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Collected Letters of Elisée Reclus

During their exile, in the aftermath of the Coup d’État, the Reclus brothers had known the Lherminez family in London. The kids especially, who were treated roughly by their father, peaked their interest: he took care of them, gave them a few lessons, and affectionate solicitude…At the time critiquing his life, where Elisée would soon realize that he could not satisfy the increasingly absorbent demands of educating his children and asked Fanny Lherminez, a school teacher in England, if she would marry him, hoping that his girls would find a second mother in her.

Since his first marriage, Elisée’s ideas had evolved. He had yet to study the question and had resigned himself, like so many others, to the out-dated formalities of the (law or legality). He now rejected all official intervention in what he considered essentially personal affaires. According to Elisée, marriage is an association which depends on the desired consent of the conjoined, and can be dissolved, if they deem it necessary, by their own decision and responsibility, the legal institution was merely obstacles or restrictions to this freedom, which is the highest degree of (‘liberté de conscience’ which can be either ‘free will’ or ‘freedom of conscience’).

As a result, he freely married, at Vascoeuil, with what few friends he had as the audience for the words spoken at the occasion.

Unfortunately, we were in a sad era, and predicted that the events would bring disastrous consequences: we (entered or began) “the terrible year” of the Franco-German war, which separated the couple before Fanny was completely cured from a serious bout with laryngitis. Elisée, wanting to stay at his eventual battle station, had his wife and children go far away from Paris, from the cold, from the siege, to a better climate.

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