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Victor Hugo, My Revenge is Fraternity!

Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe


I. Opening Address to the Peace Congress (Paris, August 21, 1849) 

      A DAY WILL COME when your arms will fall even from your hands! A day will come when war will seem as absurd and impossible between Paris and London, between Petersburg and Berlin, between Vienna and Turin, as it would be impossible and would seem absurd today between Rouen and Amiens, between Boston and Philadelphia. A day will come when you France, you Russia, you Italy, you England, you Germany, you all, nations of the continent, without losing your distinct qualities and your glorious individuality, will be merged closely within a superior unit and you will form the European brotherhood, just as Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy, Lorraine, Alsace, all our provinces are merged together in France. A day will come when the only fields of battle will be markets opening up to trade and minds opening up to ideas. A day will come when the bullets and the bombs will be replaced by votes, by the universal suffrage of the peoples, by the venerable arbitration of a great sovereign senate which will be to Europe what this parliament is to England, what this diet is to Germany, what this legislative assembly is to France. A day will come when we will display cannon in museums just as we display instruments of torture today, and are amazed that such things could ever have been possible. (…) 

It is after all a prodigious and admirable epoch, and the nineteenth century will be - let us say it openly - the greatest page in history. As I reminded you just now, all our advances are revealing and manifesting themselves together, in rapid succession: the decline in international animosity, the disappearance of frontiers from maps and of prejudices from hearts, a movement towards unity, a softening of manners, an increase in the level of education and a drop in the level of penalties, the dominance of the most literary, that is to say the most humane, languages; everything is moving at once, political economy, science, industry, philosophy, legislation, and is converging upon the same end, the creation of well-being and benevolence, and that for me is the end to which I shall always strive, the extinction of misery inside and of war outside. 

 

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Cf.  Hugo, Variety, Eternity, Proportion: Time was the architect—Europe was the builder

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