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little later and doing his best to shield from ferocious repression the obscure martyrs of what he conceived to be a great and noble

Montmartre in the meantime had returned to its allegiance, and sent him to the Paris Municipal Council, which it hoped should prove a legal Commune. Clémenceau gained considerable influence over that assembly, which made him, in succession, its secretary, vice-chairman, and chairman. There he devoted the whole of his time and attention to the study of all questions connected with the internal administration of the Great City. He had retired voluntarily from the reactionary Parliament of '71, but was returned to the new Assembly elected in February, 1876, and dissolved by the coup d'état of May 16th, to receive a fresh mandate from the electors in the following October.

From this time begins a new period in Clémenceau's life. His first speech in the Assembly was in favour of an amnesty, and by this speech he took position among the most advanced Radicals of the day. The Opportunist doctrine which was held by the men of the Quatre Septembre and their followers was at the time dominant. They were to retain power for fifteen years, and they managed, by sailing under false colours and calling themselves Radicals, to exceed this term by a few years. So long as they were in office, and their sons, grandsons, nephews, and cousins were provided for, what business had France to demand reforms? In fact, Opportunism was no policy, but merely an apology for one; it meant a republique bourgeoise which differed in no way from the fallen régime except that it lacked courage, initiative, and intelligence; it meant cowardice, selfishness, and immobility.

Clémenceau fought with all his energy against the Opportunists. In manner, in speech, even in personal appearance he was the living antithesis, the critique en action of Gambetta, who was then lending to the reigning clique the prestige of his powerful rhetoric. I remember seeing them both one afternoon in the Rue des Reservoirs, where chance had made them walk almost on a line. The member for Belleville, in a thick blue overcoat, which made him appear even stouter than he was, was crawling heavily along, while the representative of the Butte, tightly enclosed in a frock coat, stepped briskly out with a jerk that shook his elastic frame. The red, swollen, congested face of Gambetta contrasted with the thin features and the ivory pallor of Clémenceau ; so did the exuberant beard, the long untidy hair falling on the greasy velvet collar, with the close-cropped head and the moustache à la gauloise. The Clémenceau of the Quartier Latin, the Clémenceau admired of the Stamford girls

had beautiful black curls, but the Mayor of Montmartre had sacrificed his juvenile locks on the autel de la patrie. In short, Clémenceau looked like a cavalry officer in mufti; Gambetta was still the Bohemian student of twenty years' standing, the born speaker of the brasseries.

Still more striking was the contrast between the two men at the Tribune. There was something of the actor in Gambetta's oratory. Had he not received lessons of elocution from Coquelin ? He acted his great speeches while he delivered them; his arms and the whole of his body took part in the performance. He was at his best when stirring the depths of the soul, and there was drama and pathos in the very vibration of his beautiful, sonorous voice. Clémencean, on the contrary, spoke slowly, deliberately, with his hands to his pockets, calm and erect, in clear, distinct, but wholly unimpassioned voice, like a professor demonstrating a geometrical theorem. He did not appeal to feelings, but to reason : "C'est de la dialectique toute crue," said Camille Pelletan, his first lieutenant at the Justice and in the Chamber. His strength lay in the verbs and substantives, not in the adjectives, like Gambetta's. Those who tried to disturb and disconcert him with an interruption fared ill. The trenchant irony of his instant rebukes on those occasions were even worse dreaded than Gambetta's furious outbursts. After which he went on refreshed and comforted to all appearance by the little incident. The demonstration frequently culminated in some striking and neat formula which presented the whole argument in a nutshell, and which the listeners, however unwilling, could never erase from their memories.

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Thus Clémencean became a power in the Assembly. The party of which he was by almost universal consent the recognised leader was not numerically strong enough to take office in those days, but it could overthrow Cabinets, and Clémenceau took more than his share in such executions. But it must be frankly admitted that his intervention on those memorable occasions, though marked by great oratorical triumphs, was not always conducive to the national interest. He strongly deprecated colonial expansion, and colonial expansion was the one redeeming feature of Opportunism. Activity in that direction could alone revive France, after her crushing defeat, by opening new markets to her declining industries. This Clémenceau would not admit. He went even further, and condemned in a general way all wars of conquest in distant countries and upheld the absolute right of the natives, even when only in a half-civilised state, to control their own destinies without interference from European nations. From

a purely philosophical point of view he was undoubtedly right, but philosophers are out of place in a parliament, because a parliament has to deal, not with absolute theory, but with immediate facts and relative interests. The truth is that, twenty-five years ago, Clémenceau was playing the part of a Jaurès, and he must know by this time what that means. One of his speeches drove Jules Ferry ignominiously from power with a nickname-le Tonkinois-that should have been a title of honour. Another speech, four or five years later, obliged M. de Freycinet to retire when he was going to join hands with the English Government in the Egyptian campaign. So ended the “condominiumin the valley of the Nile, and the joint control of the Red Sea was irretrievably lost to us. It is impossible for me to congratulate M. Clémenceau on that disastrous achievement.

Most sensible and beneficial, on the contrary, was his action at the time of the Boulangist movement. He had been one of the earliest friends and supporters of the General, but parted company with him when he began to play into the hands of the reactionaries and the so-called Patriots, and was hailed by the first as a second Monk, by the others as a new Bonaparte, a Bonaparte minus genius and victory.

Clémenceau denounced in the strongest terms the pseudo-saviour, but once the danger over, he was singled out for revenge by the partisans of the Boulangist coalition and offered as a victime expiatoire to the Manes of the General. All sorts of rumours were set in circulation with regard to his financial honesty. He had, some said, no fortune of his own. As a doctor in Montmartre his practice had never brought him in more than £120. La Justice, his newspaper, had never been a paying concern. Where, then, it was wondered, did he get the money which he squandered so freely about the Parisian world of pleasure?" To this malevolent inquiry a malevolent answer was readily supplied. “He had received enormous sums from the notorious Cornelius Herz; he was the pensioner of the English Government.” A document to that effect was produced, and a facsimile of it printed in a newspaper. Clémenceau, who had often ascended the Tribune to attack the others, entered it for the first time to defend his own conduct and his personal honour. M. Maurice le Blond, the intelligent and enthusiastic biographer of M. Clémencean, has given a vivid description of the scene : the enemies eager to pounce on their quarry, the friends overawed and ready to desert; all anxiously expectant. As usual, calm and collected, Clémenceau began his speech in the midst of an icy silence, and wound up amid frantic cheers, having fully vindicated his character and exposed his denunciators. A few days later, before the Court of Assizes, the "document” was

proved to be a forgery, and the wretched author of the fraud had to confess his guilt. Public opinion, however, had been worked upon too systematically and too long, and could not be reversed at a stroke. The constituency which Clémenceau had represented for some years (in the department of the Var) declined to renew his mandate in August, 1893. Even now you will meet people who will tell you : “ Clémenceau had sold France to foreigners. He drew 100,000 francs a year from the English Embassy. And if you ask them for proofs they exclaim : “What! Proofs ? It is well known, tout le monde le sait.Basile, that great master of the gentle art of lying, knew well what he was saying :

Calomniez, calomniez: il en restera toujours quelque chose!

M. Clémenceau thus found himself excluded from political life at the very moment when his party was gaining the ascendant. His career had been wasted. Others would reap the fruits of his lifelong efforts. At fifty-two he had either to retire from the field a disabled warrior or to start life anew. His choice was soon made, and I think that, during the trying period that followed, the most determined adversary could not grudge him his admiration and sympathy. He took refuge in literature, and made a living with his pen. For ten years this pen was wonderfully active, for he contributed articles on all sorts of subjects, literary, artistic, but chiefly social, to a number of Parisian or provincial newspapers of all shades of opinion. Some are mere trifles, but even trifles, if you look into them, have a meaning and a philosophy, which Clémenceau's penetrating insight soon detected. The most characteristic of such articles were collected in book form and published in 1895, under the title of La Mêlée Sociale. Le Grand Pan followed a year later. Clémenceau tried his hand also at fiction and drama ; a play by him was performed at the Renaissance. All these efforts were the outcome of a powerful and versatile intelligence, willing and able to consider all the problems of life in any and every shape. Those who desire to know Clémenceau at his best, both as a thinker and as a writer, should read the introduction to the Melée Sociale. He still adhered to that scientific enthusiasm of 1860 which had found its expression in the writings of Huxley and Berthelot. The great hopes of those days had never been realised, and science had had to retrace its steps to a safer ground, but to this Clémenceau would not agree. He was unwilling to see that Darwinism is the gospel of Heredity and the utter condemnation of Democracy. After giving a wonderfully striking description of the conflicting forces which distract modern society, he unexpectedly turns optimistic, and the desperate diatribe ends in a glowing

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conclusion. Many readers, however, after accepting his fierce denunciations of modern life, will decline to follow him any further, and to believe in the social millennium so eloquently foreshadowed in the last pages. But no one will refuse to admire the artistic beauty of the performance. M. le Blond compares his master to Diderot. I fail to see the likeness. I am myself a warm admirer of Diderot. Le Neveu de Rameau was one of the great literary emotions of my youth. There is in Diderot's style an ardent temperature which raised my intellectual faculties to fever heat. Clémenceau's prose is no less brilliant and equally impulsive, but does not make me warm like Diderot's. I feel the compulsion of Logic: passionate logic, yet still logic! Put him at the level of Diderot if you like, but not with him. Equal they may be, not alike. They differ widely in method because they differ in nature.

A great crisis brought Clémenceau back to the front. The Dreyfus affair, which should have been strictly a question of the judicial order, a question of fact, was transformed into a political, religious, racial, and social struggle, which temporarily paralysed national life, and under the consequences of which France is still labouring. Clémenceau saw his chance and took it. furnished with the necessary funds to start a newspaper. The Aurore was soon the prominent organ of Dreyfusism. It was the first to publish in its columns the famous pamphlet, J'accuse; and it is said that Clémenceau supplied Zola with the stirring, farsounding title.

I need not here rehearse all the phases of the Affaire, which all Europe followed during three years with the closest attention, and which are still familiar to many readers. It will be enough to say that at the conclusion of the crisis Clémenceau had again become a potent factor in the political situation. In 1903 the department of the Var sent him to the Sénat as one of its representatives. In this capacity he supported the Combes Ministry, and, in a measure, the Rouvier Cabinet, which had an unwelcome task to perform :-(1) To pacify German susceptibilities and to sign the ridiculous Act of Algeciras; (2) to proceed, though in a reluctant spirit, with the Disestablishment Laws. M. Sarrien's Cabinet came next, M. Clémenceau being Minister of the Interior in that Cabinet. But Euclid asserts that the whole should be greater than its part, and including Clémenceau in a Sarrien Ministry was giving the lie to this axiom. M. Sarrien found it advisable to retire before his too powerful subordinate, shortly after the general elections of 1906, during which Clémenceau had kept in check the forces of Revolution with wonderful ease and vigour.

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