Page:Jean Jaurès socialist and humanitarian 1917.djvu/69

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65
THE DREYFUS CASE

to restrain his indignation. From this moment he threw himself with all his powers into the struggle. [1]"At the tribune of the Chamber" he tells us, "on the 24th of January, 1898, I put the question plainly, 'Yes or No.? Was a document which might have formed or fortified the conviction of the judges, communicated to them and not to the accused? Yes or No?'" One seems to see Jaurès, his eyes gleaming, asking this straight question and one realises that he was a formidable opponent. "I waited for a reply for some minutes. M. Méline (the Prime Minister) hesitating, troubled, finished by stammering 'You will be answered in another place.' But it was just in the Chamber, that is before the country, that he should have answered me. It is not the business of Parliament to apply the laws, but its first duty is to watch over, by means of the responsible government, the observation of the law, the maintenance of legal guarantees, without which a prosecution is only a trap.

"And when Parliament abdicates this essential duty, when through fear of the army chiefs who have criminally violated the law, it dares not even get information, when it permits the government by a miserable shuffle to evade a definite question, there is no more surety of liberty in a country; what remains of it is yielded us on sufferance only.

  1. "Les Preuves," p. 3