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The Defense

Published Weekly Vol. 63 September 2, 1899

No. 1 The principal points has never yet been a moment when I would The Dreyfus Trial : The Prosecution against Dreyfus last

not have been glad to die for France, and I week

hope yet to do so.

were made by General Fabre, Colonel Bertin, and Col Colonel d'Abeville's point was that the onel d'Abeville, respectively chief and sub

author of the bordereau must be, first, an chiefs of the Fourth Bureau of the General officer of the artillery, and, second, a stagiStaff of the French Army when the bor

aire of the General Staff, having access to derzau was discovered, and when Dreyfus

more than one bureau of the Staff. As was one of the six stagiaires, or probation- the prisoner was the only officer fulfilling ers, undergoing instruction in that Bureau. these conditions, therefore he must be the The two officers first named declared that criminal. These and other witnesses for a plan had been intrusted to Dreyfus com the prosecution insisted upon the fact prising the details of the concentration of that Dreyfus was of a prying, inquisitive the troupes de couverture in the eastern disposition. part of France—in case of sudden mobilization these are the troops to be thrown towards the frontier to cover the army's

The most precious life in actual mobilization. It may be remem

France to-day seems Maître bered that the words “concentration of the Labori's. No wonder that his enemies troupes de couverture" form the caption of tried to kill him. His cross-questioning one of the five documents enumerated in the has been of patent gain to the cause of bordereau (or memorandum of army secrets his client and of justice. By it the facts found by a spy in the German embassy were brought out that not only at the in 1894), and thus was one of the secrets 1894 court martial, which condemned betrayed to a foreign power. The value Dreyfus, had General Mercier inserted an attached to this point by the prosecution accusing document in the secret dossier is that Dreyfus did possess knowledge of (or bundle of papers bearing on the case) the plans of concentration, which, not by indirect methods, but, since the beginwithstanding his denials, he is accused ning of August of the present year, he of imparting to German and perhaps to had actually repeated that criminal auother foreign agents. The prisoner ad- dacity. These two facts have not only mitted that General Fabre correctly de caused a general scorn of Mercier; they scribed the work on which he was engaged have also shown with startling distinctwhen a probationer. As has been acutely ness that the same desperate means are pointed out, however, this proof of oppor used to bring about the recondemnation tunity is, after all, merely an inculpatory that were used five years ago. Maître presumption. Thinking that Colonel Ber- Labori also brought Mercier to book retin tried to show the prisoner's disloyalty garding the latter's assertion that thirtysince as well as before condemnation, the five million francs had been spent by the latter protested that-

defenders of Dreyfus, and asked the witIn nothing I have written during the five

ness to say how he knew this, who spent bitter years of my exile will you find a word it, and other awkward questions, which of disloyalty. I have never believed for an Mercier was quite unable to instant that France would hesitate to receive the truth when it should be revealed to her,

Finally, not only Mercier but the other nor that the army would hesitate to maintain

apologists for the General Staff were the right and its traditions of honor. There forced to take refuge behind an “I refuse


to answer the question," and this attitude thus showed that the bordereau was in was approved by Colonel Jouaust him- Esterhazy's handwriting, and not in the self, the President of the court. The handwriting of Dreyfus. He pointed out latter's reputation for impartiality, there- the identity of letters therein with letters fore, has suffered somewhat. During the admittedly written by Esterhazy, proving week the reported “confession ” of Drey- that while the resemblance was not apparfus the day after his degradation in Janu- ent in Dreyfus's handwriting, in Esterary, 1895, came up again, and was thus hazy's there were marked peculiarities in explained by the prisoner:

punctuation and in the manner of beginI said to Captain Lebrun-Renault: “ I am

ning fresh lines, also noticeable in the innocent. I will declare it in the face of the bordereau, but not found in the prisoner's whole people. That is the cry of my con- chirography. M. Charavay, an expert science. You know that cry. I repeated it who in 1894 had testified that Dreyfus all through the torture of my degradation." Du Paty de Clam asked me if I had not

was the author of the bordereau, confessed given documents of no importance in orier to to a change of opinion. The reasons for obtain others in exchange. I replied that not this change were the publication of Esteronly was I absolutely innocent, but that I de hazy's letters, the discovery of the Henry sired the whole matter should be cleared up: forgery, the inquiry of the Court of CassaThen I added that I hoped that within two or three years my innocence would be established. tion, and Esterhazy's confession. “It is I told Du Paty de Clam that I wanted full a great relief to my conscience,” M. Chalight on the matter, that an iniquity had been done and that it was impossible for the Gov

ravay added,“ to be able to say before you, ernment to fail to use its influence to discover

and before him who is the victim of my the whole truth. “The Government,” I said, mistake, that the bordereau is not the work “has means, either through the military at of Dreyfus, but of Esterhazy." tachés or through diplomatic channels, to reach the truth." And I also said, “ It is awful that a soldier should be convicted of such a frightful crime. Consequently, it seems to

Perhaps the most inter

Captain Freystaetter me, I who asked only for truth and light, that

esting testimony of the the Government should use all the means at

entire trial was that given by Captain its disposal to secure that light.” Du Paty de Clam replied: "There are interests at stake Freystaetter on Saturday of last week; higher than yours.”

at all events, his evidence is equaled in importance only by Colonel Picquart's.

Captain Freystaetter has as brilliant a Towards the end of the military record as has any French offiThe Handwriting week M. Bertillon, the cer. He was a member of the 1894 court Experts

expert in chirography, martial. Two years ago his conscience and a famous specialist in measurements compelled him to disclose the fact that of the human body, began his ingenious Dreyfus had been condemned not only by testimony. He tried to prove (1) that the secret but also by illegal evidence. The bordereau was a doctored document; (2) witness declared that the proofs of the that it could have been manufactured condemnation were to be found in the only by the prisoner ; (3) that it had bordereau and in four secret pieces sent been written in a free hand by means of to the court by General Mercier. Coloa key-word placed beneath tracing-paper nel Maurel, the President of the 1894 in such a way as to be quite visible. The

The court martial, had previously admitted to basic objection to M. Bertillon's testimony the present court martial that he had read is that its premises were all wrong. The one, but only one, of the secret documents testimony of another handwriting expert, sent by General Mercier to the 1894 M. Gobert, contradicted the above. He prosecution, and withheld from the deasserted that the handwriting of the bor- fense. Maître Labori, therefore, called dereau was natural and Auent, but that it upon Colonel Jouaust to have Colonel was almost illegible, whereas Dreyfus, even Maurel confront Captain Freystaetter. when writing rapidly, always wrote legibly. On this Colonel Maurel repeated, with M. Gobert suggested that the judges com- evident embarrassment, that he had only pare the bordereau with a letter admitted looked at one document, but, he added, to be in Esterhazy's handwriting, and with “I did not say that only one piece documents written by the prisoner. He was read. I admit, after what Captain

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Freystaetter says, that other documents profound effect on them. The vehemence may have been produced.” Freystaetter of Roget's deposition, however, can be replied: "Not only did I see them, but I explained by his undoubted realization assert that Colonel Maurel had them in that he and his brother generals are his hands. And, what is more, I assert quite as much on trial as is Dreyfus. The that he made a commentary on each docu- testimony of the Generals must needs be ment as it passed through his hands.” received by the members of the court with Maurel haltingly replied that he did due deference. All of those members are not remember, and refused to say more. graduates of the Military Polytechnic Freystaetter added that he had written School, and from their early youth their Maurel a letter recalling the scene respect for military convention and tradithe secret sessions of the court martial of tional discipline is nothing less than relig1894, and announcing his intention of ious. The Generals occupy a higher telling the truth, as he was now doing military rank than the judges, and overawe Maurel acknowledged this with a nod, but them. Hence the judges are constantly still refused to say anything more. The subject to an illegitimate army pressure. admission of prevarication on the part of There are seven members in the court. the President of the court martial of 1894 According to law a court martial has a Colmade the Freystaetter testimony of ex onel as its President when the prisoner is tremest pertinence, a pertinence increased a Captain, and two members are of the when the witness confronted General same rank as the accused. It is not Mercier. The former had said that a necessary that the verdict be unanimous. despatch from a foreign attaché, reporting Hardly any legal evidence against Dreyfus the arrest of Dreyfus, had been com has been adduced bearing upon the real municated to the judges of the 1894 court question before the court; indeed, Lord martial, and that this despatch was a Russell, Chief Justice of England, is forgery. It was an erroneous translation quoted as saying that there has been no of the Panizzardi despatch, and those testimony in support of the charge against who communicated it knew it to be erro- Dreyfus that would warrant an English neous, for at that date they possessed a magistrate in holding him for a regular correct translation. As no contradiction trial. The one specific question is : Did had been offered to Freystaetter's state- Dreyfus communicate to a foreign government, and as Mercier had previously testi- ment the facts mentioned in the bordereau ? fied to having given an order that the tele- The Court of Cassation, the Supreme gram should not be communicated, and, Court of France, has already established further, that his order had been carried the fact that the conviction of Dreyfus out, Maître Labori asked the President of in 1894 was illegal. It has directed the the court to demand an explanation from present court martial to obtain evidence Mercier. The latter denied Freystaetter's bearing on the question before it, but for declaration that the Panizzardi despatch three weeks the court martial has heard was in the dossier, shouting, “ It's a lie,” evidence bearing upon the entire subject. possibly forgetting that Freystaetter's evi- Perhaps this implied disdain of the Court dence had been admitted by Colonel of Cassation results partly from the reMaurel. To this Freystaetter replied: peated demand of the Dreyfusards to “I swear that what I have said is true. probe the justice of their cause to the And I remember not merely the despatch, bottom, but more likely it is due to the but I have a vivid recollection of the fact vanity and obstinacy, if not terror, of the that the first words were, · Dreyfus is guilty creatures of the General Staff. The arrested. Emissary warned.?”

reiteration of hearsay or presumption from them is not evidence, and the only evi

dence, except that mentioned in our first The Court Regarding the probable verdict paragraph, worth considering has been

on Dreyfus, an impression has that contained in the received renderings of gained ground that the judges are preju- the Schneider and Panizzardi despatches. diced against him. This would not be Both of these renderings are now shown unnatural-indeed, the testimony of Gen to be forgeries. Indeed, the Schneider eral Roget, for instance, made a visibly despatch was the eleventh forged docu

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