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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/416

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

work on physical geography, entitled La Terre; and about the same time, to mark his disapproval of the despotism of the empire, he enrolled himself in the ranks of the International. During the siege of Paris he assisted M. Nardar, the well-known aëronaut, in sending communications out of the city, and also fought bravely in the National Guard. When the insurrection of March 18, 1871, broke out, Reclus, after publishing an eloquent appeal to his countrymen in favor of conciliation, flung in his lot with the Commune, and was taken prisoner by the Versailles troops. He was sentenced to transportation for life, after having been retained prisoner for seven months at Brest, where he occupied himself with giving lessons in algebra and mathematics to his fellow-prisoners. Meantime, however, the scientific world of Europe was roused to indignation at the condemnation to perpetual exile of so eminent a man; and when peace was once more restored in France, a number of eminent men, among whom figured the names of Darwin, Wallace, Lord Amberley, and others, sent in a petition to the head of the French Government, begging him to consider that in sentencing so eminent a man to transportation for life he was depriving science of great and incalculable services. Their petition was listened to, and M. Thiers commuted the sentence of transportation into one of banishment. Reclus in consequence went to live in Italy, where he resumed his labors, and where after a short time he had the sorrow to lose his young wife, whom he ardently adored, and who had shared his exile. After this he resided for a time in Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva, working alternately at his geographical and communistic studies. He refused to return to France before all the prisoners of the Commune should have been amnestied, an amnesty was not granted till 1879. Thus it will be seen that his scientific labors and his humanitarian endeavors have ever gone hand in hand, nor is it so very long since he returned to France. Scarcely had he come back than he gained for himself fresh notoriety as the frank initiator of the anti-marriage movement.

He lives in Paris in the greatest retirement, and is in his person a very modest and refined man who hates notoriety above all things, and dislikes even the idea of being spoken of in a newspaper or a review; and nevertheless he is perpetually acting and writing in a manner that must necessarily draw public attention to him. He is a friend in heart and idea of Prince Kropotkine, the celebrated Russian anarchist, and he too styles himself an anarchist in the true sense of the word as he would explain it—that is to say, not the man who blows up houses and murders innocent women and children, but one who wants to change society and objects to every form of government; who has no feeling for country or patriotism, but only for humanity. Prac-