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chronicle so amazing, so sad, so shameful, and in some of its aspects so grotesque, that if it were written down in the form of a romance, it would be pronounced impossible, beyond the limit of all reasonable imagination, and an insult to the reader's sense of proportion. It is certainly the most concrete case of truth being stranger than fiction that this generation has seen. The body of the man is confined thousands of miles from France, the voice of the man is stifled under official censorship, the personality of the man is shut out from the national life. The spiritual imagery of the Psalmist, setting forth the hopelessness and helplessness of him who as a dead man out of mind" and "like a broken vessel," is in no way too strong in its symbolism to describe the position of the exile on the barren rock of the Ile du Diable. Yet this man has been to France for nearly two years, and is to France still, what the convulsing power of the internal fire of the earth is to the globe's surface, when it bursts forth in volcanic fury, breaking the works of nature and of man to pieces, and filling hearts with present fear and dire foreboding for the future.
The reader shall judge whether there is exaggeration in what has been said, and this without any fact which is really in dispute being relied on in argument. For although French journalism shows an absolute contempt for all reticence in regard to a matter that is under judicial consideration, and not only prejudges
the cause before the inquiry is made, but insults in the most abominable manner judges who have not given any decision on assumptions as to what their decision may be,-that is an example which it is to be hoped will not be followed elsewhere. Therefore in speaking of this cause célèbre now, a certain amount of restraint and reserve is imperative. In what is to be said, those matters and those only about which there is no longer any dubiety will be dealt with. These, as it happens, are ample enough. deed in the picture point follows point with such cinematographlike rapidity and sharpness, that the looker-on may well be bewildered, and unable to follow clearly the moving scene, the mental eye being wearied by the succession of tableaux, and inclined to turn away fatigued, and so lose the sequence. To such lookers-on, who are many, as one notices by personal intercourse every day, a short epitome of the facts, so ascertained that they cannot be gainsaid, may revive an interest in a matter which has assumed proportions that make it of worldwide importance. For the story of what can happen and has happened in a civilised country so near our own, and in a time so close to the end of a century which has not been characteristic for human modesty, forms a psychological object - lesson of which all nations may well take very serious note. France expects
next year to celebrate the incoming of a new century by an Exposition so vast that the world has never seen its like,
-the last for this century of which are thus made of French those International Exhibitions methods in public departments, which it was fondly supposed of French ideas of what is fifty years ago would contribute honourable and right, of French greatly to the peace of the justice to a person accused, of world, smoothing the way to- French intrigue in its military wards millennial calm. This bureaus, of French morality Dreyfus drama has come as a and sense of truth, not only most ghastly forerunner to dis- justify but emphasise the words close what sort of a region the above used regarding the hisFrance is that expects to attract tory, so far as known, before the world so gaily and with a this new bombshell burst over light heart, in the year of our the General Staff of France. Lord 1900. There is much to be "Shameful" and "grotesque learned from this laying bare of were the words. These are inthe secrets of her prison-house, deed mild terms to apply to both by France and every an official cesspool such as is. other nation. It will not do to now having its contents turned grow sick of this "intermin- out to stink in the nostrils of able" Dreyfus drama, as one a disgusted world. Every sushears men say of it almost picion which, by reading bedaily. They that would be tween the lines of what was wise before the event and known before, suggested itself never was there a time when to the investigator, is to-day this was more necessary-will confirmed in hideous blackness. do well not to weary of fact. It is now made plain deavouring to assimilate its why all reopening of inquiry facts; for if ever the things of has been, and is being, resisted to-day prophesied of to-morrow, to the death by French officialnow is the time when in France ism. It is because official perthey do so, even like the handsons realise that, be the result writing on the wall at Bel- of the inquiry what it may to shazzar's feast. Only there is the poor individual now lanthis difference-no prophet is guishing in his stockade, the needed to interpret. The writ- facts which will inevitably ing is plain, to be read of all come into the open light of who are not wilfully blind. day, if inquiry is public, must shatter reputations of men in high places, expose methods of action by epauletted officers, with the connivance, if not under the orders, of their superiors, that are outside all the bounds of professional and personal honour, and call for surgical excision of men in highplaces from the body military, if the "Vive l'Armée!" of today is not to become the "A bas!" of to-morrow with the
The ink was scarce dry with which the above lines were written when a new and most startling development has made the whole world stare. The evidence of the secret inquiry which was conducted by the Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation has by some underhand means come into the possession of a Parisian journal, and has been published morning by morning. The disclosures
fickle and easily swayed populace of Paris and of France. A crumbling edifice undermined by false ways must be shored up by any and every prop, sound or rotten, that can be found, lest, being seen to totter, the French mob-that mob which delights in a crash -should rush to assister (as the French say) at the catastrophe, and yell in fiendish delight over the dead and the débris. It is a life-and-death matter to the principal builders of the edifice of anti-revision, built up of chicanery, suppression of truth, open fraud, and perjury, that it should be held up from behind, for those who defend it must perish with it when it falls. The acquittal of Monsieur Gohier, on his trial under Government orders for his exposure of the rotten condition of things in the French army, must make the desperate defenders of the exclusion of light still more desperate. If this were not a French crisis, prediction would
be easy. But in the case of a country where Thersites would be a probable Minister of State, and Titus Oates accepted as a martyr to patriotism, the difficulties of the prophet are not small.
cannot be suffered to pollute the world's atmosphere. It will certainly sooner or later be swept out, if not by the hand of justice, then surely by the besom of destruction. nation can no more than an individual outrage moral sense without having sooner or later to repent or to harden in wickedness, on which Nemesis will advance with certain tread. Which shall it be in the case of France, and those who have sullied her good name? Will she bravely purge out the old leaven and become a new lump? Her neighbours will anxiously look out to see, clinging to hope that ere it is too late she will take courage and do the right.
The reader shall judge for himself whether these things which have been said are just. What is now to be stated may be taken as fact, no longer
These disclosures have added much to the sum of ascertained fact, and make it absolutely impossible, if there is any sense of justice still existing in France, that revision of the Dreyfus open to dispute, except in those case shall not take place. Even instances where it is stated that if the court intrusted with the any matter is alleged only on investigation were base enough strong prima facie grounds, to truckle to the General Staff, calling for inquiry. or weak enough to yield to the intimidation of vile threats of anonymous letter - writers and
In 1894, and for some time before that, there was reason to believe that information on con
fidential military matters in France was being conveyed to foreign Powers. A French spy brought to the War Office fragments of a document containing a list-technically called a bordereau of military papers, which the writer was supplying to the German military attaché. They were said to have been found in a waste-paper basket. As the paper referred to some technical artillery matters, it was supposed to have come from an artillery officer, and Alfred Dreyfus, who was in the War Office, was suspected. On being arrested, he was taken by the orders of General Mercier to a military prison, and detained there in solitary confinement for many days, and constantly examined by Colonel du Paty de Clam, and made to write in different positions-standing, sitting, lying down, with gloves and without gloves. It is noteworthy that, when brought to the prison, General Mercier gave orders that he was to be fed on the fare appointed for condemned prisoners, and that it was only on the prison governor pointing out that he would be responsible for the illegality of such an outrage upon justice that the order was not carried out. Some weeks before the trial General Mercier conveyed to a Paris newspaper, and that newspaper published, his assurance that the accused was undoubtedly guilty, thus publicly stamping him as a condemned man before his defence had been heard. The court-martial was conducted in secret, and the accused was convicted of being the writer of the bordereau, there being no evidence to support any other
charge made against his character. It is alleged, and not denied, that before the decision a document or documents were either read or shown to the court-martial, which the accused and his counsel were not permitted to see, and therefore could neither speak to nor lead evidence upon. As this is a very crucial point in the question of revision or no revision, it may be proper here to state that M. Dupuy, who was at the time Prime Minister, has sworn that he had heard of a secret document being used at the court-martial; and that M. Cavaignac, ex-Minister of War, said in evidence that he did not think it would be possible to affirm that the bordereau could have been the sole element of the first trial. The document secretly used was a letter passing between two persons not examined at the trial, and therefore could not, according to any possible rules of evidence in a civilised country, be an admissible document at all. It could prove nothing, any more than it would be proof against an accused person that somebody said something about the prisoner to some one else upon the street. This alone would vitiate any trial in a country where there is regard paid to justice and the citizen. Further, if the document could have been competent evidence it would have been worthless. It did not bear on the face of it to refer to Dreyfus, the only important words in it being, "Ce canaille de D- devient trop exigeant."
The grammar is bad, the meaning is obscure, and the person spoken of is not
identified. The context of the letter further shows that the D—— referred to could not be Dreyfus. Thus, if disclosed in full to the court - martial, it could not be of any weight against the accused on on the other hand, if only part of it was disclosed, those who used it to influence the court were
doubly corrupt. The letter, therefore, was not evidence, and its contents, if admissible, did not constitute evidence; and if they were looked at as evidence in their entirety, were not in any sense effective evidence against the accused. To defend the secret use of it, whether wholly or partially disclosed, its acceptance as competent, its contents as having any bearing on the case, are things all equally impossible upon any principle of legal rule or ordinary justice. On the other hand, to defend its being used behind the back of the accused and his advisers requires an official effrontery that cannot be described otherwise than as brazen. If such use of any document was made, the members of the court-martial acted corruptly, and are liable to criminal punishment. If they were called on to commit this criminal act by their military superiors, that may be some palliation of their offence, but any superior who so acted is a still worse criminal. This alone offers to the War Office of France a strong incentive to strain every nerve to prevent public revision. But if the facts be as stated, revision can only be refused by corruption spreading into the Supreme Court of the land.
Degradation followed on the conviction, Dreyfus at the parade loudly maintaining his innocence, and carrying his head erect. On the same day he appealed in pathetic terms to his counsel and all dear to him to continue searching for the truth. Then, at the instance of the Government, the Legislature passed a law empowering the State to subject such prisoners to more terrible punishment than the existing law permitted, and by a clause making it retroactive included the unfortunate Dreyfus in its meshes. Thus laws were broken and laws were made with the one object of ensuring condemnation and aggravating its penalties.
The Dreyfus family emulated the courage of their relative, and resolutely set themselves to search matters to the bottom. Their efforts roused the wrath of the Roman Catholic and Anti-Republican journalists,
and Anti Republican society, both Royalist and Bonapartist, the army being mainly officered from these factions. Dreyfus was a Jew, and his defence was an attack upon the General Staff, therefore a virulent press, clerical and political, entered upon a course of wild vituperation, false accusation, and incentive to violence, of which the watchwords were "A bas les Juifs!" and "Vive l'Armée!" Any one who, however calmly, asked that light should be thrown on an episode of doubtful legality and justice, was held up to public obloquy as a traitor forming one of a "Syndicate of Treason" in the pay of the foreigner, whether