Page images
[graphic][graphic][merged small][merged small][graphic][graphic][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small]

but also to make joint loans with Great Britain summer a few deputies and certain Parisian to Serbia, Belgium, Greece, and Montenegro. journals vigorously assailed the administration The expenditures during the first months of of the war department. In the Chamber, June 1915, according to a statement made by M. Alex- 24th, a Radical-Socialist deputy, M. Léon Acandre Ribot (minister of finance) on March 18th, cambray, violently censured the minister of war, amounted to almost 1,300,000,000 francs a M. Millerand, for having failed to prevent or month. The Bank of France had been called correct grave defects in the manufacture of shells upon in 1914 to furnish 3,600,000,000 francs, and and in the organization of the sanitary service. in 1915, thus far, 1,000,000,000. The amount Again, on August 5th, after a most eloquently raised by public subscriptions in 1914 was only patriotic speech had been delivered by M. Des1,200,000,000; in less than three months in 1915, chanel, M. Accambray attempted to voice virua sum more than twice as great had been raised. lent criticism of the minister of war. M. AcAltogether the national defense bonds had pro cambray on this occasion obviously failed to gain duced 3,862,000,000 francs up to March 12. the sympathy of the Chamber, the overwhelming

MINIMUM WAGE FOR THE SWEATED TRADES. majority of which was keyed to the highest pitch The miserable conditions usually prevalent in of patriotic enthusiasm by the reading of Presithe sweated trades were aggravated by the dent Poincaré's message. The army, said M. war, since many poor women, whose husbands Poincaré, realized that "on the victory of France had been sent to the front, found it necessary to and the Allies rests the future of civilization earn their own livelihood and swelled the number and humanity. ... Those who fall die without of underpaid workers in the clothing trades. To fear, since by their death France lives and will remedy this evil, the Chamber of Deputies passed live forever. ... In the error of its arrogance, a bill modifying the Labor Code and establishing Germany has represented France as light, imthe principle of a minimum wage for certain pressionable, unstable, and incapable of persecategories of women workers. According to the verance and tenacity. The people and the army statement of M. Jean Morel, who made a re- of France will continue to controvert this calummarkable report on the bill in the Senate, the nious judgment by their calm conduct." The minimum wage regulation would affect about a storm of criticism had not yet blown over, howmillion women wage-earners, many of whom had ever. M. Clemenceau, writing in his journal, been receiving less than 20 centimes an hour for L'Homme enchainé, continued to discover flaws their labor.

in the war department. In the Chamber of DepTHE DESCLAUX GRAFT CASE. In March a pro- uties, August 13th, M. Brizon vehemently praised found sensation was created by the Desclaux trial. General Sarrail, who had been recently removed Instances of dishonesty on the part of officials from his important command in France and and contractors in connection with the provision transferred to the distant Dardanelles. General of supplies for the army were probably no more Sarrail, it may be noted, was regarded as a posnumerous in France than in other countries, but sible successor to General Joffre and was praised in France such cases aroused public indignation by Radicals and Socialists as a better "republito a greater degree, because among the swindlers can” than the commander-in-chief. In reply to who defrauded the government were men who the criticisms which had been directed both had recently held important administrative posi- against himself and, by implication, against the tions under the Radical-Socialist government. generalissimo, M. Millerand intervened, August The most conspicuous offender was a former pay 20th, in the debate on an appropriation for the master-general of the French army, François payment of two additional under-secretaries of Desclaux, who had been identified with the Radi- war, and declared: "For a week certain depucal-Socialist faction and had been chief secretary ties have conducted here a trial of the war minto M. Joseph Caillaux during the latter's term ister. According to them my administration has of office as finance minister, in 1914 (see YEAR been characterized by negligence, inertia, and Book for 1914, FRANCE, Murder of M. Calmette, carelessness; I am a prisoner in my own office; p. 269). In January, 1915, M. Desclaux was ar I have abdicated in favor of the military authorirested on the charge of stealing army supplies. ties and am an enemy of parliamentary control.” Mme. Bechoff, a prominent Parisian dressmaker, M. Millerand admitted frankly that the sanitary was implicated in the case, and quantities of the service at the outset had been faulty; but he stolen goods-coffee, tents, shells, and helmets asserted that the defects had been remedied, that were found in her home. Two months later, the supply of munitions had been accelerated in M. Desclaux and Mme. Bechoff were convicted a most satisfactory manner, and that the comafter trial by court-martial, M. Desclaux re- mander-in-chief enjoyed the complete confidence ceiving a sentence of seven years' solitary con- and admiration of the government, the army, finement; Mme. Bechoff, two years' imprison and the nation. The Chamber then adjourned to ment; and a soldier-accomplice, M. Verges, one August 26th. During the short recess, a petiyear. Desclaux appealed from the decision of tion was presented by notable publicists in favor the court-martial, but was unable to secure an of a modification of the censorship of the press; acquittal, and was degraded from his military among the signers of the petition were Gabriel rank, August 2nd. The Desclaux case was by Hanotaux, Stephen Pichon, the editors of the no means an isolated incident. In December the Temps, of the Journal des débats, of the Figaro, fact was revealed that M. Thierry, under-secre- and of the Gaulois, and M. Georges Clemenceau, tary of war, had been a director of a firm, La whose criticism of the government was menMorue Française, which had sold a quantity of tioned in a foregoing sentence. The test of the chemically-preserved codfish to the government government's strength came in the sitting of at an outrageous price. Many other cases of August 26. Many observers expected the Chamcorrupt dealing in the provision of war supplies ber of Deputies to insist upon the creation of a were exposed by M. Simyan, in a speech before secret committee to investigate the conduct of the Chamber of Deputies, December 14th.

the war department. M. Accambray repeated ATTACKS ON THE WAR MINISTRY. During the his attacks on M. Millerand. But the president of the council, M. Viviani, defended the govern- lows: President of the council and minister of ment in a stirring speech, and the Chamber of foreign affairs, M. Aristide Briand (not inscribed Deputies with only one dissenting voice granted in any of the groups of the Chamber, but leader the credits for which the government had asked. of the Federated Parties of the Left: consult the The Chamber was thereupon adjourned to Sep- YEAR Book for 1914, p. 269); ministers of state, tember 16.

without portfolio-M. de Freycinet (Senate, inThe Cost OF THE WAR. Finance monopolized dependent), M. Léon Bourgeois (Senate, Demothe attention of the Chamber in September. The cratic Union), M. Emile Combes (Senate, Demobudget for the remaining three months of 1915, cratic Union), M. Jules Guesde (Unified Socialas drafted by Finance Minister Ribot, contem- ist), M. Denys Cochin (Right); justice, M. René plated an expenditure of 6,240,000,000 francs. Viviani (Republican-Socialist); war, General Russia, M. Ribot declared, was spending 1,800,- Galliéni; navy, Admiral Lacaze; finance, M. 000,000 francs a month; Germany, 2,500,000,000 Ribot (Senate, Republican Union); interior, M. francs; and Great Britain, an even larger sum; Malvy (Radical Socialist); public instruction whereas the average monthly expenditure of and fine arts, M. Painlevé (Republican-SocialFrance would amount to less than 2,100,000,000 ist); commerce, M. Clémentel (Radical Left); francs. The three-months' appropriation was agriculture, M. Jules Méline (Republican Left, quickly passed by the Chamber of Deputies and Senate); public works, M. Marcel Sembat (Unireceived the approval of the Senate, September fied Socialist); labor, M. Albert Métin (Radical28th, making the total of appropriations since Socialist); colonies, M. Doumergue (Senate, Aug. 1, 1914, more than 28,000,000,000 francs. Democratic Union). M. Jules Cambon, as dele

DELCASSÉ'S RESIGNATION. The failure of the gate of the minister of foreign affairs, was an Allies' diplomacy in the Balkans, culminating in important auxiliary of the new cabinet. It is the Austro-German-Bulgarian invasion of Serbia interesting to note, furthermore, that since the (consult WAR OF THE NATIONS), entailed as one outbreak of the war, under-secretaryships for of its consequences the resignation of the French munitions, sanitary service, aviation, and inforeign minister and the overthrow of the Vivi- tendance had been created in the war departani cabinet. M. Viviani's explanation of the ment; the new posts were filled by M. Albert Balkan situation was published in the French Thomas (Unified Socialist), M. Joseph Thierry papers, October 13th. That night M. Delcassé, (Democratic Union), M. Justin Godart (Radithe foreign minister, sent a letter to M. Viviani, cal-Socialist), and M. René Bernard (Radical. announcing his resignation. The following Socialist), respectively. The most important morning, M. Viviani called a special meeting of features of the Briand cabinet were: first, the the council of ministers and explained that M. inclusion of a representative of the Right, M. Delcassé, who had previously asked to be relieved Denys Cochin; second, the fact that eight of the of his arduous ministerial duties, on the ground new ministers--MM. Briand, de Freycinet, Bourof ill-health, now insisted upon resigning, since geois, Combes, Méline, Ribot, Doumergue, and he could not agree with the government on the Viviani-were former presidents of the council; question of aiding Serbia. In the afternoon of third, that the fighting departments, the navy October 14th, the president of the council in- and the army, were placed in charge of profesformed the Chamber of Deputies that the foreign sional warriors, Admiral Lacaze assuming conminister had resigned, but denied that any di- trol of the navy, and General Galliéni, who had vergence of opinion had manifested itself between rendered brilliant service as military governor M. Delcassé and the other members of the cabi- of Paris, superseding the much-criticised Milnet. Further information regarding the govern lerand in the ministry of war. On November ment's plans for the relief of Serbia were in- 3rd, M. Briand made his declaration of policy sistently demanded by M. Painlevé, who dwelt before the Chamber of Deputies. He promised with great emphasis on the importance of pre- to improve the censorship; he assured the Chamventing the Germans from opening up the road ber that the government would communicate to to Constantinople, and practically demanded that it all the information to which the Chamber was the government reveal the size of the forces sent entitled; he declared that France and her Allies to Saloniki. M. Viviani, however, would vouch- would not abandon "heroic” Serbia; and he safe no other information, and limited himself to warned the enemies of France that they could asserting that in sending the force to Saloniki, not expect “either weariness or exhaustion” on the government had taken care not to weaken the the part of France. As for the terms of peace, front in France. M. Renaudel, a Socialist, re- he declared, “when the territory of France shall proached the government for its slowness of ac- have been wrested from the invader, when the tion and demanded a secret committee to investi- peoples who have been martyred for us, among gate the matter. M. Viviani announced that he whom Serbia must be included, have been rewould regard the vote on this question as an in- stored integrally to their rights, then there will dication of the Chamber's confidence in the gov- be a question of peace.” A Socialist, M. Pierre ernment. The demand for a secret committee Renaudel, attempted to heckle the new governwas then rejected by 303 to 190, and a vote of ment, demanding a secret committee to investiconfidence was passed, after a tumultuous dis- gate the conduct of the war, and inquiring why cussion, by a majority of 372-9. More than 150 Socialist papers were excluded from the trenches. deputies abstained from the vote, as an indica- M. Renaudel created a lively sensation, and tion of their lack of confidence in the cabinet. evoked some vehement protests when he insisted Since he could no longer command the unani- that France should repudiate all ideas of acmous confidence of the Chamber, M. Viviani ten- quiring new territory by the war, and asserted dered his resignation to President Poincaré, Oe- that the consciousness that they were not fighttober 29th.

ing for territorial conquests was a moral asset THE BRIAND CABINET. A new cabinet was to the French army. The debate on the declaraformed by M. Briand, October 29th; its mem- tion of policy was wound up by the president of bership, as announced October 31st, was as fol. the council with an eloquent appeal for unanim. ity. By 515 votes to l the Chamber of Deputies military expenditures. The loans which had signified its confidence in the cabinet; 25 depu- been issued to supply the stupendous sums ties, notwithstanding M. Briand's appeal, ab- needed for the war had been received by the stained from the vote.

French public in a highly satisfactory manner; POLITICS AND THE High COMMAND. In course General Joffre had urged his soldiers to persuade of the year a number of generals in the French their friends and relatives to invest in the "loan army were superseded by younger men, and a of victory”; and the offices opened to receive few very important transfers and new appoint- subscriptions to the loan had been thronged by ments were made. The popular General Sarrail, patriotic investors. for example, was transferred from his command THE ('Lass OF 1917. The determination of in France to the Dardanelles. Admiral Dartige the French government to utilize every resource, du Fournet replaced Vice-Admiral Boué de La- hesitating at no sacrifice of money or of men, peyrère in command of the naval forces. A still until victory was assured, found new expression more significant change, however, occurred in at the close of the year 1915, when the ministry December. On December 2nd a decree was is introduced a bill into the Chamber of Deputies sued entrusting General Joffre, who had hitherto providing for the immediate enlistment of 400,been in command only of the armies in France, 000 recruits who, under normal circumstances, with the supreme command of all French mili- would not have been called to the colors until tary forces, excepting those in the colonies and in 1917. Certain deputies, notably MM. Turmel northern Africa. The purpose of the appoint and Auriol, demanded that before authorizing ment, explained General Galliéni, was to secure the government to call out the class of 1917, the "unity of direction” in the prosecution of the Chamber should appoint a committee to investiwar. Some critics interpreted the decree as a gate the utilization of the resources already at triumph for General Joffre, who would now be the government's disposal, or that at least the able to control and supervise the French opergovernment should inform the Chamber of the ations in the Dardanelles and in Serbia as well number of recruits already incorporated in the as in France. M. Georges Clemenceau, however, army. A minority of 112 deputies supported in his L'Homme enchainé, and M. Gustave Hervé, this demand, but the majority upheld the govin La Guerre sociale, hinted that General Joffre ernment. In the course of the ensuing discuswas being honored with a nominal promotion, in sion, Lieutenant-Colonel Driant, reporter of the order that the actual direction of the campaign bill, assured the Chamber that the health of the in France might be given to another. On De- young recruits would be carefully protected; that cember 9th M. Emile Constant in the Chamber their barracks would be new, clean, and amply of Deputies questioned the government in regard ventilated; that they would receive an extra supto the high command. When M. Briand refused ply of bread and meat and hot soup, besides wine, to take the Chamber into his confidence in the with their rations. M. Driant demanded, and matter, M. Charles Chaumet declared: “It obtained, one concession from the government, seems that you have taken too literally the witty that the date for the enlistment of the new class paradox of M. Marcel Sembat, 'give us a king be postponed from Dec. 15, 1915, to Jan. 5, 1916, or give us peace. It has appeared to you that in order to permit the youths to spend their there was some incompatibility between democ- Christmas holidays at home. General Gallieni, racy and the state of war. We are persuaded, the war minister, informed the Chamber that alfor our part, that the strength of democracy is though it was deemed necessary to call up the to remain true to its principles.” In the vote class of 1917, the boys would not necessarily be that concluded the interpellation, M. Briand was used in the trenches for some time to come. “I upheld by a majority of 443 to 98. Two days am asking you to call up the class of 1917," he later an announcement was made which seemed, said; "it is necessary that this class of recruits in some measure, to justify the predictions of shall be prepared for the moment when the inM. Clemenceau and M. Hervé. Gen. de Curières tensive production of armaments and of munide Castelnau was appointed to the newly created tions, together with the reënforcement of the post of chief of the general staff. General de battle-line with new masses of men, may permit Castelnau had brilliantly commanded the second new and decisive efforts.” Responding loyally army in Lorraine during the earliest stage of the to General Galliéni's appeal, the Chamber passed war; subsequently he had been placed in com- the bill unanimously. In the Senate the bill was mand, first of the army of the Somme, and then passed on December 27th. of the group of armies in the centre of the Consult also INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND ARBIFrench battle line; it was he who had directed TRATION, and WAR OF THE NATIONS. the French offensive movement in the Champagne FRANCHISE, MUNICIPAL. See MUNICIPAL region during September and October, 1915. See GOVERNMENT, Model City Charter. WAR OF THE NATIONS.

FRANK, LEO M. See GEORGIA, Politics and FINANCE. In the middle of December the Government. Chamber of Deputies and the Senate were called FRATERNAL ORDERS. See INSURANCE. upon to vote credits sufficient to cover the esti- FREE BAPTISTS. See BAPTISTS, FREE. mated expenditures for the first three months of FREEMAN, HENRY BLANCHARD. American 1916. Minister of Finance Ribot made the state- soldier, died Oct. 15, 1915. He was born in ment that France was spending approximately Mount Vernon, Ohio, in 1837. At the age of 18 2,100,000,000 francs a month, as compared with he enlisted in the tenth United States infantry, 1,500,000,000 francs in the first months of the in which regiment he was a first sergeant at the war. According to the calculations of the ap- outbreak of the Civil War. A few months later propriations committee of the Chamber, the total he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenexpenditures of France from Aug. 1, 1914, to ant, and shortly after, captain. He was breDec. 31, 1915, amounted to 31,024,000,000 francs. vetted for gallantry in the battle of MurfreesMore than three-fourths of this sum, or 24,347, boro and later received the same honor as major 000,000 francs, had been disbursed for purely in the battle of Chickamauga, where he was

« PreviousContinue »