Correspondance de P.-J. Proudhon; (1875)Tome Deuxiéme Librairie Internationale; Paris.pgs.345-346
To Mr. Pauthier1
My dear Pauthier, my popularity, as you very well pointed out, is horrifying, and the political horizon is so wild that I would like to ask for your hospitality for a few days in Ville-Evrard, provided that this would not disturb you. There, we would have the time to do my biography and to respond to your courageous Germans.
My paper has just been suspended, for the second time, by the council of ministers. The application of the law appears not to be enough for these gentlemen: they prefer a state of warfare. When will it end? I dare answer: never! No, this state of warfare will never end by will of the government; it will only end by the will of the people. That suggests that France is ruled by the sword until it she becomes the Democratic and Social Republic. Get it together!
The discussion of the Investigation is forming; I highly doubt that it will take place without it falling into the hands of both sides of the Assembly.
This is where we are! I struggled to attach a goal, a name, a cause, a reality, and spirit to the February Revolution, en proclaiming the principal of free credit and of the progressive reduction of all rent and interest, accomplished without despoilment and expropriation, and in benefit of all. It is this that they are desperately trying to slander. But the idea, the seed, is planted; it will grow, no matter what they say, and will cover the earth with its branches. I only have to water the planted seed and wait.
We are in a horrible state of confusion. Except for me, the person who knows what he wants and sees the situation clearly, I see no intelligence which is not misguided. In this electric storm, the spark will not wait long before leaving; what will it produce? I am very worrisome and almost scared. The bonapartist, orleanist and legitimate reaction, is winning; the partisans of the three candidates are aligned, and I have no doubt that the government itself is in on the conspiracy. They are waiting for a special occasion to let themselves be known; they need a hand and they are looking for it. The people, warned, are on the look out and do not dare to move a muscle; this is what greatly vexes the most inquiring minds. But the situation, much too equivocal to last long, has formed as such and consequently the only thing to do is wait.
So tell me, my dear Pauthier, could you offer me a small glass of milk for a few days, in case occurrences force me to take a vacation?
Also tell me, if the need should arise, could I use your apartment on Saint-Dominique street?
You can see that I am being very cautious. I am not yet a conspirator, but I must think of my safety as if I was!
Until we meet again, best wishes.
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1. Translated from the French by Rory Van Loo