is only after these individual operations that the synthesis is accomplished.
Open the history of philosophy and you will read there on every page that the revelators that you speak out against have played, with regard to societies, the same role that each part of your brain plays with regard to the whole.
One does not deny so rudely themselves, and history, and the life which beats in the arteries, and the ashes of the revelators sown along the path of time!…..
The Revolution condemns you:
Whereas, in order that a man can live by love and intelligence, it is necessary for him not to be killed first by hunger.
Observe more, and, if you want to make an experiment which will depart from your habits, your will know that when the stomach has suffered a long time the brain is nearly empty and the heart is full of hate.
One does not so comfortably deny the raft of the Medusa!!…
The Revolution condemns you:
Whereas without skepticism, there is no affirmation.
Humanity, every time that it works on an idea, begins by examining everything anew and by doubting everything; thus it repudiates the past and rises only on its rubble to an affirmation in closer relation to the needs of the times.
Consider then: do you have your ideas of eight years ago?… If you have preserved them, we pity you. The man who has repudiated nothing, has never affirmed anything: he is a cretin.
One does not deny so positively Socrates, Jesus, Jan Hus and the Revolution of ‘93!!!
The Revolution condemns you:
Whereas the vague cosmopolitanism of which you speak, it is the solidarity between men.
A principle either is or is not. When it is admitted, it must be exaggerated to the limits. We must, when we accept liberty, apply it only to the individual, and when we accept solidarity, to only apply it to humanity. An individual cannot, by their puny individuality, compromise the humanitary order; a family, a nation may take a very great influence to put it in peril.
Read again: on what does your act of accusation turn if it is not on the too-great influence that, for sixty years, France has exerted on the destinies of humanity.
One does not deny so clumsily, when one is made public prosecutor, the basis on which the accusation rests!!!!
The Revolution condemns you:
Whereas individualism, or selfishness, if you prefer, is the natural motive of men.
If individuals can make society as they wish, society cannot remake individuals. It is thus from the individual that we must begin to organize society, from liberty in order to determine solidarity, from right in order to make order reign. In a similar social body, individuals asserting themselves and making themselves respected, duty no longer has a reason to be: it is a word to erase from the human vocabulary.
Listen: “We have a thirst for authority — the people must have confidence in some authority — we all seek authority.”
In the end, isn’t it you who comes again to dictate their duties to democracy?
One does not deny so brazenly the despotism of the Bonapartes and the ambition of the Mazzinis!!!!!
Let us take up the dossiers again.
Your turn, Louis Blanc, Pierre Leroux, Étienne Cabet and consorts. At first inspection the Revolution condemns you:
Because, speaking in the name of France, you have expressed yourself like the Chauvins that you are.
Because, speaking in the name of socialism, you have expressed yourself like the communists and propertarians that you still are.
We want to read you the reasons for judgment.
For you, there is only one people: the Frrrench people.
Only one politics: — the politics of France.
Only one history: — the history of France.
Only one revolutionary tradition: — the revolutionary tradition of France.
Only one glory: — the glory of France.
Only one art, one science, one literature: — the art, science and literature of France.
Only one country on the globe, only one name in the annals of the world: — the French country and the Frrrench name.
Yes, you are chauvinists, Frrrenchmen, and you must be from Pontoise, from Pézénas, from Brives-la-Gaillarde, unless you are by chance from Quimper-Corentin.
Thus, the other dogs do not have their reason to be, their history, their action, their genius! Thus they are mute instruments in the social concert!
The man who believes himself stronger than his fellows, soon despises them, puts is foot on their throat and creates a vacuum around him: this is Tiberius, Nero, Louis XI, Loyola or Robespierre.
Just so the nation foolish enough to diminish the others in its own thought, would inevitably become the Attila of the universe. Marching everywhere its armies eager for carnage, its instruments of destruction, its blazing torches, it would raze monuments, burn masterpieces and archives, and would sit enthroned, overwhelmed and without point of reference, on the abyss.
Is that the role you dream of for France? Do you want its name to be loathed and cursed, with good cause, by all peoples? Too often, alas! it was driven down that unhappy path:
— By Louis XIV! with whom it ravaged Europe in order to beg some strips of ground and import some Bourbons in Spain.
— By the republic! with which, under pretext of defending itself against allied Europe and of freeing the peoples, it imposed liberty like tyrants impose le despotism, carving up, organizing, and regulating, without taking account of places or customs, sowing along its devastating route some Republics made in its image, and giving its generals these inflexible orders: “Sign no treat until after the consolidation of the sovereignty and independence of the people in the territory which the troops of the Republic will enter, after they have adopted the principles of Equality and established a free, popular government.”
And there are people of boast of this!!!
— By Napoleon!
“……………… through Earth that name explore!
That name! ’tis mark’d in characters of gore,
From Tanais’ borders unto Kedar’s height,
On bronze and marble, on the valiant breast,
And on the hearts of bands of slaves oppress’d
Under his car, in fright!”[5]
And also the name of France.
“The initiative of France! They are blind who do not see it. It is written in lines of flame, in letters of blood on the surface of the globe, from the Pyramids to the Kremlin………………..”
But we stop ourselves… These lines of flame and these letters of blood disgust us.
— By the Restoration! which, after having dragged her through Spain, let itself be dragged by her under the ramparts of Algiers.
— By Louis-Philippe, the merchant! under whom it made the ridiculous expeditions of Antwerp and Ancona, while she attended, motionless, execution of Poland; under whom it persisted in that impious conquest of Africa, disgrace of the 19th century, which is only equaled by the poisoning of China and the organized pillage of the two Indias.
— By the provisional government! with which it disowned liberty everywhere.
— By Bonaparte! who led it to Rome to raise up the Holy Father, by the force of bayonets.
We do not see its mission like you do. There is in France an opposing minority which has a genius for expansion, an immense need for sociability and love, which will inevitably lead the nation to lose itself in the bosom of humanity.
Look everywhere: this is not the France that one admires; reduced, despised even for all the crimes that we have just enumerated. It is its manners, its ideas, its creations of luxury and art which penetrates and is assimilated in all parts of the world; it is its language which is spoken in Saint Petersburg as in Rome and which Mr. Mazzini himself adopts. All that is propagated by a few individual efforts and talents.
Admit then that the body of the nation dissolves; its spirit alone glides. It is the river which loses itself in the immensity of the sea.
Within a century, there will no longer be a French nation; humanity will grow from its ashes
But please, do not establish a cause-and-effect relationship that does not exist; do not confuse the little group of French humanitaires with the chauvinist, boastful nation of France, which is in love with itself and is above all Gascon.
Say that this imperceptible minority has always fought for the solidarity of peoples; say that Lafayette, Carrel, Laviron, Barbès, Raspail, to name no others, were the soldiers of that principle; say that the aborted manifestations of May 15 and June 13 have been enterprises to sustain that idea, and you will be in the right
But do not say that it is the nation. The nation! Do you know where it has always been? It was with the conquering armies of the Republic; with it Convention, which refused aid to exhausted Poland, under the pretext that Kościuszko was born a gentleman; it was at Saint-Domingue, in Italy, at Zaragoza; it raised some columns and triumphal arcs to its great emperor; it was in Spain, with the Duke of Angoulême; in Africa, with Bourmont, Bugeaud, Changarnier, Cavaignac, Lamoricière and Pelissier; it fired some cannon shots and pyrotechnics in honor of the taking of Antwerp; it demanded with loud cries the boundaries of the Rhine; it allowed Poland to be sacrificed; it entered Rome with the Duke of St. Pancras.
The nation! It approved the poetic manifesto of Lamartine, and the flat refusal that its powerless representation sent, on May 15, to the aroused peoples by voting: “the liberation of Poland, the independence of Italy and the fraternal pact with Germany.” It was always solidary in words, oppressive in actions.
You plead extenuating circumstances. — A pitiful defense! — A nation, you say, is not responsible for the acts of its government. What!… a nation which lets itself be made policeman, jailer or executioner of the others, isn’t it an accomplice of those that lead it? who then pays for all that?
Let President Bonaparte declare war against England tomorrow, and the whole nation would race to the shores of the Channel, as it rushed to Palestine in the time of the crusades.
And you, Gentlemen, protected by English hospitality, what would you do?… Our ears are full of your screams each day, and we blush to say it . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If you were content to be Chauvins…; but you have done more: you have been communists and propertarians.
You have denied everything that makes the glory, the strength and the right to live of socialism. You still bow before all the principles on which the old society revolves; you have the pretention to demolish and reconstruct, and you work at most after the fashion of those workers of the national workshops, who move a wheelbarrow of earth.
Taking up again the pronouncement of its justice,
The Revolution condemns you:
Because, repudiating the government of M. Bonaparte, — you affirm that of Louis Blanc;
Repudiating the religions recognized by the State, — you affirm that of Pierre-Jules Leroux;
Repudiating the social organization of civilization, — you affirm that of Étienne Cabet;
Because, denying each individually, you affirm all together;
Because you always require property, the family, religion and morals; virtue, duty, devotion, sacrifice and martyrdom; interest on money, the code, the justice system, the army, customs and the police; the taxman, the policeman, the jailer, the snitch and the executioner.
You cannot be at once for God and for Mammon, for France and humanity, for the republic and the revolution, for politics and truth;
Because you do not dare to stand up to the selfish, bourgeois society of the 19th century, and say to it:
Your property! it is theft; it breeds theft — to destroy.
Your marriage! it is prostitution; it perpetuates prostitution — to destroy.
Your family! it is tyranny; it motivates tyranny — to destroy.
Your morality! it is mayhem; it reproduces mayhem — to destroy.
Your duty! it is suffering; it reflects suffering — to destroy.
Your religion! it is atheism; it gives rise to atheism — to destroy.
Your justice! it is injustice; it justifies injustice — to destroy.
Your order! it is disorder; it recreates disorder — to destroy.
Accursed society! Mechanism of iniquity! What efforts fraud and force have stored up to construct it! What efforts will be necessary to break the clockwork! What torment to live in your hell, when one glimpses our heaven!!
One word more. With Mr. Mazzini, there is only the scandal of your past friendship which could equal the scandal of your present rupture. What! You, brevet socialists, who would separate yourself dramatically from the Jacobin Ledru, you would throw yourself into the arms of the triumvirate of Rome, which always prides itself with repulsing socialism!
While the reputation of Mazzini grew in Europe, and you supposed his ambition limited to Italy, it seemed to you good policy to get close to him. On the contrary, the entirely French competition of Mr. Ledru-Rollin offended you.
Professional jealousy!
Now that the dictator of the Vatican openly poses his candidacy for the European papacy, now that the principle of individual liberty has invaded all, and that the governments go, you abandon your old friend to his misfortune and you give yourselves the trinitary embrace.
Hypocrisy of ambition!
May this ceremony succeed for you, MM. L. Blanc, Cabet and Pierre Leroux!!! As for us, we do not like to see men give each other the Lamourette-kiss.
While there is still time, stifle this project of the socialist union which you hold so much to heart and that you will never execute. That would be the point of departure for a new schism louder than all the others.
How would you get along?
Mr. Étienne Cabet maintains that needs are equal; Mr. L. Blanc, that they are proportional; — Mr. Pierre-Jules Leroux calls for freedom of instruction and religion; L. Blanc and Étienne Cabet, a religion and education of the State. — Mr. Étienne Cabet understands between men and women only an indissoluble union; L. Blanc and Pierre Leroux want to facilitate amorous liberty by divorce. — Mr. L. Blanc affirms that he must be crazy to attack property; Mr. Leroux is crazy enough to find it unjust.[6] — Mr. Étienne Cabet sings to us the methodical relaxations of Icaria; Mr. L. Blanc, the regulatory advantages of the social workshops; and Mr. Pierre-Jules Leroux, the charm of individual liberty.
And so on… That’s a new method for creating perfect agreements.
Let one analyze, let one turn, and turn again, let one dissect and let one squeeze the essence from your whole political jumble; let one go to the depths of all that you have said; let one makes the Mulots, father and son, descend into your most intimate thoughts, and we challenge them to bring back anything but that credo that you would like to impose on us:
“I believe in Étienne Cabet, the All-Powerful Father, who has not built Icaria in seven days; in Louis Blanc, his only son, your servant, who was conceived by Pierre-Jules Leroux, born of George Sand, always Virgin, has suffered under Cavaignac, has been condemned, is dead, but is not exactly buried; is descended into England, to regain there his senses and after three years to rebuild an Olympus where he is seated at the right hand of Étienne Cabet, the All-Powerful Father, from which he will return to France to oppress, in egalitarian fashion, the anarchists and reactionaries.
“I believe in Pierre and in Jules Leroux, in the holy community, in the socialist union, in the reconstruction of the social workshops, in the resurrection of Nauvoo, in the eternal circulation in humanity. Amen.”
And then?…
In truth, citizen-Caesars, you are greater despots than the Caesars ever were. You respect nothing:
Not the excellent intentions of your friend Pyat, who is not a Caesar and who, good Frrrenchman that he is, strives, alas! to make you all agree;
Not the good republic public which, by political profession, is forced to read you;
Not these admirable Belgian presses which, by social profession, are forced to print you;
Not the despair of that peaceful Mr. Potvin who, by his profession as a Belgian and a journalist, if forced to lament your dissensions, and, that at this rate, you will soon finish off.
And all that to teach us, what?
That MM. Blanc, Cabet, Leroux and consorts, and French and humanitarians — proprietors and communists — an-archists and dictators — monopolists and equals — atheists and deists — re-vo-lu-tion-a-ries and socialists — diplomats philosophers — revelators and governors, etc., etc.
We have long since know it.
That M. Mazzini is Italian, and European-aristocratic, and a demagogue — papist and anti-papist — conventional and constitutional — an-archist and monarchist — that he did not act in Savoy — that he did not act in Milan — that he did not act in Rome — that he will never act — that he commands no one — that he directs nothing — that he does not have a thread of conspiracy in his hands — that all of his tactics consists of enveloping himself in mystery, in transporting himself incognito from one point in Europe to another, — to assuming all the disguises — to run ragged all the postmen of Europe — finally, to make everyone, including himself, believe that he conspires.
Who then was unaware of that?…
That M. Ledru-Rollin, the most handsome of the Caesars, would rather be hung than not take part in this assault where all the contemporary democratic examples brawl; that he has arrived, as usual, in good health, full of good will, sweating, panting, out of breath, commanding attention with his majestic bearing, imposing silence with his voice of thunder, and letting fall from beneath his moustache these sacramental words: “Our fathers of the Convention were famous hearties! Love, reread, glorify, worship and deify our fathers of the Convention! It is they who discovered that sublime thought: “Everyone unite to save the Republic. Brothers!!! These words, which hold at once an expiation and a hope, remain constantly present to our minds; that they are the invocation of the morning, the inspiration of the day, the meditation of the evening; that each mouth repeats them; that every democrat conforms his acts to them…”
“My dear Pierre Leroux! Why do you mess up your hair like that? Do you want to scare your grandchildren? Remember that you are man-humanity, and that you are fragile as glass; take care against breaking!
“Excellent Louis Blanc! Do not fidget so. Be careful with your feeble organization; we have seen many others when we were in that hell of the provisional government, in company with Marrast who posed, with Arago who opposed, with Garnier-Pagès who imposed and with Lamartine who imposed them; it would truly require ill will on our part not to agree here.
“Virtuous Étienne Cabet! unflattered counterfeit of the wise Nestor, you who have said that we are all equals and brothers, do not kindle the fire, and do not seek to make your superiority noted; that would be to deny your own system and make, moreover, a useless effort. In consideration of your past services, we will return you prepaid to your well-loved colony of Nauvoo.
“Sadly, the unruly democracy of Prairial did not listen to our father of the Convention any more than you will listen to me today, I fear. Ah! How agreeable love is! What scourge but war! How much more sweet would tranquility be to my distressed heart! How advantageous it would be for the Republic for us to unite all our strengths, all our aspirations, all our thoughts, all our loves, all our hearts, all our lungs and all our vocal cords pour to send some thanksgivings our fathers of the Convention, who are very certainly in heaven!…
“Once more! What a beautiful thing is harmony! If ever I return to the ministry of the interior, I swear that instead of making some anarchic bulletins, I will satisfy by elevating at the Concorde a temple decorated with statues of our fathers of the Convention.
“Once more! Everyone unite to save the Republic!!! Close your ranks, and support one another! Union makes strength! Union or death!!! Embrace, and have done with it!!”
Well! Re-vo-lu-tionaries invited to that ridiculous comedy… here it is finished. Are you satisfied? Isn’t it edifying, this steeple-chase to dictatorship? And aren’t these would-be Caesars tired enough to deserve your bravos?
Furious sheep who range in great flocks under the rod of your masters and their herding dogs, are you corrected? Do you still feel disposed to utter to your leaders, who beg for it, this routine tribute of your worship:
St. Auguste Caesar Ledru! Unite us! Revolutionize us!
St. Joseph Caesar Mazzini! Activate us! Direct us!
St. Louis Caesar Blanc! Enregiment us! Serve us!
St. Étienne Caesar Cabet! Level us! Transport us!
St. Pierre Jules Caesar Leroux! Love us! Humanize us!
St. Auguste Caesar Blanchi! Departmentalize us! Socialize us!
St. Martin Caesar Nadaud! Sustain us! Support us!
St. Placide Caesar Malarmé! Arm us! Alarm us!
Variant that we sang in the past to the same tune:
St. Caesar de Robespierre! Pray for us!
St. Caesar Saint-Just! Pray for us!
St. Caesar Danton! Pray for us!
St. Caesar Fouquier Tinville! Pray for us!
St. Caesar Cromwell! Pray for us!
St. Caesar Luther! Pray for us!
St. Caesar Loyola! Pray for us!
Just as we still sing:
Sancta Maria! Ora pro nobis!
Sancta Cunegunda! Ora pro nobis!
Sancte Troas! Ora pro nobis!
Sancte Unibald! Ora pro nobis!
Sancte Hilarion! Ora pro nobis!
Sancte Bonaventure! Ora pro nobis!
Sancte Dagobert! Ora pro nobis!
And so on until Saint Sylvester.
For us, who do not believe that the democratic faith is more pure because one is an agitator by profession, peddler of political canards, public house orator and blackener of pipes; because one affects grubby clothes, hair in disorder, a dirty shirt, a bushy face and fingernails in mourning, we separate ourselves from the school which studies nothing, which probes nothing deeply, which understands only slogans and which kneels before fetishes.
Everything that time brings passes with time. Your Caesars came to political life with the bastard opposition of the Restoration and Louis-Philippe. At that time, one still believed that, as authority does evil, it could also do good. It is from the liberal societies that they borrowed their doctrinaire argot; it is there that they became accustomed to approach the question backwards, to think of these societies as a single piece, in which the individual counted for nothing; that’s why they imagine that force can implant an idea.
We see too clearly the tendency of your Caesars to constitute, on the people and apart from them, the authority of their persons, to bemoan, as you do, their divisions; we rejoice in them, on the contrary, for we know that their divided power will perish.
Don’t you want to see it? Since 48, an immense revolution has been made in minds. We know it: as revelator, man never goes too far; as governor, he can only realize, the day after a victory, the ideas spread by propaganda. As idea, the revelator forces the hand of the societies; as action, the societies force the hand of the governors.
For us, that fate has made ​​son of the French bourgeoisie, — that our free and rational choice has made ​​children of humanity;
For us, that the chance of the times, and the place in which we live, made republicans, — that examination and study made revolutionaries, we say to you:
The time of litanies has passed. Look, instead, you who are on stage, you do not receive one bravo; you are reduced to paying for some applause; the public is bored with your acrobatics; with your European Democratic Committee; with your New World; with your unions, with your disunions, with your discussions and your reconciliations; with your proclamations, commissions, centralizations, discourses and exhibitions; the very organization of your squadrons of respectful STARLINGS would be able to move it.
Every Revolution must succeed by good or by evil. It could happen by good, but you have not wanted it; so let it clear its way by evil.
Humanity is of two minds. It is awaiting a Revolution more profound than that which Christianity brought about. Civilization cracks and crumbles: step aside, if you do not want to be crushed under its rubble!!
The Revolution which harries us! It will have the world for its theater; for actors, the peoples; for means, a cataclysm; for result, and always, a unitary despotism at first, and then equality everywhere. What does all that have to do with your puny personalities ?
In man, as in society, there are no partial growths. An avant-garde does not constitute an army. France is not Europe; the other nations must rejoin it. assuming that she could make the Revolution at home today, she could not live in the midst of a hostile Europe, resistant to its ideas.
In chemistry, it is by the intervention of a powerful reagent that the body in dissolution precipitates in a new form; it could not be otherwise in the social crucible.
The elements of civilization are dissociated; an immense, new force must intervene to produce the order that we await.
Socialism has arisen in the heart of the civilized nations. Christianity was born in a stable in the pagan world.
In the pagan society that persecuted it, Christianity would never have grown. It was necessary that the Roman world was overwhelmed by the invasion of the Barbarians. In the civilized society which is hostile to it, socialism will perish, and it can not perish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
So it is up to learned France to propagate the ideas of the Revolution, an uncultivated nation is required to realize them.
Which is the better of these two missions? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
One says: “From the north to the south of Europe, there is no other great people constituted than the French people.” One counts for nothing that half of Europe inhabited by the disinherited, who will one day be called the firstborn of socialism, and that are still enslaved, at this hour, by a handful of Boyards!…..
Certainly, there will still be riots in Europe. — Who contests their usefulness?… We will labor there like the others. But no REVOLUTION can be made from now on without the intersection of peoples, forces and ideas.
Since it is necessary… let them come, the hordes of the North! Let them pour into Europe galloping on their steeds, lances in hand, shaking with savage hurrahs the glaciers of the Alps, the old chateaus of the Rhine, the echoes of Versailles and the city of the seven hills.
Let them descend, the Barbarians! Let them transfuse their young blood in the veins of our decrepit societies, constitutionally, organically bourgeois.
Let them come, and let them be blessed! Are they not our brothers?…
We, sons of France, republicans-democrats-socialists, look forward to the arrival of the Cossacks, for we understand the REVOLUTION.
Those who deny the sun, are also free to deny that power whose weight overburdens us; — they are free to deny the sun, in order not to see the clouds, the lightning, and the immense resources of the coming invasion; — it is easy for them to doom us to the hatred of the patriotic divinities and to rain maledictions and anathema on our heads; — we prefer to coldly consider the future. The avalanche will doubtless carry us along with all those who seek to halt its advance… At least we will have sensed its impact…
As for you, who have neither instinct nor courage, drown in the civilized morass, which you will not drain. Continue, if it seems good to you, your culinary exercises, with the help of Mr. Mazzini, who will break the monotony of your labors by speaking with you about “great thought”……
You have thought of yourself as masons, you have all only been BUNGLERS . . . . .
The limited scope of this publication does not allow us to give our ideas the development they call for. We will do this later.


[1] To be sung to the tune of “les Lampions.”
[2] Actionnaire = stockholder.
[3] This is not a typographical error.
[4] From Proudhon’s Second Memoir on Property.
[5] From “Bonaparte,” by Alphonse de Lamartine. Translation by Rev. William Pulling, 1849.
[6] As aubaine not resulting from the product of labor.


[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]
About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.