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cation with those dear to him except under official censorship, dragging out the best years of his manhood in silent agony, haunted ever by the bitterness of that scene which stamped him as the basest of men. Five years gone, and it may be many years still to come. Could any hell that imagination can figure be worse? Could ingenuity the most refined invent—within the per⚫mitted limits of civilised punishment- a more awful doom, surely worse than death?
Doubtless those who contributed to bring about this consigning of a disgraced man to a living tomb, whether they were honest or dishonest in their motives and actions, thought that, when all was done, the man and all that concerned him would be forgotten, that the waters of Lethe, the River of Oblivion, would close over him, and smooth themselves out from all ruffling that told of agitation. All others had, after a horror mingled with a pity that none could refuse where the expiation of crime was so shocking to every human disposition, ceased to think of one to whom, presumably, justice had been meted out,—an awful justice, but scarce too awful for crime so base, made more base by the criminal being a soldier of the State. The wretch was as good as dead, save to those, his own loving ones, who had to bear their share of the shame of all the dreadful past.
Here, then, if ever there was a man who was blotted out of the world's book of life, was that man all hope taken from him of being an influence in his day and generation, and
VOL. CLXV.-NO. MIV.
still worse, of ever enjoying the sweetness of domestic love and peace: no rôle left to him but the negative one of being a hateful example to warn others, as degraded before his race and helpless as the slave made drunk to be a spectacle of warning to the Athenian youth; loathed and incapable. Yet he has lived for these long five years, he has borne his awful punishment manfully: again the brave man among men, whether he be guilty or innocent.
But what is it that has come to pass in the country that condemned him, and in the army that degraded him? Is it oblivion? Is he in his own country as if he had never been? Outcast as he is, and transported across the seas, isolated from all social intercourse, is his country free of him? Does the State move on its even way as if he had never disturbed its peace? Is the condition of the army to which he belonged like that of one from whom a malignant growth has been excised, and to whom a healthy and strong condition has returned? Is he but a nauseous memory, which if not dead is dying, a recollection which, if it force itself into activity at all, leads to no thought that can disturb the present or cause misgivings as to the future? Has the world even outside France been able to forget all about the tragedy? Have the great affairs of State, which at intervals agitated the political waters during the last five years, washed out its traces on the sands of time?
The true answers to these questions present to mankind 3 Y
The Negative Ruler of France. so amazing, so chronicle 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 The this generation has seen. 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 is " 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 Yet this the Ile du Diable. man has been to France for nearly two years, and is to France still, what the vulsing 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 cause before the inquiry is
The reader shall judge
-the last for this century of those International Exhibitions which it was fondly supposed fifty years ago would contribute greatly to the peace of the world, smoothing the way towards millennial calm. This Dreyfus drama has come as a most ghastly forerunner to disclose what sort of a region the France is that expects to attract the world so gaily and with a light heart, in the year of our Lord 1900. There is much to be learned from this laying bare of the secrets of her prison-house, both by France and every other nation. It will not do to grow sick of this "interminable" Dreyfus drama, as one hears men say of it almost daily. They that would be wise before the event and never was there a time when this was more necessary-will do well not to weary in endeavouring to assimilate its facts; for if ever the things of to-day prophesied of to-morrow, now is the time when in France they do so, even like the handwriting on the wall at Belshazzar's feast. Only there is this difference-no prophet is needed to interpret. The writing is plain, to be read of all who are not wilfully blind.
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
which are thus made of French methods in public departments, of French ideas of what is honourable and right, of French justice to a person accused, of French intrigue in its military bureaus, of French morality and sense of truth, not only justify but emphasise the words. above used regarding the history, so far as known, before this new bombshell burst over the General Staff of France.. "Shameful" and "grotesque were the words. These are indeed mild terms to apply to an official cesspool such as is now having its contents turned out to stink in the nostrils of a disgusted world. Every suspicion which, by reading between the lines of what was known before, suggested itself to the investigator, is to-day confirmed in hideous blackness of fact. It is now made plain why all reopening of inquiry has been, and is being, resisted to the death by French officialism. It is because official persons realise that, be the result of the inquiry what it may to the poor individual now languishing in his stockade, the facts which will inevitably come into the open light of 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 high places from the body military, if the "Vive l'Armée!" of today is not to become the "A bas!" of to-morrow with the
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.
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 case shall not take place. Even if the court intrusted with the investigation were base enough to truckle to the General Staff, or weak enough to yield to the intimidation of vile threats of anonymous letter - writers and
unscrupulous newspaper bullies, and were, being so base or so cowardly, to violate their oath of office to do even-handed justice between the citizen and the State, it is quite impossible that there should be an end. The case is too flagrant, and is too clearly seen to be so by honest men, both in France and throughout the world. What was done in the past will not stand. A plainly revealed mass of
"fraud and impudence and lies" cannot be suffered to pollute the world's atmosphere. will certainly sooner or later be swept out, if not by the hand of justice, then surely by the besom of destruction. A 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 open to dispute, except in those instances where it is stated that any matter is alleged only on strong prima facie grounds, calling for inquiry.
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. ter. 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