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Collected Letters of Elisée Reclus

To her sister Louise, to Vascœui’.

February 9, 1871.

My darling dear sister,

In this immense misfortune, it is painful to have to speak of oneself and one’s family. However, even though we sometimes have nausea while dreaming of the existence, we cannot let ourselves go but should keep or even increase our strength for the fight.

I left Paris last Friday, carrying a pass, due to which I could freely go out as a candidate. In fact, knowing that the position of representative is morally one of the most dangerous, I thought I had to offer myself as a candidate to the people of Basses-Pyrenees, but my letter did not arrive on time and these gentlemen made their choice; probably the outrageous war, as I had defended it, would not be to their taste : peace said to be « honorable » will better further their cause (1).

When I left Paris, Elie and his wife were in good health, same for Grimard and his young son, born with the sound of the last bombs dropped on Paris.

My sisters and their husbands are well. Paul’s last letter was from the 31st of January. He was in good health but his thought were sour.

Arriving in Libourne on Sunday, after a three-day-painful-journey, I realized that I would not have the time to go to Béarn and I stayed in the country to do propaganda in Libourne, Castillon, Sainte-Foy, against the defeatists. There is a lot to do. In this big crisis, those who are good and brave revealed themselves, the cowards, the despicable seem hundred times more vile. The language of he rich peasants from the canton fill us with disgust. They voted with enthusiasm for the legitimist-bonapartist-Orleans list, knowing full well that by voting for it, they voted for their own degradation.

For you, my dear friends.

Elisée et Fanny.

(1) We can notice that Elisée’s ideas on that point changed quickly and instead of aspiring to vote, he decided to abstain from party lines and advise others to do the same, even to not participate in any government affairs (see letter of the 26th of September 1885).

Elisée’s name could be also found on two signs giving the lists of the national Assembly candidature: February 8, 1871 Election, Republican comity of the XIth arrondissement, 134th Richard Lenoir Boulevard, and the list of candidates proposed by the Republican comities of the right and left wings.

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