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Mathieu, the admirable brother

Mathieu, the admirable brother

The strategist of every battle

Mathieu Dreyfus arrived in Paris in early November 1894 and-having convinced Alfred that he should not commit suicide without there being an admission of guilt-began a struggle that would last nearly five years. He convinced Demange to be Alfred's first lawyer. It was also Mathieu who-at a time when hypnotism and spiritualism were very much in vogue-called on Léonie Leboulanger, a clairvoyant who had been recommended by a doctor in Le Havre. Beginning in 1895, Léonie saw the existence of "secret documents" that had been shown to the judges. However, after a year in which his efforts left him with a "feeling of powerlessness, in deep shadow" he decided to seek help from detectives and from the English press.
This resulted in the false report, in September 1896, of Dreyfus's escape that was, according to the South West Argus in Newport, reported by the London Daily Chronicle. This report cost Alfred Dreyfus two months in irons, but it reignited the public's interest. On 14 and 15 September of the same year, an anti-Dreyfusard journalist wrote of the existence of a secret document. This triggered Lucie Dreyfus's petition, which was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies.
Mathieu's communication advisors also suggested that his sister-in-law appeal to the Pope, but the Vatican would not break its neutral stance, and Leo XIII showed his respect for the Army by decorating the chaplain of Saint-Cyr. Then came the time of using the work of Bernard Lazare and of publishing elements concerning the judicial error that had been established by the court martial and ratified by the board of review.

Esterhazy's accuser

Mathieu Dreyfus learned the name of the author of the bordereau in November 1897, and received confirmation of it by Scheurer-Kestner, the vice-president of the Senate. He decided to become the first to publicly accuse Major Esterhazy, doing so in an open letter to the ministry that was published on 16 November 1897. A few days later, a preliminary judicial inquiry was launched. Although it ended with Esterhazy's acquittal on 11 January 1898, it crystallized the Dreyfus Affair, with petitions by intellectuals and [bio|42Zola]'s famous newspaper editorial. Mathieu's desire to establish the truth and his "struggle for Justice and the Law" had found their champions. After the September 1899 pardon, which he had strongly supported despite reservations by Georges Clemenceau, Mathieu pursued the fight along with his brother and their families and friends. According to Michael Burns, during the Affair, the family spent more than a million francs on legal fees and publicity.