The year 1878, at least its first eight months, were superficially calm after the storms of the previous year. The Left decided to rally to the support of Dufaure. The important date lay a year ahead, January 5, 1879, when the first renewal of one-third of the Senate would take place. The Republicans recognised that, if they were to win the majority in the Upper House, the country must not be agitated: there must be no amnesty for Communards, no increase in taxation, no violent anticlericalism; ‘it would be rash’, said Gambetta at Marseille, ‘not to postpone some reforms up to the approaching moment when the country shall have given the Republican party the majority in the Senate. Up to that moment, I repeat, no imprudence, no dissidence, no mistakes.’1 In earnest of this the proscribed International Workingmen’s Association was refused authorisation to hold a congress in Paris. A number of delegates, nonetheless, slipped into the country, held a preliminary meeting and were swept up by the police. Among the thirty-four prisoners was a Nîmes journalist, who had fled abroad after the Commune, Jules Guesde. To the court, he claimed to represent an order separated from the rest of society, the Order of the Proletariat which was destined to supplant the others. No member of the court could have any sympathy for this ridiculous view: he was sentenced to six months imprisonment.
KeywordsReligious Order Republican Party Civil Marriage Preliminary Meeting Republican Senator
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