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Full text of "Clemenceau, the man and his time"

T^vesittdeb to 
of H\e 

Prof •Velyien E. Henderson 
M«A» M«EB» F*R«C«Stt 

(1877-1945) 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/clemenceaumanhisOOhynduoft 



CLEMENCEAU 

THE MAN AND HIS TIME 






WORKS BY GEORGES CLEMENCEAU. 

De la Generation des Elements Anatomigues. 8vo. Paris: Bailli^re 

et fils. 1865. 
Notions d' Anatomie et de Physiologie Ginerale. De la Generation des 

Elements Anatomiques. Precedee d'une introduction par M. Charles 

Robin. 8vo. Paris: Germer Bailli^re. 1867. 
J. Stuart Mill: Auguste Comte et le Positivisme. Traduction. i8mo. 

Paris: Germer Bailliere. 1868. Alcau. 1893. 
UAmnistie devant le Parlement. Discours Chambre des Deputes, 16 

Mai, 1876. i8mo. Paris. Imp.: Wittersheira. 1876. 
Affaires Egyptiennes. Discours Chambre des Deputes, 19 and 20, 

Juillet, 1882. i8mo. Paris: Imp. Wittersheim. 1882. 
Discours prononce au Cirque Fernando le 25 Mai, 1884. (Account of 

Clemenceau's stewardship.) i8rao. Paris: Imp. Schiller. 1884. 
Affaire du Tonkin. Discours Chambre des Deputes, 27 Nov., 1884. 

i8mo. Paris: Imp. Schiller. 1884. 
Politique Coloniale. Discours Chambre des Deputes, 30 Juillet, 1884. 

i8mo. Paris: Imp. Schiller. 1885. 
Discours prononce a Draguignan, 13 Septembre^ 1885. i8mo. Paris: 

Imp. Schiller. 1885. 
La Melee Sociale. i8mo. Paris: Charpentier et Fasquelle. 1895. 
Le Grand Pan. i8mo. Paris: Charpentier et Fasquelle. 1896. 
Les Plus Forts. Roman contemporain. i8mo. Paris: Fasquelle. 1898. 
Au Pied du Mont Sinai. 4to. Paris. Floury. 1898. 

'Iniquite. Notes sur Paffaire Dreyfus. i8mo. Paris: Stock. 1899. 
Au Fil des Jours. i8mo. Paris: Stock. 1899. 
Le Voile du Bonheur. Piece en un acte. i8mo. Paris: Fasquelle. 1901. 
La Honte. i8mo. Paris: Stock. 1903. 
Aux Embuscades de la Vie. Dans la foi, dans I'ordre etabli, dans 

I'amour. i8mo. Paris: Fasquelle. 1903. 
UEnseignement dans le Droit Republicain. Discours au Senat. i8mo. 

Paris: Fasquelle. 1904. 
Figures de la Vendee. 4to. Paris: Hessele. 1904. 
La France devant I'Allemagne. Imp. 8vo. Payot. 191 8. 



The above is a list of Clemenceau's most important works. His 
speeches in the Chamber of Deputies from 1876 up to 1893, and in the 
Senate, since 1902, will be found in the Journal Officiel and the 
Annales du Senat. There are several studies of Clemenceau and his 
career: the most recent is Clemenceau (8vo, Paris — Charpentier, 1918), 
of which M. Georges Lecomte is the author. But he has been disin- 
clined to have any detailed personal biography published. Though 
he must be well aware of the eminent part he has played in the history 
of his own country and of Europe, he has always preferred to speak 
of himself, and to be spoken of, as only one of the people of the France 
whom he has so well served. 




GEORGES CLEMENCEAU 






CLEMENCEAU 

THE MAN AND HIS TIME 



A.J^BY 






H. M. HYNDMAN 







NEW YORK 

FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 



34-2 



Cc^ 



Copyright, 191Q, h 
Fkedeeick a. Stokes Company 



All Rights Reserved 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

Introduction vii 

I. Early Life i 

11. Paris under the Empire . 12 

III. Downfall and Reconstruction .... 20 

IV. The Commune 34 

V. Clemenceau the Radical 49 

VI. From Gambetta to Clemenceau .... 62 

VII. The Tiger 80 

VIII. The Rise and Fall of Boulanger .... 98 

IX. Panama AND Draguignan . iii 

X. Philosopher and Journalist . . . . . 136 

XL Clemenceau as a Writer 152 

XII. Clemenceau and the Dreyfus Affair . . . 164 

XIII. The Dreyfus Affair (II) 177 

XIV. As Administrator 187 

XV. Strength and Weakness of Clemenceau . . 224 

XVI. End of Clemenceau's Ministry .... 246 

XVII. Clemenceau and Germany 261 

XVIII. The Great War 278 

XIX. The Enemy Within 289 

XX. "La Victoire Integrale" . . . ... 317 

XXL Conclusion 333 

Index 339 



President of the Council 

Minister of War 

Paris, July ist, JQiS 
Dear Mr, Hyndman, 

I really must thank you for the more than flattering letter, 
prompted by your old friendship. I have nothing to say concern- 
ing myself, except that I am doing the best I can, and always with 
the feeling that it can never be enough. France is making day 
by day incredible sacrifices. No effort can be thought too great 
a price for assuring the triumph of saving humanity. Success is 
certain, when all free peoples have arisen to oppose the final con- 
vulsions of barbarism. 

In so great a drama, my dear friend, my own personality does 
not count. Whether at certain times I have been in the wrong 
or in the right, no longer even interests me, since it belongs to 
the past. I have kept no record of what I may have said or writ- 
ten. It would be impossible for me to give you further informa- 
tion or to refer you to any one else in a position to do so. I must 
therefore content myself with expressing my appreciation of your 
kindly purpose. I ask only to see the day of the great victory. 
After that, I shall feel repaid, quite beyond my deserts, especially 
when you add the expression of your own fraternal regard. 

Affectionately yours, 

G. Clemenceau. 



vil 



INTRODUCTION 

I BEGAN to write this book in June. We were then 
holding our breath as we looked on, after the dis- 
asters of Cambrai and St. Quentin, upon the British 
troops still fighting desperately against superior num- 
bers and defending the Channel Ports *'with their backs 
to the wall" and barely left with room to maneuver. 
The enemy was at the same time seriously threatening 
Amiens and Epernay and the possible withdrawal of 
the French Government from Paris was being again dis- 
cussed. It was a trying four months on both sides of 
the Channel. But England and France never despaired 
of the future. Both nations were determined to fight on 
to the last. , 

In July came the second great victory of the Marne, 
followed by the wonderful triumphant advance of the 
Allied Armies all along the line, side by side with our 
brethren of the United States, who were pouring into 
France at the rate of 300,000 men a month. And now I 
finish when the all-Important matter of discussion Is 
what shall be the terms of permanent peace Imposed 
upon Germany, what shall be the punishment inflicted 
upon her and so far as is possible the compensation 
exacted from her for her unforgivable crimes against 
our common humanity. The transformation scene of 
the huge world war within four months has been one 
of the most astounding episodes in the history of man- 
kind and the tremendous struggle on the West Front 

ix 



X INTRODUCTION 

has proved, as it was bound to prove from the first, 
the crisis of the whole conflict. 

Throughout the terrible period from November, 19 17, 
when for the second time in his long political career 
he took office as Premier of the French Republic, 
Georges Clemenceau has borne the full burden of politi- 
cal responsibility in his war-worn and devastated coun- 
try. It has been no light task for any man, especially 
for one within easy hail of eighty years of age. When 
he became President of Council and Minister of War the 
prospect of anything approaching to complete success 
seemed remote indeed. It was a thankless post he as- 
sumed and neither friends nor enemies believed at first 
that physically, mentally or politically could he bear 
the strain, and overcome the intrigues which were at 
once set on foot against him. But those who had the 
advantage of knowing Clemenceau well took a much 
more hopeful view of his chances of remaining Prime 
Minister until the close of the war. His mind as well 
as his body has been in strict training all his life. The 
one is as alert and as vigorous as the other. In the course 
of his stirring career his lightness of heart and gayety of 
spirit, his power of taking the most discouraging events 
as part of the day's work have carried him triumphantly 
through many a difficulty. Personally, I felt confident 
that nothing short of unforeseen disease, or a bomb from 
the foreign or domestic enemy, would bring him down 
before he had done his work. For below his exterior 
vigor and his brilliancy of conversation he possesses the 
most relentless determination that ever inspired a hu- 
man being. Moreover a Frenchman may be witty and 
light-hearted and very wise at the same time. The world 
of the Middle Ages found that out. 



INTRODUCTION xi 

I read therefore with some amusement in Mrs. 
Humphry Ward's recent book of Victorian Recol- 
lections that, having met Clemenceau at dinner, In the 
eighties, she came to the conclusion that he was **too 
light a weight to ride such a horse as the French democ- 
racy.'* A very natural mistake, no doubt, for one of us 
staid and solemn Victorians to make, according to the 
young cynics and jesters of to-day who gird at us! It 
is precisely this Inexhaustible fund of animal spirits and 
his never-failing cheerfulness and brilliancy which have 
given Clemenceau the power over France which he pos- 
sesses to-day. Frenchmen have felt the more assured 
confidence in themselves and their future when they saw, 
day after day, their own representative and ruler full 
of go and of belief in himself at the time when the 
Issue for them all was hanging In the balance. No real 
leader of men can ever afford to be a pessimist. He 
must assume a certitude if he have it not. There was 
no need for Clemenceau to assume anything. It was all 
there. 

I have known this great Frenchman at many critical 
stages in his exciting life. What I most admire about 
him is that he is always the same man, no matter what 
his personal position at the moment may be. Never 
excessively elated : never by any chance cast down. Good 
or bad fortune, success or failure make no difference to 
him. The motto of the Tenth Legion might well be 
taken as his own. *^Utrinque paratus'* has been the 
watchword of this indefatigable and undaunted political 
warrior throughout. It Is well to recall also that he has 
Invariably told his country the full truth about the situa- 
tion as It appeared to him at the time, alike in opposition 



xii INTRODUCTION 

and In office, as a deputy, as a Senator and as a journal- 
ist at large. 

Beginning his political career as the intimate friend and 
almost pupil of the out-and-out Radical Republican, 
Etienne Arago, a sympathizer with the nobler men of 
the Commune, whom he endeavored to save from the 
ruthless vengeance of the reactionaries headed by Thiers, 
he had previously voted at Bordeaux in the minority of 
genuine Republicans who were in favor of continuing 
the war against Germany when all but enthusiastic pa- 
triots held that further resistance was hopeless. Many 
a time of late those events of V Annee Terrible must have 
come back to his mind during these still more terrible 
four years. His attitude now is but the continuation and 
fulfillment of the policy he advocated then. Thereupon, 
five years devoted to service on the Municipal Council 
of Paris and to gratuitous ministrations as a doctor to 
the poor of one of the poorest districts of the French 
metropolis: a continuous endeavor to realize in some 
degree, by political action, the practical ends for which 
the Communards had so unfortunately and Injudiciously* 
striven. Then political work again on the floor of the 
Assembly at one of the most stirring periods of French 
history: supporting Gambetta vigorously In his fight as 
the head of the Republican Party against the dangerous 
reactlonism of the Due de Broglie and Marshal Mac- 
Mahon, and opposing and denouncing the fiery orator 
whom he succeeded as the leader of the Left, when that 
statesman adopted trimming and opportunism as his 
political creed. 

The long fight against Colonization by Conquest, the 
exposure of shameless traffic in decorations, the support 
and overthrow of Boulanger, the Panama Scandal, the 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

denunciation of the Alliance with despotic Russia, the 
advocacy of a close understanding with England: in 
each and all of these matters Clemenceau was well to 
the front. Then came the crash of exclusion from politi- 
cal life, due to the many enemies he had made by his 
inconvenient honesty and bitter tongue and pen. Once 
more, after the display of almost unequaled skill and 
courage as a journalist, exceptionally manifested in the 
championship of Dreyfus, a return to political life and 
unexpected acceptance of office. 

From first to last Clemenceau has been a stalwart 
Republican and a thoroughgoing democratic politician 
of the advanced Left, with strong tendencies to Socialism. 
These tendencies I begged him more than once to turn 
into actual realities and to join, or at least to act in 
complete harmony with, the Socialists. This seemed pos- 
sible towards the close of the Dreyfus affair. But I must 
admit here that, much as I regret that Socialism has never 
enjoyed the full advantage of his services, Clemenceau, as 
an avowed member of the Socialist Party, could not have 
played the glorious part for France as a whole which he 
has played since the beginning of the war. It was far more 
important, at such a desperate crisis, to carry with him the 
overwhelming majority of his countrymen, including even 
the reactionaries, than to act with a minority that has 
shown itself at variance with the real sentiments of the 
Republic, when France was fighting for her existence. 

That Clemenceau has, at one time or another, made 
great mistakes is beyond dispute. It could not be other- 
wise with a man of his character and temperament. But 
this, as he himself truly writes me, is all of the past. At 
no moment, in any case, has he ever failed to do his 
best for the greatness, the glory, the dignity of France as 



xiv INTRODUCTION 

they presented themselves to his mind. This is Incon- 
testable. In the following pages I have endeavored not 
to write a biography of the statesman who has been con- 
stantly in public life for more than fifty years, but to 
give a study of the growth of a commanding personality, 
who is an honor to his country, and of the surroundings 
in which his faculties were developed. 



GLEMENCEAU 

CHAPTER I 

EARLY LIFE 

WE are all accustomed to think of La Vendee as 
that Province of France which is most deeply im- 
bued with tradition, legend and religion. Even in this 
period of almost universal skepticism and free thought, 
the peasants of La Vendee keep tight hold of their ancient 
ideas, in which the pagan superstitions of long ago are 
curiously interwoven with the fading Catholicism of to- 
day. Nowhere in France are the ceremonies of the 
Church more devoutly observed; nowhere, in spite of 
the spread of modern education, are the people as a whole 
more attached to the creed of their forefathers. Here 
whole crowds of genuine believers can still display that 
fervor of religious enthusiasm which moved masses of 
their countrymen to such heroic self-sacrifice for a losing 
and hopeless cause more than four generations since. 
Even men who have little sympathy with either theological 
or social conventions of the past are stirred by the simple 
piety of these people, uplifted for the moment out of the 
sordid and monotonous surroundings of their daily toil 
by the collective inspiration of a common faith. 

Here, too, in the Bocage of La Vendee, amid the 
heather and the forest, interspersed with acres of care- 



2 CLEMENCEAU 

fully tilled soil, the fays and talismans and spirits of 
days gone by delightedly do dwell. But below all this 
vesture of fancy and fable we find the least pleasing 
features of the life of the small proprietors and laborers 
on the land and fishermen by the sea. Their feelings of 
human sympathy are stunted, and even their family rela- 
tions are, in too many instances, rendered brutal by their 
ever-present greed for gain. The land is a harsh task- 
master when its cultivation is carried on under such con- 
ditions as prevail in that portion of France which abuts 
on the Bay of Biscay. The result is a harsh people, whose 
narrow individualism and whole-hearted worship of prop- 
erty in its least attractive guise seem quite at variance 
with any form of sentiment, and still more remote from 
the ideals of poesy or the dreams of supernatural agen- 
cies which affect the imagination. But there is the con- 
trast and such are the people of the Bocage of La Vendee. 

Here, on September 28th, 1841, at the village of 
MouIUeron-en-Pareds, near Fontenay le Comte, on the 
Bay of Biscay, Georges Benjamin Clemenceau was born. 
His family came of an old stock of La Vendee who had 
owned land in the province for generations. His father 
was a doctor as well as a landowner; but his practice, I 
judge, from what his son told me, was confined to gra- 
tuitous services rendered to the peasants of the neighbor- 
hood. M. le Dr. Clemenceau, however, was scarcely the 
sort of man whom one would expect to find in a remote 
village of such a conservative, not to say reactionary, dis- 
trict as La Vendee. A thorough-going materialist and 
convinced Republican, he was the leader of the local 
party of extreme Radicals. 

But he seems to have been a great deal more than that. 
Science, which took with him the place of supernatural 



EARLY LIFE 3 

religion, neither hardened his heart nor cramped his ap- 
preciation of art and poetry. Philosopher and philan- 
thropist, an amateur of painting and sculpture, inflexibly- 
devoted to his political principles, yet ever ready to rec- 
ognize ability and originality wherever they appeared, 
this very exceptional medical man and country squire had 
necessarily a great influence upon his eldest son, who in- 
herited from his father many of the qualities and opin- 
ions which led him to high distinction throughout his 
career. Hatred of injustice, love of freedom and inde- 
pendence of every kind, brought the elder Clemenceau 
into conflict with the men of the Second Empire, who 
clapped him in prison after the coup d'etat of December, 
1 85 1. Liberty in every shape was, in fact, an essential 
part of this stalwart old Jacobin's political creed, while 
in the domain of physiology and general science he was 
a convinced evolutionist long before that conception of 
the Inevitable development of the universe became part 
of the common thought of the time. 

With all this the young Clemenceau was brought Into 
close contact from his earliest years. A thoroughly sound 
physique, strengthened by the Invigorating air of the Bis- 
cayan coast, laid the foundations of that Indefatigable 
energy and alertness of disposition which have enabled 
him to pass triumphantly through periods of overwork 
and disappointment which would have broken down the 
health of any man with a less sound constitution. Georges 
Clemenceau owed much to the begettings and surround- 
ings, to the vigorous country life and the rarefied mental 
atmosphere in which his earlier years were passed. Sel- 
dom is it possible to trace the natural process of cause 
and effect from father to son as it is in this case. From 
the wilds of La Vendee and the rough sea-coast of Brit- 



4 CLEMENCEAU 

tany circumstances of the home and of the family life 
provided France with the ablest Radical leader she has 
ever possessed. 

At first, it appeared little likely that this would be so. 
Clemenceau, entering upon his father's profession, with 
the benefit of the paternal knowledge and full of the in- 
culcated readiness to probe all the facts of life to the 
bottom, took up his medical studies as a serious business, 
after having gone through the ordinary curriculum of a 
school at Nantes. It was in the hospital of that city that 
he first entered as a qualified student. After a short stay 
there he went off to Paris, in i860, at the age of nineteen, 
to "walk the hospitals," as we phrase it, in the same 
capacity. It was a plunge into active life taken at a 
period in the history of France which was much more 
critical than it seemed. 

The year which saw Clemenceau's arrival in Paris saw 
also the Second Empire at the height of its fame and in- 
fluence. As we look back to the great stir of 1 848, which, 
so far as Paris and France were concerned, was brought 
about by the almost inconceivable fatuity of Louis Phi- 
lippe, we marvel at the strange turn of events which got 
rid of Orleanist King Log in order to replace him by a 
Napoleonist King Stork. But we may wonder still more 
at the lack of foresight, capacity and tact of Louis Phi- 
lippe himself, who had been in his youth the democrat 
Citoyen Egalite, and an excellent general, with all the 
hard experience of his family misfortune and personal 
sufferings in exile as a full-grown man, possessed, too, of 
a thorough knowledge of the world and an adequate ac- 
quaintance with modern thought in several departments 
of science and literature. Yet, enjoying all these qualifi- 
cations for a successful ruler, Louis Philippe failed to 



EARLY LIFE 5 

understand that a democratic monarchy, and a demo- 
cratic monarchy alone, could preserve France from a re- 
public or a military dictatorship. This was astounding. 
He refused to agree to the democratic vote claimed by 
the people, and then ran away. So the House of Orleans 
joined the House of Bourbon in the array of discrowned 
Heads of the Blood Royal. The short-lived Republic of 
1848 existed just long enough to scare the bourgeoisie by 
the installation of the National Workshops, which might 
well have succeeded but for their unintelligent opposition, 
and the peasantry by the fear of general Communism, 
Into a demand for a ruler who would preserve them from 
those whom they considered the maniacs or plunderers 
of Paris. 

It Is one of the ironies of history that the French Revo- 
lution which promulgated Ideas of Liberty, Equality and 
Fraternity that shook the whole civilized world should 
have been unable to furnish France herself with a demo- 
cratic republic for well-nigh a hundred years after the 
overthrow of Louis XVI. For scarcely had the Republic 
of 1848, with Louis Blanc, Ledru RoUin, Albert, and 
others as its leaders, been founded than the Buonapartist 
intrigues were successful. Louis Napoleon, who just 
before had been the laughing-stock of Europe, with his 
tame eagle at Boulogne that would persist In perching on 
a post Instead of on his head, with his queer theories of 
Imperialist democracy and his close association with the 
Italian Carbonari, was elected President of the French 
Republic. 

This was the outcome of an overwhelming plebiscite In 
his favor. There could be no doubt about the voice of 
France on this occasion. Paris may possibly have been 
genuinely Republican at that time. The Provinces, whose 



6 CLEMENCEAU 

antagonism to Paris and the Parisians was very marked, 
then and later, were undoubtedly Buonapartist From 
President to Emperor was no long step. Louis Napoleon, 
though a man of no great capacity, did at any rate believe 
in himself, in his democratic Imperialism and his destiny. 
The set of adventurers and swindlers around him be- 
lieved only in full purses and ample opportunities for 
gratifying their taste for luxury and debauchery. Hav- 
ing obtained control of the army by the bribery of some 
and the imprisonment of others of the Republican gen- 
erals, all was ready for the infamous butchery of peace- 
ful citizens which cowed Paris and established the Empire 
at the same time. Once more the plebiscite was resorted 
to with equal success on the part of the conspirators. The 
hero of the coup d^etat, with his familiar coterie of 
Morny, Flahault, Persigny, Canrobert and other rogues 
and murderers of less degree, became Napoleon III and 
master of Paris and of France in December, 1852. 

The French threw their votes almost solid in favor of 
the Empire, and thus tacitly condoned the hideous crime 
committed when it was established. Whenever the Em- 
peror's right to his throne was challenged he could point 
triumphantly to that crushing vote of the democracy con- 
stituting him the duly elected Emperor of the French and 
hereditary representative — however doubtful his parent- 
age — of that extraordinary Corsican genius who, when 
Chateaubriand and other detractors sneered at his origin, 
boldly declared, '^Mof je suts ancetreJ* 

From that day to this, democrats and Republicans have 
had a profound distrust of the vote of the mass of the 
people as recorded under a plebiscite, or a referendum, 
of the entire male population. This lack of confidence 
in the judgment of the majority, when appealed to on 



EARLY LIFE 7 

political issues, though natural under the circumstances, 
is obviously quite illogical on the part of men who declare 
their belief in popular government. It amounts to a per- 
manent claim for the highly educated and well-to-do sec- 
tions of an intellectual oligarchy, on the ground that they 
must know better what is good for the people than the 
people know for themselves. This might conceivably be 
true, if no pecuniary interests or arrogance of social su- 
periority were involved. But as this state of things can- 
not be attained until production for profit, payment of 
wages and private property cease to exist, democrats and 
Republicans place themselves in a doubtful position when 
they denounce a reference to the entire population as 
necessarily harmful. AH that can be safely admitted is 
that so long as the mass of men and women are econom- 
ically dependent, socially unfree and very Imperfectly 
educated, the possibility of their being able to secure good 
government by a plebiscite Is very remote. But this ap- 
plies as well to universal suffrage used to obtain parlia- 
mentary elections, and the argument against reposing 
any trust In the mass of the people may thus be pushed 
to the point of abrogating the vote altogether save for a 
small minority. And this would land us in the position 
of beginning with an autocracy or aristocracy and ending 
there. 

At the time I am speaking of it is indisputable that the 
overwhelming majority of Intelligent and educated 
Frenchmen were Republicans. What they meant by a 
Republic comprised many different shades of organized 
democracy. But Republic, as Republic, In opposition and 
contradistinction to Monarchy or Empire, was a name to 
conjure with among all the most distinguished Frenchmen 
of the time. How did It come about, then, that this mi- 



8 CLEMENCEAU 

norlty, which should have been able to lead the people, 
was distrusted and voted down by the very same popu- 
lace whose rights of self-government they themselves were 
championing on behalf of their countrymen? There was 
nothing in the form of a Republic, as was shown little 
more than twenty years afterwards, which was of neces- 
sity at variance with the interests or the sentiments of 
Frenchmen. Even the antagonisni between Paris and 
the Provinces, already referred to, was not so marked 
as to account for the fact that twice in succession Louis 
Napoleon should have obtained an overwhelming per- 
sonal vote In his favor as the man to be trusted, above 
all other Frenchmen, to control the destinies of France. 
It Is by no means certain that Paris herself was hos- 
tile, before the coup d'etat, to the Napoleonic regime with 
its traditions not only of military glory but of capable 
civic administration. For the double plebiscite was more 
than a vote of acquiescence : it was a vote of enthusiasm : 
first for Louis Napoleon as President, and then for Louis 
Napoleon as Emperor. It is not pleasing to have to ad- 
mit this; but the truth seems to be that, as Aristotle 
pointed out more than two thousand years ago, great 
masses of men are much more easily led by a personality 
than they are roused by a principle. That the plebiscite 
had been carefully worked up by assiduous propaganda; 
that many of the Ignorant peasants believed they were 
voting for the Napoleon of their childhood In spite of 
the impossible; that there was a great deal of bribery and 
not a little stuffing of the ballot boxes by officials with a 
keen sense of favors to come; that the army was imbued 
with Napoleonic sympathies and helped to spread the 
spurious ideals of Imperialism — all this may be perfectly 
true. Yet, when all is said and every allowance is made, 



I 



EARLY LIFE 9 

the fact remains that, even so, the success of the Na- 
poleonic plebiscites Is imperfectly explained. The main 
features of the vote were obvious : The French people ' 
were sick of hereditary monarchy: the Republican leaders 
were out of touch with the people: the Ideals of the past 
overshadowed the hopes of the future : Napoleon was a 
name to conjure with : the Republicans had no name on 
their side to put against it: the ^'blessed word" Republic ^ 
had no hold upon the peasantry of rural France. So 
plebiscite meant one-man rule. That is not to say, as so 
many argue nowadays, that the complete vote of the 
democracy on such an Issue must of necessity be wrong: 
but It does affirm that a thoroughly educated, responsible 
democracy, accustomed to be appealed to directly on all 
matters of Importance, Is a necessity before we can have 
any certainty that the people will go right. Even if they 
go wrong, as In this case of Napoleon III, it Is better In 
the long run that they should learn by their own errors 
than that the blunders of the dominant classes should be 
forced upon them. Great social and political problems 
can rarely be solved even by the greatest genius. And 
the genius himself, supposing him to exist, cannot rely 
upon providing his country with a successor. On the 
whole, consequently, it Is less dangerous to human prog- 
ress that we should risk such a reactionary vote as that 
which seated Napoleon III at the Tullerles than give no 
peaceful outlet whatever to popular opinion. 

But the democrats and republicans, radicals and social- 
ists of Paris, who saw all their most cherished ideals 
crushed by the voice of the people whom they were 
anxious to lead to higher things, and beheld a travesty 
of Napoleonic Imperialism suppressing all freedom of 
political thought and writing, were not disposed to 



lo CLEMENCEAU 

philosophize about the excuses for a popular decision 
which led to such unpleasant results for them. They 
had welcomed the abdication of Louis Philippe and the 
installation of the Republic as the beginning of a new era 
not only for Paris but for all France, after the reac- 
tionary clericalism of Louis XVIII and Charles X fol- 
lowed by the chilly middle-class rule of the Orleanist mon- 
arch. But now a pinchbeck Napoleonism, with much 
sterner repression, weighed upon all that was most pro- 
gressive and brilliant in the capital city. It was a bitter 
disappointment, not to be softened by the reflection that 
France herself was still far from the economic and social 
stage where their aspirations could be realized. 

Thus Napoleon III was master of France and, feeling 
that war was advisable In order to strengthen his posi- 
tion at home, gladly joined with Great Britain In a joint 
campaign against Russia. This was wholly unnecessary, 
as has since been clearly shown. But, by promoting a 
better feeling between France and England than had 
previously existed, some good came out of the evil brought 
about by the treacherous suppression of the Emperor 
Nicholas's agreement with the English Cabinet. The 
foolish bolstering up of Ottoman Incapacity and corrup- 
tion at Constantinople when the Western Powers could 
easily have enforced a more reasonable rule was a mis- 
erable result of the whole war. But that the Crimean 
adventure helped to consolidate the position of the Em- 
peror there Is no doubt. 

When also the affair of the OrsinI bomb, thrown by one 
of his old Carbonari fellow-conspirators. Impelled Louis 
Napoleon Into the Italian campaign which won for Italy 
Lombardy and for France Savoy and Nice, the French 
people felt that their gain In glory and In territory had 



EARLY LIFE ii 

made them once more the first nation in Europe. Ma- 
genta and Solferino were names to conjure with. The 
Army had confidence in the Emperor and his generals. 
So the prospect for republicans and the Republic eight 
years after the coup d'etat was less promising than it had 
been since the great revolution. Napoleon III was gen- 
erally regarded as the principal figure In Europe. He 
was delivering those New Year proclamations which 
men awaited with bated breath as deciding the question 
of peace or war for the ensuing twelvemonth. His Em- 
press dominated the world of fashion as her consort did 
the world of politics. Every effort was made to render 
the Court as brilliant as possible, and to attract to It some 
of the old nobility, who were, as a whole, little inclined 
to recognize by their presence the power of the man whom 
they both despised and hated. But the Second Empire 
was for a time a success in spite of the reactionists and 
the republicans alike. 



CHAPTER II 

PARIS UNDER THE EMPIRE 

PARIS of the early sixties was a very different city from 
the Paris of to-day. It was still in great part the 
Paris of the old time, on both banks of the Seine. Its 
Haussmannization had barely begun. The Palais Royal 
retained much of its ancient celebrity for the cuisine of its 
restaurants and the brilliancy of its shops. But to get 
to it direct from what is now the Place de I'Opera was a 
voyage of discovery. You went upstairs and downstairs, 
through narrow, dirty streets, until, after missing your 
way several times, you at last found yourself in the gar- 
den dear to the orators of the French Revolution, and 
since devoted to nursemaids and their babes. Much of 
Central Paris was in the same unregenerate state. Even 
portions of famous streets not far from the Grands Boule- 
vards, which were then still French, could scarcely be de- 
scribed as models of cleanliness. The smells that arose 
from below and the water of doubtful origin that might 
descend upon the unwary passer-by from above suggested 
a general lack of sanitary control which was fully con- 
firmed in more remote districts. 

Napoleon III was a man of mediocre ability. His 
entourage was extravagantly disreputable. But he and 
his did clear out and clean up Paris. The new quarters 
since built up owe their existence in the first instance to 
the initiative of the Emperor's chief edile, Baron Hauss- 

12 



PARIS UNDER THE EMPIRE 13 

mann, and his compeers. The great broad streets which 
now traverse the slums of old time were due to the same 
energetic impulse. Whether such spacious avenues and 
boulevards were constructed in order to facilitate the op- 
erations of artillery and enable the new mitrailleurs more 
conveniently to massacre the "mob," whether the archi- 
tecture is artistic or monotonous, Clemenceau the doctor 
must for once be at variance with Clemenceau the man of 
politics, and admit that the monarch who, as will be seen, 
imprisoned him in 1862, did some good work for Paris 
during his reign of repression. At any rate, Napoleonic 
rule at this period represented general prosperity. Busi- 
ness was good and the profiteers were doing well. The 
bourgeoisie felt secure and international financiers en- 
joyed a good time. Nearly all the great banking and 
financial institutions of Paris had their origin in the decade 
1 860-1 870. Law and order, in short, was based upon 
comfort and accumulation for the well-to-do. 

But the peasantry and the workers of the cities were 
also considered in some degree, and the reconstruction of 
the capital provided, directly and indirectly, both then and 
later, for what were looked upon as "the dangerous 
classes" — men and women, that is to say, who thought 
that the wage-slave epoch meant little better for them and 
their children than penal servitude for life. Constant 
work and decent pay softened the class antagonism, con- 
ciliating the proletariat without upsetting the middle class 
or bourgeoisie. Such a policy, following upon two fairly 
successful wars, was not devoid of dexterity. A curbed 
or satisfied Paris meant internal peace for all France. 
Neither the miserable fiasco in Mexico nor the Idiotic 
abandonment of Austria to Prussia had yet shaken the 
external stability of the Empire. Napoleon III and his 



14 CLEMENCEAU 

Vice-Emperor Rouher were still great statesmen. There 
was little or nothing to show on the surface that the whole 
edifice was even then tottering to Its fall. The keen satire 
of Rochefort, the Due d'Aumale, and the full-blooded de- 
nunciations of Victor Hugo failed to produce much effect. 
Some genuine and capable opponents were beguiled into 
serving the Government under the impression that the 
Empire might be permanent, and in this way alone could 
they also serve their country. Nor can we wonder at such 
backsliding. 

Such was the Paris, such the France that saw the young 
medical student, Georges Clemenceau, enter upon his 
preparation for active life as doctor and physiologist. 
He devoted himself earnestly to his studies in the libra- 
ries, to his work in the hospitals, and to careful observa- 
tion of the social maladies he saw around him, which made 
a deep and permanent impression on his mind. But, de- 
termined as he was to master the principles and practice 
of his profession, the bright, active and vivacious repub- 
lican from La Vendee brought with him to Paris too clear 
a conception of his rights and duties as a democrat to be 
able to avoid the coteries of revolt who maintained the 
traditions of radicalism in spite of systematic espionage 
and police persecution. Clemenceau shared his father's 
opinions in favor of free speech and a free press. 

That was dangerous In those days. La Ville Lumiere 
was obliged to hide its light under a bushel. Friends of 
democracy and anti-imperialistic speakers and writers 
were compelled, in order to reach their public, to adopt 
a style of suppressed irony not at all to the taste of the 
vivacious republican recruit from MouIlleron-en-Pareds. 
Then, as ever thereafter, he spoke the truth that was in 
him, regardless of consequences. In this course he had 



PARIS UNDER THE EMPIRE 15 

the approbation and support of his father's friend, Etlenne 
Arago, brother of the famous astronomer. Arago the* 
politician was also a playwright, an ardent republican who 
had taken his full share in all the agitations of the previ- 
ous period, an active and useful member of the Repub- 
lican Government of 1848 as Postmaster-General, and a 
vigorous opponent of the policy of Louis Napoleon. He 
was sent into exile prior to the coup d'etat. Both then and 
nearly a generation later this stalwart anti-Imperialist was 
exceedingly popular with the Parisians, and having re- 
turned to Paris was able to aid Clemenceau in forming a 
correct judgment of the situation at a time when a less 
clear-sighted observer might have striven to cool his 
young friend's enthusiasm. 

As it was, Clemenceau contributed to some of the Rad- 
ical fly-sheets and then feted the 24|:h of February. No 
date dear to the memory of Republicans could be pub- 
licly toasted without conveying a reflection upon the Em- 
pire, and as all important events in French history, from 
July 14th onwards, are duly calendared according to the 
month and day of the month, Clemenceau's crime in cele- 
brating February 24th by speech and writing was obvi- 
ous. He therefore fell foul of the Imperial police. The 
magistrate could admit no point In his favor, and there 
was In fact no defense. Consequently George Clemen- 
ceau, interne de I'hopital, had the opportunity given him 
of reflecting for two months upon the advantages and 
drawbacks of his political creed, during a period of 
Buonapartist supremacy, in the prison of Mazas. This 
was in 1862. 

Three years later he took his doctor's degree. His 
formal essay on this occasion gained him considerable 
reputation. It was entitled De la Generation des Ele^ 



i6 CLEMENCEAU 

ments Jnatomiques, and proved not only that he had 
worked hard on the lines of his profession but that he 
was capable of taking an original view of the subjects 
he had mastered. This work has been throughout the 
basis of Clemenceau's medical, social, political and lit- 
erary career. I got the book not long ago from the Lon- 
don Library, and on the title-page of this first edition I 
read In the author's own bold handwriting, "y^ Monsieur 
J. Stuart Mill hommage respectueux de Vauteiir G. Clem- 
enceau'^ : a tribute to that eclectic philosopher and thinker 
which he followed up shortly afterwards by translating 
Mill's study of Auguste Comte and Positivism into 
French. Clemenceau was no great admirer of Comte, and 
specially disapproved of the attempt of some of that au- 
thor's pupils and followers to limit Investigation and cul- 
tivate agnosticism on matters which they considered fell 
without the bounds of their master's theories and cate- 
gories. 

"We are not of those," writes Clemenceau, "who admit 
with the positivlst that science can give us no information 
on the enigma of things." This seems scarcely just to 
the modern Posltivists, for although Comte himself 
wished to restrict mankind from the study of astronomy, 
for example, outside of the solar system, they have been 
as ready as the rest of the world to take advantage of 
discoveries beyond that system which throw light upon 
some of the difficult material problems nearer at hand. 
And Clemenceau, too, appears to fall Into the line of rea- 
soning with which he reproaches Comte; for, as will be 
seen later, he views nature as a mass of matter evolving 
and differentiating and organizing and vivifying Itself 
with the Interminable antagonisms and mutual devourings 
of the various forms of existence on this planet, and pos- 



PARIS UNDER THE EMPIRE 17 

sibly on other worlds of the infinitely little, and then, when 
the great suns die out, disappearing and beginning all over 
again as two of these huge extinguished luminaries collide 
in space. This material philosophy when carried to its 
ultimate issue still answers no question and furnishes no 
clew to the strange inexplicable movement of the universe 
in which man is but a sentient and partially intelligent au- 
tomaton. What explanation does this give of any of the 
problems of social or individual ethic, or of the impulse 
which led Clemenceau the doctor to treat his patients in 
Montmartre gratuitously, instead of building up a valu- 
able practice in a rich quarter? and urged Clemenceau 
the poHtician to pass the greater part of his life in an 
uphill fight against the domination of the sordid mi- 
nority and the timid acquiescence of the apathetic masses 
rather than accept the high positions which were pressed 
upon him time after time? 

Such reflections would be out of place at this point 
but for the fact that Clemenceau has invariably contended 
that his career has been all of a piece, maintaining that 
the vigorous young physiologist and doctor of twenty- 
four and twenty-five held the same opinions and was 
moved by the same aspirations that have guided the ma- 
ture man throughout. Whether heredity and surround- 
ings fully account in every particular for all that he has 
said, done and achieved is a question which Clemenceau 
also might decline to answer with the definiteness he con- 
siders desirable in general philosophy. But that his doc- 
tor's thesis of 1865 did in the main give the scientific 
basis of his material creed can scarcely be disputed. 

The following year, 1866, was the year of the Prusso- 
Italian war against Austria. The success of Prussia, 
which would quite probably have been a failure but for 



i8 CLEMENCEAU 

the incredible fatuity of the Imperial clique at Vienna, 
was one of the chief causes, unnoted at the time, of the 
downfall of Napoleon III. Few now care to recall the 
manner in which the Austrian Commander-in-Chief, Mar- 
shal Benedek, was compelled to abandon his entire strat- 
egy in deference to the pusillanimous orders of the Em- 
peror, or how Benedek, with a loyalty to the House of 
Hapsburg which it has never at any period deserved, 
took upon himself the blame of defeats for which Francis 
Joseph, not himself, was responsible. But Louis Na- 
poleon was equally blind to his own interests and those 
of France when he stood aside and allowed the most am- 
bitious and most unscrupulous power in the world to be- 
come the virtual master of Central Europe. It was a 
strange choice of evils that lay before the Radical and 
Republican parties in all countries during this war. None 
could wish to see upheld, still less strengthened, the 
wretched rule of reactionary, tyrannous and priest-ridden 
Austria ; yet none could look favorably on the growth of 
Prussian power. 

The further conquest by Italy of her own territory and 
the annexation of Venice to the Italian crown were there- 
fore universally acclaimed. But those who knew Prussia 
and its military system, and watched the nefarious policy 
which had crushed Denmark as a stage on the road to 
the crushing of Austria, even thus early began to doubt 
whether the substitution of Prussia for Austria in the 
leadership of the old Germanic Bund might not speedily 
lead to a still more dangerous situation. Either this did 
not suggest itself to Napoleon III and his advisers, or 
they thought that Austria might win, or, at the worst, that 
a bitterly contested campaign would enable France to in- 
terpose at the critical moment as a decisive arbiter in the 



PARIS UNDER THE EMPIRE 19 

struggle. Probably the last was the real calculation. 
It was falsified by the rapid and smashing Prussian vie-' 
tories of Koniggratz and Sadowa, and Napoleon could 
do nothing but accept the decisions of the battlefield. 
But from this moment the Second Empire was in serious 
danger, and any far-seeing statesman would have set to 
work immediately to bring the French army up to the 
highest possible point of efficiency and prepare the way 
for alliances that might help the Empire, should help be 
needed in the near future. Neither Louis Napoleon nor 
his councilors and generals, however, understood what 
the overthrow of Austria meant for France. They turned 
a deaf ear then and afterwards to the warnings of their 
ablest agents abroad, and thus drifted into the crisis which 
four years later found them without an ally and over- 
whelmed them. 



CHAPTER III 

DOWNFALL AND RECONSTRUCTION 

EARLY in 1866, Clemenceau, after a visit to Eng- 
land, crossed the Atlantic for a somewhat pro- 
longed stay in the United States. He could scarcely have 
chosen a better time for making acquaintance with Amer- 
ica and the Americans. The United States had but just 
emerged from the Civil War, which, notwithstanding the 
furious bitterness evoked on both sides during the strug- 
gle, eventually consolidated the Great Republic as noth- 
ing else could; though, owing to the behavior of "so- 
ciety" in England, the tone of our leading statesmen and 
the action of the "Alabama,'' the feeling against Great 
Britain was naturally very strong. This animosity — it 
was no less — of course did not extend to the young French 
physician of republican views who had already suffered 
for his opinions in Paris, and whose sympathies were with 
the North against the South throughout. He was well 
received in the Eastern States, and wrote several letters 
to the Temps on the industrial and social conditions of 
America which were then of value, and still serve to show 
how marked is the contrast between the self-contained na- 
tion of fifty years ago and the Anglo-Saxon world power 
that we see beginning to try her strength in the interna- 
tional struggle against Germanic infamy to-day. What is 
not so easy to comprehend is M. le Dr. Clemenceau, as 
we know him, acting as professor of French in a young 

20 ^ 



DOWNFALL AND RECONSTRUCTION 21 

ladies' college at the village of Stamford, in the neigh- 
borhood of New York. His record in that capacity is 
amusingly described by one of his friends* in a bright 
little sketch of his early experiences. 

*'An admirable horseman, the young Frenchman ac- 
companied the still younger American misses in their rides. 
There were free and delightful little tours on horseback, 
charming excursions along the shady roads which traverse 
the gay landscape of Connecticut. Such years carried with 
them for Clemenceau ineffaceable memories of a period 
during which his temperament accomplished the task of 
gaining strength and acquiring refinement. At the same 
time that he enriched his mind with solid conceptions of 
Anglo-Saxon philosophy, and perfected his general culti- 
vation, he took his first lessons in the delicacies of Amer- 
ican flirtation. It was in the course of these pleasing 
jaunts, where the fresh laughter of these young ladies 
echoed through the bright scenery, that it was his lot to 
become betrothed to one of them. Miss Mary Plummer. 
Henceforth, in consequence of the sound, independent and 
many-sided education which he had, so to say, imposed 
upon himself, Clemenceau had completed the last stage 
of his intellectual development. He was ripe to play 
great parts. For the rest, events were not destined long 
to delay the throwing into full relief his versatile, intrepid 
and powerful characteristics." 

And so Clemenceau, thus prepared to meet what the 
future might have in store for him, returned to Paris. 
There are cities in the history of the human race which 
have taken unto themselves a personality, not only for 
their own inhabitants, but for succeeding ages, and for 
the world at large. Babylon, Athens, Jerusalem, Rome, 

*M. Maurice Le Blond. 



22 CLEMENCEAU 

Bagdad, Florence, each and all convey to the mind a con- 
ception of civic Individuality and collective achievement 
which brings them within the range of our own knowl- 
edge, admiration and respect, which raises them also to 
the level of Ideals of culture for men living In far differ- 
ent civilizations. They are still oases of brightness and 
greenery amid the wilderness of unconscious growth. The 
wars of old time, the cruelty of long-past days, the rec- 
ords of brutality and lust are forgotten : only the mem- 
ory of greatness or beauty remains. 

Terror by night, the flaming battle-call, 

Fire on the roof-tree, dreadful blood and woe I — 
They cease for tears, yet joyful, knowing all 
Is over, long ago. 

Knowing, the melancholy hands of Time 

Weave a slow veil of beauty o'er the place 
Of blood-stained memory and bitter crime 
Till horror fades In grace. 

The mournful grace of long-forgotten woe 

And long-appeased sorrows of the dead. 
The deeper silence of those streams that flow 
Where ancient highways led. 

Among the great cities of the past which Is still the 
present Paris takes her undisputed place. In youth. In 
maturity, in age, the charm of intellectual and artistic 
Paris ever affects not merely her own citizens, but the 
visitors within her gates. And the young Vendeen Clem- 
enceau was from the first a Parisian of Parisians. The 
attraction of Paris for him was permanent. From his ar- 



DOWNFALL AND RECONSTRUCTION 23 

rival In i860 until the present time practically his whole 
life has been spent in the French capital. Many years 
afterwards he gave expression to the influence Paris had 
upon him. Paris for Clemenceau is the sun of the world 
of science and letters, the source of light and heat from 
whose center art and thought radiate through space. "In- 
tuition and suggestion spreading out in all directions 
awake dormant energy, sweep on from contact to contact, 
are passed on, dispersed, and finally exhausted in the in- 
ertia of material objects. Here is the radiance of human- 
ity, more or less powerful, more or less durable as time 
and place may decree." 

It Is this Impatience of Paris with results already 
achieved, this desire to reach out and to embrace new 
forms In all departments of human achievement, which 
gives the French city her position as an Indispensable 
entity in the cosmos of modern life. "Boldness and bold- 
ness and boldness again" was Danton's prescription for 
the orator, and It might be taken as the motto of intel- 
lectual and artistic Paris. There is no hesitation, no 
contentment, no waiting by the wayside. New Ideas and 
new conceptions must ever be replacing the old. Experi- 
ence may teach what to avoid: experiment alone can teach 
what to attempt. And this not incidentally or as a pass- 
ing phase of endeavor, but as a principle to be applied 
In every region of human effort. "The Rights of Man," 
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," "Property is robbery" 
are as thought-provoking (though they solve no prob- 
lem) In the domain of sociology as Pasteur^s achieve- 
ments In physiology and medicine. Whatever changes 
the future may have in store for us, we who are not 
Frenchmen cannot dispense with the leadership and in- 
spiration that come to us from Paris. 



24 CLEMENCEAU 

On his return to France from America Clemenceau re- 
newed his acquaintance and friendship with those who 
shared his political and social opinions, especially Etienne 
Arago, now an old man, and practiced as a doctor in the 
working-class district of Montmartre. Here, by his gra- 
tuitous medical advice to the people and his steady ad- 
herence to his democratic principles, he gained an amount 
of popularity and personal devotion from the men and 
women of Montmartre which, in conjunction with Ara- 
go's advice and support, prepared the way for the posi- 
tions which he afterwards attained. Meanwhile the 
Second Empire was going slowly downhill. The change 
which had already taken place was not generally recog- 
nized. Nevertheless, the failure of the ill-fated Mexican 
Expedition with Its Catholic support. Its sordid financial 
muddling and the degrading system of plunder carried on 
In Mexico Itself by Marshal Bazaine, the effect on Paris 
of the murder of Victor Noir by a member of the Buona- 
parte family, and the Government's growing incapacity to 
handle domestic and foreign affairs all told against the 
prestige of Napoleon. Only a successful diplomatic 
stroke or a victorious war could rehabilitate the credit of 
the Empire. The time had gone by for either. Bis- 
marck's disgraceful forgery at Ems was as unnecessary 
as It was flagitious. Sooner or later the Second Empire 
would have collapsed from its own Incompetence. But 
that waiting game did not suit the grim statesman of Ber- 
lin. He knew that the French army by Itself could not 
hold its own against the Prussian and other German 
forces; he felt convinced also that Austria would not 
move without much clearer assurances of success than 
Napoleon could supply; while Italy was still tied to her 
Ally of 1866, and England was devoted to a policy of 



DOWNFALL AND RECONSTRUCTION 25 

profitable non-intervention. So Napoleon was half 
driven, half tricked into a hopeless campaign, and every 
calculation on which Bismarck relied was verified by the 
results. Nay, the plebiscite which Louis Napoleon risked 
eighteen years after the coup d! etat went entirely in his 
favor, and it was in reality quite unnecessary, from the 
point of view of internal politics, that any risk of war 
should be run. The Empress, however, has always had 
the discredit of not having been of that opinion. Hence 
steps were taken which played into Bismarck's hands. 

At first, as I have heard Clemenceau say himself, it 
was almost impossible for a patriotic Republican to de- 
sire victory for the French armies. That would only have 
meant a new life for the decadent Empire. Sad, there- 
fore, as was the long succession of disasters, and terrible 
the devastation wrought by German ruthlessness, not until 
the culminating defeat of Sedan, the surrender of Na- 
poleon and the decree of Imperial overthrow pronounced 
by the people of Paris, could men feel that French sol- 
diers were really fighting for their country. Thencefor- 
ward the struggle was between democratic and progressive 
France and autocratic and reactionary Prussia. The Em- 
pire for whose humiliation the King of Prussia had gone 
to war existed no longer. A Republic was at once de- 
clared in its place. Any fair-minded enemy would di- 
rectly have offered the easiest possible terms for peace to 
the new France. But that was not the view of Prussia. 
France, not merely the Second Empire, was to be de- 
feated and crushed down, because she stood in the way 
of that permanent policy of aggression and aggrandize- 
ment to which the House of Hohenzollern, with its 
Junker supporters, has always been devoted. This was 
the moment when England should have interfered de- 



26 CLEMENCEAU 

cisivcly on the side of her old rival. It was not only our 
interest but our duty to do so, and the whole nation would 
have enthusiastically supported the statesmen who had 
given it a vigorous lead in the right direction. Unfor- 
tunately Queen Victoria, then as ever bitterly pro-Ger- 
man, was utterly unscrupulous in enforcing her views 
upon her Government: the men then in office were essen- 
tially courtiers, who combined servility at home with pusil- 
lanimity abroad: the laissez-faire school of parasitical 
commercialism which regards the accumulation of wealth 
for the few as the highest aspiration of humanity held 
the trading classes in its grip. Consequently the monarch 
and the ruling class of the day thought it was cheaper, 
and therefore better, to leave France to her fate, and 
make a good cash profit out of the business, rather than 
courageously to withstand the beginnings of evil and up- 
hold the French Republic against the brutality and greed 
of Berlin. It is sad, nearly fifty years later, to reflect 
upon the results of this mistaken and cowardly policy. 
The war was continued, owing chiefly to English indif- 
ference, until France lay at the feet of the conquerors. 

No sooner did the news of the defeat and surrender of 
Sedan reach Paris than a general shout for the overthrow 
of the Empire went up from the people throughout the 
French capital. The collapse of the Second Empire was 
in fact even more sudden and dramatic than its rise. The 
whole imperial machinery fell with a crash. There was 
not a man in Paris among the friends of the Emperor in 
good fortune who had the courage and capacity to come 
to the front in the time of his distress. The bigoted 
Catholic Empress, against whom Parisians cherished an 
animosity scarcely less bitter than that which their for- 
bears felt for Marie Antoinette, was with difficulty got 



DOWNFALL AND RECONSTRUCTION 27 

safely out of the city, and Paris at once took control of 
her own destinies. A Republic having been proclaimed, 
Republicans, Radicals and Socialists, harried and pro- 
scribed the day before, rushed to the front the day after, 
and forthwith became masters of the city. Clemenceau 
as one of them was immediately chosen Mayor of Mont- 
martre, at the Instance of his old friend Etienne Arago. 
It was a period for action, not for argument, or reflec- 
tion, or propaganda. Clemenceau understood that. In 
his capacity as Mayor of Montmartre, by no means an 
easy district to manage, he exhibited marvelous energy, 
as well as sound judgment, in every department of public 
affairs. Everything had to be reorganized at once. There 
was no time to respect the inevitable details of democratic 
authorization and delay. Clemenceau with his natural 
rapidity of decision was the very man for the post. Pa- 
triotic and revolutionary excitement seethed all round 
him. Society seemed already to be in the melting-pot. 
The enthusiasm evoked by eloquent orations in favor 
of Socialism was accompanied by the discharges of cannon 
and the rumbling of ammunition-wagons. But public busi- 
ness had to be carried on all the same. Clemenceau was 
Indefatigable and ubiquitous. He prevented the priests ) 
from intriguing in the municipal schools, he established 
purely secular education, hurried on the arming of the! 
battalions and kept a sharp eye on the defenses of the 
city. Simultaneously he set on foot a series of establish- 
ments for giving warmth, food and general help to the 
number of people who had sought refuge on the nelghts. 
He acted throughout practically as municipal dictator, 
raising, arming and drilling recruits for the new repub- 
lican army, as well as organizing and administering all 
the local services. 



28 CLEMENCEAU 

It was a fine piece of work. Having oeen so closely in 
touch with the bulk of the population of Montmartre, he 
was able to act entirely in their interests and with their 
concurrence throughout. They therefore warmly sup- 
ported him against the reactionists and religionists who, 
then as always, were his most virulent enemies. It was 
no easy task to maintain order and carry out systematic 
organization at this juncture. The downfall of the Em- 
pire occurred on September 4th, the Republic, with Gen- 
eral Trochu — the man of the undisclosed strategical 
*'plan" — as President and Jules Favre as Vice-President, 
being declared the same day. On September 19th Paris 
was invested by the Germans. Seeing that there were then 
no fewer than 400,000 armed men at various stages of 
training in the capital, with many powerful forts at their 
disposal, while the Germans could spare at the beginning 
of the siege no more than 120,000 men for the attack, 
the French having still several armies in the field, suc- 
cessful resistance by the Republic seemed by no means 
hopeless. Paris might even havie had her share in turn- 
ing the tide of victory. Clemenceau was of that opinion. 

But it was not to be. France failed to produce a great 
general, and the "bagman Marshal," as Bazaine was 
called in Mexico, by shutting himself up with 175,000 
men in Metz, rendered final defeat certain; though if 
Marshal MacMahon's advice had been followed, and if 
General Trochu had later sufficiently organized the forces 
at his disposal in Paris to break through the German 
lines, a stouter fight might have been fought. As it was, 
one French army after another was defeated in the field, 
and Paris and Metz were forced to surrender by literal 
starvation. On January 28th, 1871, an armistice was 
signed between Bismarck and Jules Favre and the revict- 



DOWNFALL AND RECONSTRUCTION 29 

ualing of the famine-stricken Parisians began, the siege 
having lasted a little over four months. A National 
Assembly was summoned to decide the terms of a definite 
peace or in what manner it might be possible to continue 
the war. 

So well satisfied were the voters of Montmartre with 
the conduct of their Mayor during all this trying time that 
they decided to send him as their representative to Bor- 
deaux and polled just upon 100,000 votes in his favor. 
To Bordeaux, therefore, Clemenceau went, on February 
1 2th, as deputy for one of the most radical and revolu- 
tionary districts of Paris. Though neither then nor later 
an avowed Socialist, no Socialist could have done more 
for practical democratic and Socialist measures than Clem- 
enceau had done. That, of course, was the reason why 
he was elected by so advanced a constituency. 

He found himself strangely out of his element when 
he took his seat in the National Assembly. Perhaps no 
more reactionary body had ever met in France. The 
majority of the members were thorough-going Conserva- 
tives who at heart were eager to restore the monarchy. 
They were royalists but slightly disguised, dug up out of 
their seclusion, from all parts of the country, who thought 
their time had come to revenge themselves not so much 
upon the Buonapartists who had governed France for 
twenty years as upon Paris and the Parisians who had 
chased Charles X and Louis Philippe out of France. 
They well knew that the capital would never consent to 
the restoration of the candidate of either of the Bourbon 
factions. These fitting champions of a worn-out Legiti- 
mism or Orleanism were old men in a hurry to resuscitate 
the dead and galvanize the past into fresh life. Their 
very heads betrayed their own antiquity. So much so that 



30 CLEMENCEAU 

a favorite pastime of young ladies of pleasure in the 
Galleries, who had flocked to Bordeaux, was what was 
irreverently called *'bald-headed loo." This consisted in 
betting upon the number of flies that would settle within 
a given period upon a devoted deputy's hairless occiput. 
Unfortunately these ancient gentlemen found in M. Thiers 
a leader who could scarcely have been surpassed for in- 
genuity and unscrupulousness. He deliberately traded 
upon prejudices, and his main political assets were the 
fear and distrust which he awakened in one set of his 
countrymen against another. In modern as in ancient 
society there is an economic and almost a personal antag- 
onism between country and town. 

The man of the Provinces, living always in the rural 
districts, the tiller, the producer, the indefatigable toller, 
the parsimonious accumulator of small gains, the respecter 
of ancestral traditions and the devotee of old-world 
methods and well-tried means of gaining a poor liveli- 
hood, profoundly affected likewise by his Inherited reli- 
gion, has, in most cases, a deep-seated contempt, strangely 
enough not wholly divorced from fear, for the man of 
the town, and especially for the man of Paris. This ani- 
mosity, which has by no means wholly disappeared to- 
day, was keenly in evidence forty and fifty years ago. 
There is an economic cause at the bottom of the an- 
tipathy, but this does not account for its many-sided mani- 
festation. The countryman naturally desires to sell his 
produce at as high a price as possible. It is for him al- 
most a matter of life and death to do so. The towns- 
man, on his side, the artisan or laborer or even the rentier 
of the great cities, is naturally anxious to obtain the neces- 
saries of life which he gets from the rural districts at as 
low a rate as he may be able to buy them, having regard 



DOWNFALL AND RECONSTRUCTION 31 

to his wages or his Income. Hence any expenditure 
which tends to benefit the country Is regarded with sus- 
picion by the townsman and contrariwise as between 
town and country, except such outlay as cheapens the cost 
of transportation, where both have an Identical Interest. 

But this general divergence of economic advantage 
which has existed for many centuries does not wholly ac- 
count for the Ill-feeling which too often appears. There 
is a psychological side to the matter as well. Thus the 
peasant, even when he is getting satisfactory prices for 
his wares, despises his own customers when they pay too 
much for small luxuries which they could easily do with- 
out. Moreover, he considers the cleverness of his fellow- 
countrymen of the city, their readiness to change their 
opinions and adopt new ideas, their doubts as to the super- 
sanctity of that individual property, property which is 
the small landowner's god, as evidences of a dangerous 
disposition to upset all that ought to be most solemnly 
upheld. The townsman, on the other hand, too often 
looks down upon the peasant and the rural provincial 
generally as an ignorant, short-sighted, narrow-minded, 
grasping creature, full of prejudices and eaten up with 
superstition, who, out of sheer obstinacy, stands Immova- 
bly in the way of reforms that might and in many cases 
certainly would benefit them both. 

It is the task and the duty of the true statesman to 
bridge over these differences as far as possible, to try to 
harmonize Interests and assuage feelings which under 
existing conditions are apt to conflict with one another. 
Thus only can the whole country be well and truly served. 
M. Thiers pursued precisely the contrary course. In 
order to foster reaction and to strengthen the position 
of the bourgeoisie, he and his supporters set to work 



32 CLEMENCEAU 

deliberately to excite the hatred of the country-folk 
against their brethren of the towns. They were willing 
to accept the Republic only on the distinct understanding 
that it should be, as Zola expressed it, a bourgeoised 
sham. The bogey of the social revolution was stuck 
up daily to frighten all timid property-owners. Above 
all, Paris was pointed out as the danger spot of order- 
respecting France. Paris ought to be muzzled and kept 
under even more strictly by the self-respecting Republic 
than by the Empire. That way alone lay safety. Thus 
the dislike of the provincials for the capital was fanned to 
so fierce a heat that the very title of capital was denied 
to her. As a result of this unpatriotic and traitorous pol- 
icy Paris herself was unfortunately forced to the con- 
viction that the reactionists of Bordeaux were determined 
to deprive her of all her rights, and that the great city 
which founded the Republic would be made to suffer 
dearly for her presumption. Nearly all that followed 
was in reality due to this sinister policy of provocation, 
adoped and carried out by M. Thiers, and his bigoted 
followers. 

Clemenceau's position was a difficult one. Knowing 
both peasants and Parisians intimately well, he saw clearly 
the very dangerous situation which must inevitably be 
created by such tactics of exasperation. As one of the 
deputies of Radical Republican Paris, he did his utmost 
at Bordeaux to maintain the independence of his con- 
stituents and to resist the fatal action of the majority. 
As the son of a landowner In La Vendee, he understood 
clearly the views of the provincials and how necessary it 
was that they should be thoroughly informed as to the 
aims of the Parisians. But Paris had first claim on his 
services. He therefore associated himself with Louis 



DOWNFALL AND RECONSTRUCTION 33 

Blanc, voted with him against the preliminaries of peace 
and in favor of the continuance of the war. There was 
a strong opinion at this time that many of the Buona- 
partlsts in high mlHtary command, as well as in Impor- 
tant civil posts, were traitors to the Republic and had 
acted, as Bazaine unquestionably did. In the Interest of 
the Imperial prisoner Instead of on behalf of France. 
These factionlsts too were hostile to Paris, and a demand 
was made. In which Clemenceau joined, for a full inves- 
tigation of the conduct of such men during the siege. 
Unfortunately, affairs in the capital were now becoming 
so critical and the probability of another revolution there 
seemed so great that Clemenceau felt his duties as Mayor 
of Montmartre were still more urgent than his votes and 
speeches at Bordeaux, as deputy for that district. Con- 
sequently, after less than a month's stay at Bordeaux, he 
returned to Paris on the evening of March 5th. The 
Commune of Paris was set on foot within a fortnight of 
that date, on March i8th, 1871. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE COMMUNE 

UNQUESTIONABLY,the revolt was brought about 
by the ill-judged and arbitrary conduct of the agents 
of the National Assembly. To attempt to seize the guns 
of the National Guard as a preliminary to disarming the 
only Citizen force which the capital had at its disposal 
was as illegal as it was provocative. It was virtually a 
declaration of civil war by the reactionaries in control 
of the national forces. The people of Paris were in no 
humor to put up with such high-handed action on the part 
of men who, they knew, were opposed even to the Re- 
public which they nominally served. They resisted the 
attempt and captured the generals, Lecomte and Thomas, 
who had ordered the step to be taken. 

So far they were quite within their rights, and Clem- 
enceau at first sympathized wholly with the Federals. 
The Parisians had undergone terrible privations during 
the siege, they were exasperated by the denunciations 
that poured in upon them from the provinces, they saw 
no hope for their recently won liberties unless they them- 
selves were in a position to defend them, they had grave 
doubts whether they had not been betrayed within and 
without during the siege itself. It is no wonder that, 
under such circumstances, they should resent, by force 
of arms, any attempt to deprive them of the means of 
effective resistance to reactionary repression. 

34 



THE COMMUNE 35 

There was also nothing in the establishment of the 
Commune itself which was other than a perfectly legiti- 
mate effort to organize the city afresh, after the old sys- 
tem had proved utterly incompetent. But the attempt to 
disarm the population of Montmartre roused passions 
which it was impossible to quell. Clemenceau, as Mayor 
of the district, did all that one man could do to save the 
two generals, Lecomte and Clement Thomas, from be- 
ing killed. With his sound judgment he saw at once that, 
whether their execution was justifiable or not, it would 
be regarded as murder by many Republicans whom the 
cooler heads in Paris desired to conciliate. As was 
proved afterwards, he exerted all his power to check 
even the semblance of injustice. But his final interven- 
tion to prevent the tragedy of the Chateau Rouge came 
too late, and Lecomte and Thomas, who had not hesitated 
to risk the massacre of innocent citizens on behalf of a 
policy of repression, were regarded as the first victims 
of an infuriated mob. 

The outcome of Clemenceau's own endeavors to save 
these misguided militarists was that he himself became 
"suspect" to the heads of the Central Committee of the 
Commune sitting at the Hotel de Ville, which had taken 
control of all Paris. He was the duly elected and ex- 
tremely popular Radical-Socialist — to use a later desig- 
nation — Mayor of perhaps the most advanced arrondisse- 
ment in the capital, he had been sent to Bordeaux by a 
great majority of his constituents to sit on the extreme 
Left, and, in that capacity, had stoutly defended the rights 
of Paris; he was strongly in favor of most of the claims 
made by the leaders of the Commune. But all this went 
for nothing. The new Committee wanted their own man 
at Montmartre, and Clemenceau was not that man. 



36 CLEMENCEAU 

So Mayor of Montmartre he ceased to be, but earnest 
democrat and devoted friend of the people he remained. 
Unfortunately, having a wider outlook than most of 
those who had suddenly come to the front, he could not 
believe that mere possession of the capital meant attain- 
ment of the control of France by the Parisians, or the 
freeing of his country from German occupation. For 
once he advocated prudence and suggested compromise. 
A reasonable arrangement between the administrators 
of Paris with their municipal forces and the National As- 
sembly with its regular army seemed to Clemenceau a 
practical necessity of the situation. He therefore urged 
this policy Incessantly upon the Communists. It was an 
unlucky experience. Pyat, Vermorel and others so 
strongly resented his moderate counsels that they Issued 
an order for his arrest, with a view to his hasty. If judi- 
cial, removal. Falling to lay hold upon Clemenceau 
himself, they captured a speaking likeness of the Radical 
doctor in the person of a young Brazilian. Him they 
were about to shoot, when they discovered that their pro- 
posed victim was the wrong man. Possibly these per- 
sonal adventures in revolutionary democracy under the 
Commune may have influenced Clemenceau's views about 
Socialism in practical affairs in after life. 

It is highly creditable to Clemenceau that a few years 
later one of his greatest speeches was delivered In the 
National Assembly to obtain the liberation and the recall 
from exile of the very same men who would gladly have 
silenced him for good and all when they were in power. 
However, he escaped their well-meant attentions, and, 
leaving Paris, went on a tour of vigorous Radical propa- 
ganda through the Provinces. 

This was a most important self-imposed mission. Clem- 



THE COMMUNE 37 

enceau, as he showed by his vote at Bordeaux, was 
strongly in favor of continuing the war and bitterly op- 
posed to any surrender whatever. At the same time he 
was a thoroughgoing Republican who did not forget that 
the mass of Frenchmen must have voted for the Empire 
a few months before, or Napoleon's plebiscite, of course, 
could not have been so successful even with the whole 
of the official machinery in the hands of the Imperialists. 
Differing from Gambetta afterwards on many points, the 
coming leader of the advanced Radicals was at this period 
entirely at one with the man who had not despaired of 
France when all seemed lost. But in order to carry on 
the war with any hope of success and to keep the flag of 
the Republic flying, it was essential that the people of the 
provincial towns and the peasants should be kept in touch 
with Paris and be convinced that the only chance of safety 
and freedom lay in sinking all intestine differences for 
the sake of unity. No man, not even Gambetta himself, 
was better qualified for this service. Throughout his 
tour he kept the independence, welfare, and freedom of 
France as a whole high above all other considerations. 
But the risks he ran were not trifling. The local reac- 
tionists were by no means ready to accept his views. The 
police was set upon his trail, with great inconvenience 
to himself. But at no period of his life has Clemenceau 
considered his personal safety of any account. He had 
set himself to accomplish certain work which he deemed 
to be necessary, and he carried it through without refer- 
ence to the dangers around him. Nor must the success 
of this propaganda be measured by its immediate results. 
The great thing in those days of defeat and despair was 
to keep up the national spirit and to declare that, though 
the French armies might be beaten again and again, the 



38 CLEMENCEAU 

France of the great Revolution ^nd the Republic should 
never be crushed down. Believing, as Clemenceau did, 
in the religion of patriotism and the sacred watchwords 
of the eighteenth-century upheaval, he spoke with a sin- 
cerity that gave to his utterances the value of the highest 
oratory. The speeches produced a permanent impression 
on those who heard them, and their effect was felt for 
many years afterwards. 

But this was quite as objectionable to Thiers and the 
case-hardened reactionists as his previous conduct had 
been to Pyat and the extremists of the Commune. Men 
of ability and judgment are apt to be caught between two 
fires when prejudice and passion take control on both 
sides. It was, in fact, little short of a miracle that the 
future Prime Minister of France did not complete his 
services to his country by dying in the ditch under the 
wall of Pere-la-Chaise at the early age of thirty-one. 

Few movements have been more grotesquely misrep- 
resented than the Commune of Paris. For many a long 
year afterwards almost the whole of the propertied 
classes in Europe spoke of the Communists as if they had 
been a gang of scoundrels and incendiaries, without a 
single redeeming quality; while Socialists naturally enough 
refused to listen to virulent abuse of men most of whom 
they well knew were inspired by the highest ideals and 
sacrificed themselves for what they believed to be the 
good of mankind. At the beginning Paris assuredly had 
no intention whatever of courting a struggle with the sup- 
porters of the Republic at Bordeaux, however reaction- 
ary they might be. Such men as Delescluze, Courbet, 
Beslay, Jourde, Camelinat, Vaillant, Longuet, to speak 
only of a few, were no merely hot-headed revolutionaries 
regardless of all the facts around them. Paris was ad- 



THE COMMUNE 39 

mirably administered under their short rule — ^never nearly 
so well, according to the testimony of two quite conserva- 
tive Englishmen who were there at the time. One of 
these was the famous Oxford sculler and athlete, E. B. 
Michel, an English barrister and a French avocat; the 
other was my late brother, Hugh, a Magdalen man like 
Michel. They both knew Paris well, and both were of 
the same opinion as to the municipal management under 
the Commune. Michel in an article in Fraser^s Maga- 
zine, then an important review, wrote as follows : 

"It is extremely important that the serious lesson which 
the world may read in the history of the Revolution 
should not be weakened In its significance or Interest by 
any ill-grounded contempt either for the acts of the Com- 
munal leaders or for the sincerity of their motives. We 
have seen that the army on which the Revolutionists re- 
lied, and by means of which they climbed to power, was 
not, as certain French statesmen pretended, and some 
English papers would have had us believe, a *mere hand- 
ful of disorderly rebels,' but a compact force, well drilled, 
well organized, and valiant when fighting for a cause 
that they really had at heart. It Is equally false and 
unfair to regard the Communal Assembly as a crew of 
unintelligent and mischievous conspirators, guided by no 
definite or reasonable principle, and seeking only their 
own aggrandizement and the destruction of all the recog- 
nized laws of order. Yet it Is certain that such an idea 
respecting the Commune Is very generally entertained by 
ordinary English readers. It may be shown that the 
policy of this Government, though defaced by many gross 
abuses and errors, had much in it to deserve the con- 
sideration, and even to extort the admiration, of an in- 
telligent and practical statesman. . . . 



40 CLEMENCEAU 

*'Foreign writers have delighted to represent the pur- 
poses of the Commune as vague and unintelligible. Even 
in Paris and at Versailles writers and talkers affected 
at first to be ignorant of the real projects and principles 
entertained by the Revolutionists. But the Commune of 
1 87 1 has itself destroyed all possibility of mistake upon 
the subject. It has put to itself and answered the ques- 
tion in the most explicit terms. The Journal Officiel 
(of Paris) contained, on April 20th, a document worthy 
of the most careful perusal. It appears in the form of a 
declaration to the Fren<:h people, and explains fully 
enough the main principles and the chief objects which 
animated the men of the Commune. Without bestowing 
on this address the ecstatic eulogies to which certain 
Utopian philosophers have deemed it entitled, we may 
credit it as being a straightforward, manly, and not alto- 
gether unpractical expose of the ideas of modern Com- 
munists. 

' " . . . *It is the duty of the Commune to confirm and 
determine the aspirations and wishes of the people of 
Paris; to explain, in its true character, the movement of 
March i8th — a movement which has been up to this 
time misunderstood, misconstrued, and calumniated by 
the politicians at Versailles. Once more Paris labors 
and suffers for the whole of France, for whom she is pre- 
paring, by her battles and her devoted sacrifices, an 
intellectual, moral, administrative, and economic regen- 
eration, an era of glory and prosperity. 
" *What does she demand? 

♦•***The recognition and consolidation of the Republic 
as the only form of government compatible with the rights 
of the people and the regular and free development of 
society; the absolute independence of the Commune and 



THE COMMUNE 41 

Its extension to every locality In France; the assurance 
by this means to each person of his rights In their Integ- 
rity, to every Frenchman the full exercise of his faculties 
and capacities as a man, a citizen, and an artificer. The 
Independence of the Commune will have but one limit — 
the equal right of Independence to be enjoyed by the 
other Communes who shall adhere to the contract. It Is 
the association of these Comniunes that must secure the 
unity of France. 

" *The Inherent rights of the Commune are these : 
, The right of voting the Communal budget of receipts 
and expenditure, of regulating and reforming the sys- 
tem of taxation, and of directing local services; the right 
to organize Its own magistracy, the Internal police and 
public education; to administer the property belonging 
to the Commune ; the right of choosing by election or 
competition, with responsibility and a permanent right 
of control and revocation, the communal magistrates and 
officials of all sorts; the right of Individual liberty under 
an absolute guarantee, liberty of conscience and liberty 
of labor; the right of permanent intervention by the citi- 
zens In communal affairs by means of the free manifesta- 
tion of their ideas, and a free defense of their own In- 
terests, guarantees being given for such manifestations 
by the Commune, which Is alone charged with the duty 
of guarding and securing the free and just right of meet- 
ing and of publicity; the right of organizing the urban 
defenses and the National Guard, which Is to elect Its 
own chiefs, and alone provide for the maintenance of 
order In the cities. 

" Tarls desires no more than this, with the condition, 
of course, that she shall find In the Grand Central Ad- 
ministration, composed of delegates from the Federal 



42 CLEMENCEAU 

Communes, the practical recognition and realization of 
the same principles. To Insure, however, her own Inde- 
pendence, and as a natural result of her own freedom of 
action, Paris reserves to herself the liberty of effecting 
as she may think fit. In her own sphere, those administra- 
tive and economic reforms which her population shall 
demand, of creating such Institutions as are proper for 
developing and extending education, labor, commerce, 
and credit; of popularizing the enjoyment of power and 
property In accordance with the necessities of the hour, 
the wish of all persons Interested, and the data furnished 
by experience. Our enemies deceive themselves or de- 
ceive the country when they accuse Paris of desiring to 
impose Its will or its supremacy upon the rest of the 
nation, and of aspiring to a Dictatorship which would 
amount to a veritable attack against the independence 
and sovereignty of other Communes. They deceive them- 
selves or the country when they accuse Paris of seeking 
the destruction of French unity as established by the 
Revolution. The unity which has hitherto been Imposed 
upon us by the Empire, the Monarchy, and the Parlia- 
mentary Government is nothing but a centralization, 
despotic, unintelligent, arbitrary, and burdensome. Po- 
litical unity as desired by Paris is a voluntary association 
of each local initiative, a free and spontaneous coopera- 
tion of all individual energies with one common object — 
the well-being, liberty, and security of all. The Com- 
munal Revolution Initiated by the people on the i8th of 
March inaugurated a new political era, experimental, 
positive, and scientific. It was the end of the old official 
and clerical world, of military and bureaucratic regime^ 
of jobbing in monopolies and privileges, to which the 



THE COMMUNE 43 

working class owed its state of servitude, and our coun- 
try its misfortunes and disasters.' " 

The two Englishmen, coming straight to my house 
from Paris, gave me a favorable account of the adminis- 
tration of municipal Paris, especially at the time when 
Cluseret held command. 

Others who were there at the same time were similarly 
impressed. Paris ceased even to be the Corinth of Eu- 
rope, since all prostitutes had been ordered out of the 
city. The leaders set an example of moderation in their 
style of living, which was the more remarkable as they 
had no authority but their own sense of propriety to limit 
their expenditure. How little they regarded themselves 
as relieved from the ordinary rules of the strictest bour- 
geois social order is apparent, also, from the fact that 
Jourde and Beslay, who were responsible for the finances 
of the Commune, actually borrowed $200,000 from the 
Rothschilds in order to carry on the ordinary business 
of the Municipality. Yet at the time not less than 
$300,000,000 in gold, apart from a huge store of silver, 
was lying at their mercy in the Bank of France; enough, 
as some cynically said, if judiciously used, to have bought 
up all M. Thiers' Government and his army to boot. The 
fact that the Communists left these vast accumulations 
untouched proves conclusively that they were the least 
predatory, some might say the least effective, revolution- 
ists who ever held subversive opinions. In all directions 
they showed the same spirit. Every department was 
managed as economically and capably as they could or- 
ganize it. But always on the most approved bourgeois 
lines. Many of the reforms they introduced, notably 
those by Camelinat at the Mint, are still maintained. 

How, then, did it come about that people of this char- 



44 CLEMENCEAU 

acter and capacity were regarded almost universally as 
desperate enemies of society, from the moment when 
they came to the front In their own city? It Is the old 
story of the hatred of the materialist property-owner 
and profiteer for the Idealist who Is eager at once to 
realize the new period of public possession and coopera- 
tive well-being. The fact that such an indomitable anar- 
chist-communist as the famous Blanqiii, who spent the 
greater part of his life in prison, took an active part in 
the Commune and that others of like views were asso- 
ciated with the rising scared all the "respectable" classes, 
who regarded any attack upon the existing economic 
and social forms as a crime of the worst description. A 
tale current at the time puts the matter in a humorous 
shape. A number of communists, when arrested, were 
put in jail with a still larger number of common male- 
factors. These latter greatly resented this intrusion, 
boycotted the political prisoners, and, it is said, would 
have gone so far as to attack their unwelcome companions 
but for the intervention of the warders. Asked why 
they exhibited such animosity towards men who had done 
them no harm, the ordinary criminals took quite a con- 
servative, bourgeois view of their relations to the new- 
comers. "We," they said, "have some of us taken things 
which belonged to other people; but we have never 
thought for a moment of abolishing the right of prop- 
erty in itself. Not having enough ourselves, we wanted 
more and laid hands upon what we could get. But these 
men would take everything and leave nothing for us." 
So even the jailbirds embraced the bourgeois ethic of 
individual ownership. 

Moreover, the International Working Men's Associa- 
tion had been founded in London in 1864, just seven 



THE COMMUNE 45 

years before. Although the late Professor Beesly, cer- 
tainly as far from a violent revolutionist as any man could 
be, took the chair at the first meeting and English trade 
unionists of the most sober character constituted the bulk 
of the members in London, the terror which this organ- 
ization inspired in the dominant minority all over Eu- 
rope was very far indeed in excess of the power which it 
could at any time exercise. But the names of Marx, 
the learned German-Jew philosopher, and Bakunin, the 
Russian peasant-anarchist, were words of dread to the 
comfortable classes in those days. Marx with Engels 
had written the celebrated "Communist Manifesto," at 
the last period of European disturbance, in 1848, an- 
alyzing the historic development and approaching down- 
fall of the entire wage-earning system, with a ruthless 
disregard for the feelings of the bourgeoisie. Its con- 
clusion appealing to the "Workers of the World" to unite 
was not unnaturally regarded as a direct incitement to 
combined revolt. Though, therefore, few had read the 
Manifesto, this appeal had echoed far and wide, and the 
..^organization of the International itself was credited with 
the intention to use the Commune of Paris as the starting- 
point for a world-wide conflagration. Thus the move- 
ment in Paris, which at first had no other object than 
to secure the stability of the democratic Republic, was 
regarded as an incendiary revolt, and the brutal out- 
rages of M. Thiers, aided by the mistakes of the Com- 
munists themselves, gradually forced extremists to the 
front. Some were like Delescluze, noble enthusiasts who 
knew success was impossible, and courted death for their 
Ideal as sowing the seed of success for their great cause 
of the universal Cooperative Commonwealth in the new 
future; others were such as Felix Pyat, a furious sub- 



46 CLEMENCEAU 

versionist of the most ruffianly type, who mixed up per- 
sonal malignity and individual hatred with his every 
action, and brought discredit on his own comrades. Vic- 
tory for the Socialist ideals, with the Germans contain- 
ing one side of Paris and the Versailles troops attacking 
the other, was impossible — would have been impossible 
even if the Communists had suppressed their truly fra- 
ternal hatreds and had developed a military genius. They 
did neither. Cluseret showed some inkling of the necessi- 
ties of the case, but Dombrowski, Rossel and other lead- 
ers exhibited no capacity. The wonderful thing about 
it all was that during the crisis, which lasted two months, 
Paris was so well administered. The sacrifice of the 
hostages and the tactics of incendiarism pursued at last, 
not by the Communist leaders, but by the Anarchist mob 
broken loose from all control, have hidden from the pub- 
lic at large, who read only the prejudiced accounts of 
the capitalist press, the real truth of the Commune of 
Paris. 

But whatever may have been done in resistance to the 
invasion of M. Thiers' army of reaction, nothing could 
possibly justify the horrible vengeance wreaked upon the 
people of Paris by the soldiery and their chiefs. It was 
a martyrdom of the great city. The coup d^etat of Louis 
Napoleon was child's play to the hideous butchery ordered 
and rejoiced in by Thiers, Gallifet and their subordinates. 
There was not even a pretense of justice in the whole 
massacre. Thousands of unarmed and innocent men and 
women were slaughtered in cold blood because Paris was 
feared by the bloodthirsty clique who regarded her rightly 
as the main obstacle to their reactionary policy. It was 
but too clear evidence that, when the rights of property 
are supposed to be imperiled, all sense of decency or hu- 



THE COMMUNE 47 

manity will be outraged by the dominant minority as it 
was by the slave-owners of old or the nobles of the feudal 
times. 

But the Commune itself, as matters stood, was as 
hopeless an attempt to "make twelve o'clock at eleven'' 
as has ever been seen on the planet. John Brown's raid 
on Harper's Ferry was not more certainly foredoomed 
to failure than was the uprising of the Communists of 
Paris in 1871. But the Socialists of Europe, like the 
abolitionists, have celebrated the Commune and deified 
its martyrs for many a long year. The brave and un- 
selfish champions of the proletariat who then laid down 
their lives in the hope that their deaths might hasten on 
the coming of a better day hold the same position in the 
minds of Socialists that John Brown held among the 
friends of the negro prior to the great American Civil 
War. It was an outburst of noble enthusiasm on their 
part to face certain failure for the "solidarity of the 
human race." But those who watched what happened 
then and afterwards can scarcely escape from the con- 
clusion that the loss of so many of its ablest leaders, and 
the great discouragement engendered by the horrors of 
defeat, threw back Socialism itself in France fully twenty 
years. Recent experience in several directions has shown 
the world that enthusiasm and idealism for the great 
cause of human progress, and the coordination of social 
forces in the interest of the revolutionary majority of 
mankind, cannot of themselves change the course of 
events. Unless the stage in economic development has 
been reached where a new order has already been evolved 
out of the previous outworn system, it is impossible to 
realize the ideals of the new period by any sudden at- 
tack. Men imbued with the highest conceptions of the 



48 CLEMENCEAU 

future and personally quite honest in their conduct may 
utterly fail to apply plain common sense to the facts of 
the present. Dublin, Petrograd and Helsingfors, nearly 
forty years later, did but enforce the teachings of the 
Commune of Paris. 



CHAPTER V 

CLEMENCEAU THE RADICAL 

ALL this Clemenceau, though not himself a Socialist, 
saw by intuition. His powers of organization and 
capacity for inspiring confidence among the people might 
have been of the greatest service to Paris at that critical 
juncture in her history — might even have averted the 
crash which laid so large a portion of the buildings of 
the great city in ruins and led to the infamous scenes 
already referred to. This was not to be, and Clemenceau 
was fortunate to escape the fate of many who were as 
little guilty of terrorism or arson as himself. 

The trial of the men responsible for the death of 
Generals Lecomte and Thomas was held on November 
29, 1 87 1. Clemenceau himself was accused of not hav- 
ing done enough to save their lives. He was in no wise 
responsible for what had occurred, was strongly opposed 
to their execution, and, as has been seen, did all that he 
could do to prevent the two assailants of his own friends 
and fellow-citizens from being killed. That, however, 
was no security that he would have escaped condemna- 
tion if the evidence in his favor had not been so con- 
clusive that even the prejudiced court could not decide 
against him. He was completely cleared from the charge 
by the evidence of Colonel Langlols, and given full credit 
for his efforts on behalf of the militarists who certainly 
could be reckoned among his most bitter enemies. 

49 



50 CLEMENCEAU 

Scarcely, however, was his life relieved from jeopardy 
under the law than he was compelled to risk It, or so he 
thought, on the dueling ground. Here Clemenceau was 
quite at home. He used his remarkable skill in handling 
the pistol with moderation and judgment, being content 
to wound his adversary. Commandant Poussages, in the 
leg. None the less, the result of his encounter was that 
he was fined and committed to prison for a fortnight as 
a lesson to him not to act in accordance with the French 
code of honor In future. 

But the truth Is, M. Thiers did not wish to make a 
peaceful settlement with the people of the capital of 
France. Conciliation Itself was branded as a crime as 
much by the political leaders and military chiefs on his 
side as It was by the Communist extremists on the other. 
The Versaillais aimed at the conquest of Paris by force 
of arms : they did not desire to enter peacefully by force 
of agreement. And having won, Paris was treated by 
the Republican Government as a conquered city. All 
sorts of exceptional laws, such as Napoleon III himself 
never enacted, were registered against the liberties of 
her inhabitants, and she was deprived of her fair share 
of representation In the National Assembly. The capital 
of France was a criminal city. 

Clemenceau on March 21st, 1871, had brought Into 
the National Assembly at Versailles a measure which 
established the Municipal Council of Paris with 80 
members. This was a valuable service to the capital and 
one of which the man himself was destined to take ad- 
vantage. For, having failed to bring about a reason- 
able compromise between the Versailles chiefs and the 
leaders of the Commune, and having also lost his seat 
for Montmartre In the Assembly as well as the Mayor- 



CLEMENCEAU THE RADICAL 51 

alty of that district, he gave up general politics and 
after the fall of the Commune accepted his election as 
Municipal Councilor for Cllgnancourt. He devoted the 
next five years of his life to his doctor's work, giving 
gratuitous advice as before to the poor around him, and 
to constant attendance as a Municipal Councilor, where 
he was the leader of the reformed section. He thus 
gained a knowledge of Parisian life and the needs of 
Parisians which no other experience could have given 
him. 

As one of the municipal representatives he never ceased 
to protest against the shameful legislation which deprived 
Paris of Its rights. But he did more. The man who is 
regarded by many, even to-day, as essentially a political 
destroyer with no Idea of a constructive policy in any de- 
partment made himself master of the details of municipal 
administration and was a most valued colleague of all 
who, acting on the extreme left of the Council, en- 
deavored, while upholding the dignity of the city against 
the repressive policy of the Government, to Improve the 
management of city affairs In every department. In this 
he was as successful as the circumstances of the time per- 
mitted. He became In turn Secretary, Vice-President 
and President of the Council. 

Though this portion of Clemenceau's career is little 
known, the continuous unrecognized municipal service he 
rendered to Paris during those eventful years gave him 
a hold, not only upon Montmartre but upon the whole 
city, which has been of great service to him at other 
times. He had, in fact, become a thorough Parisian from 
the age of nineteen onwards, which can by no means 
always be said of men who have afterwards taken a 
leading part in French politics. It is very difficult to say 



52 CLEMENCEAU 

what qualities are those which entitle a man to this dis- 
tinguished appellation. I have myself known Frenchmen 
able, witty, brilliant and original, good speakers and 
clever writers, who somehow never seemed to be at 
home with Parisians and Parisian audiences. Critical and 
qrnlcal, though at times enthusiastic and Idealist, the 
Parisian crowd takes no man at his own valuation and is 
no less fickle than crowds In cities generally are. But 
Clemenceau has never failed to be on good terms with 
them. I attribute this to the fact that In addition to his 
other higher qualities, which Impress all people of intelli- 
gence, Clemenceau has in him a vein of sheer humorous 
mischief that savors of the Parisian gamin rather than of 
the hard-working student from La Vendee. There Is 
something In common between him and the young rogues 
of the Parisian streets who are not at all averse from 
enjoying life at the cost of poking fun at other people 
and even at themselves. This spirit of Paris early got 
hold of Clemenceau and he of It. 

However this may be, on February 26th, 1876, he was 
again elected deputy to the National Assembly. He now 
began the active and continuous political life which had 
been broken off at Its commencement by the second revo- 
lution followed by the gruesome tragedy just recounted. 

That he had never lost his sympathy for the men and 
women of the Commune, little reason as he personally 
had for good feeling towards them, was proved by his 
delivery of his speech In favor of the Amnesty of the 
Communists, some of whom had been so eager to get rid 
of him for good and all when they had been In power 
for a short time themselves. The speech at once put 
Clemenceau among the first Parliamentary orators of the 
day. At this time a man of such capacity was greatly 



CLEMENCEAU THE RADICAL 53 

needed on the extreme Left. Others who had lost much 
of their energy and fervor in the long struggle against 
repression were little inclined to run further risks for the 
sake of a really democratic Republic, still less for a set 
of people who in their misguided efforts for complete 
freedom had endangered the establishment of any Re- 
public at all. They were content with what they had 
done before and with the positions they occupied then. 
It was greatly to Clemenceau's credit that he did not hesi- 
tate a moment as to the line he should take. Popular or 
unpopular, fair play and freedom for all were his watch- 
words. 

When the Amnesty question came up again in 1879 
Clemenceau's speech in favor of the release of the inde- 
fatigable Communist Blanqui was, like his appeal for the 
amnesty of the members of the Commune generally, very 
creditable to him, for it was an unpopular move and 
gained him little useful political support from any party. 
Perhaps no man in the whole history of the revolutionary 
movement ever devoted himself so entirely and with 
such relentless determination to the spread of subversive 
doctrines as Auguste Blanqui. He began early and fin- 
ished late. He was first imprisoned at the age of twenty- 
one and spent more than half of his seventy-six years of 
existence in jail or exile. He was a strong believer in 
organized violence as a means of bringing about the 
realization of his communist ideals. Insurrection against 
the successive French Governments he regarded as a 
duty. It was a duty which he faithfully fulfilled. In 
1827 he was an active fighter in the insurrection of the 
Rue St. Denis. It was suppressed and Blanqui was 
wounded. He was one of the leaders of the successful 
rising against Charles X in 1830, in which he was again 



54 CLEMENCEAU 

wounded. In the reign of Louis Philippe, which followed 
the failure to establish a Republic, he speedily went to 
work again. Insurrection, conspiracy, establishment of 
illegal societies, accumulation of weapons and explosives 
for organized attacks, attempts to constitute a communist 
republic, were followed by the usual penalties, and after 
his participation in the insurrection of the Montagnards, 
by condemnation to death, commuted to imprisonment 
for life. Such was Blanqui's career up to 1848. Then 
the revolution of that year set him free again. No 
sooner was he released than he began afresh, forming 
a revolutionary combination which led to another three 
days of insurrection, with the result that he was sen- 
tenced to a further ten years of imprisonment. In 1858, 
under the Second Empire, he returned to Paris, his birth- 
place, but was soon ejected and passed eight years more 
in exile. In 1870 and 1871 Blanqui took part in the 
overthrow of Napoleon III, and in the Commune which 
followed was captured by the Versaillais troops and sen- 
tenced to transportation to New Caledonia, after the 
Communards had offered to exchange for him the Arch- 
bishop of Paris, then held by them as a hostage. Instead 
of being shipped off to New Caledonia he was impris- 
oned at Clairvaux, where he remained until 1880, when 
he was elected, while still in jail, deputy for Bordeaux, 
was not allowed to take his seat but was released, and 
died in Paris in 1881. 

This brief summary gives but a poor idea of Blanqui's 
activities and sufferings. At the period when Clemenceau 
pleaded for his release he was still, at seventy-one, the 
most dangerous revolutionary leader in France. From 
the first and throughout he was absolutely uncompromis- 
ing in his adherence to his communist theories, and, being 



CLEMENCEAU THE RADICAL 5; 

at the same time of dictatorial tendencies, he was an ex- 
tremely difficult man to work with. None the less Blan- 
qui represented the highest type of educated anarchist. 
He never considered himself for a moment. So long as 
he was able to keep the flag of revolution flying, and thus 
to prepare the way, by constant attempts at direct action, 
for the period when the people would be strong enough 
and well-organized enough to achieve victory for them- 
selves, he was satisfied. A leader of his knowledge and 
capacity must have known and did know that his views 
could not possibly be accepted and acted upon, even if 
scientifically correct for a later date, at the stage of evolu- 
tion which France had reached in his day. But, like 
Raspall, Delescluze, Amilcare Cipriani, Sophie Perov- 
skala, and more than one of the French dynamitlcal 
anarchists, he dehberately sacrificed his whole career, as 
he also risked his life time after time, in desperate ef- 
forts to uplift the mass of the people from their state 
of economic and social degradation. Nothing daunted 
him. His courage was of that exceptional quality which 
is strengthened by defeat. Even his bitterest enemies 
respected his devotion to his cause, his disregard of dan- 
ger and the spirit he maintained, in spite of years upon 
years of confinement. He hated and despised the bour- 
geoisie, with their capitalist wage-earning, profit-making 
system, even more than he did monarchy and aristocracy. 
He revolted against the slow processes of social evolution, 
as he did against the inherited wrongs of class repres- 
sion. No weapon of agitation came amiss to him. Jour- 
nalist, pamphleteer, author, orator, organizer, conspira- 
tor, he covered in his own person the whole of the ground 
open to a convinced revolutionist. The suppressive 
order of to-day must be smashed up to give an outlet to 



56 CLEMENCEAU 

the liberative order of to-morrow. Such a program was 
in direct opposition to the ideas of Clemenceau, who, 
individualist as he is, has always regarded political action 
and trade organization of a peaceful nature as the best 
means of attaining thorough reform and social reconstruc- 
tion without running the risk of provoking monarchist or 
imperialist repression. Blanqui to him was an idealist 
who, by his very honesty and singleness of purpose, played 
into the hands of reaction, when he spent so much of his 
life as he lived outside of a prison in one broken but re- 
lentless effort to overthrow the existing society of in- 
equality and wage-slavery by the same forcible methods 
that capitalist society itself uses to maintain the system 
in being. On the other hand, the right to freedom of 
person and freedom of expression was erected by the 
Radical leader into something not far from an intellec- 
tual religion. On this ground, therefore, he argued 
strongly in favor of Blanqui's release, though quite pos- 
sibly, and indeed probably, Blanqui's freedom, had it 
been secured, would have been vigorously used against 
Clemenceau and his party — whom the great Anarchist- 
Communist would have regarded as mere trimmers — to 
the advantage of the reactionists themselves. But in 
this case as in that of the amnesty to the Communists, 
the Clemenceau of the Rights of Man and Liberty, Equal- 
ity and Fraternity overcame Clemenceau the practical 
politician. That he failed to get Blanqui out of prison 
could only have been expected, having regard to the char- 
acter of the Assembly to which his appeal is addressed. 
His Amnesty speech made a fine beginning for Clemen- 
ceau's active Parliamentary life. It put him on a very 
different level from that occupied by the mere political 
adventurers and intriguers whose main objects were either 



CLEMENCEAU THE RADICAL 57 

to help on the reconstltution of some form of monarchy 
or to secure for themselves posts under the Republic of 
much the same kind as existed under the Empire. Men 
who but yesterday had been champions of a genuine Re- 
public in which the interests of the majority of the French 
people should be considered first, foremost and all the 
time had now become mere plotters for reaction, or 
opportunists anxious never to find an opportunity. They 
were Republicans in name but not in spirit. They were 
convinced that the most important portion of their policy 
consisted henceforth not in organizing the factor of de- 
mocracy for general progress but in reassuring their con- 
servative opponents and the propertied classes generally, 
from the plutocrat to the peasant proprietor, that the 
Republic meant only a convenient form of government. In 
which all classes should agree harmoniously together to 
stand at ease for the next few generations. Their argu- 
ments in favor of such a scheme of permanent repose 
were unfortunately only too striking. They had but to 
recall the downfall of the Commune and to point to the 
ruins of fine public buildings to appeal effectively to the 
feelings of a large and Influential portion of the people. 
Enthusiasm had become suspect. Idealism the antecham- 
ber to violent mania, even Radicalism a vain thing. 

Gambetta himself, regarded in England as the most 
eloquent and capable leader of the Republican party. 
Invented an excuse for the existence of the Republic 
which he had taken an active part in creating, by the 
formula, "It is that which divides us the least." Indiffer- 
ence on every Important question except colonial expan- 
sion became the highest political wisdom. It was. In fact, 
hesitating opportunism and cowardly compromise which 
then dominated France. Such tactics evoked no loyalty 



58 CLEMENCEAU 

and solved no problem. The old became qmical, the 
young contemptuous. To attack such flabby consistency 
in doing nothing seemed as bootless an enterprise as 
entering into conflict with a feather-bed. The early years 
of the French Republic constituted a period of apathy 
led, with one or two exceptions, by mediocrity. Even 
the scathing sarcasm and biting irony of Rochefort failed 
to produce any serious effect upon the smug stolidity of 
the rest-and-be-thankful representatives of the French 
middle class. Hence arose **a divorce between politics 
and thought," and men of capacity became disgusted with 
the form of government itself. All this played directly 
into the hands of reaction and was preparing the way for 
a series of attempts against the Republic. 

It was at this unhopeful period of stagnation, compro- 
mise and mediocrity that Clemenceau came to the front 
as leader of the Left in the National Assembly. He at 
once showed that he had every qualification for this im- 
portant position — never more important than when there 
was a conspiracy afoot to prove to the world that there 
was no Radical Left at all. At the time he entered the 
Assembly in 1876 Clemenceau was thirty-five years of 
age, with an irreproachable past behind him and the full 
confidence of the Republicans of Paris around him. In 
his work in Montmartre and on the Municipal Council 
the people had come to know what manner of man he 
was. Without their steady support it would have been 
difficult, if not impossible, for him to carry on the uphill 
fight he fought for so many years. His principles upon 
every subject of public policy were from the first clear 
and well defined. 

Freedom of person, of speech and of the press were 
cardinal points in his program. He demanded that Paris 



CLEMENCEAU THE RADICAL 59 

should be released from all exceptional measures of re- 
pression inflicted by the so-called Conservatives upon the 
whole of the inhabitants of the capital as revenge for 
the rash action of a small number of fanatical idealists 
and as a means of keeping down any agitation against 
their own corruption and incompetence. He claimed also 
that no perpetual disability, in the shape of imprison- 
ment and exile, should attach to the members of the 
Commune of Paris, and called for the fullest pardon and 
freedom even for the irreconcilable Anarchist, Blanqui. 
On questions of political rights, universal secular educa- 
tion, the separation of Church and State, the generous 
treatment of the rank and file of the army, the preven- 
tion of the intrigues of the Catholics, and the expulsion 
of the Jesuits, Clemenceau took the line of an out-and- 
out democrat. So, likewise, in regard to the treatment 
of the working classes. Though not really a Socialist, 
the Radical leader recognized clearly the infinite hard- 
ships suffered by the wage-earners under the capitalist 
system, and proposed and supported palliative legislation 
to lessen and redress their wrongs. In foreign affairs 
he was a man of peace, never forgetting the outrages 
contmitted by the German armies In the war nor the terri- 
tory seized and the huge indemnity exacted by the Ger- 
man Government at the peace; but hoping always that 
the friendly development of the peoples of both France 
and Germany might avert further antagonism and event- 
ually lead to a full understanding which would assuage 
the hatreds of the past and lay the foundations of mu- 
tual good feeling in the future. To colonization by 
conquest and colonial adventures generally Clemenceau 
was steadfastly opposed. The entire policy of expan- 
sion he regarded as injurious to the true interests of the 



6o CLEMENCEAU 

country, diverting to doubtful enterprises abroad re- 
sources which were required for the development of Re- 
publican France at home. Such colonial schemes also 
were apt to create difficulties and even to risk wars with 
other nations which could in nowise benefit the people, 
while they might strengthen the financiers whose malefic 
power was already too great. 

Such In brief was the general policy which Clemenceau 
set himself to formulate and put to the front on behalf 
of the only party which at that moment could exercise 
any serious influence in the political world. The whole 
program was closely knit together, and for many years 
stood the brunt of the bitterest Parliamentary warfare 
conceivable. It was a conflict of Ideas that Clemenceau 
entered upon. He conducted it throughout on the most 
approved principle of all warfare : Never fail to attack 
in order to defend. The advice of the American banker, 
"David Harum," might have been enunciated as the 
motto of Georges Clemenceau the French statesman: 
*'Do unto others as they would do unto you, and do it 
frstr 

But the main point of all, that which assured and con- 
firmed and strengthened his leadership under the most 
difficult and dangerous circumstances, was his resolute 
opposition to compromise. This was contrary to all the 
ideas of political strategy and tactics which then pre- 
vailed in France. **Men became Ministers solely on con- 
dition that they refused when in power to do that which 
they had promised when in opposition" — quite the Eng- 
lish method, in fact. He himself never failed to de- 
nounce nominal Republicans who set themselves stub- 
bornly against reform and progress in every shape, as 
mere reactionists in disguise. They were, in fact, the 



CLEMENCEAU THE RADICAL 61 

staunch buttresses of that bourgeois Republic of which 
Clemenceau not long afterwards said to me, ^^La Repub- 
lique, mon ami, c'est VEmpire repuhlicaniseJ* It was 
Indeed a republlcanlzed Empire which best suited the 
leading French politicians of that day. For at first 
bourgeois domination of the narrowest and meanest kind, 
leading, so the reactionaries hoped, to the restoration of 
the monarchy, had its will of Paris and all that Paris 
at Its best stood for. As we look back upon that period 
of pettifoggery In high places, the wonder Is that the 
Royalists were not successful. If they had had a king 
worth fighting for they might have been; for more than 
one President was certainly not unfavorable to the mon- 
archy or empire. Prime Ministers were similarly tainted 
with reaction, and the army was none too loyal to the 
Republic. 



CHAPTER VI 

FROM GAMBETTA TO CLEMENCEAU 

MEDICI, Mazarin, Riquetti-MIrabeau, Buonaparte, 
Qambetta — these names recall the great influence 
which Italians have had upon French affairs. Few, if 
any, nations have allowed persons of foreign extraction 
to lead them as France permitted the men recorded above. 
Much, too, as these Italians were affected by their French 
surroundings, there is something in them all quite differ- 
ent from what we regard as distinctively French intelli- 
gence and general capacity. Possibly that gave them 
their power of control. They had that faculty of de- 
tachment, of looking at the situation from without which 
is so invaluable to any man who has to play a great part 
in the world. Some of them could so far survey as well 
as enter into the peculiarities of the French mind that 
they could play upon its weaknesses as well as call forth 
its strength. Yet, with all their genius, the four men 
named failed to accomplish what they set out to achieve, 
and none left behind him and amid his own immediate 
followers those who were capable of carrying on his work. 
Leon Gambetta had but fourteen years of active po- 
litical life, and during only eleven of those years was he 
in a position to make himself seriously felt. But what an 
amazing career this was of the grocer's boy of Cahors 
who stirred all France to enthusiastic support or ferocious 
denunciation between 1871 and 1882 1 When William 

62 



FROM GAMBETTA TO CLEMENCEAU 63 

Morris died, the doctor who attended him was asked what 
he died of. "He died of being William Morris/' was the 
reply. Although Gambetta's death was due to a pistol- 
shot received under circumstances never fully explained, 
It may be said that he also died of being Leon Gam- 
betta. For his Inner fires had burnt the man out. He 
crowded all the excitement and passions of a long lifetime 
Into those stormy eleven years, and without some account 
of him and his efforts for the foundation of the Republic 
the story of Clemenceau Is not complete. 

Born In 1 848 and enabled to come to Paris by the touch- 
ing self-sacrifice of a maiden aunt who believed that her 
nephew's confidence In his destiny to do great things 
would be realized, Gambetta was soon regarded as a 
leader among the young men of the Quartler Latin, who 
were In full revolt against the Empire. He distinguished 
himself by his easy-going, rough-and-tumble mode of life, 
his carelessness about study of the law which was to be 
his means of earning a livelihood, and his perfervid elo- 
quence In the political circles which he frequented. Law- 
yer, journalist, bohemlan orator of the clubs, strongly 
anti-Imperialist, he had much personal magnetism, but was 
not generally recognized as a* man of exceptional ability. 
The few cases he had had in the Courts did not give him 
any considerable standing. Such was Gambetta when 
a number of Republican journalists were arrested on No- 
vember 1 2th, 1868, for starting a subscription to erect 
a monument to M. Baudin, the Republican deputy who 
had been shot down in cold blood during Louis Na- 
poleon's massacre of the people of Paris on December 
2nd, 1 85 1 — seventeen years before. Among these pris- 
oners was the famous Delescluze, then editor of the 
Reveil. His counsel was Leon Gambetta. Gambetta's 



64 CLEMENCEAU 

speech was not merely a defense of his client, it was a 
scathing Indictment of the Empire, from Its foundation 
on the ruin of the Republic of 1848 by the coup d'etat 
onwards. *'Who/' the advocate asked, "were the men 
who *saved' France at the cost of the death or transporta- 
tion or exile of all her most eminent citizens? They 
were, to quote Corneille, ^un tas d'hommes perdus de 
dettes et de crimes/ These are the sort of people who 
for centuries have slashed down institutions and laws. 
Against them the human conscience Is powerless, in spite 
of the sublime march-past of the martyrs who protest In 
the name of religion destroyed, of morality outraged, of 
equity crushed under the jackboot of the soldier. This 
is not salvation: it is assassination." And this was no 
longer a press prosecution, it was the Emperor and his 
set of scoundrels who were now on their trial before the 
people of France and Europe. 

The speech gave Gambetta great popularity and the 
opening into public life he desired. The cause Itself was 
lost before the trial began. Delescluze was fined and 
imprisoned. "You may condemn us, but you can neither 
dishonor us nor overthrow us," cried Gambetta. From 
that time forward he was regarded as a new force on the 
side of the Republic. His behavior In the Corps Legls- 
latif, to which he was soon afterwards elected, justified 
this opinion. When the disasters of the Empire came 
Gambetta was one of the first to cry for Napoleon's abdi- 
cation and the establishment of the Republic, taking an 
active part in the foundation of the new order in Paris. 
It may be said that he worked side by side, though never 
hand in hand, with Clemenceau. 

But those scenes of the downfall of the Empire in the 
capital, dramatic and exciting as they were, could bear 



FROM GAMBETTA TO CLEMENCEAU 65 

no comparison with his bold escape from beleaguered 
Paris in a balloon and the magnificent effort he made to 
rouse the Provinces against the invaders. He failed to 
turn the tide of German victories, but he prevented the 
shameful surrender without a fight for the French Re- 
public which many would have been glad to accept, and 
he, more than any other man, kept the flag flying, when 
Legitimists, Orleanists and Buonapartists were all doing 
their utmost to set on foot a reactionary government 
against the best interests of France. All this is part of 
the common history of the time. But we are apt, in look- 
ing back over that period of his activities, to underrate 
the almost superhuman energy he displayed, to attach too 
much importance to the mistakes he inevitably made, and 
to forget that his own countrymen were among his worst 
enemies in the work he undertook. Also, if the Empire 
had left the Republic one single really first-rate general 
at the disposal of France, the result might have been very 
different from what it was. There is such a thing as luck In 
human affairs, and luck was dead against Gambetta. All 
the more credit to him for never losing heart even in the 
face of continuous disasters and even betrayals. First 
as leading member of the Government of Defense, and 
then as virtual Dictator of France, Gambetta bridged 
over for the time being the bitter antagonism which sep- 
arated Paris, the besieged seat of government, from the 
rest of France. Immediately on his arrival at Tours he 
created a new National Government out of the unpromis- 
ing elements gathered together almost accidentally there. 
The fall of Metz and the threatened starvation of Paris, 
which might lead to surrender at any moment, made Gam- 
betta's own position desperate. The Paris Government, 
which apparently looked only to Paris, had failed to make 



66 CLEMENCEAU 

a resolute effort to break through the lines of the German 
investment before Metz fell, and had lost heart alto- 
gether, refusing even to listen to any remonstrance from 
outside against a humiliating peace. Gambetta never 
gave way. Arrived at Bordeaux, he stuck to his text of 
carrying on the vv^ar, having in the meantime vigorously 
denounced the Government in Paris for its weakness. 
He and his fellow-delegates were deaf to the counsels 
of despair brought red-hot by members of the Govern- 
ment, but at last, overwhelmed by circumstances he could 
not control, the young Dictator resigned. After Paris 
had surrendered there was really no further hope, and 
those who voted in the new Assembly, as did Louis Blanc, 
Clemenceau and others, for the continuance of the war, 
did so more by way of protest against the apathy which 
pervaded the whole Assembly and because foreign inter- 
vention in favor of France and against Germany seemed 
possible even thus late in the day, than because they saw 
at the moment any prospect of success. 

Thus France lay prostrate at the feet of Germany, but 
at least Gambetta and the Republicans who acted with 
him showed their confidence that she would rise again. 
They were not responsible for the collapse of the French 
nation : undismayed by defeat they believed in Republican 
France of the near future. 

Gambetta had created new armies out of disarray and 
disorder, and he had also aroused a fresh spirit which 
rose superior to disaster. The victory of the Republic 
in years to come over all the forces of reaction was largely 
due to the work done during Gambetta's four months of 
dictatorship. 

Universal Suffrage, General Secular Education, No 
Second Chamber, the Repubhcan form of Government: 



FROM GAMBETTA TO CLEMENCEAU 67 

those were the principal measures advocated by the ex- 
treme Left of the National Assembly, and these were ad- 
vocated by Gambetta both at Bordeaux and when he 
took his seat at Versailles as one of the Deputies for 
Paris. But the Royalists were still in a majority, and 
were determined to take every advantage of their position 
while power still remained in their hands. Their ob- 
ject was to render Republicanism hateful. The object of 
their opponents was to show that no other form of gov- 
ernment was possible and to prevent any other form from 
being established. Now that the Republic has been main- 
tained for more than forty-seven years, under all sorts of 
difficult and dangerous circumstances, the obstacles which 
stood in its way at the start are sometimes under-esti- 
mated. Continuous agitation was needed to keep the 
country fully alive to the intrigues of the Royalists and 
Catholics. It was essential to put the misdeeds of the 
Empire and the real objects of the monarchists constantly 
before the public. No man in France was better qualified 
for this work than Gambetta, and he did it well, so well 
that the whole reactionary party was infuriated against 
him. There was no opportunism about him at this 
period, beyond the necessary adaptation of means to ends 
under circumstances which rendered immediate success 
impossible. 

M. Thiers, in consequence of his horrible suppression 
of the Commune, was by far the most powerful public 
man" in the country. He was acting, though a Constitu- 
tional Monarchist, as trustee for a provisional form of 
government which could not be distinguished from a con- 
servative Republic. The longer this continued the better 
the chance of obtaining a Government which would not 
be conservative. It was of great importance, therefore, 



68 CLEMENCEAU 

to keep M. Thiers on the Republican side, and this was 
made easier by the action of M. Thiers' own old friends. 
So antagonistic was their attitude to the former Minister 
of Louis Philippe that, even when Gambetta supported 
the ex-Mayor of Lyons, a fervid Radical, M. Barodet, 
against M. Thiers' eminent friend and coadjutor M. de 
Rtousat, as representative of Paris, and the former won 
by 40,000 votes, Thiers never wavered in his decision to 
keep away from any direct connection with the monarch- 
ists. They therefore determined to upset the President, 
did so by a majority of 26 votes in the Assembly, and 
elected a President of their own in the person of Marshal 
MacMahon. This was on May 24th, 1873. 

Reaction had won at Versailles. It remained to be 
seen whether it would win in the country. A "Ministry 
of Combat" for reaction, headed by the Due de Broglie, 
was formed, and a Ministry of Combat it certainly proved 
to be. They were allowed no peace by their opponents, 
who never ceased to attack them all round, and they met 
these persistent assaults by attempts secretly to cajole 
and suborn public opinion. So the great combat went 
on. The majority remained a majority and rejected the 
Republic. It was useless. But in his anxiety to win 
speedily in conjunction with M. Thiers, Gambetta him- 
self and his followers practiced that very opportunism 
which he had previously denounced. A non-democratic 
Senate, which had always been opposed by Republicans, 
was enacted as an essential part of the Republican Consti- 
tution, and on February 25th, 1875, the French Republic 
was firmly established as the legal form of government 
by the very same majority that, in the hope of rendering 
any such disaster to monarchy impossible, had made Mar- 



FROM GAMBETTA TO CLEMENCEAU 69 

shal MacMahon President and the Due de Broglle Pre- 
mier. 

But It was a truncated Republic that Gambetta had 
thus obtained. What he had gained by political com- 
promise he had lost in the enthusiasm of principle. A 
leader who desires to achieve great reforms must always 
keep In close touch with the fanatics of his party. They 
alone can be relied upon in periods of crisis, they alone 
refuse to regard politics merely as a remunerative pro- 
fession. The compromise — for men of principle com- 
promise spells surrender — of February 25th, 1875, was 
destined to be fatal to the democratic parliamentary dic- 
tatorship which Gambetta might have achieved by com- 
mon consent of his party, had he pursued his original 
policy of democratic Republicanism through and through. 
He stunted the growth of his own progeny by helping to 
establish a Republicanized Empire. No doubt this 
averted friction for the time being, but It slackened the 
rule of progress, placed obstacles in the path of de- 
mocracy and destroyed public enthusiasm. By one of the 
strange Ironies of political life, however, it so chanced 
that nearly thirty years later Clemenceau himself owed 
his return to Parliament to the institution of that same 
Senate the creation of which he had always resolutely op- 
posed. 

But during these years of reconstruction from 1871 
to 1875 Clemenceau had been excluded from the Assem- 
bly and actively engaged in the work of the Municipal 
Council of Paris. There he did admirable service in 
consolidating the organization of Parisian municipal life 
to which he had been Instrumental In giving expression in 
legal shape as Deputy for Montmartre. Paris had be- 
come the bugbear of all the reactionists and law-and-order 



70 CLEMENCEAU 

men. The capital was constantly referred to by them 
as if the last acts of despair of the irresponsible extrem- 
ists of the Commune were the habitual diversions of the 
Parisian populace when allowed free play for the realiza- 
tion of their own aspirations. The Parisians, in fact, 
according to these persons, were burning with the desire 
to destroy their own city in order to avenge themselves 
upon their provincial detractors and enemies. It was 
important to show, therefore, not only that Paris could 
manage her own affairs coolly and capably, but also that 
she could take a progressive line of her own which might 
give the lead to other French cities in more than one 
direction. This was precisely what the Municipal Coun- 
cil did, and Clemenceau, by his constant attendance and 
the continuous pressure he exerted as an active member 
of the Left of that body, prevented the Council from be- 
ing used at any time as a center of reactionist intrigue. 
By this means also he strengthened his personal influence 
in his own democratic district as well as in Paris as a 
whole. He took care likewise all the world should know 
that on the matter of the full restitution of Parisian rights 
and the return of the Assembly to the capital he was as 
determined as ever, and that in the affairs of general poli- 
tics he was and always would be a thoroughgoing Radical 
Republican. Thus he was building up for himself outside 
the Chamber a reputation as a capable municipal admin- 
istrator as well as a fearless champion of the public rights 
of the great city he had made his home. At the same 
time his local popularity, due to his thorough knowledge 
of social conditions and his advocacy of municipal im- 
provements of every kind, added to his gratuitous service 
as doctor of the poor, gave him an indisputable claim 
upon the votes of the people when, after having become 



FROM GAMBETTA TO CLEMENCEAU 71 

President of the Municipal Council, he should decide to 
offer himself for reelection to the Assembly. 

And from February 25th, 1875, onwards, matters were 
taking such a turn that the presence of a thoroughly well- 
informed, determined, active and fearless representative 
of Paris became necessary. A leader was wanted on the 
extreme Left who should loyally support the moderate 
Republicans when they were going forward and have the 
courage to attack them when they seemed inclined to 
hesitate or go back. The success of the conservative 
compromise in the constitution of the Republic had 
strengthened the belief of the reactionary majority in the 
Assembly in their own power under the new conditions. 
Gambetta's own moderation deceived them as to the real 
position in the country. They began to think that the 
Republicans were afraid not only of how they would fare 
In the elections to the newly constituted Senate, but that 
the result of the General Elections which must shortly 
be held would be unfavorable to their cause. The Prime 
Minister, M. Buffet, aided and abetted by the President, 
MacMahon, who never forgot that the members of the 
Right were his real friends, made full use of the Excep- 
tional Laws and the State of Siege which was still in 
force to show the Republicans plainly what a reactionary 
majority would mean. The Conservatives and Imperial- 
ists had things all their own way. Democracy became a 
byword and Radicalism a vain thing. 

With the ministry at their command and the President 
In their hands, they needed only to obtain the control of 
the Senate to have the people of France entirely at their 
mercy. Then, with the army favorable, with whole co- 
horts of anti-Republican officials at their service, they 
might postpone the General Elections, maintain the state 



72 CLEMENCEAU 

of siege permanently and prepare everything for a mon- 
archical restoration or a Buonapartlst plebiscite. L'Em- 
pire republicanise indeed! 

M. Buffet, within a few months of the declaration of 
the Republic as the real form of government of France, 
spoke quite in this sense. Happily the forces of reaction 
fell out among themselves. They could not trust one 
another in any sharing of the booty which might fall 
to the general lot. Therefore, when the time came for 
nomination and election of the seventy-five members of 
the Senate to be elected by the Assembly, their intestine 
differences lost them the battle: one portion of their 
motley group even went over to the enemy. So the Re- 
publicans actually obtained a majority by the votes of 
their opponents. In this way the danger of the Senate 
as a whole being used against the Republic was averted 
and the Radicals had secured the first point in the political 
game. Yet, In spite of this preliminary success, the re- 
actionists had a majority of the Senate of 300 when the 
limited votes of the country had been polled. But the 
Republicans in revenge gained a surprising majority at 
the General Elections for the National Assembly, such a 
majority that it might have been thought any further 
serious effort on the part of the anti-Republicans would 
be impossible and even that Gambetta's previous policy 
of opportunism was unnecessary. 

It was at this election of 1876 that Clemenceau was 
returned again for the i8th Electoral District of Paris 
to the National Assembly as a thoroughgoing Radical 
Republican, and took his seat on the extreme Left under 
the leadership of Gambetta. 

Marshal MacMahon, the President, was a good honest 
soldier who served his country as well as he knew how, 



FROM GAMBETTA TO CLEMENCEAU 73 

but was quite incapable of understanding the new forces 
that were coming into action around him. The Parisians 
were never tired of inventing humorous scenes in which 
he invariably figured as the well-meaning pantaloon. 
Everybody trusted his honor, but all the world doubted 
his intelligence. He was by nature, upbringing and sur- 
roundings a conservative in the widest sense of the word. 
Radical Republicanism was to him the accursed thing 
which would bring about another Commune of Paris, if 
its partisans were given free rein. Although, therefore, 
incapable of plotting directly for the overthrow of the 
Constitution he had pledged himself to uphold, he was 
liable to yield to influences the full tendency of which he 
did not discern. Thus it happened that he allowed him- 
self unconsciously to become the tool of the highly edu- 
cated and clever Due de Broglie, who was undoubtedly a 
monarchist and, what was still worse, a statesman imbued 
with the ideals of clericalism and of the Jesuits — ^precisely 
those powers which the growing spirit of democracy and 
Republicanism most feared. It was this growing spirit 
and its expression in the National Assembly that the 
Prime Minister, M. Jules Simon, who succeeded de 
Broglie, had to recognize and deal with. Gambetta was 
still the leader of the Republican Party, and with him for 
this struggle were all the more advanced men, including 
Clemenceau, who afterwards stoutly opposed his policy 
of opportunism and compromise. M. Jules Simon, find- 
ing the majority of the Assembly in favor of steady prog- 
ress towards the Left, was quite unable to check the move- 
ment in this direction or to refuse the legislation to which 
the Republican demands of necessity impelled him. The 
President could not see that an extremely moderate man, 
such as Jules Simon undoubtedly was, would not hav^ 



74 CLEMENCEAU 

taken this course unless he had been convinced that the 
Republic had to be in some degree republlcanized if 
serious trouble were to be averted. In short, Marshal 
MacMahon felt that the floodgates of revolution were 
being opened, and forthwith knocked down the lock- 
keeper. In other words, he sent for M. Jules Simon and 
talked to him in such a manner as gave the Premier no 
option but to resign. Resign he did. Thereupon France 
was thrown into that turmoil of peaceful civil war ever 
afterwards known as the Coup du Seize Mai, The Due 
de Broglie, with a trusty phalanx of seasoned reaction- 
aries and devotees of priestcraft, again took office, re- 
gardless of the fact that the majority of the Chamber was 
solid against them all. Even with the most strenuous 
support of the President of the Republic, the de Broglie 
Ministry never had a chance from the first. They were 
in a hopeless minority, and their attempt to govern on the 
basis of MacMahon's reputation and the support of the 
priests could not but result in failure unless the Marshal 
himself were prepared to risk a coup d'etat. This the 
Due de Broglie and his followers were ready to attempt, 
but it was useless to embark upon anything of the kind 
so long as the President held back. 

Then came the famous division, following up a most 
violent discussion, which for many a long year formed a 
landmark in the history of the Republic. Three hun- 
dred and sixty-three Republicans declared against the 
President's Ministry of reaction and all its works. But 
Marshal MacMahon still would not understand that in 
his mistaken attempt to override the National Assembly 
in order to save France from what he believed would be 
an Anarchist revolution, he himself, with his group of 
monarchists and clericals, was steadily impelling the 



FROM GAMBETTA TO CLEMENCEAU 75 

country into civil war. The action taken against Gam- 
betta, then at the height of his vigor and Influence, for 
declaring In his famous phrase that, In view of the attitude 
of the Chamber, the President must either "submit or 
resign,'' made matters still worse. The President's mani- 
festoes to the Assembly and the country also only con- 
firmed the growing Impression that a sinister plot was 
afoot against the Republic itself in the interest of the 
Orleanists. 

This was a much more serious matter than appeared on 
the surface. In the six years which had passed since the 
withdrawal of the German armies and the suppression of 
the Commune, France had become accustomed to the 
Republic and to the use of universal suffrage as a demo- 
cratic instrument of organization. Great as were its 
drawbacks In many respects, the Republic was, as Gam- 
betta phrased it, the form of government which divided 
Frenchmen the least. The people, who comprised not 
only the enlightened Radical Republicans of the cities, 
but the easily frightened small bourgeoisie and the peas- 
antry, could now make the Assembly and the Senate do 
what they pleased. They were not as yet prepared to 
push those institutions very fast or very far, but they 
were unquestionably moving forward and were in no 
mind whatever to go back either to Napoleonism, Or- 
leanlsm or Legitimism. France as a Republic was be- 
coming the France of them all. 

When, therefore, the 363 deputies who voted against 
the Due de Broglle's rococo restoration policy and Mar- 
shal MacMahon's constitutional autocracy stood firmly 
together, sinking all differences in the one determination 
to safeguard and consolidate the Republic, there could be 
no real doubt as to the result. Those 363 stalwarts 



76 CLEMENCEAU 

issued a vigorous appeal to the country, and the issue 
was joined in earnest at the General Elections. Gam- 
betta meanwhile was the hero of the hour, straining every 
nerve for victory, exhausting himself by his furious elo- 
quence, and the other advanced leaders did their full 
share of .the fighting. In all this political warfare 
Clemenceau was as active and energetic as the fiery 
tribune himself, and as one of the framers and signatories 
of the great Republican appeal identified himself perma- 
nently with the document that recorded, as events proved, 
the decision of France to be and to remain a Republic. 

Although it did not seem so at the time, the President 
played completely into the hands of the Republicans by 
the Message he sent to the Assembly and the Senate just 
before the prorogation he had so autocratically decreed. 
Here is a portion of it;— 

"Frenchmen, — You are about to vote. The violence 
of the opposition has dispelled all illusions. . . . The 
conflict is between order and disorder. You have already 
announced you will not by hostile election^ plunge the 
country into an unknown future of crises and conflicts. 
You will vote for the candidates whom I recommend to 
your suffrages. Go without fear to the poll. 

"(Signed) Marechal MacMahon." 

The elections followed. It is difficult to exaggerate 
the advantage which is given in a French General Election 
to the party in power at the time. An unscrupulous 
Minister of the Interior has at his disposal all sorts of 
devices and machinery for helping his own side to victory. 
He can bring pressure of every kind to bear upon Indi- 
viduals directly or Indirectly dependent on the Govern- 



FROM GAMBETTA TO CLEMENCEAU 77 

ment of the day, and the whole official caste may be en- 
listed on behalf of the administration in control. This 
is the case ordinarily and in quiet times. But here was 
a direct stand-up fight between Reaction and Clericalism 
on the one side and Republicanism and Secularism — for 
that was at stake too — on the other. Both Marshal 
MacMahon and the Due de Broglie honestly believed that 
they were doing their very utmost to preserve France 
from rapine and ruin. Every Radical Republican of the 
old school or the new was to them a bloody-minded Com- 
munard in disguise, veiling his instincts for plunder with 
eloquent appeals for patriotism and humanity. It is easy 
for the fanatics of conservatism and reaction thus to 
delude themselves. And once self-deceived they lose no 
chance of imposing their own wise and sober views upon 
the misguided people! So it happened in this case. 
Never were the powers of the Government in office 
strained to the same extent as in these elections of 1877 
— the elections which followed on the '^Seize Mai^' stroke 
of MacMahon. Not an opportunity for coercing, cajol- 
ing and intimidating the voters was missed. In every 
urban district and rural village throughout France the 
State, the Church, the Municipality, the Commune were 
used to the fullest extent possible to obtain a vote favor- 
able to the de Broglie Ministry. Swarms of priests and 
Jesuits buzzed around the constituencies, and promises 
of an easy time of it in this life and the next if things 
went the right way were made in profusion. If the 
Republic could be beaten by the forces of reaction it would 
be beaten now! Gambetta had predicted that the 363 
would return to the Assembly as 400. This was not to 
be. But in view of the tremendous efforts made to stem 
the tide of progress, not only by promises, but by serious 



78 CLEMENCEAU 

threats wherever threats might tell, the wonder is the 
Republicans were so successful as they proved to be. In 
spite of all that the President and the Prime Minister and 
the Catholic Church and the Jesuits — who were fighting 
for the right to remain in France — and the cures and 
the State functionaries, and all that the agencies of aris- 
tocratic, monarchist and Buonapartist — more particularly 
Buonapartist — corruption could do, the Republicans re- 
turned to the Chamber with a substantial majority of 
upwards of lOO votes. This victory was universally 
recognized not only in France but throughout Europe as 
irrefragable evidence that the French people had finally 
decided for a Republic, and had dealt at the same time 
a serious blow to the Church. 

But, obvious as this was to everybody else, the respect- 
able old soldier who had been a party to all this reaction- 
ary turmoil was still unconvinced of the error of his 
ways! He repeated the formula of the Malakoff 
fortress: Fy suis, j'y reste. But the Republicans were 
more tenacious than the Russians. They resolved to dis- 
lodge him, political Marshal though he was. A resolu- 
tion was passed by the Assembly to inquire into corrupt 
practices during the election. It was a challenge to bat- 
tle, and signed by such men as Albert Grevy, H. Brisson, 
Jules Ferry, Leon Gambetta, Floquet, Louis Blanc and 
Clemenceau. 

A great debate, lasting several days, followed, in which 
de Broglie defended himself in a high-handed manner 
against the fervid denunciations of Gambetta. A Com- 
mittee of Inquiry was nominated and the arena of the 
struggle changed to the Senate, which presently, as might 
have been expected from its reactionary character, gave 
a small vote of confidence in the Marshal and his Min- 



FROM GAMBETTA TO CLEMENCEAU 79 

isters. Nevertheless the feeling In the country was such 
that even MacMahon could not hold on. De Broglie 
resigned, and the Marshal evolved — almost from the 
depths of his Inner consciousness — an "extra-Parliamen- 
tary Cabinet" which might have been called "The Cabinet 
of Men of No Account." But these were so unknown 
and so Incompetent that all France made fun of them; 
and the will of the old Marshal, which nothing else could 
conquer, was broken by ridicule. In December, 1877, 
the President of the Republic saw that unless he appealed 
to the army, as the Buonapartlsts vigorously Incited him 
to do, an appeal which more than probably the army 
itself would have rejected, there was no course open to 
him but the alternative which Gambetta had pointed out 
as being the Marshal's inevitable destiny If he kept within 
the limits of law and order — to submit or to resign. The 
old soldier of the Empire submitted, and did his country 
a service by accepting the rebuff which he had courted: 
a moderate Republican Ministry under the Premiership 
of M. Dufaure took office. MacMahon himself re- 
mained President of the Republic until January, 1879 
(when he was succeeded by Jules Grevy), but his reac- 
tionary power was broken and France entered on a mod- 
erately peaceful era of recognized Republicanism. Gam- 
betta was the acknowledged leader of the Republican 
majority; and Clemenceau, after this first taste of vic- 
tory, now began that fine career of destructive, anti-oppor- 
tunist Radicalism and semi-Socialist democracy which 
made him for many years the most redoubtable politician 
and orator in the Republic. The Radical-Socialist 
Clemenceau stood next in succession to the Opportunist 
Gambetta. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE TIGER 

WHEN a political leader In the course of some fif- 
teen years of Parliamentary life has upset, or has 
helped to upset, no fewer than eighteen administrations 
and has always refused to take office himself, that leader 
Is likely to have created a few enemies. When, In addi- 
tion to these feats of destruction, he has during the same 
period secured the nomination and election of three Presi- 
dents of the Republic and has thus proved an insuperable 
obstacle to the realization of the legitimate ambitions of 
the most Important public men in France who were not 
elected. It Is clear that personal popularity was not the 
object he had In view. It Is Impossible for the ordinary 
politician or journalist to judge fairly a man of this sort. 
Politics In modern Europe Is an Interesting game and, 
quite frequently, a remunerative profession. Party In- 
terests sap all principle and the attainment of personal 
aims and ambitions in and out of Parhament is, as a 
rule, quite Incompatible with common honesty. Instead 
of Court intrigues and backstair cabals there are nowa- 
days lobby ^'transactions'' and convenient sales of titles 
and positions arranged, for value received, at private 
meetings. That is as far as democracy has got yet. It is 
all an understood business, often comphcated with more 
flagitious pecuniary dealings outside. 

Republican Government, or Constitutional Govern- 

80 



THE TIGER 81 

ment, means, therefore, the success or failure of votc- 
catchlng and advantage-grabbing schemes, quite irrespec- 
tive, from the public point of view, of the merits of the 
proposals which are put forward. Honest enthusiasts, who 
really wish to get something done for the benefit of the 
present or the coming generation, are only useful In so far 
as they act as stokers-up of public opinion for the profit of 
the political promoter of this or that faction. Steam Is 
needed to drive the machine of State. Men of real con- 
victions furnish that steam. But they are fools for their 
pains, all the same. Half the amount of energy used 
In the right direction would gain for them place, pelf, 
and possibly power, which Is all that any man of common 
sense goes into politics for. Anybody who carries high 
principle and serious endeavor Into political life Is not 
playing the game. Everybody around him wants to 
know what on earth he is driving at. The only conceiv- 
able object of turning a Ministry out Is to get In. To 
turn a Government out in order to keep out yourself Is 
an unintelligible and therefore dangerous form of polit- 
ical mania, or a persistent manifestation of original sin. 
Clemenceau was found guilty on both counts. But he 
was the ablest public man In all France. Moreover, he 
was successful In the diabolical combinations he set on 
foot. The thing was uncanny. That he should begin 
by overthrowing other politicians was all in the way of 
business. But that he should go on at it, time after time, 
for year after year, while other and Inferior men took 
the posts he had opened for them, was not to be ex- 
plained by any known theory of human motives. If he 
had been a cranky religionist, now, that would conceivably 
have met the case. He might have been "possessed" 
from on high or from below. But Clemenceau was and 



82 CLEMENCEAU 

is a free-thinker of free-thinkers: neither Heaven nor 
Hell has anything to say to him. Clearly it is a case of 
malignant atavism: Clemenceau has thrown back to his 
animal ancestry. What is the totem of the tribe which 
has entered into him, whose instinct of depredation per- 
vades his every political action? We have it! He is 
of the jungle, jungly. His spring is terrific. His crash- 
ing attack fatal. He looks as formidable as he is. In 
short, he is a Tiger, and there you are. That accounts 
for everything! 

When Clemenceau was reelected Deputy for the i8th 
Arrondissement to the National Assembly, on October 
14th, 1877, and took the active part in the renewed strug- 
gle with Marshal MacMahon already spoken of, Gam- 
betta was the leader at the height of his power and influ- 
ence, with a solid Republican majority of more than a 
hundred votes. But from this period he became steadily 
more and more Opportunist, which gained him great 
credit in Great Britain, and Clemenceau was thenceforth 
the recognized leader of the advanced Left. Mac- 
Mahon having resigned, M. Grevy was elected President 
with the support of Gambetta. 

From the first Clemenceau had vigorously opposed the 
establishment of a Second Chamber in the shape of a 
Senate divorced from a direct popular vote. This was 
a step calculated to hamper progress at every turn, and at 
critical moments to intensify those very antagonisms 
which it was Gambetta's intention, no doubt, to compose 
entirely, or at any rate to mitigate. Clemenceau did not 
view the matter from Gambetta's point of view. The 
Monarchists and Buonapartists were the domestic enemy, 
as the Germans had been and might be again the foreign 
enemy. The only sound policy for strengthening the 



THE TIGER 83 

Republic to resist both was to favor those measures polit- 
ical and social which would make that Republic, which 
they had established with so much difficulty and at such 
great cost, a genuinely democratic Republic. Any sur- 
render to the reactionists and the clericals must inevitably 
dishearten those parties, now shown to be the majority 
of the whole French people, who were for the Republic 
and the Republic alone. Opportunism also gave the anti- 
democrats and intriguers a false notion of their own 
power, virtually helped them to carry on their under- 
ground agitations for a change of the new constitution, 
and provided them in the undemocratic Senate with a 
political force that might be turned to their own pur- 
pose. 

It was more important all through, thought Clemen- 
ceau, to inspire your own side with confidence than to 
placate your opponents by half-measures. It was, in 
fact, not enough to eject officials who were known to be 
hostile to the Republic; it was still more essential to give 
such shape to the political forms and so vivify political 
opinion that even the most unscrupulous officials could 
not turn them to the account of reaction. Both steps 
were necessary to carry out a thorough democratic pro- 
gram. In fact, the whole scheme of administration in 
France could not be permanently improved merely by 
substituting one set of bureaucrats for another. Much 
more drastic measures of a peaceful character were indis- 
pensable, and these Opportunism thwarted. Gambetta 
may not have given up his desire to carry these Radical 
measures in 1877 ^^^ 1878: he still retained and ex- 
pressed his old opinions upon clericalism and its sinister 
influence. But he was no longer the vehement champion 
of the advanced party at Versailles, and the position which 



84 CLEMENCEAU 

he had abandoned Clemenceau took up and pushed fur- 
ther to the front. 

There was no matter on which the lines of cleavage 
between the Republicans and the reactionists were more 
definitely and clearly drawn than on the question of the 
amnesty of the Communists. No man in the Assembly 
was stronger in favor of their complete amnesty by law 
than Clemenceau. This he showed in 1876, and In his 
powerful advocacy of the release of the great agitator 
and conspirator Blanqui in 1879. Every reactionary and 
trimming man of moderate views was bitterly opposed 
to a policy of justice towards the victims of the whole- 
sale measures of repression formulated by M. Thiers 
and so frightfully carried out by General Galllfet and 
the Versailles troops in 1871. Even when measures of 
partial amnesty were passed, their application was nulli- 
fied as far as possible by Ministers. It was part of an 
organized policy to frighten the bourgeoisie and peasants 
into another Empire. The reprisals of the Bloody Week 
and the transportations to Cayenne and New Caledonia 
had not by any means fully satisfied the enemies alike 
of the Commune and the Republic. So Clemenceau and 
his friends never ceased their attacks upon M. Wadding- 
ton and others who took the rancorous conservative view 
of unceasing persecution of the men and women who, 
after all, were the first to declare the Republic. M. 
Waddlngton, as Premier, got a resolution passed by the 
Chamber in his favor. But this did not silence either 
Clemenceau^s friends or himself. Here, in fact, was a 
crucial case of his power of getting rid of an obnoxious 
Ministry even in the face of a Ministerial majority. The 
Tiger showed his claws and made ready to spring. But 
first he gave fair warning of his intentions. Nothing 



THE TIGER 85 

could be plainer than this: "Why has the Minister of 
Justice demanded a partial amnesty? Because he is 
anxious that the country should not forget the horrors 
of the Commune. But then, if you do not wish it to 
forget the horrors of the Commune, why do you desire 
that those who have been condemned should forget the 
horrors of its repression? Because for eight long years 
we have kept under cover the abominable facts at our 
disposal, you have thought yourselves in a position to 
trample on us I You say: We shall not forget the hos- 
tages and the conflagrations. Very well. I who speak 
here tell you: If you forget nothing, your opponents 
will remember too." 

The speech from which that passage Is an excerpt was 
regarded as a distinct menace on Clemenceau's part. It 
was followed up by the extreme Left with a series of in- 
terruptions, interrogations and denunciations which ended 
in the retirement of M. Waddington. He had his ma- 
jority but he had no Clemenceau. So out went Wadding- 
ton and his colleagues. In came M. Freycinet — "the 
white mouse." "We have had," said Clemenceau's organ, 
La Justice^ "in the Waddington cabinet a Dufaure cabi- 
net without M. Dufaure. To-day we have a Wadding- 
ton cabinet without M. Waddington. It is a botch upon 
a botch." A nice welcome for M. Freycinet! A pleas- 
ing congratulation for the President, M. Grevy! The 
administration was regarded as a political monstrosity. 
It had two heads, M. Freycinet and M. Jules Ferry, one 
looking to the right and the other to the left. The friends 
of Freycinet could not stand Ferry: the friends of Ferry 
abhorred Freycinet. This new political marriage not 
only began but went on with mutual aversion. It stood 
at the mercy, therefore, of Clemenceau, who was less 



86 CLEMENCEAU 

inclined to be merciful since the Premier declared him- 
self bitterly hostile to the plenary amnesty proposed by 
the famous old Republican, M. Louis Blanc. Also on 
account of clerical tendencies. Out goes Freyclnet, there- 
fore, in his turn, and in comes M. Jules Ferry, with vari- 
ous clerical, educational and other troubles of his own 
hatching to clear up. Ministries, in short, were going 
in and out on the dial of Presidential favor like the figures 
of a Dutch clock. Clemenceau was getting his claws 
well into the various political personages all the time. 
As none of them had any blood to lose in the shape of 
principles there was no great harm done — except to the 
Republic! It was the perpetual immolation of a saw- 
dust brigade. A keen critic of the period said of the 
Ferry Ministry — which was beaten on its proposal to 
postpone on behalf of education the reform of the magis- 
tracy and all that this carried with it in regard to the 
amnesty — that it wished to die before it lived. Down it 
went for the moment, and returned to place out of breath 
and half-ruined. But there the Ministry still was, and 
that by itself was something in those days of political 
topsy-turveydom, with Clemenceau and his party ever 
ready to assert themselves. 

Thus the Republic stumbled rather than marched on, 
from the date of Marshal MacMahon's resignation and 
the installation of M. Grevy as President up to the period 
of the declaration of July 14th, in remembrance of July 
14th, 1789, and the Fall of the Bastille, as the fete day 
of the Republic after the passage of a practically com- 
plete amnesty. This was really a great triumph for all 
Republicans, as it put the Republic In Its true historic 
relation to the past, the present and the future. With 
such a national fete day, with the certainty that Repub- 



THE TIGER 87 

llcans, if they chose to keep united, could always com- 
mand a large majority In the Assembly, the elections of 
1 88 1 might well have been a first step towards a thorough 
political and social reorganization of the Republic. Un- 
fortunately there were several causes of disunion. Presi- 
dent of the Assembly though he was, and therefore ex- 
cluded by his position as well as by M. Grevy's prejudice 
against him from coming into immediate competition 
with M. Ferry for the Premiership, Gambetta was ac- 
tively supporting the scrutin de listen or political appeal 
to the whole country, against scrutin d^arrondissement, 
or local elections. This was regarded as a bid on his 
part for a clear Parliamentary dictatorship. Already on 
October 20th, 1880, Clemenceau had denounced the hero 
of the dictatorship of despair of 1871, fine as his effort 
had then been, as aiming at personal power ten years 
later. A victory at the polls gained through scrutin de 
liste would probably ensure him success in this venture. 

Nevertheless, In spite of open and secret opposition, 
Gambetta had sufficient influence to carry the scrutin de 
liste through the National Assembly. But with the curi- 
ous Irony of fate he was defeated by a majority of 32 in 
the Senate which he himself had been so largely Instru- 
mental in forcing upon the Republic ! This was on June 
9th, 1 88 1. Three months before, M. Barodet had 
brought forward a resolution backed by 64 deputies 
which, If carried, would have abolished the equality of 
rights between the Senate and the National Assembly, 
would have withdrawn the right of the former to dis- 
solve Parliament, would have made the Chamber perma- 
nent like the Senate, would have modified the system of 
election of the second House ; would have prevented the 
reenactment of the scrutin de liste by again making the 



88 CLEMENCEAU 

electoral law for the Deputies part of the Constitution; 
and lastly would have summoned a Constituent Assembly 
In order to carry out these reforms. This whole project 
was discussed In the Assembly on May 31st. There was 
no mistake about Clemenceau's attitude. He formulated 
a vigorous Indictment against the Constitution of 1875 
and attacked the Senate with great violence. The Con- 
stitution of 1875 was, he declared, a powerful weapon 
of war expressly forged for use against the Republic. 
The Senate with Its antl-democratlc method of election 
was a permanent danger to the State. It was not In any 
sense an element of stability but an element of resistance. 
"What Is the use of talking of a brake on the machine or 
a weight to counterbalance popular opinion? Does not 
universal suffrage provide Its own brake, Its own regu- 
lator?" This time, however, Clemenceau missed his 
coup. M. Barodet's motion was rejected and the con- 
servative Republic rumbled on comfortably, though Clem- 
enceau shortly afterwards very nearly toppled M. Ferry's 
Cabinet over, the Ministers only securing a vote in their 
favor by a majority of 13 by their own votes. 

Looking back to that period when the whole Constitu- 
tion seemed almost certain to go into the melting-pot and 
come out again in' a thoroughly democratic shape. It is 
remarkable to notice how. In spite of the efforts of Clem- 
enceau, M. Naquet and other democrats, the Republic 
of compromise has steadily adhered to its old machinery. 
Why the cumbrous and often reactionary Senate, elected 
in such wise as to exclude democratic influence, should 
have been maintained for more than forty years is diffi- 
cult to explain. But nations, as our own belated and un- 
manageable Constitution proves, when once they have 
become accustomed to a form of government, are very 



THE TIGER 89 

slow Indeed to adapt it to rapidly changing economic and 
social developments. This, it may be said, suits the Eng- 
lish turn of mind with its queer addiction to perpetual 
compromise. But the French are logical and apparently 
restless. Yet their Constitution remains an unintelligible 
muddle. Their real conservatism overrides their revolu- 
tionary tendencies except in periods of great perturba- 
tion. Thus the Opportunist Republic of Gambetta, which 
ought to have been a mere makeshift, has held on, with 
partial revision, for more than forty years. Fear of the 
monarchists on one side and of the Communists, after- 
wards the Socialists, on the other has kept Humpty- 
Dumpty up on his wall. 

The elections of 1881, conducted as they were amid 
much excitement, gave the Republicans of all parties a 
crushing majority — a majority in the Assembly greatly 
out of proportion even to the total vote. There were 
five millions of votes for Republicans against 1,700,000 
for the various sections of monarchists. The Republican 
deputies in the Chamber, however, numbered 467 to 
only 90 ^'conservatives." According to the returns, this 
was a victory for the Government and its chief, M. Jules 
Ferry, especially as the Prime Minister had arrived at 
some understanding with Gambetta, who at this time had 
become extremely unpopular with the democracy of Paris. 
But those who were of this opinion reckoned without 
the question of Tunis and, above all, without taking 
account of the difficulty of facing the criticisms of the 
irreconcilable Clemenceau. Clemenceau had always op- 
posed a policy of colonial adventure. This of Tunis was 
from his point of view not only adventurous but danger- 
ous. Tunis had been offered to France in an indefinite 
way at the Peace-wIth-Honor Congress of Berlin In 1878. 



90 CLEMENCEAU 

But the policy of expansion pushed on by financial in- 
trigues did not take shape at once. When it did it was 
serious enough, for France not only had to deal with 
troubles in Algeria itself, with the natural opposition of 
the Bey of Tunis to French interference and annexa- 
tion, but Italy took umbrage at the advance, regarding 
Tunis as specially her business, Turkey was by no means 
favorable, and there was even a possibility that Germany 
might stir up trouble for purposes of her own. More- 
over the whole business had been extremely ill-managed, 
not only by the Government itself but by M. Albert Grevy, 
the brother of the President, who was the Governor-Gen- 
eral of Algeria. This personage, on account of his Presi- 
dential connections, could neither be censured nor re- 
placed. So credits were asked for, troops were moved, 
a railway concession granted — everything as usual, in 
short, when annexation Is being prepared. 

Clemenceau quite rightly denounced the whole mis- 
chievous business as the policy of Intriguers and pluto- 
crats, and demanded an inquiry into the affair from the 
first. He did not measure his phrases at all. French 
blood and French money, sadly needed at home, were 
being wasted abroad. M. Ferry, to do him justice, fought 
hard for his policy of colonization by force of arms. 
His attacks upon the extremists who criticized him did not 
lack point or bitterness. Discharged officials from the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and returned Communards 
from Noumea who composed the public meetings and 
irregular assizes that condemned him, M. Ferry, "as 
is fitting, kicked aside with his boot.'* As to Clemenceau, 
if he had allowed matters to take their own course in 
Tunis, what a tornado of malediction would have raged 
around them from that orator! *'I can hear even now 



THE TIGER 91 

the philippics of the honorable M. Clemenceau/' Clem- 
enceau did not get the inquiry he demanded^. But on No- 
vember loth M. Ferry retired, so badly had he been 
mauled in the fray. It was a win, that is to say, for Clem- 
enceau, who by his speech on November 9th again over- 
threw the Government in spite of the cordial support 
of Gambetta. What made this victory of Clemenceau 
and the extreme Left the more astounding was the fact 
that the Treaty concluding the "first pacification" of 
Tunis had been confirmed on May 23rd by a majority 
of 430 to I. Clemenceau was that one. Six months later, 
therefore, he had his revenge. The expedition de 
vacanceSf which had developed into a guerre de conquete, 
cost M. Jules Ferry his Premiership, notwithstanding this 
unheard-of majority. The Tiger at work indeed! 

So now at last, in spite of M. Grevy's ungrateful con- 
duct towards him, In spite likewise of the rejection of the 
scrutin de liste, Gambetta became President of the Coun- 
cil instead of President of the Chamber. He was still at 
this time in the eyes of all foreigners the most eminent 
living French statesman. In England particularly his 
accession to office was received with jubilation In official 
circles. It meant, so said Liberals like Sir Charles Dilke, 
who were then in power, a permanently close understand- 
ing between France and England, a joint settlement of the 
troublesome and at times even threatening Egyptian ques- 
tion, as well as a fair probability of the arrangement of 
other thorny problems between the two countries. But 
in order to accomplish all this Gambetta must carry the 
Assembly, the Senate and the bulk of his countrymen with 
him, and control a solid Republican party, even if Clem- 
enceau and his squadrons still hung upon his flank. Gam- 
betta, however, had shaken the confidence of the country. 



92 CLEMENCEAU 

It was no longer Clemenceau and his friends only who 
accused him of aiming at supreme dictatorial power. 
The public in general suspected him too. Nor did his 
immediate friends, either old or young, do much to de- 
stroy this unfortunate Impression. 

Truth to tell, Gambetta was not the man he had been 
a few years before. He looked fat, even bloated, un- 
healthy and sensual. His magnificent frame had under- 
gone deterioration. A brilliant French journalist cruelly 
comparing him to Vitellius, as a man of gluttony and de- 
bauchery combined, summed up his career against that of 
the extraordinary Roman general and Emperor who had 
played so many parts successfully, as soldier in the field 
and as courtier in the palace, and wound up in derision 
of Gambetta with the terrible phrase, ^^le te demande 
pardon, Cesar F^ And over against this self-indulgent and 
fiery man of genius was a very different personage, who 
had taken up the role which had once been that of the 
great tribune of the French people. Spare, alert, vigor- 
ous, always In training, despising ease and never taken 
by surprise; equal, as he had just shown, to fighting a 
lone hand victoriously, yet never despising help in his 
battles even from the most unexpected quarters — what 
chance had Gambetta against such a terrible opponent as 
Clemenceau? None whatever. Down he went, after 
a Premiership of but sixty-six days. Many believe that, 
finding the situation too complicated, and relying still 
upon obtaining the scrutin de liste later — as indeed came 
about some time after his death — Gambetta deliberately 
rode for a fall. Certain it is that M. Spiiller, who had 
Gambetta's complete confidence, gave this explanation 
of his Intentions three weeks before his defeat in the 
Assembly. 



THE TIGER 93 

Gambetta, with all his great reputation, being over- 
thrown, straightway his old Secretary of 1871, de Frey- 
clnet, came again to the front. The affairs of Egypt, 
always with Clemenceau's genial assistance, made short 
work of him. The Anglo-French Condominium having 
fallen through and England having thought proper to 
suppress a people ^'rightly struggling to be free," de 
Freycinet was anxious to reassert the claims of France 
in Egypt after a fashion which threatened unpleasant-^ 
ness with Great Britain. Whatever Clemenceau may have 
thought privately of English policy at this juncture, he 
would have none of that. His arguments convinced the 
Assembly that French intervention in Egypt against Eng- 
land would be dangerous and unsuccessful. France, said 
Clemenceau, had neither England's advantages nor Eng- 
land's direct interests in Egypt. France is a continental, 
not a great sea power. Her apprehensions are from the 
East. Do nothing which may drive England into the / 
arms of Germany. / 

What was much worse, the same colonial expansion 
which had been carried out in Tunis was now followed 
up in Tonquin, Annam and Madagascar, at great ex- 
pense and to little or no advantage. Clemenceau still 
opposed this entire policy on principle. Ferry thought 
France would recompense herself for the disasters of 
1870-71 by these adventures: Clemenceau was absolutely 
convinced to the contrary. "Why risk $100,000,000 on ! 
remote expeditions when we have our entire industrial 
mechanism to create, when we lack schools and country j 
roads? To build up vanquished France again we must I 
not waste her blood and treasure on useless enterprises. 
But there are much higher reasons even than these for | 
abstaining from such wars of depredation. It is all an 



94 CLEMENCEAU 

abuse, pure and simple, of the power which scientific 
civilization has over primitive civilization to lay hold 
upon man as man, to torture him, to squeeze everything 
he has in him out of him for the profit of a civilization 
which itself is a sham.'' There could be no sounder sense, 
no higher morality, no truer statesmanship than that. 
Clemenceau had aspirations that France should lead the 
world, not by unjustifiable conquests over semi-civilized 
populations, but by displaying at home those great quali- 
ties which she undoubtedly possesses. His attacks were 
inspired, therefore, not by personal animosity against 
Jules Ferry or any other politician, but against a megalo- 
mania that was harmful to his country and the world. 
Unfortunately, Clemenceau could not this time persuade 
the Assembly or his countrymen to recognize the dangers 
and disadvantages of expansion by conquest in the Far 
East, until the disaster of Lang Sen and the demand for 
additional credits enabled him to push the perils of such 
a policy right home. Then M. Ferry was once more dis- 
charged, practically at Clemenceau's behest. 

So matters went on, Clemenceau striving his utmost, 
in opposition, to enforce the genuine democratic policy of 
abstention from Imperialism abroad and strengthening 
of the forces of the Republic at home which the successive 
Opportunist Administrations in power refused to accept. 
In each and every case, Tunis, Tonquin, Annam, Mada- 
gascar and Egypt, he considered first, foremost and all 
the time what would most benefit Frenchmen in France, 
and refused to be led astray by any will-o'-the-wisps of 
Eastern origin, however gloriously they might disport 
themselves under the sun of finance. But now came a still 
more awkward matter close at home. There are not the 
same facilities for shutting down inquiries into the finan- 



THE TIGER 95 

clal peccadilloes or corrupt malversations of public men 
in France as there are in England. Monetary scandals 
will out, though political blunderings may be glossed over, 
as in the cases of the Due de Broglie, M. Jules Ferry and 
M. Albert Grevy. The President, M. Grevy, was very 
unfortunate in his relations. His brother, the Governor- 
General of Algeria, had shown himself dreadfully incom- 
petent in that capacity. But M. de Freycinet, M. Jules 
Ferry and the whole Ministerial set had entered into a 
conspiracy of silence and misrepresentation, throwing 
the blame of his mistakes upon anybody but the Governor- 
General himself, in order to uphold the dignity of the 
President quite uninjured. Now, however, the Presi- 
dent's son-in-law, M. Wilson, was found out in very 
ignoble transactions. He was actually detected in the 
flagitious practice of trading in decorations, the Legion of 
Honor and the like, not for what are considered on this 
side of the Channel as perfectly legitimate purposes, the 
furtherance, namely, of Party gains or Ministerial ad- 
vantages, but in order to increase his own income. The 
thing became a public scandal. Those who could not af- 
ford to buy the envied distinctions were specially incensed. 
But out of regard for the President, out of consideration 
for their personal advancement in the future, because 
when you start this sort of thing you must know how far 
it will go, because other Ministers in and out of office had 
had relations of their own addicted to similar trading in 
other directions — for all these reasons, good and bad, 
nobody cared to take the matter up seriously. 

Nobody, that is to say, except that tiger Clemenceau. 
He actually thought that the honor of the Republic was 
at stake in the business: was of opinion that a President 
should be more careful than other people in keeping the 



96 CLEMENCEAU 

doubtful characters of men and women of his own house- 
hold under restraint. And he not only thought but spoke 
and acted. M. Rouvier, who was then Premier, felt, him- 
self bound to stand by the President and exculpated him 
from any share in the affair. This made matters worse. 
For M. Grevy, when the whole transaction was fully de- 
bated, could not withstand the pressure of public opinion 
against him; Clemenceau carried his point and the Presi- 
dent resigned. Thereupon M. Rouvier thought it incum- 
bent upon him to retire too, though Clemenceau took 
pains to tell him that this was a concern purely personal 
to the President and not a political issue at all. There 
were consequently a Presidential Election and a new Min- 
istry at the same time. So great was Clemenceau's in- 
fluence at this juncture that although three of the most 
prominent politicians in the Republic were eager for the 
post, he, out of fear of the election of the irrepressible 
expansionist M. Ferry, persuaded the electors to favor 
the appointment of the able and cool but popularly almost 
unknown M. Sadi-Carnot — who turned out, it may be 
said, quite an admirable President up to his outrageous 
assassination. 

By this time Clemenceau had fully justified his claim 
to the distinction of being the most formidable and re- 
lentless political antagonist known In French public life 
since the great Revolution. As he would never take office 
himself and was moved by few personal animosities, he 
stood outside the lists of competers for place. He had 
definite Radical Republican principles and during all 
these years he acted up to them. He was throughout 
opposed, as I have said, to compromise. He fought It 
continuously all along the line. Moreover, he had a pro- 
found contempt for politicians who were merely poll- 



THE TIGER 97; 

ticians. "I have combated," he said, *'Ideas, not persons. 
In my fight against Republicans I have always respected 
my party. In the heat of the conflict I have never lost 
sight of the objects we had In common, and I have ap- 
pealed for the solidarity of the whole against the common 
enemy of all." 

As, also, he triumphantly declared In a famous oration 
against those who were engaged In sneering at Parlia- 
mentary Government and the tyranny of words, he was 
ever in favor of the greatest freedom of speech, and even 
stood up for the commonplace debates which often must 
have terribly bored him. "Well, then, since I must tell 
you so, these discussions which astonish you are an honor 
to us all. They prove conclusively our ardor In defense 
of ideas which we think right and beneficial. These dis- 
cussions have their drawbacks: silence has more. Yes, 
glory to the country where men speak, shame on the coun- 
try where men hold their tongues ! If you think to ban 
under the name of parliamentarism the rule of open dis- 
cussion, mind this, It Is the representative system. It Is 
the Republic itself against whom you are raising your 
hand." 

A great Parliamentarian, a great political Radical was 
Clemenceau the Tiger of 1877 to 1893. He, more than 
any other man, prevented the Republic from altogether 
deteriorating and kept alive the spirit of the great French 
Revolution m the minds and in the hearts of men. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE RISE AND FALL OF BOULANGER 

THE relations of Clemenceau to General Boulanger 
form an important though comparatively brief epi- 
sode in the career of the French statesman. Boulanger 
was Clemenceau's cousin, and in his dealings with this 
ambitious man he did not show that remarkable skill 
and judgment of character which distinguished him in 
regard to Carnot and Loubet, whose high qualities Clem- 
enceau was the first to recognize and make use of in the 
interest of the Republic. Boulanger was a good soldier 
in the lower grades of his profession, and owed his 
first important promotion to the Due d'Aumale. This 
patronage he acknowledged with profound gratitude and 
even servility at the time ; but repaid later, when he turned 
Radical, by what was nothing short of treacherous perse- 
cution of the Orleanist Prince. Boulanger went even 
so far as to deny that he had ever expressed his obliga- 
tions to the Duke for aid in his profession, a statement 
to which the publication of his own letters at once gave 
the lie. 

The General was, in fact, vain, ostentatious and un- 
scrupulous. But having gained popularity among the 
rank and file of the French army by his good manage- 
ment of the men under his command and his sympathy 
with their grievances, he was appointed Director of In- 
fantry, and in that capacity introduced several measures 

98 



THE RISE AND FALL OF BOULANGER 99 

of military reform and suggested more. A little later, 
circumstances led him into close political harmony with 
the Radicals and their leader. At this juncture Clemen- 
ceau seemed to have convinced himself that good use 
could be made of the General, who owed his first great 
advance to Orleanist favor, without any danger to the 
Republic. Having, as usual, upset another short-lived 
Cabinet, he therefore exercised his influence to secure 
his relation the post of War Minister In the new 
Administration of M. de Freycinet. This was In January, 
1886. At first Boulanger was true to his Radical friends 
and carried out the program of army reforms agreed 
upon between himself and Clemenceau, thus justifying that 
statesman's choice and support. The general treatment 
of the French conscript was taken in hand. His food 
was improved, his barrack discipline rendered less harsh, 
his relations to his oflicers made more human, his spirit 
raised by better prospects of a future career. All this 
was good service to the country at a critical time and 
should have redounded to the credit of the Radical Party 
far more than to Boulanger's own glorification. This, 
however, was not the case. All the credit was given to 
the General himself. Hence immense personal influence 
from one end of the country to the other. 

Practically every family in France was beneficially af- 
fected, directly or indirectly, by Boulanger's measures of 
military reform, and thanked the brave General for what 
had been done. Not a young man in the army, or out of 
it, but felt that his lot, when drawn for service, or actually 
serving, had been made better by the War Minister him- 
self. So It ever Is and always has been. The Individual 
who gives practical expression to the Ideas which are 
forced upon him by others Is the one who Is regarded as 



loo CLEMENCEAU 

the real benefactor: the real workers, as in this instance 
Clemenceau and his friends, are forgotten. 

One of the incidents which helped to enhance Bou- 
langer's great popularity was what was known as the 
Schnabele affair. This person was a French commissary 
who crossed the French frontier into Alsace-Lorraine to 
carry out some local business with a similar German offi- 
cial which concerned both countries. He was arrested 
by the German military authorities as not being in pos- 
session of a passport. This action may possibly have 
been technically justifiable, but certainly was a high- 
handed proceeding conducted in a high-handed way. At 
that time France was constantly feeling that she was in an 
inferior position to Germany, and her statesmen were 
slow to resent small injuries, knowing well that France 
was still in no position to make head against the great 
German military power, still less to avenge the crushing 
defeats of 1870-71. When, therefore, Boulanger took 
a firm stand in the matter and upheld in a very proper 
way the dignity of France, the whole country felt a sense 
of relief. France, then, was no longer a negligible quan- 
tity in Europe. M. de Bismarck could not always have 
his way, and Boulanger stood forth as the man who under- 
stood the real spirit of his countrymen. That was the 
sentiment which did much to strengthen the General 
against his opponents when he began to carry out a purely 
personal policy. He had inspired the whole nation with 
a sense of its own greatness. 

He was then the most popular man in the country. He 
stood out to the people at large as a patriotic figure with 
sound democratic sympathies and an eminent soldier who 
might lead to victory the armies of France. 

Thenceforth Boulanger gradually became a personage 



THE RISE AND FALL OF BOULANGER loi 

round whom every kind of social and reactionary influence 
and intrigues of every sort were concentrated. To cap- 
ture the Imposing figure on the black horse, to fill him 
with grandiose ideas of the splendid part he could play, 
If only he would look at the real greatness and glory 
of his country through glasses less tinted with red than 
those of his Radical associates, to Inspire him with con- 
ceptions of national unity and sanctified religious patriot- 
ism which should bring France, the France of the grand 
old days, once more Into being, with himself as its noble 
leader — this was the work which the fine ladies of the 
Boulevard St. Germain, hand In hand with the Catholic 
Church, Its priests and the cultivated reactionaries gen- 
erally, set themselves to accomplish. From this time on- 
wards the mot d'ordre to back Boulanger went round the 
salons. Legitimists, Orleanists and Buonapartlsts were, 
on this matter, temporarily at one. Each section hoped 
at the proper moment to use the possible dictator for 
the attainment of Its own ends. Thus Boulanger was 
diverted from the Radical camp and weaned from Radi- 
cal Ideas even during his period as War Minister In M. de 
Freycinet's Cabinet. So subtle Is the influence of '*so- 
clety" and ecclesiastical surroundings upon some natures, 
so powerful the effect of refined and charming conversa- 
tion and genial flattery delicately conveyed, that men of 
far stronger character than Boulanger have now and 
then succumbed to It. Only devotion to principle or 
ruthless personal ambition can hold Its own against such 
a combination of insidious forces dexterously employed — 
and women of the world and Jesuits are both very dex- 
terous — when once the individual to be artistically tre- 
panned permits himself to be experimented upon. Bou- 
langer, though not devoid of cleverness, was at bottom 



102 CLEMENCEAU 

that dangerous description of designing good fellow who 
all the time means well ; and he fell a victim to the delight- 
ful women and clever adventurers around him. He him- 
self was probably not aware that he had passed over to 
the enemy until the irresistible logic of events and his 
changed relations with his old friends proved to him how 
far he had gone. 

M. Rouvier, a shrewd and cynical politician of the 
financial school, saw through the General, understood 
how dangerous he might become, and refused to accept 
the ex-Minister of War into the Cabinet he formed on 
the fall of Freycinet. But Boulanger had now so far 
established himself personally that neither a political 
check nor even general ridicule affected his career. Even 
his duel with M. Floquet, a farce in which General Bou- 
langer made himself the clown, could not shake him. 
Floquet was a well-known Radical of those days, who 
had been a fellow-member of the League of the Rights 
of Man with Clemenceau at the time of the Commune. 
Boulanger was a soldier, accustomed to the use of arms 
all his life, and reported to be a good fencer. Floquet, 
quite unlike his old friend of years before, scarcely knew 
which end of his weapon to present to his opponent, so 
inexperienced was he in this sort of lethal exercise. 
When, therefore, the duel between the two men was ar- 
ranged, the only point discussed was how small an injury 
would Boulanger, in his generosity, deign to inflict upon 
his Radical antagonist, in order that the seconds might 
declare that "honor is satisfied.'' No doubt Clemenceau 
himself, who acted as one of Floquet's seconds on this 
occasion, took that view of the matter. 

What actually occurred was quite ludicrous. Floquet, 
duly instructed thereto by his own friends, stood, good 



THE RISE AND FALL OF BOULANGER 103 

harmless bourgeois as he was, like a waxwork figure, 
with his rapier stuck out at arm's length straight in front 
of him. No science there. But there was still less on 
the other side. Boulanger, to the amazement of Clemen- 
ceau and everybody on the ground, in what appeared to 
be a sudden stroke of madness, immediately rushed at 
Floquet and his rigid skewer and, without any such elabo- 
rate foolishness as the laws of fence enjoin, carefully spit- 
ted his own throat on the point of Floquet's weapon. 
Honor was thus satisfied and ridicule began. But ridicule 
did not kill. 

No sooner was Boulanger cured of his self-inflicted 
wound than he went on much as he did before. Having 
ceased to be Minister for War, he was sent down to com- 
mand an army corps at Clermont-Ferrand. According 
to all discipline, and regulations duly to be observed by 
generals at large, this kept the man appointed out of 
Paris. Not so Boulanger. He visited the capital at least 
twice. Thereupon, he was deprived of his command and 
his name was removed from the Army List. That, by the 
rules of war and politics, ought to have finished him. 
But it didn't. The Radicals and Republicans had still no 
Idea what an ugly Frankenstein they had created for them- 
selves. True, Clemenceau had declared definitely against 
his own protege the moment he saw the line he was tak- 
ing; but he underrated entirely the position to which 
Boulanger had attained, not only among the reactionaries 
but In the hearts and minds of the French people. For 
Boulanger, now gifted with a free hand, went into the 
political arena at once, and was a candidate simultane- 
ously for the Nord and the Dordogne: provincial dis- 
tricts with, of course, a totally different sort of electorate 
from that of the capital, where the brav^ General with his 



104 CLEMENCEAU 

fine figure on horseback was already the hero of the 
Parisians. He was elected and sat for the Nord. 

Still Clemenceau, far-seeing and sagacious as he gen- 
erally is in his judgment of. political events and personal 
character, failed to appreciate what his cousin had drifted 
into rather than had deliberately worked for. Nor per- 
haps did he estimate highly enough either the cleverness 
or the unscrupulousness of the men and women who were 
backing him. Certain it is that, although Boulangism 
was now becoming a powerful political cult, Clemenceau 
and other advanced men, such as my old friend Paul 
Brousse, President of the Paris Municipal Council, were 
still of opinion that Boulanger was going down rather 
than up. It was a mistake that might have cost not only 
the Radicals but the French Republic as a whole very 
dear. For the General had the qualities of his defects. 
Agreeable, good-natured, frank, accessible and friendly 
to all who approached him, with enough ability to gauge 
fairly well what was going on around him, loving dis- 
play for its own sake, and ever ready to pose in dignified 
and pleasing attitude before a populace by no means 
averse from well-managed advertisement, while not ap- 
parently bent upon forcing his own will or dictatorship 
upon the country — Boulanger, both before and after his 
election for the Nord, was much more formidable than 
he looked to those who only measured his power from 
the standpoint of wide intelligence. This the rather be- 
cause there was no lack of money to push his pretensions 
to high place. 

Boulanger came to the front also at a time when the 
bourgeois Republic — owing to the weakness, incapacity 
and instability of the bourgeois politicians themselves — 
was discredited and was believed to be tottering. Clem- 



THE RISE AND FALL OF BOULANGER 105 

enceau's own unceasing campaign against widespread 
abuses and Incapable Ministers was largely responsible 
for this. There was a general sense of Insecurity and 
unsettlement, engendered by the fall of Administration 
after Administration, due to political or financial pro- 
ceedings of doubtful character, exposed and denounced 
by Clemenceau and the Radicals themselves. Some of 
the Radicals and Intellectuals even now supported Bou- 
langer as an alternative to perpetual upsets. Disgusted 
with lawyers, professional politicians and place-hunters 
of high and low degree, the people likewise were again 
on the look-out for a savior of France who should secure 
for them democracy without corruption, and honest lead- 
ership devoid of Socialism. The old story. In fact. 

At this particular moment, too, the organized forces 
in Paris, the army and the gendarmerie, were Boulanglsts 
almost to a man. The danger, therefore, of the Bou- 
langlst agitation now being carried on alike In Paris and 
In the Departments seemed to a looker-on to be growing 
more serious every day. This, however, continued not 
to be the view of Clemenceau and his party. They 
thought. In spite of the voting In the Nord and the Dor- 
dogne and the apparent popularity of the General In 
Paris, that the whole thing would prove a mere flash In 
the pan; that the good sense and Republican conserva- 
tism of the French people would display Itself when 
peril really threatened the Republic; and that Boulanger 
would be even less successful than the Due de Broglle. 
Then came the General Elections. . Boulanger was candi- 
date for Paris. Once more the obvious evidence of his 
great popularity was overlooked by the Clemenceau 
group, the Boulangist fervor went on unrecognized, and 
it seemed that it might depend upon the General himself 



io6 CLEMENCEAU 

at any moment — as indeed proved to be the case — 
whether he should follow In the footsteps of Louis Napo- 
leon and accomplish a successful coup d^etat, or fall per- 
manently Into the background. But up to the last mo- 
ment his opponents could not believe that a general with 
no great military career behind him, a citizen with no 
great name to conjure with, a politician with no great 
program to attract voters, could win Paris or become 
master of France. 

The crisis really was the more acute since there was 
no rival personality, no Republican of admitted ability 
and distinction ready to stake his reputation against Bou- 
langer. Though Clemenceau, as the preparations for 
the election proceeded and Boulanger's growing strength 
became manifest, now did his utmost to stem the tide, 
there was no doubt that, falling a really powerful oppo- 
nent, Boulanger would hold the winning place at the 
close of the poll. He took up a bold position. He 
was the hero of the hour. The whole contest was ad- 
mirably stage-managed and advertised on his side. He 
rode through the city on his black horse, a fine figure of 
a man, full of confidence of victory, the halo of a coming 
well-earned triumph around him. It was universally 
felt that the previous votes of the provinces would be 
quite eclipsed by the vote of the capital. Parisians, peas- 
ants and miners, small owners and proletariat would for 
once be together. 

This was the unshaken opinion of his friends and fol- 
lowers, who seemed In those exciting days to have with 
them the great majority of the people. On the other 
side a wave of Incapacity seemed to be flooding the in- 
telligence of his opponents. Instead of putting forward 
a really representative man, either Republican or Social- 



THE RISE AND FALL OF BOULANGER 107 

1st, with a fine democratic record behind him, they made 
an absolutely contemptible choice for their champion. 
One Jacques, an obscure liquor-dealer, whom fiobody ever 
heard of before the election or gave a thought to after 
It, was chosen to fight for Paris against the General. 
This man had never done or said or written anything 
that anybody could remember, or would remember if 
he could. If no Radical Republican was ready to stand, 
Joffrin, an old member of the Commune and a skilled 
artisan most loyal to his principles, always returning at 
once to his trade when he failed to be elected for the 
National Assembly, would have been a far better and 
more worthy candidate in every way. The election then 
would have been a conflict between the enthusiasm of 
social revolution and the fervor of chauvinist reaction. 
As it was, the Boulangists could say and did say with 
truth that the General would represent the citizens of 
Paris much more genuinely than Jacques. The result of 
this error of tactics could have been foreseen from the 
first. General Boulanger won by a heavy majority. 

That evening saw the crisis of the whole Boulangist 
agitation. Such a victory at such a time called for imme- 
diate and decisive action. That was the universal opin- 
ion. A political triumph so dramatic and so conclusive 
could only find a fitting climax in the victor proclaiming 
himself to be a Cromwell, a Monk or a Napoleon. Noth- 
ing less was hoped for by the reactionists: nothing less 
was feared by the Republicans. The figures of the poll 
were welcomed with enthusiastic cheering all along the 
boulevards, and the Boulangist anthem, ^'En revenant 
de la Revue^^ was played from one end of Paris to the 
other. The ball was at the General's feet. He might 
have failed to win his goal, but all Paris expected he 



io8 CLEMENCEAU 

would make a good try for it. This meant that the very 
same night he should either go straight to the Elysee 
himself or make some bold stroke for which he had pre- 
pared beforehand, which would fire the imagination of 
the people. Such was the prevailing impression. The 
General celebrated his election for the City of Paris at 
dinner at Durand's famous restaurant, surrounded by his 
intimate supporters. The excitement, outside was tre- 
mendous. Hour after hour passed. Nothing was done, 
nothing apparently had been made ready. The strain 
of waiting became almost unbearable. The crowd grad- 
ually got weary of anticipating the opening of a drama 
whose prologue had so roused their expectations. At 
last, instead of staying to watch the first scenes of a revo- 
lution, they took themselves off quietly to bed. Bou- 
langer's chance of obtaining supremacy was gone. 

It was always said that, backed by the Radicals, and 
supported by the President, the Minister of the Interior, 
M. Constans, a most resolute and unscrupulous man, who 
was himself in the crowd outside the restaurant, was the 
main cause of this miserable fiasco. Strong precautions 
had been taken against any attempt at violence. Power- 
ful forces whose loyalty to the Republic was beyond ques- 
tion had been substituted for brigades of known Bou- 
langist tendencies. That M. Constans would not, under 
the conditions, have stuck at trifles was well known. He 
was kept at a distance from France for years afterwards, 
on account of his ugly character, in the capacity of French 
Ambassador at Constantinople, a city where at that time 
such a trifling peccadillo as murder was scarcely noticed. 
So Boulanger knew what to expect. Moreover, Clemen- 
ceau and the Radical Republicans, as well as Jaures and 
Socialists of every shade of opinion, had become thor- 



THE RISE AND FALL OF BOULANGER 109 

oughly alarmed by what they had heard and seen during 
the election, and would not have given way without a fight 
to the death. The jubilant group at Durand's, Intimi- 
dated by these assumed facts, and Boulanger with his 
lack of determination and easy self-indulgence, let the op- 
portunity slip. 

All sorts of excuses and explanations were made for 
the hesitation of the General to provoke civil war. But 
on that one night he should have made his position se- 
cure or have died in the attempt. Success was, so far 
as a foreigner on the spot could judge, quite possible. 
It might even have been achieved without any forcible 
action. There was no certainty that, when the move de- 
cided upon was actually made, either troops or the peo- 
ple would have sided against the hero of the day. But 
that hero failed to rise to the level of the occasion, and 
the result was fatal to the immediate prospects of him- 
self and his followers. A warrant was issued for his 
arrest and he ran away from Paris. He now became 
an object of pity rather than of alarm. He was con- 
demned in his absence, and not long afterwards his suicide 
on the grave of his mistress, in Brussels, ended his career. 
Thus the estimate which Clemenceau had formed of his 
permanent influence was justified. But it was a narrow 
escape. The three pretenders who had come to France 
to watch the final development soon found their way 
across the frontier. Nevertheless, General Boulanger, 
with all his weakness and hesitation, was for many months 
the most dangerous enemy the Republic ever faced. His 
downfall helped also to add to the number of Clemen- 
ceau's bitter enemies, and was partly instrumental in 
bringing about the political disaster which befell him 



no CLEMENCEAU 

later. For the Radicals who had been deceived by Bou- 
langer cherished animosity against the Radical leader for 
reasons which, though quite incompatible, were decisive 
for them. 



CHAPTER IX 

PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 

THE great Panama Canal Affair was only one of 
many financial scandals which seriously damaged 
the good fame of the French Republic, founded upon 
the fall of the Empire, and consecrated by the collapse 
of the Commune of Paris. But this Panama scandal was 
by far the most Important and most nefarious, alike In 
respect to the amount of money Involved, the position 
and character of the people mixed up In It, and the wide 
ramifications of wholesale corruption throughout the po- 
litical world that were In the end revealed. 

M. Ferdinand de Lesseps, the originator and organizer 
of the Suez Canal, was a man of quite exceptional ability, 
energy and force of character. He carried through his 
great project In the face of obstacles, political and finan- 
cial, that would certainly have broken the heart and frus- 
trated the purpose of a weaker personality. At no period 
did he show any disposition to keep the canal under harm- 
ful restrictions, and the Khedive Ismail Pasha, though 
a Turk of no scruples, who backed him throughout, also 
took a very wide view of the services which the canal 
would render to the world at large. It was to be neutral 
and open under the same conditions to the ships of all 
nations. Unfortunately, England, whose commerce has 
chiefly benefited by the canal, bitterly opposed its con- 
struction, going so far at one time as actually to prohibit 

III 



112 CLEMENCEAU 

the Khedive from carrying on the canal works In his 
own territory, thus occasioning considerable delay. As 
It happened, however, this delay Itself was turned by 
de Lesseps to the advantage of the Canal Company, as 
he used the time to create new engines for excavation 
which in the end expedited the completion of the water- 
way. 

The result of this Ignorant British opposition was that 
the finance of the great enterprise was chiefly provided In 
France, and when the canal was first opened in 1869 It 
was considered, as in fact It was, a triumph of French 
sagacity and foresight over the obstructionist jealousy 
of England. This view was accompanied also by natu- 
ral jubilation at the consequent Increase of French in- 
fluence in Egypt itself. Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, 
therefore, became a great French hero who, by his capac- 
ity, persistence and diplomacy, had not only gained glory 
for France and extended her power, but had also fur- 
nished his countrymen with an excellent investment for 
their savings on which British commerce was paying 
the interest. His popularity in France was well earned 
and unbounded. The work of de Lesseps was. In fact, 
regarded as the one great and indisputable success of 
the French Empire. Anything which he took In hand 
thereafter was certain to prove of great value to the 
country and an assured benefit to those who followed his 
financial lead. He was also a lucky man. He and his 
set had won against heavy odds. 

It is true the cost of the Suez Canal had been more 
than double his original estimate, even up to the time 
when it was first opened, and many millions sterling had 
been expended since; It was likewise the fact that his 
great idea had taken fully ten years to realize in the 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 113 

shape of a completed enterprise. But this was the larger 
tribute to his foresight, and power of overcoming ob- 
stacles, due either to natural causes or to the malignity 
of enemies. Thus Ferdinand de Lesseps, ten years after 
the Suez Canal had been made available for shipping 
between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, held an 
unequaled position In the eyes of French engineers, 
French bankers and, what was more important, French 
investors. 

Early in the year 1879 '^^ ^^ Lesseps, following the 
course adopted by him in the case of the Isthmus of Suez, 
called a Congress of the nations to consider the entire 
project of a Panama Canal. There was nothing new 
in the matter. The line of the canal had been surveyed 
by a capable French engineer nearly forty years before. 
The Congress estimated the actual cost of the construc- 
tion of the canal at about $125,000,000, or a little more 
than the highest sum thought sufficient by the English 
engineer of the Panama Railroad. But the mere figures 
are of little importance. That they were quite insuffi- 
cient, as the business was managed, has since been abun- 
dantly proved. But at first there Is no reason to believe 
that de Lesseps was other than quite straightforward. 
He had bought the concession for the canal from Mr. 
Buonaparte Wyse, who had acquired it from the United 
States of Colombia, through whose territory the canal 
as surveyed ran. That this concession Itself had pre- 
viously been found very difficult to finance In any shape 
was a matter of common knowledge; that also the canal, 
when constructed, might prove far less valuable In every 
way than was calculated for world commerce was the 
opinion of many skilled engineers. But then the same 
things had been said about Suez. So the French public 



114 CLEMENCEAU 

rushed In to subscribe the money required for the French 
Company Immediately formed by M. de Lesseps to ex- 
ploit the concession. 

The great name of de Lesseps covered the whole risk 
and rendered criticism quite useless. But the manage- 
ment of the excavation was wildly incapable and incon- 
ceivably extravagant. It was very soon discovered that 
the original estimates were absurdly at. variance with the 
cost of the real work to be done. The entire enterprise, 
as undertaken In 1884, was entered upon possibly in good 
faith, but in a wholly Irresponsible and ignorant manner. 
In spite of warnings as to the certainty of encountering 
exceptional obstacles, no steps were taken to provide 
against contingencies, to Inform the shareholders as to 
the position, or to revise the plans in accordance with 
the facts. The canal was Inspected by M. Rousseau at 
the end of 1885. This engineer gave a most unfavor- 
able report in regard to the excavations and constructions 
already carried out at vast expense, and the enormous 
additional sum needed to give any chance of completing 
the works. Instead of honestly facing this most unprom- 
ising situation and disclosing to the shareholders the real 
state of the case, or declaring that at least three times 
the amount would be required to bring the project to a 
satisfactory conclusion, and calling for this huge sum at 
once, the directors resorted to all the worst tactics of 
the unscrupulous promoter. This part of the matter 
went into the hands of M. Jacques Relnach and M. Cor- 
nelius Herz, names and persons afterwards covered with 
obloquy in connection with the whole affair. They set to 
work systematically, and were restrained by no incon- 
venient scruples. Strong political influence In both Cham- 
bers was ;ieeded In order to obtain the passing of the 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 115 

Panama Lottery Bill. Strong political influence was 
bought, though the Bill itself was not carried. From 
1885-86 onwards this wholesale bribery was continued 
on an enormous scale. 

The company was as careless of men's lives as it was 
of shareholders' money. Laborers from all parts of the 
world had been gathered together in what was then a 
deadly climate, without proper sanitation or reasonable 
medical attendance. Some time prior to the financial 
troubles it was known that such anarchy and horrors pre- 
vailed on the Isthmus that intervention by the French 
Government, or even by an international commission, 
was called for. Nothing but the great reputation of de 
Lesseps could possibly have upheld such a state of things, 
or have obtained more and still more money to perpetuate 
the chaos. Even when the truth as to the frightful mor- 
tality of the men employed and the incredible waste due 
to incompetence and corruption must have been known 
to the President of the Company (M. de Lesseps him- 
self) and his fellow-directors, when, likewise, they must 
have been convinced that the company was drifting into 
a hopeless position, they still appealed to their country- 
men for more and more and more money to throw into 
the bottomless quagmire at Panama, and sink of French 
savings in Paris, to which the whole company had been 
reduced. 

By the year 1888 no less than 1,400,000,000 francs 
had been expended in one way or another, while not one- 
third of the necessary work had been done. Of that 
$280,000,000 nominal amount not a few millions found 
their way into the pockets of deputies, senators, and 
even Academicians, to say nothing of commissions and 
brokerages of more or less legitimate character. 



ii6 CLEMENCEAU 

Politicians in France are no worse than politicians in 
other countries. But the proportion of well-to-do men 
among them is less than elsewhere. There was conse- 
quently a margin of them always on the look-out for an 
opportunity of adding to their income, and this margin 
was much larger in the National Assembly before pay- 
ment of members than it is to-day. For such men the 
Panama finance was a glorious opportunity. Nobody 
could suspect de Lesseps of being consciously a party to 
a fraud. To make a French venture like the Panama 
a great success, in spite of all difficulties, was a patriotic 
service. To receive good pay for doing good work was 
a happy combination of circumstances none the less grati- 
fying that, the work being honestly done, remuneration 
followed or preceded in hard cash. The extent to which 
this form of corruption was carried and the high level 
in the political world to which streams from the Panama 
Pactolus were forced up is only partially known even 
now. But so wide was the flow and so deep the stream 
that, when the outcry against the Company began in 
earnest, statesmen whose personal honor had never been 
challenged were afflicted with such alarm, on the facts 
being laid before them, that they did their very utmost 
to suppress full investigation. 

This, however, was not easy to accomplish. For there 
were no fewer than 800,000 French investors in the 
Panama Company. All of these were voters and all had 
friends. It became a question, therefore, whether it was 
more dangerous to the Republic and its statesmen — for 
personal as well as political considerations came in — to 
compel full publicity, or to hush the whole thing up as 
far as possible. Meanwhile, the public, and important 
journals not suspected of Panamism, took the whole 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 117 

thing down from the Cabinet and the Bureaux into the 
street. 

For the opponents of the Republic it was a fine opening. 
That enormous sums out of the $280,000,000 subscribed 
had been paid away to senators, deputies and Academi- 
cians for services rendered was certain. Who had got the 
money, and under what conditions? Imputations of the 
most sinister character were made all round. Paris rang 
with accusations of fraud. That more than a hundred 
deputies were concerned in Panama corruptions is a 
matter of common knowledge. One who was in a posi- 
tion to know all the facts declared that more than a 
hundred were mixed up in other nefarious transactions 
who used Panama to divert attention from their own 
malfeasances. However that may be, public opinion, ex- 
cited by the clamor and denunciations of eight hundred 
thousand shareholders and electors, clove to Panama. 
It became an instrument of political warfare as well as 
of personal delation. The obvious determination of 
Presidents Carnot and Loubet to prevent a clear state- 
ment from being Issued and the Directors prosecuted 
only rendered the sufferers more determined to get at 
the facts and wreak vengeance on somebody. 

There were two views as to Count de Lesseps — to 
give him his title, which had its value in the Affair — and 
his conduct In the Panama Canal Company. There were 
those who held that de Lesseps, beginning as an en- 
thusiast, and perhaps believing himself to be inspired in 
everything he undertook, no sooner found that his care- 
lessness, in disregarding real natural difficulties and in 
organizing the excavations on the spot, must result in 
failure unless he could obtain unlimited resources, and 
doubtful of ultimate success even then, began at once to 



ii8 CLEMENCEAU 

display the worst side of his character. The successful 
adventurer became, by degrees, the desperate gambler 
with the savings of his countrymen. Instead of regard- 
ing himself as the trustee of the people who, on the 
strength of his reputation and character, had risked their 
money, he deliberately shut his eyes to the real facts. 
He resorted to all the tricks of an unscrupulous charla- 
tan, misrepresented the truth In every respect and had no 
thought for any other consideration than to get In more 
funds. For this purpose he paraded the country, mak- 
ing the utmost use of his personal and social advantages, 
and losing no opportunity for unworthy advertisement. 
All this time he knew perfectly well that his enterprise 
was doomed. Consequently, there was little to choose 
between de Lesseps and Reinach, Herz and the rest of 
them, except that he was perhaps the greatest criminal 
of all. Such was the view taken of the promoter-in-chlef 
by lawyers and men of business who looked upon the 
whole matter as a venture standing by itself, to be judged 
by the ordinary rules of financial probity. 

On the other side a capable and influential minority 
regarded de Lesseps as an enthusiast, a man of high 
character and noble conceptions, quite devoid of the 
power of strict analysis of any matter presented to him, 
and destitute of common sense. His financial methods 
and commercial obliquities were due to his overweening 
confidence In his own judgment and faith in his good 
fortune to pull him through against all probabilities. 
The one great success he had achieved rendered him a 
man not to be argued with or considered on the plane of 
ordinary mortals. He saw the object he was aiming at, 
felt convinced he would accomplish It, regarded all who 
differed from him as Ignorant or malignant, and went 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 119 

straight ahead to get money — not for his own purposes 
but in order to carry out the second magnificent scheme to 
which he had committed himself. Corruption and mal- 
versation by others were no concern of his. 

President Sadi-Carnot, a cold, silent, upright man, 
little given to allow his feelings to inflame him at any 
time, warmly took this view of de Lesseps' character. 
M. Carnot had been brought into close contact with de 
Lesseps on another of his vast projects. The President, 
like many others, refused to look at the Panama matter 
from the point of view of fraud or imposture. Money 
was for de Lesseps always a means, never an end. When 
the whole matter was brought before him, and one of 
the legal personages whose duty it was to investigate the 
whole of the facts came to a very harsh conclusion as to 
de Lesseps' responsibility for the waste, corruption and 
malversation, M. Carnot said with some vivacity: "No, 
no; M. de Lesseps Is not a man of bad faith. I should 
rather consider him punctilious. Only his natural ve- 
hemence carries him away; he is a bad reasoner, and has 
no power of calculation. Hence many regrettable acts 
on his part, done without any intention of Injuring any- 
body. I knew him well, having seen him very close, when 
his imagination suggested to him the scheme for excavat- 
ing an Inland sea In Africa. A commission of engineers, 
of whom I was one, was appointed to hear him and study 
his proposal. We had no difficulty in showing that the 
whole thing was a pure chimera. He seemed very much 
astonished, and we saw that we had not convinced him. 
Take It from me as a certainty that he would have spent 
millions upon millions to create his sea, and that with 
the best of good faith In the world." 

This was probably the truth, so far as de Lesseps him- 



120 CLEMENCEAU 

self was personally concerned. Promoters, discoverers 
and inventors of genius are men of mighty faith in their 
respective enterprises. As a great anarchist once said 
of his own special nostrum for regenerating humanity at 
a blow: "All is moral that helps it, all is immoral that 
hinders It." So with de Lesseps. All was moral that 
got in money to construct his canal : all was immoral that 
checked the flow of cash to the Isthmus. But an en- 
thusiast of this temper, "without power of calculation," 
is a very dangerous man, not only to the subscribers to 
his shares, but to the Republican politicians who confined 
their enthusiasm to the acquisition of hard cash for use 
not in Panama but in Paris. 

In 1888 the Panama Canal Company collapsed, and 
the thing was put into liquidation. But that was not 
the end of it. All sorts of schemes were afoot for carry- 
ing on the works and completing the canal before the con- 
cession expired in 1893. Although, however, from the 
date of the breakdown onwards — when it was stated that 
fully $350,000,000 would be needed in addition to the 
amount already expended or frittered away to carry out 
the canal — most virulent attacks were continually made 
upon prominent politicians and financiers, as well as upon 
the Directors of the Company, neither the political nor 
the legal consequences of the disaster were felt to the full 
extent until four years later. Judicial investigations, it 
is true, were going on. But it was an open secret that, 
in spite of the losses and complaints of the shareholders, 
and the strong desire of the public that the whole vast 
transaction should be exposed in every detail, the 
anxiety of men in high place was to calm down natural 
feeling in the matter. What made this attitude more 
suspicious was the fact that the Government had certainly 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 121 

not shown Itself unfavorable to the scheme, but on the 
contrary had helped it, even when the gravest doubts had 
been thrown upon Its practicability, at a cost vastly ex- 
ceeding anything contemplated by the Company. In 
fact, an atmosphere of general distrust pervaded Paris 
and the whole of France. Yet Panama still had its 
friends, and it was believed that somehow or other the 
affair would be tided over. 

But there was a good deal more to come. Things, in 
fact, now took that dramatic turn which seems the rule 
in France with affairs which directly or indirectly in- 
fluence high politics and high finance. There were peo- 
ple who believed that the entire enterprise could be set 
on its legs, although parts of the recent excavations 
were deteriorating and some of them had been covered 
already with luxuriant tropical growths which one im- 
aginative critic spoke of as "forests.'' Either the Gov- 
ernment, they thought, could be forced to take up the 
enterprise itself, or at any rate would think it best, in 
view of what had already been done, to support de Les- 
seps in a fresh scheme, should the concession be renewed. 
This, no doubt, was the opinion of M. Gauthier, who 
urged the Government in the Assembly to appoint a 
commission to prepare plans for the completion of the 
canal. This, he declared, was the only means of safe- 
guarding the interests of the shareholders and the many 
hundreds of millions of francs sunk by poor French in- 
vestors in this great enterprise. 

Such a daring proposal necessarily raised the whole 
question of the responsibility for the serious engineering 
and financial fiasco. The Government was at once charged 
from several quarters, not as being answerable for past 
mistakes in supporting the Panama Company, but with 



122 CLEMENCFAU 

present obliquity in screening and protecting delinquents 
who should long since have been brought to justice. One 
deputy vehemently declared that the only reason why no 
adequate action was taken was that "men possessed of 
great names and high positions" checked any attempt to 
handle the scandal boldly. Other deputies declaimed 
with equal warmth against throwing good money after 
bad. Meanwhile rumors floated round the Chamber as 
to the number of deputies who had put their services at 
the disposal of the Company for money received. Later, 
this accusation took definite shape as a formal accusation 
that fifty deputies had received among them the sum 
of $600,000. Senators and Academicians were In the 
same galley. Exaggeration was Imputed, but the figures 
were proved afterwards to be less than the truth. Then 
everybody concerning whose position there could be the 
slightest doubt was accused of having ^'touched." 

Even MM. Rouvier and Floquet were taunted with 
having accepted large sums. The Chamber passed a 
resolution "calling for prompt and vigorous action 
against all who have Incurred responsibilities In the Pan- 
ama affair." This might mean anything or nothing. It 
was pointed out, however, bj a high authority that a 
judicial Inquiry was proceeding all the time. But the 
public became Impatient because nothing was done to 
stop the campaign of vilification on the one hand or to 
prosecute the Directors on the other; though de Lesseps 
was being denounced daily In the press as a fraudulent 
adventurer. Excitement ran very high. The sharehold- 
ers and some of the deputies cried aloud for justice. 

Matters being thus exceptionally perturbed, Baron 
Jacques Reinach, the chief agent in the manipulation of 
political corruption, committed suicide by apoplexy. That 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 123 

was the gruesome explanation given in the press of this 
financier's sudden death. His fellow Semite, Cornelius 
Herz, survived the tragedy. Just at this moment, when 
everybody thought that something must be done, the 
Panama Concession was extended for a year. The Pan- 
amists took heart again and believed all would blow over. 
So the ups and downs of public expectation went on. 

Then, quite suddenly and without any general notifica- 
tion, all the Directors of the Panama Canal Company, 
Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, M. C. de Lesseps, M. 
Fontane, M. Eiffel and M. Cottu, were formally charged 
in court with having resorted to fraudulent methods in 
order to engender confidence in chimerical schemes, and 
with obtaining credits on imaginary facts, squandering 
the money of the shareholders and lending themselves 
to most nefarious practices. A terrible indictment I 

By this time all who cherished a political or personal 
grudge against any public man of note had no better or 
surer means of discrediting him than by imputing to him 
some connection with the Panama affair. Mud of that 
sort was warranted to stick. Never was there a greater 
scandal. Never were people more credulous. Never did 
political feeling run higher, and never certainly was there 
a keener anxiety to connect leading Republicans with the 
seamy side of the concern. The more that could be done 
in this way the better for the Conservatives and anti- 
Republicans who still constituted a very formidable com- 
bination in Parliament and in the press. It was not likely, 
therefore, that Clemenceau would be able to escape criti- 
cism and calumny if he had been in any way connected 
with men some of whom were then rightly regarded as 
malefactors. 

In a time of so much excitement it was easy to mix up 



124 CLEMENCEAU 

truth and fiction to an extent which would render it 
extremely difficult for Clemenceau to clear the public 
mind of allegations made against him, however false they 
might be. All Clemenceau's enemies, and he had not a 
few, took advantage of the situation to try and over- 
whelm him with obloquy. Now was the opportunity to 
pay off many old scores; and they set to work to do it 
with whole-souled zest and vitriolic acrimony. Circum- 
stances aided them. They did not stick at trifles in their 
efforts to crush the Radical leader who had fought the 
good fight against reaction and Imperialism with such 
vigor and success for so many long years. M. Clemen- 
ceau was at this time editor of La Justice^ a journal 
founded by himself and written by men of ability, most 
of whom are still his friends. The tone of the paper 
and the style of the contributions were no more cal- 
culated to bring over recruits from his adversaries than 
were his speeches and tactics in the Assembly. He was 
ever a fighter with tongue and with pen. Though he 
wrote little, if anything, in La Justice himself, the in- 
spiration came from its editor. One thing he lacked, 
and always has lacked — money. If now they could only 
get hold of evidence that Clemenceau was contaminated 
with Panama, the worst foe of French obscurantism 
would be put out of action and his influence permanently 
destroyed. So they calculated. And not without good 
reason, as afterwards appeared. 

Cornelius Herz, the co-corrupter of pohtlcal Impcc- 
cables, with Jacques Relnach, his '^apoplectic" fellow-Jew, 
had subscribed $5,000 to La Justice In its early days. 
What could be better? A Semite of Semites, a Panamist 
of Panamlsts, he it was who with sinister features and 
corrupt record stood forth as the dexterous wire-puller 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 125 

of the malignant marionette, Georges Clemenceau. If 
La Justice had been tainted with the accursed thing, 
Clemenceau had had his share, and the lion's share, too, 
in this wretched swindle. Did anybody really care what 
a journal of small circulation like La Justice published or 
stood for? Certainly not. But Clemenceau, the terrible 
leader of the Left, the upsetter of Ministries, the creator 
of Presidents, the overthrower of the Church and the 
enemy of all religion, here was a man worth buying; and 
beyond all question Clemenceau had been bought — ^bought 
by Reinach and Herz, whose tool, therefore, he was and 
had been! The calumnies were credible; for if Senators 
and Academicians had succumbed to the wiles of the 
serpents of Old Jewry, why should not the Aristides of 
Draguignan have fallen a victim to the astute de Les- 
seps and his ** entourage du Ghetto''? Nor did this wind 
up the indictment. There was more to come. A group of 
rascals of the Titus Oates type were set to work to put in- 
criminating facts on record in writing behind the scenes. 
They forged the endorsement as well as the bill. Docu- 
ments of this character proved to the complete satisfaction 
of all who wished to believe it that Clemenceau was cor- 
rupt. The very fact that he was known not to be well- 
off strengthened the case against him. The empty sack 
could not stand upright ! The Petit Journal^ a paper of 
great circulation, was foremost in all this business, and 
its editor, M. Judet, distinguished himself by his ex- 
quisite malignity amid the crowd of Clemenceau's de- 
tractors. 

It was an ugly experience. Panama was dinned into 
Clemenceau's ears daily. And there was enough to go 
upon to make the attacks most galling. Herz had been a 
large subscriber tp the funds of Clemenceau's organ. 



126 CLEMENCEAU 

Moreover, Reinach and Herz had called upon him, 
though not he upon them,. That was quite enough. 
The assailants did not stop to inquire when Herz ceased 
to have anything to do with La Justice, neither did they 
investigate who sent Reinach and Herz to the Radical 
leader, nor what passed between Clemenceau and the two 
Jewish financiers. They were only too glad to be able to 
take the whole thing for granted and to strengthen any 
weak links in the chain of evidence by the suborned per- 
juries of M. Norton and his colleagues. 

So it went on. The fact that first the murdered Presi- 
dent Carnot, who could not believe that de Lesseps was 
worse than a misguided enthusiast, and then President 
Loubet, who wished to deal with the entire matter in a 
thoroughly judicial fashion, had owed their positions 
to Clemenceau's nomination and support rendered the 
hunting down of their political friend a delightful pas- 
time for the whole reactionary combination. Things had 
come to such a pass that the common opinion grew that 
there was "something in it.'' People actually believed 
that Clemenceau really had wrecked his entire career and 
ruled himself out. of public life by taking bribes like the 
hundred other deputies, when he had refused to accept 
time after time positions which would have given him con- 
trol of the national treasury and of France. 

Clemenceau was quite unmoved by the storm of de- 
traction which raged around him. He bided his time with 
a coolness that could scarcely have been expected from 
a man of his character. At length his chance came. The 
whole affair was brought up again before the National 
Assembly. Clemenceau rose to defend himself against 
this long campaign of successful misrepresentation. So 
great had been the effect of the attacks upon him that 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 127 

rarely, if ever, has a favorite orator stood up to address 
a more hostile audience. It seemed as if he had not a 
single friend in the whole House. Not a sound of greet- 
ing was heard. He was met with cold and obviously 
hostile silence. Clemenceau dealt in his most telling 
manner with his own personal conduct throughout. He 
completely immolated his accusers and dissipated their 
calumnies. When he sat down, the whole Assembly, 
which had received him as if persuaded of his guilt, 
cheered him enthusiastically as a much wronged man. 
A greater triumph could hardly be. The condemnation 
in open court of the forgers, whose nefarious malpractices 
had built up the edifice of calumny and misrepresentation 
upon which Clemenceau's enemies relied for the proof 
of their case, cleared the atmosphere so far as his per- 
sonal integrity was concerned. 

But, unfortunately for Clemenceau, there were other 
charges against him from which he could not hope to 
clear himself, and would not have cleared himself if he 
could. Now all his political crimes were recited against 
him at once. He had been the means of bringing to 
naught M. Jules Ferry's great schemes of colonial ex- 
pansion in the East. He had opposed running the risk 
of war for the sake of Egypt. He had been largely in- 
strumental in causing the failure of General Boulanger, 
whom not only reactionists but many vigorous Radicals 
admired and believed in. He had never lost a chance of 
pointing to the danger of priestly influence and the anti- 
Republican attitude of the heads of the Catholic Church. 
By his action in favor of the strikers at Carmaux, whom 
he went down himself specially to encourage and support, 
he had alienated a large section of the bourgeoisie. 

Not the least weighty of the charges brought against 



128 CLEMENCEAU 

him, and one which perhaps had as much effect as any 
in bringing about the crushing result of the poll, was that 
Clemenceau had steadily opposed the alliance with Rus- 
sia. This was regarded as still further and more con- 
clusive evidence of downright treachery to France. Those 
were the days when France felt the need for an ally who 
could give her powerful military support, and her people 
were not disposed to inquire too closely into the character 
of the Czar's Government. Clemenceau regarded the 
connection as immoral, injurious, calculated to reduce 
France's democratic influence and to lessen the proba- 
bility of a close Entente with England. But Clemenceau's 
adversaries had no concern whatever with the Radical 
leader's reasons for his action, which all democrats and 
Socialists, at any rate, must have cordially approved. All 
they wanted was another ugly weapon wherewith to dis- 
credit and defeat the man who, though he had not gone so 
far as the extreme Socialists desired, had done enough to 
hinder and rout reactionists with their monarchist or 
Buonapartist restorations. At the moment Clemenceau's 
anti-Czarist policy injured him as a politician, but it 
certainly did him great credit as a man. 

But, worse than all, he had steadily pursued his policy 
of a lifetime as a close and constant friend of England 
and of the English Entente. That was still more criminal 
than Panamism or anti-Imperialism. For England at 
that time was, and to a large extent naturally, very un- 
popular in France. Clemenceau, therefore, was over- 
whelmed with charges of being in the pay of Great 
Britain and working for Great Britain as well as for Pan- 
ama. Broken English was used to hurl insults at him, 
which lost none of their fervor by being uttered in a 
foreign tongue. He had escaped from the obloquy of 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 129 

Panama, but It should go hard if one or other of these 
counts did not ruin him. The political warfare became 
more bitter than ever. His persecutors were relentless: 
la politique n'a pas d'entrailles. 

It was at this time that I begged Clemenceau to make 
some terms with the Socialists, who were gaining ground 
rapidly and appeared to be the coming party in France. 
His recent tactics had been decidedly favorable to Social- 
ist views. And again I express my surprise that Clemen- 
ceau, while holding fast to his opinions as to the neces- 
sity for maintaining "law and order" in every sense, 
should never have seen his way to adopting the definite 
Socialist view as to the necessary and indeed inevitable 
policy of a collective social progress. But his strong per- 
sonal Individualism has prevented him from embracing 
our principles. 

The statesman may quite honestly accept the theories 
of economists and sociologists, while compelled to adapt 
their application to the circumstances of his time. No 
really capable Socialist who has taken an active part In 
public life has ever attempted to do anything else. In 
France the Guesdists, who are certainly the most thor- 
oughgoing Marxists in the country, have always pro- 
ceeded on these lines in their municipal, and not un- 
frequently in their State, policy. Jaures was a specially 
fine example of the opportunist in public affairs; so much 
so that he was taunted by more extreme men with being 
a Ministerialist before he was a Minister. Vaillant the 
Blanquist, in theory at least an advocate of a physical 
force revolution where possible, was in favor of an eight- 
hour law, compensation for injury to workmen, and so 
on. One and all, that is to say, were ready to use the 
social and political forms of to-day in order to prepare 



130 CLEMENCEAU 

the way for the complete revolution to-morrow. All 
Clemenceau*s speeches and writings, before and after the 
Panama crash and its consequences to him, contain many 
passages which every convinced Socialist would accept. 
I always felt, nevertheless, that I was arguing with a 
man deaf of both ears when I put forward my well-meant 
suggestions. Socialism, Clemenceau then declared — this, 
of course, was now nearly a generation ago — would never 
become an effective political power In France. France, 
and above all rural France, which is the real France, con- 
stituting the bulk of Frenchmen, Is and will always re- 
main steadfastly individualist — "founded on property, 
property, property." That was their guiding principle 
in every relation In life, and, he added, "I have seen 
them close at every stage of existence from birth to death. 
It is as useless to base any practical policy upon Socialist 
principles as It Is chimerical to repose any confidence In 
Socialist votes." "But," I urged, "extremes meet: the 
Catholics and Socialists, both of whom are your op- 
ponents, may combine with the men whose minds have 
been poisoned by the Panamlst and Anglophobe imputa- 
tions of the Petit Journal and turn you out of your con- 
stituency In the Var for which you now sit as deputy." 
He laughed at the very Idea of such a defeat. 

But the persistence and malignity of monarchists and 
men of God of the Catholic persuasion are hard to beat. 
Socialists with an anarchist twist in their mental con- 
ceptions are not far behind them. So the fight for the 
constituency of Draguignan, which Clemenceau had 
chosen in preference to a Paris district at the previous 
election, developed Into a personal tussle unequaled in 
bitterness at that period. Every Incident of the candi- 
date's life was turned to his discredit. The Panama 



i 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 131 

scandal and his relations with Semitic masters of corrupt 
practices were only a portion of an atheist record unparal- 
leled for Infamy. All the Ministries he had destroyed, 
all the true lovers of France whom he had gibbeted, all 
the patriotic colonial policies he had frustrated were 
brought up against him, embroidered with every flaming 
design the modern votaries of the Inquisition could In- 
vent ! He had been guilty. In fact, of the unpardonable 
offense of making too many enemies at once. What 
might have been counted to him for righteousness by one 
faction was blazoned forth as the blackest iniquity by 
another. His anti-Imperialism with his friendly atti- 
tude to the strikers incensed the reactionaries. His re- 
fusal to make common cause with them in an out-and-out 
program against bourgeois Republicanism infuriated 
the extremists. All his energy, all his oratory, all his 
genuine love for and services to France In days gone by 
went for nothing. The friends of Jules Ferry, too, were 
eager for their revenge. Clemenceau had thought his 
loss of the seat was Impossible. Nevertheless the im- 
possible occurred. He was thrown out of Draguignan 
at this General Election of 1893, and after more than 
seventeen years of arduous and extremely- useful serv- 
ice was compelled to retire from Parliamentary life. It 
was a complete break in his career. 

Clemenceau at this period was fifty-two, and still in the 
prime of a vigorous life. He looked what he was, active, 
alert, capable and highly Intelligent. His face was an 
index to his character. It gave an impression of almost 
barbarous energy, which induced his Socialist detractors, 
long afterwards, to speak and write of him as *The 
Kalmuck." But this was merely caricature. Refinement, 
mental brilliancy, deep reflection and high cultivation 



132 CLEMENCEAU 

shone out from his animated features. A teetotaler, ab- 
stemious in his habits, and always In training, Clemenceau, 
with his rapidity of perception, quickness of retort and 
mastery of Irony combined with trenchant wit, was a 
formidable opponent Indeed. Add to this that he was in- 
variably well-informed — tres hien documents — in the 
matters of which he treated. It Is quite inconceivable 
that he should refer to or deal with any speech, or con- 
vention, or treaty which he had not thoroughly studied. 
It was hopeless to catch Clemenceau tripping on any mat- 
ter of fact or political engagement. Moreover, as re- 
marked before, his rule In politics was based upon the 
soundest principle In all warfare : Never fail to attack in 
order to defend. 

As an orator he was and Is destitute of those telling 
gestures, modifications of tone and carefully turned 
phrases which we associate with the highest class of 
French public speaking. His voice rarely rises above the 
conversational level and, as a rule, he Is quiet and un- 
emotional In his manner. But the directness of his as- 
saults and the dynamltlcal force of his short periods gain 
rather than lose on that account; while his power of 
logical, connected argument, marshaling with ease such 
facts and quotations as he needs, has never been sur- 
passed. His famous Parliamentary encounter with my 
friend and comrade Jean Jaures was a remarkable ex- 
ample of his controversial ability. My sympathies were, 
of course, entirely with the eloquent and able champion 
of Socialism, whose power of holding even a hostile au- 
dience was extraordinary, as was shown In that same 
National Assembly many a time. I was of opinion then, 
and I believe now, that Jaures had much the stronger 
case. He spoke as he always did, with eloquence, fervor 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 133 

and sincerity. As an oratorical display It was admirable. 
But I am bound to admit that, as a mere question of 
Immediate political dialectics, the Radical Premier got 
the better of the fray. It Is possible, of course, that had 
Jaures followed Clemenceau instead of having preceded 
him, that might have made a difference. But Jaures's 
style, with its poetic elevation and long and imposing 
periods, was not so well suited as that of Clemenceau to 
a personal debate on immediate practical issues before 
such an audience as the French National Assembly. 

In private conversation Clemenceau is the most delight- 
ful yet unartificlal talker I ever had the pleasure of listen- 
ing to. Others who possess great gifts In this direction 
are apt to work up their effects so that you can hear, as 
It were, the clank of the machinery as their pyrotechnic 
monologues appeal to your sense of cleverness while they 
balk your desire for spontaneity. There is none of this 
with Clemenceau. He takes his fair share In any dis- 
cussion and leaves nothing unsaid which, from his point 
of view, can elucidate or brighten up the friendly discus- 
sion. Never was any man less of a brilliant bore. 

Another quality he possesses, which proved exceedingly 
useful to him at more than one stage of his adventurous 
career. Clemenceau was, and possibly Is even to-day, at 
the age of seventy-seven, the most dangerous duelist In 
France. A left-handed swordsman and a perfect pistol- 
shot, no one who valued the Integrity of his carcass was 
disposed to encounter with either rapier or pistol the 
leader of the extreme Left. Even the reactionary fire- 
eater, Paul de Cassagnac, who himself had killed three 
men, shrank from meeting his quietus from Clemenceau. 
His power of work also Is extraordinary. In this he was 
only equaled by Jaures. Even an English barrister of 



134 CLEMENCEAU 

exceptional physique, striving to make his mark or en- 
deavoring to keep the place already won, could scarcely 
surpass the inexhaustible energy and endurance of either 
of these great Frenchmen. It is doubtful whether the 
generation of younger men keep abreast with the pace 
set by their elders in this respect. Both Jaures and Vail- 
lant complained to me more than once that, to use an Eng- 
lish expression, the younger deputies did not ''last over 
the course," and thus frequently lost in the Committees 
what they had gained in the set debates. Certainly, few 
of the French politicians of to-day, at half Clemenceau's 
age, would care to attempt to do the work which he is 
doing now, day after day, with all the anxiety and re- 
sponsibility which now rest upon his shoulders. 

What perhaps is still more noteworthy, especially from 
the English point of view, Clemenceau has never at any 
period of his career been a well-to-do man. His com- 
plete independence of monetary considerations, at a time 
when place-hunting had been brought to a fine art in 
French politics, gave him an influence all the greater by 
consequence of its rarity. Politicians whom he could 
have easily eclipsed in the race for well-paid positions or 
the acquisition of wealth became Prime Ministers and 
rich people, while Clemenceau remained what he had al- 
ways been, the leader of the most difficult party to control, 
without the means which have usually been considered in- 
dispensable for such a thankless post. Only once did he 
offer himself as the candidate for a well-paid office — 
the Presidentship of the Chamber — to which his ex- 
perience and services fully entitled him. He was then 
beaten by one vote. Honorable and dignified as is 
the chairmanship of such an Assembly, it was well for 



PANAMA AND DRAGUIGNAN 135 

France, in the long run, that the recorder of that single 
vote should have allowed what he believed to be a per- 
sonal grievance to influence his natural inclination to sup- 
port Clemenceau. 



CHAPTER X 

PHILOSOPHER AND JOURNALIST 

RARELY has a politician received a heavier blow than 
this which fell upon Clemenceau in 1893. Or- 
dinarily, a man of his intellectual eminence and remark- 
able political faculties has no difficulty, If he loses one 
seat in the National Assembly of any country, in speedily 
getting another. Not so with Clemenceau. His very 
success as leader of the advanced Left and the proof that, 
though always a comparatively poor man, he had re- 
mained thoroughly honest amid all the intrigues and 
financial scandals around him told against him. He In- 
terfered with itoo many ambitions, was a stumbling-block 
in the way of too many high policies, to be able to com- 
mand his return for another constituency. The same in- 
terests and jealousies which had combined against him at 
Draguignan would have attacked him with redoubled fury 
elsewhere. Persistent determination to carry really 
thorough democratic reforms in every department, com- 
bined with very high ability, relentless disregard of per- 
sonal claims, complete Indifference to mere party con- 
siderations and perfect honesty are qualities so incon- 
venient to modern politicians of every shade of opinion 
that the wonder is Clemenceau had held his position so 
long as he did. To have destroyed no fewer than eight- 
een more or less reactionary administrations, while al- 
ways refusing to form a Cabinet himself, was a title to 

136 



PHILOSOPHER AND JOURNALIST 137 

the highest esteem from the mass of his countrymen: It 
was a diabolical record from the point of view of the 
Ministers whom he had displaced and the cliques by 
whom they had been surrounded. Not a French states- 
man but felt that his reputation and his hold upon office 
were more secure now that Clemenceau's masterly com- 
binations and dynamltlcal oratory were safely excluded 
from the National Assembly. So Clemenceau, at this 
critical period of his life and career, could rely upon no 
organized political force strong enough to encounter and 
overcome the persistent hostility of his enemies. 

A weaker man would have felt this exclusion less and 
have been discouraged more. After seventeen years of 
such valuable work as Clemenceau had done, to be, to all 
appearance, boycotted from the Assembly for an In- 
definite period was a strange experience. I wrote him 
myself a letter of sympathy, and in his reply he expressed 
his special bitterness at the attitude of the Socialists to- 
wards him. This hostility might have been easily averted 
without any sacrifice of principle on Clemenceau's part. 
But Clemenceau, defeated and driven out of his right- 
ful place in active French politics, did not hesitate for a 
moment as to the course he would pursue. He had left 
the National Assembly as the first Parliamentarian In 
France: he at once turned round and at the age of fifty- 
two became her first journalist. Nothing In his long life 
of stress and strain Is more remarkable than the success 
he then achieved and the vigor with which he devoted 
himself to his new vocation. 

It Is no easy matter, especially In France, for a pub- 
licist and journalist to discover a fresh method of bring- 
ing his opinions to bear upon the public. Yet this is what 
Clemenceau did. He applied his humanist-materialist 



138 CLEMENCEAU 

philosophy to the everyday incidents of French life. That 
philosophy is a strange compound of physical determinism 
and the ethical revolt against universal cruelty involved 
in the unregulated struggle for existence. The fight for 
life is inevitable. So far, throughout historic times it has 
been a long campaign in which the usurping minority 
have always won. Wholesale butchery and cannibalism 
by conquering tribes have been transformed first into 
slavery, then into serfdom, lastly into the wage-earning 
system of our own time. In each and every case the many 
have been at the mercy of the dominating few. There is 
little or no effective attempt made to remedy the evils 
arising out of such a state of things. The struggle for 
mere subsistence still goes on below, and those who re- 
volt against it or endeavor seriously to ameliorate it by 
strikes or combinations are treated as misdemeanants or 
, criminals. Mining capitalists, industrial capitalists, rail- 
j way capitalists, landowners large and small have the law, 
' the judges, the magistrates, the police and all the re- 
^ actionary forces on their side. Hence the grossest in- 
^ justice and the most abominable oppression of the poor. 
Therefore the State ought to intervene, not in order to 
repress the aspirations and punish the attempts of the 
wage-earning class to obtain better conditions of life for 
themselves and their children, but to protect this most 
important portion of the community in every possible way: 
to secure for them shorter hours of labor, thorough edu- 
cation, full opportunity for legitimate combination, 
boards of arbitration to avert strikes, fair play at the 
hands of the courts and the police. The State, in fact, 
is to act as a national conscience and perpetual trustee 
' for the poor. Note that the struggle for existence, the 
fight for subsistence must go on — Clemenceau has never 



PHILOSOPHER AND JOURNALIST 139 

contemplated the possibility of a human scheme of co- 
operation by which competition would be largely elim- 
inated — but its harsher features ought to be reduced. 
There is no complete overthrow of mutual destruction, 
and no condition of universal fellowship Is in view. Only 
the mind and heart of the community must be changed; 
men must survey modern society from the point of view 
of humane guidance and prepare the material develop- 
ment and economic arrangements which shall by degrees 
render individual injustice and cruelty as unheard-of as 
now IS anthropophagy. 

At the back of all this lies a picturesque pessimism and 
what nowadays is frequently spoken of as a philosophy of 
despair. No sooner has this planet, Its solar system. Its 
galaxy of suns and worlds reached Its full development 
than they all begin to traverse the downward path which 
leads slowly and inevitably to decay and eventual de- 
struction, until the entire process unconsciously and in- 
evitably begins over again. Infinity oppresses us all: the 
cosmos with its Interminable repetitions eludes concep- 
tion by the human Intelligence. Yet we live and strive 
and feel and hope and have our conceptions of justice 
and sympathy and duty which come we know not whence 
and pass onwards we know not whither. Man as a 
highly organized individual entity becomes superior to 
the mere matter of which his mind is a function, because 
as an individual he can rise up out of himself and criti- 
cise and reflect upon that which, without any such power 
of conception, surrounds, upholds and then immolates 
him. "The universe crushes me," wrote Pascal, *'yet 
I am superior to the universe, because I know that it Is 
crushing me and the universe knows nothing about it at 
all." Strange to find Clemenceau quoting and agreeing 



140 CLEMENCEAU 

with an intelligence so wholly different from his own as 
Pascal's I 

Then, fate, necessity, the Nemesis of Monism work- 
ing on to its foreseen but uncontrollable destiny, dom- 
inates the cosmos and through the cosmos that in- 
finitesimally small but sentient and critical microbe man, 
who creates an individual ethic out of this determinist 
material evolution. Francis Newman, the brother of the 
famous John Henry the Cardinal, said that it is as impos- 
sible for man to comprehend matter developing and re- 
producing itself from all time as it is for him to conceive 
of an omnipotent deity superintending the matter he has 
created in its evolution from all time. We are therefore 
driven back, whether we like it or not, upon the ancient 
and never-ending discussion of free-will and predestina- 
tion in a non-theological form which leaves in the main 
all the psychologic phenomena untouched, including 
Clemenceau's own social morality which impels him to 
champion the cause of the oppressed. Beyond the demand 
for justice in the abstract and freedom in the abstract ap- 
plied as a test to each special case as it arises, there is no 
guiding theory in Clemenceau's philosophy. The recog- 
nition of the struggle for existence among human be- 
ings, as among plants and animals, does not imply any 
conscious coordination of effort arising out of the growth 
of society in order to do away with the antagonism en- 
gendered by life itself. So with all his humanism Clemen- 
ceau will not accept the theories of scientific Socialism 
which could give an unshakable foundation to his own 
views of life. That is the weakness which runs through 
all his books and articles. His own individuality is so 
powerful that he simply cannot grasp the possibility of 



PHILOSOPHER AND JOURNALIST 141 

anything but Individual effort, personal suasion and iso- 
lated measures of reform. 

Nevertheless, we come upon a passage which, written 
obviously In perfect good faith, would, within Its limits, be 
accepted as a fair statement of Socialism from an out- 
sider: ^'Socialism Is social beneficence In action. It Is the 
Intervention of all on behalf of the victim of the mur- 
derous vitality of the few. To contend, as the economists 
do, that we ought to oppose social altruism In Its efforts 
Is to misrepresent and seriously calumniate mankind. To 
complain that collective action will degrade the Individual 
by some limitation of liberty Is to argue In favor of the 
liberty of the stronger which Is called oppressive. Is it 
not, on the contrary, to strengthen the Individual by 
restraining and controlling every man who Injures an- 
other man as does the employer of to-day when left to 
the bare exigencies of competition? . . . Follow the 
laissez-faire policy for the Individual, says the anti- 
social economist, and speedily a whole regiment of dev- 
otees will rush to the succor of the vanquished. We 
always wait, but see nothing save the terrible condition 
of humanity which ever remains. . . . Against this 
anarchy It Is man's glory to revolt. He claims the right 
to soften, to control fatality If he cannot escape from it. 
How?" 

And then Clemenceau, whom In active life none would 
accuse of undue sentiment, goes off Into a series of moral 
reflections and the need for perpetual moral preachments 
which really lead us nowhither; though, some pages fur- 
ther on, he quotes Karl Marx, who speaks of the unem- 
ployed as the inevitable "army of reserve" due not to 
human Immorality but to the necessary functioning of the 
unregulated competitive capitalism of our period. Yet 



142 CLEMENCEAU 

the great French Radical shrinks from the organized 
social collective action and revolution needed to lift us 
out of this anarchy of oppression. He turns to the In- 
dividual himself and his hard lot under the domination 
of fate. He has a justifiable tilt at free-will and per- 
sonal responsibility. Thus: — 

"But what Is absurd, contradictory, idiotic is the re- 
sponsibility of the creature before the creator. • I say 
to God, *If you are not satisfied with me, you had only 
to make me otherwise,' and I defy him to answer me." 
And then, quoting from "Lucian's Dialogues of the 
Dead," he cites Minos as discussing with a new-comer 
who is brought before him for punishment: 

"All that I did in life," says Sostrates, "was it done by 
me voluntarily, or was not my destiny registered before- 
hand by Fate?" 

"Evidently by Fate," answers Minos. 

"Punish Fate, then," is the reply. 

"Let him go free," says Minos to Mercury, "and see 
to it that he teaches the other dead to question us in like 
manner." 

"Substitute Fate for Jehovah or *by the laws of the Uni- 
verse,' and tell me," puts in Clemenceau, "when the pot 
owes his bill to the potter." All this and the farewell 
benediction which the author vouchsafes to the human 
plaything of all these preordered decisions of society do 
not get us much further, even though after so many mis- 
chances he may live on only to appreciate more thor- 
oughly "the sublime indifference of things eternal." That 
is not very consolatory by way of a materialist viaticum. 
But it is the best Clemenceau can give. 

None the less it is easy to comprehend why this sort 
of philosophy, illustrated and punctuated by the keenest 



PHILOSOPHER AND JOURNALIST 143 

criticism and sarcasm on the wrongs and injustice of our 
existing society, produced a great effect. The commonest 
incidents of everyday life were made the text for vitriolic 
sermonizing on the shortcomings of statesmen and judges, 
priests and police, industrial capitalists and mine-owners. 
Here and there, also, a description of working-class life 
Is given, so accurate, so vivid, so telling that administra- 
tors of the easiest conscience were led to feel uncom- 
fortable at the kind of social system with which they had 
been hitherto satisfied. With no phase of French life Is^ 
Clemenceau better acquainted than with the habits and 
customs of the French peasantry. Thus we have a de- 
scription of the peasant tacked on to a nice little story 
of a poor fellow who, strolling along the highway on a 
hot day and feeling thirsty, plucks a few cherries from 
the branch of a cherry-tree which overhangs the road. 
The small proprietor is on the look-out for such petty 
depredations and at once kills the atrocious malefactor 
who had thus plundered him. The cherry-eater *'had 
despoiled him of two-ha'porth of fruit I" It justified 
prompt execution of the thief by the owner. That such 
small robbery did not at once give the latter the power 
of life and death over the thief is a point of view that 
the peasant can never take. Why? Because of the penal 
servitude for life to which he is condemned by the very 
conditions of his existence, and the greed for property 
driven into him from birth to death. It is the outcome 
of private ownership: the result of the fatal saying, |\ 
*'This is mine." 

"The peasant Is the man of one Idea, of a sole and soli- 
tary love. Bowed, he knows only the earth. His activity 
has but one end and object: the soil. To acquire It, to 
own it, that is his life, harsh and rapacious. He speaks 



144 CLEMENCEAU 

of my land, my field, my stones, my thistles. To till, to 
manure, to sow the land, to mow, to uproot, to prune, to 
cut what comes from the land, that is the eternal object 
of his entire physical or intellectual effort. Amusement 
for him : not a bit of it. He has no other resource than 
to console himself for the disappointment of to-day with 
the hope of to-morrow. He is at war with the seasons, 
the elements, the sun, rain, hail, wind, frost. He fights 
against the neighboring intruder, the invading cattle, the 
birds, the caterpillars, the parasites, the thousand-and-one 
unknown phenomena which, without any apparent rea- 
son, bring down upon him all sorts of unlooked-for ills. 

*'Then has he risen at dawn for nothing, badly fed, 
badly clothed, sweating in the sun, shivering in the wind 
and the rain, exhausting his energies against things which 
resist his utmost efforts? Do sowing, manuring, labor 
and the pouring out of life all, too, go for nothing, with- 
out rest, without leisure, without any thought but this: 
I tolled and suffered yesterday, I shall toil and suffer to- 
morrow? And all this is balanced by no pleasures but 
drunkenness and lust. No theatres, no books, no shows, 
no enjoyments of any kind. Hard to others, hard to 
himself, everything is hard around him.'^ 

Such is the peasant of Western France. Though the 
peasant of the South is of a livelier and happier disposi- 
tion on the surface, both are at bottom the same. And 
France is still In the main rural France as Clemenceau 
himself impressed upon me many years ago. That Is the 
influence which holds in check the advanced proletariat 
of the towns and mining districts. They can see nothing 
outside private property, property, property: yet it is 
this very unregulated individual ownership which forces 
them to fight out their existence against the hardships of 



PHILOSOPHER AND JOURNALIST 145 

nature with Inefficient tools, insufficient manure and no 
adequate arrangements for marketing the produce they 
have for sale. High prices and a few advantages gained 
have somewhat ameliorated the lot of the peasant, but it 
is still a hard, depressing existence which cannot be made 
really human and happy for the great majority under the 
conditions of to-day. The only boon the peasant has is 
that he is not under the direct sway of the capitalist ex- 
ploiter. What that means In the mines Clemenceau had 
an opportunity of seeing very close, as a member of the 
Commission appointed to examine Into the coal-mines of 
Anzin In 1884. He tells of his experience ten years later 
In one of the pits he descended. "Never go down a coal- 
mine," wrote Lord Chesterfield to his son. "You can 
always say you have been below, and nobody can contra- 
dict you." Clemenceau did not follow this cynical advice. 
He went down, "and after having waded through water, 
bent double, for hundreds upon hundreds of yards through 
dripping scales which hang from the upper stratum, I 
crawled on hands and knees to a nice little vein twenty 
inches thick. On this seam human beings were at work, 
lying on their side, bringing down coal which fell on their 
faces and replacing it continuously by timber In order not 
to be crushed by the upper surface. You must not neg- 
lect this part of the work!" He was not allowed to talk 
with the men themselves, and when they came to Interview 
him secretly they Implored him not to let the manager 
or the employers know, or they would be discharged at 
once I The old story of miners In every country which 
even the strongest Trade Unions are as yet scarcely able 
to cope with, though the tyranny in French mines has been 
checked since the time Clemenceau wrote. These and 
similar cases of oppression on the part of the capitalist 



146 CLEMENCEAU 

class caused Clemenceau to support Socialists more and 
more In their demands for limitation of the then unre- 
stricted powers of Individual employers and "anonymous'* 
companies. So, too, Individualist as he was, he wrote 
article after article In defense of the right of the men 
to strike against grievous oppression, holding that the 
combination of the workers was more than sufficiently 
handicapped by the fact that they were bound to Imperii 
their own subsistence as well as the maintenance of their 
wives and children by going on strike at all. This argu- 
ment he applied to all strikes in organized industries. 

But Clemenceau naturally found himself drawn Into 
bitter antagonism to the doctrine of laissez-faire and the 
law of supply and demand. "You say all must bow down 
to them. I contend all must revolt against them." "The 
individual struggle for existence is only a great laissez- 
faire! Far from being liberty, it is the triumph of vio- 
lence, it is barbarism itself. The man who mastered the 
first slave founded a new system ... so completely 
that after some ages of this rule a physiocrat overlook- 
ing it all would have sagely pronounced: Slavery Is the 
law of human societies. This with the same amount of 
truth as he says to-day: The law of supply and demand 
is an immutable ordinance. And, for all that, the su- 
preme irony of fate has decreed that the first slave-driver 
was at the same time the first sower of the seed of lib- 
erty, of justice. For by enslaving men he created a social 
relation, a relation different from that enjoined by the 
primitive form of the struggle for existence: kill, eat, 
destroy. Henceforth man was bound to man. The social 
body was formed." Man had to discover the law govern- 
ing the new relation, and he found it at last in the first 
flashes of justice and liberty. "What, then, is this your 



I 



PHILOSOPHER AND JOURNALIST 147 

laissez-faire, your law of supply and demand, but the 
pure and simple expression of force? Right overcomes 
force: that is the principle of civilization. Your lawl 
once formulated, let us set to work against barbarism 1" J 

All that is telling criticism; though to-day it reads a 
bit antiquated in view of the revolt everywhere against 
both these catch-phrases and the anarchist chaos which 
they connote. But here again Clemenceau, with all his 
acuteness and brilliancy, displays the need for a guiding 
historic and economic theory — the sociologic theory which 
scientific Socialism supplies. It was not justice or liberty 
which created slavery, or destroyed slavery, but economic 
development and social necessity. The cult of abstraction 
leads to social revolt but not to material revolution. 

Holding the opinions he did, it was inevitable that 
Clemenceau should put the case of the Anarchists such as 
Vaillant, Henry, Ravachol. They were the victims of 
a system. They could not rise as a portion of a collective 
attack against the unjust class dominion and economic 
servitude which crushed them and their fellows down into 
interminable toil with no reward for their lifelong suf- 
ferings. So they made war as individuals for anarchy. 
Five VAnarchie! were the last words of Henry. The 
man was a fanatic. *'The crime seems to me odious. I 
make no excuse for it," says Clemenceau, but he objects 
to the capital penalty. *'Henry's crime was that of i 
savage. The deed of society seems to me a loathsome 
vengeance." Clemenceau compares, too, the anarchists of 
dynamite to the would-be assassin Damien, so hideously 
tortured before death. *'My motive," said he, "was the 
misery which exists in three-quarters of the kingdom. I 
acted alone, because I thought alone." The anarchist, 
asked by his mother why he had become an anarchist, an- 



148 CLEMENCEAU 

swered, "Because I saw the suffering of the great ma- 
jority of human beings." Vaillant, Henry, Caserio and 
their like are overmastered by the same idea as Damien. 
They kill members of the king caste of our society of 
to-day in order to scare the bourgeoisie into justice. 
There is no arguing with honest fanatics of this type. 
Whether society is justified in guillotining or hanging 
them is another matter. That their method is futile, as 
all history shows, gives society the right if it so chooses 
to regard it also as criminal. 

The above is all argument and criticism put with almost 
savage vigor. But Clemenceau used likewise the lighter 
touch of French irony. Thus a wretched family of father, 
mother and six children, tramping along the high road 
near Paris, find some coal which has dropped from a 
wagon long since out of sight. They pick up these bits 
of chance fuel as a godsend. They have gleaned after 
the reapers. Straightway, the story of Boaz and Ruth 
occurs to Clemenceau, of Boaz and his descendant of 
Nazareth, who is the God of Europe to-day. The He- 
brew Boaz, the landowner of old, gladly left the wheat- 
ears to be gleaned by Ruth and married her into the 
bargain. The Christian Boaz, the coal-owner of our time, 
gets the males of the distressed family of coal-gleaners 
six days' imprisonment. Such is progress through the 
centuries ! The moral of the whole story is brilliantly 
touched in. 

So again in his comment on the catastrophe at the 
Charity Bazaar. It was the rank and religiosity of the 
persons burnt alive which rendered the tragedy so much 
more terrible than if the crowd thus incinerated had only 
consisted of common people! It was the cream of 
French piety that was there sacrificed. Quite an ecclesias- 



PHILOSOPHER AND JOURNALIST 149 

tical and political propaganda was developed from their 
ashes. The spirit of class made these accidental victims 
of gross carelessness martyrs of Christian heroism. Yet 
"if I go to dance at a charity ball, paying twenty francs 
for my ticket, and expire on the spot, I am not on that 
account a hero. . . . These gatherings are not exactly 
places of torture. People laugh, flirt, and amuse them- 
selves, it Is an opportunity to display fine dresses, and 
the charity sale has supplemented the Opera Comlque for 
marriage-provoking interviews superintended by good 
grandmothers. . . . Here is class distinction In action. 
Observe these aristocratic young gentlemen beating with 
their canes and kicking their frightened womenkind in 
their cowardly attempt to get out of danger. Then see 
the servants rushing in to save them ! Look also at the 
workmen by chance on the spot risking their lives with 
true heroism, the plumber Piquet, who saved twenty peo- 
ple and, though much burnt himself, went back to his 
workshop without a word." The contrast Is striking. 
It Is not drawn by a Socialist. 

Then the criticism on the German fete In commemora- 
tion of the victory of Sedan. "William II Is obliged to 
keep his people In training, to militarize them unceasingly, 
body and soul. ... In spite of the handsome protests 
of most of the Socialist leaders, we may be sure that It is 
in very truth the soul of Germany whose innermost ex- 
ultation is manifested In these numberless jubilations 
which have beflagged every village in the Empire. . . . 
It is the curse of the triumphs of brute force to leave 
room In the soul of the conqueror for nothing but a blind 
faith in settlement by violence." Then follows a 
prophetic summary of what must be the Inevitable con- 
sequence of this consecration of brutal dominion inspired 



150 CLEMENCEAU 

by the hateful instincts of barbarism, which together pre- 
pare to use In Central Europe the most efficient means of 
murder at the disposal of scientific civilization. The 
ethics of the nation are being deliberately corrupted for 
the realization of the Imperial policy! 

Thus Clemenceau, like others of us who knew the old 
Germany well, and had watched Its sad hypnotization by 
the spirit of ruthless militarism, foresaw what was coming 
more than twenty-five years ago. And thus anticipating 
and reflecting, he chanced to see on one of the monuments 
of Paris illumined by the sun, "The German Empire 
falls." It was dated 1 805 ! "Short years pass. What re- 
mains of these follies? If law and right outraged, rea- 
son flouted, wisdom contemned must blight our hopes, 
as your warlike demonstrations too clearly prognosticate, 
then for you, men of Germany, the Inscription of the 
Carrousel is patient and bides its time.'* 

"And yet two great rival peoples worthy to understand 
one another could nobly make ready a nobler destiny." 

There you have the statesman and Idealist as well as 
the clear-sighted journalist. Clemenceau saw the storm- 
cloud ever menacing and ready to break upon France. 
He warned his countrymen of their danger, bade them 
prepare to meet it, but hoped continuously that his fore- 
casts might prove wholly erroneous. Jaures unfortunately, 
with all his vast ability, was too idealist and far too 
credulous. Hence his great influence was thrown against 
the due preparation of his own country; he did his ut- 
most to support the anti-navy men even in Great Britain, 
and only began to recognize how completely mistaken he 
had been just before he was assassinated by the modem 
Ravaillac of religionist reaction. To anticipate fra- 
ternity in a world of conflict is to help the aggressor and 



PHILOSOPHER AND JOURNALIST 151 

to court disaster. This Clemenceau the Radical knew; 
to this the French Socialists shut their minds. 

It was natural that the Vendeen by birth, the Parisian 
by adoption, should feel himself drawn rather to the 
Ideals of the French capital, which In matters of Intelli- 
gence and art Is also the capital of Europe, rather than to 
the narrow spirit of the Breton countryside which he has 
so vigorously sketched. In his writings as In his political 
activities this preference, this admiration find forcible ex- 
pression. From the days of Julian the great Pagan 
Emperor down to the French Revolution and thence on- 
wards, Clemenceau briefly traces the development of the 
City by the Seine, the French Renaissance and the Uni- 
versity of Paris, by the influence of the writings of Mon- 
taigne — *'this city in right of which I am a Frenchman" 
' — and Rabelais: this meeting-place of Europe, this Cen- 
tral Commune of the planet proposed by Clootz, the 
Prussian Idealist, becomes in the words of the same 
foreign enthusiast "a magnificent Assembly of the peo- 
ples of the West." We may forgive the French states- 
man his unbounded enthusiasm for the Paris where he has 
spent the whole of his active life. *'One phrase alone, 
*The Rights of Man,* has uplifted all heads. Lafayette 
brings back from America the victory that France sent 
thither and straightway the great battle Is joined between 
Paris of the French Revolution and the coalition of things 
of the past. True, we have measured 

'A la hauteur des bonds la profondeur des chutes* 

but at least we have striven, and we abate not a jot of 
our generous ambitions. Thus decrees the tradition of 
Paris . . . that Paris which now as ever holds in her 
hands the key to supreme victory." 



CHAPTER XI 

CLEMENCEAU AS A WRITER 

MCLEMENCEAU had a ready pen as well as a 
. very bitter one, and he did not confine himself to 
articles on politics and sociology. Besides La Melee 
Sociale, of which I have given some account in the previ- 
ous chapter, he published the following books in order 
within eight years : Le Grand Pan, a volume of descrip- 
tive essays; Les Plus Forts, a novel; Au Fil des Jours, 
and Les Emhuscades de la Vie, which were, in the main, 
collections of sketches and tales. At the same time he 
did a great deal of ordinary journalism, including his 
articles on the Dreyfus case, which make in themselves 
four good-sized volumes. 

Le Grand Pan followed close upon La Melee Sociale, 
and came as a delightful surprise to M. Clemenceau's 
readers, a piece of pure literature. In this book he no 
longer writes as a citizen of Paris, a man of the boule- 
vards and pavements, but as one country-born and bred, 
knowing the hills and the sea. Although he describes his 
own Vendeen scenery with loving familiarity, making the 
^'Marais,^* the ^^Bocage^^ and the ^'Plaine" live before us, 
he does not cling to them with the monotonous affection 
of some French writers, who are, as it were, dyed in their 
own local color. Without elaboration, without the de- 
tailed building-up of a scene which is the careful habit 
of some others, he conveys in two or three lines the feel- 

152 



CLEMENCEAU AS A WRITER 153 

ing of a countryside and that elusive but immutable thing, 
the character of a landscape. This belongs really to the 
poet's art, and gives, I cannot tell why, a deeper impres- 
sion, a far more lasting pleasure than all the abundance 
and detail of prose. Clemenceau's neighbor, and almost 
fellow-countryman, Kenan, had this gift. All the gray 
waters of the rocky Armorican shore seem to sweep 
through the first lines of his essay on the Celtic Spirit; 
and the influence of Renan is marked in Le Grand Pan, 
The first article, which gives the book its title, sets the 
reader's fancy sailing among the Greek Isles, steered by 
poetry and tradition, in the light of the golden and the 
silver age. Clemenceau, like Heine, mourns for the over- 
throw of the Greek gods in the welter of quarreling 
priesthoods and fierce Asian ugliness that flooded the 
Mediterranean world. "Pan, Pan is dead!" But in the 
Renaissance — "the tumultuous pageant of Art hurrying 
to meet the classic gods reborn" — he welcomes the mag- 
nificent restoration of the ancient and eternal Powers. 
And he claims for the nineteenth century the honor of 
beholding another re-birth of the gods of Nature in the 
development of science, and the labor that has brought 
some of the secrets of earth within our ken. 

But science, as we know, has revealed the horrors as 
well as the wonders of earth. It troubles us; man has 
shed rivers of needless blood, but we shrink from recog- 
nizing Nature as she is, "red in tooth and claw." It did 
not trouble the ancient Greeks; their gods, developing 
from the rough deities of place or tribe into the embodi- 
ments of the natural forces of matter or of mind, were 
outside human ethic, although they were cast in human 
form. They might take the shape of mortals, but only 
Euripides and a few other hypersensitive moralists 



154 CLEMENCEAU 

thought of blaming the gods when, as often happened, 
they fell below the standards of human conduct. But we 
are creatures of another era; and man, criticising and 
even condemning the Powers that rule his little day, has, 
for good or 111, reached out to a level that is above the 
gods, whose plaything he stil} remains. 

And there Is another change. Man — some men, that 
is to say — have taken the animals into their protection and 
fellowship: and M. Clemenceau is truly one of these. Not 
only those charming, kindly essays, La Main et la Patte 
and Les Parents Pauvres, in Le Grand Pan, but the his- 
tory of the two pigeons in the Emhuscades de la Vie, and 
a hundred little touches and incidents throughout Clemen- 
ceau's books show him to be a man of most generous 
sympathies, looking at animal life from a far higher and 
finer point of view than the majority of his countrymen. 

There is much else in Le Grand Pan that it would be 
pleasant to dwell upon : a delicate classic spirit, a certain 
ironic grace, humor and mockery, but everywhere and 
above all keen indignation at needless human suffering 
and a sympathy which is poles apart from sentiment, 
for human pain. M. Clemenceau might well be called "a 
soldier of pity," as, in one of the Near Eastern languages, 
the members of his first profession, the doctors, are 
termed. But I must pass on. Le Grand Pan is, as it de- 
serves to be, the best known of M. Clemenceau's books, 
and no one who has overlooked it can form a complete 
idea of this remarkable man. 

It Is said that any one who has the power of setting 
down his impressions on paper can write at least one 
good novel. If he tries, for he will draw with varying 
degrees of truth or malice the individuals he has met, 
liked, or suffered from, and the main circumstances of 



CLEMENCEAU AS A WRITER 155 

his life. What a Homeric novel M. Clemenceau might 
have written if he had followed these lines! But Les 
Plus Forts is unfortunately no such overflow of personal 
impressions and memories; it is merely what used to be 
called *'a novel with a purpose." That is to say, it is 
one of the many works of fiction which not only record 
the adventures of certain imaginary yet typical characters, 
but also contain severe criticism of contemporary social 
conditions and life. Such novels were much more com- 
mon in England during the nineteenth century than in 
France. In English fiction the sequence is unbroken from 
Sandford and Merton to the earlier works of Mrs. Hum- 
phry Ward's venerable pen. But in 1898 there were still 
not many French novels concerned with the serious dis- 
cussion of social conditions, and M. Clemenceau's early 
work stands out among these for sincerity and simplicity 
of intent. However, in spite of the excellent irony of 
some passages — notably the description of the Vicomtesse 
de Fourchamps' career — Les Plus Forts is to modern 
readers a trifle tedious and a little naive. It is of the 
same caliber as Mr. Shaw's two first novels, but less 
eccentric and not so amusing. M. Clemenceau himself 
would probably write upon it *'Peche de jeunesse/^ and 
pass on. Yet it deserves more attention than that; for 
Les Plus Forts unconsciously reveals the central weakness 
of its author's criticism of modern life. The situation 
is a good one, although the actors are not so much char- 
acters as types. 

Henri de Puymaufray, a ruined French gentleman, who 
has lost the world and found a kind of Radicalism, and 
Dominique Harle, a rich paper manufacturer, live side 
by side in the country as friendly enemies or, rather, 
close but inimical friends. Their views of life are as the 



156 CLEMENCEAU 

poles asunder, but for the purposes of the story they 
must be constantly meeting In conversational Intimacy; 
and they have each an almost superhuman power of ex- 
pressing themselves and their attitude towards the world 
they live In. The chief link between them Is Harle's 
supposed daughter and only child, Claude, whose real 
father is Puymaufray. Both these elderly gentlemen are 
deeply concerned about Claude's future ; each wishing, as 
parents and guardians often do, to make the child's career 
the completion of their own ambitions and hopes. Here 
Harle has the advantage ; he knows what he wants, that 
Is, money and power, and he means his daughter to have 
plenty of both. He is the ordinary capitalist, with a 
strain of politician and Cabinet-maker, who ends by 
founding a popular journal that outdoes Harmsworth 
in expressing the "Lowest Common Factor of the mind.'* 
Society, the Church, and a particularly offensive form of 
charity all serve him to Increase his own power and the 
stability of his class. All Is for the best in the best of 
bourgeois worlds. Such is the theory of life which he 
puts before his supposed daughter, together with a pre- 
tendant who will carry out his aims. Unhappily, Puy- 
maufray has nothing positive to set against this very solid 
and prosperous creed. He and Dechars, the young 
traveler whom he wishes to give Claude for a husband, 
can only talk pages of Radicalism In which the words 
"pity" and "love" would recur even more frequently if 
M. Clemenceau's fine sense of fitness did not prevail. 
What do they really want Claude to do? The best they 
can offer her appears to be a life of retired and gentle 
philanthropy, Inspired by a dim sense of human brother- 
hood, which might, under very favorable circumstances, 
deepen into a sort of Socialist mood. 



CLEMENCEAU AS A WRITER 157 

But "mere emotional Socialism cuts no ice." This has 
often been said, and means that a vague fraternal pur- 
pose and a perception of the deep injustice of our pres- 
ent social system, even when sharpened with the most 
destructive satire, will never change this world for the 
better, unless they lead up to some theory of construc- 
tion that Is based on economic facts. Pity and brother- 
hood may move individuals to acts of benevolence, but 
they cannot alone recast the fabric of society, or even 
bring about fundamental collective reforms. Besides, 
when young people are asked to give up certain definite 
things, such as money, pleasure and power, they must see 
something more than mere renouncement ahead. They 
must be shown the fiery vision of an immortal city whose 
foundations they may hope to build. Clemenceau's own 
knowledge of human nature works against his two heroes, 
and he says: 

"Deschars was the child of his time. He had gone 
about the world as a disinterested beholder, and he re- 
turned from voyaging without any keen desire for noble 
action. . . . Perhaps, if he had been living and working 
for some great human object, Deschars would have car- 
ried Claude away by the very authority of his purpose, 
without a word. . . ." 

And Madame de Fourchamps observes: 

*'It Is very lucky for the poor that there are rich peo- 
ple to give them bread." 

To which Claude replies: 

*'My father's factory provides these workmen with a 
livelihood; where would they be without him?" 

Then, instead of a few plain words on labor-value, 
Puymaufray can only reply: 



158 CLEMENCEAU 

*'Well, they give him something in exchange, don't 
they?" 

The old capitalist fallacies here uttered in their 
crudest form cannot be refuted by mere injunctions to 
pity and goodwill; and even the magnificent words Lib- 
ery, Equality, Fraternity are no adequate reply. To the 
successful profiteer and all who acquiesce in his domina- 
tion they mean, Liberty of Enterprise, Equality of Op- 
portunity, and Fraternity among Exploiters. Facts and 
the march of events alone can persuade Dominique Harle 
and his like to use their ingenuity in serving their fellow- 
creatures, and not in profiting by them. And only collec- 
tive action, guided by some knowledge of the direction 
in which our civilization Is tending, can hasten the march 
of events. 

It is remarkable how greatly the **novel with a pur- 
pose" has developed during the last twenty years In Eng- 
land and, to a less extent. In France. The characters 
are creatures of their conditions; and It Is these condi- 
tions, not the characters, that do the talking. Some novels 
to-day are such careful and withal highly interesting 
guides to the sociology of England towards the end of 
the black Industrial Age that we cannot wonder If their 
authors take themselves too seriously as politicians and 
reformers. Yet these works show, after all, the same 
defect as Les Plus Forts, they have no constructive theory 
of life to set against the very well-defined, solid, and still 
apparently effective system which they criticize. All their 
most Ironic descriptions, their most penetrating satire are 
negative, and. In the end, the utterances of men "wan- 
dering between two worlds, one dead, one powerless to 
be born.'* 

Au F'tl des Jours is an Interesting collection of pieces in 



CLEMENCEAU AS A WRITER 159 

which the author has not made up his mind whether he 
will write short stories or articles upon social condi- 
tions. There is no harm in that; some people may even 
say that M. Clemenceau has produced a new variety of 
readable matter; but, curiously enough, the substance of 
the story is often so telling that one quarrels with the 
writer for not having put it into the best shape. Take 
one of the pieces in Au Fit des Jours — La Roulotte. 
Briefly, a weary old gypsy drives in a covered donkey- 
cart into a country hamlet, and stops by the riverside, 
where all the gossips are washing. He is received with 
hostile and watchful silence, because gypsies are always 
the scapegoats in a peasant district, and anything and 
everything that may be lost, stolen or strayed — even if 
it turns up again — is always laid to their account. In 
the night he dies, unnoticed; and, after some further time 
has passed, the villagers inspect his cart. Finding him 
there, dead, with a very small grandson living, they fetch 
the local constable and the mayor. The arm of the 
Law begins to function, the child is sent to the workhouse, 
the moribund donkey is *'taken care of" by one of the 
villagers, and the dilapidated old cart, which only con- 
tained a few rags, is left by the riverside. 

But the French peasant knows how to turn every little 
thing to profit : nothing is useless in his eyes. Gradually 
handy fragments of the donkey-cart begin to disappear. 
Bits of the iron fittings vanish, the tilt-props go, a shaft 
follows, one wheel after another slips away and is no 
more seen. In fact, the donkey-cart, as such, disappears 
from mortal sight. Then, one fine day, a gypsy-woman 
comes swinging along the road, where she had followed 
the traces of the donkey-cart, and asks for news of her 
old father and her little boy. The authorities of the 



i6o CLEMENCEAU 

village tell her of the old gypsy's death and burial: they 
do not require her to pay for his obsequies only because 
they see It would be no use. She goes to fetch the child 
from the workhouse, and then asks for the donkey and 
cart. The former, they tell her, died In the hands of the 
villager who "took care of him" (and sold his skin for a 
fair sum). She accepts this loss with resignation; but 
the cart, as she says, cannot have died: where is her 
father's ''roulotte^f — Ah, well, nobody In the village 
knows anything about that! It was here, no doubt, 

since the old gypsy died in it — ^but since then The 

Law, once more represented by mayor and constables, 
can only shrug its shoulders In the finest French manner 
and disclaim all responsibility for a vagabond's goods. 
But the gypsy-woman persists: she begins even to clamor 
for her rights. ^^Rights, indeedF^ The village, hitherto 
indifferent, becomes hostile ; and the old cry that meets the 
gypsy everywhere Is raised, for some one on the edge of 
the crowd calls out, *'ThIef !" It Is a mere expression of 
disapproval, not a direct accusation, but the whole vil- 
lage takes It up joyfully: "Thief! Thief!" So the 
gypsy-woman, who, as It chanced, has stolen nothing, is 
hounded out of the commune with sticks and stones 
and objurgations by those who had themselves appro- 
priated her old donkey-cart piecemeal. "A bit of rusty 
iron whizzed past her as she crossed the bridge. It may 
once have served as her donkey's shoe." 

Such Is the tale : a sample of many In Au Fit des Jours. 
Irony and realism are not wanting, nor yet the grimly 
picturesque, but the reader is left thinking: "What a lit- 
tle gem this would be If it were told by Maupassant, or 
some other master of the conte!'^ Certainly M. Clemen- 
ceau has something else to do than tell contest But h^ 



CLEMENCEAU AS A WRITER 161 

literary material is so fine that it is his own fault if we 
expect the very best of him. As it is, he does not take 
the trouble to cut the story out clearly from the matrix 
of thought and memories which enfolded it in his own 
mind. The effect on the reader is, one might say, a little 
vague and murmurous, like some tale half-heard in a 
crowd. 

It is a strange thing that the countryside, Nature, the 
pure and never-failing spring of inspiration for poetry' 
and human delight, should turn so different a countenance 
towards those who live with her, year out and year in, 
winning sustenance for us all from her broad and often un- 
genial breast. Our Mother Earth is an iron taskmaster to 
the tillers of the soil grinding out their youth a-nd strength, 
bowing their eyes to their labor, so that all her beauty 
passes them by unseen. Either Nature keeps her charms 
jealously for the untroubled mind and the leisured eye, 
or else all the beauty that we see in her is borrowed, a 
glamor lent by some immaterial force — not ours, perhaps, 
but certainly not her own. Be this as it may, in the Eni' 
huscades de la Vie M. Clemenceau can see and describe 
the careless, endless, natural beauty amid which the 
peasant-lives that he sketches for us are set; but these 
themselves are often as ugly as bare stone, and the men 
and women are hard and close-fisted with one another 
mainly because the earth is so grudging to them. These 
stories are the most clear-cut of all Clemenceau^s essays 
in fiction. They are not exactly contes, either: they are 
the discoveries, one might say, of Clemenceau in his an- 
cestral character as the descendant of a line of doctors 
and landowners who worked for generations among the 
small bourgeois and the tillers of the soil. How he knows 
them I and — if French fiction Is to be believed — how un- 



i62 CLEMENCEAU 

changeable they are ! Since the bourgeois gained his 
freedom In the great Revolution by using the arm of the 
sansculotte, what a grip he has kept upon his possession ! 
and how much dearer to him his property Is than any- 
thing else In the wo;!.l! Clemenceau does but take up 
the theme of Balzac and others when he describes pro- 
vincial France and Its twin gods, money and the land — 
money which compels loveless marriages, envy, fawning, 
bitterness, perpetual small cheating or endless Insect-like 
toil; and the land. In whose service men work themselves 
and their kindred to the bone, and grudge a pittance to 
old age. 

The bourgeoisie and their customs vary with their na- 
tionality, but peasant life is much the same all over 
Europe. Clemenceau found similar traits of life and 
character In Galicia to those of La Vendee; and others 
will tell us that from Ireland to Russia, from the Baltic 
to the Black Sea, the peasant and the small farmer con- 
duct their lives upon the same lines: hard work, de- 
pendence upon the seasons, family authority, tribal feuds, 
and a meticulous social system of comment and conven- 
tion, under which the individual finds himself far less 
free than in the unhampered, unnoticed life of the towns. 

Yet many of the "ambushes of life'' are to be found 
in the cities; and about a third of these tales are laid in 
the towns and among the well-to-do middle class. M. 
Clemenceau's satire plays freely upon the "marriage of 
convention," by which two families agree, after a certain 
amount of haggling and mutual sharp practice, to bind 
two young strangers together in the closest of relation- 
ship, for time (and also, we are told, for eternity), in 
the interest of property alone. Still human nature adapts 
itself to anything, and even such marriages have their 



. CLEMENCEAU AS A WRITER 163 

compensations, as our author lightly and ironically points 
out. Being a genuine sociologist, he does not handle 
these tales of the bourgeoisie and their vagaries within 
what is, after all, an artificial and exclusive form of ex- 
istence, as seriously as he does the great plain outlines 
of peasant life. 

Whether he writes of town or country, of Fleur de 
Froment and Six Sous, or of a Menage a trots; whether 
he calls up a Greek courtesan to theorize about her pro- 
fession, or describes a long-standing, bitter and motive- 
less peasant feud, his style is always fluent and charm- 
ing, vivid with irony, and graceful with poetic thought. 
Yet the defect as well as the merit of M. Clemenceau's 
fiction and essay-writing is just this admirable, unvary- 
ing ease and fluency. One feels that he writes with per- 
fect unconsciousness, as the thoughts come into his head. 
And, after a while, the ungrateful reader is Inclined to 
ask for some kind of selection in the feast before him, 
where all is good, very good, even, but nothing is excel- 
lent. Like a far greater writer, Clemenceau — on paper 
at least — "has no peaks in him.'' His literature was an 
admirable *'by-product" of his almost limitless capacities; 
his actions and not his writings are the achievements of 
his life. 



» 



CHAPTER XII 

CLEMENCEAU AND THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 

IN December, 1894, Captain Dreyfus, a member of the 
General Staff, was found guilty of treason by a Court 
Martial. The court was unanimous. He was condemned 
to be sent to the He du DIable, there to expiate his offense 
by the prolonged torture of Imprisonment and solitary 
confinement, In a tropical climate. It was a terrible pun- 
ishment. But the offense of betraying France to Germany, 
committed by an officer entrusted with the military secrets 
of the Republic, was a terrible one too. It seemed so 
incredible, especially as Captain Dreyfus was a man of 
considerable means, that up to the last moment the 
gravest doubt as to the possibility of his having com- 
mitted such a crime prevailed. When, however, the 
Court declared against him as one man, and without the 
slightest hesitation, there could no longer be any question 
of the correctness of the decision. For the trial had lasted 
four whole days, and Dreyfus had been defended by one 
of the ablest advocates at the Paris Bar. "What need 
have we of further witness?" 

That was the universal feeling. Nearly a quarter of 
a century before. Marshal Bazalne had betrayed France 
to her mortal enemy, and had escaped the penalty which 
was his due. Common soldiers were frequently con- 
demned to death and executed for impulsive actions 
against their superiors. High time an example should 

164 



THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 165 

be made of a man of higher rank. Dreyfus was lucky 
not to be shot out of hand. That an Alsatian, a rich man, 
a soldier sworn to defend his country, an officer employed 
in a confidential post, should thus sell his nation to Ger- 
many was frightful. The thing was more than infamous. 
No punishment could be too bad for him. Permanent 
solitary confinement under a blazing sun is worse than im- 
mediate death. All the better. His fate will encourage 
the others. 

And Captain Dreyfus was a Jew. That made the mat- 
ter worse. Powerful as they are in politics and finance, 
Jews are not popular in France. By Catholics and sworn 
anti-Semites they are believed to be capable of anything. 
Even by men of open mind they are regarded with dis- 
trust as citizens of no country, a set of Asiatic marauders 
encamped for the time being in the West, whose God 
is a queer compound of Jahveh, Moloch and Mammon. 
There was thus the bitterest race and religious prejudice 
eager to confirm the judgment of the Court Martial. The 
case was decided. Dreyfus was sent off to the Island of 
the Devil. 

Clemenceau shared the general opinion. He accepted 
the statement of the president of the Court Martial that 
"there are Interests superior to all personal interests." 
And these were the interests which forbade that the 
Court Martial should be held in public, or that the secret 
evidence of treason should be disclosed. Given the honor, 
good faith, capacity and freedom from prejudice of the 
judges, this was a reasonable contention on the part of 
the chief officer of the Court. But there was that to 
come out, in this very Dreyfus case, which should throw 
grave doubt upon the advisability of any sittings behind 
closed doors of any court that deals with matters into 



i66 CLEMENCEAU 

which professional, personal or political considerations 
. may be imported. Secrecy is invariably harmful to de- 
mocracy and injurious to fair play. 

Three years later Clemenceau began to understand 
what lay behind this veil of obscurity which he then al- 
lowed to be thrown over the whole of the Dreyfus pro- 
ceedings. He took upon himself the full burden of his 
own mistake. When he had distinguished his fine career 
by the vigorous and sustained effort in favor of justice to 
the victim, he printed at full length his articles denounc- 
ing the man about whom he had been misled. "I cannot 
claim," he writes, "credit for having from the first in- 
stinctively felt the iniquity. I believed Dreyfus to be 
guilty, and I said so in scathing terms. It seemed to me 
impossible that officers should lightly inflict such a sentence 
on one of themselves. I imagined there had been some 
desperate imprudence. I considered th^ punishment ter- 
rible, but I excused it on the ground of devotion to 
patriotism." Nothing was farther from Clemenceau's 
thoughts, even at the close of 1897, than that Dreyfus 
should after all be not guilty. He laughed at Bernard 

-\- "- Lazare when he said so. Meeting M. Ranc by accident, 
this politician and journalist confirmed the opinion of 
Lazare and declared that Dreyfus was innocent. Again 
Clemenceau smiled incredulously, and was recommended 
to go at once and see M. Scheurer-Kestner, Vice-Presi- 

V ' dent of the Senate, the famous Alsatian whose high quali- 
ties he many years afterwards proclaimed in a funeral 
oration. 

The editor of VAurore called upon that courageous 
and indefatigable champion of Dreyfus; and comparison 
of the handwriting of Esterhazy, the chief witness against 
the captain, with that of the bordereau attributed to Drey- 



THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 167 

fus and decisive of his guilt, convinced Clemenceau, not 
that Dreyfus was innocent, but that the judgment had 
been quite irregular. Therefore he resolved to begin a 
campaign for a revision of the case. He did not share 
Scheurer-Kestner's view as to the enormous difficulty and 
danger of such an undertaking. Trouble and misrepre- 
sentation he anticipated. Bitter opposition from, /the 
members of the court and of the General Staff — Yes. 
Virulent misrepresentation due to priestly hatred — Yes. 
Unceasing malignity of anti-Semites — Yes. Strong po- 
litical objection to any reopening of a ^^chose jugee,'^ on 
public grounds — Yes. But, in spite of all, the truth in 
modern France would easily and triumphantly prevail! 
"Events showed me how very far out I was in my cal- 
culations." 

As on more than one occasion in his stormy life, there- 
fore, Clemenceau underrated the strength of the enemy. 
He had to contend against a combination of some of the 
strongest interests and passions that can' affect human life 
and sentiment. There had been from the very commence- 
ment a bitter feeling among some of the most powerful 
sections of French society against the Republic. As was 
shown in the rise of Boulanger, Clemenceau, by expos- 
ing the drawbacks of successive Republican Governments, 
had done much to strengthen this feeling among its op- 
ponents and to weaken the loyalty of its supporters. 
There was, in fact, nothing in the Republic itself to be 
enthusiastic about. It was essentially a bourgeois Re- 
public, living on in a welter of bourgeois scandals, un- 
balanced by any great policy at home, any great military 
successes abroad, or any great personalities at the head 
of affairs. The glories of France were dimmed: the 
financiers of France — especially the Jew financiers — were 



i68 CLEMENCEAU 

more influential than ever. All this helped the party of 
reaction. 

Religion, too, had come in to fortify finance and build 
up the anti-Semite group. The Catholics, to whom Jews 
and Free-Masons are the red flags of the political and 
social bull ring, had not very long before challenged the 
former to deadly combat in that Field of the Cloth of 
Gold on which, to use the phrase of one of their less 
enlightened competitors, they "do seem sort of inspired." 
It is possible that had the Catholic Union Generale 
listened to the advice of their ablest and coolest brain, 
who was, be it said, neither a Frenchman nor a Catholic, 
the great financial combination of the Church, with all its 
sanctified funds of the faithful behind it, might have won. 
Even as it was, it drove a Rothschild to commit suicide, 
which was regarded as a great feat at the time. 

But M. Bontoux was too ambitious, he did not possess 
the real financial faculty, his first successes turned such 
head as he possessed. The Jews, therefore, were able 
to work their will upon the whole of his projects and 
groups, and the devout Catholic investors of Paris, Vi- 
enna and other places had the intolerable mortification 
of seeing their savings swept into the coffers of the in- 
fidel. This had happened some years before the Drey- 
fus case. But losers have long memories, and here was 
a s<5re monetary grievance superadded to the previous 
religious hatred of the Hebrew. 

Dreyfus was a Jew. Nay, more, he came of financial 
Jews who had had their pickings out of the collapse of 
the Union Generale as well as out of the guano and other 
concessions malignantly obtained in the Catholic Repub- 
lic of Peru. Monstrous that a man of that race and 
name should be an officer in the French Army at all I 



THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 169 

Still more outrageous that he should be placed by his 
ability and family influence In a position of military Im- 
portance, and entrusted with serious military secrets I 
Something must be done. 

Now the persons forming the most powerful coterie 
in the higher circles of the French Army at this time were 
not only men who had been educated at the famous mili- 
tary academy of St. Cyr and Imbued with an esprit de 
corps cultivated from their school-days upwards, but 
they were officers who believed heartily, If not In the re- 
ligion, at any rate In the beneficent secular persuasion of 
the Catholic Church. They were, as was clearly shown, 
greatly Influenced by the Jesuits, who saw the enormous 
advantage of keeping In close touch with the chiefs of 
the army. 

Then there were the monarchists and Buonapartlsts, 
male and female, of every light and shade, who were 
eagerly on the look-out for any stroke that might dis- 
credit the new studious but scientific and unbelieving class 
of officers, whom the exigencies of modern warfare were 
making more and more essential to military efficiency. 
Their interest was as far as possible to keep the main 
higher organization and patronage of the army and the 
General Staff a close borough and out of the hands of 
these new men. 

All this formed a formidable phalanx of organized 
enmity against any officer who might not suit the preju- 
dices or, at a critical moment, might be dangerous to the 
plans of people who, differ as they might In other matters, 
were at one In disliking capable soldiers who were not 
of their particular set. And here was Dreyfus, who 
embodied In his own person all their most cherished 
hatreds, who could be made the means of striking a blow 



lyo CLEMENCEAU 

at all similar intruders upon their preserve, in such wise 
as greatly to Injure all their enemies at once. Unfor- 
tunately for him, Dreyfus was at the same time an able 
officer — so much the more dangerous, therefore — and 
personally not an agreeable man. Not even their best 
friends would deny to clever Jews the virtue of arrogance. 
Dreyfus was arrogant. He was not a grateful person to 
his superiors or to his equals. They all wanted to get rid 
of him on their own account, and their friends outside 
were ready enough to embitter them against him because 
he was a Jew. 

This is not to say that there was an elaborate plot 
afoot among all who were brought in contact with Drey- 
fus, or that, when the charge against him was formulated, 
there was a deliberate intention, on the part of the mem- 
bers of the Court Martial, to find him guilty, no matter 
what happened. But it is now quite certain that, from the 
first, the idea that he was a spy was agreeable to his fel- 
low-officers In the Ministry of War; and, being satisfied 
as to his responsibility for the crime that they wished 
to believe him guilty of, they did not stick at trifles. In 
the matter of procedure and testimony, which might 
relieve their consciences and justify their judgment. 
Knowing, then, the powerful combination which would 
oppose to the death any revision of Dreyfus's trial, 
Scheurer-Kestner, resolute and self-sacrificing as he was, 
might well take a less sanguine view than Clemenceau of 
the probabilities of certain victory as soon as the truth 
was made known. 

But when once he began to doubt whether Dreyfus had 
had fair play, Clemenceau immediately showed those 
qualities of personal and political courage, persistence, 
disregard of popularity, and power of concentrating all 



THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 171 

his forces upon the immediate matter in hand, indifferent 
to the numbers and strength of his opponents, which had 
gained him so high a place in the estimation of all demo- 
crats and lovers of fair play long before. *'If there are 
manifest probabilities of error, the case must be revised." 
That was his view. But the National Army and the Na- 
tional Religion, as bitter opponents of justice put it, 
were one and indivisible on this matter. Militarism and 
Jesuitism together, backed by the high society of reaction 
and a large section of the bourgeoisie, constituted a stal- 
wart array in favor of the perpetuation of injustice. 
There was literally scarce a crime of which this com- 
bination was not capable rather than admit that by any 
possibility a Court Martial on a Jew captain could go 
wrong. 

The Minister of War, General Billot, the Prime Min- 
isters Meline and Brisson, generals of high standing 
such as Mercier, Boisdeffre, Gonse, Zurlinden and others, 
officers of lower rank and persons connected with them, 
were gradually mixed up with and defended such a series 
of attempted murders, ordered suicided, wholesale 
forgeries, defense and decoration of exposed spies, per- 
jury, misrepresentation and false imprisonment that the 
marvel is how France survived such a tornado of turpi- 
tude. Clemenceau little knew what it would all lead to 
when, by no means claiming that Dreyfus was innocent, he 
and Scheurer-Kestner and Zola and Jaures, and all honest 
Radicals and Socialists, demanded that, even if Dreyfus 
were guilty, he could not have httn. legally condemned 
on false evidence and forged documents : the latter never 
having been communicated to his counsel. It was on this 
ground that Clemenceau demanded a revision of the 
trial. 



172 CLEMENCEAU 

But quite early In the fray the defenders of the Court 
Martial became desperate In their determination that the 
matter should never be thoroughly Investigated. The 
honor of the army was at stake. Colonel PIcquart, a 
man of the highest credit and capacity, comes to the con- 
clusion In the course of his official Inspection of documents 
at headquarters that the Incriminating paper on which 
Dreyfus was condemned, but which he was never allowed 
to see, was not In his handwriting at all, but In that of 
Major Esterhazy, an officer disliked and distrusted by all 
fellow-officers with whom he had served. PIcquart, in 
fact, suspected that Esterhazy was a Prussian spy and 
that he forged the Bordereau which convinced the Court 
Martial of Dreyfus's guilt. But before this. In 1894, 
when the story leaked out that an officer having relations 
with the General Staff was suspected of treachery. It was 
not Dreyfus whose name was first mentioned. His old 
comrades said with one accord, *'It must be Esterhazy: 
we thought so." Esterhazy, however, soon made him- 
self necessary to the army chiefs and their Catholics. If 
his character was blasted publicly, down these gentry 
would come, and with them the whole of the proceedings 
against Dreyfus. They therefore suggested to PIcquart 
that he should simply hold his tongue. ^'You are not at 
rile du Diable,'* they said. But PIcquart would persist, 
so they sent him off to Tunis. However, thanks to 
Scheurer-Kestner and others, the truth began to come out, 
and PIcquart still refused to be silenced. So instead of 
- dealing with Esterhazy, they arrested his accuser and 
gave the Major a certificate of the very highest character. 
As it began, so It went on. Clemenceau's daily articles 
and attacks drove the militarists, the Catholics, the anti- 
Semites and the reactionaries generally, into a fury. 



THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 173 

Colonel Henry, Colonel Paty du Clam, the Jesuit Father 
du Lac, the editors and contributors of the Figaro^ the 
Echo de Paris (the special organ of the Staff) , the Gaulois 
were in a permanent conspiracy with the generals named 
above, and the General Staff itself, to prevent the truth 
from being known. It was all of no use. Picquart under 
lock and key was more effective than Picquart at large. 
Slowly but surely men of open mind became convinced 
that, little as they wished to believe it, something was 
wrong. But these were always the minority. Few could 
grasp the fact that an innocent man was being put in 
chains on the He du Diable, virtually because there was 
an agitation in favor of his re-trial in Paris. 

Then came Zola's terrible letter in the Aurore, which ^ 
Clemenceau had suggested and gave up his daily article 
in order to give place to. He also supplied the title 
^^r Accuse!^ Zola summed up the whole evidence re- 
lentlessly against the General Staff and its tools and 
forgers, Esterhazy, Henry, Paty du Clam and the rest of 
them. 

Such an indictment formulated by a novelist who was ^ 
universally recognized as one of the leading men of let- 
ters in Europe, quite outside of the political arena, would • 
have attracted attention at any time. In the midst of a 
period when all feelings and minds were wrought up to 
the highest point of tension, it came as a direct and heavy 
blow at the whole of the military party. It is difficult to 
realize to-day the sensation produced. It had all the ef- 
fect of a combined attack of horse, foot and artillery for 
which preparation had been made long before by a suc- 
cessful bombardment. There was no effective answer pos- - 
sible in words. This the military cliques and their friends 
at once saw and acted upon. They abandoned discussion 



174 CLEMENCEAU 

and forced Zola and VAurore Into court on a charge of 
treason and libel. The action stirred all Europe and 
riveted attention throughout the civilized world. This 
was due not merely to Zola's great reputation and popu- 
larity, to the political position held by Clemenceau, to 
the enthralling Interest of the Dreyfus affair Itself, to the 
excitement of the llfe-and-death struggle between free- 
dom and reaction, but to the fact that behind all this lay 
the never-dying hostility of Germany to France. 

All this was too much for the criminal champions of 
"the honor of the Army." L'Aurore and Zola must be 
prosecuted. They were. And Clemenceau conducted his 
own defense. It was a crucial case, and the famous ad- 
vocate Labor! had previously done his best for Zola, 
pointing out that the whole drama turned on the prisoner 
then suffering at the He du DIable : perhaps the most In- 
famous criminal, perhaps a martyr, the victim of human 
fallibility. He had shown, however, that "all the powers 
for Justice are combined against Justice," and had called 
for the revision of a great case. 

"After the jury have adjudicated, public opinion and 
France herself will judge you," said Clemenceau himself. 
"You have been told that a document was privately com- 
municated to the Court. Do you understand what that 
means? It means that a man is tried, is condemned. Is 
covered with ignominy, his own name, that of his. wife, 
of his children, of his father, of all his connections 
eternally blasted on the faith of a document he had never 
been shown. Gentlemen, who among you would not re- 
volt at the very idea of being condemned under such con- 
ditions? Who among you would not adjure us to demand 
justice for you If, brought before a tribunal, after a 
mockery of Investigation, after a purely formal discus- 



THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 175 

sion, the judges, meeting out of your presence, decided 
on your honor and your life, condemning you, without ap- 
peal, on a document of whose very existence you were 
kept in ignorance? Who among you would quietly sub- 
mit to such a decision? If this has been done, I tell 
you your one duty above all others is that such a case 
should be re-tried." 

That was the main point, as Clemenceau saw even more 
clearly than M. Laborl. No man, guilty or Innocent, 
could be justly condemned and sentenced on the strength 
of a written document the purport and even the existence 
of which had been deliberately concealed from the 
prisoner and his counsel. It scarcely needed further argu- 
ment, not even the direct proof which was forthcoming 
that Colonel Sandherr, the president of the Court Martial, 
had a bitter and unreasoning prejudice against Jews. If 
the validity of the document had been beyond all possi- 
bility of question; If witnesses whose good faith had been 
unquestionable had seen Dreyfus write it with their own 
eyes : even then the trial was legally vitiated by the fact 
that it had not been shown to the accused. But if the 

document was forged ? All the other points, serious 

as some of them were, counted little by the side of this. 

That, therefore, Clemenceau dealt with most persis- 
tently. That, therefore, the General Staff, with its coterie 
of Jesuits, anti-Semites and spies, were determined to 
cover up. The generals who bore witness in the case 
against Zola and VAurore showed by their threats and 
their admissions they knew that it was they themselves 
and the members of the secret Court Martial who were 
really on their trial at the bar of public opinion. 

It was in this sense that Clemenceau closed his memor- 
able defense. He declared against the forger of the bor- 



^ 



176 CLEMENCEAU 

dereaUy the Prussian spy, Esterhazy, who was sheltered 
and honored by the chiefs of the French Army. "Yes, It 
Is we/' he cried, amid derisive shouts and howls In court, 
"It Is we who are the defenders of the army when we call 
upon you to drive Esterhazy out of It. The conscious or 
unconscious enemies of the army are those who propose 
to cashier PIcquart and retain Esterhazy. Gentlemen of 
the jury, a general has come here to talk to you about your 
children. Tell me now which of them would like to find 
himself In Esterhazy's battalion? Tell me, would you 
hand over your sons to this officer to lead against the 
enemy? The very question Is enough. Who does not 
know the answer before It Is given? 

"Gentlemen of the jury, I have done. We have passed 
through terrible experiences In this century. We have 
known glory and disaster In every form, we are even at 
this moment face to face with the unknown. Fears and 
hopes encompass us around. Grasp the opportunity as 
we ourselves have grasped It. Be masters of your own 
destinies. A people sitting In judgment on Itself Is a 
noble thing. A stirring scene also Is a people deciding 
on Its own future. Your task, gentlemen of the jury, Is to 
pronounce a verdict less upon us than upon yourselves. 
We are appearing before you. You will appear before 
history." 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE DREYFUS AFFAIR (ll) 

THIS of Zola and I'Aurore was the greatest crisis 
in the long succession of crises which centered them- 
selves round Dreyfus. The more serious the evidence 
against the conduct of the Court Martial and the honor 
of the army, the more truculent became the attitude of 
the militarists, Catholics, anti-Semites and their following. 
Passion swept away every vestige of judgment or reason. 
There was no pretense of fair play to the defendants. In- 
side the Court, which was packed to overflowing, inarticu- 
late roars came from the audience when any telling argu- 
ment or conclusive piece of testimony was put in on the 
side of truth and justice. Outside, an Infuriated mob of 
reactionists demanded the lives of the accused. The 
smell of blood was in the air. The likelihood of organized 
massacre grew more obvious every day. Clemenceau 
told me himself — and he does not know what fear is — 
that if Zola had been acquitted. Instead of being con- 
demned, the Dreyfusards present would have been 
slaughtered in court. 

How determined the whole unscrupulous and desperate 
clique were to carry their defense of injustice to the last 
ditch was displayed when M. Brisson, the President of 
the Republic, himself a man credited with austere probity 
and cool courage, was forced by them to authorize pro- 
ceedings against Colonel Picquart, because he had offered 

177 



y 



178 CLEMENCEAU 

the highest personage In France to help him to discover 
the truth. PIcquart was therefore to be victimized still 
further: likewise for the honor of the army! He was 
duly incarcerated and degraded. France herself was being 
found guilty and cashiered by the persecution of this high- 
minded and courageous colonel. Esterhazy runs away 
when his treachery and forgeries are finally exposed. 
Clemenceau and the Dreyfusards are willing that he 
should have a safe-conduct back again, If his coming will 
help to manifest the truth. A very different attitude to- 
wards a culprit convicted, not by a secret Court Martial 
but by his own public actions and admissions. Yet Gen- 
eral Gonse and the General Staff even were quite ready 
to aid and support Colonel PIcquart in exposing Major 
Esterhazy as only a German spy in constant communica- 
tion and collusion with Colonel Schwartzkopfen acting on 
behalf of the German Army and the German Government. 
Esterhazy was no direct agent of the French Staff ! When, 
however, it was discovered that Colonel Picquart's in- 
vestigations went far to clear Captain Dreyfus altogether, 
and proved that he had at any rate been condemned on 
a forged document, then PIcquart himself was to be 
treated as a criminal, unless he suppressed the truth at 
once, and held his tongue for ever. 

And so this extraordinary case was now being tried In 
the open street before the public of France and of the 
world — for every civilized nation followed the changes 
and chances of Dreyfus's martyrdom — and so day after 
day, week after week, month after month, year after year, 
Clemenceau, Scheurer-Kestner, Jaures and the SociaHsts 
fought on for a re-trial. The highest Court of judicature 
in Framce, worthy of its history, accorded the right of ap- 
peal. A sense of doubt was beginning to creep through 



THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 179 

the community. Thereupon, the Generals, their Church, 
their Press, their Mob, their Army, began afresh a very 
devil dance of organized forgery, calumny, perjury, 
vituperation, attempted murder and concomitant Infamies. 

Looking back at that period of desperate antagonism, 
It seems strange that open conflict should have been 
averted. It was no fault of the General Staff and its 
myrmidons that it did not break out. That such a result 
of their campaign of Injustice and provocation would have 
been welcomed by many of the chiefs of the French Army 
Is beyond question. At more than one juncture the out- 
look was so threatening that two, if not three, pretenders 
to the throne of France were in the country at the same 
time. Things did not take the turn they expected, and 
they went off again. All this was known, of course, to 
Clemenceau, who was also well aware that a great deal |jf 
more lay behind the Dreyfus affair than the guilt or in- 
nocence of Dreyfus. Nor did the fact by any means 
escape him that those semi-occult ecclesiastical influences 
which had been against him all his life, not for personal 
reasons, but because he was a Radical, a free-thinker and 
a champion of free speech, a free press, secular and 
gratuitous education, and separation of Church and State 
— that those hidden powers were at work behind the Gen- 
eral Staff In the Dreyfus case In the hope of gaining 
ground on the side issue which they were losing steadily 
on the main field of battle. 

This it was which made the collision between the two 
opposing forces so critical an event for France. This, 
too, accounted for the desperation of the losing party. 

The Jesuits of the Dreyfus affair had none of the 
diabolical far-seeing coolness of the type represented by 
the Pere Rodin in Eugene Sue's Wandering Jew. They 



i8o CLEMENCEAU 

were infuriated fanatics whose unreasoning anxiety to 
torture and burn their heretic opponents was reflected in 
the blundering mendacity and undisguised hatred of their 
tools of the military Staff. Hence, in the long run, they 
delivered themselves into the hands of the Frenchmen of 
the future — Zola, Jaures, Picquart and Clemenceau. 
Clemenceau's daily articles, which constituted the most 
formidable barrage on behalf of Dreyfus, make up five 
closely printed volumes. They are full of life and fire; 
but they are full also of crushing argument enforced with 
irony and sarcasm and illustrated by telling references to 
recent history. Abuse and misrepresentation could not 
permanently hold their own in a discussion thus con- 
ducted. Forgery and perjury when brought home to the 
real criminals necessarily made their case worse. Noth- 
ing is more surprising than the lack of dexterity and acu- 
men on the part of the reactionary forces. They forgot 
that a bludgeon is a poor weapon against a rapier in the 
hand of an expert. 

Thus it came about that after a long contest, whose in- 
terest, even for outsiders, was maintained throughout by 
tragical incidents such as the suicide of Colonel Henry 
— the forger for esprit de corps as Esterhazy was the 
forger for money and power — the attempted poisoning 
of Picquart and the attack upon Labori, a re-trial was 
forced from the Government of the day. The names of 
the chief opponents are already forgotten, such minor 
actors and apologists of injustice, forgers and spies on 
the "right side" were scarcely remembered. Who now 
cares whether the petit bleu was written by Schwartz- 
kopfen or not? Who can recall what Major Lauth did 
or bore witness to ? The trail of the serpent is over them 
all. That is all the world bears in mind to-day. The 



THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 181 

broad features of the drama are recorded on the cinema 
film of history. The faces and characters of the villains 
of the piece are already blotted out. Only the heroes 
of the conflict remain. And of these heroes Clemenceau 
might fairly claim to be the chief. The re-trlal at Rennes 
was, when all Is said, mainly his work. 

What a re-trlal It was! The Court was still a Court 
Martial. The president of the Court, Colonel Jouaust, 
was still a violently prejudiced officer. The judges behind 
him were all Inspired by that fatal esprit de corps which 
accepts and acts upon the Jesuit motto that the end justifies 
the means, where the interests of a particular set of men 
are concerned. In fact, the combination in favor of mili- 
tary injustice remained what it had been throughout: a 
body resolved that come what might the victim of the 
forged document and other criminal acts should not be 
formally acquitted, even if monstrous illegality at the 
first trial forced a revision. 

Nearly five years had now elapsed from the date of 
Dreyfus's original condemnation, when, released from 
his imprisonment, he stood at the Bar after that long pe- 
riod of physical and moral torture. Clemenceau is not 
a man of sentiment: he had long doubted whether Drey- 
fus was really innocent: even the outrageous proceedings 
at the first Court Martial had failed to convince him that 
there might not be something behind the forged hor- 
dereauj concealed from the prisoner, which could in a 
degree justify his judges: not until the close of the case 
against Zola and VAurore was his mind made up that, 
"consciously or unconsciously," a terrible crime had been 
committed. But now, with Dreyfus himself present, with 
all the old witnesses contradicting, more directly than 
ever, one another's testimony, yet allowed incredible li-- 



i82 CLEMENCEAU 

cense of exposition and explanation by the court; with the 
evidence of General Gonse, General Mercler, Roget, 
Cinquet, Gribelln, Lauth and Junck cut to ribands by the 
questions of Dreyfus's advocates; with Colonel Picquart 
brought up short by Colonel Jouaust, who had allowed all 
sorts of long-winged and irreconcilable accounts to be 
given by his favorites subject to no interruption — with all 
this almost inconceivable unfairness going on all day 
and every day through the Rennes Court Martial, 
Clemenceau seems to have been really affected, not only 
by the injustice done, but by the personal sufferings which 
the prisoner on trial had undergone and was undergoing. 

Colonel Jouaust's interruption of Colonel PIcquart's 
closely knit but passionless statement by the exclamation 
^'EncoreF' was destined to become famous. It summed 
up in one word the whole tone of the prosecuting judges 
on the Bench. Yet as the case proceeded and the criti- 
cisms of Clemenceau and his coadjutors became still more 
scathing than- they had been before, it was difficult to see 
how even a suborned court could avoid a verdict of ac- 
quittal. But this Court dared not be just. There was 
too much at stake. The whole of the chiefs of the army 
had taken sides against the prisoner. They were there to 
secure condemnation of Dreyfus again at all costs. The 
Court, headed by Colonel Jouaust, was forced to be the 
same. It was the "Honor of the Army" backed by 
Esterhazy, Henry and Sandherr against the character of 
one miserable Jew. There could be no hesitation under 
such conditions. Dreyfus was found "Guilty, with ex- 
tenuating circumstances." Extenuating circumstances in 
the dealings of a spy and a traitor who, not being in any 
pressing pecuniary need whatever, had deliberately and 
infamously sold France to the enemy! Not one of the 



THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 183 

five judges who rendered this verdict could really have 
believed Dreyfus to be guilty. France was more dis- 
honored by this decision than if the Court had definitely 
declared against the whole weight of the evidence that 
Dreyfus was a traitor. 

Dreyfus was thereafter "pardoned" and released. 
That special plot of the anti-Republican ckrico-military^/ 
syndicate of Father du Lac, to use Clemenceau's phrase- 
ology, had after all miscarried. As the result of incredi- 
ble efforts Dreyfus was at last a free man. The world 
could judge of the character of his accusers and of his 
champions. It did judge, and that verdict has never 
been revised. A gross injustice had been partly remedied 
but could never be fully obliterated. That Dreyfus was 
innocent the world at large had no doubt. 

Yet, strange to say, there are still men, who certainly 
had no feelings against Dreyfus but quite the contrary, 
who were not convinced. I have heard this view ex- 
pressed from several quarters, but the opinions of two 
personal friends of the most different character and career 
made a considerable impression upon me at the time. 
The first was my friend, the late George Henty, well 
known as a special correspondent and author of ex- 
ceedingly successful books for boys. Henty was a thor- 
oughgoing Tory, but he had no doubt that Dreyfus was 
a terribly Ill-used man and the victim of a foul plot — until 
he went over to France to watch the re-trial by Court 
Martial at Rennes. He returned in quite a different frame 
of mind. He knew I was entirely favorable to Dreyfus, 
as he himself had been when he crossed the Channel. 
Meeting him by accident, I asked him his opinion: *'A11 
I can tell you, Hyndman, Is that I watched the man care- 
fully throughout and he made a very bad impression upon 



<: 



i84 CLEMENCEAU 

me indeed. The longer I looked at him the worse I felt 
about him. I don't deny for a moment that his first trial 
was abominably conducted and that he was entitled to fair 
play. I dare say I may be all wrong, the weight of the 
evidence might have overborne me as a juryman. But, 
as it was, I felt that if I myself had been one of the jury 
I should have given a verdict against him. The man 
looked and spoke like a spy, and If he isn't a spy," Henty 
went on in his Impulsive way, "I'll be damned if he 
oughtn't to be one." That, of course, is simply the state- 
ment of an impressionable Englishman, who, however, 
understood what was going on. 

The other antl-Dreyfusard was a very different per- 
sonality. It was the famous German Social-Democrat 
Wilhelm Liebknecht. I knew him well. A man of a 
cooler temper or a more judicial mind I never met. As 
I have mentioned elsewhere, he and Jaures, the great 
French Socialist leader and orator, were staying with me 
together in Queen Anne's Gate, just after the Rennes 
Court Martial. Jaures had done Immense service in 
the Dreyfus matter, second only to that of Clemenceau. 
He had studied the evidence thoroughly on both sides. 
Like Clemenceau, he had been forced to the conclusion 
that such methods of defense would never have been used 
unless they had been necessary to cover up the unjust 
condemnation of an innocent man, who was known to his 

" judges to be innocent shortly after he had been shipped 
off to his place of punishment. Jaures's articles in La 

• Petite Repuhlique had helped Dreyfus greatly in one way,- 
though in another they told against him, as the Socialists 
themselves were unfairly charged with being anti-patriots 
and even in German pay. There seemed no possibility 
that he could be mistaken. Liebknecht was just as strong 



THE DREYFUS AFFAIR 185 

on the other side. He was confident that Dreyfus was a 
traitor. One of his main calculations rested on the state- 
ment that there existed an honorable understanding, never 
broken under any circumstances, between civilized Gov- 
ernments that, should a man be wrongfully accused of be- 
ing a spy and be brought to trial for that offense, the 
foreign Government which he was supposed to be serving 
should notify the other Government concerned that it had 
got hold of the wrong man. Now the German Govern- 
ment had never done this in any way, at any period of the 
Dreyfus affair. Of this Liebknecht affirmed he was ab- 
solutely certain. Statements as to Dreyfus's Innocence 
had been made by German military officers; but the Ger- 
man Government itself, which knew everything, had 
never moved. Therefore, urged Liebknecht, Dreyfus was 
a spy. But the German Socialist leader gave his own 
view too. "Have either of you,'* he asked Jaures and 
myself, *'read carefully through the verbatim report of 
the re-trial at Rennes?" I admitted I had not. Jaures 
said he had. "Well," Liebknecht went on, "I was where 
I was in a position to read the whole of the pleading and 
the evidence day by day and word by word. For I was 
in prison the whole of the time, and the study of the ver- 
batim report was my daily avocation. I am as certain as 
I can be of anything of the kind that Dreyfus had dis- 
closed secrets to our Government. He may have done so 
in order to secure more important information in return. 
That is possible. But communicate French secrets to 
Germany, in my opinion, he unquestionably did." We 
debated the matter fully several times. Nothing Jaures 
or I could say shook Liebknecht's conviction. Nor was 
it shaken to the day of his death. I have heard since, on 
good authority, that more than one of those who had 



i86 CLEMENCEAU 

risked much for Dreyfus never spoke to him again after 
the Rennes re-trial. That may easily have arisen from 
personal causes, for Dreyfus was not an agreeable man. 
But I have no ground for believing that Clemenceau ever 
saw reason to waver in his opinion in the slightest degree. 

I recall this now, when the lapse of years has calmed 
down all excitement and many of the chief actors are 
dead, to show how, apart from the mass of sheer preju- 
dice and unscrupulous rascality which had to be faced and 
overcome, there was also an element of honest intellectual 
doubt among the anti-Dreyfusards. The presence- of this 
element in the background made Clemenceau's task more 
difficult than it would otherwise have been. Even at 
the present time there may be found capable observers 
who lived through the whole conflict, certainly not sym- 
pathetic to militarism, CathoHcism or anti-Semitism, who 
are still ready to argue that Dreyfus ma^ have been ill- 
used but that he deserved the fate to which he was 
originally condemned ! This, however, may be said with 
perfect truth, that the victory of his opponents over 
Clemenceau, Jaures, Zola and all they represented would 
have been a disaster to France, whatever view may be 
taken of Dreyfus himself. 

In 1906 the first report of the Committee appointed 
to examine into the whole of the Dreyfus case was pre- 
sented. It exonerated Dreyfus from all blame, declared 
him to have been the victim of a conspiracy based upon 
perjury and forgery. This report secured the complete 
annulment of the condemnation at Rennes and restored 
him to his position in the army, after years of martyrdom. 



CHAPTER XIV 

AS ADMINISTRATOR 

AT this tImeClemenceau, owing to his apparently reso- 
lute determination not to take office, no matter how 
many Ministries he might successfully bring to naught, 
had got into a backwater. He had become permanently 
Senator for the Department of the Var in 1902, a start- 
ling, almost incomprehensible move when his continued 
furious opposition to that body is remembered. How- 
ever, having thus made unto himself friends of the mam- 
mon of unrighteousness, he found their "eternal habita- 
tions" a not unpleasing dwelling-place. His position as 
publicist and journalist was assured and nothing could 
shake It; his criticisms by speech and pen were as telling 
and vigorous as ever. But at sixty-five years of age he 
was still a free-lance, a force which all parties were 
obliged to consider but with which no Ministry could 
come to terms. It was a strange position. So his country- 
men thought. Those who most admired his ability and 
his career saw no outlet for his marvelous energy that 
would be permanently beneficial to the country In a con- 
structive sense. Perhaps no politician of any nation 
ever so persistently refused to "range himself" as did 
Clemenceau for thirty-five years of stormy public life. 
He reveled in opposition: he rejoiced In overthrow. He 
was on the side of the people, but he would not help them 
to realize their aspirations in practical life. He was a 

187 



i88 CLEMENCEAU 

political philosopher compact of incompatibilities. As an 
individualist he was a stalwart champion of individual 
freedom: as a man of affairs he advocated the use of 
State power to limit the anarchic domination of personal 
power. 

There was no understanding such a man. He would 
remain a brilliant Frenchman of whom all were proud 
until the end, when he would be buried with public honors 
as the champion Ishmaelite of his age. "When I saw 
he doubted about everything, I decided that I needed no- 
body to keep me ignorant," wrote Voltaire. Much the 
same idea prevailed about Clemenceau. He was the uni- 
versal skeptic: the man whose sole intellectual enjoyment 
was to point out the limitless incapacity of others with 
epigrammatic zeal. I myself, who had watched him 
closely, was afraid that he would allow alj opportunities 
for displaying his really great faculties in a ministerial 
capacity to slip by and leave to his friends only the mourn- 
ful task of writing his epitaph: "Here lies Clemenceau the 
destroyer who could have been a creator." 

But this was all nonsense. *'Ce jeune homme^' — 
Clemenceau will die young — **d'un si beau passe^* had also 
before him un hel avenir. Nothing is certain with Clem- 
enceau but the unforeseen. At the very time when people 
had made up their minds that he was a back number, he 
had a brand-new volume of his adventures ready for the 
press. After a few conversations with M. Rouvier and 
then with M. Sarrien, he became Minister of the Interior 
in the latter's Cabinet. He took office for the first time 
^ on March I2th, 1906, at a very stirring epoch. 

It is difficult to exaggerate the impression produced by 
this step on the part of M. Clemenceau. His accession to 
M. Sarrien's Cabinet eclipsed in interest every other po- 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 189 

lltical event. Here was the great political leader and 
organizer of opposition, the Radical of Radicals, the man 
who had declined the challenge alike of friends and of 
enemies to take office, time after time, at last seated in 
a ministerial chair. All his past rose up around him. 
The destroyer of opportunism : the Guy Earl of Warwick 
of ministries: the universal critic; the Immolator of Jules 
Ferry and many another statesman; the one Frenchman 
who had maintained the Ideals of the French Revolution 
against all comers — this terrible champion of democracy 
a outrance now placed himself in the official hierarchy, 
whence he had so often ousted others. His victims of 
yesterday could be his critics of to-day. How would this 
terrible upsetter of Cabinets act as a Minister himself? 
That was what all the world waited with impatience to 
see. They had not days but only hours to wait. 

That was the time when, M. Delcasse having been 
forced to resign from the Foreign Office, almost, it may 
be said, at the dictation of Germany, the Morocco af- 
fair was still In a very dangerous condition, threatening 
the peace of France and of Europe. But even the critical 
negotiations at Algeclras were for the moment over- 
shadowed by a terrific coUIery disaster In the Courrieres- 
Lens district, causing the death of more miners than had 
ever been killed before by a similar catastrophe. This 
horrible Incident occurred but a few days before Clemen- 
ceau became Minister, and It fell within the immediate 
sphere of his official duties. 

The mines where the accident occurred had long been 
regarded as very dangerous, fire-damp being known to 
pervade them from time to time, and the miners through- 
out the coal regions had long held that the owners 
had never taken proper precautions to ensure the safety 



igo CLEMENCEAU 

of the men. They went down the pits day after day, not 
only to work on very difficult and narrow seams, but at 
the hourly risk of their lives. Owing to the great social 
and political Influence of the mine-owners It was prac- 
tically impossible to get anything done, and the general 
treatment of the men employed was worse than Is usual 
even In those districts in our own and other countries 
where coal magnates are masters. The pitmen under 
such conditions were less cared for and more harshly 
treated than animals, probably because they were less 
costly and could be more easily replaced. 

Three days before the main explosion there had been 
an outburst of fire-damp at a small adjacent mine, whose 
workings were in direct communication with the larger 
pits. This alone ought to have been taken as a serious 
warning to the engineers in control. But markets were 
good, coal was In great demand, the "hands" were there 
to take risks. So this minor difficulty was dealt with in 
a cheap and convenient way, and the extraction of coal 
went on upon as large a scale from the Imperiled shafts 
as it did before. Meanwhile the dangerous gases were 
all the time oozing in from the smaller pit to the larger 
ones. For three days this went steadily on, and nothing 
whatever was done, either in the way of taking further 
precautions where the original danger began, or of test- 
ing the character of the air in the bigger mines to which 
the other pit had access. 

On Saturday, March loth, no fewer than i,8oo men 
went down the shafts into the mines. A full account of 
what actually took place could never be given. All that 
was learned from the survivors was that the miners work- 
ing with bare lights in these dangerous pits suddenly en- 
countered an influx of fire-damp. Explosion after explo- 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 191 

sion took place. The unfortunate men below, threatened 
at once with suffocation or being burned alive, rushed in 
headlong disorder for the cages which would lift them 
to the surface. Horrible scenes inevitably took place. 
Those in front were pressed on by those behind, who, as 
one of them expressed it, were breathing burning air. 
For the majority there was and there could be no hope. 
Out of the 1,800 miners who went down in the morning, 
more than 1,150 were either stifled by the gas or burnt 
alive. The heroism displayed by the pitmen themselves, 
in their partially successful endeavors to rescue their en- 
tombed comrades, was the only bright feature in the whole 
of this frightful disaster. Some of these fine fellows 
went down to what seemed certain death, and others 
worked at excavation until almost dead themselves in 
their efforts to save a few from the general fate. No 
wonder that the feeling throughout the neighborhood 
was desperately bitter. 

The war, sad to say, has much modified our general 
conception of the value of human life, even when un- 
necessarily thrown away. But sacrifices for a great cause 
on the battlefield or on the ocean, however serious, are 
made as a rule for high ideals. They differ widely from 
the loss of life deliberately occasioned by capitalist neg- 
lect or greed. Thus a mining accident on a large scale, 
or a conflagration in a peaceful city produces a stronger 
impression on the public mind than the loss of ten or 
twenty times the number of soldiers or sailors in a world- 
wide struggle. Among the widows and children and re- 
lations and comrades of the victims on the spot the ex- 
asperation against the employers was still greater. Class 
hatred and personal hatred were excited to a very high 
pitch. 



192 CLEMENCEAU 

This was the more natural for two reasons. First, the 
company on whose property the Immolation of so many 
pitmen had occurred, and to whose mismanagement and 
cold-blooded indifference the avoidable explosions were 
due, had made enormous, almost incredible profits. From 
dividends of fifty per cent, in 1863 their returns had risen 
to profits of 1,000 per cent, in 1905. Yet they could not 
spare the comparatively small sum necessary to safe- 
guard the lives of the men who obtained this wealth for 
the shareholders. 'Secondly, the Germans, who rendered 
assistance In the attempts to rescue the Frenchmen still in 
the workings below openly proclaimed that It was quite 
impossible — as indeed was the truth — that such an ac- 
cident on such a scale should have occurred in Germany. 
That the Empire in Germany should be far more careful 
of the lives and limbs of the miners than the Republic 
In France, and that huge profits should have been made 
still higher by the refusal of the French coal-owners to 
adopt the ordinary precautions enforced by law on the 
other side of the frontier — ^these considerations, driven 
home by the results of the great catastrophe, rendered 
the situation exceedingly perilous from every point of 
view. A strike for increased wages seemed a very poor 
outcome of the horrors inflicted upon the actual producers 
of the coal under such conditions. 

Clemenceau was perhaps the best man in the country 
to deal with the miners at such a juncture. A Socialist 
of mining experience would possibly have taken more de- 
cidedly the side of the men, but he would not have been 
able to carry with him to the same extent the support of 
the Chambers. And Clemenceau had gone very far al- 
ready on collectlvist lines. Not many years before, in 
an article on *'The Right to Strike," he had put the case 



AS ADiMINISTRATOR 193 

of the men very strongly indeed. In a vehement protest 
against the theory of supply and demand, as applied to 
the human beings compelled to sell labor power as a com- 
modity, and the political economy of the profiteers based 
upon subsistence wages for the workers — all being for 
the best in the best of possible worlds — Clemenceau set 
forth how the system worked in practice: — 

"The State ^ives to some sleek, well-set-up bourgeois 
immense coal-fields below ground. These fine fellows 
turn to men less well dressed than themselves, but who 
are men all the same, men with the same wants, the same 
feelings, the same capacity for enjoyment and suffering, 
and say: 'We will grant you subsistence; sink us some 
pits in the earth; go below and bring us up coal, which 
we will sell at a good price.' 

"Agreed. The pits are sunk, the coal comes out of the 
earth. 

"But, observe, those comfortable bourgeois for their 
outlay of five hundred francs ($100) have now a bit of 
paper which is worth forty thousand francs ($8,000). 

"The miners, who watch what is going on, think this 
a good deal, and, as they have got nothing by way of 
profit, they protest and ask for a share. 

" That, my friend, is impossible. The price of coal 
has fallen this year, the price of man must come down 
in proportion. All I could do for you is to reduce your 
wages. You object to that. All right; down the shaft 
you go: don't let us talk about it any more.' 

"But the men won't go down. 

" Tou don't make money this year. All right. But 
when you made huge profits, did you give us even the 
crumbs from your banquet?' 

" *I wasn't a shareholder then ; it was my father.' 



194 CLEMENCEAU 

** ^My father, like myself, was a miner. He died of 
consumption, his lungs choked with coal-dust. Now it is 
my turn to cough and spit black. And my wife, looking 
at her babes, asks herself whether I shall live long enough 
for them to be old enough, before my death, to go down 
into the mine which will kill them in turn. If I crock 
up too soon, misery, ruin, beggary, wholesale wretched- 
ness for wife and children.* 

"They don't come to terms. The strike begins. 

"Economists argue, to begin with, that the State has 
no right to interfere in the relations between miners and 
mine-owners. The mine-owner is at home on his own 
property. Certain securities for life and limb may be 
demanded, nothing more. But no sooner does a strike 
begin than the State, which five minutes ago had no right 
to interfere, is called upon to bring in horse, foot and 
artillery on the side of the coal-owners. Then the miners 
have no rights left, and the judges decide against them 
on shameless pretexts and condemn them to prison, when 
they cannot bear false witness in support of the police 
and military.'* 

Such were Clemenceau's views on the right to strike and 
the grievances of the men, before he accepted the post 
of Minister of the Interior and began to deal with the 
troublous state of things at Courrleres-Lens, where the 
terrible accident had occurred and a strike been entered 
upon, and while the entire district was in a state of mind 
bordering upon anarchist revolt. 

The first step he took was as bold and as remarkable 
an act as any in the whole of his adventurous life. He 
went down at once to Lens himself. Arrived there, he 
walked straight off, without any escort whatever, to meet 
and confer with the committee of the miners themselves. 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 195 

Courageous and honorable as this was, It failed at first 
to Impress the strike committee. This was natural enough. 
They were lamenting the wholesale butchery of their com- 
rades and were Incensed against the employers who, with 
hundreds upon hundreds of dead pitmen below, would 
not deal fairly with the survivors. Clemenceau there- 
fore met with a very cool reception. But he was nothing 
daunted, and began to address them. Gradually, he con- 
vinced the committee that he meant fairly by the men, 
and that he had not come down, alone and unarmed as he 
was, with any Intention of suppressing the strike, but, so 
far as he could, to see that they had the fairest of fair 
play, according to their rights under the law. 

Thereupon the committee agreed that Clemenceau 
should go with them to speak to a mass meeting of the 
miners. It was a doubtful venture, but Clemenceau went. 
In the course of his speech he reassured the men upon 
the attitude of the Government as represented by him- 
self. He told them plainly: *'You are entitled to strike. 
You will be protected by the law In doing all which the 
law permits. Your rights are equal to the rights of 
President or Ministers. But the rights of others must not 
be attacked. The mines must not be destroyed. For the 
first time you will see no soldiers In the street during 
the strike. True, soldiers have been placed In the mines, 
but solely to protect them, not In any way to Injure you. 
On the other hand, you must not resort to violence your- 
selves. The strike can be carried on peacefully and with- 
out Interference. Respect the mines upon which you de- 
pend for your livelihood." 

This was plain enough, and Clemenceau adhered to his 
own program as he had formulated It. But the dif- 
ficulty was apparent from the first, and it is a difficulty 



196 CLEMENCEAU 

which must always recur when a great strike is organized. 
If the State claims the right to intervene, in order to pro- 
tect the laws and liberties of those who wish to work for 
the employers, in spite of the strike and the decisions of 
the strikers, antagonism to such action is practically cer- 
tain beforehand. For in this case, as the strikers say, 
the State is using the forces of the military and the police 
in order to protect "blacklegs" who, by offering their 

-. labor to the employers at such a time of acute class war, 
act in the interests of the coal-owners and against the 
mass of the workers. Socialists argue that the strikers 
are sound in their contention, and that by assuring to non- 
strikers the right to work the Government practically 
nullifies the right to strike. When, therefore, in this 
typical Courrieres case, the strikers as a whole remained 
out, notwithstanding certain insufficient offers by the coal- 
owners, and a minority of non-strikers claimed the help 
of the law, with support of the State army, to weaken by 
their surrender the position of the majority of their fel- 
low-workers in the same industry, then the ethics of the 

*1^'dispute between sections of the miners could not be so 
easily determined as M. Clemenceau from his individ- 
ualist training assumed. 

If the employers were in the wrong, as it appears they 
were, then 'to call out the military to protect those miners 
who showed themselves ready to make immediate terms 
with injustice was, however good the intention, to take 
sides against the main body of the men. So it seemed 
to these latter. When, therefore, the soldiers defended 
the non-strikers, the strikers assailed the military, who 
had not attacked them. Clemenceau accordingly decided 
that the strikers had broken the law, as undoubtedly they 
had, by stoning and injuring the servants of the State, 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 197 

who were upholding the law as it stood. The truth is 
that, so long as these antagonistic sections exist among 
the working class, and persist In fighting one another, it 
is practically impossible for the State not to Intervene In 
order to keep the peace. There may be no sympathy with 
blacklegs, but the Minister of the Interior could scarcely 
be blamed for protecting them against an infuriated mob, 
which would probably have killed them, or for insisting 
upon the release of those whom the strikers had seized. 
That the temper of the crowd had become highly dan- 
gerous was apparent a little later, when the Socialist 
Mayor was knocked down as he was trying to calm them. 

All this rendered M. Clemenceau's second and third 
visits to the scene of class warfare far more stormy than 
the first. Owing to the horror and hatred created by the 
avoidable holocaust in the Courrieres mines, and the 
further discovery that engineers appointed by the State 
had played Into the hands of the employers, the situation 
got worse from day to day. The strike itself was not 
only an effort to get more wages, but a declaration of 
hostility to the mine-owners, and those of the miners* own 
class who showed any tenderness towards them or were 
ready to take work under them. Their own leaders 
and representatives had no longer any Influence with the 
men or control over them. M. Basly, the deputy who 
acted throughout for the miners, had as little power over 
the strikers as anybody else. The whole movement was 
taking an anarchist turn. Also agents were at work 
among them both from the reactionary and the revolu- 
tionary side whose main object, for very different reasons, 
was to foster disturbance and Influence passion. Foreign 
emissaries likewise were said to be at work. 

Clemenceau^s task was therefore an exceedingly hard 



198 CLEMENCEAU 

one. He had ever in mind the old eighteenth-century 
watchword which, from his point of view, is the founda- 
tion of the French Republic — Liberty, Equality and Fra- 
ternity. And the greatest of these is liberty. He through- 
out forgot or overlooked that, even according to his own 
pronouncements, liberty in any real sense is impossible for 
the weaker — the majority who own no property — against 
the stronger — *'Les Plus Forts," the minority who own 
all the property. This triune fetish Clemenceau, with 
all his keenness of criticism, might be said to worship : 
yet to worship in a more or less reasonable way. He 
could not shut his eyes to the truth that for men and 
women whose livelihood was at the mercy of capitalists 
there could be no real liberty, dominated as the workers 
were by their daily compulsion to obtain the wherewithal 
for the necessaries of life. The only way by which 
even partial justice could be secured under the system of 
payment of wages was combination among the wage- 
earners. Hence he recognizes the liberty to strike. But 
he was equally determined, as he puts It, to defend the 
vllberty of those who would not strike. It was logical : it 
was in harmony with the law ; but it was a virtual help to 
the employers none the less. 

On the occasion of his second visit he enforced his view 
in his usual emphatic way. Three miners who would 
not join the strike were being paraded through the town 
by the strikers with an insulting placard hung around 
their necks: ^'Nous sommes des poires cuites; des faux 
freresJ^ Clemenceau insisted that they should be re- 
leased, and succeeded in freeing them. The very fact, 
however, that it was possible for the strikers to act in 
this way, without protest, showed how small was the 
minority and how strong the feeling against these claim- 



I 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 199 

ants of the liberty of taking the other side. Clemenceau 
likewise acted with vigor against all who were guilty of 
any violence. But the strikes still spread. 

Speaking at Lyons on May 3rd, he explained the dif- 
ficulties of the situation: — "My position is between the 
political demagogues of the Church, the clericals and the 
reactionaries on one side, who tried hard to hound on the 
troops I was forced to call in to fire upon the strikers, 
who greatly provoked them. This the ecclesiastics and 
restorationists did with the hope of fomenting a revolt 
against the Republic — a revolt supported by certain mili- 
tary chiefs inspired by the clericals and their shameless 
lack of discipline." The Separation of Church and State 
was being decided while all this was going on. ''Their 
object was to bring about a massacre in the interest of 
the Catholic Church and the monarchy. This plot was 
frustrated. Butchery was avoided. 

"On the other side, I am accused by the revolutionary 
Socialists of indulging in brutal military oppression be- 
cause I suppress anarchist rioting. This though no 
striker was killed or wounded. I acted for tranquillity, 
while the monarchists fostered disturbances. They 
wanted a Government of the Republic which should rely 
for support solely on the Right. The anarchists helped 
the monarchists, who had agents throughout the per- 
turbed districts, by denouncing the Republic and excusing 
mob violence. Yet how stood the case? Was it I who 
organized a campaign of panic? Was it I who was re- 
sponsible for the original explosion and strike? Was it 
I who brought about the state of things which resulted in 
general disturbance and might have tended towards an- 
other coup d'etatf Nothing of the sort. I was suddenly 
called upon to deal with unexpected troubles. I acted 



200 CLEMENCEAU 

for the maintenance of the Republic, and kept the peace 
under the law." 

By taking office at the time when he did it was at once 
apparent that Clemenceau had brought himself into the 
full whirlpool of strike difficulties which then arose. He 
was called upon to solve in everyday life, as a man com- 
mitted to a policy of justice to the workers, problems 
which, at critical moments, are almost insoluble under 
the capitalist system of wage-earning and production for 
profit. Has any section of the community the right to 
hold up the life of a nation or a great city in order to 
secure advantages for itself? At first sight the answer 
would undoubtedly be *'No." But if the conditions of 
existence for those who act in this way are admittedly 
such as ought not to continue in any civilized country, 
It Is not possible to reply so confidently in the negative. 
Neither can the "No" be repeated with certainty when 
employers, or the State itself, are guilty of a direct breach 
of faith towards the workers, unless, by ceasing to carry 
out their duties they actually imperil the welfare of the 
entire collectivity of which they form a part. In short, 
all depends upon the circumstances, which have to be 
considered most carefully in each case. It fell to Clem- 
enceau's lot to decide In what might almost be taken as 
the test incident, the strike of the electrical engineers and 
workers of Paris. 

There seems to be something In M. Clemenceau's 
horoscope which has decreed that his career shall be 
diversified and rendered interesting by a series of dra- 
matic events. The strike of the electricians of Paris was 
certainly one of them. 

Scene : Cabinet of the Minister of the Interior. The 
Minister, M. Clemenceau, at work at his desk and die- 



I 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 201 

tating to his secretary. Everything going on quite nicely. 
No sign of more than ordinary pressure. Electric light 
functioning as usual for the benefit of the Radical leader 
as well as for Parisians of every degree. Hey presto I 
Darkness falls upon the bureau of the Minister. Very 
provoking. What is the matter? Corridors and other 
bureaux suffering the like eclipse. Evidently something 
wrong at the main. Candles obtained, lamps got out 
from dusty cupboards, oil hunted up. Ancient forms of 
illumination applied. Darkness thus made visible. Tele- 
phones set going. All Paris obscured. A city of two or 
three millions of Inhabitants suddenly deprived of light. 
What has happened? The entire electrical service dis- 
organized until to-morrow by the sudden and unexpected 
strike of the whole of the skilled men In the electrical 
supply department. Lovers of darkness because their 
deeds are evil likely to have a good time. Business ar- 
rested, fathers and mothers of families perturbed. Dan- 
gers of every sort threatened. Apaches and other cut- 
throats preparing for action in the to them providential 
enactment of endless gloom. 

Such is the baleful news borne over the telephone 
wires to the much troubled Minister of the Interior, with 
his wax tapers and old-world lamps glimmering around 
him. How preserve his Paris, his ville lumiere, from the 
depredations of the miscreants engendered by the social 
system of the day, when light fails to disclose their ap- 
proach? How protect the savings of the conscientious 
bourgeois and the diamonds of the high-placed horizon- 
tale from removal and conveyance under cover of the 
night? To surrender to the strikers is to admit their 
right as a few to blackmail the many. It Is to sanctify 
the action of the despoiling minority above by giving way 



202 CLEMENCEAU 

to the organized minority below. Immediate decision Is 
essential. Night Is upon us, when no man can work, 
save the man who communizes movable property to his 
own use. Light Is a necessary of security for property, 
nay, even for life. The State must come in to fulfill the 
functions which the Creator neglected to provide for 
when He divided the night from the day. The sapper is 
the man to supplement the deficiencies of Providence and 
to mitigate the social revolution by electrical engineers. 
Rien n*est sacre pour un sapeurf No sooner thought 
of but acted upon. M. Clemenceau, as Minister of the 
Interior and trustee for the well-being of the citizens of 
Paris, calls upon the State engineers under military con- 
trol to light up Paris afresh. The thing Is done. Paris 
sees more clearly and breathes more freely. Society it- 
self has the right to live. 

But stay a moment: here Is M. Jaures. He has a word 
to say. What are you doing, M. Clemenceau? You are 
outraging all your own principles. You are interfering 
with that very right to strike which you yourself have de- 
clared to be sacred. You are using the military discipline 
of the comrades of the men out on strike against the elec- 
trical companies, to render their protest nugatory, by 
employing the sappers against them. You have, in fact, 
called out the powers of the State to crush the workers in 
a particular Industry. If you were true to yourself, you 
would convert the electrical supply of Paris now In the 
hands of greedy monopolists into a public service, and 
give the strikers every satisfaction. That is the only 
real solution of social anarchy. 

To him Clemenceau: *'But this was not merely a 
strike or a limited liability class war against employers. 
It was a bitter fight between two Irreconcilable antago- 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 203 

nists against Inoffensive passers-by. The people of Paris, 
for whom I am concerned, had nothing to do with the 
matter. I myself knew nothing about the decision to 
strike till my own work was rendered impossible by 
the sudden infliction of darkness upon me by these resus- 
citated Joshuas. Not only was the general security 
threatened, as I have declared, but the lives of your own 
clients, Jaures, were threatened by immersion in a flood 
below ground. The inundation of the Metropolitan (the 
Underground Railway) had already begun. The work- 
ers of Paris who used that means of communication in 
order to return to their work would most certainly have 
been drowned owing to the suspension of electrical pumps 
and lifts, had not the sappers and the firemen, both of 
them sets of public functionaries, rushed at once to the 
rescue. Were the workmen of Paris engaged in other 
departments to be allowed to perish, with the State stand- 
ing by, wringing its hands in hopeless ineptitude, while 
the electrical engineers got the better of their masters 
in a dispute about wages? This was a practical question 
which I had to decide at once. I decided in favor of 
the inoffensive people of Paris and against the electrical 
engineers on strike." 

Taking a wide view of the whole question, I hold 
Jaures's opinion to be the right one. But Clemenceau 
had to deal with an immediate practical difliculty of a 
very serious kind Indeed. The lights went out at six 
o'clock. Night was coming on. No time could be lost 
in negotiating with the engineers. Still less was night- 
fall the period when a public service could be instituted 
in hot haste. The matter was settled in that form and 
for that occasion. But none the less the real point at 
Issue was not thus easily disposed of. Clemenceau was 



204 CLEMENCEAU 

right In preventing Paris from being left all night In 
darkness. Jaures was right in claiming that the State 
should have a more definite and consistent policy than 
that of dealing with differences between wage-earners 
and employers by such hand-to-mouth methods. 

It was just at this point that, notwithstanding all ad- 
verse criticisms in regard to the instability of Ministries, 
and the scenes of apparent disorder which sometimes 
arise, the French National Assembly displayed Its Im- 
mense superiority to the Parliaments of other countries 
when serious matters of principle were Involved. The de- 
sire to get to the bottom of a really dangerous question, to 
hear the arguments on both sides taken, as far as possi- 
ble, out of the narrow limits of personal or party poli- 
tics, puts the French Assembly on a very high level. 
From the point of view of economic development France 
Is far behind Great Britain, America and Germany. The 
great factory industry and the legislation growing out of 
it are not nearly so far advanced. But in the wish and 
endeavor to Investigate the principles upon which the 
future regulation of society must proceed, France gives 
the lead. 

This openness of mind and anxiety to let both views 
have fair play have grown under the Republic In a won- 
derful way. Where else in the world would men of all 
parties and all sections allow the two chief orators of 
the Left — Jaures, the Socialist leader of the opposition, 
Clemenceau, the Individualist Minister — to debate out 
at length, In two long sittings, the Issues between genu- 
ine Socialism and that nondescript reformist Collectivism 
which goes by the name of Socialistic Radicalism (the 
latter really meaning, to Socialists, capitalism palliated by 
State bureaucracy) ? 



AS ADMINISTRATOR . 205 

This was indeed a great oratorical duel, and those who 
contend that oratory has lost its significance and virtue 
in modern times would have to admit that they were 
wrong not only in this particular case but in regard to 
other speeches delivered by the two chief disputants 
afterwards. The debate itself was a contrast between 
styles just as it was a conflict of principles. Jaures was 
an orator of great power and wonderful capacity for 
stirring the emotions. His voice, his face, his gestures, 
his method of argument and fusing of forcible conten- 
tions into one compact whole made so great an impres- 
sion that he could capture a large audience with the same 
ease even on subjects remote from the Immediate mat- 
ter of his address — as once he held the Assembly en- 
tranced by a long digression on music in the course of a 
fine speech on the tendencies of the time. 

If it might be urged that he occasionally used too many 
words to express his meaning, this was easily forgiven 
by his countrymen on account of his admirable turn of 
phrase and his understanding use of the modulations of 
the French language. However prejudiced his hear- 
ers might be against him (and his personal appearance 
was not such as to disarm an opponent) , they had only 
to listen to Jaures for ten minutes to feel interested in 
what he had to say. From this to admiration and ex- 
citement was no long step. Short, stout and somewhat 
cumbrous in figure, wearing trousers nearly halfway up 
his calves, with a broad, humorous, rather coarse face, 
his eyes full of expression and not wanting in fun, troubled 
with a curious twitching on the right cheek which affected 
his eye with a sort of wink, Jaures was certainly not the 
personality any one would have fixed upon as the great- 
est master of idealist and economic Socialist oratory In 



2o6 CLEMENCEAU 

France, and perhaps in Europe. But his sincerity, his 
eloquence soon overcame these drawbacks on the plat- 
form and in the tribune, just as his bonhomie and good- 
fellowship did in private life. He had been a Professor 
of Literature in the University of Toulouse, and was a 
man of wide cultivation. But his learning never made 
him pedantic, nor did his great success turn his head. 
Gifted with extraordinary vitality, his powers of work 
were quite phenomenal. To say that he "toiled like a 
galley-slave" for the cause to which he devoted himself 
was no exaggeration. Yet he was always fresh, always 
in good spirits, always ready to contribute wit and vivac- 
ity to any company in which he found himself. Add to 
this much practical good sense in the conduct of his party 
and the affairs of the world, and all must admit that, in 
Jaures, the Socialist party of France had a worthy chief 
and Clemenceau a worthy antagonist. The galleries, 
like the Assembly itself, were always crowded when either 
orator was expected to address the House. 

Jaures dealt with the development of society from the 
chaos of conflicting classes and mutual antagonisms to 
the coordination of common effort for the common good. 
This can and should be a peaceful social evolution. 
Property for all means a universal share, not only in poli- 
tics, but in the production and the distribution of wealth. 
This could not be obtained under the conditions of to- 
day, where those who possessed no property but the 
labor in their bodies were at the mercy of the classes 
who possessed all else; where only by strikes in which 
the State took the side of the employers could the wage- 
earners obtain an infinitesimal portion of their rights. 
By collectivism leading up to Socialism, and general co- 
operation, every individual would have a direct interest 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 207 

in and be benefited by the general social increase of 
wealth due to the growing powers of man to produce 
what is useful and beneficial to all. 

Socialism substitutes order for anarchy, joint action of 
every member of society for the mutual antagonism 
which is now the rule. Legal expropriation with com- 
pensation will gradually put the community in control of 
its own resources. Our task is to convince the small 
proprietor and the small bourgeoisie that they will bene- 
fit by the coming transformation. Incessant social re- 
form on Socialist lines would lead to the realization of 
Socialist Ideals in a practical shape. Such strikes as that 
at Courrieres, followed by the military intervention of 
the State, at M. Clemenceau's direction, and repression 
of the strikers, displayed the injustice of the existing sys- 
tem and proclaimed the necessity for accepting the higher 
view of social duty by which all would benefit and none 
would suffer. 

The speech thus briefly summarized was delivered at 
two sittings of the Chamber, and was listened to with 
profound attention by those present, the great majority 
of whom were directly opposed to Socialist views. No 
higher tribute could have been paid. 

Clemenceau rose to reply to the Socialist leader a few 
days later. Twenty years had passed over his head 
since I last described his personal appearance, his vigor- 
ous individuality and his incisive, clear-cut, witty con- 
versation and oratory. Time had affected him little. He 
was still the same energetic and determined but ordinarily 
cool political fighter that he had shown himself In the 
eighties of the last century. His head was now bald, 
and his mustache gray, but his eyes looked out from 
under the heavy white eyebrows with all the old fire, and 



2o8 CLEMENCEAU 

the alertness of his frame was apparent in his every 
movement. Though many years older than his Socialist 
challenger, there was nothing to choose between them in 
regard to physical and mental vigor. Jaures had been 
eloquent and persuasive; he brought in the ideals and 
the strategy of the future to illuminate the sad truths of 
the present. He relied upon the history of the past and 
the hopes of humanity ahead to constitute a policy of 
preparation for coming generations of Frenchmen, while 
applying the principles he advocated as far as possible 
to the events of the day. Clemenceau confined his an- 
swer, which also extended over two sittings of the Cham- 
ber, to the matters immediately in hand and the criti- 
cisms on his method of dealing with them. This sense 
of practicality, not devoid of sympathy with the disin- 
herited classes of our day, gave the Minister of the In- 
terior a great advantage and precisely suited his style. 
The interval between the two speeches also told in favor 
of Clemenceau. The ring of Jaures's fine sentences 
had died down in the meantime. His glorious aspira- 
tions were discounted hour by hour by the continuance 
of the conflict, whose existence he himself could not but 
admit, which formed, in fact, part of his case, and in 
a way strengthened his indictment. Yet this had to be 
dealt with all the same. 

Clemenceau began his oration with a glowing tribute 
to Jaures's passion for social justice. But his magnificent 
eloquence has eliminated the whole of the bad side of 
life. He rises to the empyrean, whence he surveys crea- 
tion through a roseate atmosphere which Is raised far 
above plain facts. 'Tor myself, I am compelled to re- 
main in the valley where all the events which Jaures 
leaves out of his picture are actually taking place. That 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 209 

accounts for the difference in our perspective. I am ac- 
cused of attacking the workers and of doing worse than 
other Governments. I have never attacked the workers, 
I have never done them wrong. The duty of the Gov- 
ernment Is to maintain tranquillity. This I have done 
without Injury to the tollers, though I had to face 85,000 
strikers In the Pas de Calais and 115,000 In Paris — the 
largest number ever known on strike at the same time In 
France. I went down to Courrleres to ensure liberty. 
We have all of us here to go through our education In 
Liberty. Education Is not a matter of words, but of 
deeds. Those deeds formed part of the education. The 
working classes become worthy of taking over the re- 
sponsibility of Government for themselves when their 
own deeds are In accordance with the law. If speeches 
alone could teach administration, the Sermon on the 
Mount would have dictated practical politics for cen- 
turies. 

"In these disturbances my orders. Issued through the 
highest police authorities, were precise. Maintain, I 
said, liberty to strike, liberty to work. Soldiers to be 
called In only In case of actual violence. But the miners 
themselves Infringed the liberties of others. They In- 
dulged In the anarchical wrecking of houses belonging 
to men of their own class. I have here photographs of 
the destruction wrought. Were Monsieur Jaures Min- 
ister of the Interior — misfortune comes so suddenly — 
he himself would send down troops to stop wholesale 
pillage. Yet, If he did, he would In turn be denounced 
by the anarchist heads of the General Confederation of 
Labor as the enemy of the class whose cause he now 
champions. I challenge M. Jaures to say what he would 
do under such circumstances as I have had to face'' — 



210 CLEMENCEAU 

the orator pauses and waits. There is dead silence. No 
answer. "By not replying, you have replied. There 
have, I repeat, been no dead or wounded among the 
working class. On May ist, when general disorders 
were openly threatened, I took precautions against or- 
ganized outbreak. No trouble arose.'' 

The Republic, he continued, was a rule of freedom 
for the individual, so far as it could be secured under 
existing conditions. Those conditions and the law itself 
might work injustice, but it was then the duty of the 
State, and the Minister who had to translate its functions 
into action, to mitigate such harshness by protecting the 
weaker side. Soldiers had been sent down to Courrieres 
not to attack the strikers — no attack had been made 
upon them — ^but to prevent the strikers themselves from 
destroying the mines and inflicting illegal punishments 
upon those of their class who did not agree with them. 
When this was done, the strikers molested the soldiers, 
who never fired a shot. The lieutenant in command was 
assailed, though his saber remained all the time in its 
sheath. The right of men to work on terms they them- 
selves are willing to accept could not be contested as 
the law now stood. *'But,'' says M. Jaures, "by assuring 
non-strikers the right to work, I myself am violating the 
right to strike, which I have declared to be the inaliena- 
ble privilege of the wage-earners. But then, I ask, what 
are the non-strikers to do? They also have wives and 
children who demand to be fed. What law justifies me 
in preventing them from working? Republicanism means 
the right of the individual to combine with others to 
resist oppression and obtain advantages. This freedom 
is admitted. It does not include the freedom to oppress 
others, still less to assault servants of the State who 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 211 

are acting In order to safeguard the law as it stands. 
When the Socialists of M. Jaures's school begin to deal 
with facts, and not with Ideals at present all In the air, 
what sort of program do they formulate? 

"Here we have It. An eight-hours' working day for all 
trades. The right of State Employees to form Trade 
Unions and to strike. Proportional Representation. A 
progressive Income Tax, and so on. A nice little pro- 
gram, but a bourgeois program all the same. No Ideal- 
ism, no Socialism there! M. Jaures, however, claims 
the Immediate Nationalization and Socialization of all 
departments of industry, including the land. But such 
unification of society is in reality the Cathollcization of 
Society. There is a definite program of Radical Re- 
forms, nevertheless, constituting an advance towards a 
Socialist poHcy. They are formulated by the bourgeoisie, 
but Socialists threaten to vote against the Budget, which 
Is necessary in order to carry out some of their own 
proposals. Take Old Age Pensions. These need money. 
The Socialists refuse the required funds. Yet Socialists 
are for the Republic. So far we cordially agree. So far 
I, of necessity, work with them. But if they at the same 
time denounce Republicans as the enemies of the workers 
and secure a majority of votes in that sense, then that 
is to vote for the defeat of the Republic. If Socialists 
would work with the Radicals In order to attain the ends 
they have in common, none would be more glad than I. 
But if such common action Is Impossible, then let each 
work on in their own way." 

It was said at the time that at the close of the debate, 
when Clemenceau was leaving the Assembly, he remarked 
to Jaures, *'After all, Jaures, you are not the good God." 



212 CLEMENCEAU 

To which Jaures replied: "And you are not even the 
Devil/' 

I have dealt with this famous controversy at some 
length, without attempting to give the speeches in full, 
because although the discussion led to no decision at the 
moment, it certainly brought before the public of France 
and even the public opinion of Europe the direct theo- 
retical and practical difference between Socialism and 
well-meaning Radicalism in an intelligible manner as 
nothing else would. The effect upon French politics 
within the next few months, in spite of further desperate 
outbreaks in 1907, was also remarkable. Jaures's speech 
did much to consolidate the Socialist Party as a unified 
section of the Chamber; and Clemenceau himself was 
so far influenced by it and by the trend of events that, 
as will be seen, it affected his policy as Prime Minister 
in the formation of his own Cabinet shortly afterwards. 
Looking at the matter from the Socialist point of view", 
therefore, Jaures was building better than his opponents 
In the Chamber knew, and Socialists had no reason to 
regret the apparent victory of his formidable antagonist 
at the time. In fact, as Bernard Shaw said in regard to a 
very different debate under widely different circumstances 
In London more than thirty years before : "The Social- 
ist was playing at longer bowls than you know." 

It is this power of detachment, this recognition that 
theory and sentiment play a great part in the molding 
of public character and public opinion, even in the prac- 
tical affairs of everyday life, that renders France — inde- 
pendent. Idealist, revolutionist, conservative and thrifty 
France — so essential a factor in the discussion of the 
world-problems of to-day. France alone among the na- 
tions rises above the smoke of class warfare, and though 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 213 

her own social and economic conditions are not them- 
selves ready for the definite solution of social problems, 
she indicates the route which may be most safely fol- 
lowed by countries more economically advanced. Both 
Jaures and Clemenceau, therefore, rendered good serv- 
ice to mankind when they used their utmost efforts to 
place before the peoples and the students of all nations 
the views of the Socialist with his outlook on the future, 
and the Radical with his policy of the present based on 
the traditions of the past. Jaures, In the prime of his 
manhood and the fullness of his fame, was torn from 
the useful and noble work which lay well within his 
power and his intelligence by the murderous revolver of 
a reactionary assassin: a loss indeed to his party, his 
country, and the world at large ! His antagonist, Clem- 
enceau, still works on as nearly an octogenarian, with 
all the vigor and energy of his fiery youth, on behalf of 
that France, who, to-day, as for many a long year past, 
has been the mistress and the goddess of the materialist 
democrat and Radical champion of the people. 

On October 23rd, after six months of service as Min- 
ister of the Interior, Clemenceau was called back from 
Carlsbad, whither he went every year before the war 
to conjure attacks of gout (which might at least, in 
all reason, have spared a lifelong teetotaler), in order 
to form a Cabinet of his own in place of M. Sarrien. 
That Cabinet was remarkable from many points of view. 
Comments upon its constitution and significance may be 
reserved for a wider survey. Suffice it to say here that 
Clemenceau himself, in addition to holding the Presi- 
dency of the Council as Prime Minister, remained Min- 
ister of the Interior, thus declaring his intention not to 
shirk any of the responsibility he had taken upon him- 



214 CLEMENCEAU 

self or the animosity he had incurred in his dealings with 
strikes and other social questions. 

France was passing through a very difficult period. 
Whatever view a thoroughgoing Socialist may take as 
to the need for a wider general policy than that adopted 
by Clemenceau, it is not easy to see how, the French 
people being unprepared to accept a purely Labor or 
Socialist Government, the Republic could have been 
peacefully maintained but for the cool determination of 
the Radical Republican at the head of affairs. Scarcely 
a day passed without some fresh economic and social 
conflicts that called for prompt action. These, however, 
arose in provinces and cities and under conditions where 
the antagonism between wage-earners and employers, be- 
tween capital and labor, in the ordinary way offered no 
exceptional features for the statesman. But in the spring 
and summer of 1907 a more complicated and dangerous 
uprising, which developed into little short of an at- 
tempt at an Anarchist-communist, anti-Republican revo- 
lution, broke out iij the South of France among the wine- 
growers. 

The peasants of the districts round Narbonne and 
Montpellier, together with many of the inhabitants of 
those towns who were themselves dependent upon the 
wine industry, made, in fact, a desperate local attack 
upon the existing Government of France. Disaffection 
had been growing for a long time and was due to a series 
of economic and agricultural troubles among the wine- 
growers, which successive Ministries had not understood, 
far less attempted to cope with. It had its direct origin 
in a natural cause. This cause was the appearance in the 
Bordeaux country of the deadly enemy of all vignerons, 
large and small — ^the much-dreaded phylloxera. The 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 215 

vineyards of the GIronde were devastated and the fa- 
mous clarets shipped from Bordeaux ceased to be the 
product of Bordeaux grapes. Thereupon the inferior 
vintages of the Midi came Into abnormal demand. But 
the wine-producers of the West were not wholly defeated, 
even while the phylloxera continued his ravages and 
no method of checking the mischief had been discovered. 
There are ways and means of meeting even such a 
calamity. 

*'Would your lordship^ like madeira served with that 
course?" said a butler to a well-known bishop who was 
giving a dinner, in days long before the war, to a num- 
ber of his clergy. "Madeira!" was the reply, in great 
surprise. "Why, I have not a single bottle in my cel- 
lar." "Oh, yes, my lord, you have. Monseigneur ouhlie 
peut-etre que je suis de Cette*^ Madeira, so the story 
goes, was duly served. But Cette is not the only town 
in France where the art of blending and refining wine 
for foreign and even home palates has been brought to 
a high pitch. At any rate, during the phylloxera period, 
Australian, Algerian, Spanish and other wines which pre- 
viously had been regarded contemptuously by foreign 
and French consumers of claret were, it was alleged, im- 
ported at Bordeaux in great quantity and came out again 
with the old familiar Bordeaux labels and duly impressed 
corks. 

Thus adulteration, which John Bright declared was a 
legitimate form of competition, made its appearance in 
a widely different industry from his own, to the detri- 
ment, even thus early in the struggle, of the legitimate 
growers of more acid but more genuine beverages in the 
South. Adulteration became a war-cry among the peas- 
ants, who felt themselves defrauded. Republicans of 



2i6 CLEMENCEAU 

great commercial reputation and high standing in finance 
were accused, rightly or wrongly, of being deeply and 
profitably concerned in this nefarious traffic. That was 
all bad enough. But at last, a remedy for the vineyard 
plague was discovered and widely used, with the aid 
of the Government, partly by chemical applications to 
the vines, partly by bringing in new stocks from without. 
Then followed exceptionally good vintages in the Bor- 
deaux country, while the adulteration, falsification, manip- 
ulation of other wines with sugar and the like continued. 
Hence an abnormal glut of wine of every degree, with 
a corresponding fall in price. 

The peasants, whose views of the aamirable law of 
supply and demand were very crude, only discovered that 
the more wine they produced the less money could they 
get for it. To produce for the consumer, at a loss to 
themselves, at once struck them as an unfair dispensation 
in the order of the market since it affected the sales of 
their wines. Obviously, they said, the Government was 
to blame. How could they pay taxes when wine was 
fetching a derisory price? Why should they borrow 
to pay taxes when wine was fetching a derisory price? 
Let Government take short order with the adulterators 
and big producers out there in the West, who were pre- 
venting the hard-working toilers on the soil in the South 
from disposing of their sole saleable product at a profit. 
A Republic which couldn*t protect the backbone of the 
nation, the Southern wine-growers, to wit, was of no 
use to them. And the people of the South, as M. Clem- 
enceau knows very well, for he is Senator for the Var, 
are a vivacious and an excitable folk. But their vivacity 
and excitement had already been worked up to a high 
pitch by gradual exasperation before M. Clemenceau 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 217 

himself took office. It was his hard fate to meet the full 
fury of the storm as Premier of France. 

No trifling storm It was. The whole countryside, In 
the late spring and summer, was aflame. Commune 
after commune, district after district, took part In the 
agitation. Peasants and proletaires made common cause 
against the authorities. Taxes should not be paid. Tax- 
gatherers should appear at their peril. The Government 
was an unjust Government, and should be defied. And 
It was so. Meetings were held In every town and vil- 
lage. Capable representatives and leaders, of whom a 
M. Albert was the chief, were chosen by the men them- 
selves. Attempts to confer with the people as a whole 
resulted In failure. The old story was told again. The 
reactionaries of the Right took the side of the people, 
and shouted against "adulteration," because they were 
victims of a chaotic economic system, because also they 
objected to the use of troops who belonged to and were 
paid by the whole people In order to maintain that system 
in full vigor. What was to be done? Things got worse 
and worse. The Minister of the Interior felt obliged 
to call out the troops In order to prevent downright ruin 
being wrought in Narbonne, Montpellier and St. Bezlers. 
There were killed and wounded on both sides. Hence a 
serious ministerial crisis was threatened which, as mat- 
ters stood, could scarcely fail to tell In favor of reaction 
and against the only Republic then possible. 

The facts were beyond dispute. In consequence of 
the causes and results summarized, the temper of the 
people became unmanageable. There were terrible riots 
of a wholly anarchist character. The doors of public 
buildings were soaked with kerosene and then set on 
fire. At Narbonne, Montpellier and St. Bezlers at- 



2i8 CLEMENCEAU 

tacks were made on peaceful citizens at dead of night by 
uncontrolled mobs of armed men recruited from the 
worst members of the population. Soldiers on the spot 
refused to fire in reply to revolver shots aimed at them. 
The provocations to the troops, who were brought in 
solely to maintain order, were almost intolerable, but 
they were borne with heroic calm. At first they fired 
in the air. Then they fired in earnest, and there were 
killed and wounded on both sides. Hence there was the 
greatest excitement in the Chamber and unrest through- 
out Paris, where the wildest rumors were spread. 

Everything pointed to a serious political upset when 
Clemenceau rose to give an account of the circumstances 
and to defend the action of the Government. This is, in 
brief, what he said: "I did my best to avoid sending 
troops, and directed that they should not be used except 
in case of absolute necessity. But can a Government 
allow a wine-growers' committee to forbid the villagers 
to pay taxes? Can it quietly permit tax-collectors to be 
molested when they arrive in the communes? Can it 
look on with indifference while 300 mayors of communes 
declare a general strike and hold up the entire business 
of the community? Everywhere the committees of the 
wine-growers took upon themselves to give their orders 
in place of the constituted authority, and were obeyed. 
Soldiers who mutinied against their officers were applaud- 
ed and a large sum was raised for their compensation. No 
Government could stand that. Citizens were bound to 
pay their taxes. No Minister can deny that. I could 
have resigned. I do not want office. But I felt it my 
duty to remain when the troops were attacked." 

After this speech the ministerial crisis ended. The 
diflUculties on the spot slowly calmed down, owing largely 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 219 

to the good sense and loyalty to the Republic of M. 
Albert and other leaders of the men. But the Socialists 
have never forgiven M. Clemenceau for calling In the 
military at Courrleres and Narbonne, and particularly 
for the bloodshed at the latter town. This has been a 
great misfortune for both sides, the rather that both 
could plead justification for the course they took. The 
Socialists contended that the troubles arose in the North 
and in the South from causes whose development the 
Government ought to have watched and whose results 
it should have foreseen. The State ought to have made 
ready, and introduced adequate legislation to encounter 
and overcome these troubles by peaceful methods which 
all governments have, or ought to have, at their com- 
mand. Clemenceau could and did answer that he was 
in no wise to be held responsible personally for out- 
breaks which had arisen from circumstances over which 
he had no control, and that all he had to do was to 
prevent any mistakes that had been made from leading 
to violent action that must harm innocent persons and 
injure the Republic. The split between Radicals and 
Socialists remains unbrldged to this day. 

Yet in the Senate on more than one occasion In 1906 
Clemenceau, interrupting a speaker, declared: "I claim 
to be a Socialist!" And again, "When I accepted the 
offer to form a Government I conceived the idea of gov- 
erning In a Socialist sense. Years ago I offered to co- 
operate with M. Jules Gucsde to carry Socialist meas- 
ures on which we mutually agreed.'* This has never 
been denied. It ought to have been possible to come 
to terms on palliative measures at least. 

For the strike difficulties did not end in 1906 and 1907, 
nor did Clemenceau change his policy in dealing with 



220 CLEMENCEAU 

them. Non-strikers were always to be protected against 
strikers: anything In the shape of violence on the part 
of strikers, no matter how great the provocation, was 
to be repressed by the forces of the State. Also civil 
servants, being the servants of the State, were not to be 
allowed to combine In trade unions against the State as 
employer. Still less could Clemenceau allow them the 
right to strike against the State. They then became, 
as he expressed It, **rebellIous bureaucrats," allied with 
those who would like to destroy '7^ Patrie,^' To them 
the amnesty granted to the rebellious wine-growers and 
rural anarchists of the South must be denied. Civil 
servants In revolt and the bigots of antl-mllltarism — 
Herve was at this time an ardent peace-at-any-prlce man 
and fanatical antl-mllltarlst — were guilty of a crime 
against their country; and with such criminals the Gov- 
ernment was engaged In battle. 

Once more an actual strike close to Paris gave point 
to all these declarations, and put Clemenceau and his 
Government again at variance with the Socialists by the 
acute difference of principle which was then accentuated 
in practice. This was at VIgneux, when there was a 
strike of the workers In the sandpits. Clemenceau, who 
was still Minister of the Interior as well as Prime Min- 
ister, used the gendarmes to protect the non-strikers 
or blacklegs still working In the pits. As a result, there 
was open conflict between the two sides. Two of the 
men on strike were killed, and several of the gendarmes 
were Injured. This aroused great Indignation against 
the Government among the organized workers. They 
felt that the right to strike became Illusory If at any 
moment the Ministry could turn the scale against the 
strikers, no matter how great their grievances or how 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 221 

just their claims might be, by bringing In the State to 
uphold the minority of the men In standing by the mas- 
ters. 

In practice, as has often been found In England, such 
Intervention on behalf of the blacklegs means that the 
strike may be broken In the Interest of the capitalists. 
The deputies of the places where the strikes took place 
Interviewed Clemenceau on the matter. It Is clear that 
the antagonism went very deep. In answer to a bitter 
attack Clemenceau again defended his action In the Cham- 
ber. The question was one not of mere opinion, but of /- 
justice. "When the workers are in the wrong they must ^ 
be told the truth about It. The Government will never 
approve of anarchy.^' ("You are anarchy enthroned 
yourself,*' cried Jaures.) "My program Is Social Re- 
form under the law against grievances, and Social Order 
under the la\y against the revolutionists." Finally the 
National Assembly passed a vote of confidence In Clem- 
enceau as against the Socialists. That, of course, was to 
be expected. 

have given a fairly detailed account of these affrays — • 
they were no less — ^between Clemenceau and the Social- 
ists because they are of great Importance, not only as 
explaining the vehement hostility which has since existed 
between them, but because the points at Issue affect every 
civilized country to a greater or less degree. Capital and 
labor, capitalists and wage-earners, are at variance every- 
where. Their antagonism can no more be averted or 
bridged over than could the class struggle between land 
and slave-owners and their chattel slaves, or the nobles 
and their serfs. Only the slow process of social evolu- 
tion leading up to revolution can solve the problem. 
Meanwhile combination on the one side Is met by com- 



222 CLEMENCEAU 

bination on the other. Outside political action, which is 
Ineffective until the workers themselves understand how 
to use It, there is no weapon for the wage-earners or 
wage-slaves but the strike. They suffer, even when they 
win, far more than the capitalists or employers, who 
are only deprived of the right to make profits out of 
their hands while those same hands are undergoing the 
pangs of hunger and every sort of privation, not only 
for themselves but for their wives and children. 

Arbitration, when the social conditions have reached 
the stage where this is feasible, may postpone the crucial 
battle and smooth over the matter temporarily; but it 
can do no more than that. A step towards this arbitra- 
tion was made under M. Millerand's measure declaring 
strikes Illegal unless decreed by a majority of the em- 
ployees upon a referendum and the enactment of an arbi- 
tration clause. But when strikes actually take place and 
the men's blood is up, then comes the real tug-of-war. 

Should the State — obviously the capitalist State to-day 
— interfere to keep order and maintain the right to work 
for non-strikers, or should It refrain from interference 
altogether? When Jaures and the Socialists were chal- 
lenged to say what they would do under the circum- 
stances, they failed to answer, as already recorded. This 
put them in a weak position. An opposition must have 
a policy which it would be prepared to act upon If it took 
office. Socialism, however desirable, could not be real- 
ized all at once. But, It was open to Clemenceau as to 
any other Minister entrusted with full powers by the 
State, to bring at least as much pressure to hear upon the 
capitalists and employers as upon the strikers and to 
insist that they should yield to the demands of the men 
and continue to work the mines, out pf which, bjr the pur- 



AS ADMINISTRATOR 223 

cnase Ox the labor-power of the pitmen, they had derived 
such huge profits. This course was not adopted by the 
Minister of the Interior, nor does it seem to have been 
demanded by Jaures. The troubles in the wine districts 
arose from different economic causes, and had to be 
dealt with in a different way. But the truth is that, in 
periods of transition, no Government can go right. It 
was Clemenceau's lot to have to govern at such a period 
of transition. 



CHAPTER XV 

STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS OF CLEMENCEAU 

STRIKES and anarchist troubles, however, formidable 
as they were in the North and in the South, were by 
no means the only serious difficulties which Clemenceau 
had to cope with, first as Minister of the Interior and 
then as Premier. The danger from Germany, as he well 
knew, was ever present. Anxious as France was to avoid 
misunderstandings which might easily lead to war, eager 
as the Radical leader might be to enlarge upon the folly 
and wickedness of strife between two contiguous civilized 
peoples, who could do so much for one another. It was al- 
ways possible for the German Government to put the 
Republic in such a position that the alternative of humil- 
iation or hostilities must be faced. Less than a year 
before Clemenceau accepted office, the German Kaiser 
himself had taken a most provocative step In Morocco, 
the object of which can now be clearly seen. Germany 
had no real Interests In Morocco worthy of the name. 
Several years later the German Minister of Foreign 
Affairs pooh-poohed the Idea that Germany, distant from 
Morocco as she was, with only 200 Germans In the coun- 
try, and not more than $1,000,000 worth of yearly com- 
merce, all told, with the Inhabitants, could be concerned 
about political matters In that Mohammedan kingdom. 
With France the case was very different. Algeria was 
adjacent to the territories of the Sultan of Morocco, and 

224 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 225 

If the wild tribes on the frontier were stirred up against 
the Infidel, the most Important French colony was threat- 
ened with serious disturbance. It was all-Important for 
France, therefore, that there should be a government at 
Fez strong enough and enlightened enough to keep peace 
on the border. Clemenceau, who had always been so 
stern an opponent of colonial adventures and had over- 
thrown several Cabinets which he considered were prone 
to encourage harmful exploits, had himself spoken out 
very plainly about Morocco. Long before capitalist In- 
terests were involved on any large scale the French own- 
ership of Algeria necessitated a definite Moroccan pol- 
icy. This again brought with It the obligation of con- 
stant pressure upon the Sultan to induce him to consider 
French interests. These Interests could be harmonized 
with those of Spain and Great Britain, and were so 
settled by special agreements In April, 1904, just a year 
before the German Emperor's coup de theatre startled 
the world. France's special Interests In Morocco were 
thus recognized all round, and Germany, far from rais- 
ing any objection, expressly disclaimed any desire to In- 
terfere, so long as "the open door" was left for German 
goods. But the general antagonism between France and 
Germany was a matter of common knowledge. 

It was natural, therefore, that the Sultan of Morocco, 
alarmed lest French attempts to Introduce "order" and 
"good government" Into his realm might end, as it had 
always done elsewhere, by destroying his independence, 
should appeal to the Kaiser, who had proclaimed his 
sympathy for the Moslem, to help him against the less 
sympathetic infidel. For a long time these appeals fell 
upon deaf ears. Even when the Kaiser visited Gibraltar, 
after an interview with the King of Spain, he refused 



226 CLEMENCEAU 

pressing invitations to cross the Straits and meet envoys 
of the Moroccan potentate at Tangier. This was in 
March, 1904. But in March, 1905, when everything 
looked peaceful, the Kaiser went to Tangier in the Hohen- 
zollern, landed with an imposing suite, met the uncle of 
the Sultan, who came as a special envoy to the German 
Emperor, and addressed him in the following terms: — 

"I am to-day paying my visit to the Sultan in his qual- 
ity of independent sovereign. I hope that under the sov- 
ereignty of the Sultan a free Morocco will remain open 
to the peaceful competition of all nations, without monop- 
oly and without annexation, on the footing of absolute 
equality. The object of my visit to Tangier is to make 
known that I have decided to do all in my power to 
effectually safeguard the interests of Germany in Mo- 
rocco. Since I consider the Sultan an absolutely free 
sovereign, it Is with him that I desire to come to an 
understanding on suitable measures for safeguarding 
these interests. As to the reforms that the Sultan intends 
to make, it seems to me that he must proceed with much' 
caution, having regard to the religious feelings of the 
population, so that public order may not be disturbed." 

Such was the declaration of the German Emperor. 
What gave special point to his address was the fact that 
at that very moment a French delegation was at the 
capital, Fez, in order to obtain necessary reforms from 
the Sultan, and was meeting week after week the most 
obstinate resistance from him and his Government. It 
was obviously open support of the Sultan in his refusal 
to accept French representations, and a declaration of 
hostility to France on the part of the Kaiser. Nothing 
more arrogant or offensive can well be imagined. France, 
from the Socialist point of view, was wrong in her at- 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 227 

tempt to instruct the Sultan how to deal with a state of 
things which undoubtedly threatened the peace of Al- 
geria, but the Kaiser's intervention after such a fashion 
was wholly unwarrantable, and threatened the peace of 
the world. 

What was the meaning of this extraordinary display of 
Imperial diplomacy and Prussian direct action? There 
were statesmen — Sir Charles Dilke was one — who be- 
lieved that the German Emperor was really devoted to 
peace, and that no war could take place in Europe so 
long as he lived. There was a general feeling in Eng- 
land to the same effect, largely engineered by Lord Hal- 
dane and others of like nature, whose spiritual or po- 
litical home was in Germany. But all can see now that 
this was an illusion. The only difference between the 
Kaiser and the most aggressive and bloodthirsty Junker 
or pan-German was as to the time and season when the 
tremendous Central European and partially Mohamme- 
dan combination that he had formed should commence 
the attack. William II wished to wait until the road had 
been so completely prepared for the aggressive advance 
that victory on every side would be practically certain. 
The Junker party, with which the Crown Prince iden- 
tified himself, were in a hurry, and the Emperor could 
only keep them in good humor by these periodical out- 
bursts which enabled him to pose as the dictator of 
Europe. 

All through, the Kaiser's real ambition was that which 
he occasionally disclosed in a well-known drawing-room 
in Berlin. He would not die happy unless he had ridden 
at the head of the Teutonic armies as the Charlemagne 
of modern Europe. But this megalomania was only in- 
dulged in with his Intimates. Elsewhere he stood forth 



228 CLEMENCEAU 

as the rival of his uncle as the Prince of Peace. Accord- 
ing to him, therefore, it was M. Delcasse who forced 
him to act in this peremptory way at Tangier, and ef- 
forts were made to convince all the Governments in 
Europe that the French Minister of Foreign Affairs had 
tried to boycott Germany out of Morocco. France, 
rather than take up the challenge, got rid of M. Del- 
casse. Thus the Emperor displayed his power for the 
appeasement of his Junkers, established a permanent 
source of difficulty on the flank of France, and gave the 
Mohammedan world to understand once more that Ger- 
many, not England, was the champion of Islam. 

Meanwhile, German political, financial and commer- 
cial influence of every kind was making astounding ad- 
vances, not only in France itself, but also in every coun- 
try that might at the critical moment be able to help 
either France or Russia; while German armaments, mili- 
tary and naval, and German alliances for war were be- 
ing worked up to the point which, if carried on for ten, 
or perhaps even for five years more, would have ren- 
dered the German power almost, if not quite, irresistible 
by any combination that could have been made in time 
against it. The Kaiser, in short, was playing a success- 
ful game of world-peace in order to make sure of play- 
ing at the right moment a successful game of world-war. 
Desperate as the conflict has been, it may have been for- 
tunate for mankind that the Junkers, his son and the 
General Staff forced the Emperor^s hand. 

When, consequently, Clemenceau took the lead in 
French affairs, he soon found that the sacrifice of M. 
Delcasse, the friend of Edward VII, to the pretended 
German injury had been made in vain. There was no 
intention whatever, either then or later, of coming to a 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 229 

really permanent settlement of outstanding grievances 
against France, although the position in Morocco was 
eventually used to gain great advantages in other parts 
of Africa. Germany was, in fact, a permanent menace 
to the peace of Europe and the world; but those who 
said so, and adduced plain facts to justify their conten- 
tions, were unfortunately denounced both by capitalists 
and Socialists in every country as fomenters of war. This 
insidious propaganda, which tended to the advantage of 
Germany in every respect, was already going on in 1906, 
when M. Clemenceau joined M. Sarrien's Cabinet, and 
when he formed a Cabinet of his own. This was publicly 
recognized. 

This IS what M. Clemenceau said at Hyeres, after 
some furious attacks had been made upon France in the 
German official newspapers; no German newspapers be- 
ing allowed to print comments on foreign affairs without 
the consent of the Foreign Office: "No peace is possible 
without force. When I took office I myself was per- 
suaded that all European nations were of one mind in 
wishing for peace. But almost immediately, without any 
provocation whatever from us, a storm of calumny and 
misrepresentation broke out upon us, and we were com- 
pelled to ask ourselves, *Are we prepared?* '* 

On October 23rd of the same year, M. Sarrien re- 
signed, and M. Clemenceau formed his Cabinet. It 
comprised, among others, Messrs. Pichon (Foreign Af- 
fairs), Caillaux (Finance), Colonel Picquart (War), 
Briand (Justice and Education), Viviani (Labor), and 
Doumergue (Commerce). A more peaceful Cabinet 
could hardly be. M. Pichon, who took the place from 
which M. Delcasse had been forced to resign because 
he too strongly opposed German influence in Morocco 



230 CLEMENCEAU 

and refused a European Conference on the subject as 
wholly unnecessary, was an old friend and co-worker 
with Clemenceau on La Justice, and had gone Into diplo- 
macy at Clemenceau's suggestion. He had since held 
positions In the East and in Tunis, and he and Clemen- 
ceau were believed to be entirely at one In abjuring all 
adventurous colonial policy. M. Caillaux, at the head 
of the Department of Finance — ^people are apt to forget 
that M. Caillaux, now In jail under serious accusa- 
tion, was thus trusted by Clemenceau — was certainly not 
opposed to Germany, but even at that time was favorable 
to a close understanding with that power. Colonel Pic- 
quart, who now received his reward for having, though 
personally an anti-Semite, destroyed all his own profes- 
sional prospects in his zeal to obtain justice for the Jew 
Dreyfus, was certainly as pacific a War Minister as could 
have been appointed. But what was more significant 
still, M. Briand, himself a Socialist, and the hero of the 
great inquiry into the separation of Church and State 
which had now become Inevitable, was placed In a posi- 
tion to carry that important measure to its final vote and 
settlement; and M. VIviani, likewise a Socialist, became 
head of the new department, the Ministry of Labor. 
When I saw these two men, Briand, whom I remembered 
well as a vehement anarchist, and VIviani, who was a 
vigorous Socialist speaker and writer, in the Cabinet of 
which Clemenceau was the chief, I could not but recall 
the conversation I had with the French Premier sixteen 
years before. 

Seated comfortably in his delightful library, sur- 
rounded by splendid Japanese works of art, of which at 
that time he was an ardent collector, M. Clemenceau 
had spoken very freely indeed. Of course he knew quite 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 231 

well that I was no mere Interviewer for Press purposes, 
and, indeed, I have always made It a rule to keep such 
conversations, except perhaps for permitted Indiscre- 
tions here and there, entirely to myself. There is no 
need for me to enlarge upon his quick and almost abrupt 
delivery, his apt remarks and Illustrations, his bright, 
clever, vigorous face and gestures. I put it to him that 
Socialism was the basis of the coming political party In 
France and that, vehement Individualist as he might be 
himself. It was Impossible for him to resist permanently 
the current of the time, or to remain merely a supremely 
powerful critic and organizer of overthrow. Sooner or 
later he must succumb to the Inevitable and take his seat 
as President of Council, and to do this with any hope of 
success or usefulness he would have to rely in an increas- 
ing degree upon Socialist and seml-SocIallst support. 

To this Clemenceau answered that he was quite con- 
tented with his existing position; that he had no wish to 
enter upon office with Its responsibilities and corrupting 
influence; while, as to Socialism, that could never make 
way in France in his day. 

"Looking only at the towns," he said, "you may think 
otherwise, though even there I consider the progress of 
Socialism Is overrated. But the towns do not govern 
France. The overwhelming majority of French voters 
are country voters. France means rural France, and the 
peasantry of France will never be Socialists. Nobody 
can know them better than my family and I know them. 
Landed proprietors ourselves — my father's passion for 
buying land to pay him three per cent, with borrowed 
money for which he had to pay four per cent, would have 
finally ruined him, but that our wholesome French law 
permits gentle Interference in such a case — we have ever 



232 CLEMENCEAU 

lived with and among the peasantry. We have been doc- 
tors from generation to generation, and have doctored 
them gratuitously, as I did myself both in country and in 
town. I have seen them very close, in birth and in death, 
in sickness and in health, in betrothal and in marriage, in 
poverty and in well-being, and all the time their one idea 
is property; to possess, to own, to provide a good portion 
for the daughter, to secure a good and well dot-td. wife 
for the son. Always property, ownership, possession, 
work, thrift, acquisition, individual gain. Socialism can 
never take root in such a soil as this. North or south, it 
is just the same. Preach nationalization of the land in a 
French village, and you would barely escape with your 
life, if the peasants understood what you meant. Come 
with me for a few weeks' trip through rural France, and 
you will soon understand the hopelessness of Socialism 
here. It will encounter a personal fanaticism stronger 
than its own. Your Socialists are men of the town; they 
do not understand the men and women of the country.'* 
Now the same M. Clemenceau, after a long struggle 
side by side with the Socialist Party, first in the Dreyfus 
case and then in the anti-Clericalist and Separation of 
Church and State movement, finds that events have moved 
so fast, in a comparatively short space of time, that he 
is practically compelled to take two active Socialists into 
his own Cabinet. This, too, in spite of the fact that his 
action in calling in the troops at Courrleres and insisting 
upon liberty for non-strikers or blacklegs had turned the 
Socialist Party, as a party, definitely against him. No 
more significant proof of the advance of Socialist influ- 
ence could well have been given. That it was entirely 
on the side of peace and a good understanding with Ger- 
many cannot be disputed. 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 233 

But this did not make the Morocco affair itself any 
less complicated or threatening. Notwithstanding the 
Conference which Germany succeeded In having con- 
voked at Algeclras, and the settlement arrived at In April, 
1906, after a sitting of more than three months, the con- 
dition of Morocco itself had not Improved. The fact 
that the Conference gave France the preference In the 
scheme of reforms proposed and in the political man- 
agement of Morocco, against the efforts of Germany and 
Austria, suited neither the Sultan nor the Kaiser. Trou- 
bles arose of a serious character. The French consid- 
ered themselves forced to Intervene. The old antagonism 
broke out afresh. So much so that the French Premier 
spoke with more than his usual frankness in an interview 
with a German newspaper In November: — 

"The Germans have one great fault. They show us 
extreme courtesy to-day and marked rudeness the day 
after. Before this Morocco affair, feeling In France had 
much Improved. Many of us thought an understanding 
with Germany very desirable, and I freely admit your 
Emperor did a good deal to engender this feeling. Then, 
although we had dismissed Delcasse, the German press 
attacked us. It went so far as to declare that you were 
to extort from us the milliards of francs necessary to 
finance an Anglo-German war. ... I do not want to have 
any war, and if we desire no war we necessarily wish to 
be on good terms with our neighbors. If, also, our rela- 
tions are unsatisfactory, we are anxious to Improve them. 
Such Is my frame of mind. Moreover, if I have a chance 
of doing so, I shall be glad to act on these lines. Of 
course it is Imperatively necessary for us to be always 
strong and ready for all eventualities. That, however, 
does not mean that we want war: quite the contrary. 



234 CLEMENCEAU 

To wish for war would mean that we were mad. We 
could not possibly carry on a war policy. If we did, 
Parliament would soon turn us out, as it did Delcasse." 

Nothing could be clearer than that. And what made 
the pronouncement more important even than the strong 
but sober language used was the fact that, after as before 
the Conference of Algeciras, there was really a great 
disposition among certain sections in France to come to 
terms with Germany rather than to strengthen the un- 
derstanding with England. The expression of this opin- 
ion could be frequently heard among the people. It was 
fostered even In the face of the German press campaign 
against the Clemenceau Administration, by powerful 
financial interests and by Clerical reactionary elements 
which were at this time less hostile to Germany than to 
England. 

Throughout, however, Clemenceau stood for the En- 
tente with the latter power as the only sound policy for 
his country. In this respect he was at one with the old 
statement of Gambetta that a breach of the alliance with 
England would be fatal to France. For Clemenceau, 
therefore, who had more than once in his career suffered 
so severely for his friendship for England, to state that 
an understanding with Germany had been seriously con- 
templated was a striking testimony to the Immediate 
tendency of the time at that juncture. Whether the whole 
of this fitful friendliness on the side of Germany was 
simulated in order to foster that remarkable policy of 
steady infiltration of German Interests, German manage- 
ment, and German goods Into France, with far other 
than peaceful aims, Is a question which can be much more 
confidently answered now than at the period when this 
peaceful offensive was going on. Enough to say that the 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 235 

Clemenceau Ministry was not, at first, at all averse from 
a permanent arrangement for peace with Germany, so 
long as English animosity was not aroused. 

It must be admitted, nevertheless, that French policy 
In Morocco was, in the long run, quite contrary to the 
views on colonial affairs, which Clemenceau had so 
strongly expressed and acted upon hitherto. Whatever 
excuse may be made on account of the proximity of 
Morocco to Algeria and the necessity for France to pro- 
tect her own countrymen and secure peace on the border, 
the truth remains that the French Republic was allowed 
by her statesmen to drift Into what was virtually a na- 
tional and capitalist domination of that Independent coun- 
try, backed up by a powerful French army. Clemenceau 
in his defense of these aggressions recites those familiar 
apologies for that sort of patriotism which consists In 
love of another people's country and the determination 
to seize It, which we Englishmen have become so accus- 
tomed to In our own case. If we didn't take it, some- 
body else would. If we leave matters as they are, end- 
less disturbances will occur and will spread to our own 
territory. A protectorate must be established. 

But a protectorate must have a powerful armed force 
behind It, or there can be no real protection. National 
capital Is being Invested under our peaceful penetration 
for the benefit of the protected people. The rights of 
Investors must be safeguarded. Our countrymen — In this 
instance Frenchmen — have been molested and even mur- 
dered by the barbarous folk whom we have been called 
upon to civilize. Such outrages cannot be permitted to 
go unpunished. Towns bombarded. Villages burnt. 
Peace reestablished. More troops. ^'Security of life 
and property" ensured by a much larger army and the 



236 CLEMENCEAU 

foundation of civilized Courts. Protection develops In- 
sensibly into possession. The familiar progression of 
grab is, in short, complete. 

That is pretty much what went on with Morocco, 
whose entire independence as a sovereign State had only 
just been internationally acknowledged. What is more, 
it went on under M. Clemenceau's own Government, con- 
sisting of the same peaceful politicians enumerated above. 
No doubt the action of Germany against France and 
French interests, on the one side, and the support by 
England of France and French interests, on the other, 
hastened the acceptance of the "white man's burden" 
which her capitalists and financiers were so eager to 
undertake; if only to upset the schemes of the Brothers 
Mannesmann in the troublous Mohammedan Sultanate. 
But it is strange to find Clemenceau in this galley. For, 
unjustifiable as were the proceedings of Germany at the 
beginning and all through, it is now obvious that France, 
by her own policy, put arguments into the mouth of the 
peace-at-any-price and pro-German advocates; that also 
she played the game of the Kaiser and his unscrupulous 
agent Dr. Rosen. This worthy had been in the employ- 
ment of Prince Radolin, who thus described him: "He 
is a Levantine Jew whose sole capacity is intriguing to 
increase his own importance.'* It was disgraceful of 
Germany to make use of such a man to stir up Morocco 
against France. But it was certainly most unwise, as 
well as contrary to international comity, for France to 
put herself in the wrong by an aggressive policy in that 
State. Especially was this the case when such a terrible 
menace still overhung her Eastern frontier and, as events 
proved, not a man could be spared for adventures in 
Morocco or elsewhere. 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 237 

The war between rival Sultans and the attack upon the 
French settlers at Casablanca could not justify such a 
complete change of front. Jaures, in fact, was in the 
right when he denounced the advance of General Amade 
with a strong French army as a filibustering expedition, 
dangerous in itself and provocative towards Germany. 
But Clemenceau supported his Foreign Minister, Pichon, 
in the occupation of Casablanca, which had been heavily 
bombarded beforehand, and, on February 25th, declared 
that France did not intend to evacuate Morocco, neither 
did she mean to conquer that country. He had, he 
averred, no secrets, and, as in the matter of the anarchist 
rising in the South, said he was ready to resign. This 
was evidence of impatience, which was harmful at such a 
critical period in French home and foreign affairs. It 
looked as if Clemenceau had been so accustomed to turn 
out French Governments that he could not discriminate 
even In favor of his own ! But the Chamber gave him a 
strong vote of confidence, and he remained at his post. 

There were two important developments In foreign 
affairs going on during this year, 1908, of which the diffi- 
culties In Morocco, serious as they were, constituted only 
a side Issue. The one was open and above-board: the 
other was known only to those who kept very closely in 
touch with German politics. 

The first was the rapid Improvement In the relations 
between France and Great Britain, for which Clemenceau 
himself and King Edward VII were chiefly responsible. 
We are now so accustomed to regard the Entente as 
part and parcel of English foreign policy that it is not 
easy to understand how bitter the feeling was against 
Great Britain which led important Frenchmen to take 
the view of an agreement with Germany spoken of above. 



238 CLEMENCEAU 

English domination in Egypt to the practical exclusion 
of French influence and control even over the Suez Canal; 
English conventions with Japan, checking, as was thought, 
that legitimate French expansion in Asia by which M. 
Jules Ferry had hoped to counterbalance the defeats of 
1870-71; English settlement of the irritating Newfound- 
land Fisheries question; English truculence and unfair- 
ness in the infamous Boer War; English antagonism to 
Russia, France's trusted ally and heavy debtor — all these 
things stood in the way of any cordial understanding. It 
may well be that only Clemenceau's strong personal influ- 
ence, supported by his nominee President Fallieres, pre- 
vented steps being taken which would have been fatal to 
the revival of genuine good feeling between the Western 
Powers. The following passage in the Encyclopedia 
Britannica does no more than justice to Clemenceau's 
services In this direction: 

"M. Clemenceau, who only late in life came into office 
and attained It when a better understanding with Eng- 
land was progressing, had been throughout his long ca- 
reer, of all public men In all political groups, the most 
consistent friend of England. His presence at the head 
of affairs was a guarantee of amicable Anglo-French re- 
lations, so far as they could be protected by statesman- 
ship." This tribute in a permanent work of reference Is 
thoroughly well deserved. 

Happily, too, his efforts had been earnestly supported 
long before, and even quietly during, the Boer War by 
Edward VII, as Prince of Wales and as King. But this 
very connection between the French Radical statesman 
and the English monarch was the subject of most virulent 
attacks. It was. In fact, made the groundwork of an 
elaborate accusation of treachery against Clemenceau, 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 239 

who was represented as the mere tool of Edward VII in 
promoting the permanent effacement of France. The 
King was an English Machlavelll, constantly plotting to 
recover for the British Empire, at the expense of France, 
that world-wide prestige which the miserable Boer War 
and the rise of German power on land and sea, in trade 
and in finance, had seriously jeopardized. A book by the 
well-known M. Flourens, written at this time to uphold 
that thesis, went through no fewer than five editions. 
Here is the pleasing picture of the late King presented 
for the contemplation of the Parisian populace by this 
virulent penman : * 

*'Edouard VII montait sur le trdne a> Vage ou, si Von 
consulte les statistiques, J S% ^^^ ^^^-^ ^^^^ ^^J^ descendus 
dans la tombe. II sortait d'une longue oisivete pour en- 
trer dans la vie active a Vepoque oil, dans toutes les car- 
rieres et fonctions publiques, les hommes font valoir leurs 
droits a la retraite, 

^'S'il y avait un conseil de revision pour les rois, comme 
il y en a un pour les consents, il eut ete declare impropre 
au service, 

'^Uohesite deformait son corps, alour diss ait sa 
marche, semblait, sous le developpement des tissus adi- 
peux, paralyser toute activite physique, toute force intel- 
lectuelle, Sa figure, contractee par la douleur, trahissait, 



* "Edward VII ascended the throne at the age at which, as we may 
learn from statistics, 75 per cent, of all kings have already descended 
into the tomb. He came out of a prolonged period of idleness, in order 
to enter active life at the time of life when men in all public careers 
and functions claim the right to retire. 

"If there were an Exemption Board for kings, as there is for con- 
scripts, he would have been reported unfit for service. 

'Obesity deformed his body, hampered his movements, and beneath 
the accumulation of adipose tissues, seemed to paralyze all physical 
activity, as well as all intellectual force. His features, contracted by 
pain, betrayed momentarily the sufferings which a will of iron strove 



240 CLEMENCEAU 

par moment, les souffrances qu^une volonte de fer s^effor- 
cait de maitriser, pour dissimuler aux yeux de sei sujets 
la maladie qui, a cet instant meme, menaqait sa vie, 

**A voir sa corpulence maladive, on ne pouvait s'em- 
pecher de se rappeler les paroles que Shakespeare met 
dans la bouche d'un de ses ancetres a Vadresse du fameux 
Falstaff, le compagnon dissolu des egarements de sa 
jeunesse: *Songe a travailler, a diminuer ton ventre et a 
grossir ton merit e — quitte ta vie dissolue! Re garde la 
tomhe, elle ouvre, pour toi, une bouche trois fois plus 
large que pour les autres hommesF 

*'De tous cotes, les lanceurs de predictions, depuis le 
fameux archange Gabriel jusqu'a la non moins fameuse 
Mme, de Thebes, s* accordaient pour entourer son avene- 
ment des plus sinistres previsions, pour annoncer sa fin 
prochaine et ^imminence d'une nouvelle vacance du trone 
£Angleterre, 

^^Symptome plus grave! Les oracles de la science 
n*etaient pas moins menaqants que les propheties des 
devins. Deux fois, les pompes de son couronnement 
durent etre decommandees, deux fois les fetes ajournees 

to master, in order to hide from his subjects the malady which even 
then was menacing his life. 

"Beholding his unhealthy corpulence, one could not help recalling 
the words which Shakespeare puts into the mouth of one of the king's 
fore-runners regarding the famous Falstaff, the dissolute companion 
of his youthful errors: 

'Make less thy body hence, and more thy grace; 
Leave gormandising ; know the grave doth gape 
For thee thrice wider than for other men.' 

"On all sides, the makers of prophecies, from the famous archangel 
Gabriel to the not less famous Mme. de Thebes, agreed in surrounding 
his future with the most sinister predictions, including his early demise 
and the imminent prospect of a new vacancy to the throne of England. 

"Grave symptom still! The oracles of science were no less menacing 
than the prophecies of the inspired. Twice the preparations for his 
coronation had to be countermanded, twice the festivities were post- 
poned and the illuminations extinguished. The princely guests, gath- 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 241 

et les lampions eteints, Les botes princiers, convoques a 
grands frais de tons les points du globe, pour participer 
a ces rejouissances, attendirent, dans tangoisse, I'annonce 
d^une ceremonie plus luguhre. 

*'La volonte d'Edouard VII triumpha de toutes ces 
resistances, II declara avec une indomptahle energie que, 
coute que coute, il etait decide a ne pas descendre dans la 
tomhe avant d^avoir pose sur sa tete, avec tout Veclat, 
avec toute la solennite traditionnels, aux yeux des repre- 
sentants emerveilles de tout son vaste empire, aux yeux de 
VUnivers jaloux, la couronne de ses Peres, sa double 
couronne de Rot et d'Empereur, que les mains avides de 
la mort semblaient vouloir lui disputerJ* 

His account of Edward VII reads curiously to-day, the 
more so when we recall the fact that M. Emile Flourens 
was at one time French Minister of Foreign Affairs, and 
that, at the moment when the book first appeared, the 
King was frequently In Paris, and on good terms with 
Republicans of all sections. 

After pointing out how scrupulously he had as Prince 
of Wales suppressed his political opinions, during his 
mother's lifetime, even when his power, had he exerted 
It, might have been advantageous to his country, the 
French critic gives him full credit for having made the 
best of his life In many ways. He had traveled all over 
the world, had studied humanity and society In all shapes, 
had "warmed both hands before the fire of life" In every 

ered together at great expense from all corners of the globe, to par- 
ticipate in these rejoicings, awaited anxiously the announcement of a 
more lugubrious ceremonial. 

"But the will power of^ Edward VII triumphed over all these hin^ 
dravces. He declared with unconquerable energy that, cost what it 
might, he had ^ decided not to descend to the tomb until he had had 
placed upon his head, with all the traditional magnificence and solemn 
nity, the crown of his Fathers, the double crown of King and Emperor, 
which the covetous hands of Death seemed eager to wrest from him/* 



242 CLEMENCEAU 

quarter of the globe. But, though his features as a pri- 
vate personage were familiar to everybody, he remained 
a sphinx, mysterious and unfathomable, even to his 
friends, in public affairs. He was well known to Parisians 
everywhere, and was as popular in working-class centers 
as in the most aristocratic salons. Paris was, in fact, the 
only city where he was at his ease and at home, where, 
in fact, he was himself. By far the most sympathetic 
Briton to Parisians who ever was in Paris, he exercised a 
real influence over all classes. They were kept carefully 
Informed as to his tastes, his manner, his intimates, his 
vices and his debts, and were the more friendly to him 
on account of them. The warmest partisans of his ac- 
cession, however, were his creditors, who were mortally 
afraid that his habits would not give him the opportunity 
for discharging his liabilities out of his mother's accu- 
mulations. 

The description of the position of the British Empire 
at the close of the Boer War was less flattering even than 
the personal sketch of Its King and Emperor. "At this 
moment the astounded peoples had felt the Britannic 
colossus totter on Its foundation, this colossus with feet 
of clay which weighs down too credulous nations by Its 
bluff, by its arrogance, by rapine, by Insatiable rapacity, 
which already grips the entire globe like a gigantic cuttle- 
fish and sucks its marrow through the numberless tenta- 
cles of its commerce, until the day when it shall subjugate 
the whole planet to Its domination — always provided that 
It does not encounter on Its way another still more power- 
ful octopus of destruction which will attack and destroy 
it." 

Needless to say that this challenger of the British su- 
premacy was the rising power of Germany. As an Eng- 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 243 

llshman I admit the infamy of the Boer War, and recog- 
nize that our rule in India and Ireland has been anything 
but what it ought to have been. M. Clemenceau knew 
all that as well as we British anti-Imperialists do. But 
even in 1907-8 much had happened since 1900. Democ- 
racy was slowly making way in Great Britain likewise, 
and freedom for others would surely follow emancipation 
for herself. It was not to be expected that all French- 
men should see or understand this. A nation which has 
under its flag a fourth of the population and more than a 
seventh of the habitable surface of the world can scarcely 
expect that another colonial country, whose colonies the 
British have largely appropriated, in the East and in the 
West, will admit the "manifest destiny" of the Union 
Jack to wave of undisputed right over still more terri- 
tory. There was a good deal to be said, and a good deal 
was said, about British greed and British unscrupulous- 
ness: nor could the truth of many of the imputations be 
honestly denied. 

It called, therefore, for all Edward VII's extraordi- 
nary knowledge of Paris, his bonhomie, shrewd common 
sense, and uncanny power of "creating an atmosphere" 
to overcome the prejudice thus created against himself 
as a master of intrigue and Clemenceau as his willing 
tool. Matters went so far that at one moment the King's 
reception in his favorite capital seemed likely to be hos- 
tile, and might have been so, but for the admirable con- 
duct of the high-minded conservative patriot, M. Derou- 
lede. But, luckily for France, Great Britain and the 
world at large, these difficulties had been overcome; and 
almost the only good feature in the trouble with Morocco 
was the vigorous diplomatic help France received from 
England — a good feature because it helped to wipe away 



244 CLEMENCEAU 

the bitter memories of the past from the minds of the 
French people. The extremely cordial reception of Presi- 
dent Fallieres and M. Clemenceau In London, and the 
King's own exceptional courtesy at all times to M. Del- 
casse, whom the French public regarded as the victim of 
German dictatorial demands, tended In the same direc- 
tion. All the world could see that Clemenceau's Admin- 
istration had so far strengthened the Anglo-French En- 
tente as to have brought It almost to the point of an 
alliance: nor thereafter was the Triple Entente with 
Russia, as opposed to the Triple Alliance, very far off. 

At this same time, however, matters were going so fast 
in Germany towards an open breach that the only wonder 
is that the truth of the situation was not disclosed, and 
that Germany, quite ready, and determined to be more 
ready, for war at any moment, was allowed to continue 
her policy of pretended peace. 

England and, to a large extent, France still believed 
in the pacific intentions of the Fatherland. Yet a meet- 
ing was held in Berlin of the heads of all the depart- 
ments directly or indirectly connected with war, at which 
the Kaiser delivered a speech which could only mean one 
thing: that Germany and her Allies would enter upon war 
so soon as the opportunity presented itself, and the prepa- 
rations. Including the completion of the Kiel Canal (or 
perhaps before that great work had been accomplished), 
gave promise of a short and decisive campaign. Ru- 
mors of this address reached those who were kept In- 
formed as to what was being contemplated by the Kaiser, 
his Militarist Junker entourage and the Federal Council. 
Unfortunately, when the statement was challenged, a 
strong denial was issued, and the pacifists and pro-Ger- 



STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS 245 

mans, honest and dishonest, laughed at the whole story 
as a baseless scare. 

How far it was baseless could be learned from deeds 
that spoke much louder than words. Even thus early 
great accumulations of munitions of war were being made 
at Cologne, and the military sidings and railway equip- 
ments, which could only serve for warlike and not com- 
mercial purposes, were being completed. Six years be- 
fore the war all the work necessary for an aggressive 
descent on the West and for the passage through Belgium 
had been done. 

Europe was comfortably seated over a powder maga- 
zine. M. Clemenceau might well discuss in London, 
when he came over to Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's 
funeral, as Premier of France, how many hundred thou- 
sand men, fully equipped for war, England could land 
within a fortnight In North-Eastern France, should a sud- 
den and unprovoked attack be made. But he got no sat- 
isfactory answer. 

It is evident, therefore, that what with strikes, anar- 
chist outbreaks, the troubles in Morocco, the menacing at- 
titude of Germany — who, as Clemenceau put It, said, 
"Choose between England and us" — and the attempts to 
form an enduring compact with England, Clemenceau as 
President of Council, with all his energy, determination 
and versatility, had enough on his hands to occupy all his 
thoughts. But this did not exhaust the catalogue of his 
labors during his term of Premiership. 



CHAPTER XVI 

END OF CLEMENCEAU'S MINISTRY 

IT it easy to be tolerant of the Catholic Church and 
Catholics In a Protestant country; though even In 
Great Britain, and of course only too sadly in the North 
of Ireland, there are times when the bitterness Inherited 
from the past makes itself felt, on slight provocation, in 
the present. At such times of sectarian outburst we get 
some Idea ourselves of what religious hatred really means, 
and can form a conception of the truly fraternal eager- 
ness to Immolate the erring brethren, nominally of the 
same Christian creed, which animated the true believers 
of different shades of faith, whether Orthodox or Arian, 
Catholic or Huguenot, In days gone by. Those who 
chance to remember what Catholicism was in Italy, the 
Papal States, or Naples two generations ago, the Church 
then claiming for Itself rights of jurisdiction and sanctu- 
ary, outside the common law — those who understand 
what has gone on in Spain quite recently, can also appre- 
ciate the feeling of Frenchmen who, within the memory 
of their fellow-citizens still living, and even themselves 
in some degree under the Empire, had suffered from 
Clerical Interference and repression, when the chance of 
getting rid of State ecclesiasticism was presented to them 
at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Church 
had entirely lost touch with the temper of the time. 
Though it may have been impossible for the Vatican to 

246 



END OF CLEMENCEAU'S MINISTRY 247 

accept the brilliant suggestion that the great men of sci- 
ence should all be canonized and the discoverers of our 
day should receive the red hat, as secular Cardinals, there 
was no apparent reason why a form of supernaturalism 
which had lived into and out of two forms of human 
slavery, and was passing through a third, should have 
been unable to adapt itself in some degree to modern 
thought. A creed which. In its most successful period, 
had conveniently absorbed ancestor-worship as part of 
Its theological propaganda In China need not, one would 
have thought, have found It Indispensably necessary to 
the salvation of its votaries to cleave to all the old here- 
sies Inculcated In days when criticism of the Incomprehen- 
sible and unbelievable involved the unpleasant possibility 
of being tortured to death, or burnt alive. 

Nor certainly could Its worst enemy have predicted 
that the infallibility of the Pope would be Invented and 
thrust upon the faithful, as a doctrine whose acceptance 
was essential to their spiritual welfare. In a period when 
it was being proved every day and in all departments of 
human knowledge that what was universally believed to 
be a certainty yesterday Is discounted as a fallacy to- 
morrow. Nothing In all the long controversy about the 
Separation of Church and State in France produced a 
greater or more permanent effect upon intelligent French- 
men than this preposterous claim of Papal Infallibility. 
Explain It away, whittle down Its significance by any 
amount of Jesuitical sophistry, and still this declaration 
that a mere man could never be mistaken, because he was 
the Vicegerent of God, shook the whole framework of 
Catholic domination, so far as any participation of the 
State in the matter was concerned. And the career and 
character of many of the Pope's predecessors rendered 



248 CLEMENCEAU 

the dogma more utterly preposterous to all who had even 
a smattering of the history of the Vatican than might 
otherwise have been the case. That John XXIII should 
have been Infallible threw a strange light upon Catholic 
morality in its highest grades. Yet if Pius infallible, why 
not John? 

What, however, had more practical effect in turning 
the scale of public opinion against the. Papacy, its nom- 
inees and believers as servants and paid employees of 
the State, was the fact that in all the practical affairs of 
French life the Catholic Church, as represented by its 
ecclesiastical hierarchy, had taken the wrong side. Theo- 
retical or theological difficulties would never have upset 
the regard of the French people for the National Church. 
But, time after time, the Clerical party ranged itself with 
the reactionists, throwing over all Its wisest counselors, 
whose devotion to the Church had never been questioned, 
when they advised standing by the cause of the people, 
and relied solely upon the judgment of bigoted Jesuits. 
Zola, whom these creatures hated, showed in his "Ger- 
minal," thoroughgoing materialist as he was, what a 
noble part a priest of the Church could play, when the 
young ecclesiastic stands between the strikers who form 
part of his flock and the soldiers who are about to fire 
upon them. Individuals might thus rise up to and above 
the level of their creed, but the Church in France, as a 
whole, was represented by men of God who were a good 
deal worse than men of Belial. Nor was this all. They 
pursued a policy of relentless obscurantism. Their ob- 
ject was not to develop education but to stunt its growth; 
not to teach the truth but to foster lies. So manifest was 
the determination to take no high view of their duties 
that such a man as the venerable Dr. Leplay, a Catholic 



END OF CLEMENCEAU'S MINISTRY 249 

of Catholics whose religious convictions did not prevent 
him from becoming a master of the theories of Marx, 
lamented that his Church was proving Itself wholly in- 
competent to cope with or to stem what, as a Christian, 
he recognized was the rising tide of Infidelity. 

Of this Infidelity, the freethinker and champion of secu- 
larism, Clemenceau, was a type and a prominent exam- 
ple. He saw the Church as a pernicious Influence. His 
feeling towards It was even more vehement than that of 
Voltaire or Gambetta. *^Ecrasez tinfdmer* *'Le cleric 
calisme voila VennemiF* If thought was to be free, if 
Frenchmen were to be emancipated from superstition and 
Intolerance, the power of the Catholic Church must be 
weakened and. If possible, destroyed. For him In this 
matter compromise was impossible. His begettlngs, his 
surroundings, his education, his profession, his political 
life all made him relentless on this point. Behind the 
Due de Broglle, behind the persecutor of Dreyfus, be- 
hind the pretender Boulanger, behind reaction in all its 
forms hid the sinister figure of the unscrupulous power, 
working perinde ac cadaver against all that was noblest 
in France, against all that was highest in the ideals of 
the Republic. And if Clemenceau knew well that under 
all circumstances and at every turn of events the Catholic 
Church was the enemy of France and of himself, the 
Church had no doubt that Clemenceau was its most for- 
midable foe in French political life. 

Long before, and after his defeat in the Var, in 1893, 
the Catholics never hesitated to join with their enemies, 
if only this combination would help them to overthrow 
Clemenceau. Whatever differences the French Premier 
might have with the Socialists on strikes and social af- 
fairs generally, on the matter of the separation of Church 



250 CLEMENCEAU 

and State they were heartily at one. In fact, Clemenceau 
was even more uncompromising than they. The whole 
texture of his thought revolted against showing any con- 
sideration for a Church which, from his point of view, 
had been for centuries the chief and most formidable 
enemy of progress in France and the most capable organ- 
izer of attacks upon all democratic and Republican Ideals. 

The greatest names in French history are the names of 
those whom the Catholic Church has persecuted or mar- 
tyred. Its leaders would resort to the same tactics now, 
and have only failed to do so because the power has 
slipped from their hands as the truths of science and the 
wider conceptions of human destiny have permeated the 
minds of the masses. There was no likelihood that as 
Prime Minister Clemenceau, the free-thinker and mate- 
rialist, would be inclined to modify his opinions in favor 
of what might be regarded as statesmanlike concessions 
to the Right on ecclesiastical matters. The danger lay In 
the other direction. It was one of the remarkable inci- 
dents. In connection with his first tenure of the Presi- 
dency of the Council, that the final settlement of this Im- 
portant question of the relations of Church and State 
should come when he himself was at the head of the 
French Government. 

When M. Briand's measure for the complete lalclza- 
tlon of the Church so far as the State was concerned was 
Introduced Into the Chamber, he pointed out In his re- 
port that the proposal for complete separation was not 
dictated by hatred or political prejudice, nor did It In- 
volve anything at all approaching to the change In the 
relations of property when, at the time of the French 
Revolution, the Church owned one-third of the total 
wealth of France. This Act was the assertion of definite 



END OF CLEMENCEAU'S MINISTRY 251 

principles which were necessary in order to secure for 
the State full mastery in its own country. Freedom of 
worship for all. No State payment to ministers of any 
creed. Equitable management of Church property taken 
over by the towns and Communes. 

The Bill, after considerable debate in the National 
Assembly, was passed by a large majority. In the Sen- 
ate M. Clemenceau denounced the settlement as too fa- 
vorable to the clergy. His criticism was as mordant as 
usual. But he neither proposed an amendment nor voted 
against the Bill, which passed the Senate without even 
the alteration of a word, by a greater proportional ma- 
jority than it did in the Lower House. 

This, it might have been thought, would have been the 
end of the matter for Clemenceau. He had done his full 
share towards putting the Catholic Church out of action, 
and might have been contented, as Premier, with any fur- 
ther settlement that M. Briand, the member of his own 
Cabinet responsible for this important measure, and M. 
Jaures, the powerful leader of the Socialist Party, might 
come to in regard to the properties of the Church, about 
which there had been much bitter feeling. But Clemen- 
ceau has the defects of his qualities. The Pope had re- 
fused to permit his clergy to avail themselves of the 
excellent terms French Republicans, Radicals and So- 
cialists had been ready to accord to them. He had issued 
two Encyclicals which could certainly be read as intended 
to stir up trouble in the Republic, — which, in fact, had 
brought about some disorder. When, therefore, every- 
thing seemed arranged on this prickly question of valu- 
ations and appropriations, Clemenceau could not resist 
the temptation to show the unsatisfactory nature of the 
entire business to him. It was one of those moments of 



252 CLEMENCEAU 

impulse when "the Tiger*' could not refrain from giving 
free play to his propensities at the expense of his own 
kith and kin, failing the presence of his enemies to maul. 
It was thought that the Ministry must come down; for 
both M. Briand and M. Jaures took this outburst amiss. 
But a conversation in the lobby brought the great irrecon- 
cilable very sensibly to a compromise, and Clemenceau 
failed to give the Catholics the malicious enjoyment they 
anticipated. It was a strange ebullition which exhibited 
the perennial youth of this statesman of the unexpected. 

In other directions than social affairs and Morocco, 
where he unfortunately relied upon the Right more than 
upon the Left in the Assembly for the support of his 
Administration, Clemenceau proved that his claim to act 
as the advocate of reform as well as the upholder of or- 
der was no pretense. 

Whatever may have been its alleged deficiencies in 
some respects, Clemenceau's first Ministry was by far the 
most Radical Government that had held office under the 
Republic. And the boldness and decision which he and 
his Cabinet displayed In dealing with what they regarded 
as Anarchist action — it is fair, perhaps, to recall that 
Briand himself had first achieved fame as an Anarchist — 
on the part of the workers, they also put in force when 
high-placed officers, with a powerful political backing, 
tried to impose their will upon the State. Thus the navy, 
as has too often happened In French annals, had been 
allowed to drift into a condition which was actually dan- 
gerous, in view of what was going on In the German 
dockyards, and the probable combination of the Aus- 
trian and Italian fleets, with German help. In the Medi- 
terranean. At the same time admirals were in the habit 
of acting pretty much as they saw fit in regard to the 



END OF CLEMENCEAU'S MINISTRY 253 

fleets and vessels under their control. Consequently, Im- 
portant men-of-war had been wrecked time after time, 
and more than one serious accident had occurred. In 
almost every case also, so powerful was the esprit de 
corps, In the wrong sense, that the officers In command at 
the time were exonerated from blame. There was, there- 
fore, a strong public opinion In favor of something being 
done to Improve both the fleet Itself and the spirit which 
animated Its commanders. Admiral Germlnat, a popu- 
lar officer with, as appears, a genuine loyalty to his pro- 
fession and a desire to remedy its defects, thought proper 
to write a very strong letter to a local service newspaper, 
making a fierce attack upon the general management of 
the navy, without having given any notice of his views 
either to the Minister of Marine or the Prime Minister. 
Thereupon, M. Clemenceau at once put him on the re- 
tired list. Immediately a great hubbub arose. The very 
same people who had approved of Clemenceau's policy 
in regard to those whom they called anarchist workmen 
were now In full cry after the President of Council, for 
daring to deal thus drastically with a man who, however 
good his intentions may have been and however distin- 
guished his career, was beyond all question an anarchist 
admiral. The matter became a question of the day. It 
was brought up In the Senate amid all sorts of threats to 
the stability of the Government. M. Clemenceau, as 
usual, took up the challenge boldly himself. His speech 
was so crushing that the whole Indictment against the 
Ministry collapsed. The evidence of Indiscipline on the 
Admiral's part, not only on this occasion but on several 
others, and the declaration that Admlf'al Germlnat would 
not be excluded from the navy, when he had purged his 
ioffense and when his services would be advantageous to 



254 CLEMENCEAU 

the country, settled the matter and strengthened the 
Ministry. 

By acquiring the Chemin de Fer de TOuest and com- 
bining it with other Government railways, the Ministry 
made the first important step towards nationalization of 
railways. Clemenceau defended this measure on grounds 
that would be, and were, accepted by Socialists, but 
events have shown in this particular case that a good 
deal more Is needed than the establishment of another 
department of State bureaucracy to render the railways 
a national property really beneficial to the community. 
As carried out In practice, the acquisition of the Chemin 
de Fer de I'Ouest has rather set back than advanced the 
general policy of railway nationalization in France. 

A more Important measure was that Introduced by 
M. Caillaux and, amazing to say, passed through the 
Assembly, for a graduated Income-tax. How this ma- 
jority was obtained has always been one of the puzzles 
of that period. There Is no country In the world where 
a tax upon Incomes Is more unpopular than In France, 
and from that day to this. In spite of the desperate need 
for funds which has arisen, this tax has never yet become 
law. But It was a genuine financial reform and credita- 
ble to the Government. The Socialists supported It, 
though In itself it is only a palliative measure of justice 
in purely bourgeois finance. From this period dates the 
close alliance between the Socialists as revolutionaries 
and M. Caillaux as the adventurous financier and direc- 
tor of the Soclete Generale, which later produced such 
strange results in French politics, and Intensified Social- 
ist hatred for M. Clemenceau. But at this time M. Cail- 
laux, with the full concurrence and support of the Prime 
Minister, was attacking all the bourgeois interests In 



END OF CLEMENCEAU'S MINISTRY 255 

their tenderest place. The wonder Is that such a policy 
did not involve the immediate fall of the Ministry. Quite 
possibly, had Clemenceau remained in office, it might have 
become a permanent feature In French finance. Boldness 
and boldness and boldness again is sometimes as success- 
ful In politics as It is In oratory. Although, therefore, 
to attack pecuniary ^'interests'' of a large section of the 
nation is a far more hazardous enterprise than to de- 
nounce eminent persons or to overthrow Ministries, this 
move might then have been successful If well followed up. 

On March 8th, In this year 1909, Clemenceau un- 
veiled a statue to the Radical Minister Floquet, with 
whom he had worked for many years. The revolutionary 
Socialists announced their Intention of demonstrating 
against him on this occasion. They objected to him and 
his administration on account of the expedition to Mo- 
rocco — In which Clemenceau had certainly run counter 
to all his previous policy on colonial affairs — on account 
of cosmopolitan finance, Russian loans and the shooting 
down of workmen on strike. It was the last that occa- 
sioned the bitterest feeling against him, and this was 
really not surprising. 

Clemenceau had made the workers' liberty to strike 
In combination secure, but he did not use the power of 
the State against the employers, who. In the mines espe- 
cially, could on his own showing be considered only as 
profiteering trustees under the State. Also he refused 
to all Government servants the right to combine or to 
strike. This disinclination to take the capitalists by the 
throat, while using the official power to restrain the 
workers, had a great deal more to do with the menacing 
attitude of the Socialists than Morocco or finance. How- 
ever, there was no disturbance. Clemenceau took advan- 



256 CLEMENCEAU 

tage of the occasion to deliver a speech which was In 
effect a powerful defense of the idealist Republicanism 
of the eighteenth century against the revolutionary Social- 
ism of the twentieth. 

The French Revolution is deified by nearly all ad- 
vanced Frenchmen. Its glorification is as much the theme 
of Jaures and Valllant as of Gambetta and Clemenceau. 
Bourgeois revolution as It turned out to be, owing to 
economic causes which neither individualists nor collectiv- 
ists could control, orators of the Revolution overlook 
facts and cleave to ideals. Thus Clemenceau told his 
audience that the French Revolution was a prodigious 
tragedy which seemed to have been the work of demi- 
gods, of huge Titans who had risen up from far below 
to wreak Promethean vengeance on the Olympians of 
every grade. The French Revolution was the Inevita- 
ble culmination of the deadly struggle between the grow- 
ing forces of liberty and the worn-out forces of autocracy 
without an autocrat. Yet, said he, the Revolution itself 
was made by men and women inspired with the noblest 
ideals, but educated, in their own despite, by the Church 
to methods of domination, condemned also by the desper- 
ate resistance of immeasurable powers to prompt and 
pitiless action followed by corresponding deeds of brutal 
reaction. The people who had just shed torrents of 
blood for the freedom of the world passed, without audi- 
ble protest, from Robespierre to Napoleon. Yet the 
Revolution is all of a piece. The Republic moves stead- 
ily on as one indissoluble, vivifying force. Compare the 
France of the panic of 1875 with the France of to-day. 
Her position is the result of understandings and alliances 
and friendships based on the authority of her armed 
force. France has resumed her position in Europe, in 



END OF CLEMENCEAU'S MINISTRY 257 

spite of a few weak and mean-spirited Frenchmen whose 
opposition only strengthened the patriotic enthusiasm of 
the nation at large. The history of the Republican Party 
had been one long consecration of the watchwords of the 
French Revolution. Liberty of the Press. Liberty of 
public meeting. Liberty of association. Liberty of trade 
unions. Liberty of minds by public schools. Liberty of 
thought and religion. Liberty of secular Instruction. 
Liberty of State and worship. Laws had been passed 
for relief of the sick. A day of rest had been prescribed 
for all. Workmen's compensation for injury had been 
made imperative. The Income Tax had been passed by 
the Assembly. *'The Revolution is in effect one and in- 
divisible and, with unbroken persistence, the work of the 
RepubHc goes on.'' *'A fine record." So argued Clem- 
enceau. 

Notwithstanding all the mistakes which Socialists so 
bitterly resented, this was a great victory for the Repub- 
licans and for the Administration of which Clemenceau 
was the head. Not the least important claim to national 
recognition of good service done was the establishment 
of the Ministry of Labor, over which Vivlani, the well- 
known Socialist, presided. The pressure of events, as 
well as the pressure of the Socialists themselves, might 
well have pushed the Radical-Socialist Premier farther 
along the Socialist path. 

Unfortunately for the Prime Minister and, from more 
than one point of view, for the nation, M. Clemenceau 
had another of those strange fits of impatience and iras- 
cibility which he had exhibited more than once before. 
The political antagonism between M. Clemenceau and 
M. Delcasse was of long standing, and was intensified 
by personal bitterness. During his tenure of the office 



258 CLEMENCEAU 

of Minister for Foreign Affairs, a position which he had 
held for seven years, in successive Administrations of 
widely different character, M. Delcasse had been sub- 
jected to vehement attacks by the leader of the Radical 
Left. His policy in relation to Morocco had been spe- 
cially • obnoxious to M. Clemenceau. That policy M. 
Clemenceau had most severely criticized at the time 
when M. Delcasse was stoutly resisting that extension of 
German influence in Morocco that led to the Foreign 
Minister's downfall and the Conference of Algeciras, 
which M. Delcasse had refused to accept. The relations 
between the two statesmen could scarcely have been 
worse, but hitherto the Radical leader had carried all 
before him. 

Now came a dramatic climax to the long struggle. 
A debate arose in the French Assembly on the condition 
of the navy. It was admittedly not what it ought to have 
been. M. Picard, the Minister of Marine, made a con- 
ciliatory reply to interpellations on the subject of prom- 
ised immediate reforms and even complete reconstitution. 
But this was not enough for M. Delcasse. The Assembly 
was not hostile to M. Clemenceau, and certainly had no 
desire to oust his Administration. Yet M. Delcasse's 
direct attack upon the Premier brought the whole debate 
down to the level of a personal question. Nevertheless, 
what he said was quite legitimate criticism. M. Clem- 
enceau had been a member of the Commission of Inquiry 
on the Navy, and could not get rid of his responsibility 
for the present state of things. The great critic of every- 
body and everything was open to exposure himself. He 
who had enjoyed twenty-five years of running amuck at 
the whole political world was now being called to ac- 
count in person as an administrator. So far M. Del- 



END OF CLEMENCEAU'S MINISTRY 259 

casse. Clemenceau retorted that M. Delcasse had him- 
self been on the Naval Commission of 1904. He was 
full of great policies here, there and everywhere. What 
had they resulted in? The humiliation of France and 
the Conference of Algeciras. Clemenceau was evidently 
much incensed. The fact that he had been obliged, as 
he thought, by Germany's action to follow M. Delcasse's 
Moroccan tactics rendered the position exceptionally 
awkward. It raised the whole question of M. Delcasse's 
foreign policy. This gave him a great advantage when 
it came to direct political warfare. For M. Delcasse 
was considered, even by those who opposed him, as the 
victim of German hatred, since he had refused to sur- 
render to German threats and was sacrificed simply be- 
cause France dared not face a war. So when he re- 
counted his agreement with Spain, his agreement with 
Italy, his agreement — "too long delayed" — with Eng- 
land, his mediation in the Spanish-American War and 
his Treaties of Arbitration, the Assembly went with 
him. Then, too, his assaults upon Clemenceau raised 
the fighting spirit on Delcasse's side. The feeling was: 
''This time Clemenceau is getting as good as he brings." 
The Prime Minister has not done his duty either as 
President of the Inquiry or as President of Council. *T 
say to him as he said to Jules Ferry: 'Get out. We 
won't discuss with you the great Interests of this nation.' " 
Very good sword-play. But had Clemenceau kept 
cool, as he certainly would have done on the duel ground, 
there might have been no harm done. However, he 
burst out into furious denunciation, exasperated by the 
ringing cheers which greeted his opponent's conclusion. 
It was M. Delcasse's fault that France had to go to 
Algeciras. M. Delcasse would have carried things with 



26o CLEMENCEAU 

a high hand. **But the army was not ready, the navy 
was not ready. I have not humiliated France: M. Del- 
casse has humiliated her." A purely personal note, dis- 
closing facts that were the more bitter to the Assembly 
inasmuch that they were true. It was indecent — ^that 
was the sensation that ran round the House — for a Pre- 
mier thus to expose the weakness of his country on a 
personal issue, no matter what provocation he may have 
received. The hostile vote, therefore, was given against 
Clemenceau himself, not against his Government, and 
he promptly resigned. 

Had he desired to bring about his own overthrow he 
would have acted precisely as he did; and some thought 
that this was his intention. It was an unworthy conclu- 
sion to a Premiership which, whatever its shortcomings, 
had done extremely good work for the Republic, and 
to a Government which had lasted longer than any 
French Administration since the downfall of the Empire. 
The character and leadership of the Ministry under M. 
Briand, which succeeded Clemenceau's Cabinet, proved 
that only by his own fault had he ensured his official 
downfall. 

As usual, he turned round at once to other work, 
and accepted an engagement to speak throughout South 
America, publishing a pleasant record of his experi- 
ences in an agreeably writterf^book. The Prime Minister 
of yesterday was the genial lecturer the day after. 



CHAPTER XVII 

CLEMENCEAU AND GERMANY 

CLEMENCEAU flung himself out of office in an un- 
reasonable fit of temper. A man of his time of life, 
at sixty-eight years of age, with his record behind him, 
had no right to have any personal temper at all, when 
the destinies of his country had been placed in his hands. 
Probably he would admit this himself to-day. But, dur- 
ing his exceptionally strenuous period of office, he had, 
as we have seen, more than once shown an impulsiveness 
and even an irritability that were not consonant with his 
general disposition. Throughout there appeared to be 
an inclination on his part to take opposition and criticism 
too much to heart. As if, in fact, the great Radical 
overthrower of opportunism was annoyed at being com- 
pelled, as all administrations must be, to adopt to some 
extent a policy of opportunism himself. His outburst 
against all compromise with the Church was one in- 
stance of this. His uncalled-for resignation on account 
of M. Delcasse's attack was another. This might well 
have been the end of his official experiences. Certainly 
no one would have ventured to predict that eight years 
later would come the crowning achievement of his re- 
markable career. His own remark on leaving office 
was not calculated to encourage his personal adherents 
or to give his country confidence in his leadership. "I 
came in with an umbrella, I go out with a stick," was 

261 



262 CLEMENCEAU 

all very well as the epigram of a journalist: it was too 
flippant a remark for a serious statesman such as Clem- 
enceau had shown himself to be. But the time was not 
far off when all his main policy, as man of affairs, poli- 
tician, and publicist, would be overwhelmingly justi- 
fied. As we have seen, Clemenceau was all his life 
strongly opposed to colonial expansion. His action with 
regard to Morocco, apparently so contrary to this, arose 
from an even stronger motive, — his desire to build up 
French defense against Germany on every side. 

But his general distrust of colonization by conquest in 
Egypt, China, Madagascar, and elsewhere had been 
based upon France's need for using all her strength and 
all her resources to build up the power of the French 
Republic within the limits of France. This Is true of all 
nations at a period when the power of man over nature 
is increasing so rapidly in every department: perhaps, 
properly understood, in agriculture most of all, when 
science is capably applied to production of the land. 
That is to say, that even in countries such as England, 
where the cry of over-population is so frequently raised, 
and where the cult of colonization and emigration has 
been exalted to the position of a fetish, it would be far 
better to devote attention to the creation of wealth at 
home than to the development of waste lands, however 
fertile, abroad. Concentration of population, given 
adequate regulation of employment in the Interests of 
the whole people, and attention to the requirements of 
space, air and health, is not only devoid of danger but 
is an element in national prosperity — ^"nothing being 
more plain than that men in proper labor and employment 
are capable of earning more than a living," as John Bel- 
lers wrote more than two hundred years ago; and "a 



CLEMENCEAU AND GERMANY 2631 

nation wherein are eight millions of people is more 
than twice as rich as the same scope of land wherein are 
but four," as Petty wisely stated, about the same date. 

If this was so obviously true at the end of the seven- 
teenth century, it Is tenfold, not to say a hundredfold, 
more certain in the twentieth, having regard to the mar- 
velous discoveries and Inventions since made and still 
but partially applied in every direction. But France is 
the land where such considerations are most decisive in 
dealing with the basis of national polity. France has 
enormous advantages in regard to soil, climate, the indus- 
trious habits and skill of her people, and the consequent 
monopoly on the world market of whole branches of 
commerce, where taste and luxury have to be gratified. 
Moreover, she possesses a source of income un- 
paralleled in Europe and scarcely worth noting else- 
where, except in the case of Italy. I calculate that France 
receives, one year with another, from visitors who come 
thither, merely to see and to spend, an amount, by 
way of profit, of not less than $350,000,000. This 
large sum alone, if used for enhancing the productive- 
ness of the French soil and French industry generally, 
would immensely benefit the people in every respect. 
French thrift, again, had piled up out of the products 
of industry Immense pecuniary accumulations. There 
could have been no better investment of these funds 
possible than the improvement of the defenses of France 
against invasion, the completion of her railway and canal 
system, the development of her mines, so greatly coveted 
by her aggressive neighbor, the concentration of her 
military and naval forces at home, instead of scattering 
any portion of them abroad, the expenditure upon 
thorough education and scientific agricultural and Indus- 



264 CLEMENCEAU 

trial experiments. All this even Imperialist Frenchmen 
can see now. 

So with regard to Russia. The alliance of the French 
Republic with the Empire of Russia gave France, appar- 
ently, a better position in Europe, the pusillanimous 
and short-sighted English statesmen having rejected an 
• alliance which was afterwards forced upon Great Brit- 
ain when wholly unprepared for war. . Here also Clem- 
enceau's views were justified by the event. The close 
connection between a democratic Republic and an auto- 
cratic Empire put France in an unenviable moral posi- 
tion before the world. More materially serious than 
this Ill-fated combination, ethically, was the necessity 
Imposed upon the French of lending continually to Rus- 
sia, until the total amount of the Russian loans held in 
France amounted to many hundreds of millions sterling. 

Such huge sums, again, would have been far more 
advantageously spent at home than In building strategical 
and other railways and financing gold and other mines in 
the vast Muscovite Empire. Financiers gained largely 
by these loans. But the peasants and small bourgeoisie 
of France were unknowingly dependent for their inter- 
est upon a poverty-stricken agricultural population, which 
could not possibly continue to pay the large sum due 
yearly on this amount to their Western creditors without 
utter ruin. Thus unsound finance followed hard on the 
heels of more than doubtful policy, and France was the 
weaker and the poorer for both. 

This was all the more fatal to real French interests, 
inasmuch that, at the same time, the home population 
of the Republic was slowly decreasing, while the popula- 
tion of her threatening rival, Germany, was steadily 
growing, and the wealth of the German Empire, both 



CLEMENCEAU AND GERMANY 265 

agricultural and mineral, was likewise rapidly expanding 
with every decade. Consequently, the position of France 
was becoming more and more precarious, and the relative 
strength on the two sides of the frontier less and less 
favorable to the Republic. It must be admitted, under 
such circumstances, that those who favored a Russian 
alliance, in spite of all its manifest drawbacks, had a 
great deal to say for themselves. But that Great Brit- 
ain should have failed to see that the declension of 
French power was a peril to herself, long before the 
Entente was brought about by Edward VII, and that a 
pacific understanding alone was not sufficient to ensure 
the maintenance of peace. Is a truly marvelous instance 
of the blindness of British statesmanship! Only the 
phenomenal good luck that has so far attended the United 
Kingdom hindered our governing classes from landing 
this country, as well as the French, in overwhelming dis- 
aster. How narrow the escape was is not yet fully un- 
derstood. 

Clemenceau was at all times in favor of an Anglo- 
French offensive and defensive alliance, and he clung to 
this policy in the face of the most serious discourage- 
ment from abroad and, as has been seen, at the cost of 
vitriolic misrepresentation and hatred at home. It was 
in vain, however, that for many years he preached this 
political doctrine. Even when the relations between 
the two countries were greatly improved, the very proper 
Liberal and Radical and Labor dislike in England of 
the entanglement with Czarlst Russia rendered the close 
combination which seemed so essential to all who, like 
Clemenceau himself, knew what was really going on 
in Germany, exceedingly difficult to bring about. 

The terrific war has thrown into high relief facts 



266 CLEMENCEAU 

always discernible except by those who were determined 
not to see. Here Clemenceau's own bitter experience 
of the war of 1870-71, and his yearly visits to Austria, 
enabled him to form a clearer conception of the real pol- 
icy of Germany and the ruthless brutality which underlies 
modern Teutonic culture than any of his contemporaries. 
It is no longer doubted that the Franco-German war was 
welcomed by Prince Bismarck and made inevitable by 
him in order to crush France and ensure German mili- 
tary supremacy in Europe. Bismarck himself made no 
secret of the manner in which he had deceived Ben- 
edetti at Ems by a forged telegram; and the refusal of 
the Germans to make a reasonable peace with France 
immediately after Sedan was conclusive evidence of what 
was really intended. During the campaign also the 
Germans resorted to the same hideous methods of war- 
fare on land, on a smaller scale, which have horrified 
the entire civilized world, on land and on sea, during the 
great war which commenced forty-four years later. 

All this Clemenceau himself saw. While, therefore, 
in his speeches and writings he never shut out the pos- 
sibility that the people of Germany, rising superior to 
their militarist rulers, might come to terms for perma- 
nent peace with the people of France, he at the same 
time cherished no illusions whatever as to the policy of 
those military rulers and the small probability that Ger- 
man Social-Democracy would be able to thwart the de- 
signs of the German aggressionists. Unfortunately, in 
France, as in Great Britain, a considerable section of all 
classes, but especially of the working class, represented 
by Labor Unions and Socialists, would not believe that 
at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twen- 
tieth century any great civilized power could be har- 



CLEMENCEAU AND GERMANY 267 

boring such designs as those attributed to Germany. 
Vaillant, for example, who, like Clemenceau, had seen 
the horrors Inflicted upon France In the war of 1870, 
was vehement on that side. So enamored was he of 
peace that he never lost a chance of assuring Germany 
that under no circumstances would the French Republic 
go to war. He advocated a general strike, In all coun- 
tries affected, should a rupture of peace be threatened, 
entirely regardless of the fact that the Social-Democrats 
themselves had declared that such a strike was abso- 
lutely Impossible in Germany itself. 

The same with Jaures. Not only did this great So- 
cialist believe that peace might be maintained by con- 
cessions to Germany; but, although In favor of "the 
Armed Nation" for France herself, for the purpose of 
defending her against a German invasion, he actually 
came over to London and addressed a great meeting 
called by anarchist-pacifists who were all strongly in 
favor of the reduction of the British fleet. That fleet 
which, as Bebel himself put It, was the only counter- 
balance in Europe for Germany herself against Prussian 
militarism and Junkerdom, Jaures spoke of with regret 
?«i a provocation to war. Germany could, In fact, always 
rely in all countries upon a large number of perfectly 
honest pro-Germans, and a lesser proportion who had 
purely financial considerations In view, to oppose any 
policy which was directed against the spread of German 
domination. This was the mania of anarchist-pacifism 
and anti-patriotism which Clemenceau, both in and out 
of oflice, did his utmost to expose and resist. Honesty 
of purpose could be no excuse whatever for fatuity of 
action. 

Clemenceau, therefore, from the moment when he 



268 CLEMENCEAU 

gave up the Premiership, lost no chance of inculcating 
the need for vigorous preparation. France must be 
ready to meet a German assault by land and by sea. 
When the time came she was not ready on either element, 
and without the help In finance, In munitions, In cloth- 
ing, and by arms, on land and on the ocean, at once 
given by England — whom Clemenceau always upheld as 
the friend of the Republic — France would have been 
overrun and crushed before she could possibly; have 
obtained aid from elsewhere. In spite of the Franco- 
German agreement of 1909, the danger of such an at- 
tack In 191 1 was very great: so much so that war was 
then commonly expected, and was only averted because 
Germany thought she would be In a more commanding 
position to carry out her predetermined policy three or 
four years later. The Franco-German Convention re- 
lating to Morocco, of November 4th, 191 1, after the 
Agadir difficulty, was no better than a pretense. It 
was not Intended, In good faith, to ensure a permanent 
peace, so far as Germany was concerned. This Clemen- 
ceau felt sure of, though the treaty was by no means 
unfavorable to France. He was ready to make all sacri- 
fices, however mortifying, provided only a genuine treaty 
of peace and understanding between the two peoples 
could be secured. But this must not be done blindly. 
It must be an Integral part of a serious policy. 

Therefore, speaking In the Senate on the 12th Feb- 
ruary, 19 1 2, In opposition to the treaty with Germany 
about Morocco, he went on: "We shall make every 
effort to give fresh proofs of our goodwill — we have 
given enough and to spare already during the past forty 
years — in order that the consequences of this treaty may 
fructify under conditions worthy of the dignity of the 



CLEMENCEAU AND GERMANY 269 

two peoples; but we must know what the other party 
to the treaty is about, what are his intentions, what he 
thinks, says, proposes to do, and what signs of goodwill 
he likewise has vouchsafed. That is the question we 
must have the courage to ask ourselves. This question 
I deal with at my own risk and peril, without being 
concerned as to what I have to say, because I have at 
heart no bad feeling, no hatred, to use the right word, 
towards the German people. I want no provocation; 
firmly resolved as I am to do nothing to sacrifice a ves- 
tige, however trifling, of our capacity to win if attacked, 
I am equally convinced that peace is not only desirable 
but necessary for the development of French ideas in 
the domain of civilization. . . . The German people won 
two great victories which changed the equilibrium of 
Europe, in 1866 and in 1870. . . . We then knew, we 
had the actual proof in our hands, that if the enemy had 
occupied Paris the capital of France would have been 
reduced to ashes. Prince Bismarck, in reply to the ex- 
postulations of Jules Favre, declared that the German 
troops must enter at one of the gates, ^because I do not 
wish, when I get home, that a man who has lost a leg 
or an arm should be able to say to his comrades, point- 
ing to me: That fellow you see there is the man who 
prevented me from entering Paris.' When Jules Favre 
said that the German Army had glory enough without 
that, M. Bismarck retorted, 'Glory! we don't use that 
word.' The German, so far as I can judge of him, is 
above all the worshiper of force, and rarely misses an 
opportunity of saying so; but where he differs from the 
Latin is that his first thought is to make use of this 
force. As the vast economic development of the Em- 
pire is a perpetual temptation in this respect, he wants 



« 



270 CLEMENCEAU 

the French to understand that behind every German 
trader there stands an army of five millions of men. 
That is at the bottom of the whole thing." Moreover, 
he continued, having pocketed a fine Indemnity last time, 
Germany Is greedy for a much bigger one now. "Even 
quite lately the German Press has never wearied of pro- 
claiming that France shall pay out of her milliards the 
cost of building the new German fleet. That frame of 
mind of Germany, that Is the truth which clearly ap- 
pears in your treaty: Germany thinks first and fore- 
most of using to advantage her glory and her force. 

"But this Is not all. She has conquered her unity 
by force, by Iron, by blood; she has so fervently yearned 
for this unity — nothing more natural — that now she 
wants to apply It; she wishes to spread her surplus popu- 
lation over the world. She finds herself compelled, 
therefore, by a fatality from which she cannot escape, 
to exercise pressure upon her neighbors which will com- 
pel them to give her the economic outlets she needs. . . . 
There Is always land for an owner who wishes to round 
off his estate. There are always nations to be attacked 
by a warrior nation which would conquer other peo- 
ples. I am not here for the purpose of criticizing the 
German people, I am trying to describe their state of 
mind towards us. . . . 

**And now what of us, the French people? The peo- 
ple of France are a people of Idealism, of criticism, of 
Indiscipline, of wars, of revolutions. Our character is 
ill adapted for continuous action ; doubtless the French 
people have magnificent Impulses, but, as the poet says, 
their height has ever been measured by the depth of their 
fall." 

After a survey of "the terrible year" and Its results, 



CLEMENCEAU AND GERMANY 271 

the orator recounts what difficult work It was that French- 
men had to carry out after the collapse. It was not only 
that they had to change their Government, but this Gov- 
ernment must be taught how to govern Itself. 

*'That has created a hard situation for us. We are 
absorbed in this great task. We hope to bring it to a 
successful conclusion. The Intervention of public opin- 
ion to-day In its own affairs, calmly, soberly, without a 
word of braggadocio, that is one of the best signs that 
France has yet given. 

"The work we have done must be judged not by what 
we see but by the Ideas, the spirit that we have breathed 
into the heart of all French citizens." 

After giving conclusive proof that in 1875, in the 
Schnabele affair, as well as at Tangier, Morocco and 
Casablanca, Germany's policy had been to wound, weaken 
and irritate France, Clemenceau wound up as follows : 

"In all good faith we desire peace, we are eager for 
peace because we need it in order to build up our country. 
But if war is forced upon us we shall be there! The 
difficulty between Germany and ourselves is this: Ger- 
many believes the logical consequence of her victory is 
domination. We do not believe that the logical conse- 
quence of our defeat is vassalage. We are peaceful but 
we are not subjugated. We do not countersign the de- 
cree of abdication and downfall Issued by our neighbors. 
We come of a great history and we mean to continue to 
be worthy of it. The dead have created the living: the 
living will remain faithful to the dead." 

This great speech was prophetic. Clemenceau knew 
what were the real intentions of Germany. It was this 
fact that made him so bitter against all who, honest, 
patriotic and self-sacrificing as they might be, were in 



272 CLEMENCEAU 

favor of weakening France in the hour of her greatest 
danger. His warning against the financiers who were 
so sohcitous that foreign policy should be guided by 
manipulators of loans, interest and discounts was also 
specially appropriate at a time when German influence 
was becoming dominant in many of the banks and pecu- 
niary coteries of Paris. Such warnings were also timely 
In view of the strange hallucinations — or worse — which 
then dominated English politicians. . 

For It was In this same year that Lord Haldane, hav- 
ing reduced the English artillery, full of sublime con- 
fidence in the rulers of Germany, returned from Berlin 
to tell us through Mr. Asquith and Viscount Grey that 
never were the relations between Germany and England 
better I It was In this same year, too, that Mr. Lloyd 
George and the whole Radical Party were convinced that 
Great Britain might safely reduce her armaments on land 
and on sea, and the Unionists themselves scarcely dared 
to take up the challenge. It was In this same year, again, 
that nearly all the leaders of the Labor Party convinced 
themselves that the Germans had the best of good feel- 
ing towards France and England. Having been most 
artistically and hospitably "put through" In the Father- 
land, they returned to England brimful of zeal against 
all who, knowing Germany and Germans well for some 
fifty years, could not take the asseverations of the Kaiser, 
or of his trusted friend Lord Haldane, at their face 
value: a value which this legal nobleman admitted a 
few years later he knew at the time to be wholly Illusory 
and not at all In accordance with what he then declared 
to be the truth. 

Clemenceau did not condescend to such shameless falsi- 
fication. Whatever mistakes he made, from the Social- 



CLEMENCEAU AND GERMANY 273 

ist and anti-Imperlallst point of view, in matters of do- 
mestic importance or concerning Morocco, where the 
danger of France from the other side of the frontier 
had to be considered, whether in office or out of it, he 
treated his countrymen with the utmost frankness. 

So time passed on. The preparations of Germany 
were getting more and more complete. The influence of 
the pan-German Junkers and their flamboyant young 
Crown Prince was becoming so powerful that the Kaiser 
felt his hand being forced before success in *'the great 
design" appeared quite so certain as he would like it to 
be. The German army was largely increased, powerful 
war-vessels were being added to the navy. A policy was 
being pursued which roused fears of aggression. All 
through 1 9 13 and the first months of 19 14 Clemenceau 
in his new paper, UHomme Libre, continued day after 
day his warnings and his injunctions to all Frenchmen. 
He had no mercy for those who unceasingly preached 
fraternity and disarmament for France when Germany, 
more powerful and increasingly more populous, was arm- 
ing to the teeth. 

"Such fraternity," he said, at the unveiling of Scheurer- 
Kestner's statue, "is of the Cain and Abel kind. Against 
the armed peace and armed fraternity with which Ger- 
many is threatening us nothing short of the most per- 
fect military education and military organization can 
be of any avail. All Europe knows, and Germany her- 
self has no doubt whatever, that we are solely on the 
defensive. Her fury for the leadership of Europe de- 
crees for her a policy of extermination against France. 
Therefore prepare, prepare, prepare. Here you see 
870,000 men in the active army of Germany on a peace 
footing, better trained, better equipped, better organized 



274 CLEMENCEAU 

than ours, as opposed to 480,000 Frenchmen on our side. 
Doesn't that convince you? And Alsace-Lorraine at the 
mercy of such creatures as Schadt and Forstner? Ob- 
serve, Germany has great projects in all parts of the 
world. It would be childish for us to complain. What 
is intolerable is her pretension to keep Europe in per- 
petual terror of a general war, instead of general inter- 
national discussion of her claims. Every Frenchman 
must remember that, if Germany's increasing armaments 
do impel her to war, the loss of the conflict would mean 
for us the subjugation of our race, nay, even the termina- 
tion of our history. Meanwhile, with Alsace-Lorraine 
before me and the statue of Scheurer-Kestner now un- 
veiled, I claim for us the right never to forget. To be 
or not to be, that is for us the question of the hour. 
Gambetta, after Sedan, called upon all Frenchmen in 
their day of deepest depression to rise to the level of their 
duty. He consecrated once again Republicans as the 
party of patriotic pride. France must live. Live we 
Willi" 

Unfortunately, one of the chief reasons why France 
was unready to meet the onrush of the modern Huns 
was that the Socialists were all bemused with their own 
fatuous notion that the German Social-Democracy could 
stop the war. Instead, therefore, of investigating the 
truth of Clemenceau's statements, they merely denounced 
him as a chauvinist and an enemy of the people, and 
twaddled on about a general strike on both sides of the 
Rhine. As an old Socialist myself, who, as a member of 
the International Socialist Bureau, had discussed the 
whole question at length with Liebknecht, Bebel, Singer, 
Kautsky and others, I knew that, as they themselves ex- 
plained to me, there was little or no hope of anything 



CLEMENCEAU AND GERMANY 275 

of the sort being done when war was once declared. I 
viewed this whole propaganda, therefore, with grave 
alarm, and Bebel himself warned the French that the 
Social-Democrats would march with the rest. If an op- 
portunity came something might be done, but Since 

then the old leaders had died and the new chiefs, as we 
all see now, were Imperialists to a man. Thus Clemen- 
ceau's prognostications and warnings were only too com- 
pletely justified. Prince Lichnowsky's revelations con- 
clusively prove this, and the German Social-Democrats 
have been at pains to confirm it. On March nth, 1914, 
Clemenceau stated precisely what they would do. 

How anxious, how eager, the French were at the criti- 
cal moment to avoid even the slightest cause of offense 
is shown by the fact that all their troops were withdrawn 
fully eight miles back along the German frontier, a por- 
tion of French territory which the Germans made haste 
to seize. Even before this, every effort was made to pro- 
voke the French troops by petty raids across the frontier, 
and at last the Germans declared that the French had 
sent aeroplanes to drop bombs on Nuremberg — a state- 
ment which the Germans themselves now admit to have 
been a pure fabrication. But the facts of the invasion 
of Belgium and France are too well known to call for 
recital here. 

Clemenceau did what might have been expected of him. 
He appealed to all Frenchmen of every shade of opinion 
to sink all minor differences in one solid combination for 
the defense of the country. Day after day this power- 
ful journalist and orator labored to encourage his coun- 
trymen and to denounce unceasingly all who, honestly or 
dishonestly, stood in the way of the vigorous and suc- 
cessful prosecution of the war which should free France 



276 CLEMENCEAU 

for ever from yet other attempts by Germany to destroy 
her as an Independent nation. The memory of the dark 
days of 1870 was obliterated by the horrors of 19 14 
onwards. In good and bad fortune the Radical leader 
kept the same resolute attitude and used the like stirring 
language. UHomme Libre, defaced and then suppressed 
by the Censor, was succeeded by UHomme Enchmne. 
Ever the same policy of relentless warfare against the 
enemy at the front and the traitors at the rear was stead- 
ily pursued. Ministry might come, Ministry might go, 
but still Clemenceau was at his post, save when illness 
compelled him to quit his work for a short time. 

Nor did he waver in his views as to the general strat- 
egy to be pursued. Without making any pretense to 
military knowledge, but well advised by experts on mili- 
tary affairs, and firmly convinced that whatever success 
Germany might achieve elsewhere she would never be 
satisfied unless France was crushed, he persistently op- 
posed diversion of strength from the Western front. 
There this terrific struggle for world-domination would 
eventually be decided. The civilization of the West must 
be subdued to German culture, France and England must 
be brought under German control, before the great pro- 
gram of Eastern expansion for the Teutonic Empire 
could be entered upon with the certainty of success. 
These were the opinions he held as to Germany's real 
objects. 

Therefore, in opposition to the views of important 
personages in Great Britain and in Allied countries, Clem- 
enceau withstood any frittering away of force on tempt- 
ing adventures, away from the main field of warfare. 
This not because he confined himself to the narrow pro- 
gram of freeing France from the Invaders, but because 



CLEMENCEAU AND GERMANY 277 

the waste of troops on wild-cat enterprises weakened 
the general strength of the Allies at the crucial point of 
the whole struggle. In that decision his judgment was at 
one with the ablest British strategists, and the event has 
shown that he did not underrate the importance of the 
warfare on the Western front. There alone, especially 
after the collapse of Russia, was it possible to deliver a 
crushing blow at the German power. There alone could 
all the forces of the Allies of the West be effectively con- 
centrated for the final blow. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE GREAT WAR 

THE events of the great war, from 19 14 onwards, 
are too recent and too deeply graven on all our 
minds to call for lengthy recital or criticism. What 
many if not most people believed to be outside the limits 
of calculation occurred. The German armies commenced 
their campaign by outraging the neutrality of Belgium, 
which, in 1870, even Bismarck had respected. In a few 
days they crashed down the great Belgian fortresses, 
which capable experts had calculated would check the 
Teutonic advance for at least a month, with howitzers 
specially constructed and tested for that purpose; soon 
they exhausted the resources of barbarism in torturing, 
butchering and shooting down unarmed men, women and 
children whose country they had solemnly sworn to safe- 
guard; and they devastated and destroyed homes, beau- 
tiful buildings, and great libraries, which even a Turco- 
man horde might have spared, and extorted tremendous 
ransom and blood-money from the defenseless inhabit- 
ants. 

That accomplished, this torrent of ruffianism and in- 
famy poured in upon France with almost irresistible 
fury. The horrors of 1870-71 were far outdone. The 
defeats of Mons, Charleroi and Metz, the impossibility 
that their opponents should resist such overwhelming 
odds, made the Germans believe that for the second time 

278 



THE GREAT WAR 279 

in half a century they would force Paris to surrender. 
Then they were prepared to wreak upon the great city, 
the social capital of Europe, full vengeance of destruc- 
tion. 

It is not easy, even for those who remember what 
occurred in the terrible year of the downfall of the Sec- 
ond Empire and the prostration of the French Republic 
before the German invaders, to imagine what were the 
feelings of all Frenchmen who went through that period 
of martyrdom for their country when they saw a still 
worse storm of brutality and hatred breaking out upon 
them — when, too, more rapidly than before, Amiens 
was in danger and Paris seriously threatened. Clemen- 
ceau, with his devotion to France and almost worship of 
the city where he had spent his whole manhood, was 
more hardly hit than perhaps any of his countrymen. 
He had experienced the horrors of the former invasion; 
and though, when France was at its lowest, he never 
despaired of the Republic, no ordinary man of seventy- 
three could possess the resource and resilience of a man 
of thirty. 

Yet Clemenceau showed no loss of vigor compared 
with his former self. No Englishman has ever under- 
gone what he underwent at that period. Undoubtedly, 
when the news came to us of the great retreat of Au- 
gust, 1 9 14, our heartfelt sympathy went out to our own 
men. We were all likewise full of admiration for our 
French comrades who still held the Franco-British line 
unbroken. But at least our hearths and homes were 
kept In safety for us — the raids of aircraft excepted — 
by the magnificent courage of our sailors in the North 
Sea and our soldiers who freely gave their lives to pro- 
tect us from the enemy. If we would fully appreciate 



28o CLEMENCEAU 

what was happening to France and Belgium, in spite of 
all their efforts, we must imagine the county of Durham 
completely occupied by the German hordes, Yorkshire 
overrun and the chance of saving London from the enemy 
dependent upon the result of a battle to be fought In 
the neighborhood of Cambridge. It would be well if 
we could display at such a crisis in England the same 
cool courage that the Parisians did; if we had generals 
at our disposal such as Joffre and Foch and GalllenI; 
and statesmen In reserve such as Clemenceau. That was 
how things looked prior to the first battle of the Marne, 
which checked the early flood of Gernian invasion and 
removed for the time being the necessity for retiring 
from Amiens and Epernay and moving the seat of gov- 
ernment from Paris. 

During the whole of this trying period Clemenceau 
never lost heart for a moment, nor his head either; and 
day after day In his journal he surveyed the whole situa- 
tion without fear, devoid of illusion, yet confident always 
that France and her Allies could not be beaten to their 
knees. When things looked worst and Paris was being 
drained of her population by order, in preparation for 
a siege, and when the Government was about to be re- 
moved to Bordeaux, this is how Clemenceau wrote, re- 
calling the past to cheer his countrymen in the present : 

"The seat of government at Bordeaux is a new phase 
of the war which must follow its course: a renewal of 
the war in the Provinces as in the days of the Gambettas, 
of the Freycinets. The same struggle against the same 
German invasion, with the capital of France reduced to 
the simple condition of a fortress, with France herself — 
provincial France, as we say — taking in hand her own 



THE GREAT WAR 281 

defense outside the traditional lines of political and 
administrative concentration In which she has lived. 

"How men and times have changed I . . . And now 
after full four-and-forty years I find myself again at 
Bordeaux, before the theater I had not seen since 1871, 
looking for men who had undergone the misery of sur- 
vival and failing to find them. Who now remembers 
that Jules Simon on his arrival had in his pocket an order 
for the arrest of Gambetta? In the Provinces, as in 
Paris, foreign war and civil war were being carried on. 
I only recall these terrible memories of past dissensions 
to enhance the value of the magnificent consolation that 
uplifts our hearts at the spectacle of the truly fraternal 
union of all the Frenchmen of to-day. Gambetta main- 
tained the war against invasion In the midst of the most 
cruel attacks of a merciless opposition. Compare this 
with the present attitude of all parties in the presence of 
a Government from which all only demand that every 
means should be used with the maximum of efficiency." 
Nor does the writer hesitate even at this moment of trial 
to criticize the shortcomings of his countrymen. As op- 
posed to the persistent preparations of Germany, French- 
men, he says, have been too careless, too light-hearted, 
too apt to rely upon the inspiration and enthusiasm of 
the moment to repair their neglect, "while an Implacable 
enemy was sharpening his sword against us with un- 
wearying zeal." And this had been proved to be the 
truth years before; while so lately as November 22nd, 
19 13, the French Ambassador in Berlin, M. Jules Cam- 
bon, had solemnly warned M. PIchon, then as now French 
Minister for Foreign Affairs, "For some time past hos- 
tility against us is more marked, and the Emperor has 
ceased to be a partisan of peace." 



282 CLEMENCEAU 

The man who used his pen to tell Frenchmen disagree- 
able truths in this wise and followed them up by giving 
chapter and verse from the French Yellow Book, with 
the text of the threatening conversations of the Emperor 
and General von Moltke with the King of the Belgians, 
may be granted the credit of entirely disregarding his 
own political interests, at least. 

So also when the Anglo-French forces had won the 
great seven days' battle on the Marne, Clemenceau at 
once uttered a note of warning against undue confidence 
and excessive elation. "Let us be very careful not to 
believe that we can reckon upon an uninterrupted series 
of successes up to the final destruction of the aggressor. 
The curtain falls on the horrible scenes of foreign in- 
vasion in Belgium and France. A mortal blow has been 
inflicted upon the invincible Kaiser who had never fought 
a battle. . . . But it would be sheer madness to imagine 
that we have nearly finished with an enemy who will 
shortly obtain fresh forces, vast forces even, from his 
uninvaded territory. A great part of his military re- 
sources are still untouched. Automatic discipline will 
soon reassert itself. The struggle will last very long yet 
and be full of unforeseen dangers. The stake is too 
heavy for the German Empire to decide suddenly to 
give up the game. Remember your mistakes of the past, 
rejoice soberly in your victory of the present, make ready 
now for still heavier trials in the future." Such was the 
counsel of Clemenceau to Frenchmen on September 15th, 
1 9 14. Above all, "Leave nothing you can help to chance. 
Our military leaders have just victoriously undergone 
racking anxieties. It is for us to show our confidence 
in them by giving them credit for the patience and firm- 
ness which they will desperately need." 



THE GREAT WAR 283 

That IS the tone throughout. But here and there in 
UHomme Enchaine we find Clemenceau the controver- 
sialist in a lighter but not less telling style. I give an 
extract from his scathing attack on the Danish litterateur, 
M. Brandes, in the original: — 

'*Oui, retenez-le, lecteur, la crainte de M. Brandes 
dans les circonstances actuelles est que TAllemagne 
puisse etre humiliee! Le Danemark a ete humilie 
par le peuple de seigneurs qu'est la race allemande. 
La France aussi, je crois, et la Belgique meme; peut- 
etre Brandes le reconnaitra-t-il. II n'a pas proteste. 
II refuse meme de s'expliquer a cet egard, alleguant que 
son silence (assez prolixe) est d'or — d'un or qui ne 
resisterait pas a la pierre de touche. Mais sa crainte 
supreme est que les machinateurs du plus grand attentat 
contre la civilisation, contre I'independance des peuples, 
contre la dignite de Tespece humaine, les auteurs des 
epouvantables forfalts dont saignent encore la Belgique 
et la France n'eprouvent une humiliation^* * Brandes 
among the neutrals is of the same type as Romain Hol- 
land and Bertrand Russell among the belligerents. All 
their sympathies are reserved for the criminals. And 
there are others, who are actually eager to embrace the 
murderers as their ^'German friends" ! 

But during the whole of the struggle, even when the 

* "Yes, bear in mind, reader, Monsieur Brandes's fear under exist- 
ing conditions is that Germany may be humiliated. Denmark has been 
humiliated by the people of Supermen who constitute the German race. 
France, also, I take it, and even Belgium : perhaps Brandes himself will 
admit that. He has not protested. He even refuses to explain himself 
on this point, declaring that his silence (prolix enough) is golden — 
that sort of gold which won't stand the touchstone. But his overmas- 
tering dread is that the organizers of the greatest crime against civil- 
ization, against the independence of the peoples, against the dignity of 
the human species, the authors of the appalling atrocities from which 
Belgium and France are still bleeding, may not themselves undergo 
humiliation." 



284 CLEMENCEAU 

military situation looked mo^t desperate for the future of 
his country, Clemenceau never lost confidence. His faith 
in France and her steadfast ally Great Britain never 
wavered. That was a great service he then rendered to 
France and civilization. But he did more. At a time 
when on the other side of the Channel, as in Great Brit- 
ain, in Italy, and in Russia, the national spirit was clouded 
by deep suspicion of enemy influence, bribery and corrup- 
tion in high places, and almost criminal weakness, when 
strength and determination were essential to success, 
Clemenceau did not hesitate to denounce treachery where 
he believed it to exist. Nothing like his courage in this 
respect has, unfortunately, been shown by statesmen in 
any other of the Allied countries. The fact that fo- 
menters of reaction were, for their own ends, engaged 
on the like task of exposing the men who were unworthy 
of the Republic did not deter him, bitterly opposed as 
he was to the Royalist clique of which M. Leon Daudet 
was the chief spokesman, from demanding thorough in- 
vestigation and the punishment of traitors, if traitors 
there were, in their midst. The time has not yet come 
to estimate the full value of the work he thus did, or 
the dangers from which by his frankness he saved the 
Republic. 

But already we can form a judgment of the perils 
which surrounded France in 19 17. The feeling of de- 
pression and distrust was growing. The organization of 
the forces of the Allies was inferior to that of the enemy. 
The effect of the collapse of Russia was becoming more 
serious each day. Great Britain, which had rendered 
France quite invaluable aid in all departments, had ac- 
cepted Mr. Lloyd George's personal strategy, which con- 
sisted in breaking through to the Rhine frontier by way 



THE GREAT WAR 285 

of Jerusalem and Jericho, owing to the apparent hope- 
lessness of a favorable decision on the West front. The 
French Government itself, alarmed at the enormous sac- 
rifices France was making In every way, discouraged at 
the progress of the defeatist movement which weakened 
the position of Socialists in the Cabinet, and alarmed at 
the manner in which German agents and German spies, 
whom they were afraid to arrest, pervaded almost every 
department — the French Government, itself shaken daily 
by attacks from the Right and from the Left, felt in- 
capable of dealing with the situation as a whole. There 
was for a moment a sensation in Paris not far removed 
from despair. 

At this juncture a cry arose for Clemenceau. For 
many years he had predicted the German attack. For 
more than a full generation he had adjured his fellow- 
Frenchmen to prepare vigorously for the defense of la 
Patrie. That he feared nobody all were well aware. Of 
his patriotism there was no doubt. To-day, as more than 
forty years before, he never despaired of the Republic. 
Old as he was, whatever his defects of temper, whatever 
his shortcomings In other respects, the one man for such 
a crisis was Georges Clemenceau. Office was thus forced 
upon him, and, as he stated, he accepted power strongly 
against his will. At seventy-six, and approaching seventy- 
seven, not the most ambitious politician would be eager 
to take upon himself the responsibility of coping with 
such difficulties as Clemenceau was called upon to face. 
It was hard enough to undertake as Minister of War 
the work of that exhausting department. 

But still more trying was the necessity imposed upon 
him of dealing with the traitors of various degree who 
had been trading upon the lives and sacrifices. of the men 



286 CLEMENCEAU 

at the front. Probably no other French statesman would 
have dared to enter upon this dangerous and difficult 
task. The suspected men were highly placed, both po- 
litically and financially. They were surrounded by in- 
fluential cliques and coteries, in Parliament and in the 
Press, to whom it was almost a matter of life and death 
to prevent disclosures which would inevitably be made, 
if the various cases were brought into court. It was 
even doubtful whether he would get the support of the 
Assembly, the Senate, or the Presidents of Council who 
preceded him. If he decided to push things to extremity, 
as, in view of his own criticisms and denunciations, he 
was bound to do. Should such misfortune occur or should 
the malefactors be indicted and acquitted, all that Clem- 
enceau had been saying against them would turn to the 
advantage of the domestic enemy. It was a great risk 
to run. 

There was also another obstacle In the way of Clem- 
enceau's acceptance of the Premiership. The relations 
between himself and M. Poincare, the President of the 
Republic, had been anything but good. M. Clemenceau 
had energetically championed the claim of M. Pams for 
the Presidency. M. Pams had been, in fact, M. Clemen- 
ceau's candidate, as MM. Sadi-Carnot, Loubet and Fal- 
lieres had been before him. This time lie did not win. 
The fight was fierce, the personal animosity between the 
parties very keen, and M. Poincare's victory was asserted 
to have been achieved by intrigue of a doubtful character. 
The war had called a truce to Individual rancor and the 
union sacree was supposed to inspire all hearts. Still it 
was by no means certain that trouble would not come 
from that quarter. A President of Council with a hostile 
President of the Republic over against him must find 



THE GREAT WAR 287 

the difficulty of the post at such a time immensely In- 
creased. 

Then there were the Socialists to consider. True, 
they had taken office In the Cabinet of M. Briand, whose 
policy towards strikers of anarchist methods had been 
even more stern than that of M. Clemenceau. But they 
regarded Clemenceau as an unforgivable enemy. The 
calling In of the military at Courrieres, at Narbonne, 
Montpelller and St. Bezlers had never been forgotten. 
Clemenceau for them was the Tiger crossed with the 
Kalmuck. It was far more Important, the French So- 
cialists apparently thought, to hamper Clemenceau, and 
prevent him from forming an administration, than It was 
to beat the German armies and clear France of the 
Boches. Such, at any rate, was the opinion of a minority 
which afterwards became the majority of the pairty^ 
Therefore, even Socialists who thoroughly sympathized 
with Clemenceau In his policy towards Germany, and 
had previously taken part in a Cabinet pledged to carry 
on the war *'jusqu*au bout,^ would have nothing to do 
with a Clemenceau Administration. The upshot of these 
fatuous, anti-patriotic and anti-Socialist tactics on their 
part will be seen later. But the knowledge that the So- 
cialists as a whole would give him at best a lukewarm 
support, and at worst would vigorously oppose him, was 
not an encouraging factor In the general calculation of 
what might occur. 

Neither could high finance be relied upon. The great 
bankers, great brokers, and great money institutions as 
a whole were heartily sick of the war. They wanted 
peace with Germany on almost any terms, if only they 
could get back to business and begin to recoup their losses 
during more than three years of war. Nor, apart from 



288 CLEMENCEAU 

downright treachery of which he held positive proof, 
could the proposed new Premier close his eyes to the 
fact that German influence had so subtly and thoroughly 
pervaded the French money market that many French- 
men were still looking at the economic problems of 
France through spectacles made and tinted in Germany. 

There was consequently a combination possible which 
might drive Clemenceau headlong out of office at any 
moment, if he entered upon his second attempt to con- 
trol French affairs at such a desperately critical stage 
of the war. 

But the formidable old Radical leader did not hesi- 
tate. Skeptic as he might be in all else, one entity he 
did believe in: the unshakable greatness of France: one 
Frenchman he could rely upon — himself. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE ENEMY WITHIN 

DURING the whole of the war, as for many years 
before the Germans began their great campaign of 
aggression, every icountry with which the Fatherland 
might in any way be concerned was permeated with Ger- 
man agents and German spies. Great Britain was one of 
the nations specially favored in this respect. The ramifica- 
tions of their systematic interpenetration of the social, 
political, financial, commercial and even journalistic de- 
partments of our public life have never yet been fully 
exposed; nor, certainly, have the very important person- 
ages who conducted this sinister propaganda been dealt 
with. Even when the Defense of the Realm Act is ended 
and the Censorship is abrogated, it is doubtful if the full 
truth will ever be generally known, so powerful are the 
influences directly interested in its suppression. 

In the United States of America, where similar work 
was done upon an enormous scale and at vast expense, 
under circumstances still more favorable to success than 
in this island, the American Government acted with a 
decision and a vigor that are not yet understood. Even 
so, the amount of mischief done was very great, and, for 
the first two years of the war at least, the German efforts 
were largely successful. That a duly accredited Ambas- 
sador to a friendly power should have been at the head 
of this vast conspiracy in America, as Count Bernstorff 

289 



290 CLEMENCEAU 

unquestionably was, Introduces a new and most dangerous 
precedent into the comity of international relations. Italy, 
in like manner, suffered very seriously from German in- 
trigues. The history of the carefully organized disaster 
upon the Isonzo has yet to be written. That It was the 
result of well-arranged collaboration between clerical or- 
ganizers of treachery, inspired by Austria, German agents, 
with unlimited financial backing, who had sympathizers 
in high place, and honest and dishonest fanatics of the 
pacifist persuasion, does not admit of question. Certain 
it is that In this one case alone German underground 
machinations were responsible for the crushing defeat 
of an army of 500,000 men, holding a position where 
50,000 good troops could have held a million at bay.* 

But if Great Britain, the United States, and Italy were 
thus honeycombed with secret service agents from Ger- 
many, the nation which the Kaiser, his Chief of Staff and 
the Junkers were most anxious to crush down beyond the 
possibility of recovery was still more imperiled by astute 
German infiltration. Up to the crisis of Agadir in 191 1, 
French finance was, to an ever increasing extent, ma- 
nipulated by German Jews, who made it their special busi- 
ness to become more Parisian than the Parisians them- 
selves. They were consequently regarded with favor by 
people whose patriotism was beyond question. Scarcely 
a great French finance institution but had close relations 
in some form with Germans, whose continuous attention 
to business and excellent general information rendered 
them valuable coadjutors for the French, who, as a rule, 
are not very exactly informed on foreign matters. Very 
few saw any danger In this. It seemed, indeed, a natural 

♦I happen to know the configuration of this district well, having 
walked all over it in 1866, after I went up into the Tyrol with Garibaldi. 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 291 

result of the great growth of German trade, as well as 
of the position which Germans had acquired as capable 
managers of the growing French factory industry in the 
North-Eastern provinces. 

This latter point is of importance. So long as any 
industry remains in the old form, where individual skill, 
meticulous attention to detail, and close observance of 
quality are the rule, the French are second to none in 
their methods. But when the next stage is reached, and 
machine production reigns on a very large scale, with its 
concomitant standardization of output, then the French 
seem to fail for lack of the thorough organizing faculty 
of the German or the American. Hence In many direc- 
tions the highly educated, methodical, progressive for- 
eigner from across the frontier had begun to take the 
place of the more conservative Frenchman. This process 
could be observed in the department of motor-cars, where 
the French, who were undoubtedly the pioneers, had be- 
gun to fall behind upon the world market in the time just 
anterior to the war. Not only the Americans, but the 
Germans, and even Italy, showed more capacity to gauge 
the necessities of the coming period than France in their 
output of cars. 

But, in addition to this. Frenchmen, the most thrifty 
people in the world, are disinclined to use their savings 
in the development of their own country. In literature, 
in science, in art, they display great faculties of initiative. 
In the matter of investment they prefer to rely upon 
others. Even the underground railways of their metrop- 
olis were started by a foreigner: the French investors 
only coming in to buy the debentures of companies which 
they might just as well have started themselves. They 
complained that the Germans were making vast profits 



292 CLEMENCEAU 

out of "their own'* Iron mines of Lorraine which had 
been taken from France In an undeveloped state in 1871 ; 
yet they failed to exploit the still richer deposits In Briey, 
of which the Germans were so envious that the desire to 
possess them was one of the minor causes of the war. 
Similar Instances of neglected opportunities could be 
pointed out In many districts. 

This Indifference of the thrifty French Investors to the 
possibility of enriching their own country by the use at 
home of the money capital obtained from their own sav- 
ings, and the profits derived from visitors, astonished 
lookers-on. Clemenceau denounced the folly of financial 
wars of conquest in seml-clvlllzed countries when France 
needed her own resources for the Improvement of her 
own soil and what underlay It, as well as to make adequate 
preparation for war. But the loans to foreign nations 
and foreign banks were economically as prejudicial to her 
real interests as the Injurious colonial policy. That was 
proved only too clearly, even In the field of military 
preparation when. In August and September, 19 14, tens 
of thousands of men, unsupplled with clothing and equip- 
ment, were to be seen In and around Paris. England 
had to provide them with what they required. 

In such a state of affairs, where neglect of considera- 
tion as to the purposes of loans was the rule, so long as 
the Interest seemed quite secure, German banks could and 
did act with great advantage. They borrowed French 
savings at a low rate and employed them for profitable 
objects, or for their own more complete war preparations 
on economical terms. After the shock of Agadir, when 
war at one period seemed certain, the French called In 
most of their loans and thenceforward were rather more 
cautious. But, in the meantime, and even afterwards, 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 293 

France's savings had been used to strengthen her bitterest 
enemy. And this was the end the Germans kept con- 
stantly in view when they borrowed. France, in fact, 
built up German credit against herself, at the same time 
that Germany was able to estimate exactly the economic 
power of her destined victim, and to investigate, without 
appearing to do so, the weak points in French preparation 
for defense. The German banks and their French friends 
played together the same game, in a different way as 
the Deutsche Bank and the Dresdner Bank in London and 
the Banca Commerciale in Italy. The whole formed 
part of the vast economic octopus scheme, in finance and 
in industry, which went hand in hand with the co-ordina- 
tion of military effort destined for attack. 

It is easy to discern how all this peaceful financial ma- 
nipulation played into the hands of the German Govern- 
ment and fostered German influence in Paris and in 
France. There was nothing which could be reasonably 
objected to, under the conditions of to-day, if Holland, 
or Belgium, had been the nation concerned. But with 
Germany it was quite different. 

Not only was French money being used on German ac- 
count, but, under cover of quite legitimate finance and 
apparently genuine newspaper enterprise, most nefarious 
schemes were hatched in peace whose full utility to the 
enemy would only be disclosed in war. Taking no account 
even of the actual operations of bribery, which we now 
know were carried on upon a very large scale, everybody 
who was directly or indirectly interested in the various 
forms of parasitical Franco-German finance had person- 
ally excellent reasons for pooh-poohing distrust of the 
friendly nation on the other side of the frontier. Thus 
the most pressing warnings addressed to the French Gov- 



194 CLEMENCEAU 

ernment might be rendered almost useless — as, in fact, 
they were — ^by influence brought to bear from quarters 
that were pecuniarily above suspicion. An atmosphere 
favorable to German propaganda was created which 
covered up and favored the sinister plans of men and 
women who were actually in German pay. This went 
on long before the war, and was continued in still more 
dangerous shape after the war had begun. 

Then there were the honest pacifists, who regarded all 
war, even defensive war, as disastrous to the workers. 
Whether Germany won or France won in any conflict, 
the capitalists and the capitalists alone were the real 
enemy. Two such different men as Edouard Vaillant and 
Gustave Herve held this opinion ; and both at great inter- 
national Socialist congresses declared that every effort 
should be made to prevent France from coming to an 
actual struggle with Germany, no matter what the provo- 
cation might be. When, however, they saw what the 
policy of the Kaiser and his Junker militarists really 
meant they changed their minds. So, in the early days 
of the war, did the majority of French Socialists; and 
several of their principal men, including Jules Guesde, 
the leader of the Marxists, and Albert Thomas, joined 
M. Briand's Cabinet. 

But there was always an active section left which in all 
good faith stood to their views that under the capitalist 
system nothing could justify the workers of one country 
in killing the workers of another. They had no interest 
in their own nation which was worth defending in the 
field. The past of France was for them a record of class 
oppression, the present of France the continuance of chat- 
tel slavery in disguise, the future of France no better than 
the permanence of penal servitude for life as wage-slaves 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 295 

to the bourgeoisie. German domination could be no worse 
for them than the economic tyranny of their own capital- 
ist countrymen. 

This form of social fanaticism now exists In every 
European nation. It is as bitter and, given the oppor- 
tunity, as unscrupulous and cruel as any form of religious 
intolerance that ever exercised control. Economic theory 
entirely obscures history and facts with such men. Not 
even the awful horrors of the German invasion, horrors 
quite unprecedented In modern warfare and systematically 
practiced in order to engender terror, and destroy the 
means of creating wealth, could convert Socialists of this 
school. As a Socialist I understand their fanaticism, 
though I despise their judgment. Capitalism under the 
control of home employers and financiers is bad, but it 
can be controlled by educated workers. Capitalism in 
victorious alliance with foreign Junkerdom would have 
made France uninhabitable for Frenchmen, and would 
have thrown back democratic Socialism for at least two 
generations throughout Europe. 

Nevertheless, this furious minority, in conjunction with 
Socialists of political intrigue, among whom Jean Longuet 
(son of Charles Longuet the member of the Commune 
and grandson of Karl Marx) was the leader, became 
eventually the majority, owing to the weakness of the 
heads of the patriotic section. This success laid the 
French Socialist Party open to the charge of being not 
only anti-patriotic but definitely pro-German. It led to 
the retirement of forty-one Deputies from the "unified" 
combination. The violent animosity of the main body 
to Clemenceau at the time when he was forced Into office, 
and the refusal of Socialists to accept portfolios in his 
Cabinet, when the cause of the Allies was at its lowest 



296 CLEMENCEAU 

point, from November, 19 17, to July, 191 8, looked to 
outsiders a miserable policy for the party, not to be 
explained by the devotion of its members to MM. Malvy 
and Caillaux.* Personal malevolence and political pusil- 
lanimity together were the imputations made against those 
who thus declined to serve France in her utmost need. 
Happily for Europe, their strength was not equal to their 
ill-will, and Clemenceau, after his first month of power, 
was able to treat them as a negligible quantity. So they 
remain to-day. A very great opportunity of serving the 
workers of their country has been missed: that the bit- 
terest enemy of France and of freedom has not been great- 
ly helped in her war for universal domination is no fault 
of theirs. 

During the first three years and more of the war, how- 
ever, a conspiracy was being conducted which, aided un- 
fortunately by much of apathy and ineptitude on the part 
of successive French Governments, and supported uninten- 
tionally or Intentionally by one of the leading statesmen 
of France, went near to wrecking the fortunes of the 
Republic. That this fateful plot failed to achieve the 
full success which the Germans anticipated from it is due 

♦ Since the extreme pacifist and anti-nationalist section of Socialists 
captured the French Socialist Party a body of the French Socialist Deputies 
have constituted a group of their own in the Assembly. They number 
in all forty-one and they have a well-edited and well-written daily 
journal, La France Libre, which represents their views. Among their 
leading members are the Citizens Varenne De la Porte, Compere Morel, 
Albert Thomas and others. They are thoroughly sound Socialists in 
all domestic affairs, but they cannot accept the views of those who are 
now led by Jean Longuet and Marcel Cachin on questions affecting the 
independence and welfare of France as a nation. Their opinions are, 
in fact, much the same as those which have been so vigorously and 
successfully championed by the National Socialist Party in Great Britain. 
It seems a pity that none of their party have seen their way to ac- 
cept the positions in the Cabinet offered by M. Clemenceau. The re- 
sults of the General Election in Great Britain may give them encourage- 
ment to do 80. 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 297 

to Clemenceau. Sordid monetary sympathy with the 
enemy is difficult to forgive: Socialist fanaticism and 
Socialist Intrigues which must tell to the disadvantage of 
the nation are hard to reconcile with common honesty; 
but downright infamous treachery, bribery, corruption, 
and wholesale attempts to organize defeat put all who 
are guilty of them outside the law. Yet matters had come 
to such a pass that all these various forms of treason to 
France, to the Allies, and to soldiers at the front could 
be carried on with Impunity. 

Though the guilty persons were well known and their 
German plots were scarcely concealed, none of the Min- 
isters responsible for the public safety dared arrest them. 
Journals that were obviously published In the interest of 
the enemy were allowed to spread false Information as 
they pleased, and to attack with vitriolic misrepresenta- 
tion all statesmen and politicians who were honestly 
trying to serve France. Day after day this went on. Day 
after day, as the situation without grew more precarious, 
the chiefs of this criminal endeavor to bring France to 
ruin grew bolder In their well-paid treachery. The people 
of Paris and the soldiery in the trenches, whose minds also 
German agents strove to debauch with plausible lies, were 
becoming hopeless of justice being done. Ministry suc- 
ceeded Ministry and still the traitors were treated with 
consideration by the Minister of the Interior, M. Malvy, 
and other men In high place. 

Beyond question the man officially responsible for all 
this shameful laxity, at one of the most trying crises of 
the whole war, was M. Malvy, who enjoyed the whole- 
souled support of the Socialist Party, on account of credit- 
able behavior towards the workers, altogether outside 
of questions arising from the war. But his conduct in 



298 CLEMENCEAU 

regard to traitors and pro-Germans had become so weak 
as to be capable of the worst interpretation. 

On July 24th, 191 7, Clemenceau declared that he utter- 
ly distrusted M. Malvy. It was known even thus early 
that this Minister had shown deplorable incapacity in his 
dealings with men who are known to have been actual 
traitors. He had, in fact, decided not to arrest persons 
enumerated in what was called *'List B,'* that is to say, 
men and women more than suspected of criminal intrigue 
against France. Had not Almereyda himself assured M. 
Malvy, as Minister of the Interior, that he and all other 
Anarchists and anti-patriotic agitators would really desist 
from their sinister proceedings? This was enough. With- 
out taking any steps against them, or even obtaining any 
security for the fulfillment of this promise in the air, M. 
Malvy left these miscreants alone to do what they pleased. 
So things went on as before; though, as has since been 
proved, several of these active agitators for peace, dis- 
affection and surrender were paid agents of the German 
Government. 

When, therefore, a resolution of confidence in M. 
Ribot's Administration was proposed in the Senate, Clem- 
enceau voted for the resolution, but made special excep- 
tion in the case of M. Malvy, in whom he declared he 
had no confidence whatever. Later, Clemenceau boldly 
accused M. Ribot and his whole Administration of being 
themselves all responsible for the existence of the treach- 
erous German Bonnet Rouge and Bolo conspiracy. Most 
unfortunately, notwithstanding the universal distrust thus 
awakened and spreading from Paris throughout France, 
Republican Ministers, who ought to have been the first to 
move to safeguard the interests of France and her Re- 
public, against the dangerous plots of men known to be 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 299 

immersed in abominable dealings with the enemy, failed 
altogether in their duty. They left it to avowed Royal- 
ists and reactionaries to lead the attack upon persons 
guilty of these crimes. What, consequently, ought to 
have been done at once, legally and thoroughly, by men 
who had received political power by vote of the French 
people, and were trustees for the defense of the country, 
against the foreign enemy from without and the domestic 
enemy within, was left largely to be accomplished by 
M. Leon Daudet and M. Barres. 

These men made no secret of the fact that they were 
actuated by motives entirely antagonistic to the demo- 
cratic policy of the Allies and hostile to the only form 
of government possible in France. This did not render 
their indictment less crushing when the facts were fully 
disclosed, but it certainly weakened the force of the attack. 
What is more. It gave a large and, later, apparently the 
largest section of the Socialist Party the excuse, which 
they were eager to grasp, for supporting M. Malvy, and 
more particularly their friend M. Joseph Caillaux, against 
what they were pleased to denounce as abominable de- 
traction. 

Newspapers to-day are credited, perhaps, with more 
political influence than they really possess. But It Is clear 
that if nearly the whole of the Important press of a 
country can be captured by a particular faction, and only 
such news is allowed to be published as suits the con- 
venience of the Government In power, the people at large 
have no means of correcting the false Impressions of 
events thus thrust upon them. That is an extreme case, 
which has, so far, been realized. In practice. In only one 
country. But the German agents who were so active In 
Paris were fully alive to the advantages of such a policy 



300 CLEMENCEAU 

of purchase and manipulation of the press for their own 
ends. They made efforts to secure a control of the 
majority of the shares In some of the most Influential 
journals of Paris. How far this process was surrepti- 
tiously carried will never be known : not far enough, cer- 
tainly, to affect the tone of the organs they were anxious 
to manipulate. 

But enough was done to show the great danger which 
would have resulted to the community, had a newspaper 
trust been successfully created on the scale contemplated, 
but fortunately never carried out, by the Infamous Bolo 
Pasha and his associates. Their own journal, Le Bonnet 
Rouge, even when Increased during the war from a weekly 
to a dally Issue, was not by any means sufficient for their 
needs, although that traitorous sheet alone was able to 
do a great deal of mischief. But their control was ex- 
tended to the Journal, a paper, prior to the war, of con- 
siderable circulation and Influence. Their attempts to 
expand further were In full swing when, thanks to' the 
work of MM. Leon Daudet and Barres in the Action 
Frangaise, and still more to that of their bitter opponent 
Clemenceau In VHomme Enchaine and In the Senate, the 
French Government was forced to arrest the proprietors 
of the Bonnet Rouge and put them on their trial as 
traitors. It was known that M. Calllaux and M. Palx- 
Seallles — the latter connected with M. Palnleve's Cabinet 
and the repository of anti-French confidences — had con- 
tributed considerable sums to the support of the Incrimi- 
nated paper. 

When M. Almereyda, one of the most important per- 
sons connected with the Bonnet Rouge (to whose columns 
a leading Socialist was a contributor), died suddenly In 
prison, the editor of that journal telegraphed to M. Call- 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 301 

laux concerning the lamentable departure of **our friend." 
As these facts were accompanied by other revelations still 
more compromising, public opinion became greatly ex- 
cited. There could be no doubt that the conspiracy was 
more than a mere antl-patrlotic newspaper Intrigue of 
financial origin, or an attempt of discredited politicians 
to float themselves back Into office on the wave of dis- 
couragement and defeatism: It was an endeavor, sup- 
ported throughout by German funds, to destroy French 
confidence In order to ensure French destruction. A 
complete exposure of the whole plot. In which M. Calllaux 
and Bolo Pasha were alleged to be the leading figures, was 
threatened In the course of the Bonnet Rouge trial. 
Eleven members of the Army Committee of the Senate 
were appointed to consider M. Calllaux's connection with 
M. Almereyda and the Bonnet Rouge. 

M. Calllaux has been by far the most formidable ad- 
vocate of a German peace from the first. That an ex- 
Premier of France should take up such a position would 
seem almost Incredible, but that SIgnor Glolltti In Italy 
and Lord Lansdowne In England have pursued the same 
course In a less objectionable way. The political rela- 
tions between Clemenceau and M. Calllaux In the years 
prior to the war had not been unfriendly. M. Calllaux 
had been Finance Minister In Clemenceau's Cabinet m 
1907, and they had both worked together for M. Pams 
against M. Polncare In the contest for the Presidency. 
But two more different personalities It would be difficult 
to find. 

M. Calllaux is a financier of financiers. His whole 
career has been associated with the dexterous manipula- 
tion and acquisition of money In all Its forms. Clemen- 
ceau never had anything to do with finance in his life, 



302 CLEMENCEAU 

and wealth is the last thing anybody could accuse him of 
possessing. Clemenceau, though no sentimentalist, makes 
an exception in his view of life where Frenchmen, France 
and Paris are concerned. With Caillaux audacious cyni- 
cism in everything is the key-note of his character all 
through. Moreover, the one is very simple in his habits, 
and the other is devoted to ostentation and display. Cail- 
laux's cynicism is as remarkable as that of Henry La- 
bouchere, though more malignant. When he carried the 
Income Tax through the Assembly and was upbraided 
for having made himself the champion of such a measure, 
he claimed that, though he had obtained for his measure 
a majority in the Assembly, he had used such arguments 
as would destroy it in the country. 

Whatever may be the truth of that story, it is certain 
that the result has been as predicted. So in the course 
of the Agadir affair. M. Caillaux, as Prime Minister 
during the whole of the proceedings, was reluctant, and 
perhaps rightly so, to assert the claims of France with 
vigor. He was, iin fact, quite lukewarm on behalf of his 
country, the representatives of other nations doing more 
for France, it is said, than she, or her Premier, did for 
herself. No sooner, however, was the business settled 
than M. Caillaux, the judicious 'but unavowed anti-expan- 
sionist, claimed that he had secured Morocco for France I 
However this may be, M. Caillaux has always favored a 
close political and financial understanding with Germany, 
as by far the more advantageous policy for France, in 
opposition to a similar entente with England: a view 
which, of course, he was quite entitled to take and act 
upon, though its success in practice must have reduced 
France to the position of a mere satellite of the Father- 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 303 

land. Before the war it was possibly a justifiable, though 
scarcely a far-seeing, policy. 

The war itself rather strengthened than weakened his 
tendency in this direction. Having comfortably recov- 
ered from the unpleasing effect of the murder of M. 
Calmette of the Figaro^ for which crime his wife was 
acquitted, he used all his influence, in and out of France, 
to bring about a peace with Germany, which could with 
difficulty be distinguished from complete surrender, as 
soon as possible. This while the German armies were in 
actual occupation of more than a fifth of his devastated 
country, that fifth being the richest part of France. His 
interviews with Signor Giolitti, a vehement partisan of 
Germany, and certain strange intrigues in Rome and else- 
where, could only be regarded as the more suspicious 
from the fact that he traveled with a passport made out 
in a fictitious name. Altogether M. Caillaux's proceed- 
ings at home and abroad, in Europe and in South America, 
gave the impression that he was pursuing a policy of his 
own which was diametrically opposed to the welfare of 
his countrymen. 

Some who have watched closely M. Caillaux's career 
from his youth up are of opinion that the man is mad. 
But there is certainly method in his madness. Whatever 
the defects to which the high priests of international 
financial brotherhood may plead guilty, they never admit 
lunatics into their Teutono-Hebraic Holy of Holies. Ac- 
cess to the interior of that sanctuary is reserved for the 
very elect of the artists in pecuniary conveyance. But 
it is precisely within this innermost circle of glorified 
Mammon that M. Joseph Caillaux is most at home and 
most influential. And these people, so ensconced in theif 
golden temple, were the ones most anxious to bring the 



304 CLEMENCEAU ' ^ • 

war to an end, no matter what became of France. Tms, ^ j 
as has been well said, was a civil war for Jews; but for i^^ 
the Jews of the great international of Mammon it was AJt, 
civil war and hari-kari at one and the same time. So 
there was weeping and wail in Frankfurt-am-Main, there 

I was wringing of hands in Berlin on the Spree, and the 

1 Parisian devotees of the golden calf were not less profuse 

\ in their lamentations. 

\ As a matter of fact, international finance was, and is, 
the most pacifist of all the Internationals, and M. Joseph 
Caillaux as director of the Societe Generate, a portion of 
the great Banque de Paris et Pays Bas, represented its 
view perfectly. But that he is not devoid of political as 
well as financial astuteness is apparent from the extraor- 
dinary success he has achieved in securing close intimacy 
and friendship with the French Socialists. This has 
assured him the support not only of Jean Lonquet and his 
friends, with whom he was specially bound up, but also 
of UHumanite, with Renaudel, Sembat, Thomas and 
others connected with that useful journal. It has, indeed, 
been very diflicult to understand the bitter hatred which 
the Socialists of France have manifested towards the 
thorough-going patriot Clemenceau, and their persistent 
championship of pro-Germans such as Caillaux and Mal- 
vy. But the dry-rot of pro-Germanic pacifism has in- 
fected a large proportion of the younger school of inter- 
national Socialists in every country. With Socialism, as 
with commerce and finance, the German policy of unscru- 
pulous penetration has been pursued with great success. 
Honest fanatics as well as self-seeking intriguers have 
fallen victims to their wiles. Caillaux was equally for- 
tunate in capturing both sections. Even the rougher type 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 305 

of German agents, such as Bolo and Duval, were not 
without their friends in the Socialist camp. 

The investigation of his conduct before the Army Com- 
mittee of the Senate was, in effect, an informal trial of 
M. Caillaux, M. Malvy's case having already been re- 
mitted by the same body for definite adjudication by the 
High Court. Naturally, M. Caillaux and his friends 
strained every nerve, first to prevent Clemenceau from 
being forced into office by public opinion; and then, when 
his assumption of the Premiership became inevitable, to 
upset his Ministry while its members were scarcely warm 
in their seats. The French Socialist Party, unfortunately, 
aided M. Caillaux and his friends in their attacks, after 
having declined the Premier's offer of seats in his Cabinet. 
Shortly afterwards Clemenceau himself was summoned 
to appear as a witness before the Committee of the Senate 
on this serious indictment. It is difficult for us to imagine 
the sensation which this produced. Here was M. Cail- 
laux, who had been Prime Minister of France only a few 
short years before, who had previously been Clemenceau's 
intimate colleague, openly charged with the despicable 
crime of trading France away to the enemy. 

No wonder a great many thoroughly patriotic French- 
men could not believe, even in the face of the evidence, 
that a statesman of M. Caillaux's ability, with a great 
future before him after the war, could be guilty of such 
actions as those which were imputed to him. But his old 
colleague who had just taken office was in possession of 
documents which threw an ugly shadow upon all M. Cail- 
laux's recent proceedings. As usual Clemenceau went 
straight to the point. The Government had not furnished 
the members of the Committee with mere surmises or 
doubts cast upon the general conduct of the incriminated 



3o6 CLEMENCEAU 

person. There were printed statements already at their 
disposal of the gravest character. With three notorious 
persons M. Caillaux had intimate connections. One of 
them, when arrested, had died suspiciously in prison; 
the two others were still under arrest upon most serious 
charges. If this were the case of a common citizen he 
would have been brought at once before a magistrate. 
The whole country was crying out for the truth in this 
Caillaux case as well as in the Malvy affair. 

This happened soon after Clemenceau had accepted 
office. A month later, M. Caillaux being in the meantime 
protected against arrest by his position as deputy, Clemen- 
ceau repeated that if all the probabilities accumulated 
against Caillaux had been formulated against any private 
person his fate would have been practically decided al- 
ready. "The Government has undertaken responsibil- 
ities. The Chamber must likewise shoulder responsibil- 
ities. If the Chamber refuses to sanction the prosecution 
of M. Caillaux, the Government will not remain in office." 

M. Caillaux^s admitted conferences with well-known 
defeatists in Italy were of such a nature that Baron Son- 
nino, the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, had him- 
self informed the French Government that he was inclined 
to expel Caillaux forthwith. No doubt he would have 
done so, but for the fact that M. Caillaux had been, and 
might possibly still be again, an important personage in 
French and European affairs. Throughout, Clemenceau 
promised that the public should have the full truth. He 
kept his word. The delays in bringing M. Caillaux to 
a definite judgment have not been due to him. M. Cail- 
laux's immunity as deputy was suspended. He was ar- 
rested and imprisoned on January 15th, 191 8. Four 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 307 

days later came the partial disclosure of the documents 
found In his private safe In Florence. 

That such papers should ever have been left by a man 
of M. Calllaux's Intelligence where they might quite con- 
ceivably be attached, and that he should have carefully 
put In writing the names of men whom he hoped to use 
for the purpose of furthering a coup d'etat, do unques- 
tionably support the theory that he Is subject to Intermit- 
tent fits of madness. His extraordinary proceedings at 
Buenos Aires, where, according to the United States rep- 
resentative In the Argentine capital, he entered Into a 
series of most compromising negotiations with the Ger- 
man von Luxburg, were no good evidence of the per- 
manent sanity of this successful and experienced man of 
affairs. But "madness In great ones must not unwatched 
go." His object was avowed In that remote city: to 
make peace with Germany at any price, for the purpose 
of reviving International finance. All these statements 
coming In succession, and accompanied by the formulation 
of the cases against M. Malvy, Bolo Pasha, with Duval 
and others of the Bonnet Rouge clique, at length roused 
furious public Indignation, which the actions of M. Hum- 
bert, the senator and owner of the Journal, the paper that 
Bolo had In effect bought, further Inflamed. Who could 
be regarded as entirely free from treacherous designs, 
when such a crushing Indictment as that officially for- 
mulated against Calllaux could be accepted as correct? — 
when a Minister of the Interior could be publicly charged 
with criminal weakness towards persons more than 
suspected of high treason of the most sordid type? — and 
when a man of Bolo Pasha's career and associations 
evidently exercised great Influence, not to say authority? 

The revelations at the trials of the accused persons, 



3o8 CLEMENCEAU 

and the ugly evidence submitted not only made matters 
look worse for M. Calllaux, but roused general amaze- 
ment that such deadly Intrigues should have been allowed 
to go so far under the very eyes of the authorities. The 
career of Bolo Pasha, the direct agent-In-chlef of the main 
conspiracy, was well known. The men with whom he was 
on terms of close Intimacy were suspected persons, long 
before any action was taken. The secret service depart- 
ment was well aware that he had huge sums of money at 
his disposal that were very, very far In excess of any 
that he could command from his private resources. The 
origin of his title of dishonor from the Khedive could 
not have escaped notice. Yet he, a born Frenchman, 
all whose begettlngs and belongings were a matter of 
record, pursued his shameless policy In the Interest of 
Germany with apparent certainty of Immunity from Inter- 
ference. 

It was this very same certainty of Immunity that made 
all but a few afraid to speak out. Bolo, In fact, was a 
privileged person, until there was a statesman at the 
head of affairs who not only did not fear to take the 
heavy responsibility of the arrest and Imprisonment of 
M. Calllaux, but was also determined that the proceedings 
in the other cases already commenced should be pushed 
to their fnevltable conclusion. "The unseen hand" In 
France, therefore, was no longer unseen. Yet so wide 
was the reach of the octopus tentacles, directed by under- 
ground agency, that even to this day not a few innocent, 
as well as guilty, people are In mortal fear lest disclosures 
may be made which will in some or other way implicate 
them. For the trial of M. Calllaux has yet to come. 

The two really dramatic episodes In all this gradual 
exposure of Infamy were the arrest and Imprisonment of 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 309 

M. Calllaux, upon the suspension of his privileges as 
deputy, and the public trial of Bolo Pasha. After what 
had happened since August, 19 14, it seemed almost im- 
possible that any Minister, however powerful he might 
be, would venture to go to the full extent of what was 
indispensably necessary with M. Caillaux. A man who 
had been Prime Minister of France, who in that capacity 
had gathered round him groups of politicians whose 
members looked to him to ensure their personal success 
in the future, was formidably entrenched both in the 
Senate and in the Assembly. To incur the personal 
enmity of such a capable statesman and such a master of 
intrigue as Joseph Caillaux was more than any of the 
previous Ministries had dared to risk. There were too 
many political reasons against it. Even the most honest 
of the Socialist Ministers themselves seem to have felt 
that. All the time, likewise, an influential portion of the 
Press vigorously supported the ex-Premier. They carried 
the war into the enemy's camp by denouncing his critics 
either as unscrupulous and lying reactionaries, who were 
endeavoring to ruin a really progressive statesman, as 
men imbued with such lust for slaughter and eagerness for 
revenge that they had lost all grip of the actual situation, 
or as malignant intriguers behind the scenes whose one 
object was to blacken the character of an opponent who 
stood in the way of their schemes for personal aggrandize- 
ment. 

Furthermore, M. Caillaux, holding the eminent position 
already referred to In the world of finance, had the whole- 
souled and entire-pocket backing of the French and 
German-Jew international money-lords. These magnates 
of plutocracy, marvelous to relate, found themselves on 
this Issue hand in glove with the most active international 



310 CLEMENCEAU 

French Socialists. Nobody who was in the least afraid 
of political cliques, of journalistic coteries, of financial 
syndicates, or of SociaHst rancor, could put Caillaux 
under lock and key. And the military outlook lent itself 
to the encouragement of the leading advocate of sur- 
render and his acolytes. The word was assiduously passed 
round that, now Russia was out of the fray, a drawn battle 
was the very best that the Entente could hope for. 

France was bled white, Great Britain was war-weary 
and her workers were discontented, Italy— think of Capo- 
retto — while, as to the United States, America was a 
long way off, President Wilson was still *'too proud to 
fight" In earnest, American troops could never be trans- 
ported In sufficient numbers across the Atlantic, and, to 
say nothing of dangers from submarines, there was not 
enough shipping afloat to do it. All pointed, therefore, 
to prompt "peace by negotiation," and what better man 
could there be to negotiate such a peace than M. Joseph 
Caillaux? It was because he was the one political person- 
age In France who could secure fair terms for his dis- 
tressful country, at this terrible crisis, that he was so 
persistently attacked by the Chauvinists as a pro-German 
and accused of the most sordid treachery by men who 
envied him his power at the International Council Table I 

Such was the situation. So long as M. Caillaux was 
at large and able to direct the whole of the forces of 
defeatism, no genuinely patriotic Ministry could be suc- 
cessfully formed, or. If formed by some fortuitous con- 
currence of circumstances, could last for three months. 
Treachery breeds treachery as loyalty engenders loyalty. 
When Clemenceau took office, therefore, everything de- 
pended upon what he did with Caillaux. Paris and all 
France held their breath as they awaited the event. 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 311 

Patriots were doubtful; defeatists were hopeful: soldiers 
were on the look-out for a man. 

On January 15th, then, M. Caillaux was arrested and 
put In prison by Clemenceau and his Ministry. All the 
predictions of upheaval and disaster, indulged in by M. 
Calllaux's friends, were falsified. The country breathed 
more freely. Thenceforward, France knew whom to 
back. But, supposing that M. Caillaux had still been 
within the precints of Parliament and carrying on his 
political plots when the terrible news came of the disasters 
of Cambrai and St. Quentin, and when the German armies 
were within* cannon-shot of Paris — how then? Those 
who knew best how things stood believe themselves that 
counsels of despair and pusillanimity might have pre- 
vailed, to the ruin of the country. 

No such fateful issue as that involved In Calllaux's 
arrest hung upon the result of the trial of Bolo Pasha. 
But Bolo's whole career was a tragical farce, to which 
even Alphonse Daudet could scarcely have done full 
justice. Bolo was a Frenchman of the Midi: a Tartarin 
with the tendencies of a financial Vautrin : a fine specimen 
of the flamboyant and unscrupulous International adven- 
turer. His first experience in the domain of extraction 
was as a dentist In the country of his birth. A handsome, 
blond young man of fine appearance and manners and 
methods of address attractive to women, he soon found 
that the drawing of teeth and other less skilled profes- 
sions led to the receipt of no emoluments worthy of his 
talents. To take In a well-to-do partner and decamp 
with his wife and the firm's cash-box was more in the 
way of business. 

So satisfactory was this first adventure that he extended 
his field of operations, and several ladies had the ad- 



312 CLEMENCEAU 

vantage of paying for his attentions in the shape of all 
the money of which they chanced to be possessed. Some- 
how or other he found himself In the Champagne country 
during the wine-growers' riots, and continued to have 
a good time in the district while they were going on. But 
in 1905 the claret region proved more lucrative. For in 
Bordeaux the charm of his disposition produced so great 
an effect upon the widow of a rich merchant of that city 
that she succumbed to his attractions and married him. 
This provided Bolo with the means for setting on foot all 
sorts of financial enterprises in Europe and America. He 
thus became a promoter of the open-hearted and sanguine 
type, found his way into "society'^ of the kind which opens 
its arms to such men, had sufficient influence to become 
a chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and by 19 14 had 
lost all his wife's money and more into the bargain — 
was, in fact, in very serious financial straits from which 
he saw no way of extricating himself. Certain Egyptian 
friends he had made, who later obtained for him his title 
of Pasha from the Khedive, were not then in a position 
to help him. 

But Bolo without money meant a German agent in 
search of a job. It proved easy to get it. He notified 
the Germans through the Egyptians that he could do 
good service in France if only he were provided with 
plenty of funds. He was so furnished with hundreds of 
thousands of pounds. U Homme Libre said of him that 
he reveled in the prestige of having money, to such an 
extent that he believed that money was everything. 
Rather, perhaps, he had become so accustomed to Indulge 
in pleasures and political and financial intrigues of every 
sort that he would run any risk rather than give up the 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 313 

game. So It was that he carried on the dangerous policy, 
if such it could be called, sketched above. 

About his guilt there could be no doubt. That he had 
been closely connected with people In high places as well 
as in low, and possessed considerable personal magnetism, 
was clear. All this came out in court, where persons of 
every grade, from Ministers and Senators to Levantine 
rogues and Parisian courtesans, passed In and passed out 
like figures on a cinema film. Bolo, of course, denied 
every charge, and posed as a financier of high degree, but 
he was condemned to death, and his appeal against the 
sentence was fruitless, though he pretended he could make 
harrowing disclosures. He met his death bravely on 
April loth. His fate was a heavy blow to other spies and 
conspirators. 

There was an interpellation on the Bolo trial, a month 
before his execution, that led to a powerful speech by 
Clemenceau, in which he declared that he was first for 
liberty, next for war, and finally for the sacrifice of every- 
thing to secure victory. He then made a vigorous appeal 
to the Socialists to join with the rest of the country in 
supporting his Government In a supreme effort to free 
France from the invader. "It Is a great misfortune that 
my administration should be denounced by Renaudel" — 
then editor of VHumanite — "as a danger to the workers. 
My hands are to the full as hardened by toil as those of 
Renaudel and Albert Thomas, good bourgeois citizens 
as they are, like myself. I have in my pocket a paper 
in which Renaudel is stigmatized as Clemenceau's orderly; 
nay, adding insult to Injury, he is held up to public obloquy 
as Monsieur Renaudel." Then, addressing the Socialist 
group, he declared with vehemence : "We have done you 
no harm, but my methods are not yours. You will not 



314 CLEMENCEAU 

defeat Prussian Junkerdom by baa-Ing around about 
peace." The appeal was quite bootless. On a division 
confideilce in the Clemenceau Government was voted by 
400 to 75. The Socialists were the 75. The vote was 
a direct outcome of the sordid and gruesome Bolo case. 

Summary of Events Relating to Treachery in 
Paris, July, 191 7, to July, 19 18. 

July^ 1917- — Clemenceau attacks M. Malvy, then Min- 
ister of the Interior, for ruinous weakness towards 
traitors. 
Assails the Ribot Ministry as responsible for the prop- 
aganda of the pro-German journal Le Bonnet Rouge, 
It was shown later that this newspaper had received 
State support to the extent of £4,000 a year. 
August^ 1917- — M. Almereyda {alias Vigo), connected 
with Boio Pasha, M. Caillaux and the Bonnet Rouge, 
arrested and dies in prison. 
M. Malvy "explains" the Almereyda affair. 
September^ igi"]. — M. Malvy resigns. 
October, 19 17. — Debate in Chamber upon M. Leon 
Daudet's charge of treason against Malvy. 
Captain Bouchardon begins investigation. 
Proprietors of Bonnet Rouge arrested. 
November, 19 17. — Revelations by Clemenceau in P Hom- 
me Enchatne, which had been going on for a twelve- 
month, take effect on public. 
Bonnet Rouge trial. 

Revelations concerning M. Paix-Seallles's document 
about French troops at Salonika to have been pub- 
lished in Bonnet Rouge, Paix-Seaillcs in M. Pain- 
leve's entourage. 



THE ENEMY WITHIN 315 

Clemenceau exposes Calllaux's intrigues with Almerey- 
da, the Bonnet Rouge, the defeatists In Italy, and 
comments on the large subsidies to the Bonnet Rouge 
which enabled it to become a daily instead of a 
weekly sheet. 

Clemenceau forms Ministry. 
December, igij. — Clemenceau examined before Commit- 
tee of Senate on Calllaux affair. 

Clemenceau declares If Parliament would not sanction 
prosecution of Calllaux his Ministry would resign. 

Caillaux's immunity as deputy suspended by vote. 
January, 19 18. — Captain Bouchardon's report on Bolo 
Pasha published. 

Traces Bolo's career from 19 14, his intrigues with 
Germany through ex-Khedive of Egypt and other 
Egyptians. Receipt by Bolo of £400,000 from 
Deutsche Bank. 

Bolo buys shares in Journal, and tries to buy shares 
also in the Figaro and the Temps, 

M. Calllaux arrested. 

His private safe brought from Florence containing 
strange papers relating, among other things, to a 
suggested coup d'etat. 

United States agent at Buenos Aires reveals series of 
negotiations between M. Calllaux and the German 
representative. Count Luxburg, having for object 
the conclusion of a German peace. 

M. Malvy arraigned before the High Court of the 
Senate. 
February, 19 18. — Trial of Bolo begun. Calllaux, Hum- 
bert and others Incriminated. 

U. S. A. secret service shows that large sums passed 
from Count Bernstorff, German Ambassador in 



3i6 CLEMENCEAU 

Washington, to Bolo for the purposes of German 
propaganda. 
Bolo found guilty and condemned to be shot on Febru- 
ary 1 6th. 
M. Malvy's case before the High Court extended. 
March, 191 8. — Bolo appeals. 

Bolo case discussed in Chamber. Socialists attack 
Clemenceau. Vote of confidence In Clemenceau's 
Ministry 400 to 75. 
Terrible military disasters at Cambrai and St. Quentin 
due to heavy German attack on positions weakened 
by withdrawal of British troops. 
April, 191 8. — Bolo shot. 
Caillaux in jail. 
Malvy trial continued. 
May^ 19 1 8. — Caillaux "explains" his connection with Le 

Bonnet Rouge, 
June, 191 8. — Committee report on M. Malvy's case and 

^x date of trial. 
July, 19 1 8. — M. Malvy found guilty of undue laxity 
towards traitors and condemned to exile from 
France. 
French Socialists infuriated at M. Malvy's expulsion. 



CHAPTER XX 



"la victoire integrale" 



IN the endeavor to give a connected statement of the 
very dangerous German offensive, conducted by their 
spies and agents in Paris, at the most critical period of 
the whole war, I have been obliged to some extent to 
anticipate events in order to show Clemenceau's share in 
the exposure of this organized treachery. By 1917, as 
already recorded, anti-patriotic and pro-German intrigues 
in Paris and France had become more and more harmful 
to that "sacred unity" which had been constituted to 
present an unbroken front to the enemy. After the miser- 
able breakdown of Russia, largely due to the Bolshevik 
outbreak fostered by German intrigue and subsidized by 
German money, the position was exceedingly dangerous. 
German troops withdrawn from the Eastern front were 
poured into France and Flanders by hundreds of thou- 
sands, and the Allied armies were hard put to it to hold 
their own. 

At this time, when it was all-important to maintain the 
spirit of the French army, the enemy offensive in Paris 
and throughout France became more and more active. 
What made the situation exceptionally critical was the 
fact that the rank and file of the French soldiery began 
to feel that, however desperately they might fight at the 
front, they were being systematically betrayed in the rear. 
While, therefore, Clemenceau, in his capacity as Sen- 

317 



31 8 CLEMENCEAU 

ator and President of the Inter-Allied Parliamentary 
Committee, voiced the great and growing discontent of 
the country with the lack of real statesmanship displayed 
in the conduct of the war, he also fulminated against 
the weakness of the wobbling Ministers who, knowing 
that defeatism and treachery were fermenting all round 
them, took no effective steps to counteract this pernicious 
propaganda. 

The notorious Bonnet Rouge group, however, with M. 
Joseph Caillaux, Bolo Pasha, Almereyda and others In 
close touch with M. Jean Longuet and his pacifist friends 
of the Socialist Party, were allowed to carry on their 
virulent anti-French campaign in the Press and in other 
directions practically unchecked. It might even have been 
thought that these persons had the sympathy and support 
of members of the Government. 

Thus, when M. Painleve took office on M. RIbot's 
resignation in August, 19 17, the outlook was dark all 
round. The position of the Allied armies was by no 
means satisfactory: the state of affairs in Paris itself 
was not such as to engender confideiice: Mr. Lloyd 
George's headlong speech of depreciation on his return 
from Italy had undone all the good of the unanimous 
resolution passed by the Inter-Allied Parliamentary Com- 
mittee of which Clemenceau was President, declaring 
that no peace could be accepted which did not secure the 
realization of national claims and the complete triumph 
of justice all along the line. In short, a fit of despond- 
ency, almost deepening into despair, had come over Allied 
statesmen. Notwithstanding distrust, however, war- 
weariness was not spreading among the soldiers and 
sailors. But among the politicians it was, and German 
"peace offensives" were being welcomed in quarters which 



**LA VICTOIRE INTEGRALE" 319 

were supposed to be resolute for '7^ v'lctoire integrale!^ 
M. Painleve's administration was scarcely hoisted into 
the saddle before it was ignominiously thrown out again. 
The instability of successive French Ministries was be- 
coming a danger which extended far beyond the limits 
of France. The unification of the Allied command and 
the concentration of effort on the Western front had 
become imperative. The arrest of all those against 
whom there was serious suspicion of treason, no matter 
how highly they might be placed, was a necessity of 
the moment. Vigorous support for the generals and 
armies engaged in resisting the reenforced enemy was 
called for from every quarter. So the President, M. 
Poincare, found himself in a dilemma. But none of the 
leading politicians who had been prominent since the war 
began was prepared to take the responsibility of forming 
an administration and then acting upop the lines which the 
situation demanded. 

It was at this crisis, perhaps the most dangerous that 
France has had to face In all her long history, that the 
President asked Clemenceau to become the Prime Min- 
ister. He was then seventy-six years of age and had 
withdrawn from all those conferences and discussions 
behind the scenes which, under ordinary circumstances, 
invariably precede the acceptance of office. The Social- 
ists declared that, no matter what Clemenceau's policy 
might be, they could not serve under him as President 
of Council. Clemenceau could not rely upon support from 
M. Poincare, and on every ground he was much dis- 
inclined to come to the front under existing conditions. 
But his duty to France and its Republic outweighed all 
other considerations, and this old statesman shouldered 
the burden which far younger men declined to take up. 



320 CLEMENCEAU 

The Socialists went quite wild against him — to the 
lasting Injury, as I hold, of their party and their cause — 
the Radicals and Republicans themselves were more than 
doubtful of the possibility of his success. Many poli- 
ticians and journalists of the Right doubted whether they 
could make common cause with the man who above all 
other things stood for the permanence of Republicanism 
and was the bitter enemy of Clericalism In every shape. 
Shrewd judges of public opinion stated that his Ministry 
could not last three months. 

But courage, frankness and good faith, backed by 
relentless determination and the genius that blazes up 
in the day of difficulty, go far. The whole French people 
suddenly called to mind that this old Radical of the 
Bocage of La Vendee, this Parisian of Parisians for 
nearly sixty years, whatever mistakes he may have made 
in opposition or in office, had invariably stood up for the 
greatness, the glory, the dignity of France; that he had 
voted at Bordeaux for the continuance of the war when 
France lay at the feet of the ruthless conqueror and 
Gambetta was striving to organize his countrymen for 
resistance to the death; that from those dark days of 
1 87 1 onwards he had always vehemently adjured his 
countrymen to make ready to resist coming Invasion; that 
from August, 19 14, he had never failed to keep a stout 
heart himself and to do his utmost to encourage his 
countrymen even when the outlook was blackest for 
the Allies; that he had ever been the relentless denouncer 
of weakness and vacillation, as he had also been the 
unceasing opponent of pacifism, pro-Germanism and 
treachery of every kind ; that now, therefore, when la 
Patrie was in desperate danger, when Paris might yet be 
at the mercy of the enemy of whose hideous ruffianism 



*'LA VICTOIRE INTEGRALE" 321 

they had had such bitter experience, Georges Clemenceau 
was the one man to take control of democratic and Re- 
publican France In the Interest of every section of the 
population. These stirring memories of the past rose 
up behind Clemenceau In the present.^ 

Thus It was that the new Prime Minister, coming 
down from the Senate to read his Declaration to the 
National Assembly, as the French custom is, was certain 
beforehand of a cordial reception from the great ma- 
jority of the Deputies. What might happen afterwards 
depended upon himself and his Ministry: what should 
occur on this his first appearance in the tribune after 
nearly eight years of absence depended on themselves. 
They took good care that, at the start at least, he should 
have no doubt as to their goodwill. Only the Socialist 
minority abstained. 

The Declaration itself was worthy of the occasion, 
and It was a stirring scene when the veteran cf the 
Radical Party, the Tiger of the old days, rose to deliver 
it to the House, which was crowded on the floor and In 
the galleries with deputies and strangers eager to hear 
what he had to say: — 

"Gentlemen, we have taken up the duty of government 
in order to carry on the war with renewed energy and 
to obtain a better result from our concentrated efforts. 

* CLEMENCEAU'S MINISTRY. 

Clemenceau, Prime Minister and Minister for War. 

PiCHON, Foreign AflFairs. 

Pams, Interior. 

Klotz, Finance. 

Leygues, Marine. 

Clementel, Commerce "I 

Clavalle, Public Works 1 ^ , , r i . nyr- • . 

Loucheur, Munitions Members of late Mmistry. 

CoLLiARD, Labor J 

Boret, Supplies and Agriculture. 



322 CLEMENCEAU 

We are here with but one idea In our minds, the war 
and nothing but the war. The confidence we ask you 
to give us should be the expression of confidence in 
yourselves. . . . Never has France felt more keenly the 
need for living and growing in the ideal of power used 
on behalf of human rectitude, the resolve to see justice 
done between citizens and peoples able to emancipate 
themselves. The watchword of all our Governments since 
the war began has been victory for the sake of justice. 
That frank policy we shall uphold. We have great 
soldiers with a great history led by men who have been 
tested and have been inspired to deeds of the highest 
devotion worthy of their ancestral renown. The immortal 
fatherland of our common humanity, overmastering the 
exultation of victory, will follow, on the lines of its des- 
tiny, the noble aspiration for peace, through them and 
through us all. Frenchmen impelled by us into the con- 
flict have special claims upon us. We owe them every- 
thing without reserve. Everything for France : everything 
for the triumph of right. One simple duty Is imposed 
upon us, to stand by the soldier, to live, suffer and fight 
with him, and to throw aside everything that Is not for 
our country. The rights on our front, the duties in our 
rear must be merged in one. Every zone must be the 
army zone. If men there are who must cherish the 
hatreds of bygone days, sweep them away. 

"All civilized nations are now arrayed In the like 
battle against modern forms of ancient barbarisms. Our 
Allies and ourselves together constitute a solid barrier 
which shall not be surmounted. Throughout the Allied 
front, at all times and in all places, there Is nothing 
but solid brotherhood, the surest basis for the coming 
world. . . . The silent soldiers of the factory, the old 



"LA VICTOIRE INTEGRALE'^ 323 

peasants working, bent over their soil, the vigorous 
women who toil, the children who help in their weakness 
— these likewise are our poilus who in times to come, 
recalling the great things done, will be able to say with 
the men in the trenches, 'I, too, was there/ . . . Mis- 
takes have been made. Think no more about them save 
only to remedy them. 

"But, alas! there have also been crimes, crimes against 
France which demand prompt punishment. We solemnly 
pledge ourselves, before you and before the country, 
that justice shall be done with the full rigor of the law. 
Personal considerations or political passion shall neither 
divert us from fulfilling this duty nor induce us to go 
beyond it. Too many such crimes have cost us the 
blood of our soldiers. Weakness would mean complicity. 
There shall be no weakness as there shall be no violence. 
Accused persons shall all be brought before courts-martial. 
The soldier of justice shall make common cause with the 
soldier in the field. No more pacifist plots: no more 
German intrigues. Neither treason nor semi-treason. 
War, nothing but war. Our country shall not be placed 
between two fires. Our country shall learn that she is 
really defended. 

sK ^ ^ :i: :(: 4: 

"The day will come when from Paris to the smallest 
village of France storms of cheers will welcome our 
victorious colors tattered by shell-fire and drenched with 
blood and tears — the glorious memorials of our great 
dead. It Is for us to hasten the coming of that day, 
that glorious day, which will fitly take its place beside 
so many others in our history. These are our unshakable 
resolves, gentlemen: we ask you to give them the sanc- 
tion of your approval." 



324 CLEMENCEAU 

Such IS a free summary of a Ministerial pronounce- 
ment that will ever be memorable in the annals of France 
and of mankind. It swept the Chamber away as the 
recital marched on. But organized attacks upon the 
President of the Council at once followed. Now came 
the supreme test of the mental and physical efficiency 
of this wonderful old man whose youth is so amazing. 
He could read a telling manifesto with vigor and effect. 
Would he be able to reply with equal power to a series 
of interrogations in an atmosphere to which he had been 
a stranger for so many years? Questions, by no means 
all of them friendly, poured in upon Clemenceau from 
every part of the Chamber. From his attitude towards 
Caillaux and Malvy to his view of the League of Nations 
and his policy in regard to negotiations with the enemy, 
no point was missed that might embarrass or irritate the 
statesman who had undertaken to stand in the gap. He 
showed immediately that he was fully capable of taking 
his own part. The fervor of the new France was heard 
In every phrase of his crushing reply: 

"You do not expect me to talk of personal matters. 
I am not here for that. Still, I have heard enough to 
understand that the criticisms upon me should make me 
modest. I feel humble for the mistakes I have already 
made and for those which I am likely to make. I do not 
think I can be accused of having sought power. But 
I am In power. I hope It will not be a misfortune for 
my country. You tell me I have made mistakes. Per- 
haps you do not know the worst of them. I am here 
because these are terrible times when those who through 
all the struggle have loved their country more than they 
knew see the hopes of the nation centered on them. I am 
here through the pressure of public opinion, and I am 



**LA VICTOIRE INTEGRALE'^ 325 

almost afraid of what it will demand of me, of what it 
expects of me. 

"I have been asked to explain myself in regard to war 
aims, and as to the idea of a League of Nations. I have 
replied in my declaration, 'We must conquer for the sake 
of justice.' That is clear. We live in a time when words 
have great power, but they have not the power to set free. 
The word 'justice' is as old as mankind. Do you imagine 
that the formula of a League of Nations is going to solve 
everything? 

"There is a committee at the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs even now preparing a scheme for a League of 
Nations. Among Its members are the most authoritative 
exponents of international law. I undertake that imme- 
diately their labors are finished I will table the outcome 
of it in this Chamber, if I am still Prime Minister — 
which does not seem likely." (Laughter and cheers.) 

"I am not unfavorable to arbitration. It was I who 
sent M. Leon Bourgeois to The Hague, where a series 
of conventions were agreed upon which Germany is now 
engaged in violating. Many believe that a miracle will 
bring about a League of Nations. I do not myself think 
that a League of Nations will be one of the results of this 
war. If to-morrow you proposed to me that Germany 
should be included in a League of Nations, I should not 
consent. What guarantees do you offer me? Germany's 
signature? Go and ask the Belgians what they think 
of that. 

"You never weary of saying that the first thing is 
for Germany herself to destroy German militarism, but 
she is far from destroying it; she still holds it fast. 

"M. Forgeot wants to make war, but while we are 
making war he wants us to talk about peace. Personally, 



326 CLEMENCEAU 

I believe that when you are doing things you should talk 
as little as possible. Do M. Forgeot's Ideas come within 
the range of practical politics? Do people believe that 
the men In the trenches and the women in the factories 
do not think of peace? Our thoughts are theirs. They 
are fighting to obtain some decent security of life; and 
when you ask me my war aims, I reply that my war aira 
Is victory in full." (Loud cheers and Socialist Interrup- 
tion.) 

*'I understand your aspirations, some of which I share, 
but do not let us make mistakes about war. All these 
men want peace. But If, while they are fighting, the 
rumor goes round that delegates of one or other bel- 
ligerent country are discussing terms of peace — that yes- 
terday we were on the eve of peace, that next day there 
was a break-off — ^then we are condemned to flounder 
about In mud and In blood for years still. That is the 
way to disarm and discourage us all. For these reasons, 
I am not In favor of Conferences where citizens of 
different belligerent countries discuss peace which the Gov- 
ernments alone are able to decide. I want to make war. 
This means that for the moment we must silence all 
factious discussion. Is there a man who has been more 
of a party man than I? I see to-day that I have been far 
too much of a party man. My program is a military 
and economic program. We have got Allies, to whom 
we owe loyalty and fidelity, which must override every 
other consideration. 

"We have not yet achieved victory. We have come 
to a cruel phase of the war. A time of privation Is at 
hand, a time when our spirit must rise to greater heights 
yet. Do not, then, speak of peace. We all want peace, 
we are making great sacrifices to obtain peace, but we 



"LA VICTOIRE INTEGRALE'' 327 

must get rid of old animosities and turn solidly against the 
enemy. Leave all other questions alone. 

"There is one on which, however, I must touch. Scan- 
dals have been spoken of. Do you think we can have 
three years of war without Germany trying to keep spies 
busy in our midst? I complained that our look-out was 
Insufficient, and events have too clearly shown that I was 
right. I am told to give you the truth. You shall have 
it. But we must distinguish between crimes and accusa- 
tions. As the examination proceeds facts will be disclosed 
which will have their effect. How can you expect me to 
mention names or reveal fragments of truth? Certain 
people have been guilty of indiscretion, want of reflection, 
or weakness. It Is not I but the judge who has to decide. 
You shall have the truth. In what form? If there is 
any revelation of a political nature to make there Is a polit- 
ical tribunal in this country to make It. It shall judge. 
Just as civil justice must do its work during war time, so 
must political justice." (A voice: "CalUaux!") "I 
mention no name. A journalist has freedom as to what 
he may say, It is his own responsibility; but the head of 
the Government lid& a quite different task. I am here to 
put the law In motion If political acts have been committed 
which are subject to a jurisdiction beyond the ordinary 
tribunals. 

"Those facts will be brought before the tribunal, but 
I refuse here to accuse any man. 

"Justice is our weapon against treason, and where 
treason is concerned there can be no possibility of pardon. 
In any case, you have got a Government which will try 
to govern In the strict, but high, idealistic sense of the 
word. Where I differ from you, gentlemen of the 
Extreme Left, is when you want to bring abstract con- 



328 CLEMENCEAU 

ceptlons into the field of hard facts. That is impossible. 
We shall try to govern honestly and in a Republican spirit. 
You are not obliged to think we shall succeed. But we 
shall do our best. If we make mistakes, others have done 
so before us, others will do so after us. If at last we 
see before us the long-awaited dawn of victory, I hope — 
if it is only to complete the beauty of the picture — -that 
you will pass a vote of censure upon me, and I shall go 
happy away! I know you will not do that; but allow me 
to point out, as I have a right to tell you, that you have 
almost passed a vote of censure on me already before 
listening to my Ministerial program. I challenge you 
to say that we have made any attempt to deceive you. 
If we get painful news, our hearts will bleed, but we shall 
tell that news to you here. We have never given anybody 
the right to suppose that we constitute a peril to any class 
of citizens or a danger to the national defense. If you 
think the contrary, prove it, and I will leave the House. 
But if you believe that what we want above all is the 
welfare of France, give us your confidence, and we will 
endeavor to be worthy of it." 

His deeds have been on a level with his words. Bolo 
and Duval shot: Caillaux in jail: Malvy exiled by decree 
of the Senate: the Bonnet Rouge gang tried and con- 
demned: the wretched intrigue in Switzerland with the 
poor German tool, Austria, exposed and crushed: a new 
spirit breathed into all public affairs : the army reassured 
by his perpetual presence under fire and his unfailing 
resolve at the War Office that the splendid capacity and 
intrepidity of all ranks at the front shall not be sacrificed 
by treachery or cowardice at the rear : the Higher Com- 
mand brimful of enthusiasm and confidence, due to the 
appointment of the military genius Foch as generalissimo 



"LA VICTOIRE INTEGRALE" 329 

of the United Allied Armies and the reinstatement of 
General Mangin at the head of his corps d! armee. The 
Allies, like France herself, are convinced that they have 
at last discovered a man. Such is the stirring work that 
Clemenceau has been doing since he took office barely 
a year ago. 

So to-day Clemenceau Is still democratic dictator of the 
French Republic as no man has been for more than a 
century. When the enemy was arrayed in overwhelming 
numbers close to Amiens and within a few miles of Calais, 
when the German War Lords were decreeing the per- 
manent subjugation of the territories they occupied in the 
West and in the East, when the long-range guns were 
bombarding the capital and the removal of the seat of 
government to the provinces was again being considered, 
the great French nation felt more confident of its future 
than at any moment since the victories won around 
Verdun. To every question Clemenceau's answer In- 
variably was, "Je fais la guerre. Je fals la guerre. Je 
fais la guerre." 

Those who doubted were convinced: those who were 
hopeful saw their aspirations realized: those who had 
never wavered cheered for victory right ahead. 

On June 6th, 19 18, the French Socialist group In the 
Chamber of Deputies made another of those attacks upon 
the National Administration which, sad to say, have done 
so much to discredit the whole Socialist Party, and even 
the Socialist cause, throughout Europe and the world. 
Pacifism and Bolshevism together — that Is to say, an 
unholy combination between anti-nationalism and anar- 
chism, have indeed shaken the Influence of democratic 
Socialism to Its foundations, just at the time when a 
sound, sober and constructive Socialist policy, In harmony 



330 CLEMENCEAU 

with the aspirations of the mass of the people in every 
Allied country, might have led mankind peacefully along 
the road to the new period of national and international 
cooperation. The Socialist Deputies in the Chamber held 
Clemenceau's Ministry, which they had done their very 
utmost to discredit and weaken, directly responsible for 
the serious military reverses recently undergone by the 
French and Allied armies. They insisted, therefore, upon 
Clemenceau's appearance in the tribune. But when they 
had got him in front of them their great object evidently 
was not to let him speak. . There this old statesman 
stood, exposed to interruptions which were in the worst 
of bad taste. At last he thought the opportunity for 
which his enemies clamored had come, and began to 
address the Assembly. But no sooner had he opened his 
mouth than he was forced to give way to M. Marcel 
Cachin. Only then was he enabled to get a hearing, and 
this IS a summary of what he said: — 

"I regret that, our country being in such great danger, 
a unanimous vote of confidence cannot be accorded to us. 
But, when all is said, the opposition of the Socialists 
does not in the least enfeeble the Government. For four 
long years our troops have held their own at the front 
with a line which was being steadily worn down. Now 
a huge body of German soldiers fresh from Russia and 
in good heart come forward to assail us. Some retreat 
was inevitable. From the moment when Russia thought 
that peace could be obtained by the simple expression 
of wishes to that end we all knew that, sooner or later, 
the enemy would be able to release a million of men to 
fall upon us. That meant that such a retirement as we 
have witnessed must of necessity follow. Our men have 
kept their line unbroken against odds of five to one. They 



"LA VICTOIRE INTEGRALE*' 331 

have often gone sleepless for three days and even four 
days In succession. But our great soldiers have had 
great leaders, and our army as a whole has proved itself 
to be greater than even we could expect. 

"The duties we have to perform here are, in contrast 
to their heroism, tame and even petty. All we have to do 
IS to keep cool and hold on. The Germans are nothing 
like so clever as they believe themselves to be. They have 
but a single device. They throw their entire weight Into 
one general assault, and push their advantage to the 
utmost. True they have forced back our lines of defense. 
But final success is that alone which matters, and that 
success for us is certain. The Government you see before 
you took office with the firm resolve never to surrender. 
So long as we stand here our country will be defended 
to the last. Give way we never shall. 

"Germany has once more staked her all on one great 
blow, thinking to cow us into abandoning the conflict. 
Her armies have tried this desperate game before. They 
tried it on the Marne, they tried it on the Yser, they tried 
it at Verdun, they tried it elsewhere. But they never 
have succeeded, and they never shall. Our Allies to-day 
are the leading nations of the world. They have one and 
all pledged themselves to fight on till victory Is within 
our grasp. The men who have already fallen have not 
fallen in vain. By their death they have once more made 
French history a great and noble record. It Is now for 
the living to finish the glorious work done by the dead." 

This great speech raised the overwheming majority of 
the Assembly to the highest pitch of enthusiasm. Nearly 
all present felt that the destinies of France hung In the 
balance, and that any vote given which might tend to 
discourage the men at the front at such a time was a 



332 CLEMENCEAU 

direct service rendered to the enemy whose bombs were 
even then falling In the heart of Paris. The vote of 
confidence In Clemenceau and his Ministry was carried 
by 377 votes to no; and of these no more than a third 
were convinced shortly afterwards that the course they 
had then taken In order to preserve the unity of their 
forces as factlonlsts was unworthy of their dignity as men. 
Then, too, when the tide turned and the German 
hordes, after fresh glorious battles of the Marne and of 
the Somme, were In headlong retreat, Clemenceau, un- 
dated by victory as he was undlscouraged by defeat, re- 
peated again: "Je fals la guerre. Je fals la guerre. Je 
fals la guerre." Not until the German armies were finally 
vanquished would the Republican statesman talk of mak- 
ing peace. On both sides of the Atlantic, therefore, as 
on both sides of the Channel, knowing Great Britain and 
the United States by personal experience and able to 
gauge the cold resolution of the one and the Inexhaustible 
resources and determination of the other, speaking and 
writing English well, he is now, as he has been throughout 
this tremendous war, a tower of strength to the forces of 
democracy and a very present help to all who are resolved 
to break down German militarism for evermore. 



CHAPTER XX 

CONCLUSION 

GEORGES CLEMENCEAU, President of the 
Council and Minister of War, and Marshal 
Foch, General in Chief of the Allied Armies, have well 
deserved the gratitude of the country." 

That is the Resolution which, by the unaimous vote of 
the Senate of the French Republic, will be placed in a 
conspicuous position in every Town Hall and in the 
Council Chamber of every Commune throughout France. 
The Senators of France are not easily roused to enthusi- 
asm. What they thus unanimously voted, in the ab- 
sence of Clemenceau, amid general acclamation is a fine 
recognition of his preeminent service as well as of his 
indefatigable devotion to duty at the most desperate 
crisis in the long and glorious history of his country. 
Nothing like it has ever been known. The reward is 
unprecedented: the work done has surpassed every 
record. 

It is well that the^great statesman should be honored 
in advance of the great military commander. Marshal 
Foch has accomplished marvels in more than four years 
of continuous activity from the first battle of the Marne 
to the signing of the Armistice of unconditional surren- 
der. All Europe and the civilized world is indebted to 
him for his masterly strategy and successful maneuvers. 
But France herself owes most to Clemenceau. 

333 



334 CLEMENCEAU 

Towards the close of this historic sitting Clemenceau 
himself entered the Senate. He received an astounding 
welcome. Every one present rose to greet him. Men 
who but yesterday were his enemies, and are still his 
opponents, rushed forward with the rest to applaud him, 
to shake hands with him, to thank him, to embrace him. 
The excitement was so overwhelming that Clemenceau, 
for the first time In his life, broke down. Tears coursed 
down his cheeks and for some moments he was unable to 
speak. When he did he, as always, refused to take the 
credit and the glory of the overthrow of the Germans 
and their confederates to himself. In victory in Novem- 
ber, as when he was confronting difficulty and danger in 
March and July, his first and his last thoughts were of 
France. The spirit of France, the citizens of France, the 
soldiers and sailors of France: these were they who In 
comradeship with the Allies had achieved the great vic- 
tory over the last convulsions of savagery. He had been 
more than fully rewarded for all he had done by witness- 
ing the expulsion of the foreigner and the liberation of 
the territory. His task had only been to give full ex- 
pression to the courage and determination of his coun- 
trymen. 

Clemenceau spoke not only as a French statesman, as 
the veteran upholder of the French Republic, but as one 
who remembered well the horrors and defeats of 1870- 
71, now followed, forty-eight years later, by the horrors 
and the triumphs of 191 8. The Senators who heard him 
and acclaimed him felt that Clemenceau was addressing 
them as the man who had embodied In himself, for all 
those long years, the soul of the France of the Great 
Revolution and now at last was able to show what he 
really was. 



CONCLUSION 335 

This moving reception in the Senate had been pre- 
ceded by an almost equally glowing display of enthusi- 
asm in the Chamber of Deputies. There, too — with the 
exception of a mere handful of Socialists whose extraor- 
dinary devotion to Caillaux and Malvy blinds them to 
the genius of their countryman — the whole Assembly 
rose up to welcome and cheer him. Clemenceau, speak- 
ing there, also, under strong emotion, after two stirring 
ovations from M. Deschanel and M. Pichon, ^ssured 
the Deputies that the Armistice which would be granted 
to Germany could only be on the lines of those accorded 
to Bulgaria, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. Marshal 
Foch would decide the details which now all the world 
knows. 

But after having dealt with the Armistice Implored by 
Germany, Clemenceau went back to the past and said: 
"When I remember that I entered the National Assem- 
bly of Bordeaux in 1871, and have been — I am the last 
of them — one of the signers of the protests against the 
annexation of Alsace-Lorraine. ... It is impossible for 
me, now peace Is certain and our victory assured, to leave 
the tribune without paying homage to those who were 
the initiators and first workers in the immense task which 
Is being completed at this moment. 

"I wish to speak of Gambetta" (the whole House rises 
with prolonged cheering) — *'of him who, defending the 
territory under circumstances which rendered victory Im- 
possible, never despaired. With him and Chanzy I 
voted for the continuation of the war, and in truth, when 
I think of what has happened In these fifty years, I 
ask myself whether the war has not continued. May our 
thoughts go back to them and when these terrible Iron 
doors that Germany has closed against us shall be 



336 CLEMENCEAU 

opened, let us say to them : 'Pass in first. You have shown 
us the way/ " 

The French Premier went on to speak of the problems 
of peace, which could only be solved, like the problems 
of war, by national unity for the common cause, "for 
the Republic which we made in peace, which we have 
upheld in war, the Republic which has saved us during the 
war/' He appealed "First for solidarity with the Allies, 
and then for solidarity among the French.'' This was 
needful for the maintenance of peace and the future of 
their common humanity. Humanity's great crusade was 
inspired not by the thought of God but of France. "C^ 
n'est pas Dieu, c^est la France qui le veut^ 

The Deputies rose again and again. It would have 
been strange if they had not. 

But fine though these speeches were, and impressive 
as was the Prime Minister's adjuration, that since the 
problems of peace were harder than those of war, they 
must prove their worth in both fields — it was Clemen- 
ceau's personal influence that gave them their special 
value. Undoubtedly the splendid fighting of the French 
and British and American troops and the admirable skill 
of their commanders had produced that dramatic change 
from the days of depression from March to July to the 
period of continuous triumph from July to November. 
This Clemenceau never allows us for one moment to for- 
get. But he it was who had breathed new life into the 
whole combination, military and civilian, at the front 
and in the factories. No man of his time of life, per- 
haps no man of any age ever carried on continuously 
such exhausting toil, physical and mental, as that which 
this marvelous old statesman of seventy-seven undertook 
and carried through from November, 19 17, to Novem- 



CONCLUSION 337 

ber, 191 8. His astounding energy and power of work 
were like those of a most vigorous young man In the 
height of training. Starting for the front In a motor- 
car at four or five o'clock In the morning at least three 
times a week, he kept In touch with generals, officers and 
soldiers all along the lines to an extent that would have 
seemed Incredible If It had not been actually done. Once 
at the front he walked about under fire as If he had come 
out for the pleasure of risking his life with the poilus 
who were fighting for la Patrie. The Higher Command 
was In constant fear for him. But he knew what he was 
about. Valuable as his own life might be to the coun- 
try, to court death was a higher duty than to take care 
of himself, if by this seeming indifference he made 
Frenchmen all along the trenches feel that he and they 
were one. He succeeded. Fortune favored him through- 
out. Then having discoursed with the Marshal and his 
generals, having saluted and talked with the officers, he 
chatted with the rank-and-file of the soldiery and rushed 
back to Paris, arriving at the Ministry of War at tQYi 
or eleven o'clock at night, ready to attend to such press- 
ing business as demanded his personal care. And all the 
time cheerful, alert, confident, showing, when things 
looked dark, as when the great advance began, that the 
Prime Minister of the Republic never for one moment 
doubted the Germans would be hurled back over the 
frontier and France would again take her rightful place 
in the world. 

And that is not all. Clemenceau's influence In the 
Council Chamber of the Allies was and Is supreme. The 
old gayety of heart remains but the soundness of judg- 
ment and determination to accept no compromise of prin- 
ciple are more marked than ever. Many dangerous in- 



338 CLEMENCEAU 

trigues during the past few months, of which the world 
has heard little, were snuffed clean out by Clemenceau's 
force of character and overwhelming personality. The 
French Prime Minister wanted complete victory for 
France and her Allies. Nothing short of this would satis- 
fy him. There was no personal party he wished to build 
up, no political object that he desired to attain, no sec- 
tion or party that he felt himself bound to propitiate. 
Theijefore, the other Ministers of the Allies found them- 
selves at the table with a statesman who was something 
mpre than an individual representative of his nation. 
He was the human embodiment of a cause. What that 
meant and still means will only be known when the dust 
of conflict has passed from us and the whole truth of 
Clemenceau's policy can be told. 

For my part I have done my best as an old and con- 
vinced Socialist, and therefore on some important points 
his opponent, to give a frank and unbiased study of Clem- 
enceau's fine career. His very mistakes do but serve to 
throw Into higher relief his sterling character and the 
genius which has enabled him to command success. Read 
aright, his actions do all hang together, and constitute 
one complete whole. Comprising within himself the bril- 
liant yet thorough capacity of his French countrymen, 
he has risen when close upon eighty to the height of the 
terribly responsible position he was forced to fill. 

Therefore his efforts have been crowned with com- 
plete victory. Having forgotten himself In his work, the 
man Clemenceau will never be forgotten. He will stand 
out In history as the greatest statesman of the Greatest 
War. 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Adulteration, John Bright on, 215 

Albert, 5 

Amade, General, 237 

Arago, Etienne, XII, 15, 24, 27 

Armistice of 1871, 28 

Aumale, Due d', and Boulanger, 98 

Bakunin, 45 

Bazaine, Marshal, 24, 28, 33 

Barodet, 68, 87, 88 

Barres, M., 299 

Basly, M., miners' agent, 197 

Bebel and Jaures on the Fleet, 267 

and the Social-Democrats, 274 
Benedek, Marshal, 18 
Beesly, Prof., 4.c 
Bellers, John, 262 
Berlin, brutality and greed of, 26 
Beslay, 38, 43 
Billot, General, 171 
Bismarck — the forgery at Ems, 24 
Blanc, Louis, 5, 32, 78, 86 
Blanqui, 49, 53, 55, 56, 59 
"Blessed word," the, 9 
Blond, Maurice Le, 21 
Boer War, the, 242, 243 
Boisdeffre, General, 171 
Bolo Pasha, 307-316 
Bonnet Rouge, arrest of propri- 
etors of, 301 
Bordeaux, the Government at, 280 
Boulanger, General, xii 

and Army reforms, 99 

as War Minister, 99 

candidate for Paris, 105 

downfall, its effect on the influ- 
ence of Clemenceau, 109 

elected for the Nord, 104 

enters politics, a candidate for 
the Nord and the Dordogne, 
103 

fails to profit by his success, ic8 

flight and suicide, 109 



Boulanger, General, his duel with 
M. Floquet, 102 
his popularity after the Schna- 

bele affair, 100 
his relations with the Due d'Au- 

male, 98 
posted to the command of army 
corps at Clermont-Ferrand, 103 
his visits to Paris, 103 
deprived of his command, 103 
returned for Paris by a heavy 

majority, 107 
rides through Paris on his black 

charger, 106 
the pet of the Salons, loi 
Brandes, M., Clemenceau's attack 

on, 283 
Briand, M., 229 

as an anarchist, 252 
Bright, John, on adulteration, 215 
Brisson, M., 78, 171, 177 
British statesmanship, blindness of, 

265 
Broghe, Due de, xii, 73, 74, 78, 79, 

105 
Brown, John, and the American 

Civil War, 47 
Brousse, Paul, 104 
Buffet, 71, 72 
Butchery of peaceful citizens, 6 

Caillaux, M., 229 

and a German peace, 3CXD-303 
and Italian defeatists, 306 
and the income tax, 302 
before the Army Committee of 

the Senate, 305 
the financier, and the income tax, 
254 
Calmette, M., the murder of, 303 
Cambon, Jules, warns M. Pichon 

in 1913, 281 
Camelinat, 38, 43 



3-: I 



342 



INDEX 



Canrobert, 6 

Carnot, M. Sadi-, 96, 126 

President, supports Lesseps, 119 
Carrousel, the inscription on the, 

150 
Casablanca, French settlers at, 237 
Caserio, the anarchist, 148 
Cassagnac, Paul de, 125 
Charles X, 10 
Chateaubriand, 6 
Church and State, conflict between, 

246-251 
Cinquet, M., 182 
Cipriani, Amilcare, 55 
Citoyen Egalite, 4 
Clemenceau, as Premier, asks Eng- 
land how many hundred thou- 
sand men she could land in 
North-Eastern France in case 
of a sudden war, 245 
and Boulanger, 98, 99 
and Boulangism, 104 
and Morocco, 224, 225 
and strikes, 219-223 
and the coal miners, 144-145 
and the doctrine of laissez-faire, 

146 
and the Entente, 128 
and the story of Boaz and Ruth, 

148 
and the strikers at Carmaux, 127 
and the wine-growers' agitation, 
216-219 
Clemenceau's anti-Czarist policy, 
128 
appeal to Frenchmen, 275 
Clemenceau as a conversationalist, 
132 
as a duelist, 133 
as an orator, 131-133 
as doctor at Montmartre 24 
as Mayor of Montmartre, 27 
as Minister of the Interior, 188 
as municipal dictator, 27 
as one of M. Floquet's seconds 
at the duel with Boulanger, 102 
as professor of French at Stan- 
ford, U.S.A., 20 
as Senator for Var, 187 
at Nantes as a student, 4 
Clemenceau's attitude in the matter 
of M. Wilson's trading in dec- 
orations,' 95 



Clemenceau's attitude towards the 

Catholics, 59 
Clemenceau, author's conversation 
with, 230 

becomes "suspect" and ceases to 
be Mayor of Montmartre, 35, ^ 
36 
Clemenceau's betrothal to Miss 

Mary Plummer, 21 
Clemenceau calls up the State en- 
gineers and relights Paris, 202 

the charges against him, 126, 
127 
Clemenceau's contempt for politi- 
cians as politicians, 96 

criticism on the German fete 
of Sedan, 149 

on the catastrophe of the Char- 
ity Bazaar, 148 
Clemenceau defends himself in the 
National Assembly, 126 

denounces M. Ribot, 298 
Clemenceau's disregard of mone- 
tary considerations, 134 

distrust of colonization by con- 
quest, 262 

duel with Commandant Pous- 
sages, 50 
Clemenceau, Dreyfus affair, 164- 
186 

efforts of his enemies to connect 
him with the Panama scan- 
dal, 124 

failure to attain Presidentship 
of Chamber, 134 

fight for Draguignan, 130 

freedom of speech, 97 

French intervention in Egypt, 
93 

French peasantry, knowledge of, 

143 
in America, 20 
in prison of Mazas, 15 
Clemenceau's individualism anti- 
pathetic to Socialist view of 
collective social progress, 129 
influence in council chamber of 
the Allies, 337 
Clemenceau introduces measure to 
establish Municipal Council of 
Paris, 50 
Clemenceau's knowledge of Pari- 
sian life, 51 



INDEX 



343 



Clemenceau's letters to the Temps, 
20 

literary works, 152 

love of animals, 154 

love of Paris, 151 
Clemenceau on the "Rij^ht to 
Strike," 193-194 

his reception by the miners at 
Lens, 194-198 

opponent of Gambetta, 92 

opposed to colonial adventure, 89 

opposed to colonization by con- 
quest, 59 

opposed to execution of Generals 
Lecomte and Thomas, 35 
Clemenceau's opposition to M. Fer- 
ry and his support of M. Sadi- 
Carnot, 96 

powerful personality, 140 

power of work, 133 

reply to Jaures, 208-211 
Clemenceau retires from parlia- 
mentary life after defeat at 
Draguignan, 131 
Clemenceau's sense of humor, 52 

speech at Hyeres, 229 

speech at Lyons on the miners' 
strike, 199 

speech in favor of amnesty of 
Communists, 52 

speech in the National Assembly, 
36 

statement of Socialism, 141 
Clemenceau the Tiger, 82 

on French intervention in Egypt, 

93 
the universal skeptic, i88 
tour of propaganda, 36 
turns journalist, 137 
turns lecturer, 260 
Clemenceau's view of Boulangist 
agitation, 105 
warning after the battle of the 
Marne, 282 
Clemenceau, 1870-71, the war of, 

266 
Cluseret, 43, 46 
Commune, administration of the, 

39 
establishment of the, 35 
"Communist Manifesto," the, 45 
Comte, Auguste, 16 
"Cooperative Commonwealth," 45 



Constans, M., said to be the cause 
of the Boulanger fiasco, 108 

Cottu, M., indictment of, 123 

Courbet, 38 

Courrieres-Lens colliery disaster, 
the, 189 

Damiens, the assassin, 147 
d'Aumale, Due, 14 
Daudet, M. Leon, 299 
Delcasse, M., 189 

and Clemenceau, antagonism be- 
tween, 257-260 

and the Kaiser, 228 

King Edward's courtesy to, 244 
Declaration, Clemenceau's, 321-328 
Delescluze, 38, 45, 55 
Deroulede, M., saves a situation, 

243 
Dilke, Sir Charles, 91, 227 
Dombrowski, 46 
Doumergue, M., 229 
Dreyfus Affair, xiii, 164-186 
Dufaure, 79, 85 

Edward VII, King, 237 

Eiffel, M., indictment of, 123 

Electrical engineers' strike in Paris, 
200 

Encyclopaedia Britannica: tribute 
to M. Clemenceau, 238 

Engels, 45 

England's opposition to construc- 
tion of Suez Canal, 106-7 

Esterhazy, Major, 157-162 

Fallieres, M., 238 

and M. Clemenceau in London, 
244 
Favre, Jules, 28 

Ferry, Jules, 78, 85, 88, 90, 91, 95, 
238 
and colonial expansion, 127 
Fez, French delegation at, 226 
Flahault, 6 
Floquet, 78, 122 

duel with Gen. Boulanger, 102, 
103 
Flourens, M., his pen-picture of 

King Edward, 239-241 
Foch, Marshal, 333 
Fontane, M., indictment of, 123 
Fontenay le Comte, 2 



344 



INDEX 



Foreign affairs in 1908, 237 
France and England, a better feel- 
ing between, 10 
and Great Britain, relations be- 
tween, 237 
the wealth of, 262, 263 
Francis Joseph, i8 
Franco-German agreement of 1909, 
268 
convention of 1911, 268-271 
Fraser's Magazine, extract from, 39 
French Revolutioi\ 5 
Freycinet, M., 85, 99 

Gallifet, 46 

Gambetta, xii, 37, 57, 62-79, 82, 83, 
87, 89, 91-93, 234 

Gauthier, M., urges the Govern- 
ment to complete Panama 
Canal, 121 

Germany and Morocco, 224 
preparations of, 273 

Germinat, Admiral, and the Navy, 
253 

Gonse, General, 171, 178, 182 

Grevy, Albert, 78, 82, 85-87, 90, 
. 95, 96 

Gribelin, M., 182 

Guesde, Jules, 294 

Guesdists, the, 129 

Haldane, Lord, 227 

"sublime confidence" in Germany, 
272 
"Harum, David," his motto, 60 
Haussmann, Baron, 12 
Henry, Colonel, 173, 180 

the anarchist, 147, 148 
Henty, George, 183 
Herve, Gustave, 294 
Herz, M. Cornelius, and his part in 
the Panama scandal, 114, 123- 
126 
House of Orleans, 5 

of Bourbon, 5 
Hugo, Victor, 14 
Humbert, M., 307 
Hyndman, Hugh, 39 

Income tax, a graduated, 254 
Infiltratidn, German, and France, 
290-293 



Interpenetration, German, 289 
Ismail Pasha, Khedive, 11 1, ii2 
Italian campaign, the, 10 
Italian Carbonari, 5 

Jacques, a liquor dealer, chosen to 
fight Paris against the General, 
107 

Jaures, 132-134, 150, 171, 178, 180, 
184-186, 202-213, 237 
and peace, 267 
in public affairs, 121 

Joff rin, . 107 

Jouaust, Colonel, 181, 182 

Jourde, 38, 43 

Judet, M., one of Clemenceau's de- 
tractors, 125 

Junck, M., 182 

Junker party and the Crown 
Prince, 227 

Kaiser, the, and preparations for 
the war, 245 
and the King of Spain, 225 
and the Sultan of Morocco, 225 
King Edward and Clemenceau, 
238-242 

Labori, M., 175 

Labor, Ministry of, and M. Vivi- 

ani, 257 
Lac, Father du, 173 
La Justice, 85 
Langlois, Colonel, 49 
Lauth, Major, 180, 182 
La Vendee, 1-3 
La Ville Lumiere, 14 
Lecomte, General, 34, 35, 49 
Lesseps, Count Ferdinand, 111-123 

indictment of, 123 

two estimates of his character, 
117-119 

M. C. de, indictment of, 123 
Lichnowsky's, Prince, revelations, 

275 
Liebknecht, Wilhelm, 184, 185 
Longuet, 38, 295 
Lottery Bill, the, Panama, iri; 
Loubet, President, 126 J 

Louis XVI, 5 1 

XVIIT, 10 

Philippe, 4, 10 



INDEX 



345 



MacMahon, Marshal, xii, 28, 69, 

71-79, 82, 86 
Madeira wine and a story about 

Cette, 215 
Malvy, M., and pro-Germans, 297, 

298 
Mannesmann, Brothers, 236 
Marx, 45, 141 
Marxists, the, 129 
Meline, M., 171 
Mercier, General, 171, 18a 
Michel, E. B., 39 
Mill, John Stuart, a dedication to, 

16 
Montagnards, insurrection of the, 

54 
Morny, 6 

Morocco affair, the, 189 
French policy in, 235 
Mouilleron-en-Pareds, 2 

Napoleon III, 9-13, 24-26 
chief cause of downfall of, 18, 

loss of prestige, 24 
the Court of, ii 
Louis, 5, 6, 8, 10, 18, 19 
Naquet, 88 

Narbonne and Montpellier, disaf- 
fection among the wine-grow- 
ers, 214 
National Workshops, 5 
Nicholas, Emperor, 10 
1918, June, the Socialists and 

Clemenceau, 329-331 
Noir, Victor, murder of, 24 
Norton, M., 126 
"Novel with a purpose," the, 158 

Orsini bomb, the, 10 

Painleve, M., 318 
Panama Canal, a congress of na- 
tions called by Lesseps, 113 
and financial corruption, 115, 116 
and opponents of the Republic, 

117 
collapse of the company, 120 
horrors on the Isthmus, 115 
indictment of directors, 123 
scandal, the, xii 

scandal, accusation of deputies, 
senators, and academicians, 122 



Presidents Carnot and Loubet's at- 
titude, 117 

Paty du Clam, Colonel, 173 

Paris and the Provinces, 8 

Peace as desired by Socialist lead- 
ers, 267 

Perovskaia, Sophie, 55 

Persigny, 6 

Phylloxera ravages in the Bor- 
deaux vineyards, 214, 215 

Pichon, M., 229, 237 

Picquart, Colonel, 172, 177, 178, 
180, 182, 227 

Plebiscite, the, 6, 8, 9 

Poincare and Clemenceau, relations 
between, 286 

Population, concentration of, John 
Bellers on, 262, 263 
Petty on the same, ibid. 

Pyat, 43, 44, 45 



Radolin, Prince, 236 

Railways, the nationalization of, 
254 

Raspail, 55 

Ravachol, the anarchist, 136 

Reinach, M. Jacques, and his part 
in the Panama Scandal, 114 
the tragedy of his death, 122, 
124, 125 

Remusat, de, 68 

Republic of 1848, 5 

Retreat, the great, of August, 19 14, 
279 

Revolution, the French, Clemenceau 
on, 256 

Ribot, M., denounced by Clemen- 
ceau, 298 

Rochefort, 14 

Roget, M., 182 

Rollin, Ledru, 5 

Rosen, Dr., 236 

Rossel, 46 

Rouher, 14 

Rousseau, M., reports unfavor- 
ably on Panama Canal, 114 

Rouvier, M., 122, 188 

defends the President in the 

Wilson affair, 96 
refuses to accept Boulanger as 
War Minister, 102 

Russia, campaign against, 10 



346 



INDEX 



Sarrien, M., i88, 213, 229 
Scheurer-Kestner, 172, 178 
Schnabele affair, the, Boulanger's 

part in it, 100 
Second Empire, the, 4 
Shaw, Bernard, 212 
Simon, Jules, 73, 74 
Social-Democracy, German, and 

the war, 274 
Socialist demonstration against Cle- 

menceau at unveiling of 

statue to M. Floquet, 255 
Party, the, anti-patriotic, 295 
Sonnino, Baron, and Caillaux, 306 
Spiiller, 92 
Suez Canal, the, 111 

Thiers, 37, 39, 44, 50, 51, 54, 68, 

69 
Thomas, Albert, 261 

Clement, 34, 35, 49 
Trochu, General, 28 
Tunis, the question of, 89, 90 

"Utrinque paratus," 11 



Vaillant, 38, 134 

and Herve, and the war, 294 

and peace, 267 

the anarchist, 136, 137 

Edouard, the Blanquist, 121 
Venice, the annexation of, i8 
Verdun, Clemenceau on the vic- 
tories at, 251 
Vermorel, 36 
Victoria, Queen, 26 
Viviani, M., 229, 257 

Waddington, 84, 85 
Ward, Mrs. Humphry, XI 
V^ilson, trading in decorations, 92 
Wine, adulteration of, 215 
Working Men's Association, the 

International, 44, 45 
Wyse, Buonaparte, sells concession 

for Panama canal scheme to 

Lesseps, 113 

Zola, 171-175 

the trial of, 177, 180 
Zurlinden, General, 157 







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