The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, August 31, 1899, Page 10, Image 10

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    'Cbc Conservative.
which the vile scoundrel whom I repre
sent deserved to bo transported. It was
only just. They could not accord any
pity to a traitor , the lowest of black
guards ; and as long as I represent this
wretch I cau only approve their conduct.
* * * On the day of my de
parture you assured mo that the truth
would surely soon come to light. I have
lived during that awful voyage , I am.
living now , only on that word of yours
remember it well. I have boon dis
embarked but a few minutes , and I
have obtained permission to send you a
cablegram. There are two mails a
month for Franco. * * * My
nervous system is in a deplorable condi
tion , and it is full time that this horrible
tragedy should end. Now my spirit
alone is above water. Oh , for God's
sake , hurry ; work with all your might 1
* * * When you have some
good news to announce to me send mo a
dispatch. I am waiting for it day by
day as for the Messiah. "
To pass his time ho jotted down his
thoughts as they came to him , forward
ing long letters by every mail , but re
ceiving no word until Juno llth , over
three mouths after his departure from
Franco. On September 57th ho wrote :
"If at times I have allowed you to
catch a glimpse of how horrible is my
life here , how this lot of infamy , whose
effects continue day by day to harrow
my being , to revolt my soul , it is not
that I would complain ; it is to tell you
again that if I have lived , if I continue
to live , it is because 1 desire my honor ,
yours , that of our children. * * *
You have the right to present yourself
everywhere with your head erect , for
you have conio not to beg for mercy ,
not to beg for favors , not even for moral
convictions , however legitimate they
may be. You have come to demand the
search for the discovery of the wretches
who have committed the infamous and
cowardly crime. The government has
all the means by which this may be
done. "
In a letter dated April 26 , 1896 , we
get an idea of his mental sufferings in
his lonely cabin :
My suffering is at times so strong that
I would tear my skin from my flesh , to
forget in physical pain this too violent
( ft torture of soul. I arise in the morning
* with the dread of the long hours of the
day , alone , for so long , with the horrors
of my brain ; I lie down at night with
the fear of the sleepless hours. * * *
My body is broken , my nerves are sick ,
* my brain is crushed ; say simply that I
still hold myself erect in the absolute
sense of the word only because I resolved -
" solved to , so as to see with yon and our
children the day when honor shall bo
returned to us. * * * Very
* often 1 have wished to speak to you at
length of our children I can not. A
dull , bitter auger floods my heart at the
thought of these dear little creatures ,
„ > -
struck through their father , who is in
uocent of a crime so abominable. My
throat contracts , my sobs choke mo , my
hands are wrung with grief at not being
able to do anything for them for you. "
Again he wrote :
"You must expect that sufferings , the
climate , the situation , have done their
work. I have loft only my skin , my
bones , and my moral energy. I hope
that this last will carry me through to
the end of our trials. "
But his strong will never deserted
him. On November 24 , 1897 , ho wrote :
"Though my body , my brain , my
heart , everything , is worn out , my soul
remains intangible , ever ardent , its de
termination unshaken and strong in the
right of every human being to have
justice and truth for himself , for those
who belong to him. "
In the spring of 1898 he sent several
personal appeals to the president of the
republic , minister of war , and General
do Boisdeffre for a new trial , and , re
ceiving no answer , became a victim of
the conditions of his solitary position.
In September , 1898 , he bade a final
adieu to his wife and children , and de
clared that he would write no more. He
was beset with unconquerable sadness.
He complained to his physician , Dr.
Veugnou , of Cayenne , of mental ex
haustion and insomnia. He was haunted
by the "fixed idea" to exculpate himself
from the charge of treason. Yet he
could only deny and deny. His counsel ,
Maitres Labori and Demauge , give the
following instance of the indignities and
tortures that he suffered :
"Once when it was reported that au
attempt would be made to rescue him ,
this man , consumed with fever and
almost bereft of reason , was , by the
order of M. Lebou , minister of the
colonies , chained to his cot while the
lamp that was kept burning over his
head attracted hordes of tropical insects.
He was told that his wife sought to for
get him and desired to marry again. In
his despair his jailers thought he might
say something that would incriminate
him. They were mistaken. He made
no confession. There was none to
make. Ho could only yell in their ears ,
'I am innocent 1 I am innocent ! ' "
On November 15 , 1898 , M. Darius , the
procureur-general of Cayenne , entered
the room occupied by the prisoner and
said to him : "Dreyfus , the court of
cassation has decided to revise your
case. What have you to say ? "
"Dreyfus seemed like one dazed. The
day for which he had so fervently prayed
had come at last. Yet , according to his
inquisitor , this is what ho replied : 'I
shall say nothing until I am confronted
by my accusers in Paris. " No further
facts were revealed to him ; but , under
the direction of the authorities in Paris ,
he was interrogated at given periods. "
At length he was officially informed
of the first decision of the court of
cassation. Writing to his wife on
December 26th , ho explains that if he
had for a moment closed his correspon
dence , this was because he was awaiting
the reply to his petition for the revision
of his judgment , and should only have
repeated himself :
"If my voice had ceased to make itself
heard , this would have been because it
had forever died away. If I have lived ,
it has been for my honor , which is my
property and the patrimony of our
children. * * * Let us , there
fore , await with confidence the decision
of the supreme court , as wo await with
confidence the decision of the new
judges before whom this decision will
send mo. "
Always confident in the eventual re
sult , Dreyfus wrote on February 8,1899 :
"Although I think , as I told you , that
the end of our horrible martyrdom is
nigh , what does it matter if there is a
little delay ? The object is everything ,
and until the day when I can clasp you
in my arms I would have you know my
thoughts , which never leave you , which
have watched night and day over you
and the children. "
The correspondence ends with a letter
dated February 25th , in which he sends
his love to all his relatives , pending the
receipt of the news of his rehabilitation ,
and a note soon after to his little son ,
Pierre , in which he says : "You wish
me to write to you. I shall do better ;
I. shall soon press you in my arms. "
Five months , however , passed before he
reached Franco. For n arly four years
tl'e world was a blank to him. Of the
efforts made to rehabilitate him , of the
heroic Picquart's martyrdom , in the
cause of truth and justice , of Zola's
melodramatic entrance upon the scene ,
and the crimes committed in the name
" ' ' " he knew
of 1'honneur do 1'armee ,
Published by Harper & Brothers , New
York ; price $1.00. Argonaut.
BKMOCKATS.f Iowa > lu their
state convention
yesterday , pronounced an encomium on
the gold democrats. "As republicans , "
they said , "we make recognition of the
loyalty and exalted patriotism of the
sound-money democrats and men of all
parties who put aside partisanship in
order to maintain the good faith of the
nation , and , in resistance to the Chicago
platform and its candidate , to secure the
welfare of the people. " Signs are not
wanting in other quarters that the atti
tude of the democrats who supported
Palmer and Buckner in 1896 , and of
those who voted directly for McKinley
in order to make their votes "count
double" against Bryan , is becoming a
matter of much interest among the re
publicans. In proportion as the latter
grow uneasy respecting their position on
expansion and the war in the Philippines ,