Walter F Lonergan.

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points discussed in Blowitz's despatch, and perhaps also
London politicians were consulted. It was only
when, as the Times believed, it had convinced itself of
the accuracy of Blowitz's statements that it had the
article printed. ... It was a tactless performance in
the French interest invented by Blowitz, by which he
thought that he was doing good and that he was
working in the cause of the peace of Europe."

This shows the intervention of M. de Blowitz in
the events of the year 1875 pretty clearly. No
French or English journalist could have done what
Blowitz did then. There are numerous references to
him in these Hohenlohe pages of revelations, and
they show his importance in Europe. It was no
wonder that the French journalists resented his


influence, for he made them horribly jealous, one of his
chief enemies being the Bonapartist champion, Paul
de Cassagnac. Towards his declining days the
French journalists sat in judgment on the once
powerful Correspondent of the Times, and resented
his naturalisation as a Frenchman. He was repudi-
ated as the most bitter enemy of France in Europe
and the representative of the ''Journal de la Citd,'' as
many Frenchman term the Times, was practically
excommunicated with journalistic bell, book and
candle in April, 1895.

I propose to refer later on to this most remarkable
man whom I met on several occasions in Paris and
other places, and whom I saw when he was at the
zenith of his prestige, a "great personage," as the
French used to say, as well in his decline when his
eyesight was failing and shortly before the time when
on a bed of sickness he remarked to those around
that "his little dog could be poisoned and sent out of
life, but that such a process was impossible in his
own case."

The clouds gathering since 1875 were, as I have
said, scattered temporarily during Jules Ferry's stay
at the Quai d'Orsay. Strangely enough, the first
news of the proposed rapprochement between France
and Germany did not emanate from the office of
the Times in Paris, but from that of the Daily
Telegraph. This period is also referred to in the
Hohenlohe memoirs. In August, 1884, the Prince
says about the Franco-German rapprochement under
the auspices of Ferry, " In the West African question
there will be common action as likewise with regard
to various Egyptian questions, such as the quarantine,


the Suez Canal, the Liquidation Commission," &c. In
the same memoirs it is also written that in November,
1884, Prince Hohenlohe had an audience of the old
Emperor William, who spoke of the good relations
with France and smiled. The old Emperor also sent
his greetings to Ferry, " of whom he had a high
opinion." " I was to say to Ferry," writes Prince
Hohenlohe, "that we did not desire a quarrel between
England and France. Just let Gladstone go on," &c.

Bismarck was fooling Ferry at the same time, and
a few years before the rapprochement was discussed
he had said to Prince Hohenlohe at Varzin that
Germany must wish France every success in Africa,
so that her attention might be drawn away from
the Rhine, and he subsequently said cynically
Germany could quietly look on when the English
and the French locomotives anywhere came into

The first news of this rapprochement, under which
Jules Ferry volunteered to get the question of the
lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine shelved in
return for advantages from Germany, a proceeding
which brought great trouble on his head subsequently
from the Patriotic League of Paul D^roulede, came,
as I said, from the Daily Telegraph office in Paris.

This is how it happened. One morning Mr.
Ozanne and I were walking on the Boulevard des
Capucines when we met Herr Singer, a once well-
known man in Paris. He was then Correspondent
of the New Free Press, which he left to take over
the editorship of the Vienna Tagblatt. Herr Singer
was patronised a good deal at this time by Jules
Ferry. He was even more friendly with that

M. DE Blowitz on the way to his Office.

[Foulsham & Banfield


statesman than M. de Blowltz himself. Singer told
Ozanne and myself quite freely and generously that
he had just seen Ferry, who spoke about the pro-
jected rapprochement with Germany. Mr. Ozanne
telegraphed the news to London that night, and it
caused an enormous sensation at the time.

That was what has since been termed in Trans-
atlantic phrase a "scoop" or a "beat." We had
another "scoop" of the same sort, and this I was
able to claim for myself. Mr. John M. Le Sage
telegraphed from London one morning asking if it
were true that the French troops had suffered reverses
in Tonkin. Mr. Campbell Clarke was away at the
time, and the telegram was opened by Mr. Ozanne.
He consulted with me on the matter, asked if I
knew anybody who could enlighten us, and so on.
There was not a word about the French reverses in
any of the newspapers. It was useless to apply to
the Foreign Office, so I went straight to the American
Legation, now an Embassy, where I had a friend, and
obtained there the information that I wanted. The
French had been defeated, and Jules Ferry had
expressed his anxiety as to the safety of the troops
and the results of the campaign.

Going back to the Telegraph office, I communicated
my intelligence to Mr. Ozanne, who sent it over
in a brief but pregnant despatch, in which there
was no beating around the bush or semi-diplomatic
"bluff." The news was there in a nutshell. The
French had been defeated and the Foreign Minister,
M. Jules Ferry, was in a state of anxiety. That bit
of information resounded through Europe next
morning. It thrilled the Bourses of Paris, Berlin,


and Vienna, and sent a shiver through the Stock
Exchange of London. French Rentes fell, and there
was almost a panic. Had we been as some of our
French colleagues, who have a keen scent for finance,
we might have realised a good sum out of our news.
M. Vervoort, a spasmodic writer for the Press, once
said that there were two sorts of journalists, " those
who did the dead dogs and those who did good
business " — " Ceux qui font les chiens crev6s, et
ceux qui font des affaires." The "dead dogs" was
an allusion to Villemessant's saying after he founded
the Figaro, that the Parisians took more interest
in a doe run over and crushed on the boulevards
than on events happening elsewhere.

In this instance of the news about the French
reverse in Tonkin Mr. Ozanne and myself remained
strictly on the honourable side and did no "business,"
althoueh we had shaken the Bourses. The affair
also led to a question in the Chamber from no less
a person than M. Clemenceau, Ferry's formidable
opponent, and it caused some uneasiness to M. de
Blowitz. In the meantime the French went from
bad to worse in Tonkin, and Jules Ferry had to resign
in the early part of 1885 owing to the Langson


Jules Ferry.


To face p. 58.


At the Chamber of Deputies — The Fenians in Paris — James
Stephens and Eugene Davis — The " resources of civiHsa-
tion" — The Irish Ambassador — The trial of Madame Clovis
Hugues — The tragedy in a newspaper office — Victor
Hugo's death and funeral — Pasteur and his rabbits — My
meetings with Pasteur — His views on Gladstone and
Parnell — My meeting with M. Clemenceau — Mrs. Crawford,
Mr. Cremer, and M. Clemenceau — M. Clemenceau then and
now— M. Clemenceau and M. Jaures.

THE news sent from the Paris office of the Daily
Telegraph relative to the difficulties surrounding
Jules Ferry, and also the information as to that
statesman's efforts to bring about an entente
cordiale, to use an expression much heard of in
these days, with Germany, caused, as I have said,
a good deal of commotion throughout Europe.
The French journalists, jealous as usual, wrote,
according to their custom, at the foreign Correspon-
dents, whom they described as going about periodically
from Embassy to Embassy, and from Legation to
Legation, begging or cadging for news. It was
utterly useless on my part to remind these people that
foreign Correspondents did not always have to beg
for bits of news at the Foreign Office or at the
Embassies, but that they got information, as I had


done, from a sure and friendly source, that my bit of
intelligence, which had shaken the Bourses and the
Stock Exchange, was given to me for my own use
and to oblige me.

The unkindest cut of all was when my chief,
Campbell Clarke, returning from London, seemed to
object to the remarkable activity displayed and the
success achieved by Mr. Ozanne and myself during
his absence. I can understand now why he objected,
but at that time I had no intention whatever of doing
anything over his head, and was innocent of the
guiles of journalism. I went straight for information
out of a sense of duty to the paper. I was not at
that time experienced enough to realise the difficulties
with which a second or third Correspondent of the
leading papers has to cope with in Paris. I bought
the experience dearly afterwards, both inside and out-
side the office of the Daily Telegraph.

Just before Jules Ferry's fall in the early part of
1885 my colleague, Mr. Ozanne, was sent to Berlin for
the Congo Conference. Then ensued for me a period
of extra hard work, under which I would assuredly
have broken down had I been a weaker man. At the
time I might have been called the "shadow" or the
*' skeleton," owing to my thin and almost cadaverous
appearance. Outwardly weak-looking, I was pos-
sessed of an inward fund of strength which carried
me through everything.

I had to attend the office in the morning at eleven
o'clock to talk over, or rehearse as it were, what was
to be done during the day. At twelve I lunched, and
was at the Chamber of Deputies, one of the dreariest
places that a Correspondent has to keep in touch with,


by two o'clock. At four in the afternoon I had to
begin writing so as to have a good deal of copy ready
by six o'clock. At seven in the evening I dined,
returning to the office at half-past eight o'clock and
remaining there until midnight, and sometimes later.

This sort of life was rendered less monotonous by
a few events of some interest which commanded my
attention. One was the expulsion of the Fenians from
Paris, and the other was the trial of Madame Clovis
Hugues, wife of the poet who imitates Victor Hugo,
and who is also a politician. This lady had riddled
with revolver bullets a man who had defamed her.

To take the Fenians first, it must be stated that
Paris had harboured for some years several men who
had been connected with the troubles in Ireland in
1866 or thereabouts. Foremost among these was
James Stephens, who had been known as the *' Head
Centre " of the Fenian brotherhood, and who sought
shelter In Paris, where he lived in a very humble way.
After him came Eugene Davis, a rather interesting
man, who was a writer of excellent verse and a good
journalist. Davis had been an ecclesiastical student
in youth, but showed very little of the ecclesiastical
spirit in his manhood. He it was, I believe, who first
referred to dynamite as among "the resources of
civilisation." There were other Fenians, or alleged
Fenians, in Paris then gravitating around the greater
"brothers " Stephens and Davis.

These men were in the habit of meeting at the Irish-
American bar, near the Madeleine, a long-vanished
establishment, and at a cheaper place of refreshment
in a street off" the Faubourg St. Honore, known as
the "Irish Ambassador's." The "Ambassador," or


landlord, was a genuine Irishman, and kept a genuine
" shebeen " for the sale of wine, whisky, and beer to
ostlers, to servants, and to the Irish of various
categories who patronised his bar.

The dynamite explosions in the Houses of Parlia-
ment at Westminster in 1885 caused some activity
among Scotland Yard detectives, some of whom,
including, I believe, Mr. Melville, recently retired,
were sent to Paris to watch the movements of the
Fenians, or supposed Fenians, there.

As a matter of fact the so-called Fenians in Paris
were perfectly quiet if not harmless. Stephens was
an old man who wanted to smoke his pipe in peace,
while Eugene Davis and the rest did more talking
than acting.

J. C. Millage, then Correspondent of the Daily
Chronicle, began to write sensational paragraphs
about the " Fenians in Paris," " Meetings of the
Clan-na-Gael," and so on. It was this that attracted
the attention of Scotland Yard, and the result was
that the French Government expelled Stephens,
Davis, and some of the others from Paris, where
they had their homes. Stephens went to Brussels,
where he died, after having received help from
Ireland through the instrumentality of Mr. Dwyer
Gray, the former director of the Freeman s Journal
Davis went to Geneva, where he also died, and no
more was heard of Fenians in Paris. Through
Millage's sensational paragraphs I was also led into
the trap, and believed temporarily that the Fenians
were holding meetings in all sorts of places. It was
the "Irish Ambassador" who first informed me that
there were no Fenian hole-and-corner or any other


sort of meetings in Paris, and that the reports circulated
about such assembHes were only for ''scare" purposes.
The real or alleged Fenians in Paris were enjoying
the joke immensely, and were glad of the attention
directed to them by the newspapers, but they were of
a different opinion when they received notice to quit
French territory within twenty-four hours. At that
time Lord Lyons was British Ambassador. His rival
and neighbour, the " Irish Ambassador," was, as well
as I can remember, a Mr. Cullen, and he was by no
means a patrician.

The next event which I had to deal with after
the expulsion of the Fenians was the vengeance of
Madame Clovis Hugues, wife of the poet-deputy.
A man named Morin, who lived in the same house as
the lady, was said to have circulated very scandalous
reports about Madame Hugues. She heard this and,
armed with a revolver, met Morin on the staircase.
Before he could escape the man was peppered with
bullets. He was carried to hospital, where I saw him
at night, a terrible object to behold. I telegraphed to
London a full account of the tragedy, and next day
was surprised to find that Reuter's Correspondent and
some of the others had made Madame Hugues kill
Morin straight off. As I had been to the hospital
late at night I knew that this was not the case. The
man lingered for nearly a week in the most terrible
pain, and then died.

The next excitement arose over the trial of Madame
Hugues. That event gave me a good deal of trouble.
It continued all day and all night, and in the mean-
time there was a fearful shooting tragedy in the
offices of the Communist newspaper, Le Cri du Peuple.


I had to deal with the two events, as my chief was
busy watching the rehearsal and production of a new
opera by Charles Gounod.

By dint of writing all the afternoon after having
been at the Palais de Justice in the morning, I sent
long accounts of the trial and of the newspaper office
tragedy across the wire. Then I had to remain up
all night for the verdict, which I heard read out at
two o'clock in the morning at the Palais. I had to
take a cab across the river to the night telegraph
office of the Bourse, and found waiting there J. C.
Millage of the Chronicle and Harry Meltzer of the
New York Herald, who attacked me for the result of
the trial, which I gave them.

The tragedy in the newspaper office was of less
importance than the trial, especially as nobody was
dangerously hurt. Two brothers, police officials, had
burst into the Cri du Peuple office to obtain satisfac-
tion for a libel on their mother. They fired at every-
body and anybody in the editorial rooms and then
departed. The Cri du Peuple was for some years
directed by Jules Valles, the Communist, who died
about the time of the tragedy in his office. He was
assisted in his editorial work by a lady journalist of
celebrity, who had a monumental dispute with Henri
Rochefort after the Boulangist epoch, when most of
the people who had been in the circle of that unlucky
agitator. General Boulanger, quarrelled with one

A very notable event which happened in the year
1885 was the death of Victor Hugo, whom I never
met and never wanted to meet. To me he was always
one of the over-rated and over-boomed category of


celebrities. I used to enjoy some of his best poetry,
but I remembered and realised that he was called by
Amiel "half genius, half charlatan." Mr. Swinburne,
of course, wrote about him in the deep dithyrambic
vein, as he wrote about the minor poet, Theophile
Gautier. Yet, in spite of all the incessant booming of
Hugo and his work, the poet did not leave the large
fortune behind that was expected. People used to
talk about the millions of francs realised by the sale
of his volumes of poetry and fiction, but, as a matter
of fact, the estate was worth comparatively little.

Hugo's death in 1885 was preceded by about a fort-
night's illness, which kept the French reporters and
the foreign Correspondents on the alert. It was a
most trying time for the men of the Press, who had
to be ringing at the door of the poet's private residence
every hour for news of the dying man. Meltzer of
the New York Herald and a few others lived prac-
tically day and night in a second-class cafe, or rather
tavern, immediately opposite the house. I had to
drive out to the place from time to time, and before
going home at night I had to call at the office of the
Rappel newspaper, which was conducted by Auguste
Vacquerie, one of the family of the poet, and who with
Paul Meurice, was long the guardian of the great man's
memory. Vacquerie's attitude towards Hugo was that
of a devoted slave and consummate flatterer. It was
hard to know if he really believed that the maitre was
the heaven-inspired, semi-celestial being that he seemed
to regard him, or an ordinary literary man, gifted
with the power of writing occasionally fine and fiery
rhetoric in verse. Anyhow, Vacquerie took Hugo
carefully for his model and wrote a drama, " Tragal-



dabas," onthelinesof "LeRoi S'Amuse" or "Hernani."
Vacquerie was also in permanent attendance on the
master, and as a Lord Chamberlain regulated the
exits and entrances of visitors at the poet's private
residence in the avenue which bears his name. This
Vacquerie was one of the most persevering " first
nighters " in Paris. Just like Francisque Sarcey, he
attended "'premieres'' almost down to the night before
he died. As in the case of Sarcey, too, he caught a
chill on leaving the theatre, and in a few hours was in
his coffin.

The funeral of Victor Hugo was grandiose, like the
poet's verse and prose. It was on the same scale as
the previous funerals of Thiers and Gambetta. Traffic
in Paris was suspended for a whole day. Seats were
put up all along the route of the cortege from the Arc
de Triomphe to the Pantheon. Troops were out, the
Arc de Triomphe, Hugo's '' monceau de pierres" was
draped in black, tokens of mourning were displayed
outside the Government buildings, and there was a
band of sable drapery across the front of the Cathedral
of Notre Dame, although the poet was buried without
Church rites. Half Paris turned out in evening dress
— the official garb — on the day of the funeral, and the
bands of men in white shirts and ties, shiny tall hats,
and clawhammer coats, following the bier, were innu-
merable. Many of these people, it is safe to say, had
never read a line of Hugo's prose or poetry. They only
knew him as the politician, the exile who had suffered
under the Second Empire, and who was one of the
supporters of the new regime which was to give
liberty, equality, and fraternity. They accordingly
mustered in their thousands, displayed their banners.

Louis Pasteur

To face p. 67.


and marched to the Pantheon, there to see the
'^ proscrif put to rest among the great men of the
country. For my part, I was very glad when Victor
Hugo's funeral was over ; and I had to undergo so
much fatigue and annoyance on the occasion that I
have never since read a line of the poet's works,
except once when, at Naples, I chanced to find his fine
lines on that delightful place, " aux bords embaumes
ou le printemps s'arrete."

The next event of any importance with which I was
in touch was the discovery of a cure for hydrophobia by
Louis Pasteur. This caused a great stir in England,
and, as usual, we had a whip from Mr. J. M. Le Sage,
informing us that Mr. Lawson would like somebody
to go from the Paris office to see M. Pasteur in his
laboratory. The Daily Telegraph was in advance
then, as well as on other occasions of interest. I was
deputed to go to M. Pasteur's with Dr. De Lacy
Evans, who had brought over with him a London
artisan who had been bitten by a mad dog. M. Pasteur
received us with the utmost affability at his laboratory
attached to the Normal School in the Rue d'Ulm.

When I went there with Dr. De Lacy Evans and
the English patient we found the place crowded with
people. Prominent among these were half a dozen
Russian peasants who had been mauled by wolves,
and were sent for treatment to the Pasteur Institute.
Strictly speaking, the Pasteur Institute was a subse-
quent foundation, but the place in the Rue d'Ulm
was known by that name until the newer and larger
establishment was founded in a neighbouring district.
Most of the people whom I saw awaiting inoculation
at Pasteur's were of the poorest category. Pasteur


himself was present at all the inoculations. These he
never made himself, not being, as he was careful to
assure us, a doctor of medicine, but only a chemist.
The inoculations or injections were made accordingly
by a qualified medical man under the supervision of
the discoverer of the vaccine. After the inoculations
M. Pasteur sent us into the laboratory, where we saw
the rabbits put under chloroform and injected with the
sort of bouillon from which the serum was made.
This was a painful sight, and M. Pasteur had to
answer afterwards the objections of the anti-vivi-
sectionists, who used to accuse him of cruelty.

Louis Pasteur, who made the poor dumb creatures
suffer for the benefit of humanity, was one of the
most urbane men whom it has been my fortune to
meet. I saw him on several occasions at the Rue
d'Ulm, and he usually talked about English politics,
being an especial admirer of Mr. Gladstone, whose
public career he followed with great interest. M.
Pasteur also asked me many questions about Home
Rule for Ireland, and about the Irish Party and its
leader, Mr. Parnell, who was at that time prominent,
and whose movements were as much discussed on the
Continent by Frenchmen, Germans, and Italians as
they were in Great Britain and Ireland.

Parnell was especially known in Paris, whither he
had come to place some of the funds of his party in
the bank of the Messrs. Munro. He was piloted
through Paris by Patrick Egan, by Mr. James
O'Kelly, who had once served in the French Foreign
Legion, and by Henri Rochefort. The Irish leader
was lionised for some weeks in Paris, and his presence
there had served to lend interest to his cause. M.


Pasteur, as I judged from my conversations with him,
regarded Parnell in the hght of an O'Connell, for
whom, as a CathoHc, he had a sincere admiration.

After my first meeting with M. Pasteur in the Rue
d'Ulm, the usual long report of the event appeared
in the Telegraph. It seemed as if the editor of that
great paper had " discovered " the savant, and there
was a rush of other newspaper correspondents to see
the wonder-worker of the Rue d'Ulm. M. Pasteur's
laboratory was invaded day by day by dozens of
journalists. Two or three of these tried to monopolise
the celebrity, and to make out that only what they
recorded about him was the real truth. Then those
who found that they were not the first in the field
began to challenge the value and the efficacy of the
Pasteur treatment in cases of hydrophobia, and force
was lent to the challenge owing to the deaths of some
of the poor persons who had been inoculated with the
serum. Neither this nor the attacks of the anti-vivi-
sectionists damaged the reputation of M. Pasteur, who

Online LibraryWalter F LonerganForty years of Paris → online text (page 5 of 25)