Friday, February 28, 2014

There and Back Again

Kicking free from the mutualist label in March and April of last year was part of an attempt to achieve two fairly specific outcomes: to clarify my own thinking about the core concepts of anarchy and anarchism; and to attempt to confront some methodological questions, particularly some key questions relating to anarchist historiography, which seemed to be eluding me. I can certainly recommend the exercise of jettisoning one's keywords as at least a potential means of focusing on ideas instead of words—not always such an easy task in our label-centric, more-or-less fundamentalist culture. And I hope that the emerging theory of the "anarchism of the encounter" strikes at least a few others as a return worthy of the gambit. I'm working now on a very simple presentation of that theory, stripped of most of its historical and factional baggage. "Simple" in this case is, of course, not easy. It's like the tip of the iceberg, once you've whittled away the rest of the iceberg. But there clearly is a moment when you can lift key insights out of their original contexts and see if they can make it in the wide world on their own. The methodological shifts have been more difficult to achieve, and the advance sometimes feels positively glacial to me—but both in the sense of slow-moving, and in the sense that lots of stuff seems to be getting moved around, if not in the daintiest of manners. What I announced some time ago as the atercratic approach to radical history has been a little more difficult to present in any very clear form, but by summer I expect that things will be taking a little more definite shape. In the meantime, I'll be spending some time setting things up here on this blog, as I try to tackle a group of questions that have emerged from my work on the Bakunin Library and my recent excursions into the history and theory of anarchist collectivism.

My intention is to spend quite a bit of my blogging time, and whatever free translating time I can muster, addressing the period from just before Proudhon's death in 1865, though the First International and the Paris Commune. I'll be translating more of Proudhon's Political Capacity of the Working Classes and material relating to the workers associated with the "Manifesto of the Sixty," as well as some texts by and about the group of Proudhon's friends who saw to the publication of his posthumous works. (See, regarding the last group, The Execution of Gustave Chaudey and Three Gendarmes.) I'll also be working away at some of the primary documents of anarchist collectivism, which I've started to assemble for a Collectivist Reader, as part of the Bakunin Library project. The focus here will be split in a familiar way, between concern for the details of history and attention to the ways in which the management of anarchist history has shaped anarchism itself. But an important part of what will be at stake for me in this segment of the journey will be a return to mutualism as a keyword, armed now with the lessons of the last year, and an attempt to address what I have recently identified as "the challenge in Proudhon's thought," that is, the urgency of making what seems promising about mid-19th century anarchism take its place as a means of addressing our own struggles and concerns in the 21st century.

For readers of the blog, I would like to encourage you, as we move deeper into this particular phase, which I launched with the post on "scraping some rust off the "two guns" of mutualism," to take the challenge seriously. There is, it seems to me, plenty in "mutualism" that speaks very directly to our current conditions, but only if we are ready and willing to do a significant work of adaptation and translation. I can suggest some of the directions for that, but ultimately it's a work that has to be done by anyone who wants to take up any of these old labels.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Proudhon, The Theory of Property

I've posted a complete draft translation of Proudhon's The Theory of Property. It is rather rough in places, and a number of technical terms have been left in French. I've been a bit torn between the desire to clarify a number of details and the recognition that, even in a somewhat unfinished form, the translation is a valuable resource. In the end, I've decided to release it as a working translation, with the understanding that there will be a process of revision and clarification, probably in the context of revising some related texts, which will have to happen in the future. So use the draft translation carefully, but enjoy!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

From Proudhon's "Political Capacity of the Working Classes"

The Political Capacity of the Working Classes was the last work prepared for publication by Proudhon prior to his death. It was written in large part as a response to the workers responsible for the "Manifesto of the Sixty," and contains one of the most programmatic of his treatments of mutualism, as well as his last treatment of the question of electoral change. I'm working on a translation of the work, and here are two sections from that work, both by Gustave Chaudey, one of the group of friends who prepared Proudhon's manuscripts for posthumous publication. The Preface explains the circumstances of the work's publication, and the first half of the Conclusion summarizes the work. As I did with the translation of The Theory of Property, I will probably post some of the sections that seem of more immediate interest first. 



I received from Proudhon, some years before his death, the task of making, on this work left by him in proofs, and to which he attached a particular importance, the work of minute revision that he did with the editors of each of his publications. I need not say that I have acquitted myself of that task with all the care demanded of me by the memory of his friendship and my respect for his talent. Each line of this book has been compared, by M. Dentu and myself, with the manuscript text and the corrections indicated on the placards by Proudhon himself. The reader will have before their eyes only material from the text of the author himself, with the exception of the Conclusion, which he wanted, according to his custom, to write only at the last moment, after having composed on printed sheets all of his book. That was to form, in his intentions, twelve or fifteen pages, which doubtless would not have been the least eloquent of the work. These pages, alas! I have had to write them, and I don't know how to say how embarrassed I am to tell it to the reader. I have been expressly charged with it by Proudhon, which did not cease until his last instant to be preoccupied with his work, and have received from him to that effect, in a final conversation of several hours, recommendations of which I took notes under his gaze, and to which I have scrupulously conformed. I hope the public will indulge me for a collaboration so sadly imposed on my friendship, and which I more than anyone sense the insufficiency.

Gustave CHAUDEY.
May 1865. 



From this book, the product of such profound study and such a powerful meditation, on the most arduous matters of economic and political science, there emerge, after an attentive reading, a few simple ideas that we ought, according to the desire of the author, to summarize here.
For a people to make its action felt efficaciously in politics, it is not enough that it be invested with universal suffrage and that it exercise its right to vote; it must have consciousness of its situation and its strength, and it must vote with full awareness of the facts.
The emancipation of the working class will begin only the day when they have a clear notion of their own interests.
According to Proudhon, the working classes have only made their true entry in the political scene in the last elections, with the Manifesto of the Sixty. It is only then that, in a language of their own, they have attempted to express their own ideas.
But they have not been able to find the political line that could lead them to the most efficacious manifestation of these ideas.
The working classes have interests distinct from the bourgeoisie. They must have a politics distinct from the bourgeois politics.
Universal suffrage is a truth, a reality, only if lends itself to a regular manifestation of that diversity of political interests.
Political legality is that, exactly that; it is nothing else. It can consist only in that balance, that weighting, that just proportion to be established, by means of the electoral organism, among all the forces that must coexist, without being confused, in society.
In France, in the present state of things, with the complications of the electoral system, lacking the guarantees that best insure serious preparation for the election, in the absence of a truly independent press, in the presence of the doctrine that makes it a duty to the government to not abandon universal suffrage to its spontaneity, the working classes are not in a position to give a positive expression to their ideas or their interests.
They can manifest their ideas and their interests only negatively.
They can be taken into consideration only by refusing their direct participation in a politics which does not permit them to clearly produce their pretentions.
If they should vote, in order to prove that they value their right of suffrage, their vote must be by itself the expression of that dissent, of that will to remain at a distance.
The protestant does not go to the mass of the Catholics.
The catholic does not go to the sermon of the protestants.
The free thinker does not go to the sermon or to the mass.
The worker voter, for the same reason, must not go to the Church of bourgeois politics.
That was the important meaning of the blank vote, which was not understood in 1863, but which certainly will be one day, as soon as the working classes will come to take good account of their situation.
What is that situation? What must it be?
It is that of the people who, having need of great reforms in the economic order, must desire that their intervention in politics furnishes them the means to obtain these reforms.
The best politics, for the working classes, will be that which best leads them to that end.
If it happens that the worker politics disturbed the combinations of the capitalist politics, it must be because the workers know to accept the capitalists as adversaries. There is nothing in that that is not natural, inevitable, necessary. Politics is not a matter of sentiment. This is, at base, this must only be the struggle resolved, the legal struggle of interests. In sum then, such would be the economic idea of the working classes, such would be their political idea.
Politics is nothing, if it does not aim to resolve all the great economic questions; the accession of the working classes to the right of political suffrage is nothing, if it’s result is not to given them the legal means to improve their social condition.
The workers will propose their idea; the capitalists will combat it. both are right on some points, and wrong on others. The discussion, the polemics of the press, and electoral tactics will do the rest, and the public reason will settle the debate.
That is liberty! That is equality! That is order!
Nothing would be more false than to conceive of order as the suppression of all questions, of all discussion, of all antagonism.
In the last elections, the workers entered the lists with a program issuing from themselves. What did they say? What did they demand?
They said that the interests of labor, in the present economic order, are far from being treated as favorably as the interests of capital.
They demanded that this unfavorable situation of labor with regard to capital be relieved.
They demand that in all the relations of civil or commercial life, in all transactions, in all contracts, the laborer should be, with regard to those with whom he contracts, on a footing of perfect equality.
They demand, whether it is a question of buying, a question of selling, a question of borrowing, a question of giving or taking a lease on a house or field, or of stipulating a labor contract, making a trade, or undertaking an industry, or forming a company, that the laborer be the benefit of the same legal advantages as the capitalist.
They demand that all the great enterprises of public utility, that all the great economic institutions are conceived and established in favor of labor as much as capital.
Advantage for advantage, utility for utility, service for service, product for product, equitable assessment of the services exchanged, without any privilege of situation, without any recognized precedence, without any legislative favor to the profit of one of the parties and the detriment of the other; that is, according to the worker, what labor has in interest in demanding, what it demands, what it wants to obtain, and what it will obtain! That is truth, right, and justice!
And that is what is called mutuality!
It is in that idea of mutuality, so simple and so strong, of which we have made, in the second part of this work, some striking applications to the vital questions of political economy, that is found, according to Proudhon, all the future of the people, all the futures of the workers.
It is there that we find the development of the principles of 89.
It is there that we find the true politics of the working classes.
Any politics that is not the implementation of this idea is not, should not be theirs. They only take in interest in it, if it is to seek all legal opportunities to separate themselves from it and to oppose their protest to it.
Proudhon did not conceal any of the numerous obstacles that this worker’s politics must encounter.
Those obstacles are very considerable in the political order.
Proudhon made them the subject of the third part of this book. He set out there everything that, politically, is incompatible with the ideas and tendencies of the working classes.
According to him, there is nothing to await, for them, from legislative action, as long as their efforts are hindered by the system of centralization that dominates all the political and administrative institutions in France.
The system of centralization is an obstacle to liberty in its very principle.
Nothing is possible, nothing if feasible by the initiative, by spontaneity, by the independent action of individuals and collectivities, as long as they are in the presence of that colossal force with which the State is invested by centralization.
The centralizing or unitary State can undertake anything, direct everything, regulate everything, prevent anything, do anything, without encountering effectual resistance.
The force of action of the individuals and groups, fragmented in the electoral districts, in the limit remits of the municipal and departmental councils, is dominated, crushed, in all its manifestations, by that enormous power that places, on every question, in every affair, the forces of the entire nation against the isolated individual or group.
The relation, true between all the interests, between all the ideas, is artificially modified, artificially disturbed by the intervention of the State.
As soon as the State opts for one of the ideas, for one of the interests in a struggle, it provides it with an artificial strength, which gives that idea or interest an importance out of proportion with its natural strength.
If the State involves itself in the support of religion, it crushes philosophy, without that being the effect of the proper power of religion.
If it sustains philosophy, it crushes religion, without that being the effect of the proper power of philosophy.
The same thing occurs if it takes the part of free trade against protection, or of protection against free trade.
The same thing, if it is inclined to the side of the bosses against the workers, or the side of the workers against the bosses.
What necessitates, in politics, that idea of mutuality that is the economic program of the working classes, is that, in the political order as well, all things, all ideas, all interests can be reduced to equality, to the common right, to justice, to balancing, to the free play of forces, to the free manifestation of ambitions, to the free activity of individuals and groups, in a word, to autonomy.
Centralization must be reduced, groups and individuals must regain in their public liberties everything that is excessive in the presentations of the State, all the power of which it has made an exorbitant delegation to the Government and Administration.
It is at this price, and only at this price, that liberty will be established in France, rationally and firmly.
We can get an idea of it by the countless guarantees that individual and collectives liberties find in the Swiss and American institutions, without the true unity being compromised, and by the most proper combinations, on the contrary, to realize it, since they derive them from a contract, from a free convention between the parties, and not from constraint or absorption.
What we call in particular the pact of guarantee between States, is nothing but one of the most brilliant applications of the idea of mutuality, which, in political, becomes the idea of federation.
The working classes could not reflect too much on this important subject.
Independent of the obstacles that the working classes find in the political order, in the system of centralization, which is the very antithesis of the idea of mutuality, they find a considerable number within themselves, in their intellectual and moral aptitudes.
And it is here that, by his own request, we have to give the thought of Proudhon some development….

[Working translations by Shawn P. Wilbur]

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Million Words (Day 73)

My 365 days are 20% gone, and last night I passed the 200,000-word mark. So far, so good. Here are a few updates on the project:

Recently, along with finishing up Charles Malato's New Caledonian stories, I've posted an 1848 work by Claude Pelletier, Solution of the Problem of Poverty, and, "The Young Girl and the Bird," a short story by Victoire Léodile Béra (aka André Léo) written under the name Victor Léo for Pierre Leroux's journal La Revue Sociale. I've also finished a rough translation of Flora Tristan's The Emancipation of Woman and am nearly through revising it. Work continues steadily on the Bakunin Library project and I've posted a tentative contents listing for the Bakunin Reader. Everything else is going about as planned, except that I've set aside Proudhon's Perpetual Exhibition project for a few weeks, while I make some headway with his Political Capacity of the Working Classes, which is a fascinating book.

Now, all I have to do is do this four more times, while mixing in a lot more writing tasks.

Proudhon's thought as a potentially transformative force within contemporary anarchism

I'm through the first couple of days, and I expect the bulk of the action, in a marathon week-long "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit's DebateAnarchism forum. So far, it has been a surprisingly civil and instructive experience, and certainly an interesting way of testing out my rapprochement with the "mutualist" label. Many of the questions haven't strayed far from the common questions of coexistence—"can theory X be compatible with theory Y"—or those concerning the basic concepts and vocabulary that dominate the usual capitalist vs. anti-capitalist debates, but, as I had hoped, there have been a few opportunities to break a bit of new ground. The most interesting of those instances, I think, came when a friend asked a question about the future of mutualism, which summons up for me all my ambivalences about school-building with the movement, but also seems to require tackling some specific applications of Proudhonian sociology that I've been approaching rather gingerly so far. The answer is probably bolder than anything I've written yet on what I see as the potential of mutualism, so I'll just reproduce it here in its entirety:


Q.—Where do you see the (Neo-)Proudhonian side of Mutualism, or even Mutualism as a whole, in the next 15-20 years? Do you think it will be as known about and understood as anarchist Communism has become?

A.—15-20 years can be a long time. 20 years ago almost nobody knew much about Proudhon and mutualism except a few phrases. Even the standard dismissals were less well-known before mutualism started to reemerge and give people an occasion to be dismissive. So things can change rapidly. On the other hand, it's one thing to make people aware that there is another school of thought out there and another to push past the mostly rote rejections. And what I take to be the "best case" for mutualism is sort of complicated, so that's an additional difficulty.
I don't think there's any point in entering a popularity contest with communism or any of the other tendencies that people have built ideologies and firm identities around. If I have decided that "mutualism" is probably a good label to organize around, it was also pretty easy for me to walk away from that label for the better part of the last year and simply do the same work without the pretense that I was engaged in any sort of school-building.
It seems likely that mutualism or the Proudhonian element in anarchism will thrive to the extent that it can be made practically relevant to current struggles. There are all sorts of way in which the Proudhonian sociology might enrich our understanding of those struggles, but most of them will involve overcoming both theoretical and ideological resistances. The basic challenges are to make up for 150 years of lost time, and, of course, to shift the perception of Proudhon's thought which has developed to explain and defend the neglect. That means that proponents are going to have to be very, very on top of their game, engaging seriously not only with the ideas that they consider fundamentally "their own," but with the ideas of the tendencies that currently hold a kind of hegemony within the anarchist movement.
It isn't going to be enough to just do battle with those who oppose mutualist ideas without really knowing them. It's going to be necessary to show that the whole history of anarchism might well have developed differently, and that the potential common ground between, say, mutualism and communism, not only exists but enriches communism, should it be acknowledged.
We might, for example, attempt to tackle the question of mutualism and the radical labor movement. Proudhon's "The Political Capacity of the Working Class" potentially has a lot to offer to those with a class-struggle focus. It certainly offers us a very different Proudhon than the one who was concerned about the efficacy of strikes in 1846, and it gives us a window in on the background of the First International. I'm back to work translating it. But let's say that a year from now we have a nice, clear English version of the text. There is still a work of interpretation and integration to be done—probably before much of anyone can be convinced to even read the thing. It's not enough to present the facts from 1864. It's necessary to drag them into the present, and even into a somewhat different present than most anarchists live in. We have a document from the relatively early days of the workers' movement, and we want to transport it into the waning days of a certain sort of workers' struggle. How do we make the ideas in it living and new? How do we account for the 150 years of development that we can assume Proudhon would have given the ideas, had he lived that "thousand years" he talked about? Part of the answer is undoubtedly to attempt to push things farther towards that more general model of "agro-industrial federation." Another might be to attempt to integrate the theory of individualities and collectivities from the works of the 1850s more completely into the proposals in "Political Capacity"—or even to scrap the material from 1864, except as a kind of dated example of implementation (the way I'm inclined to treat the mutual bank), in order to reimagine a 21st century application. But what does a model of class struggle, for example, look like, if we employ Proudhon's sociology? Social classes are easy to recognize as collective actors and as such they have to be incorporated into our understanding of social relations. But the sort of understanding of individual and collective interests we draw from Proudhon is going to mean that class solidarity looks rather different than it might to most self-identified class-struggle anarchists. Some theoretical problems are solved by acknowledging that the interests of, say, the working class (as a collective actor) may be different from, and even opposed in some instances, to those of individual workers. As a consequence, the practice of solidarity in struggle probably requires some rethinking. The gains, in terms of insights into the dynamics of class societies, seem significant, and it seems they ought to pay off in terms of improved practice. But there is always going to be that moment when those committed to the interests of the working class have to come to terms with the fact that such a commitment walks a fine line between anarchist solidarity and an anti-anarchist external constitution of society by classes. Now, for neo-Proudhonians, I would hope that these sorts of awkward awakening would gradually become familiar, if not necessarily less traumatic. But if you haven't already signed on for the project, some of these adjustments are probably going to seem pretty damn extreme, costly and counter-intuitive.
Again, if we can correct the mistakes in Proudhon on sex/gender/family/etc—not, in my mind, a very difficult project, but a serious stigma to overcome nonetheless—then we're faced with a version of the same can of worms. Rethinking the politics of identity and identification around sexes, genders, families, etc., that are collective actors with potential interests of their own might well provide some exits from some really troubling cul-de-sacs, but the cost and perceived risk involved in rethinking the details is going to be substantial. In the end, I'm not sure that a shift from what we have now to a mutualized framework would be much more radical than the changes that have occurred in the related discourses in the last fifteen years, but the direction of the shift, and the negative perceptions to be overcome, mean that it would be a much more against-the-grain sort of transformation.
Face it, the approach that we've associated ourselves with poses all sorts of threats to our certainty and comfort, even in our own beliefs, at a time when there is already way too damn much uncertainty and discomfort, and in an era that is arguably at least a bit fundamentalist just about any which way you look. For me, the discoveries that the notion of "anarchy" was always a bit more complicated than we thought in Proudhon's though, the engagement with the ungovernability of anarchism, and the possibility of an absolutist anarchism, have all been exciting and useful work, but I expect a lot of people will have wildly varying mileage...
If there are people willing to be serious, committed gadflies, teasing out the instances where there are theoretical or practical advances to be made by applying Proudhon's thought, who are also willing to cover most of the distance to meet those of other tendencies who might be open to those insights, well, mutualism might well make a fairly serious, important mark on anarchism in the next couple of decades. But that "if" is obviously a pretty serious conditional...

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Charles Malato's Tales of New Caledonia

At the age of seventeen, Charles Malato, the son of Paris communards, was exiled to New Caledonia with his parents. That's perhaps a natural start for a life that would be largely dedicated to anarchism. Malato was an activist and a prolific writer, producing journalism, autobiography, anarchist theory, drama and fiction for both adults and children. It's probably no surprise that New Caledonia features in a number of his writings, or that those writings bear the mark of a youth in the region. 

I've started to collect and translate some of Malato's writings on New Caledonia, beginning with an odd little book for young people, the 1897 New Caledonian Tales, written under the pen-name "Talamo." Knowing Malato's history and politics, readers may find some of the details of that text curious, and they are perhaps even more so when compared with the section from the autobiographical From the Commune to Anarchy (1894), reproduced below. 

There are more New Caledonian tales to come. Malato contributed one more Kanak tale to Louise Michel's collection of local stories, wrote a serial novel about young lovers among the exiles, and contributed a serialized collection of "Memories of New Caledonia to L'Aurore in 1901. And that last serial includes another long account of the life of the indigenous chief Damé.

The last great chief of the Nouméas was Damé, whose story, which strangely resembles that of the pious Æneas, can be told in less than twelve songs. The son, not of Anchises, but of Sésagni, — a civil state as honorable, — Damé was a great hunter and eater of men who, by exerting his terrible appetite on his neighbors, compelled them to take some protective measures. One evening, while his tribe celebrated a solemn pilou at Watchio-Kouéta, the Kamb'was a vindictive tribe, led by the fierce Ouaton’, fell upon them and massacred three quarters of them. Dame, escaped, not without difficulty, with Sésagni and his son Capéia who, just like Ascanius, promised to walk in his father's footsteps. He wandered for a few days in the mountains of the south, feeding there not on good human steaks, but on roots nearly as wild as himself. That diet would perhaps have suited a vegetarian, but Dame was not that. Very fortunately, old Sésagni recalled that among his numerous wives, one, the mother of Damé, belonged to the powerful tribe of the Touaourous and he enlisted his offspring to go ask for hospitality from that brave people. This was an excellent idea, and Damé hastened to execute it. In that era, the Touaourous had for their unconstitutional monarch one named Kaâté who welcomed the fugitives not with his stomach, but with open arms and made the neighboring chiefs grant them land. The son of Sésagni was not a man of straw: he built up a new tribe, soon augmented by marriages and by the constant arrival of Nouméas escaped from their vanquishers. Soon the exiles could taste, with the sweetness of vengeance, the tibias of their enemies, an eminently national dish, — for, from time to time, they would cross the central mountain chain to fall on the unsuspecting Kamb'was.
Damé recovered to such an extent that eventually he inspired serious misgivings among its neighbors, with regard to whom, however, he had always behaved with great honesty. Two small tribes, the Tyas and the Dodgis, combined against him, and one night they fell on new Nouméa villages, killing and burning everywhere. Damé, who in the midst of his adversity, certainly enjoyed good fortune, was awakened just in time by one of his own who shouted: “N'gon tôté, oushiot dé Dodgi iêt ghé!” a melodious sentence which means in the pure Touaourou dialect “You, sir, get up!” the Dodgis strike us!” The great chief hastily gathered some of his own, among them Capéia—-Sésagni had long since been eating the taros by the root—-and went to the forest of Goronourou. The next day, before dawn, Kaâté, informed without delay, as the telegraph did not exist, rushed with his warriors to the aid of his friend and Damé took overall command uttering these memorable words: “They struck us at night and by surprise: we will strike them by day and face to face.” In two battles, the traitors were exterminated: the survivors fled in their canoes, the Dodgis to the Ile Ouen, the Tyas to Kunié.
We could stop the story of Damé there, but it has a very Kanak epilogue: to treachery, treachery-and-a-half. The Dodgis, decimated in their exile by privations and nostalgia, eventually enlisted two of their number to go and beg the victor for permission to return. Damé, persuaded, as an Oceanian gastronome, that revenge is a dish that is best savored cold, pretended to give pardon and even accepted the little gifts offered by his repentant enemies. Those, numbering forty-eight, were gathered unsuspecting in the palisade surrounding the hut of the great chief; squatting on mats, they already chewed on bananas or sugar cane brought by the women of the Nouméas. Suddenly, Damé wrinkled his brows: at that Jupiterian sign, forty-eight war-clubs struck down the Dodgis, who didn’t even have time to protest against that singular manner of understanding amnesty. Some time later, the Tyas, pushed traitorously by the chief of the Kunié, who wanted to be rid of them, left for their country without first asking permission. They thought themselves invincible, having paid some European traders very dearly for a whole stock of old rifles; but, when they wanted to use them on landing, — for Damé was there awaiting them, — they could not make a single one fire and were exterminated to the last man.
These acts, as “heroic” as roguish, have been set down in legends that the natives tell in the evenings and that were taught to me, four years later, by a young Frenchman raised among the Touaourous. For the moment, the brave Simonin, proud to spread before me his encyclopedic knowledge, gave me some vague notions about the New Caledonian tribes, which he alternated with the tale of his campaigns in Mexico. When, on the second day, in the afternoon, we moored before Canala, he began again, for the tenth time, the story of the “battle” of Tampico.