2012-09-24

Brouhaha

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There's a timeline for the Dreyfus case which had started, essentially, four years earlier than the pictures here - drawings and sketches from issues of The Graphic from January and February - show.

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The Esterhazy court-martial in early 1898, designed to clear him, led to Émile Zola's famous letter in l'Aurore of 14 January 1898, for which the novelist was himself brought to trial a month later. That was fast - they didn't hang around back then, it seems.

The Trial of M. Zola

The trial of M. Zola and the publisher of the Aurore, on a charge of defamation based on M. Zola's letter with reference to the Esterhazy Court-Martial, was begun in Paris on Monday. The Advocate-General stated the case for the prosecution, and contended that any attempt to introduce the Dreyfus case would be illegal. Maître Labori, counsel for M. Zola, claimed the right to show the grounds on which his client demanded a revision of the Dreyfus judgement. The Court decided that no evidence should be admitted except on the paragraphs cited in the plaint of the Minister of War. On the list of witnesses being called over, a letter was read from the Minister of Justice declining to authorise the Minister of War to attend. Many of the other military and civil officials who had been summoned to attend also refused to appear on a plea of official secrecy. The Court then adjourned to permit of the framing of applications for the summoning of witnesses.

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No photography in the courtroom. I've always thought that a little strange. You can draw - and mercilessly caricature - all you like in a courtroom, but you can't take a 'real' photograph.

Anyway, that's by the way. Back in 1898 there's a bit of a ruckus in the Chamber of Deputies:

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The Dreyfus Question in Paris: The Scene in the Chamber of Deputies
Drawn by Tofani

An interpellation by M. Cavaignac on the Dreyfus case gave rise to a scene of violent recrimination in the Chamber of Deputies on Saturday. An angry altercation ensued between M. de Bernis and M.Jaurès (Socialist), and while the latter was speaking M. de Bernis made a rush for the tribune, but was stopped by the Socialists. A series of hand-to-hand encounters took place, and M. de Bernis forced his way to the tribune and struck M. Jaurès. Members, conservative and Socialist, went to the help of their friends, and around the tribune the mélée became general. The contest was not confined to the floor of the Chamber, for the occupants of the visitors' and reporters' galleries took sides, and the whole House became a pandemonium. The galleries were closed and soldiers were brought in to keep order in the lobbies

Meanwhile, back in court, by the end of February the trial is already over and Émile Zola is found guilty of libel.

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After the verdict: M. Touny, commissary, informing M. Zola's friends of the provision made for his safety on leaving the court
Drawn by Malteste

The people in the sketch are, from left to right, Fernand Desmoulins, Georges Clémenceau, Émile Zola, Pasquelle, Octave Mirbeau, and Commisary Touny.

http://blog.iostuff.org/brouhaha