W. (William) Harding.

Dreyfus: the prisoner of Devil's Island, a full story of the most remarkable military trial and scandal of the age online

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Brandeis University

National

Women's Committee



3



DREYFUS :

THE PRISONER OF DEVIL'S ISLAND




CAPTAIN ALFRED DREYFUS.



DREYFUS:

THE PRISONER OF DEVIL'S ISLAND



A Full Story of the Most Remarkable Military
Trial and Scandal of the Age



BY

WILLIAM HARDING

Cable Editor, The Associated Press



Profusely Illustrated with Portraits of the Principal
Actors, and Photographic Reproductions of the Places
and Scenes of Dreyfus's Trial and Exile



ASSOCIATED PUBLISHING COMPANY



Copyright 1899,
J. A. JONES






Dedication

To the Men of America

Whether Jew or Gentile

Who abhor Persecution
Who believe in the Reign of Justice
Who rejoice when the sword of Truth is drawn
And will not see it sheathed

Chi8 Rietory

Of the Sorrows and Persecutions of

Captain Hlf red Dreyfus

Is dedicated by the Author

To whom the Atlantic Cables

By Day and Night for Months and Years

Have told the Marvelous Story.



102976



INTRODUCTION



The case of Alfred Dreyfus is the most remarkable episode of modem
times. It is an incident of its own kind, without an antecedent and with-
out a parallel. Superficially it seems to be an imbroglio of what Carlyle
would call " despicable personalities " ; but under the surface are playing
some of the most powerful forces of human history. The fact is, that the
real causes of this strange outbreak and upheaval in France are as univer-
sal as the present political constitution of the world, and as old as the
flight of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees.

The echo of the Dreyfus case has been heard as far as the confines of
civilization. The headlines have been cried in Tokio and Buenos Ayres.
The name of this Franco-Hebrew captain has been spoken and his fate
discussed by the trappers of the Yenisei, by the Peruvian silver miners,
by the alcaldes of Guatemala, by the priests of Thibet, and by the gam-
blers of Monte Carlo. Every cabinet, every ministry, from that of Cal-
cutta to that of The Hague, has felt the vibrations and weighed the conse-
quences of the case of Dreyfus. Every monarch of Asia has taken time
to learn at least the pronunciation of the name of the prisoner of Devil's
Island. Every schoolboy from Siberia to Texas has heard something of
the trial of Dreyfus, and of Zola and Esterhazy.

As a result of the thousands of columns printed about this cause celebre,
the ordinary mortal has floundered about in a sea of doubt and specula-
tion. Unable to afford the time to follow carefully all the exciting devel-
opments in the drama, the average man or woman has had to be content
with getting a glimpse, now and then, of the actors on the stage, or of the
doings behind the scenes. Meanwhile, both men and nations have looked
forward to the time when a calming of the swiftly whirling waves might
enable the interested mind to sift the true from the false in the turbulent
whirlpool of news.



10 INTRODUCTION

In the following pages it has been our task to attempt this work of
condensation, elimination, and construction. In this work, we give all
due credit to The Associated Press and its most able General Manager,
Melville E. Stone, to whose effective direction the newspapers of this coun-
try have been so greatly indebted in presenting to the American public
such complete accounts of the famous trial at Eennes.

The author of this work, from the official position which he has held,
has had the invaluable opportunity to gather from the ever-flowing volume
of cable intelligence all the essentials of the remarkable event which he has
attempted to narrate in the following pages. It is but justice to say that
no position other than that which he has held could have afforded like
opportimities. The general American offices of The Associated Press have
been for years the fleece of Jason, heavy with the golden sands of intelli-
gence. If the volume of news sometimes flows by leaving vast deposits
of sediment, the golden grains are ever in the current ; and these may be
caught and molten into the rich bullion of human history.

The Dreyfus case has ended. The writer of this volume has done his
part to transmit a knowledge of the proceedings to the American people
day by day, as the cause has unfolded itself ; and now he has reviewed
and recorded in these pages the whole course of the event — the conspiracy,
the crime, the suffering, the ignominy, which have been brought to light
in the trial hall at Eennes.

This book contains the results of the author's gathering and inquiry;
it also contains his interpretations and deductions. He now sends the
story of the prisoner of Devil's Island to the public, with the hope that
the liberty-loving and truth-seeking people of his country may find in the
perusal as much instruction and interest as the author has found in the
preparation of this volume.

William Hakding.



CONTENTS



PAGE

Introduction, 9

CHAPTER I.
The Cause of It All, ............ 17

CHAPTER II.
Glancing Backward, 19

CHAPTER III.
What Was Found in a Waste-Basket, ........ 21

CHAPTER IV.
The Initial Passage, 25

CHAPTER V.
The Plotting Begins, 28

CHAPTER VI.
The First Court-Martial, .33

CHAPTER VII.
Found Guilty and Condemned, 36

CHAPTER VIII.
The Degradation, 40

CHAPTER IX.
Another Account of the Degradation, 45

CHAPTER X.
The "Syndicate op Silence," 47

CHAPTER XI.
Exiled to Devil's Island, .50

CHAPTER XII.
Life on Devil's Island, 63

CHAPTER XIII.
The Doctor's Story, 56

CHAPTER XIV.
Letters of Dreyfus to his Wife, ... ...... 59



12 CONTENTS

CHAPTER XV.

PAGE

Further Expressions of the Prisoner, ........ 63

CHAPTER XVI.

The Prisoner Hears Good News, .......... 69

CHAPTER XVII.
WoRKiN<; FOR THE Truth, ........... 73

CHAPTER XVIII.
Colonel Henry to the Rescue, .......... 77

CHAPTER XIX.
Zola to the Front, ............ 81

CHAPTER XX.
M. Cavaignac and the Dreyfus Case, ......... 85

CHAPTER XXI.
Before the Court of Cassation, ......... .91

CHAPTER XXII.
Hopes Grow Stronger, 94

CHAPTER XXIII.
Dreyfus Brought Back to France, ......... 99

CHAPTER XXIV.
How M. Lebon Treated Dreyfus, 103

CHAPTER XXV.
Dreyfus's Final Appeal for Justice, ......... 107

CHAPTER XXVI.
Opening of the Second Dreyfus Court-Martial, ...... Ill

CHAPTER XXVII.
The Prisoner Assists the Judges, 121

CHAPTER XXVIII.
General Mercier Confronted by Dreyfus, 123

CHAPTER XXIX.
Attempt to Murder M. Labori, 132

CHAPTER XXX.

Ex-President and Former War Minister Clash, 138

CHAPTER XXXI.
The Prisoner's Sufferings on Devil's Island, 146



CONTENTS 13

CHAPTER XXXII.

PAGE

Colonel Picquart and M. Bertdlus Support Dreyfus, 157

CHAPTER XXXIII.
The Plots against Dreyfus, 16o

CHAPTER XXXIV.
"That is a Manifest Lie!" said Dreyfus, ' • • 176

CHAPTER XXXV.
Dreyfus Answers his Accusers, 183

CHAPTER XXXVI.
Labori Resumes the Defence of Dreyfus, 190

CHAPTER XXXVII.
General Gonsb Cornered by M. Labori, 198

CHAPTER XXXVIII.
Generals Go Down under Counsel's Eire, 205

CHAPTER XXXIX.
"Expert" Bertillon Attacks Dreyfus, 216

CHAPTER XL.
Mercier Accuses the Dead, ........... 222

CHAPTER XLI.
The Evidence of M. Bertillon is Ridiculed, 227

CHAPTER XLII.
The " Little White Mouse " Testifies, 232

CHAPTER XLin.

ESTERHAZY ACCUSED BY FoUR WITNESSES, 240

CHAPTER XLIV.
The Prisoner Breaks Down Under the Strain, 245

CHAPTER XLV.
More Testimony for Dreyfus, ,.......•• 252

CHAPTER XLVI.
More Testimony in Favor of Dreyfus, 261

CHAPTER XLVII.
Conflicting Testimony, 270



i^:



14 co:ntents

CHAPTER XLVIII.

PAGE

Appeal to Emperor William and Kixg Humbert, ...... 278

CHAPTER XLIX.
M. Labori Threatens to Withdraw from the Case, 289

CHAPTi:R L.
JouAUST Refuses to Take Evidence of the Attaches, ..... 298

CHAPTER LI.
Pleading for the Prisoner, 309

CHAPTER LII.
Again Found Guilty, 317

CHAPTER LIII.
Indignation Throughout the World, ......... 334

CHAPTER LIV.
Vindication, .............. 349

CHAPTER LV.
First Free Utterances of Dreyfus, ......... 351

CHAPTER LVI.
Explains Animosity Against Him, ......... 357

CHAPTER LVII.
"The Incident is Closed," 365

CHAPTER LVIII.
Is the "Incident" Closed? ........... 308

/ CHAPTER LIX.

\PThe Hope of France, ............ 372

CHAPTER LX.
V What Europe Thought of the Pardon, ........ 375

/ CHAPTER LXI.
,/ Echoes of the Trial, 379

CHAPTER LXII.
Proposal to Boycott the Paris Exposition, ....... 387

CHAPTER LXIII.
Dreyfus Trial Reporting, ........... 391

Dictionary of Principal Names, Documents, etc., ..... 399



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



Captain Alfred Dreyfus.

Great Actors in the Drama : Zola, Clemeuceau, Mercier, Carrifere.

Colonel Picquart in the Cherche-Midi Prison.

First Scene of the Tragedy : Major Du Paty de Clam dictating Trial Passages of the
Bordereau to Captain Dreyfus before his arrest.

The Secret Court-Martial.

Opening of the Trial : Dreyfus declares his Innocence.

Madame Dreyfus and Her Children.

Maitre Labori.

Confession of Colonel Henry to War Minister Cavaignac.

lie du Diable : Di'eyfus in his Cell.

Court of Cassation : Assembling to hear Beaupr^'s Eeport in favor of Revision.

Dreyfus's Outburst of Passion : "I am Innocent !"

Devil's Island : Shovying Dreyfus's Hut and the Watch-Tower.

Return of Dreyfus : Arrival on board the iS/oa;.

Leaving the Train at Rablais near Rennes.

Some of the Principal Personages in the Dreyfus Case.

The Degradation of Dreyfus : Breaking the Svyord.

Dreyfus's Morning Walk on the Sfax.

The Return of Dreyfus : Landing from the Sfax at Quiberon.

On Board the SJax : the Cabin occupied by Dreyfus.

On Board the Sfax : The Guard at the Door of Dreyfus's Cabin.

Leading Actors in the Drama: Cavaignac, Casimir-P6rier, Faure, de Freycinet,

Gallifet.

Leading Actors in the Drama : Henry, Deroul6de, Roget, Boisdeffre, Esterhazy.

Leading Actors in the Drama: Schwarzkoppen, Panizzardi, Scheurer - Kestner,
Sandherr, Billot, Du Paty de Clam.

President Emile Loubet.

Maitre Labori with Madame Labori and his Secretary.

Madame Labori Supporting her Wounded Husband.



16 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Return of Dreyfus : En route to Rennes.

Scene between General Roget and Colonel Picquart, August 18, 1899.

Return of Dreyfus : First Landing on French Soil.

Witnesses against Dreyfus: General Zurlinden, Casimir-Perier, Generals Billot
and Mercier.

Panoramic View of Devil's Island.

Second Court-Martial : Remarkable scene during the Session of August 24th.

The Confrontation of Captain Freystaetter and Colonel Maui'el-Pries, Judges in the
Trial of 1894.

Arrival of Madame Dreyfus at Rennes.

Frenzy of Paris : Reading the News in the Streets.

Agitation in Paris : Rush on the Boulevard for Evening Papers Announcing the Verdict.

The Mob Rampant in Paris.

Captain Dreyfus Leaving the Court-Martial for the Military Prison.

The Trial at Rennes : Military Witnesses Leaving the Court after Giving their Testimony.

Return of Dreyfus: Driving from the Quai to Quiberon.

The Altar of St. Joseph (Wrecked by the Mob, August 20, 1899).

Captain Dreyfus: "That I am alive to-day I owe to my Wife."

The Trial at Rennes : Colonel Jouaust Reading the Arraignment at the Bar.

Funeral Cortege of Colonel Henry.

M. Bertillon Demonstrates his "System."

Major Forzinetti.

M. Bertulus.

The Trial at Rennes : Maitre Demange Addressing the Court in Behalf of Dreyfus.

Military Prison at Rennes : the Entrance Gate.

Military Prison at Rennes: Entrance to the Coui*t-Room.

Military Prison at Rennes : Scene in the Court- Yard.



DREYFUS :

THE PRISONER OF DEVIL'S ISLAND



Chapter L

THE CAUSE OF IT ALL

If you had asked any Frenchman, after the disastrous war with Ger-
many of 1870-71 (when, instead of the eagles of France swooping down
upon Berlin, the eagles of Germany fluttered over Paris), the reason for this
state of affairs, he would have replied most promptly :

"Nous sommes trahis." ("We are betrayed.")

Here we have the situation in a nutshell. France is continually being
betrayed, or fancying she is being betrayed, which is about the same thing,
to all intents and purposes ; for the idea, as much as the fact, keeps the
people in a continual state of turmoil, almost boiling with its superheated
lava.

The very suggestion that a French general could be incompetent is
protested against with angry derision by Frenchmen ; therefore treachery
alone must be allowed to explain the military defeats and other reverses
suffered by French arms and French diplomacy.

In addition to this, the feeling against the Jews which first developed
in Algeria shortly after the Franco-German war, owing to the enfranchise-
ment of all the Jews in that French colony, to the detriment of all other
foreigners, including the Arabs, has been steadily growing ever since, and
has reached such a point that the most overheated Frenchmen have actu-
ally been thinking of the possibilities of a St. Bartholomew massacre, in
which all sympathizers with the Jews, as well as all Jews, would be killed.

The pulse of France may be said to be the army, for nearly all French-



18 DEEYFUS: THE PRISONER OF DEVIL'S ISLAND

men have to draw lots on coming of age to decide whether they are not to
serve under the colors. The army permeates into every hole and comer
of France. Red-tape and officialdom reign supreme. Nearly every fam-
ily in France is in some way connected, or likely to be connected, with
the army. Consequently when the feeling against the Jews spread t-o
the army, the paths of the Jewish soldiers and officers were far from being
strewn with roses.

It is unnecessary to dwell further upon the reasons which led to this
antipathy in France against the Jews. It is not a question of religion,
though religion has had something to do with the state of affairs existing.
The average Frenchman, however, cares little or nothing for any man's
religion, though there are many good Catholics in France, and some of
them have taken part in the popular crusade against the Jews. But it
seems to be that a sort of feeling of envy, or jealousy of the growing
wealth of the Jews in general, coupled with complaints against their so-
called aggressiveness and prominence in commercial life, grows stronger
and stronger. Eventually a number of Anti-Semitic newspapers appeared,
principal among them being the Libre Parole (Free Speech), edited by M.
Drumont, a Catholic, which added considerable fuel to the flames.

The alliance, or understanding arrived at between France and Russia
also served to add to the bitterness against the Jews. In Russia the Jews
are despised and oppressed, and therefore Frenchmen, after the under-
standing with Russia, fancied it was but natural, in view of the "alliance,"
to heap red-hot coals on the heads of the Jews in France.

And so the feeling in France against the Jews grew stronger day by
day and began to express itself in violence.



GLANCING BACKWARD 19



Chapter IL

GLANCING BACKWARD

Here it is necessary to take a glance at the political situation just
previous to the outbreak of the famous Dreyfus case. In November,
1893, soon after the reassembling of Parliament, a crisis in the Ministry
arose on account of objections to the Ministerial programme of the pre-
mier, M. Dupuy, who was desirous of conciliating the Moderates, and on
account of the abuse of three Eadical members of the Cabinet, MM. Viette,
Peytral, and Carriere. M. Dupuy was unable to conciliate, and it was agreed
that the three Ministers should leave the Cabinet. But the discord in the
Ministry leaked out, and owing to the failure of the Government support-
ers to carry a vote of confidence in the Ministry, M. Dupuy and his col-
leagues resigned November 26th, and M. Casimir-P^rier formed a Cabinet,
being succeeded as President of the Chamber of Deputies by M. Dupuy.

An extraordinary scene occurred in the Chamber of Deputies on De-
cember 10, 1893. An Anarchist named Vaillant flung a bomb, filled with
nails, among the members of the Chamber of Deputies, more or less seri-
ously injuring forty-seven persons. Vaillant was promptly captured, tried,
condemned, and executed. The affair served still further to inflame the
public mind.

The next day, M. Casimir-P^rier managed to pass through the Chamber

of Deputies four bills, modifying the Press Law, the Criminal-Conspiracy

Law, and the Explosive Law, and formed a fimd for the preservation of

order and the prevention of such outrages as the one which had so startled

the world.

Soon afterward, M. Cl^menceau, a popular leader, began the publica-
tion of a series of " revelations " tending to show the unpreparedness of the
Toulon Arsenal in case of war and the general unsatisfactory condition of
the Navy of France, which did not tend to calm the public mind. The
Government appointed a Commission to inquire into the alleged misman-



20 DREYFUS: THE PRISONER OF DEVIL'S ISLAND

agement in the Navy Department, and a resolution of confidence in the
Ministry was passed by a large majority. This was in January, 1894.

Early in March, 1894, there was an exciting debate in the Chamber
of Deputies over a slight incident which occurred at St. Denis, where the
mayor, a Socialist, prohibited a display in the streets of any religious
symbol or emblem. The Minister of Public Works, M. SpuUer, declared
this was imprudent and tyrannical, and he announced that a new spirit
would animate the Government in its treatment of matters at issue be-
tween the laity and the clergy, namely the spirit of tolerance. The Radi-
cals were furious at such a suggestion, and a resolution, violently hostile
to the clergy, was proposed by M. Brisson. The Government, however,
triumphed, and for some time this " new spirit " was in evidence, and was
by some people interpreted as further concessions to the Jews, thus arous-
ing more ill-feeling against them.

After gaining further victories over the Socialists and Eadicals, M.
Casimir-P^rier fell from office on account of an adverse vote in the Cham-
ber of Deputies over an interpellation regarding leave of absence being
given to the railroad employees, who are government servants, to attend a
congress of the Eailroad Workmen's Federation.

M. Dupuy formed a new Cabinet on May 28, 1894, his place as Presi-
dent of the Chamber of Deputies being taken by M. Casimir-P^rier.

For a time the political sea was smooth. But France and the world
at large, on June 24th, was plunged into excitement and indignation by
the cowardly assassination of President Sadi-Carnot, at Lyons, whither
he had gone to open an exhibition. He was stabbed to death by Caserio
Santo, an Italian anarchist, who claimed he was inspired to commit the
deed by a desire to avenge his fellow anarchists who had been previously
executed in France.

M. Casimir-P^rier was elected June 27th, to succeed M. Camot. He
obtained 451 votes out of the total of 851 votes cast, M. Dupuy receiving
97 votes.

The Dupuy Ministry resigned on the election of the new President,
but the Cabinet was asked to remain in ofiice. A bill was introduced into
the Chamber by the Government, giving the law more extended powers
against anarchists and restricting the press from publishing full reports of
the trials of anarchists, much to the disgust of many of the irreconcilables.



WHAT WAS FOUND IN A WASTE-BASKET 21



Chapter HI.
WHAT WAS FOUND IN A WASTE-BASKET

This was about the state of affairs in France when, in September,
1894, there was brought to the Intelligence Department of the French
War Ofl&ce a mysterious document, torn into pieces, which was said to
have been stolen from a waste-basket at the German Embassy, where, at
that time. Colonel von Schwartzkoppen was the military attach^. This
document was carefully pasted or pieced together by members of the In-
telligence Department, and was shown to the Minister of War, General
Mercier ; the Chief of the Headquarters Staff, General de Boisdeff re ; and
the Assistant Chief of the Headquarters Staff, General Gonse.

Colonel Sandherr was then Chief of the Intelligence Department of the
War Office, and among his assistants was Lieutenant-Colonel Henry.
The former soon died, the latter committed suicide after confessing a for-
gery. On the Headquarters Staff were three ofi&cers, Lieutenant-Colonel
Picquart, Lieutenant-Colonel Du Paty de Clam, and Captaia Dreyfus, a
Jew.

This finding of the pieces of paper in the waste-paper basket led to the
great scandal of the century, which began at that time, and which is not
yet ended. This document has since been known as the bordereau, or
piece de conviction, and it was this which sent an unfortunate man to five
years of torture, and which may yet have the most serious consequences
for France.

When pieced together, the bordereau read :

" Without news indicating that you wish to see me, I am sending you,
nevertheless, sir, some interesting information :

" 1. A note on the hydraulic brake of the 120 guu and on the way in
which this piece behaved.

"2. A note on the covering of troops {troupes de couverture). Some
modifications will be entailed by the new plan.



22 DREYFUS: THE PRISONER OF DEVIL'S ISLAND

"3. A note on a modification in artillery formations.

" 4. A note relative to Madagascar.

"5. The project for a Firing Manual for field-artillery, March 14,
1894.

" This last document is extremely difficult to procure, and I can only
have it at my disposal for a very few days. The Minister of War has sent
a limited number of copies to the several corps, and these corps are re-
sponsible for it ; each ojfficer is to send his copy back after the manoeuvres.
If, therefore, you will take from it what interests you, and hold it after-
ward at my disposal, I will take it, unless you should desire that I should
have it copied in extenso and then send you the copy. I am about to go
to the Manoeuvres."

For some time after the discovery of the bordereau, the matter was
kept secret and certain investigations were made. Gradually rumors of
the discovery of treason by the War Office officials became current, and
the words " Nous sommes trahis ! " began to be heard outside of official
circles.

Finally, M. Drumont, editor of the Libre Parole, is said to have ob-
tained the first authentic details of the affair through a letter, addressed
to M. Papillaud, of his staff, that a traitor had been found among the
officers of the General Staff at the Ministry of War, and, it was added,
the traitor was a Jew. The writer of this anonymous letter intimated
that if a search was made among "the Dreyfuses, the Meyers, and the
Levys," the traitor could be identified. Later, during the latter part
of October, 1894, M. Papillaud received another letter, apparently from
the same source, saying the name of the traitor was Captain Alfred Drey-
fus, of the Fourteenth Eegiment of Artillery, and adding that the traitor
had been confined in the Cherche-Midi prison since October 15th. The
letter contained the words :

" People say he is travelling, but they lie, because they would like to
smother the business. All Israel is astir. Toitt h vous, Henry."

The staff of the Libre Parole were then alive to the importance of the
story, and gradually many of the facts in the case leaked out. The pris-
oner, it appeared, was accused of having sold important documents relat-
ing to the national defence to the agents of a foreign power, Germany.
He was arrested on October 15th, by Lieutenant-Colonel Du Paty de Clam,



WHAT WAS FOUND IN A WASTE-BASKET 23

The following is a reduced facsimile of a portion of the famous bor-
dereau :



ilA^'Xi ^wua^*jCo-, />, ■><^',ytM*»^^^~' f



t.^^^^mm^ ^ *«-«» »f9Vtt



KEDUCED FACSIMILE OF A PORTION OF THE "BORDEREAU"



^ /-^/^^



24 DREYFUS: THE PRISONER OF DEVIL'S ISLAND

acting under the orders of General Mercier, the Minister of War, had been
imprisoned in the Cherche-Midi Prison, and the most extraordinary pre-
cautions had been taken to keep the affair secret, even from Dreyfus's
own family. Madame Dreyfus, his wife, it developed later, was fright-
ened into silence by Du Paty de Clam.

France, naturally, became greatly excited, and those who had been the
most bitter in their denunciations of the Jews found ample material for
" I-told-you-so " statements. All kinds of sensational reports were circu-
lated. Some rumors had it that the whole country had been betrayed,
from first to last, army and navy, and that France was almost at the mercy
of her enemies. People even went so far as to declare that war with Ger-
many was imminent. The recall of the German Ambassador was openly



Online LibraryW. (William) HardingDreyfus: the prisoner of Devil's Island, a full story of the most remarkable military trial and scandal of the age → online text (page 1 of 35)