Page:The Martyrdom of Ferrer.djvu/74
THE REPLY OF CORRUPTION
instruction. His niece died in his arms, and he was presently free to return to France or England. Towards the close of July, however, a friend in Paris, M. Malato, who related the incident to me, sent him a request for information in regard to certain Spanish stock, and he delayed in order to obtain it. By sheer accident he was in Barcelona when the riots broke out, and his bitter and unscrupulous enemies closed on him.
Why, the reader will ask again, was not this evidence put forward on his behalf? There is surely not a court in Europe on which it would fail to make an impression. Why were not these letters I now reproduce sent to be used in his defence? Why did not Mr. Heaford, with his ample documents, prove on what business Ferrer was engaged? Why did he not rebut the abominable charge that Ferrer corrupted his pupils' morals with the plain evidence of Ferrer's preoccupation with the literature of moral education? Why did not M. Malato send documentary proof of his queries to Barcelona?
The reply to the first question is that Professor Del Marmol is one of the Barcelona refugees of 1896, and knows the ways of "military councils." He produced the letters at a public meeting at which I presided, and said that if they were sent to Barcelona they would be "lost in transit." He entrusted them to me, and I warned Señor Maura that I held them. The answer to the other questions will show that my friend was right. Ferrer was to be shot. The letters would at least help his memory.
Mr. Heaford and M. Malato, like M. Naquet and others, sent valuable documents to Ferrer's advocate at Barcelona, to be used in Ferrer's defence. They have not been heard of since. Further, the parcel of English works on moral education which Ferrer took back, together with his notes and plans on the subject, are in the hands of the police at Barcelona. They were refused to his advocate, who wished to account for his visit to London and to prove what subject it was that really pre-occupied Ferrer during the months of June and July.
But here we enter upon the shameful story of the "trial" and execution of this high-spirited idealist; and I must relate what was happening in Spain, in Ferrer's absence, to lead up to the violent outbreak in Barcelona.