“ …We shall see France arise again, we shall see her retrieve Lorraine, take back Alsace. But will that be all? No… Seize Trier, Mainz, Cologne, Koblenz, the whole of the left bank of the Rhine. And we shall hear France cry out: It’s my turn, Germany, here I am! Am I your enemy? No! I am your sister. I have taken back everything and I give you everything, on one condition, that we shall act as one people, as one family, as one Republic. I shall demolish my fortresses, you will demolish yours. My revenge is fraternity! No more frontiers! The Rhine for everyone! Let us be the same Republic, let us be the United States of Europe, let us be the continental federation, let us be European liberty, let us be universal peace! And now let us shake hands, for we have done one another a service: you have delivered me from my emperor and I have delivered you from yours.”
—Victor Hugo, ‘My Revenge is Fraternity’, political adress at 1871 peace conferences
Hugo is possibly the purest example of the Romantic Spirit. The artist turned statesmen to herald the harmony of mankind in which he, as a great artist, always saw great beauty, and dreamed of an epoch of universal peace looming behind the horizon of the 19th Century.