11[Zola, Émile (translated by David Short), "J’Accuse...!", L’Aurore (The Dawn), Number 87, Thursday 13 January 1898, pages 1-2]
But this letter is long, Sir, and it is time to conclude it.
I accuse Lt Col du Paty de Clam of being the diabolical creator of this miscarriage of justice - unwittingly, I would like to believe - and of defending this sorry deed, over the last three years, by all manner of ludricrous and evil machinations.
I accuse General Mercier of complicity, at least by mental weakness, in one of the greatest inequities of the century.
I accuse General Billot of having held in his hands absolute proof of Dreyfus's innocence and covering it up, and making himself guilty of this crime against mankind and justice, as a political expedient and a way for the compromised General Staff to save face.
I accuse Gen. de Boisdeffre and Gen. Gonse of complicity in the same crime, the former, no doubt, out of religious prejudice, the latter perhaps out of that esprit de corps that has transformed the War Office into an unassailable holy ark.
I accuse Gen. de Pellieux and Major Ravary of conducting a villainous enquiry, by which I mean a monstrously biased one, as attested by the latter in a report that is an imperishable monument to naïve impudence.
I accuse the three handwriting experts, Messrs. Belhomme, Varinard and Couard, of submitting reports that were deceitful and fraudulent, unless a medical examination finds them to be suffering from a condition that impairs their eyesight and judgement.
I accuse the War Office of using the press, particularly L'Éclair and L'Écho de Paris, to conduct an abominable campaign to mislead the general public and cover up their own wrongdoing.
Finally, I accuse the first court-martial of violating the law by convicting the accused on the basis of a document that was kept secret, and I accuse the second court-martial of covering up this illegality, on orders, thus committing the judicial crime of knowingly acquitting a guilty man.
In making these accusations I am aware that I am making myself liable to articles 30 and 31 of the law of 29/7/1881 regarding the press, which makes libel a punishable offence. I expose myself to that risk voluntarily.
As for the people I am accusing, I do not know them, I have never seen them, and I bear them neither ill will nor hatred. To me they are mere entities, agents of harm to society. The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice.
I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight! I am waiting.
With my deepest respect, Sir.
Émile Zola, 13th January 1898
©MMIV-MMVIII David Short]
A fine, readable translation of "J'Accuse...!"