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against me, finding inspiration in the sublime idea of M. Mornaud before
the Court of Cassation, I say to all, we are Frenchmen. Let us then be
united in the common sentiment of love of country, love of justice, and
love of the army."

As he reached this climax, the counsel's voice swelled like the tones
of an organ, and the close of his impassioned peroration was followed by
an outburst of applause, which was immediately suppressed by the presi-

M. Labori then said he did not desire to speak.

Major Carriere, however, claimed the right to reply.

When the court resumed its session after a brief adjournment, the
Government Commissary began his reply. He promised to be brief, and
said he desired to submit to the court-martial a simple observation :

" Weigh the importance of the two categories of witnesses, those for
and those against the prisoner. Weigh their importance, and judge, in all
the independence of your character and all the strength of soldiers. Proof
is everywhere. The hour of supreme decision has sounded. France
anxiously awaits your judgment. I also await it, confidently and fully
maintaining the conclusions already announced. I demand the applica-


tion of Article 76 of the Penal Code and Article 267 of the Military

The demand of the Government Commissary caused a sensation in

M. Demange rose to reply, with his voice hoarse from fatigue. He

" The Government Commissioner, in reminding you of the text of the
law, has also reminded us of what we already knew — namely, that you
are only answerable to your consciences and God for your verdict. This
is my last word in this case. I feel that as men of honor and loyalty
and as military judges you will never admit as proofs the hypotheses and
presumptions advanced here; consequently my last word is the samel
spoke this morning. I have confidence in you because you are soldiers."

Colonel Jouaust, president of the court, asked Dreyfus if he had any-
thing to add in his behalf. The prisoner rose, and in a voice choked with
emotion declared he had only one thing to say, but of that he was per-
fectly assured. He said :

" I affirm before my country and before the army that I am innocent.
My sole aim has been to save the honor of my name, the name borne by
my children. I have suffered five years of the most awful torture. But,
to-day, at last, I feel assured that I am about to attain my desire, through
your loyalty and justice."

Colonel Jouaust — Have you finished, Dreyfus?

Dreyfus — Yes, Mr. President.

The court then retired to deliberate, and the prisoner left the hall,
never to return, as, in accordance with the law, the verdict was rendered
in his absence.

After about two hours' deliberation, the court, by a vote of five to two,
found the prisoner "guilty, with extenuating circumstances," and sentenced
him to ten years' detention.

The text of the judgment was as follows :

"To-day, the 9th of September, 1899, the court-martial of the Tenth
Legion Army Corps, deliberating behind closed doors, the president put
the following question :

"' Is Alfred Dreyfus, brevet captain Fourteenth Eegiment of Artillery,
probationer on the General Staff, guilty of having in 1894 entered into


machinations or held relations with a foreign power, or one of its agents,
to induce it to commit hostility or undertake war against Trance, or pro-
cure it the means therefor, by delivering the notes and documents men-
tioned in the document called the bordereau, according to the decision of
the Court of Cassation of June 3, 1899?

" The votes were taken separately, beginning by the inferior grade and
youngest in the last grade, the president giving his opinion last.

" The court declares on the question, by a majority of five votes to two,
'Yes,' the accused is guilty.

"The majority agreed that there are extenuating circumstances, in
consequence of which and on the request of the commissary of the Gov-
ernment, the president put the question and received again the votes in
the above-mentioned form.

"As a result, the court condemns, by a majority of five votes to two,
Alfred Dreyfus to the punishment of ten years' detention."

The judgment then quotes the Code and the Constitution under which
the sentence was delivered, with the article of the law enjoining the Gov-
ernment Commissary to have the judgment immediately read in the pres-
ence of the prisoner, before the assembled guard, under arms, and to notify
him that the law allowed a delay of twenty-four hours in which to lodge
an appeal.

The silence was immediately broken by a rush of the reporters to drop
their previously prepared telegrams into the letter-box in the street, where
a gendarme received them and gave them to the respective messengers for
transmission by wire.

The noise called forth a stem cry of " Silence ! " and again all sound
was hushed until Colonel Jouaust finished speaking. He concluded by
saying the court would remain sitting until the room was cleared. He
asked the audience to go out quietly and not to raise a shout of any sort.

The gendarmes then closed around the audience 9,nd pressed them out-
side. Not a cry or a word was raised by any one. Everything passed off
with complete calm.

As the people emerged the gendarmes kept them moving away from
the court. The small crowd outside cheered.

The pent-up feelings of the audience were expressed in a long, deep-
drawn "Oh!" when Colonel Jouaust reached the word "guilty." The


word was pronounced under his breath. Owing to the threat of vigorous
punishment for uttering any cry there was no outburst, but the faces of the
majority of the spectators reflected an expression of anguished surprise.

Maitre Labori heard the verdict with a pallid visage, while Maitre
Demange fell back in a chair as though horror-stricken. Colonel Jouaust
read the judgment without a tremor of his voice and apparently unmoved.

After the verdict M. Demange said :

" Terrible ! Unbelievable ! It was the most awful shock I ever received
in my life. I am trying to put myself in those men's places and view
the problem as they did. Try as I may, I cannot grasp how they reasoned
it out."

" It is as I expected," said M. Labori. " I was convinced from the first
that we were dealing with an unconscionable set, and I handled them ac-
cordingly. My views were not fully supported, and I consented to yield.
Now it is not for me to speak. The fight was not carried on as it would
have been if I had been in full charge.

" Now we must bend all our energy to secure a reversal and obtain a
new revision. I am leaving with M. Demange at twelve to-night to pre-
sent an appeal in Paris. Monira alone stays here to get the signature of
Dreyfus on certain papers."

Zola telegraphed to M. Labori, saying :

"You were right, we were wrong. Your plan of making this crime
impossible by disqualifying thoroughly all the military witnesses showed
you had penetrated them more than we. Henceforth count me as a most
determined partisan for a vigorous fight, and no mercy to the foe when we
have him down. From this day I re-enter the arena, never again to
leave it."

M. Clemenceau also telegraphed to M. Labori. He said :

" Congratulations, nevertheless. You know what I think and how I
feel now. "We must never rest till the five men now branded before an
offended world are securely lodged in a penitentiary for wilful abuse of
sacred laws trusted to their hands."

Max Nordau said :

" No words would fitly express my indignation. "

M. Jaures, the Socialist leader, said :

" Military tribunals must be abolished, and will be. They are a sur-


vival of mediaeval prejudices. All citizens must be equal before the law.
The danger of allowing one caste to consider itself separate from the rest
of the nation and above common law was vividly exemplified in to-day's
monstrous decision."

Octave Mirabeau said :

" This marks the beginning of a protracted political convulsion. Either
we shall sink to the insignificance of Spain or rid our country of the cleri-
cal obscurantism which does not pervade the army alone, but a large por-
tion of our people."

M. Marcel Prevost, the able correspondent at Eennes of the New York
Herald, cabled to his paper:

"Dreyfus is condemned. You will read the new conditions of the
sentence he has to undergo. They extenuate a little the rigor of his
former judgment. But he is condemned. He is going to be degraded once

" This sentence was received with death-like stupor. Alas ! for sev-
eral days I have foreseen it only too clearly, but my conscience refused
to believe it possible.

"Don't ask me for any comment on such an event as this. My heart
as a man and a Frenchman is too full of grief. It seems to me as if my
country had just heard a condemnation pronounced upon it."

"Counsel for Dreyfus immediately prepared an appeal, which the pris-
oner signed at noon, September 10th.

After the verdict the health of the prisoner failed steadily, and it was
said he was only able to take the very lightest nourishment, eggs and
milk. But, sustained by the loving and wise counsels of his wife, who
was allowed to see him in prison daily, Dreyfus bore up, and his friends
continued their efforts in his behalf.

On September 19th, it was announced from Paris that the Council of
Ministers had decided to pardon Dreyfus "in principle," and that the par-
don would take effect a few days later. It was also announced that Drey-
fus had relinquished his appeal for a reversal of the judgment of the court-
martial. This was in accordance with the advice of his friends, who
were anxious to secure his release, almost at any cost, in view of his fail-
ing health. But, it was added, this did not by any means indicate that
the efforts to establish clearly the innocence of Dreyfus, and find the


really guilty man, would be abandoned. On the contrary, it was said that
the search for the real culprit would be continued until Dreyfus was
cleared of all suspicion of treason.

Dreyfus was released from his prison at Eennes at three o'clock on
the morning of September 20th, and proceeded to Vern, with his faithful
brother, Mathieu Dreyfus, where he took a train bound for Nantes. At
Nantes the two brothers took a train for Bordeaux and Carpentras, in the
department of Vaucluse, sixteen miles northeast of Avignon, where he
took up his residence at the home of his brother-in-law, M. Valabregue, a
well-known cloth-merchant, who has been established there for over a
quarter of a century. There was no demonstration at Carpentras when
Dreyfus arrived there.

Carpentras is situated on the Eiver Auzon, in a fertile district at the
foot of Mont Ventoux. The town is surrounded by walls, flanked by
towers, and has four gates. Outside the walls is a broad esplanade planted
with trees. In 1313 Pope Clement V. fixed his residence there, and made
it the seat of the Pontifical See. The present walls were built by Pope
Innocent VI., fifty years after that event. The principal public buildings
of Carpentras are the cathedral, a Gothic edifice; a museum, the Porte
d' Orange; the Palace of Justice; a Eoman triumphal arch; the hospital,
erected in 1751; the theatre, prisons, and a library containing 25,000 vol-
umes, 6,000 medals, and various antiquities. The aqueduct, a massive
structure which crosses the valley of the Auzon by forty-eight arches,
was finished in 1734. Carpentras has a population of about 10,000

When Dreyfus first met his children, on September 23d, the Saturday
after his arrival at Carpentras, the liberated man stood outside the garden
at the end of the carriage drive leading to the Valabregue villa. On see-
ing him his little boy and girl, Pierre and Jeanne, jumped out of the car-
riage which was bringing them, with their grandparents, M. and Mme.
Hadamard, from the railway station whence they had arrived from Paris,
and ran toward their father. Pressing them both in his arms, Dreyfus
kissed them passionately, and pressed them again and again to his heart,
tears of joy coursing down his face as he did so. He was overwhelmed
with emotion and unable to speak a single word. This first interview
with his children, after five years' separation, affected him so deeply that


he remained completely prostrated with nervous exhaustion during the
rest of the day.

Of course the verdict of the court-martial alone practically established
the fact that the charges against Dreyfus had not been proved, therefore
the light sentence and the rider of "extenuating circumstances." This
was confirmed by the action of the Cabinet Council in deciding to pardon
the prisoner. Dreyfus, although condemned, was, to all intents and pur-
poses, shown not to have been guilty as charged.

The future efforts in behalf of this seeming martyr and apparent vic-
tim of French military incompetency will be watched with the greatest
interest throughout the world.

It is sad to add that, on the very day it was announced from Paris that
the prisoner was to be pardoned, there came at exactly the same hour an-
other despatch from the French capital saying that M. Scheurer-Kestner,
the former Vice-President of the Senate and great champion of the cause
of Dreyfus, was dead. He had been suffering from typhoid fever for
some days previously, and expired without the consolation of knowing
that his great work had triumphed.

Dreyfus was deeply grieved when informed of the death of his cham-
pion, M. Scheurer-Kestner. He was especially grieved that M. Scheurer-
Kestner did not live long enough to receive his thanks. One of Dreyfus's
first acts after he was freed was to order a wreath for M, Scheurer-Kestner's

Dreyfus wrote the following letter to M. Marcelin Pellet, son-in-law
of M. Scheurer-Kestner, on September 21st:

Sir : — My first thought immediately after my liberation was for M.
Scheurer-Kestner. What, therefore, was my profound grief on learning
yesterday en route the great sorrow which has befallen you. I was impa-
tiently awaiting the moment when I should be able to pay to M. Scheurer-
Kestner the respectful homage of my admiration for his character, his
loyalty, the generous ardor with which he took in hand the cause of an
Alsatian innocent of the abominable crime for which he had been con-
demned. I beg you to be so kind to express this homage to all the mem-
bers of his family, and to assure them how deeply I share with them their
affliction. I shall never forget all I owe to M. Scheurer-Kestner. I shall
teach my children that if honor has been rendered to their father it is


thanks to his admirable devotion, and I shall teach them to love and TBn-
erate his memory.

Also the same day and about the same hour came a trumpet note from
Cardinal Vaughan, the great English prelate, who, in a public letter on
the Dreyfus case, published in London, said the Eoman Catholic Church
condemned the persecution of the Jews and of every other race. He
added :

If Jews or Christians practise usury and extortion, or do any other
hurtful thing, let laws be passed, not against Jews, but against the mal-
practices complained of, and let the law strike Jew or Gentile with equal

It is unjust to identify the Catholic Church with the act of injustice,
whereby Dreyfus was condemned at Eennes without clear evidence of his
guilt. The case has been, from beginning to end, a state affair of military
interest and of state treason, in which the Church has had no place.

I do not wish one word I write to be taken as an approval of the
Eennes verdict. On the contrary, I share the indignation expressed
against it, because it was unjustified by the evidence, and it is within the
right of any man in any country to say that upon the evidence before him
the verdict is infamous; but, having denounced the judgment pronounced
by the officers, it is simply monstrous that foreigners should at once rush
in and, before the judgment has been considered by the supreme authori-
ties of the state, denounce the whole nation as savages.

The Figaro said : " Dreyfus will devote the rest of his life to the re-
covery of his honor. He is afraid, however, that he will die before this
can be accomplished."

Mme. Dreyfus received hundreds of telegrams of congratulations on
her husband's pardon. Most of these messages came from Great Britain
and the United States.

The anti-Dreyfus newspapers were frantic over the prisoner's pardon.

The Eclair said it had hopes that the country would be spared this

The Gaulois said : " Nothing can justify the pardon. Public opinion
may not understand it, but the army will, for it had its revenge at


The Journal said : " Dreyfus is a traitor, and his pardon will not alter
that fact."

The Intransigeant said it proved that " if Dreyfus was a traitor Presi-
den Loubet was another."

The Petit Journal remarked that it is merely a sop to the " Triple
Alliance Syndicate."

The Aurore said the Government has shown its " horror a-t the denial
of justice by the Eennes court-martial,"

The Eclair stated that a monster petition from Jewish people, headed
with the names of the Eothschilds, had been presented to President Loubet
asking for Dreyfus's rehabilitation.


Chapter LIIL

The announcement of the second verdict in the Dreyfus case caused
a wave of indignation to sweep around the world.

Paris heard the news calmly. But the general opinion was that it
was only the end of another chapter in the history of this famous case, and
that the bitter fight would be continued.

M. Drumont, in the Libre Parole, said the members of the court-martial
presented a beautiful spectacle. They are warriors, without fear and
without reproach. Nothing could disturb them, neither outrages nor flat-
teries which were still more insulting. Nor did the Government's black-
mail succeed in extracting by force the acquittal of the most flagrant of

The Petit Journal said : " The guilty officer struck down tries to con-
tinue the agitation despite his promises to respect the court-martial's
verdict. "

The Croix declared that the verdict confirmed Prance's military justice.
It was dealt without fear or favor, and without passion except such as was
inspired by justice.

The Courier du Soir demanded that everybody accept the verdict. It
prayed the Government to accord mercy to the prisoner on account of the
expiation he has already made. It added that only extremists would
persist in agitation, which, in any case, would henceforth be without nour-

The Eclair reminded the country of President Loubet's declaration
that he would bow before the judgment of the court-martial. It said that
no organized society can live without respect for the decisions of justice.

The Temps contrasted the calm manner in which the verdict was re-
ceived in Paris with the excitement it caused in foreign countries, which,
it says, are giving the matter far greater importance than it deserves.


The Soleil declared that nobody will contest the impartiality of the
judges' verdict, which must be accepted.

M. Jaures said in the Petite Bepubliqite Francaise that the verdict is
a monstrous defiance of conscience and reason.

The Gaulois congratulated the court-martial on its victory against the
enemies of the army and France.

The officers of the Litre Parole, Intransigeant, Le Soir, Petit Journal,
and other anti-Dreyfus organs were decorated with flags and brilliantly

The verdict caused a sensation throughout France, especially in Lyons,
Bordeaux, Nice, Nancy, Marseilles, and Lille, where the public crowded
around the bulletin boards.

In Berlin the Dreyfus verdict caused a feeling almost of stupefaction.
It had been hoped that the statement of the Beichs-Anzeiger , as emanating
directly from Emperor William, would have rendered impossible the repe-
tition of what is described as "one of the greatest judicial and political
crimes of any age."

It was universally agreed that the second verdict is a grave political
blunder, a violation of the laws of civilization, and an act of moral cowar-
dice which the world will find it difficult to pardon.

The German press unanimously described the verdict as cowardly and
impolitic, not to say criminal.

The Cologne Gazette said :

" It is a cowardly verdict, in the barbarous spirit of the Middle Ages.
By this crime the judges have imposed a line of demarkation between
France and the rest of the world, which, although it will not prevent dip-
lomatic intercourse or stay the common exchange of products, will, accord-
ing to all the notions of right, justice, honor, tolerance, and ethics which
the civilized world bears with it in the twentieth century, form a barrier
only to be removed by time and laborious effort."

The other leading journals commented upon the verdict in similar

Indignation was evoked throughout Great Britain. Special prayers
were offered throughout Saturday, September 9th, in all the London syna-
gogues on behalf of Dreyfus, and as soon as the verdict was known Jews


and Jewesses were seen at every street comer, expressing execration, and
many sobbing bitterly.

At the music halls, especially the Palace Theatre, where cinemato-
graph pictures of the incidents and leading actors of the Dreyfus affair
were exhibited, the news was greeted with groans and hisses.

In almost all the London places of public worship pulpit references
were made on September 10th to the verdict. Canon Scott-Holland, at
St. Paul's Cathedral, said:

" A nation is on its trial. France stands at the judgment bar. All
civilization is waiting to know whether to-morrow's news may add anj-
thing to qualify the naked cruelty of a bare telegram, anything to relieve
staggered conscience. "

The Eev. Hugh Price Hughes, the well-known Wesleyan divine,
preaching at St. James's Hall, said :

" Five unhappy judges have already taken their places, in the judg-
ment of the human race, beside Judas, Pilate, Judge Jeffries, and other
foul creatures. They have sentenced their victim to a decade of imprison-
ment, but they have decreed themselves forever to the scorn, derision, and
execration of the human race. Unless France shakes off this infamy,
she will be left without an ally or a friend."

The Eev. Arthur Eobins, chaplain in ordinary to the Queen, preach-
ing at Holy Trinity, Windsor, said:

"The civilized world is aghast at this great crime of five abject judges."

The Daily Mail said :

" Eennes is France's moral Sedan. "

TJie Daily Graphic said :

" The Eennes verdict will live forever as the supreme effort of human
wrong-headedness. "

TJie Daily Chronicle said that Mercier issues from the case one of the
blackest scoundrels in history.

The Daily News remarked :

"It is no longer Dreyfus, but France herself that is on trial."

The Morning Post declared that " the mitigation of the sentence will
be interpreted all the world over as evidence that the judges who con-
demned Dreyfus really believe him innocent."

The Daily Telegraph said :


"This infamous judgment disgraces France, dishonors her army, insults
the Kaiser, and offends the best principles of humanity. There seems
nothing left for France but a revolution and a war that will reduce her to
the level of Spain."

The Standard said :

" We are watching by the sick-bed of a great nation, none knowing
what new and deadly form the malady may assume."

The Times observed :

"We do not hesitate to pronounce it the grossest and most appalling
prostitution of justice the world has witnessed in modern times. All the
outrageous scandals which marked the course of the trial pale into insig-
nificance beside the crowning scandal of the verdict."

Even the Eussian press joined in the chorus, although perhaps the
Jews are nowhere more hated than in Eussia. The judges were every-
where described as criminals, and gloomy speculations were indulged as to
what future is in store for France.

Papers of all nationalities began to fall in with the idea of boycotting
the Exhibition.

At Budapest, Hungary, the following semi-official statement was is-
sued :

" A movement is on foot against sending exhibits to the Paris Exposi-

Online LibraryWilliam HardingDreyfus: → online text (page 28 of 35)