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Lot 0592
BILLOT JEAN-BAPTISTE: (1828-1907) French General and Politician. Minister of War 1882-83. A rare 4to printed brochure bearing the ownership signature of General Billot, being an edition of Le Bordereau - Etude des Depositions de M. Bertillon et du Capitaine Valerio, au Conseil de Guerre de Rennes, par un Ancien Eleve de L'Ecole Polytechnique, published in association with the Dreyfus Affair by Hardy and Bernard of Paris, 1904. The interesting publication, in French, is an essay concerning the Bordereau which Dreyfus had been accused of writing (the Bordereau document, which included secret military information and which was sent to the German Embassy in Paris had constituted the start of the Dreyfus affair). The brochure includes images of Dreyfus' handwriting, drawings for graphology analysis and more, based on testimonies in the Dreyfus trial, and particularly the testimonial of Alphonse Bertillon. Signed ('Gal. Billot') by Billot in fountain pen ink with his name alone to the upper right corner of the front cover. Bound in green printed paper wrappers with red and black text. The paper wrappers a little loose in places and with a neat tear at the base of the spine. G £800-1200 Alphonse Bertillon (1853-1914) French Police Officer and Biometrics Researcher who was a witness for the prosecution in the Dreyfus affair in 1894 and again in 1899. He testified as a handwriting expert and claimed that Alfred Dreyfus had written the incriminating document (the 'bordereau'). However, he was not a handwriting expert, and his convoluted and flawed evidence was a significant contributing factor to one of the most infamous miscarriages of justice - the condemnation of the innocent Dreyfus to life imprisonment on Devil's Island. Using a complex system of measurements, he attempted to prove that Dreyfus had disguised his handwriting by imitating his own handwriting as if someone else was doing so, so that if anyone thought the bordereau was in Dreyfus's hand, he would be able to say that someone else had forged his writing. Both courts martial evidently accepted this, and Dreyfus was convicted. The verdict of the second court martial caused a huge scandal, and it was eventually overturned. Bertillon pretended that his graphological system was based on mathematical probability calculus. A later expertise undertaken in 1904 by three renowned mathematicians, Henri Poincare, Jean Gaston Darboux and Paul Emile Appell, concluded that Bertillon's system was deprived of any scientific value and that he had failed both to apply the method and to present his data properly. With this key evidence against Dreyfus debunked, he was finally acquitted in 1906. General Billot was a dark, key figure in the Dreyfus affair, being implicated by Emile Zola of conspiracy to frame Alfred Dreyfus for espionage. In Zola´s open letter 'J´accuse' he accused General Billot of having held in his hands absolute proof of Dreyfus's innocence and covering it up. The Drefus affair captivated and divided France.

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€800.00

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BILLOT JEAN-BAPTISTE: (1828-1907)

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Estimate €900 - €1,400
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Urbanizacion El Real del Campanario, Esc. 12, Bajo B
Urbanizacion El Real del Campanario, Esc. 12, Bajo B
Marbella (Malaga), 29688
Spain
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