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ANTI-SEMITISM

stopping the Dreyfusards, proved to them, among other things, that the conviction had been partially based on documents which had not been communicated to the counsel for the defence, and hence that the judges had been tampered with by the ministry of war behind the prisoner's back. So far, too, as these documents related to correspondence with foreign military attachés, it was soon ascertained that they were forgeries. In this way a terrible indictment was gradually drawn up against the ministry of war. The first step was taken towards the end of 1897 by a brother of Captain Dreyfus, who, in a letter to the minister of war, denounced Major Esterhazy as the real author of the Bordereau. The authorities, supported by parliament, declined to reopen the Dreyfus Case, but they ordered a court-martial on Esterhazy, which was held with closed doors and resulted in his acquittal. It now became clear that nothing short of an appeal to public opinion and a full exposure of all the iniquities that had been perpetrated would secure justice at the hands of the military chiefs. On behalf of Dreyfus, Émile Zola, the eminent novelist, formulated the case against the general staff of the army in an open letter to the president of the republic, which by its dramatic accusations startled the whole world. The letter was denounced as wild and fantastic even by those who were in favour of revision. Zola was prosecuted for libel and convicted, and had to fly the country; but the agitation he had started was taken in hand by others, notably M. Clemenceau, M. Reinach and M. Yves Guyot. In August 1898 their efforts found their first reward. A reexamination of the documents in the case by M. Cavaignac, then minister of war, showed that one was undoubtedly forged. Colonel Henry, of the intelligence department of the war office, then confessed that he had fabricated the document, and, on being sent to Mont Valérien under arrest, cut his throat.

In spite of this damaging discovery the war office still persisted in believing Dreyfus guilty, and opposed a fresh inquiry. It was supported by three successive ministers of war, and apparently an overwhelming body of public opinion. By this time the question of the guilt or innocence of Dreyfus had become an altogether subsidiary issue. As in Germany and Austria, the anti-Semitic crusade had passed into the hands of the political parties. On the one hand the Radicals and Socialists, recognizing the anti-republican aims of the agitators and alarmed by the clerical predominance in the army, had thrown in their lot with the Dreyfusards; on the other the reactionaries, anxious to secure the support of the army, took the opposite view, denounced their opponents as sans patrie, and declared that they were conspiring to weaken and degrade the army in the face of the national enemy. The controversy was, consequently, no longer for or against Dreyfus, but for or against the army, and behind it was a life-or-death struggle between the republic and its enemies. The situation became alarming. Rumours of military plots filled the air. Powerful leagues for working up public feeling were formed and organized; attempts to discredit the republic and intimidate the government were made. The president was insulted; there were tumults in the streets, and an attempt was made by M. Déroulède to induce the military to march on the Elysée and upset the republic. In this critical situation France, to her eternal honour, found men with sufficient courage to do the right. The Socialists, by rallying to the Radicals against the reactionaries, secured a majority for the defence of the republic in parliament. Brisson's cabinet transmitted to the court of cassation an application for the revision of the case against Dreyfus; and that tribunal, after an elaborate inquiry, which fully justified Zola's famous letter, quashed and annulled the proceedings of the court-martial, and remitted the accused to another court-martial, to be held at Rennes. Throughout these proceedings the military party fought tooth and nail to impede the course of justice; and although the innocence of Dreyfus had been completely established, it concentrated all its efforts to secure a fresh condemnation of the prisoner at Rennes. Popular passion was at fever heat, and it manifested itself in an attack on M. Labori, one of the counsel for the defence, who was shot and wounded on the eve of his cross-examination of the witnesses for the prosecution. To the amazement and indignation of the whole world outside France, the Rennes court-martial again found the prisoner guilty; but all reliance on the conscientiousness of the verdict was removed by a rider, which found "extenuating circumstances," and by a reduction of the punishment to ten years' imprisonment, to which was added a recommendation to mercy. The verdict was evidently an attempt at a compromise, and the government resolved to advise the president of the republic to pardon Dreyfus. This lame conclusion did not satisfy the accused; but his innocence had been so clearly proved, and on political grounds there were such urgent reasons for desiring a termination of the affair, that it was accepted without protest by the majority of moderate men.

The rehabilitation of Dreyfus, however, did not pass without another effort on the part of the reactionaries to turn the popular passions excited by the case to their own advantage. After the failure of Déroulède's attempt to overturn the republic, the various Royalist and Boulangist leagues, with the assistance of the anti-Semites, organized another plot. This was discovered by the government, and the leaders were arrested. Jules Guérin, secretary of the anti-Semitic league, shut himself up in the league offices in the rue Chabrol, Paris, which had been fortified and garrisoned by a number of his friends, armed with rifles. For more than a month these anti-Semites held the authorities at bay, and some 5000 troops were employed in the siege. The conspirators were all tried by the senate, sitting as a high court, and Guérin was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. The evidence showed that the anti-Semitic organization had taken an active part in the anti-republican plot (see the report of the Commission d'Instruction in the Petit Temps, 1st November 1899).

The government now resolved to strike at the root of the mischief by limiting the power of the religious orders, and with this view a drastic Association bill was introduced into the chambers. This anti-clerical move provoked the wildest passions of the reactionaries, but it found an overwhelming support in the elections of 1902 and the bill became law. The war thus definitely reopened soon led to a revival of the Dreyfus controversy. The nationalists flooded the country with incendiary defamation's of "the government of national treason," and Dreyfus on his part loudly demanded a fresh trial. It was clear that conciliation and compromise were useless. Early in 1905 M. Jaurès urged upon the chamber that the demand of the Jewish officer should be granted if only to tranquillize the country. The necessary faits nouveaux were speedily found by the minister of war, General André, and having been examined by a special commission of revision were ordered to be transmitted to the court of cassation for final adjudication. On the 12th of July 1906, the court, all chambers united, gave its judgment. After a lengthy review of the case it declared unanimously that the whole accusation against Dreyfus had been disproved, and it quashed the judgment of the Rennes court-martial sans renvoi. The explanation of the whole case is that Esterhazy and Henry were the real culprits; that they had made a trade of supplying the German government with military documents; and that once the Bordereau was discovered they availed themselves of the anti-Jewish agitation to throw suspicion on Dreyfus.

Thus ended this famous case, to the relief of the whole country and with the approval of the great majority of French citizens. Except a knot of anti-Semitic monomaniacs all parties bowed loyally to the judgment of the court of cassation. The government gave the fullest ellect to the judgment. Dreyfus and Picquart were restored to the active list of the army with the ranks respectively of major and general of brigade. Dreyfus was also created a knight of the Legion of Honour, and received the decoration in public in the artillery pavilion of the military school. Zola, to whose efforts the triumph of truth was chiefly due, had not been spared to witness the final scene, but the chambers decided to give his remains a last resting-place in the Pantheon. When three months later M. Clémenceau formed his first cabinet he appointed General Picquart minister of war. Nothing indeed was left undone to repair the terrible series of wrongs which had grown out of the Dreyfus case. Nevertheless its destructive work could not be wholly healed. For over ten years it had been