Address to the Provisional Government (20 April 1848)

Regiments are advancing on Paris.1 Their approach is spreading alarm through the ranks of the patriots.

The army has not been reorganised. Its leaders, trained by a fearful tyranny for murderous purposes, remain today what they were before the barricades.

In Paris the royalists of yesterday, disguised as the republicans of tomorrow, conceal neither their hatred nor their reactionary plans against what they call the mob [la populace].

A coalition of these sentiments and this selfishness [ces égoïsmes] could cost the Republic dearly.

The people have nothing but affection for the soldiers issued from their ranks, but they harbour profound mistrust of the doctrine of passive obedience that has so often drowned Paris in French blood.

Moreover, why are professional soldiers stationed within our city walls? If we really willed and wanted it, in a week three hundred thousand armed National Guards could take on the task of maintaining order and security in the capital.

Long-standing republicans owe the provisional government the honest expression of their thoughts. Those thoughts are today truly bitter.

The deplorable choice of commissioners sent to the provinces; the preservation of Louis-Philippe’s magistracy and functionaries; the systematic casting aside of old patriots, who are rejected everywhere by the agents of power and made the laughing stock of the reinvigorated royalists; the successive disarming of the fighters on the barricades; the calling to Paris of professional soldiers who belong at the frontiers; the threat to form an urban guard, resurrecting under a third name the gendarmerie and the municipal guard; the hurried convening of electoral assemblies which, under exclusively reactionary influence, can only create a retrograde Assembly – all of these acts together appear to herald a repeat of 1830.

Already the popular voice has called the new government a Monarchical republic. Will this Monarchical republic therefore be worth even less than the old republican monarchy?

We once again appeal to your patience, to your prudence, citizens! Halt the reaction! Keep the troops far from the capital and dispel this threat of armed reprisals against the people’s victory.

  1. Source: MF, 139-140, based on the manuscript in MSS 9580, f. 29. On 20 April the Provisional Government organised the ‘Fête de la Fraternité’, a military parade to distribute new flags to the National Guard and the army. Blanqui, seeing this as a pretext to concentrate troops in the capital, wrote this short text on behalf of the Société Central Républicaine.