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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Mme. D , who was the wife of a magistrate, and, Lauth intimated,

Picquart's mistress.

Picquart arose and cried : " I protest absolutely. "

At the same time there arose from the spectators a chorus of indignant
cries of " Oh ! " " Canaille ! " " Cochon ! " {" Pig ! ") , and " Miserable ! "

The gendarmes were ordered to repress the outbursts of indignation
which had been evoked by the conduct of Major Lauth in publicly nam-
ing a woman in a scandalous connection.

General Zurlinden, formerly Minister of War, followed Major Lauth
at the witness bar. Zurlinden spoke in justification of his action while
he was Military Governor of Paris and Minister of War in the matter of
the prosecution of Picquart, taking the ground that the measure was ab-
solutely necessary in order that the court should clear up the charge of
forgery brought against Picquart. Moreover, General Zurlinden said, the
Minister of Justice had persuaded him to send Picquart before a military


General Zurlinden, during the day's testimony, amid intense excite-
ment, admitted that the Tavernier inquiry showed that the petit hleu had
not been scratched when it reached the statistical section of the Intelli-
gence Department, and that consequently the erasure was not the work of

M. Trarieux replied to General Zurlinden, reproaching him with Colo-
nel Picquart's ten months in prison.

M. Labori then asked a question of General Zurlinden regarding the
petit hleu. Colonel Jouaust refused to put the question, on the ground
that the court was engaged in the trial of Dreyfus, and not of the Picquart

Counsel, however, insisted, taking the ground that the petit hleu demon-
strated the guilt of Esterhazy, and that consequently it was very impor-
tant for Dreyfus.

The lawyer proceeded with his attack on General Zurlinden, who ad-
mitted that the magisterial inquiry showed that the petit hleu was not tam-
pered with when it first arrived at the Intelligence Department, and that
consequently Picquart could not have been guilty, as alleged, of distorting
the document.

M. Labori asked that M. Paleologue, the representative of the Foreign
Office, be consulted with reference to the reading before the court of diplo-
matic documents which established irrefutably the authenticity of the petit

M. Paleologue, who sits behind the judges, came to the front of the
stage and said that he did not know to what documents M. Labori alluded.

"The document," replied M. Labori, "in which is recounted a conver-
sation between M. Delcasse, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the former
Count von Munster-Ledenburg, German ambassador to Paris, in the
course of which the ambassador said Colonel Schwartzkoppen had admit-
ted that he sent Esterhazy a number of telegraphic cards or petits hleus. "

M. Paleologue replied that what M. Labori said was quite true, and
that the document belonged to the diplomatic dossier. As to the petit
hleu in question, added M. Paleologue, Colonel Schwartzkoppen could
affirm whether he wrote it himself or whether he had not seen it; but
in any case, M. Paleologue said, he believed it was sent by Colonel


This declaration by the representative of the Foreign Office created a
marked sensation in court.

M. Trarieux then read a letter, which he wrote to General Billot,
June 1, 1898, protesting against these falsehoods. To this letter General
Billot had replied that he had not instituted the inquiry. The judges in-
trusted with the investigation of the Esterhazy case, notwithstanding their
conscientiousness, were, M. Trarieux asserted, absolutely deceived by sto-
ries then current. The judges accepted as gospel all the lies of Esterhazy,
who, though acquitted, was not tried.

Replying to ]M. Labori, M. Trarieux dwelt at length upon the charges,
which he described as fairy tales, against Picquart, who had been alleged
to be an agent in the pay of the Dreyfus family, and whose object, as as-
serted, was to put Esterhazy, an innocent man, in the place of Dreyfus
the culprit.

M. Trarieux again entered upon a long statement, in the course of
which he said Esterhazy was acquitted, not judged.

Colonel Jouaust stopped the witness, saying he must not speak in that
way of judges. M. Trarieux replied that he had not referred to judges,
but to "la chose jug^e."

Colonel Jouaust then pointed out that M. Trarieux was taking M. La-
bori's place and making a regular speech for the defence.

General Billot then confronted M. Trarieux, and, in reply to the lat-
ter's criticism of him, the general was much affected, and spoke in a husky
voice. He began by declaring that M. Trarieux had delivered an eloquent
oration, but that it was special pleading for Dreyfus and Picquart, and an
arraignment of former ministers.

The General praised Picquart for his services in the army, and de-
clared that he had the greatest confidence in him — a confidence which,
however, he has since been compelled to withdraw. Then, discussing
Picquart's investigation of the suspicions against Esterhazy, the general

" Even if Esterhazy should be proved a traitor, that would not prove
Dreyfus innocent ; for in cases of espionage it very often occurs that there
are several accomplices."

M. Labori wished to question General Billot, and an altercation with
Colonel Jouaust ensued. Finally M. Labori cried :


" Allow me to remark, Monsieur le President, that it has never been
said that Dreyfus had an accomplice in Esterhazy."

Dreyfus, who heard General Billot's statement with evident excite-
ment, also sprang to his feet, and shouted :

"I protest against this odious accusation."

M. Labori again insisted that he be allowed to question General Billot.
Colonel Jouaust still refused, and a heated wrangle once more ensued.

M. Labori made a passionate protest against the attitude of Colonel
Jouaust, who then said :

" I decline to allow you to speak. "

Coimsel retorted excitedly :

" I bow to your ruling, but I take note that every time I put a ques-
tion which is irresistible you refuse to allow it."

This declaration M. Labori delivered in a ringing voice, punctuating
his utterances with striking gestures. The audience burst into loud ap-
plause. The greatest excitement prevailed, and Colonel Jouaust said:

" If this demonstration is renewed I will have the court-room cleared.
Have you anything more to say, Maitre Labori? "

M. Labori — No, because — and I speak with the utmost respect — I am
prevented from putting any questions touching the core of the affair. I
reserve the right to take such action as regard for my responsibility com-
pels me to take up."

This sentence was the climax of the strained relations which have pre-
vailed between the president of the court-martial and M. Labori.

Major Gallopin, an officer of the artillery, was then examined. He
proved a rather unfavorable witness for Dreyfus, whom he declared he
once met on the Boulevard St. Germain, carrying a voluminous package,
which he said contained secret papers treating of mobilization, and which
he was carrying to the Geographical Bureau.

Dreyfus was questioned regarding this statement, and admitted that
he sometimes took documents home to facilitate work; but he said that
he did not recall the particular incident to which Major Gallopin referred.
This admission by Dreyfus made a bad impression, especially when the
next witness. Major Hirschauer, deposed that he heard Dreyfus express a
desire to go to the manoeuvres. The major, however, could not remember
the exact date.


Dreyfus replied :

" It is very possible that I expressed regrets that I should be unable to
go to the manoeuvres, and, what is certain, we all knew that none of the
probationers could go."

Colonel Picquart was called to the witness stand, and said that Drey-
fus never applied to him for leave to go to the manoeuvres, adding that he
was surprised no inquiry had been made upon his point to the chief of
Dreyfus 's bureau.

Colonel Jouaust read a letter from the colonel of the one hundred and
thirty-eighth regiment of infantry, dated September 2d, recalling the
date of the report on Madagascar, which had enabled him to fix the
date of the bordereau as August, 1894. This report, he added, was
drawn up in the Third Bureau of the General Staff, and consequently
an indiscretion might have been committed by an officer employed in
the bureau.

The deposition of Colonel Du Paty de Clam, which was taken by
Major Tavemier, was then read. It was more remarkable as being a repe-
tition of Du Paty de Clam's former evidence, than as containing any new
revelations. This was what the defence feared, and the reason they de-
clared they had little faith in the result of an cx-parte examination.

In his deposition Du Paty de Clam replied to the attacks made upon
him as a soldier and citizen. He complained that slanderous statements
unsupported by proof had been made regarding him. The witness laid
stress upon the fact that the charges had been dismissed, and expressed
the opinion that the sole object of the slanderers was to impugn the judges
who condemned Dreyfus in 1894. He denied that he ever had relations
with Lieutenant-Colonel Henry, or that he was concerned with the pub-
lication of the article in the Eclair, or with furnishing Esterhazy with the
" document liberateur. "

Du Paty de Clam admitted that he had had relations with Esterhazy,
and repeated the explanations with reference thereto which he gave before
the Court of Cassation.

With regard to the Dreyfus case, Du Paty de Clam declared that he
was not connected with the discovery of the bordereau. It was only on
pressure, the deposition continued, that the witness accepted the task of
investigating the charges in this case. After detailing the course of this


investigation, Du Paty de Clam said that the order for the arrest of Cap-
tain Dreyfus had been distinctly issued quite independent of the dictation

Du Paty de Clam then described the famous dictation scene, in the
course of which, he said, Dreyfus displayed an emotion regarding the
cause of which there might be differences of opinion, but the fact, witness
asserted, was undeniable that M. Cochefert, the chief of the detective de-
partment, who was present, regarded the prisoner's agitation as an indica-
tion of his guilt. Dreyfus manifested his excitement by nervous move-
ments of the jaw, and complained that his fingers were cold.

Du Paty de Clam defended himself against the charge of being a tor-
turer of Dreyfus and his family. The deposition contained copies of let-
ters from Madame Dreyfus establishing the fact that Du Paty de Clam's
relations with her were always courteous.

With regard to the date of the bordereau, Du Paty de Clam expressed
the opinion that it must have been written between the 15th and the 30th
of August, 1894.

The witness denied all statements attributed to him with regard to the
incorrect versions of the Panizzardi telegram.

Later in his deposition, Du Paty de Clam referred to the preparation,
by himself and Colonel Sandherr, of a secret commentary intended to
show who was the traitor among the officers at the headquarters of the
General Staff, " who must be a a Captain D . " None of the docu-
ments accompanying the commentary mentioned the Panizzardi telegram
nor the manufacture of a shell.

Regarding the interview with Captain Dreyfus, Du Paty de Clam de-
clared that he never said to Dreyfus :

"The minister knows you are innocent."

The Minister of War never spoke of delivering documents in order to
obtain others. What Dreyfus said was :

"No, no. Major, I do not wish to plead extenuating circumstances.
My counsel has promised me that in three, five, or six years, my inno-
cence will be admitted."

Later Dreyfus said:

"Major, I know your belief. I have not opposed it. I know you are
an honest man, but I assure you you have made a mistake. Seek what


you call my accomplices, and what I call the culprits, and you will find
them." The prisoner's last word to him was : "Seek."

The deposition of Du Paty de Clam made no reference to cases con-
nected with that of Dreyfus. The witness swore that everything con-
tained in his statement was true.

The court-martial then adjourned.

As a result of the scene between Colonel Jouaust and M. Labori the
latter wished to retire from the case. He was convinced that the judges
were utterly hostile to him, and it is said that he had conceived the idea
of a dramatic withdrawal at the opening of the session of September 7th.
A meeting of the friends of M. Labori was held at his house during the
afternoon to decide whether such a step would be advisable.


Chapter L,


A VERY pessimistic feeling was produced among the friends of Drey-
fus on September 7th, by the decision of Colonel Jouaust not to allow
the evidence of Colonel Schwartzkoppen and Major Panizzardi in the

It was predicted that it meant the certain condemnation of Dreyfus.
This was the unanimous opinion of the anti-Dreyfusards, and it was the
impression of a majority of the Dreyfusards, whose last hope was that
Colonel Jouaust only dared to refuse to take the evidence of Colonel
Schwartzkoppen and Major Panizzardi, because the court had already
made up its mind to acquit the prisoner.

At the opening of the day's session of the court-martial Maitre Labori
announced that Colonel Schwartzkoppen and Major Panizzardi would be
unable to appear personally before the court, and so he proposed that a
rogatory commission should be telegraphed to receive their depositions.

In making his motion for the appointment of a rogatory commission,
M. Labori said:

" I have received notice that, for reasons of public policy, Major Paniz-
zardi and Colonel Schwartzkoppen could not come to Eennes to testify be-
fore the court-martial. But I am also informed from the same quarter
that they would answer the questions of a commission sent by the court-
martial. I therefore beg the court to direct, as in the case of Colonel Du
Paty de Clam, that Colonel Schwartzkoppen and Major Panizzardi be ex-
amined by commission.

" The court will certainly understand that the defence must submit to
the necessities of public policy, which are, I have no doubt, similarly un-
derstood by the Government of the republic. I shall, therefore, be glad if
you will ask M. Paleologue if, in this case, the telegraph may be employed.
I think such a method would be exceedingly rapid, and I am convinced


that the president of the court-martial and the court-martial itself will not
refuse to allow the defence to ascertain the truth."

Counsel added that he would make a formal application to this effect.

Colonel Jouaust, president of the court, then invited the opinion of M.
Paleologue, who replied:

" It is clear that considerations of public policy stand in the way of
foreign military attaches appearing in a French court to testify in regard
to facts of which they had cognizance in their diplomatic capacity. Colo-
nel Schwartzkoppen and Major Panizzardi will not attend the court-mar-

"As regards the dispatch of a commission, I believe the Foreign Office
will not oppose it. But I must make all reservations regarding the use of
the telegraph. I do not know if that would be a regular proceeding."

M. Labori — But couriers can be employed.

M. Paleologue — I do not think the telegraph can be used.

Major Carriere — I do not oppose the appointment of a commission.
It is a matter for the president to decide. There are no legal objections,
provided we respect the provisions of the Military Code, which do not per-
mit an interruption of the trial. Such procedure must not be allowed to
hinder the progress of the trial, and must, therefore, be rapid.

M. Labori — I think it possible to make the procedure I propose very
rapid. The Military Code provides for a suspension of forty-eight hours.
On the other hand, the court might shorten its sittings, reducing them
four hours each. In any case, I shall have the honor of formulating an
application which I will submit to the court.

He then drew up a formal application that Colonel Schwartzkoppen
and Major Panizzardi be cited as witnesses, and that eight questions
should be telegraphed them, to which they should reply under oath.

While M. Labori was drafting his motion, a member of the court-mar-
tial remarked that certain documents mentioned in Du Paty de Clam's
depositions could not be found either among the records or in the statisti-
cal department of the War Office.

To which M. Demange replied that perhaps they were under seal.

M. Labori then read the terms of his formal application, which stated
that as considerations of public policy prevented the appearance of Colonel
Schwartzkoppen, and Major Panizzardi before the court-martial, commis-


sious should be sent to examine them, in order to permit these officers to
state under oath all that they knew in regard to the case.

Counsel furthermore requested the court to have the following ques-
tions put to each of the two officers :

"First — On what date did you receive the documents mentioned in
the bordereau?

" Second — Are these documents in the same handwriting as the borde-
reau, which you know from a facsimile?

" Third — What did these documents contain ?

" Fourth — Did you receive the Firing Manual, either in the original
or a copy ?

" Fifth — Did you receive the graduation bar ?

"Sixth — Since what date did you receive those documents?

" Seventh — Was it to the same correspondent to whom you address the
petit hleu that was referred to in the conversation between Count von
Munster and M. Delcasse?

" Eighth — Have you had direct relations with the accused ? "

M. Labori urged the importance of the evidence of these two witness-
es, whom, he declared, he would not have cited if Cemuschi had not been
called. Counsel pointed out it was possible to suspend the proceedings
long enough to obtain replies to the questions, which he considered indis-

The court made no answer at once, but retired to deliberate on M. La-
bori's application. Every one in court stood up when the judges returned
fifteen minutes later.

Colonel Jouaust gave the order "Present arms " to the guard of soldiers
at the bottom of the hall, while he, standing, and with the other judges
standing on either side of him, read the decision that the president, Colo-
nel Jouaust, was competent to order a rogatory commission, but that the
judges as a body, according to the Military Code, were not competent to
do so.

M. Labori thereupon asked Colonel Jouaust if he still maintained his
refusal to appoint the commission, the colonel, when M. Labori submitted
his conclusions, having said he was opposed to the application.

Colonel Jouaust replied, " Yes " ; and by this decision the evidence of
Colonel Schwartzkoppen and Major Panizzardi, who were prepared, it


was said, to swear they never had relations with Dreyfus, was thus

The refusal of Colonel Jouaust seemed inexplicable, because it appeared
to be his duty to receive all evidence directly bearing on the case, and
more especially the evidence of the two attaches, the refusal of whose testi-
mony was thought to be equivalent to a slight on their respective countries.

The chief of detectives, M. Cochefert, the first witness of the morning,
deposed favorably regarding the attitude of Dreyfus when Du Paty de
Clam dictated the bordereau to him. The witness said Dreyfus appeared
not to be troubled until afterward, when Du Paty de Clam questioned him.

M. Cochefert referred to a revolver found on a table near the desk at
which Dreyfus was then seated, and he recounted how the prisoner, on
perceiving it, cried :

" I will not kill myself. I will live to establish my innocence. "

The clerk of the court then read a letter from Captain Humbert to the
effect that Dreyfus had expressed a keen desire in 1894 to enter the Sta-
tistical Section of the War Office, and saying that he met Dreyfus once
carrying some voluminous packets of maps and documents, and remarked
that he was acting very imprudently.

In reply to the usual questions, Dreyfus said that Captain Humbert's
recollections were not exact, adding :

" In regard to the papers mentioned, perhaps it would be advisable to
have the Commissariat Tables of Plan 13 produced, when you will see that
they are of no great importance. It is certain I was acquainted with five
or six tables, the printing of which I was instructed to superintend."

Colonel Jouaust — Did you apply to Colonel Sandherr with the view
of entering the Statistical Section?

Dreyfus — No, no.

Colonel Jouaust — Did you not express such a desire to your com-
rades ?

Dreyfus — No.

Savignaud, the former orderly of Colonel Picquart, and one of the wit-
nesses, asked the court to certify that Senator Trarieux, the former Minis-
ter of Justice, had called him an impostor and a perjurer.

M. Trarieux rose and insisted that Savignaud's evidence was a contra-
diction of the evidence of Colonel Picquart, M. Scheurer-Kestner, and M.


Roque, proving, he claimed, perjury somewhere, but not by the last trio
of "witnesses.

M Trarieux added that his statements were in accordance with the
dictates of his soul and conscience, and, if he was amenable to the law for
them, there was also a law against perjurers.

General Mercier here reappeared on the scene. After saying that the
evidence of Captain Freystaetter must have greatly influenced the judges,
he referred to the attacks on himself made by the revisionist newspapers,
saying that in consequence of Freystaetter's assertions he had been de-
scribed as a forger, and it was great satisfaction to him now to be able to
reply to Captain Freystaetter by adducing, in addition to the testimony of
Colonel Maurel, an addition to his own testimony, which was confirmed
by Colonel Du Paty de Clam's deposition.

Continuing, the general said that information which he had happily
been enabled to obtain would completely enlighten the judges. He main-
tained that in 1894 he gave orders that the various translations of the
Panizzardi telegram received from the Foreign Office should not be taken
into account, and he declared that the testimony of General de Boisdeffre
and M. Gribelin on this point agreed with his.

The sealed envelope handed to the court-martial of 1894, the general
also said, was made up in his presence, and did not contain the Panizzardi
telegram. It was sealed by Colonel Sandherr, and Colonel Du Paty de
Clam was entrusted with conveying it to the court-martial.

He, the witness, had questioned the officers who acted as judges of the
court-martial of 1894, in regard to the presentation to the court of a se-
cret envelope. All, with a single exception, had assured him that they did
not remember reading the Panizzardi telegram, although they could not
declare under oath that it was not among the documents.

Three officers apologized for the vagueness of their recollections after
the lapse of five years. Mercier asseverated that these statements them-
selves constituted proof, but he thought it necessary to point out contra-
dictions in the evidence of Captain Freystaetter. He read an old letter
from Freystaetter to a friend, in which the captain expressed his belief in
the guilt of Dreyfus.

The general quoted a number of statements to the same effect, alleged
to have been made by Freystaetter.


Greneral Mercier, continuing, said he reproached Captain Freystaetter
for engaging in newspaper discussion, which, perhaps, resulted in mixing
his ideas so that others were being substituted for his personal recollec-
tions, which indicated a certain mental derangement. In support of the
theory of lunacy, Mercier mentioned that Freystaetter, while in Madagas-
car, was once guilty of disobeying his commander, and on another occa-
sion the captain executed thirty natives without trial.

The allegations of General Mercier caused so much excitement in court

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 25 of 35)