DescriptionSiege of Paris Journal written by Job Henry Lyon of St. Helens [England]. 4.5" x 7". The journal contains over ninety pages of Lyon's recollections of his trip to Paris, which begins as he secures permission to visit the city and ends with his entrance into the city, shortly after the siege ends. Lyon, who, along with his brother William were English glass bottle manufacturers, entitles the journal, "A Visit to Paris during the Siege."
The German army began the siege of Paris on September 19, 1870, only two months after the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War. In November 1870 as "the eyes of the whole civilized world were turned towards Paris," an acquaintance of Lyon offered to obtain a pass for Lyon into Paris from a relative, Baron Schmidthals, the "first Secretary of the Prussian Embassy in London." The baron happened to be a very close friend to Otto von Bismark ("He and Count Bismark are very intimate friends, in fact, when they are at home they are almost inseparable friends"). Lyon was eager to visit Paris because he saw that "sooner or later, Paris must fall. That opinion was based upon my knowledge I had seen what those cool, calm, calculating men of iron had done, I had seen what they were doing, and I formed a pretty accurate opinion as to what they could do. . . . One thing, however, is very certain, the Prussians found Paris a very much harder 'nut to crack.'"
Lyon writes the details of the siege, up until the time the city surrendered in late January 1871. The remaining three-quarters of the journal are dedicated to Lyon's journey from London to Paris, made difficult by the state of war in France. Once across the English Channel, Lyon and his brother landed at Boulogne, where they saw many wounded French soldiers. After a short stay, they rode a train to Paris. But the train stopped outside of Paris in an area controlled by Prussians. There, Lyon witnessed more horrors of war: women crying for their husbands, French museums turned into hospitals, "Prussian Ambulance wagons, many of them stained with blood," and countless wounded soldiers. Upon leaving one hospital full of Prussian soldiers, Lyon writes, that he was "more convinced than ever that war is an unmitigated curse, even to the conquerors."
At the end of the journal, Lyon finally arrived in Paris noting, "We found Paris almost as quiet as a country village. There were no cabs, or busses to be seen. Everybody in uniform, at least 3 men out of every 4 we met were in uniform." The covers of the journal are scuffed and marked; the pages are toned. All pages remain bound, except for the final page which is loose.
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