Page:Jean Jaurès socialist and humanitarian 1917.djvu/68

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"open letter" to the President of the Republic, each paragraph of which began "J'accuse …" and in which he accused by name, a number of Generals of the Staff, who by weakness or wickedness were partners in the crime of condemning an innocent man, the Commandant Paty du Clam for being the "ouvrier diaboliqiie de l'erreur judiciare," the experts in handwriting, the Council of War, and the bureaux of War for the campaign which it had inspired in the Press.

His object, of course, was to secure a trial for libel, which he was duly accorded in February, and at which many more incriminating facts against the persecutors of Dreyfus were disclosed. But the highest chiefs of the army, so many of whom were by this time implicated, put forth all their powers to prevent the truth from coming to light, and Zola was accordingly condemned. He appealed, and two months later the Cour de Cassation reversed the judgment. Means were found, however, to institute a fresh trial in July. For some reason Zola thought it the best policy to disappear, and he came to England, where he remained in hiding till June, 1899. Then, hearing that Dreyfus had at last been accorded a revision, he went back to Paris.

"J'accuse" produced an immense sensation, and for many honest men it became the occasion of a "veritable liberation of conscience." For a long time Jaurès had been more and more unable