Minutes of a meeting
Loge L’Union de Belleville
Held April 28, 1871 (Common Era)
Considering that questions of universal morality and humanity are the constant concern of Freemasons;
Considering that without straying from the philosophical and non-political sphere that is its place, Freemasonry has the right and the duty to intervene in all questions where the principles of fraternity are misunderstood;
Considering that in the painful period of crisis through which we are passing, which is desolating our fatherland and afflicting humanity, it is the duty of all Masons to affirm the principles that appear to it to conform to universal morality, and those most apt to make the ideas of universal solidarity prevail,
A solidarity that, the day it will exist, will prevent the renewal of all impious struggles among men and will cause the last seed of barbarism to disappear by reuniting all men in one family;
Considering that the proclamation of the Paris Commune, addressed to the French people, contains nothing that is contrary to Masonic principles;
Considering that it is thus the obligation of Freemasonry, which has always been at the head of the march of progress, to employ all the moral force at its disposal to make those ideas in conformity with its principles prevail;
Considering that it is the duty of each lodge to indicate, not only to Freemasons, but to all citizens the path of the just and the true;
The Lodge “The Union of Belleville” declares:
That it desires to stop the spilling of blood, while adhering to the program of the Paris Commune as contained in its proclamation to the French people;
Consequently, and in order to arrive at this result it invites:
All Freemasons of Paris and the provinces, and all citizens, to join with it to have the government of Versailles and the Paris Commune accept the following arrangement:
Recognition of communal rights for all great cities as well as the smallest towns;
General elections for all Communes and the Constituent Assembly; and
In order to proceed to these elections, which will occur in three months, the establishment of an administrative commission composed in two equal halves of members of the Commune and members of the Assembly of Versailles, named in elections by these two powers.
Such are the bases of an arrangement proposed by the lodge “The Union of Belleville” in order to put an end to the crime we are passing through, and for the success of which it invites all its brothers, Mason or not, to employ all their moral force and all the means placed at their disposal by the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
By order: For the Lodge “The Union of Belleville"
This statement, taken from the minutes of a lodge meeting in Paris under a warrant issued by the Grand Orient of France clearly show that although the members were in sympathy with the Paris Commune, they were neither directing nor had founded the Commune itself.
It is reported that on the following day 10,000 freemasons representing fifty-five lodges marched to the Arc de Triomphe, where banners were planted at various points along the ramparts.
The Tit :.Sec:. The Ven:. Or :.
Voisin H. Fernoux
Translated from the original for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor. CopyLeft Creative Commons marxists.org 2006.
Image : Freemasons raise their banners on the barricades of the Paris Commune, 1871. The Museum of the Grand Orient de France.