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FUAXCE. SPEECH OF VICTOR HUGO BEFORE COMMITTEES OF THE ELECTORS OF PARIS. "A month ago, I ti-ioiiglit it my duty, out of respect for the electoral initiative, to abstain from personally offering myself as a candidate, but at the same time you will recollect I de- clared that, the day when danger threatened the National Assembly, I would present myself. Danger has appeared. I present mnelf before you (applause). z, A month ago, one of you proposed to me this question, which I received with pain, 'Jf it should come to pass that mad men dare violate the National Assembly what think you must be done?' I received, I repeat, the question with pain, but I answered without hesitation on the spot, 'all must arise as one man, and' (these were my words) 'crush the insolence of dictators under the sovereignty of the nation (bravo). [That which I declared a month ago, three hundred thousand armed citizens have performed a fortnight ago (ap- plause).] Before this event which is a crime, and which is a catastrophe, to offer myself as a candidate was but a right, and a right may always be refrained from, To-day it is a clutv, and a duty cannot be forsaken. To forsake a duty is to desert. You see I am no deserter (loud applause). Since the period of which I am now speaking, in some few weeks, the confused outlines of political questions have become clear; events have suddenly revealed with a provi- dential light the inmost meaning of all thoughts, and at the o present moment our situation is one of a luminous simplicity. There are no longer but two questions—life or death. On 11 or.e side, there are the men who wish for order, liberty, peace, family, prosperity, work, credit, commercial security, flourish- ing industry, the happiness of the people, the greatness of the country—in one word, the prosperity of all as consisting in the well-being of each. On the other side, are the men who wish for the abyss (sensation)! There are the men who have for dream and for idea, to embark France on a kind of Medusa's raft, where they would devour each other while waiting for the tempest; and the night (bravo! bravo pro- longed movement)! I have no need to say to you that I am not among those men: that I shall never be so (no, no, we know it). I shall strive in the front to my last breath against those bad citizens, who would impose war on France by tumult V emeutej, and a dictatorship on the people by terror. They will always find me there upright before them as a citizen in the tribune, or as a soldier in the street (acclamations). You know what my desire is. I hsve spoken it but a few days since. I have spoken it to the whole country. I have said it with all my convictions in my soul, trying to bring forth from the heart of all honest men the word which each one thinks, but no man dares to utter. Well! that word I have spoken. My choice is made; you know it. I wish for a Republic, which shall be an envy to all peoples, and not a Republic which shall be a horror (prolonged Z, bravos). I for my part wish, and so do you, a Republic so noble, so pure, so honourable, so paternal, so peaceful, that all nations shall be tempted to imitate it, and to adopt it (bravo). I wish for a Republic so holy and so fair, that when men compare it with all other forms of government it shall cause them to vanish away by the comparison alone (very good). I wish for such a Republic, that all nations beholding France shall say 'not only how great is she! but may also say'how happy she is' (applause)! Be not deceived -on this point, and I would that my words could pass beyond these narrow walls, and perhaps they will pass beyond them, the propagandism of the. Republic is its very life. For a Republic ever to establish itself in France, it must establish itself out of France and for it to establish itself out of France, it must make itself accepted by the conscience of the human race (bravo, bravo) You know now the bottom of my heart. My whole thought I might include in one word that word is this, a strong hatred of anarchy, a tender and deep love of the people (enthusiastic and unanimous applause). I add this and all that I have written, and all that I have done in my public life is there to prove it, not a page has issued from my pen since I have reached the age of man, not a sentence has issued from my mouth, which is not in accord with the words which I speak here this day (cries of it's true). You well know, you my friends, my colleagues, my brothers, T am to-day the man that I was yesterday, the de- voted advocate' of this great popular family, which has suf- fered too long-the thinker-friend of the workers, the worker- friend of the thinker (bravo) the writer who desires for the labourer not the alms that degrade him, but the work that honours him (good). I am the man who yesterday defended the people in the midst of the rich, and who to-morrow would defend, if necessary, the rich in the midst of the people (fresh applause). It is thus that I understand, with all the duties it comprehends, that sublime word which to me seems inscribed bv the hand of God himself above all nations in the eternal light of the heavens, FRATERNITY (pro- longed cheering). [The above excellent translation of Victor Hugo's speech is from the pen of an esteemed friend. We are sure our readers feel deeply interested in the perusal. It is a speech such as a man of highest patriotism and genius could alone utter. We scarcely know which to praise most, the dignified boldness of the man or the good sense and chaste- 21 ess of his speech. The English press at the present-time teems with the terrific details of the late insurrection, and pro- phecies of the downfal of the Republic.- They bury all the peaceful aspirations and the high-minded resolves of all the true-hearted Republicans, and give prominence to-the odious and abominable designs of the anarchists, and endeavour to connect in the minds of our people the evils of Socialist prin- ciples with the workings of Republican institutions. On this account we have the greatest pleasure in directing the atten- tion of our readers to the above speech, which we believe to 'B-? a truthful exponent of the views of the vast majority of tile French Republicans, [






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