The defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War in January 1871, the month in which Ruskin began Fors Clavigera, was followed by the revolt of the Paris Commune. The authority set up by the Commune was predominantly Socialist and Republican in complexion. From 18 March to 21 May, Paris was besieged by troops under orders from the legitimate Versailles government of Louis-Adolphe Thiers. Ruskin's sympathies went out to the poor of Paris, but he was also greatly alarmed by reports in the press of churches and other monuments being pillaged and despoiled by the Communards. Letter 6 of Fors Clavigera ends with a Postscript, dated 25 May, which quotes a Reuter telegram to the effect that the Louvre was then on fire. The damage turned out to be relatively insignificant.