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led to a fearful agitation in the Chamber of Deputies,
which was fomented by the production before the
house of a bloodstained shirt, pierced by five bullets.
The producer was Ernest Roche, a Boulangist, who
had also belonged to the Communist party, and was
one of Rochefort's trusted men. I know Roche very
well, and have had many a meeting with him. He
comes from Bordeaux, was originally a lithographer,
and soon after arriving in Paris made a mark as an


eloquent speaker, with a tendency towards pathos, at
assemblies of Communists and Socialists. Then he
was patronised by Henri Rochefort, whom he adores,
wrote for the Intransigeant, and was elected to the
Chamber for a Paris district. Roche, who can be
logical as well as melodramatic and emotional, usually
obtains a hearing in the Chamber, unlike his master
Rochefort, who, when a deputy, could not make his
voice reach all the benches, and used to be amazed
to find his parliamentary colleagues indulging in rather
boisterous conversation while he spoke. It was no
wonder that he left parliamentary life in disgust, calling
the deputies "■paperassiers^' and that he resolved to
devote all his energy to his old work.

Roche, after .having displayed the bloodstained
shirt with the bullet holes in it, called for the im-
peachment of M. Constans, who had sent Rochefort
into exile with General Boulanger and Count Dillon.
M. Constans was then Minister of the Interior
in the Cabinet formed by M. de Freycinet on
March 17, 1890, which lasted until February 27, 1892,
when M. Emile Loubet became President of the

M. Constans was not impeached at the instance
of M. Ernest Roche, but he was destined to fall in
the following year owing to his pugilistic attitude
towards another Boulangist, M. Laur. Two events
of greater importance happened before the close of
the year 1891. The first was the visit of Tsar
Alexander of Russia to Admiral Gervais, at Cronstadt.
The Tsar went on board the Admiral's flagship and
listened bare-headed to the " Marseillaise." There
was wild enthusiasm in Paris over this, and the com-


pliment was returned by the introduction into France
of the Russian hymn in honour of the Tsar. This
was played by all the regimental bands and sung
by the local and parochial orphionistes or choral
societies, and the Russian fever raged. All this
happened during the summer of 1891, and in the
November of that year, the same month in which
Lord Lytton died, took place the prosecution of a
French prelate, Mgr. Gouthe - Soulard, who was
brought before a Paris Court for having written a
vehement letter to M. Fallieres, who was then
Minister of Justice and of Public Worship. The
Minister, owing to a street riot caused by the irreve-
rent action of French pilgrims at the tomb of King
Victor Emmanuel the Second in the Pantheon
of Rome, issued certain orders. The conduct of the
pilgrims caused them to be hooted and hustled in the
streets of Rome. Pilgrims of other nationalities were
also made to suffer for the attitude of the French, who
were mostly young men. M. Fallieres ruled that the
French prelates or priests were not to take any more
pilgrims to Rome without having previously obtained
the permission and the sanction of the Government.
Mgr. Gouthe-Soulard demurred to this order and had
to come up from his palace at Aix to the Palais de
Justice of Paris, where he was condemned to a fine of
3,000 francs. This Gouthe-Soulard incident was the
starting-point of that hostility which the Republicans
accuse the French Catholics of entertaining towards
the existing form of government in France. All the
Reactionaries endorsed the prelate's letter to M.
Fallieres, and denounced the Government. Catholi-
cism in France thence began to be identified with the


cause of the Royalists more than ever, and to be
a good Catholic meant to be an opponent of the
Republic. This antagonism or hostility of the Catholics
was used as a formidable weapon against them during
the agitation over the expulsion of the religious
orders and the riots caused by the separation of
Church and State.

At the same time there were, and there are, Re-
publican Catholics, but the others — the Reactionaries
— carefully remind them that neither they, nor the
late Pope Leo XIII., who laboured hard to reconcile
the Church and the French Republic, got much
advantage by their full acceptance of the present form
of Government. On the contrary, as the Reaction-
aries say, the Republic conceded nothing, and its
administrators deceived and cajoled both Leo XIII.
and his successor Pius X.

I have a vivid recollection still of the remarkable
events of the year 1892 in France. In the January
of that year I saw the Minister of the Interior,
M. Constans, jump from his place and strike M.
Laur, a Boulangist. It was one of the wildest scenes
that I ever witnessed in the Chamber of Deputies.
Men of different parties and groups were howling,
shrieking, cursing, and shaking their fists at one another.
Desks were banged, books, papers, and inkpots were
flung about, and it seemed as if the roof of the
world were about to fall in. Laur, who led to this
fearful din, had called the attention of the House
to the attacks made on M. Constans in Rochefort's
paper, the Intransigeant, and he wanted to know what
the Government proposed to do in the matter. Here
M. de Freycinet, who was President of the Council


and War Minister, moved the previous question,
whereupon Laur said that the Government was tryino-
to screen a man, marked and execrated by public
opinion. Thereupon M. Constans struck the deputy,
and the day, which was January 19, 1892, was known
as the ''Journde des Gifles'' M. Constans expressed
regret for his act of violence and loss of self-control,
and a committee which was appointed to look into
the affair declined to advise proceedings against a
Senator. The career of M. Constans as a Minister
was finished soon after that, and he subsequendy went
as ambassador to Constantinople.

I confess that I was as sorry for the downfall
of Constans as I was for that of Ferry, although the
former had marked me as a partisan of Boulanger and
had me watched, and Ferry's strong anti-clerical
policy was opposed, as was that of M. Combes
afterwards, to my ideals of justice, freedom, and
fair play.

This year of the Constans episode was also that
of the dynamite explosions. Of these, one occurred
quite close to where I lived. It was the outrage done
by Ravachol in a house in the Rue de Clichy wherein
lived, on the topmost floor, M. Bulot, an assistant or
deputy of the Procureur-General of the Republic.
This assistant had distinguished himself by his
vigorous denunciation of anarchists, and he was
marked by Ravachol. The explosion occurred on a
Sunday morning, and I ran out when I heard the
dull, ominous report, which shook the houses in my
street. Entering the Rue de Clichy, I made my way
to the house, and found there Aurelien Scholl. He
was a neighbour of mine, and when I accosted him he


was by no means in the mood to make jokes or to
emit witticisms. He was only partially dressed, and had
jumped out of bed to discover what was the matter.
He lived exactly opposite the house nearly blown up,
or rather blown down, by Ravachol. At first he
thought that his own house had been dynamited, but
as the roof was not falling in, he believed that an
attempt had been made to damage the Sacr6 Coeur
basilica at Montmartre. On going into the street he
saw at once where the affair had happened. I left
Scholl climbing a ladder placed against the damaged
house. He wanted to see if anybody had been killed
or injured. This was not the case, but the bomb
exploding on the staircase had seriously damaged the
house, which had to be propped up and repaired from
top to bottom. My attention was temporarily taken
away from this dynamite explosion by instructions
which I received to ask Father Forbes, the Scotch
Jesuit, then living in the house of the Society in the
Rue de Sevres, what he proposed to do in view
of his expulsion from France for having said from
the pulpit that the army was a school of moral and
physical corruption for the youth of the country.

Strangely enough the noise of the next serious
dynamite explosion, that of Vary's restaurant, I heard
while sitting in the offices of the Daily Telegraph, then
near the Bourse. V6ry's was blown up by the Anarchists
as Ravachol had been arrested on the information
given by a waiter there. The owner of the restaurant
and his wife were fatally injured, and a customer had
a narrow escape. It was only a small eating-house
dignified with the name of restaurant. I was on the
spot a few moments after the explosion, which had


completely gutted the shop, leaving the ceiling and
the walls bare. Everything that had been in the
place in the way of fixings and furniture was reduced
to atoms.

Ravachol was subsequently condemned to the
guillotine, not, of course, for the damage done by him
to the house near me in which M. Bulot lived, but
because he had murdered a so-called hermit from
whose hut, near Lyons, he took 30,000 francs. With
this equivalent of ^1,200 the dynamiter helped many
of his comrades, and was able to furnish them with
the explosive stuff which caused so much alarm and
destruction throughout Paris in 1892. The other
explosions of that terrible year, when people were
expecting to be blown up at any moment, were at
the house of the Princess de Sagan in the Rue
de Crenelle, at the residence of M. Benoist, a judge,
on the Boulevard Saint Germain, at the Lobau
barracks of the Municipal Guards near the Hotel de
Ville, and in the police station of the Rue des Bons
Enfants, near the Louvre. The latter was a fearful
affair. The bomb had been left at the offices of the
Carmaux Mines Company, Avenue de I'Gpera. The
Anarchists had marked this company after the strikes
had broken out in the mines, and they accordingly
despatched a dynamiter to the Paris office.


Dynamite outrages — The Panama bubble — The Anti-Semitic
campaign — M. Drumont and the Jews — Jewish officer
killed in duel — Baron de Reinach's mysterious death —
M. Clemenceau and Dr. Herz — The sick man of Bourne-
mouth — The Clemenceau-Deroulede duel — The " pot de
Vin " ballet — The Panama cheques — Foreign Corre-
spondents expelled — Admiral Avellan's visit — The question
of Siam — Anti- English feeUng — The dynamiters Henry and

INSIDE the door of the offices of the Carmaux
Company the explosive was found, and the con-
cierge, fearing to touch it, sent for the necessary police-
man. The latter boldly took it to the Commissariat
or station near at hand, that of the Rue des Bons
Enfants. There he placed it on a table before his
chief and it exploded instantly, killing the man who
brought it and four others. I saw the fragments of
the bodies being put into sacks half an hour after
the explosion, which I had heard as I was on my
way to the office of the Telegraph to begin the
work of the afternoon. I shall never forget the scene
in the police-station of the Rue des Bons Enfants.
The men who had escaped were actually crying.
They were dazed, dulled, stupefied, and a daring
anarchist or two might have done what they liked
with them. That explosion in the Rue des Bons
Enfants was one of the most terrible of the series.



Edouard Drumont.


To face p. 159.


It was soon forgotten, however, as the first
murmurs and mutterings of the Panama cyclone
were making themselves heard. There were also the
beginnings of the fierce fights between Semites and
Anti-Semites, Jews and Christians, which were to
culminate in the Dreyfus case. Nothing definite
was done in the Panama business until the close
of the year 1892. I must therefore take the Jewish
affairs first. Hebrews and Christians, or, to be more
correct, Hebrews and French Catholics, had been at
war ever since the failure of the Union Generale
Bank, which was founded in 1876 with a capital of
four millions of francs, increased afterwards by M.
Bontoux to twenty-five millions of francs. It failed,
and its story is told in Zola's book " L' Argent."
Catholic investors were ruined, and the Rothschilds,
against whose financial supremacy the founders of
the Union Generale fought, remained masters of the
market. The French Catholics were beaten, as the
Barings were beaten in 1893. Then came Edouard
Drumont — "-En/in Drumont vint," to alter Boileau's
line about Malherbe. This able journalist, who is a
veritable Hebrew in appearance, has often been set
down as a Jew. The Hebrews, however, repudiate
him, and deny that he belongs to the Chosen People.
He comes from the North of France, and was for
some years on the staff of the LibertS, but he
left that paper because it was financed by the Israelite
Pereires. In 1886 Drumont's "La France Juive "
appeared, and caused a terrible uproar. He had to
fight with Charles Laurent and with Arthur Meyer,
a born Jew, who is now one of the pillars of Catholic


Drumont next founded the Libre Parole with,
it is said, the money of the Jesuits, but that is
as doubtful as everything else said about those
mysterious men who follow the rules of St. Igna-
tius. Any way, the new paper opened fire on the
Jews in general and on Jewish army officers in

Down at Melun, a large garrison town, a Captain
Cr^mieu-Foa took exception to the articles of the
Libre Parole, and fought Drumont and one of
his staff named Lamase. It was resolved to keep
the duel with Lamase out of the papers, but Captain
Cremieu-Foa's brother gave a report of the encounter
to the Matin, and the Marquis de Mor^s, one of
the seconds of Lamase, challenged Captain Meyer,
who had been a second for his Jewish co-religionist,
Cremieu-Foa. Captain Meyer was killed, and the
antagonism between Jews and Catholics became
envenomed. The campaign of the Libre Parole
was not stopped by any means after these events.
It raged with fury during the Dreyfus case, when the
country was nearly torn asunder by those who were
for the exiled officer and those who execrated him.
On one side were the Royalist and Nationalist
Catholics, with their papers the Gaulois and the
Libre Parole, and on the other the out-and-out
Republicans, the Radicals, the Socialists, the majority
of the foreign colonists, and even some of the

On special occasions during the long Dreyfus
crisis the Libre Parole offices on the boulevard
were brought into special prominence by a placard
displayed, inscribed with the words " A bas lesjuifs /"


This so enraged A. D. Vandam, author of "The
Englishman in Paris," that one night when I was
out on the boulevards with him, he wanted me to
join him in a rush to the editorial sanctum of
Drumont, whom he meant to challenge. I had some
difficulty in persuading Vandam not to get him-
self into trouble over Drumont's diatribes, especially
as he had important work concerning the Dreyfus
Case in hand at the moment. And at the same time
Vandam, although in appearance an unmistakable
Hebrew, had but comparatively little sympathy with
his race. He had long been under the influence of
Clifford Millage, of the Daily Chronicle^ who nearly
made him become a Catholic.

The funeral of Captain Meyer, who was brought
to Paris to be buried, was a great Jewish demon-
stration. Some did not regard the demonstration
as serious. Herr Beckmann, the German to whom
I have previously referred as Bismarck's man in
Paris, was of a different opinion. I met him at
the funeral, and he uttered a prophecy which has
been verified by events: "This," he said, "will be
productive of a terrific fight for supremacy on the
part of the Jews. Mark my words, the Jews are
not going to stand any nonsense. They will pull
France to pieces first." I thought of this utterance a
few years afterwards, when Joseph Reinach talked of
the determination of himself and the other Dreyfusards,
tout chambarder for the purpose of getting freedom for
their man.

This allusion to Joseph Reinach brings me to the
strange affair of his uncle, the Baron. That was an
affaire Reinach for a time. It was a month's



mystery of Paris, and the death of Baron de Reinach
led up to the Panama cyclone and caused a Cabinet
crisis. There were many touches of Greek tragedy
in the terrible Panama business. The mysterious
death of Baron de Reinach was one, and the mourn-
ful downfall of Count Ferdinand de Lesseps was the
other. The chief impression that I have of the time
is the pathetic scene at the country house of the
Count, when he complained of the prolonged absence of
his son Charles, who had been arrested with Messrs.
Fontane, Cottu, and Eiffel after the death or suicide
of Baron de Reinach. The old man, the famous
canal-planner, was not arrested, but he was included
in the charges of fraud and violation of the Com-
panies Act. We all know what happened at this
time. Deputies were accused of having received
bribes from the Panama Company, which wanted
to float a loan. Baron de Reinach was one of the
distributors of gold, being aided by Arton, alias
Aaron, a financial adventurer who, with so many
others connected with the events of this period,
led a double life, having a quiet, humdrum, highly-
respectable family in one street and a flaring mistress
in another. His master. Baron de Reinach, had what
was termed a buen retiro, or snuggery, in a street
off the Champs Elys^es, where he kept a dancer of
the Opera. The campaign against the distributors
and receivers of Panama cheques was begun in the
Chamber on November 21, 1892, by M. Delahaye
of the Right, who declared that three millions of
francs had been given to over one hundred mem-
bers of Parliament. A committee was then appointed
to inquire into the charge. Only a little later M.


Emile Loubet resigned the Presidency of the Council
because he would not agree to the exhumation and
post-mortem examination of the body of Baron
Jacques de Reinach. There were other incidents
of which I have a vivid recollection.

I was in the Chamber of Deputies when its
President, Charles Floquet, admitted in a falter-
ing voice that he had taken three hundred thou-
sand francs from the Panama Company, but, he
added, it was for the purpose of using it for the
State. The money had gone in the campaign of
the Government against Boulanger, but the Right
and the Nationalists insisted that M. Floquet had
pickings out of it for himself.

I was also at the Chamber on those memorable
occasions when M. Rouvier, Minister of Finance in
the Loubet Cabinet, had to retire as he was called
a ** Panamist," when there was a violent agitation
over the suspension of several Deputies and Ministers,
and when Paul D^roulede, founder of the League of
Patriots, boldly denounced Clemenceau as the friend
of Dr. Cornelius Herz, a wire-puller in the Panama

This scene has been related in different ways. M.
Clemenceau's friends in England talk of Paul Derou-
lede as a frenzied fanatic, who made himself the
laughing-stock of the French Chamber when he
attacked Clemenceau and coupled him with Dr.
Cornelius Herz. On the contrary, Paul Derou-
lede showed great courage at the time. Clemenceau
had been for years the master, the dominator of the
Chamber. He was alternately hated, admired, exe-
crated, and flattered. Accordingly, there was no


laughing at Deroulede, however melodramatic he
may have been in his utterances and gestures.
There were many of his opponents there who
secretly applauded his attack on the masterful man
who was feared and hated. I saw Clemenceau pull-
ing himself together, and trying to assume an air of
calmness to bluff the gallery, or rather the galleries.
It was with suppressed rage that he uttered the words,
" Monsieur Paul Deroulede, vous en avez menti."

There was a duel and nobody was hurt. The
denunciation of Deroulede, however, had its effect.
The connection of M. Clemenceau with the "sick
man of Bournemouth," Dr. Herz, who was "wanted"
so badly during the Panama crisis, had a powerful
influence on the popular mind. M. Clemenceau was
out of Parliament for a long time, and had to return to
his journalistic and literary work. He has certainly
come to the front again with a vengeance, but he had
a long time to wait. The strange thing was that
other men who had been affected by the crisis did not
remain in the cold shade of oblivion so long as M.
Clemenceau. M. Rouvier, although said to be steeped
to the waist in the Panama trouble, was indispensable,
and had to be recalled to office. M. Loubet, although
branded as " Panama Loubet " almost daily in the
Libre Parole, became President of the Republic.
But M. Clemenceau was forgotten, and the popular
mind accepted the story of his enemies that he as the
agent of Cornelius Herz, and M. Rouvier as the man
most intimate with Baron Jacques de Reinach, caused
the latter to disappear. The Baron, it was said, was
offered a pistol by M. Clemenceau, who advised him
to use it and vanish from earth, where his presence
was compromising to others.


In the years to come, all these tragedies of the
Third Republic, when read of in history, will seem
like a revival of mediaeval methods in the nineteenth
century. The " Mysteries of the Third French
Republic" will make a sensational title for a writer
of the future.

There was another man who dared M. Clemenceau
as well as Paul Deroulede. That was M. Andrieux,
now dead. Andrieux was a most active and ag-
gressive politician, and was in all the turmoil of the
Grevy period. He had a memorable quarrel with
Jules Ferry in the tribune of the National Assembly
at Versailles when the revision of the Constitution
was discussed there in 1884. He had been Am-
bassador to Madrid and Prefect of Police. During
the Panama crisis in 1893 Andrieux declared that
M. Clemenceau had the list of 104 deputies who had
been bribed, and that he had passed it over to Dr.
Cornelius Herz. Nothing came of this assertion, but
M. Andrieux produced an alleged list with a mys-
terious person marked in it as X. After all, there was
little revealed about the " Panamists." A banker, M.
Thierree, declared before the Committee of Inquiry
that Baron Jacques de Reinach had drawn twenty-
five cheques. Two of these, of a million francs each,
were for Dr. Cornelius Herz, and there were two of
the value of 25,000 francs each for Senators Albert
Grevy and L6on Renault. A deputy, Antonin Proust,
was also implicated as having been in a former syn-
dicate to guarantee the Panama loan of 1886. This
Antonin Proust was known as a fast liver. He
frequented the green-room of the Opera, and was
supposed to be on the very best terms with Rosita


Mauri, who was then the star ballet-dancer. This
very ballerina, who is a little dark woman now teach-
ing her art at the Opera, and by no means a remarkable
beauty, was supposed to have turned the heads of
many official persons besides Antonin Proust. I saw
her in a ballet at this period, and in one scene she had
to appear balancing an antique pitcher on her head.
The ballet was appropriate to the events of the time,
and the wits of the boulevards called the pitchers
which Mauri and other dancers carried ''^ pots de vin,''
in allusion to the bribes received by the " Panamists"
of the Senate and Chamber. It was thenceforward
known as the " ballet des pots de vin^ Another man
who went down in the Panama crisis was M. Baihaut,
a former Minister, who received a large sum. He
was known as "the man with the beautiful wife,"
another Marino Faliero ''della bella moglie" Madame
Baihaut, who had before been ''la belle Madame
Armangaud,'' was expensive as well as beautiful, and
took a good deal of keeping. Her husband was
imprisoned with Blondin, an official of the Credit

All sorts of people were supposed to have received
''pots de vin " as well as the senators and deputies.
Money was freely distributed by Arton, alias Aaron,
acting for the Panama Company, in newspaper offices.
M. Hebrard, director of the Temps, was supposed to
have received about i^8o,ooo. A similar sum was
said to have been given, and no doubt was, to a

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Online LibraryWalter F LonerganForty years of Paris → online text (page 10 of 25)