This is a letter Proudhon wrote to his friend, De Girardin, in which he proposed htat de Giradin might want to help him to publish a new daily journal after the People was forced to shut down.

To see the original French, click here

A M. E. De Girardin 1

Conciergerie, June 22 1849

   Friend and confederate, the People has been seized, suspended, devastated, occupied militarily. The effects of persecution and of civil war have put us in the position of making it impossible morally, materially, and financially, of repayment. We still have some resistance left; and maybe the wording of the People, in being consistent and in remitting itself to the work with the same devotion since October 1848, could come to the end of making first a weekly publication; then, if we have some success, a biweekly; and finally, if the favor of the public supported it, a daily.

  But for all this one needs time; and time is precious and events pass quickly; one needed success, and in a good economy one couldn't have too much to count. Finally, not being afraid of new hindrances, what could stop us from selling in the street, doubly armed with a deposit and with stamps?

  All these considerations make us strongly want, me and my collaborators, to resume as quickly as possible our daily edition. We believe that the most sure meands of retaking the position that the People conquered in the press is to return immediately to daily publication...

  This being decided, I thought immediately, I wanted to notify you, that the only man who could aid us in these circumstances, and who at the same time comprehended the utility for himself, for his ideas, for his party, of doing it, was Mr. Emile de Girardin.

  The People and the Press can and must form a formidable alliance one day, or more or less work together; the position that I have tried hard to make take first place in these last days and which you yourself have borrowed, has been proven. The time in politics for wishing and grinding one's teeth is past. It appears that, among the men of ideas, all must remain free.

  Finally, your attitude since May 13, an attitude by which you have infiltrated in one blow and without effort, the highest rank of the French republic, and which designates you at all costs as one of the candidates during the new election; this attitude, I say, is the last motive that interests me in reclaiming your good graces; we aren't simply confederates, we have become, dare I say it? nearly religious leaders.

  In this situation, I come with frankness to to ask you, friend and confederate, if you could help us in some way with our deposit.

  The guarantees that we can offer you are at the same time moral and material: all that I can do at the moment is to say that M. B***, who advanced us 12,000 francs as a deposit upon People, was reimbursed the day we began to fear the seizure of that deposit. Further than that, you are master in this matter, and know better than anybody the precautions to take in this parallel affair.

  For the present, you will be referred to Misters Guillemin and Mathey, administrators and acocuntants for People, my devoted friends, that welcome you with open arms, as do I.

  In waiting for you response, I am with esteem and familiarity,

  Yours devoted


1. Translated from the French by Stephanie Silberstein