4 MARCH 1871, Page 15


[The writer of the following letter, who for many years resided in England, was made Prefect of his own department in September last, and resigned with Gambetta. Its tone is, of course, not what we approve, but allowance must be made for the electric condition of opinion in France] :— " Bordeaux, February 24, 1871.

"I carry away, I believe, from my prefecture the esteem of all patriots, of all men of honour. But I used to publish, to write -everywhere, that we ought to fight till we had driven out the last of the Germans. The priests denounced me from the pulpit ; the great landowners echoed their denuuciations. The peasants, who did not wish to see their sons go off to the Army, accused me of all their ills. Hence the Republican list was beaten by names which the department had rejected since the Martignac Ministry [last but one of the Restoration]. My name came out last on the Democratic list.

"I can only compare these last elections to a sauve qui peut. The -clergy and the highest classes behaved infansoLaly. The wretches had but one concern,—to crush the Republicans. The presence of -the enemy scarcely grieves them. Do not imagine, my friend, that my language is exaggerated. I esteem you too much not to :weigh in this letter every one of my words.

"As you anticipated, an Orleanist restoration will be attempted.

'Yet the majority in our towns, large or small, rejects them. You 'believe (I think you are mistaken) that with certain guarantees of freedom which they may grant to the people, the Orleans family will be compelled to be honest. But for this to take place, they would have first to crush Catholicism ; instead of which, they in- tend to lean on its base and perverted priesthood. You will see that if that family reascends the throne, the persecuting of Repub- licans will recommence, whilst advances will be made to the Legitimists. Our clergy, as a whole, is Ultramontane. Amongst ,Papists the spirit of tolerance will never prevail. Your ancestors understood this, my dear friend, and it is thus that they were able to prepare for your country a more tranquil fate than our own. "Our friends whom I met at Bordeaux, and who remained shut up in Paris, are unanimous in affirming that Trochu might on different occasions have broken the Prussian lines. But Blanqui was the scarecrow. In other words, they would not -consecrate the triumph of the Republic by a victory which should have been its salvation. That senseless Government of National _Defence shared Trochu's fears ; hence our failure and our -dishonour.

"Do not imagine that there is much sadness in our towns. To .do so would be a complete mistake. Our cafas are always full. _Men gamble, smoke, laugh, just as much as in the prosperous days of the Empire. This is what despotism makes of a nation, if it once gives itself up into the hands of a man. M. N."