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William of Germany by Stanley Shaw

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which God has assigned them according to the will of God on
earth. As God's will I can, however, only recognize what is
revealed in the Christian gospels, and I believe I am in my
right when I call that State a Christian one which has taken
as its task the realization, the putting into operation, of
the Christian doctrine.... Assuming generally that the State
has a religious foundation, in my opinion this foundation
can only be Christianity. Take away this religious
foundation from the State and we retain nothing of the State
but a chance aggregation of rights, a kind of bulwark
against the war of all against all, which the old
philosophers spoke of."

On the second occasion, thirty years later, the Chancellor's theme was
"Obedience to God and the King."

"I refer," he said,

"to the wrong interpretation of a sentence which in itself
is right--namely, that one must obey God rather than man.
The previous speaker must know me long enough to be aware
that I subscribe to the entire correctness of this sentence,
and that I believe I obey God when I serve the King under
the device 'With God for King and Country.' Now he (the
previous speaker) has separated the component parts of the
device, for he sees God separated from King and Fatherland.
I cannot follow him on this road. I believe I serve my God
when I serve my King in the protection of the commonwealth
whose monarch 'von Gottes Gnaden' he is, and on whom the
emancipation from alien spiritual influence and the
independence of his people from Romish pressure have been
laid by God as a duty in which I serve the King. The
previous speaker would certainly admit in private that we do
not believe in the divinity of a State idol, though he seems
to assert here that we believe in it."

In these passages, it may be remarked, Bismarck avoids an
unconditional endorsement of the Hohenzollern doctrine of divine
"right" or even divine appointment. Indeed all he does is to express
his belief in the sincerity of rulers who declare their desire to rule
in accordance with the will of God as it appears in Holy Scripture. In
addition to his dislike of a "Christianity above the State," the fact
that he did not subscribe to the doctrine of divine right, as these
words are interpreted in England, is shown by another speech in which
he said, "The essence of the constitutional monarchy under which we
live is the co-operation of the monarchical will and the convictions
of the people." But what, one is tempted to ask, if will and
convictions differ?

In recent times, Dr. Paul Liman, in an excellent character sketch of
the Emperor, devotes his first chapter to the subject, thus
recognizing the important place it occupies in the Emperor's
mentality. Dr. Liman, like all German writers who have dealt with the
topic, animadverts on the Hohenzollern obsession by the theory and
attributes it chiefly to the romantic side of the Emperor's nature
which was strongly influenced in youth by the "wonderful events" of
1870, by the national outburst of thanks to God at the time, and by
the return from victorious war of his father, his grandfather, and
other heroes, as they must have appeared to him, like Bismarck,
Moltke, and Roon.

It is worth noting that Prince von Buelow, during the ten years of his
Chancellorship, made no parliamentary or other specific and public
allusion to the doctrine.

Before, however, attempting to offer a somewhat different explanation
of the Emperor's attitude in the matter from those just cited, let us
see what statements he has himself made publicly about it and how the
doctrine has been interpreted by his contemporaries. He made no
reference to it in his declarations to the army, the navy, and the
people when he ascended the throne. His first allusion to it was in
March, 1890, at the annual meeting of the Brandenburg provincial Diet
at the Kaiserhof Hotel in Berlin, and then the allusion was not
explicit. "I see," said the Emperor,

"in the folk and land which have descended to me a talent
entrusted to me by God, which it is my task to increase, and
I intend with all my power so to administer this talent that
I hope to be able to add much to it. Those who are willing
to help me I heartily welcome whoever they may be: those who
oppose me in this task I will crush."

His next allusion, at Bremen in April of the same year, when he was
laying the foundation-stone of a statue to his grandfather, King
William, a few months subsequent to Bismarck's retirement, was more
explicit, yet not completely so.

"It is a tradition of our House," so ran his speech,

"that we, the Hohenzollerns, regard ourselves as appointed
by God to govern and to lead the people, whom it is given us
to rule, for their well-being and the advancement of their
material and intellectual interests."

The next reference, and the only one in which a divine "right" to rule
in Prussia is formally claimed, occurs four years later at
Koenigsberg, the ancient crowning-place of Prussian kings. Here he

"The successor (namely himself) of him who _of his own
right_ was sovereign prince in Prussia will follow the same
path as his great ancestor; as formerly the first King (of
Prussia, Frederick I.) said, 'My crown is born with me,' and
as his greater son (the Great Elector) gave his authority
the stability of a rock of bronze, so I too, like my
imperial grandfather, represent the kingship 'von Gottes

At Coblenz in 1897, in reference to the first Emperor William's
labours for the army and people:--

"He (Emperor William) left Coblenz to ascend the throne as
the selected instrument of the Lord he always regarded
himself to be. For us all, and above all for us princes, he
raised once more aloft and lent lustrous beams to a jewel
which we should hold high and holy--that is the kingship von
Gottes Gnaden, the kingship with its onerous duties, its
never-ending, ever-continuing trouble and labour, with its
fearful responsibility to the Creator alone, from which no
human being, no minister, no parliament, no people can
release the prince."

Here, too, if the words "responsibility to the Creator alone" be taken
in their ordinary English sense, the allusion to a divine right may be
construed, though it is observable that the word "right" is not
actually employed.

In Berlin, when unveiling a monument to the Great Elector, the Emperor
was filled with the same idea of the God-given mission of the
Hohenzollerns. After briefly sketching the deeds of the Elector--how
he came young to the throne to find crops down-trodden, villages burnt
to the ground, a starved and fallen people, persecuted on every side,
his country the arena for barbarous robber-bands who had spread war
and devastation throughout Germany for thirty years; how, with
"invincible reliance on God" and an iron will, he swept the pieces of
the land together, raised trade and commerce, agriculture and
industry, in for that period an incredibly short time; how he brought
into existence a new army entirely devoted to him; how, in fine,
guided by the hope of founding a great northern Empire, which would
bring the German peoples together, he became an authority in Europe
and laid the corner-stone of the present Empire--after sketching all
this, the Emperor continues:

"How is this wonderful success of the house of Hohenzollern
to be explained? Solely in this way, that every prince of
the House is conscious from the beginning that he is only an
earthly vicegerent, who must give an account of his labour
to a higher King and Master, and show that he has been a
faithful executor of the high commands laid upon him."

One finds exactly the same idea expressed three months later when
talking to his "Men of Brandenburg." "You know well," he reminded

"that I regard my whole position and my task as laid on me
by Heaven, and that I am appointed by a Higher Power to whom
I must later render an account. Accordingly I can assure you
that not a morning or evening passes without a prayer for my
people and a special thought for my Mark Brandenburg."

To the Anglo-Saxon understanding, of course, the theory of divine
right has long appeared untenable, obsolete, and, as Macaulay says,
absurd. Many people to-day would go farther and argue that there is no
such thing as a divine right at all, since "rights" are a purely human
idea, possibly a purely legal one. But it is at least doubtful that
the Emperor uses the expression "von Gottes Gnaden" in a sense exactly
coterminous with that of "divine right" as used by Lord Macaulay and
later Anglo-Saxon writers and speakers. The latter, when dealing with
things German, not unfrequently fall into the error of mistranslation
and are thus at times responsible for national misunderstandings. The
Italian saying, "_traduttore, tradittore_," is the expression of a
fact too seldom recognized, especially by those whose business it is
to interpret, so to speak, one people to another. Language is as
mysterious and elusive a thing as aught connected with humanity, as
love, for example, or music; and it may be asserted with some degree
of confidence that among every people there are ideas current, and in
all departments--in law, society, art--which it is impossible exactly
to translate into the speech of other nations. The words used may be
the same, but the connotation, all the words imply and suggest, is,
perhaps in very important respects, different, and requires a
paraphrase, longer or shorter, to explain them. Take the word "false"
in English and "falsch" in German. They look alike, yet while the
English "false" carries with it a moral reproach, the German word,
where the context does not explicitly prove otherwise, means simply
"incorrect," "erroneous," without the moral reproach added.
Accordingly, when a German Chancellor asserts that the statement of an
English Minister is "falsch" he does not necessarily mean anything
offensive, but only that the English Minister is mistaken.

From this point of view one may regard the statements of the Emperor
concerning his kingly office. He has recently begun to use the
expression "German Emperor von Gottes Gnaden," a thing done by none of
his imperial predecessors, and certainly a very curious extension of a
doctrine which traditionally only applies to wearers of the crown of
Prussia. But if he does, it may, it is here suggested, be considered
further evidence that he employs the terms "von Gottes Gnaden" in a
sense other than that of "divine right" as conceived by the
Anglo-Saxon. The German "Gnade" means "favour," "grace," "mercy,"
"pity," or "blessing," and is at times used in direct contrast with
the word "Recht," which means "justice" as well as "right." The point,
indeed, need hardly be elaborated, and the Emperor's own explanation
of the revelation of God to mankind, with its special reference to his
grandfather which we shall find later in the confession of faith to
Admiral Hollmann, is highly significant of the sense in which he
regards himself and every ruling Hohenzollern as selected for the
duties of Prussian kingship. It is the work of the kingship he is
divinely appointed to do of which he is always thinking, not the legal
right to the kingship _vis a vis_ his people he is mistakenly supposed
to claim. He regards himself as a trustee, not as the owner of the
property. And is not such a spirit a proper and praiseworthy one? In a
sense we Christians, if in a position of responsibility, believe that
we are all divinely appointed to the work each of us has to do:
instruments of God, who shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we may.
The Emperor finely says of the Almighty: "He breathed into man His
breath, that is a portion of Himself, a soul." Reason is what chiefly
distinguishes man from the brute, though there are those who hold that
reason is but a higher form of brutish instinct, which again has its
degree among the brutes; but, assuming that reason is of divine
origin, enabling us to receive, by one means or another, the dictates
of the Almighty, it seems clear that there must be channels through
which these dictates become known to us.

This conveyance, this making plain is, as many people, and the Emperor
among them, believe, performed by God through the agency of those whom
mankind agree to call "great." For the last nineteen centuries a large
part of civilized mankind is at one in the belief that Christ was such
an agency, while millions again agree to call the agency Buddha,
Mahomet, Confucius, or Zoroaster. In the creed of Islam Christ, as a
prophet, comes fifth from Adam. In America there are thousands who
believe, or did believe, in the agency of a Mrs. Eddy or a Dr. Dowie.
And if this is so in matters of religion, itself only a form of the
reasoning soul, why should it not be the same in morals or philosophy,
art or science, government or administration: why should we not all
accept, as many still do, the sayings and writings of the Hebrew
prophets (as does the Emperor), of Plato and Aristotle, of Bacon and
Hobbes, of Milton and Shakespeare and Goethe, of Kepler and Galileo,
or Charlemagne and Napoleon, as divinely intended to convey and make
plain to us the dictates of Heaven until such time as yet greater
souls shall instruct us afresh and still more fully?

It may be that the Emperor thinks in some such way; his speeches and
edicts at least suggest it. Certainly, as already mentioned, he did on
one occasion, when speaking of his kingship, employ the word "right"
as descriptive of the nature of his appointment by God. But that was
early in his reign, and at no time since has he insisted on a
Heaven-granted right to rule. It was, no doubt, different with some of
his absolute predecessors, but it was not the view of Frederick the
Great, who declared himself "the first servant of the State."
Moreover, it is hardly conceivable that the Emperor, who is acquainted
with the facts of history and is a man of practical common sense
besides, does not know that the doctrine of "divine right" has long
been rejected by people of intelligence in every civilized country,
including his own.

If he really believes in divine right in the Stuart sense he must
think that the conditions of Germany are so different from those of
the rest of civilized mankind, and his own people so little advanced
in knowledge and political science, that a doctrine absurd and
dangerous to the peace of enlightened commonwealths is applicable as a
basis of rule in his own. It seems a more plausible view, that the
Emperor considers the expression "von Gottes Gnaden" an academic
formula of government, or what is still more likely, as a moral and
religious, not a legal, dogma, which yet expresses one of the leading
and most admirable features of his policy as a ruler. If it is not so,
he is inconsistent with himself, since he has repeatedly declared
himself bound by the Constitution in accordance with which his
grandfather and father and he himself have hitherto ruled. At present
the doctrine of divine "right" is regarded by Germans no less than by
Englishmen as dead and buried, and mention of it in Germany is usually
greeted with a smile. Even the notion of appointment by divine
"grace," while considered a harmless and praiseworthy article of faith
with the Emperor, is no longer regarded as a living principle of




With his accession began for the Emperor a period of extraordinary
activity which has continued practically undiminished to the present
day. During that time he has been the most prominent man and monarch
of his generation. From the domestic point of view his life perhaps
has not been marked by many notable events, but from the point of view
of politics and international relations it has been the history of his
reign and to no small extent the history of the world.

When a German Emperor ascends the throne there is no great outburst of
national rejoicing, no great series of popular ceremonials. There is
no brilliant procession as in England, no impressive coronation like
that of an English monarch in Westminster Abbey, no State visit of the
monarch to the Houses of Parliament. In Germany Parliament goes to the
King, not the King to Parliament.

On the same day that the Emperor began his reign he addressed
proclamations to the army and navy. The addresses to the people and
the Parliament were to come a few days later. In the proclamation to
the army he said:

"I and the army were born for each other. Let us remain
indissolubly so connected, come peace or storm, as God may
will. You will now take the oath of fidelity and obedience
to me, and I swear always to remember that the eyes of my
ancestors are bent on me from the other world, and that one
day I shall have to give an account touching the fame and
the honour of the army."

His address to the navy was in the same vein.

"We have only just put off mourning for my unforgettable
grandfather, Kaiser William I, and already we have had to
lower the flag for my beloved father, who took such an
interest in the growth and progress of the navy. A time of
earnest and sincere sorrow, however, strengthens the mind
and heart of man, and so let us, keeping at heart the
example of my grandfather and father, look with confidence
to the future. I have learned to appreciate the high sense
of honour and of duty which lives in the navy, and know that
every man is ready faithfully to stake his life for the
honour of the German flag, be it where it may. Accordingly I
can, in this serious hour, feel fully assured that we shall
stand strongly and steadily together in good or bad days, in
storm or sunshine, always mindful of the Fatherland and
always ready to shed our heart's blood for the honour of the

To his people he promised that he would be a

"just and mild prince, observant of piety and religion, a
protector of peace, a promoter of the country's prosperity,
a helper to the poor and needy, a faithful guardian of the

To the Parliament a week later he announced that he meant to walk in
the footsteps of his grandfather, particularly in regard to the
working classes, to acquire the confidence of the federated princes,
the affection of the people, and the friendly recognition of foreign
countries. He said that in his opinion the

"most important duties of the German Emperor lay in the
domain of the military and political security of the nation
externally, and internally in the supervision of the
carrying out of imperial laws."

The highest of these laws, he explained, was the Imperial Constitution
and "to preserve and protect the Constitution, and in especial the
rights it gives to the legislative bodies, to every German, but also
to the Emperor and the federated states," he considered "among the
most honourable duties of the Emperor."

While the order of these addresses is different to what it would be in
England, it entirely accords with the spirit of the Prussian monarchy
and the political system of the German people. Settled in the heart of
Europe, the nation rests on the army, and it is hardly too much to say
that, from the Emperor's point of view, possibly also from the popular
German point of view, the interests of the army must be considered
before the interests of the rest of the population. An English
monarch, who issued his first address to the British navy, would be as
justified in doing so by the real necessities of Great Britain as a
German Emperor who first addresses the German army is justified by the
real necessities of Germany; for the British navy is as vital to the
British as the German army is to the German nation. In England,
however, the monarch's respect for the people and Parliament takes
precedence of his respect for the army, not _vice versa_ as in

In a speech from the throne to the Prussian Diet the Emperor took the
Constitutional Oath: "I swear to hold firmly and unbrokenly to the
Constitution of the Kingdom and to rule in agreement with it and the
laws ... so help me God!" and went on to proclaim the continuance in
Prussia and the Empire of his grandfather's and father's policy and
work. He said at the same time, while undertaking not to make the
People uneasy by trying to extend Crown rights, that he would take
care that the constitutional rights of the Crown were respected and
used, and that he meant to hand them over unimpaired to his successor.
He concluded by saying that he would always bear in mind the words of
Frederick the Great, who described himself as the "first servant of
the State."

At Frankfurt-on-the-Oder, a few months later, he declared, when
unveiling a monument to his uncle, Prince Frederick Karl, a hero of
the Franco-Prussian War, that he meant never to surrender a stone of
the acquisitions made in the war and

"believed he voiced the feeling of the entire army in saying
that Germany, rather than do so, would suffer its eighteen
army corps and its whole population of 42 millions to perish
on the field of battle."

At this period of his career the Emperor was, first and foremost, a
thoroughgoing Hohenzollern. Doubtless he is so still, if he talks less
about the dynasty. He admired Frederick the Great, then as now, and in
the first place as military commander, but the ancestor with whom he
even more sympathized, and sympathizes, was the Great Elector. "The
ancestor," he said himself,

"for whom I have the most liking (_Schwaermen_, a hardly
translatable German verb, is the word he used) and who
always shone before me as an example in my youth, was the
Great Elector, the man who loved his country with all his
heart and strength, and unrestingly devoted himself to
rescuing the Mark Brandenburg out of its deep distress and
made it a strong and united whole."

What particularly attracted the Emperor in the history of the Elector
was the fact that he was the first Hohenzollern who saw the importance
of promoting trade and industry, building a navy, and acquiring
colonies. As yet, however, the Emperor had only clear and fairly
definite ideas about the need for a navy. The world-policy may have
been in embryo in his mind, but it was not born.

The imaginative side of the Emperor's character at this period is well
illustrated in a speech he made in 1890 to his favourite "Men of the
Mark." He was talking of his travels, to which allusion had been made
by a previous speaker.

"My travels," said the Emperor,

"have not only had the object of making myself acquainted
with foreign countries and institutions, or to create
friendly relations with neighbouring monarchs, but these
journeys, which have been the subject of much
misunderstanding, had for me the great value that, withdrawn
from the heat of party faction, I could review our domestic
conditions from a distance and submit them to calm
consideration. Any one who, standing on a ship's bridge far
out at sea, with only God's starry heaven above him,
communes with himself, will not fail to appreciate the worth
of such a journey. For many of my fellow-countrymen I would
wish that they might live through such an hour, in which one
can make up an account as to what he has attempted and what
achieved. Then would he be cured of exaggerated
self-estimation, and that we all need."

Having discharged the duty of addressing his own subjects, the
Emperor's next care, after a stay at Kiel where a German Emperor and
King now for the first time in history appeared in the uniform of an
admiral, was personally to announce his accession at the courts of his
fellow-European sovereigns. We find him, accordingly, paying visits to
Alexander II in St. Petersburg, to King Oscar II in Stockholm (where
he received a telegram announcing the birth of his fifth son), to
Christian IX in Copenhagen, to Kaiser Franz Joseph in Vienna and to
King Humbert in Rome. To both the last-mentioned he presented himself
in the additional capacity of Triplice ally.

In August of the year following his accession he paid his first visit
as Emperor to England. It was a very different thing, one may imagine,
from the earliest recorded visit of a German Emperor to the English
Court. That was in 1416, when the Emperor Sigismund (1411-1437)
arrived there and was received by Henry V. Henry postponed the opening
of Parliament specially on his account, made him a Knight of the
Garter, and signed with him at Canterbury an offensive and defensive
alliance against France. How poor the German Empire and the German
Emperor were at that epoch may be judged from the fact that on his way
home Sigismund had to pawn the costly gifts he had received in

On the present occasion a grand naval review of over a hundred
warships, with crews totalling 25,000 men, was held in honour of the
Emperor at Osborne. This was followed, a few days afterwards, by a
parade of the troops at Aldershot under the command of General Sir
Evelyn Wood. On this occasion, after expressing his admiration for the
British troops, the Emperor concluded: "At Malplaquet and Waterloo,
Prussian and British blood flowed in the prosecution of a common
enterprise." In a little speech after the review the Emperor spoke of
the English navy as "the finest in the world." The impression made by
the Emperor on Sir Evelyn has been recorded by that general. "The
Emperor is extremely wide-awake," he writes to a friend, "with a
decided, straightforward manner. He is a good rider. His quick and
very intelligent spirit seizes every detail at a glance, and he
possesses a wonderful memory." The Emperor was now nominated an
honorary Admiral of the British navy and as a return compliment made
Queen Victoria honorary "Chef" of his own First Dragoon Guards. At the
naval review a journalist asked an English naval officer what would
happen if the Emperor, in command of a German fleet, should meet a
British fleet in time of war between England and Germany?--"Would the
British fleet have to salute the Emperor?" "Certainly," replied the
naval officer; "it would fire 100 guns at him."

Next year the Emperor was again in England, this time to be present at
the Cowes regatta, which he took part in regularly during the four
succeeding years, noting, doubtless, all that might prove useful for
the development of the Kiel yachting "week," the success of which he
had then, as always since, particularly at heart. He was received by
Queen Victoria with the simple and homely words, "Welcome, William!"

A State visit to the City of London followed, when he was accompanied
by the Empress, and was entertained to a luncheon given by the City
Fathers in the Guildhall. The entertainment, which took place on July
10, 1891, was remarkable for a speech delivered by the Emperor in
English, in which, besides declaring his intention of maintaining the
"historical friendship" between England and Germany, he proclaimed
that his great object "above all" was the preservation of peace,
"since peace alone can inspire that confidence which is requisite for
a healthy development of science, art, and commerce." On the same
occasion he expressed his feeling of "being at home" in England--"this
delightful country"--and spoke of the "same blood which flows alike in
the veins of Germans and English." Shortly afterwards he attended a
review of volunteers at Wimbledon, and, as he said, was "agreeably
astonished at the spectacle of so many citizen-soldiers in a country
that had no conscription."

The Emperor returned from England to receive the visit of his chief
Triplice ally, the Emperor Franz Joseph, and to discuss with him
doubtless the European situation. Bismarck has been pictured as
sitting at the European chessboard pondering the moves necessary tor
Germany to win the game of which the great prize was the hegemony of
Europe. The chief opposing Pieces, whose aid or neutrality was
desirable, were for long France, Russia, Austria, and Italy; but in
1883, with the conclusion of the Triple Alliance, Austria and Italy
needed less to be considered, and the only two really important
opposing pieces left were France and Russia. Still, Germany, through
her allies of the Triplice, might be dragged into war, and
consequently the doings of Austria and Italy, both in relation to one
another and to France and Russia were, as they now are, of great
importance to her.

At the time of the accession, the chessboard of our metaphor was
mainly occupied with Franco-German relations and with Russian designs
on Constantinople, the Dardanelles, and the Black Sea. The danger to
Germany of war with France, which had arisen out of the Boulanger and
Schnaebele incidents, had died down, but not altogether ceased.
Hohenlohe tells us how at this time, in conversation with the Emperor,
the latter ventured the forecast: "Boulanger is sure to succeed. I
prophesy that as Kaiser Ernest he will pay a visit to Berlin." He was
wrong, we know, as so many prophets are.

Russian designs on Turkey had had to reckon with the opposition of
England and Austria. As regards these designs, Bismarck says:

"Germany's policy should be one of reserve. Germany would
act very foolishly if in Oriental questions, without having
special interests, she took a side before the other Powers,
who were more nearly interested: she would therefore do well
to refrain from making her move as long as possible, and
thus, besides, gain the benefit of longer peace."

The Chancellor, however, admitted that against the advantages of a
policy of reserve had to be set the disadvantage of Germany's position
in the centre of Europe with its frontiers exposed to the attacks of a
coalition. "From this situation," said the Chancellor, "it results
that Germany is perhaps the only Great Power in Europe which is not
tempted to attain its ends by victorious war."

"Our interest," he goes on,

"is to maintain peace, whereas our continental neighbours
without exception have wishes, either secret or officially
admitted, which can only be fulfilled through war.
Consequently, German policy must be to prevent war or
confine it as much as possible: to keep in the background
while the European game of cards is going on: and not by
loss of patience or concession at the cost of the country,
or vanity, or provocation from friends, allow ourselves to
be driven from the waiting attitude: otherwise--_plectuntur
Achivi!_--third parties will rejoice."

That was the Bismarckian policy twenty-five years ago, and though new
economic conditions have had great influence in modifying it since,
particularly as it regards the East, it is practically Germany's
policy now.

In his first speech from the throne to the Reichstag the Emperor thus
referred to the Triple Alliance:

"Our Alliance with Austria-Hungary is publicly known. I hold
to the same with German fidelity, not merely because it has
been concluded, but because I see in this defensive union a
foundation for the balance of power in Europe and a legacy
of German history, the importance of which is recognized by
the whole of the German people, while it accords with
European international law as undeniably in force up to
1866. Similar historical relations and similar national
exigences of the time bind us to Italy. Both Germany and
Italy desire to prolong the blessings of peace that they may
pursue in tranquillity the consolidation of their newly
acquired unity, the betterment of their national
institutions, and the increase of their prosperity."

In a speech a few months later he declared that the Alliance had no
other purpose than to strengthen the peaceful relations of Germany to
other foreign Powers. His next public reference to it was in May,
1900, when Kaiser Franz Joseph visited Berlin on the occasion of the
coming of age of the German Crown Prince. "Truly," exclaimed the
Emperor, in a vein of some exaggeration,

"this Alliance is not alone an agreement in the eyes of the
monarchs, but the longer it has existed, the deeper has it
taken root in the convictions of the peoples, and the moment
that the hearts of the peoples beat in unison nothing can
tear them asunder. Common interests, common feelings, joy
and sorrow shared together, unite our three nations for now
twenty years, and although often enough misunderstandings
and sarcasm and criticisms have been poured out on them, the
three peoples have succeeded in maintaining peace hitherto,
and are regarded by the whole world as its champions."

The history of the Triplice may be shortly related here as, along with
his navy, it is regarded by the Emperor as the chief factor in the
preservation of the world's peace, and is, in fact, as has been said,
the foundation of his foreign policy. It arose from Bismarck's desire
to be independent of Russia and from his dread of a European
coalition--for example, that of France, Austria, and Russia--against
the German Empire. "We had," Bismarck writes,

"carried on successful war against two of the European Great
Powers (Austria and France), and it became advisable to
withdraw at least one of them from the temptation to revenge
which lay in the prospect an alliance with others offered.
It could not be France, as any one who knew the history and
temperament of the two peoples could see, nor England owing
to her dislike of permanent alliances, nor Italy as her
support alone was insufficient against an anti-German
coalition; so that the choice lay between Austria-Hungary
and Russia."

For many reasons Bismarck would have preferred the Russian alliance,
among others the traditional dynastic friendship between the two
countries and the fact that no natural political or religious causes
of conflict existed between them; while a union with Austria was less
reliable, owing to the changeable nature of her public opinion, the
heterogeneousness of her Magyar, Slav, and Catholic populations, and
the loss of influence by the German element with the governing body.
On the other hand, however, an alliance with Austria would be nothing
new, internationally, as such a connection theoretically arose from
the former connection of Germany and Austria in the Holy Roman Empire.
While weighing the matter, a threatening letter from Czar Alexander II
to William I, in which he called on Germany to support his Balkan
policy, and said that if he refused peace could not last between their
two countries, decided Bismarck in favour of Austria. The chief
opponent of the new Alliance was William I, who was moved by personal
chivalric feelings towards his nephew, Czar Alexander; but,
disregarding this, because confident of eventually persuading his
imperial master, Bismarck went to Gastein and there settled with the
Austrian Minister, Count Andrassy, the principles of the Alliance.
Italy came into the Alliance in 1883 as the immediate result of France
obtaining a protectorate in Tunis, in return, partly, for her
acquiescence in the English acquisition of Cyprus. The protectorate
aroused general indignation and fear in Italy, and though it meant a
large expenditure on naval and military armament, on May 20, 1882, she
joined the Dual Alliance for five years, and thus turned it into the

The Triple Alliance rests on three treaties: one between Germany and
Austria-Hungary, one between Germany and Italy, and one between
Austria-Hungary and Italy. While by the first Germany and
Austria-Hungary bind themselves to combine in case of an attack on
either by Russia, whether as original foe or as ally, and to observe
"at least" benevolent neutrality in case of attack from any other
quarter, by the second Germany and Italy bind themselves to mutual
support in case of an attack on either by France. The third, between
Austria-Hungary and Italy, binds the signatories to benevolent
neutrality in case Austria-Hungary is attacked by Russia, or Italy by

That there are weak points in the Triple Alliance is obvious. If
Austria-Hungary were a purely homogeneous country like France or
Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary, even without Italy, could face
with confidence an attack from either or both their powerful
neighbours. But Austria-Hungary is not homogeneous. A large proportion
of her population is anti-German, or at least non-German, and Italy is
always subject to be tempted by an opportunity of obtaining some of
Austria-Hungary's Adriatic possessions. Moreover, a large party is
even now to be found in Austria-Hungary which desires revenge for the
humiliation of her defeat by Germany in 1866.

The relations of Germany to Russia have always been rather those of
friendship between the monarchs of the two countries than of
friendship between the two peoples; and it is easy to understand that
the fear of revolution, Socialism, or "government of the people, by
the people, for the people," to use Lincoln's celebrated phrase, at
all times forms a strong and active bond of sympathy between the
monarchs. In the case of Russia there is also always to be considered
the obstinate, or as the Emperor would call it knightly, spirit in
which his grandfather, King William I, regarded his obligation to
maintain friendship with the Czar, and which for a long time made him
hostile to the idea of alliance with Austria instead of alliance with
Russia. The feeling, it is highly probable, is strong, if not equally
strong, in the mind of the Emperor to-day, if only out of respect for
the memory of his ancestor. There is not, to use a popular expression,
much love lost between the two peoples, not only because of racial
differences between Teuton and Slav, but because of the differences in
religion and in degree of civilization. There are not a few Germans
who assert that Germany's next war will be with Russia, and that from
the dominions of the Czar will be obtained the fresh territory Germany
needs for her constantly expanding population.

The Czar returned the Emperor's accession visit in Berlin in October,
1889, and it was on this occasion that the first sign of trouble
between the Emperor and the old Chancellor showed itself. When the
Emperor first proposed to make his round of visits of accession to
foreign sovereigns, Bismarck agreed except as regarded Russia and
England, objecting that visits to these countries would have an
alternatively bad effect in each. The Emperor, however, as has been
noted, went to Russia. During the return visit in Berlin, Bismarck had
an interview with the Czar which resulted in the final adjustment of
Russo-German relations, but at its close the Czar said, "Yes, I
believe you and have confidence in you, but are you sure you will
remain in office?" Bismarck looked surprised, and said, "Certainly,
Majesty; I am quite certain I shall remain in office all my life"--an
odd thing, one may remark, for a man to say, who must have been
familiar with the saying, "Put not your trust in princes."

When the Czar was going away, both the Emperor and Bismarck
accompanied him to the station, and on their return the Emperor gave
the old Chancellor a seat in his carriage. The talk concerned the
visit just over, and the Emperor again announced his intention of
spending some time in Russia the following year. Bismarck now advised
against the project on the ground that it would arouse hostility in
Austria, and because "it was not suitable considering the Czar's
disposition towards the Emperor."

"What disposition? What do you mean? How do you know?" questioned the
Emperor quickly.

"From confidential letters I am in the habit of receiving from St.
Petersburg, in addition to official reports," replied the Chancellor.

The Emperor expressed a wish to see the letters, but Bismarck gave an
evasive answer. The result was a temporary coolness between Emperor
and Chancellor.

From a memorandum of Prince Hohenlohe's we get a glimpse of one of the
political currents and anti-currents just now running high. Prince
Hohenlohe writes under date, June 27, 1888, when the Emperor was
hardly a fortnight on the throne:--

"Last evening at 8 left Berlin with Thaden after supping
with Victor and Franz (son and nephew) in the Kaiserhof
Hotel. Paid several visits during the day. I found Friedberg
somewhat depressed. He is no longer the big man he was in
the Emperor Frederick's time, when everybody courted him. He
knows that the Emperor does not favour Jews. Then I visited
the new chief of the Cabinet (civil), Lucanus, a courtly,
polished, obliging man, who looks more like an elegant
Austrian privy councillor. Wilmoski inspires me with more
confidence. At 5 to Bleichroeder's (Bleichroeder was the
great Jew banker). We spoke, or rather he spoke first, about
the political situation. He is satisfied, and says Bismarck
is too. Only the Emperor must take care to keep out of the
hands of the Orthodox. People in the country wouldn't stand
that. (He is right there, comments Hohenlohe.) Waldersee and
his followers, he said, was another danger. Waldersee was a
foe of Bismarck's and thought himself fit for anything and
everything. Who knows but that these gentlemen wouldn't
begin the old game and say to the Emperor, 'You are simply
nothing but a doll. Bismarck is the real ruler.' On the old
Emperor this would have made no impression, but the young
one would be more sensitive. Bismarck, therefore, wanted
Waldersee's banishment, and would, if he could, send him to
Strasburg (where Hohenlohe was Statthalter) as commanding
general. Perhaps he was only aiming at making me (Hohenlohe)
sick of my post and so get rid of Waldersee, his enemy, when
I cleared out. Bleichroeder said Bismarck only introduced
the compulsory pass system to show the Emperor that he too
could act sharply against the French, and so as to take the
wind out of the sails of the military party. Bismarck was
thinking above all about seating his son Herbert firmly in
the saddle (Herbert was Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs). That is the sole motive of his action and thought.
There was therefore no prospect of matters in the Rhineland
improving. As to Russia, Bleichroeder expected some
occurrence, something out of the way (_exotisches_) by which
Russia might be won, either the withdrawal of troops from
the frontier or a meeting of Emperors. The Emperor, Bismarck
said, would not begin a war. If it came, however, it would
not be unwelcome to him."

Prince Hohenlohe also tells of a visit he paid in the month of the
accession to the widowed Empress Frederick. "She is much bowed down,"
he said,

"very harassed-looking, and I feel sure that all this recent
time, all the last year in fact, she has been displaying an
artificial good-humour, for now I find her in deep distress.
At first she could not speak for weeping. We spoke of the
Emperor Frederick's last days, then she recovered herself a
little and complained of the wickedness and meanness of men,
by which she meant to allude to certain people.... Herbert
Bismarck had had the impudence to tell the Prince of Wales
(later Edward VII) that an Emperor who could not talk and
discuss things should not be allowed to reign, and so on.
The Prince of Wales, the Empress said, told Herbert that if
it were not that he valued good relations between England
and Germany, he would have thrown him out of the door....
Waldersee was a false, unprincipled wretch, who would think
nothing of ruining his country if he could only satisfy his
own personal ambition."

Prince Hohenlohe finally called on the Prince of Wales, who "spoke
prudently, but showed his disgust at the roughness of the Bismarcks,
and could not understand their policy of irritating France."

The particular question concerning France that was agitating Germany
at the time of the accession was the state of affairs in
Alsace-Lorraine, and particularly Bismarck's measure requiring French
citizens entering the provinces to provide themselves with a pass from
the German Ambassador in Paris. The amiable and conciliatory
Statthalter, Prince Hohenlohe, had to make a reluctant journey to
Berlin in connexion with this question. There was another question
also weighing on his mind--the question whether or not he should have
a sentry guard before his official residence in Strasburg. The
military authorities, whose rivalry with the civil authorities
everywhere in Germany for influence and power still continues, wanted
to have the sentries abolished, but the Prince eventually had his way.
He showed Bismarck that they were necessary for his reputation with
the population, which had already begun to think less of his influence
as Statthalter owing to his one day at a review having incautiously
and gallantly taken a back seat in his carriage in favour of some lady

In normal times the composers of speeches from the throne are
accustomed to describe the relations between their own and foreign
countries as "friendly." When the relations are not friendly, yet not
the opposite, they are usually registered on the political barometer
as "correct." The attitude on both sides is formal, rigorously polite,
reserved; such as would become a pair of people who had once been at
feud and after their quarrel had been fought out agreed, if only for
the sake of appearances, to show no outward animosity, but on the
other hand not give an inch of way. The position of France and Germany
is "correct"; it has never been friendly since 1870; and it must be
many a long year before it can be friendly again. Apart from the
difference between the Latin and Teutonic temperaments, apart from the
legacy of hate left in Germany against France by the sufferings and
humiliations the great Napoleon caused her, apart from the fact that
one people is republican and the other monarchical, there is always
one thing that will prevent reconciliation--the loss by France of the
fair provinces Alsace and Lorraine. It is of no use for Germany to
remind France that up to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 this
territory belonged to Germany, or rather to what then was known by
that name. It was useless as well as ungracious for Bismarck to tell
France to seek compensation in Africa for what she had lost in Europe.
Like Rachel mourning for her children, France will not be comforted;
and now, as from the heavy hour in which she lost the provinces, she
grieves over the memory of them and nurses the hope, still mingled
with hate, of one glorious day regaining them. There are sanguine
spirits who assert that the old feeling is dying out, and the German
Government studiously encourages that view. It may be so; time is
having its obliterating effects; and in externals at least the
Germanization of the provinces is slowly making progress. Still the
wound is deep, and there seems no prospect of its healing.

Several suggestions have been made with a view to an arrangement that
might leave France without reason, or with less reason, for constant
meditation on revenge One of them is the neutralization of
Alsace-Lorraine on the model of Belgium, while another is the
distribution of the territory, so that while Alsace is divided between
Baden and Bavaria, Lorraine becomes a part of Prussia A third would
divide the provinces between the two nations. An illustration of the
yet prevailing feeling is found in the fact that large Alsatian firms
invariably use French in their correspondence with Berlin firms, and
almost as invariably refer to the "customs-arrangement" with Germany
in 1871. They cannot bring themselves to use the word "annexation."

Yet of late years--to anticipate somewhat the course of
events--Germany has made two important concessions to Alsace-Lorraine.
The first was the abrogation of the so-called "Dictator-Paragraph,"
which was part of the law for administering the new provinces after
the war of 1870. Under the paragraph the Lieutenant-Governor
(Oberpresident) of the Reichsland, as the newly incorporated territory
is now officially known, was empowered in case of need to take command
of the military forces and proclaim a state of siege. When announcing
the abrogation of the Paragraph in the Reichstag in 1902, Chancellor
von Buelow gave a resume of the relations of the provinces to the
Empire since 1870. He stated that immediately after the war the
population were not disposed to incorporation in the Empire, as they
thought the new state of things would only be temporary and that
France would soon reconquer the provinces. This state of feeling, the
Chancellor explained, naturally reacted on the Government, which
accordingly laid down the principle that the claims of the provinces
to equal political rights with other parts of the Empire could only be
recognized step by step, as the Government was satisfied that the
population conformed to the new order of things.

The second important concession to the Provinces was made only
recently, when the provincial committee was replaced by a popularly
elected Diet and the Provinces were granted three seats in the Federal
Council. There is a proviso that in case of equality in the Council
meetings the votes shall not be allowed to turn the scale in favour of
Prussia. The limitation is a concession to the susceptibilities of the
other Federal states.

Germany's relations with Great Britain at the time of the accession
were unclouded. Mr. Gladstone had been defeated on his Home Rule
proposals and Lord Salisbury was back in power. A lull had occurred in
British relations with the Transvaal. All nations, including Germany,
were beginning to turn their attention to the Orient with a view to
the acquisition in Asia of "spheres of influence and spheres of
interest," but as yet English and German interests had not come
anywhere into conflict.

The Emperor's great internal foe and the object of his special enmity
is the Social Democracy, and practically from the day of his accession
he has waged war with it. His attitude towards the Socialists requires
no long description, since it logically results from his traditional
conception of Prussian monarchy and from the revolutionary character
of Social Democratic aims. While a young man he paid little or no
attention to the movement, and probably regarded it as the "passing
phenomenon" he subsequently declared it to be. In 1884 the number of
Social Democratic voters was something over half a million, and the
number of Social Democratic members returned to the Reichstag 25: in
1890, two years after the accession, the figures were a million and a
half and 35 respectively.

The Emperor's denunciation of Social Democrats has always been
unmeasured. "A crew undeserving the name of Germans," a "plague that
must be extirpated," "traitors," "people without a country and enemies
to religion," "foes to the Empire and the country"--such were a few of
the expressions he then and during the next few years publicly applied
to three millions of his subjects. To-day, it may be added, the number
of Social Democrats in Germany is well over four millions.

In 1889, in reply to a deputation of three coal miners'
representatives, the Emperor said:

"As regards your demands, I will have them carefully
investigated (a phrase, by the way, not unknown in England)
by my Government, and let you know the result through the
usual official channels. Should, however, offences against
public peace and order occur, should a connexion between
your movement and Social Democratic circles be demonstrated,
I would not be in a position to weigh your wishes with my
royal goodwill, since for me every Social Democrat is the
same thing as a foe to the Empire and the Fatherland.
Accordingly, if I see that Social Democratic tendencies mix
with the movement and lead to unlawful opposition, I will
intervene with all my powers--and they are great."

And a month later:

"That the Radical agitation of the Social Democracy has
turned so many heads and hearts is due to the fact that in
schools, high and low, too little is taught about the cruel
deeds of the French Revolution and too little about the
heroic deeds of the War of Liberation, which was (with the
help of English bayonets, be it parenthetically remarked)
the salvation of the Fatherland."

In 1892, to anticipate by a year or two, in reply to a guest who had
observed that Social Democrats were not decreasing in numbers, the
Emperor remarked:

"The moment the Social Democracy feels itself in possession
of power it will not hesitate for an instant to attack the
Burghertum (middle classes) very energetically. No
exhibition of general benevolence is of any use against
these people--here only religious feeling, founded on
decided faith, can have any influence."

The Emperor, referring to the murder of a manufacturer in Mulhausen,
said: "Another victim to the revolutionary movement kept alive by the
Socialists. If only our people would act like men!"

And yet it is obvious, looking at it from the standpoint of to-day,
that an admirably organized movement with four million parliamentary
voters in an electorate of fourteen millions, with no members in an
Imperial Parliament of 397 with representatives, more or less
numerous, on almost every municipal board of any importance in the
Empire, with the power of disturbing at any moment the relations
between capital and labour, upon which the prosperity, security, and
comfort of the whole population depend, and in intimate relations with
the Socialists of all other countries, cannot be merely ignored or
disposed of by scornful and sarcastic speeches, by official anathema,
or even by close police supervision. There must be something behind it
all which ought to be susceptible of explanation.

Before, however, attempting to conjecture what the something is, it
will be advisable, familiar to many though the facts must be, to
recapitulate, as briefly as possible, the history of the movement. Old
as the story is, it is necessary to have some knowledge of it, for
Social Democracy is the great, perhaps the only, domestic political
thorn in the Emperor's side.

It is a truism to say that the "social question," the question how
best to organize society, is as old as society itself. Great thinkers
all down the ages, from Plato to Sir Thomas More, from More to Jean
Jacques Rousseau, from Rousseau to Saint Simon, Fourier, Louis Blanc,
Lassalle, and Karl Marx, have devoted their attention to it. The
French Revolutionists tried to solve it, and the revolutionary
movement of 1848 took up the problem in its turn.

German Social Democracy may be referred for its source to the
teachings of Louis Blanc, who formed in 1840 a workmen's society in
Paris. Blanc held, as the Social Democrats hold, that capitalism was
the cause of all social evil, and that the workman was powerless
against it. He therefore proposed the establishment of workmen's
societies for purposes of production, and the grant of the necessary
capital at a low rate of interest by the State. The doctrine was taken
up in Germany with fiery enthusiasm by Ferdinand Lassalle, who, in
May, 1863, founded the General German Workmen's Society for a
"peaceful, lawful agitation" in favour of universal suffrage as a
first means to the desired end. Universal suffrage was granted by the
North German Confederation in 1867, and in 1873 Lassalle's adherents
numbered 60,000.

Meanwhile, Karl Marx and his disciple, Frederic Engels, had been
propagating their theories, and in 1848 the former published his
famous work on the ideal social state. At first Marx was a partizan of
revolutionary methods, but he subsequently recanted this view and
proclaimed that the Socialistic aim in future should be the
"strengthening of the economic and political power of the workman so
that the expropriation of private property could be obtained by
legislation." The Marxian doctrine was adopted in Germany by Wilhelm
Liebknecht and August Bebel, who, at Eisenach in 1869, founded the
Association of Social Democratic Workmen, to which the present German
party owes its name. The Eisenach programme declared "the economic
dependence of the workmen on the monopolists of the tools of labour
the foundation of servitude and social evil," and demanded "the
economic emancipation of the working classes." An attempt to get the
Lassalle society to join the Eisenacher society on an international
basis failed for the time, but the two associations finally coalesced
at the Gotha Congress of 1875.

The attempt on the life of William I in 1878 by the anarchist Nobiling
had an important effect on the fortunes of the party and the character
of its programme. The Socialist Laws were passed and the police began
a campaign against the Socialists, of which the mildest features were
the dissolution of societies, the searching of houses, the expulsion
of suspected persons, and the interdiction of Socialist newspapers and

For the next few years the party held its annual congresses in
Switzerland or Denmark, but as the Socialist Laws ceased to have
effect after three years, and were not then renewed, the party resumed
its congresses in Germany. The Congress at Erfurt in 1891 resulted in
the issue of a new programme rejecting the Lassalle plan for the
establishment of workmen's societies for productive purposes and
substituting for it the transfer of all capitalistic private property
engaged in the means of production, such as lands, mines, raw
material, tools, machinery, and means of transport, to the State. The
term used in the programme is "state," not "society," but the State is
in fact nothing but the society armed with coercive powers.

Other objects are universal suffrage for both sexes over twenty,
electoral reform, two-year parliaments, direct legislation "through
the people," some form of parliamentary government, autonomy of the
people in Empire, State, Province, and Parish, conscription, national
militia instead of standing army, international arbitration, abolition
of State religion, free and compulsory education, abolition of capital
punishment, free burial, free medical assistance, free legal advice
and advocacy, progressive succession duties, inheritance tax,
abolition of indirect taxation and customs, parliamentary decisions as
to peace and war, and undenominationalism in schools.

Especially for the working classes are intended the following:
National and international protective legislation for workmen on the
basis of a normal eight hours day, prohibition of child labour under
fourteen years, prohibition of night work save rendered necessary by
the nature of the work or the welfare of society, superintendence of
labour and its relations by a Ministry of Labour, thorough workshop
hygiene, equality of status between the agricultural labourer, servant
class, and the artisan, right of association, and State insurance, as
to which the working class should have an authoritative voice.

The programme contains nothing as to the practical consequences of the
provisions it contains, but Herr Bebel, in his book on "Woman and
Social Democracy," gives some examples. One is that the working time
will be alike for men and women, another that domestic life will be
limited to the cohabitation of man and woman, for children are to be
brought up by society, and a third that cooking and washing will be
the care of central public kitchens and washhouses. Meanwhile, all
these years, it may be noted, Herr Bebel and his millions of followers
have been living exactly like everybody else.

The student of working-class conditions in Germany is unlikely to
think clearly unless he distinguishes between such terms as Social
Democracy, Socialism, Trade Unionism, and Labour party. Social
Democracy is a species of Socialism. All Social Democrats are
Socialists, but not all Socialists Social Democrats. The latter, as an
enrolled political party, paying annual subscriptions and looking
forward to the future state as conceived by Marx, and now by Bebel,
number something under a million; the remaining three millions who
voted for Social Democratic candidates at the last general election
may have included men who believe in Social Democratic ideals, but the
vast majority of them, unless one does grave injustice to their common
sense, voted for such candidates owing to dissatisfaction with the
policy of the Government and present conditions generally--the high
cost of living, the pressure of taxation, the severity of class
distinctions, and like grievances, real or imaginary. These people are
Socialists in the English or international sense of the word, not
Social Democrats strictly speaking; and with these people the Emperor
is most angry because he knows they form the element most capable of
dangerous expansion.

Again, though the vast majority of German Socialists in the broader
sense are Trade Unionists, not all Trade Unionists are Socialists.
Trade Unionism--the organization of labour against capital--is
represented in Germany by two main bodies; the free or Socialist
Unions containing about two million working men, and the "Christian"
or loyal "National" Unions, which are anti-Social Democrat and
anti-Socialist. These have a membership of about 300,000. The
Hirsch-Duncker Unions, with 100,000 members, are Liberal, but also
loyal and anti-Socialist. In labour conflicts, naturally, as
distinguished from politics, all workmen of the particular branch in
conflict work together, whether they are Socialist or not. It need
only be added that there is no so-called "Labour party" in the German
Parliaments. The Social Democratic party in the Reichstag represents
labour interests generally, and promote them much more insistently and
successfully than they do the Utopia of their dreams.

But enough has been said to show the comprehensive and revolutionary
nature of Social Democratic doctrine. The only other feature that
requires mention in connexion with the movement is the desire on the
part of a section of the party for a revision of its programme. The
party of revision is usually identified with the names of Heinrich von
Vollmar, who first suggested it, and Eduard Bernstein, who is in
favour of trying to realize that portion of the programme which deals
with the social needs of the existing generation, the demands of the
present day, and would leave to posterity the attainment of the final
goal. The views of the Revisionists differ also from those of the
Radicals in respect of two other main questions which divide the
party, that of voting budgets and that of going to court. The
Revisionists are willing to do both, and the Radicals to do neither. A
decisive split in the party is annually looked for, but hitherto, when
congress-day came, the Revisionists, for the sake of peace and unity
in the party, have refrained from pushing their views to extremes. One
might suppose that professors of the tenets of Social Democracy would
get into trouble with the police, but they avoid arrest and
imprisonment by taking care to avoid attacking property or the family,
advocating a republic, or introducing religious questions into their

In dealing with the growth of Social Democracy in Germany the
philosophic historian would doubtless refer to the French Revolution,
or go still farther back to the Reformation, as the starting-point of
every great change in the views of civilized mankind during the last
four and a half centuries; but it is with more recent times these
pages are chiefly concerned and consequently with causes now
operative. The main specific cause is the change from agriculture to
industry, and with it the growth of what is generally spoken of as
"industrialism." Industrialism means the assemblage of large masses of
intelligent men forming a community of their own, with its special
conditions and the wants and wishes arising from them. This is the
most fertile field for Socialism, for a new organization of society.
In Germany Socialistic ideas kept growing with the increase of
industrialism, and came to a head with the attempts by Hoedel and
Nobiling on the life of the Emperor William. The anti-Socialist laws,
passed for a definite period, followed, but they were not renewed; the
Emperor and his Government pressed on instead with a great and
far-reaching social policy, and Socialism, in the form of Social
Democracy, freed from restraint, took a new lease of life.

Another cause of as general, but less ponderable, a nature is the
remnant of the feudal spirit and feudal manners which lingers in the
attitude of the German governing and official classes towards the rest
of the population. The most objectionable features of the feudal
system have passed away, the cruel and exclusive rights and privileges
which only men in ignorant personal servitude to an all-powerful
master could permanently endure; but traces of the system still exist
in the official attitude towards the public and in the tone of the
official communications issued by the administrative services
generally. Attitude and tone may be referred in part to the
traditional character of the Prussian monarchy, which regards the
people as a flock of sheep, or as a "talent," as the Emperor has
called it, entrusted to its care and management by Heaven; but it is
also due in part to the systematization of public life--and largely of
private life--which at times makes the foreigner inclined to think
Germany at once the most Socialistic and at the same time the most
tyrannically ruled country in the world. Everything in Germany must be
done systematically, and the system must be the result of development.
But there is no use in having a system unless it is enforced--otherwise
it remains, like Social Democracy, a theory. Compulsion, therefore,
is necessary, and the Government provides it through its official
machinery and its police. The systematization has enormous public
advantages, but it is difficult for the Anglo-Saxon, jealous of his
individual right to direct his public life through his own
representatives and his private life according to his own judgment,
to accommodate himself to a system which seems to him unduly to
interfere with both right and judgment.

Perhaps it is the manner in which, under the name of authority,
compulsion is exercised by subordinate officialdom and in especial by
the police, as much as the compulsion itself, which irritates in
Germany. Every profession, business, trade, and occupation, down to
that of selling matches and newspapers in the streets, is meticulously
regulated; and while there is nothing to object to in this, what
strikes the Anglo-Saxon as objectionable is that the regulations are
enforced with the manners and in the tone of a drill-sergeant. The
official in Germany, he finds, is not the servant of the public. There
is a story current in England of a Duke of Norfolk, when
Postmaster-General, going into a district post-office and asking for a
penny stamp. The clerk was dilatory, and the Duke remonstrated. "Who
are you, I should like to know?" asked the clerk impertinently, "that
you are laying down the law." "I am the public," replied the Duke
simply, at the same time showing the clerk his card. An English
Foreign Secretary once told a deputation that the Ministry was
"waiting for instructions from their employers--the people." In
Germany it is the opposite; the official is the master and the public
his dutiful servant. In Germany the official expects marked deference
from the public: the post-office clerk is "Mr. Official," the guardian
of the law "Mr. Policeman" (with your hat off). The Anglo-Saxon rather
expects the deference to be on the other side, and has a sordid
subconsciousness that he pays the official for his services. Perhaps
the Social Democrat has something of the same feeling.

One of the chief consequences of industrialism in Germany is that the
people of the country are migrating to the towns. To the country
bumpkin the city is an Eldorado and a lordly pleasure-house. In truth,
he is much better off in it than in the stagnant life of the country.
In the city he sees comfort on every hand, with possibilities of
enjoyment of every kind, and if he does not soon get a share of the
good things going he grows discontented and turns Socialist. In the
city, too, he learns to think and compare, he perceives the
distinction of classes and notices that certain classes have open to
them careers from which he is excluded. Then there is the apparently
inevitable antagonism between labour and capital, between the employer
and employed, which drives the worker to Social Democracy, as offering
the prospect of his becoming his own master and enjoying the whole
fruits of his labour. He may not know Matthew Arnold's "Sick King in
Bokhara," but he would endorse Arnold's lines:--

"And these all, for a lord
Eat not the fruit of their own hands;
Which is the heaviest of all plagues
To that man's mind, who understands."

But whatever its causes, Social Democracy is one of the most curious
and anomalous societies extant. In a country which worships order, it
calls for absolute disorder. A revolutionary movement, it anxiously
avoids revolution. It is a magnificent organization for no apparent
practical, direct, or immediate purpose. Proclaiming the protection of
the law and enjoying the blessing of efficient government, it yet
refuses to vote the budget to pay for them. It supports a large
parliamentary party without any clear or consistent parliamentary
policy in internal or external affairs, unless to be "agin the
Government" is a policy. And lastly, if some of its economic demands
are justifiable, and have in several respects been satisfied by modern
legislation, its fundamental doctrine, the basis of the entire
edifice, is a wild hallucination, sickening to common sense, and
completely out of harmony with the progressive economic development of
all nations, including its own.

In conclusion, it may be added that the social side of the Social
Democracy is perhaps too often unrecognized or ignored by the foreign
observer. Life for the poorer classes in Germany is apt to be more
monotonous and dull than for the poorer classes of any country which
nature has blessed with more fertility, more sunshine, more diversity
of hill and dale, and where people are more mutually sociable and
accommodating. Social Democracy offers something by way of remedy to
this: a field of interest in which the workers can organize and make
processions and public demonstrations and can talk and theorize and
dispute, and in which the woman can share the interest with the man;
or a club, a social club with the largest membership in the world
except freemasonry.

We must return, however, to the Emperor. During this period, in
December, 1890, he, like every one else with his own ideas on
education as well as on art and religion, delivered his views on
popular instruction. At this time--he was then thirty--he called
together forty-five of the ablest educational experts of the country
and addressed them on the subject of high-school education. His
Minister of Education, Dr. von Grossler, had drawn up a programme of
fourteen points for discussion, and the Emperor added to these a few
others he wished to have considered.

German high-school education, be it remarked, is a different thing
from English public-school education, and ought rather to be spoken of
as German information than as German education. We have seen that the
spirit of the German university differs largely from that of the
English university, in that it is not concerned with the formation of
character or the inculcation of manners. The same may be said of the
German gymnasium, or high school, the institution from which the
German youth, as a rule, goes to college. No teaching institution,
English or German, be it further said on our own account, makes any
serious attempt to teach what will prepare youth for intercourse with
the extremely complicated world of to-day, to give him, to take but
one example, the faintest notion of contract, which, if he possessed
it, would save him from many a foolish undertaking and protect him
from many a business betrayal, Far from it. All the disagreeable, and
many of the painful incidents of his subsequent life, all equally
avoidable if knowledge regarding them had been instilled into him in
his early years, he must buy with money and suffering and disgust in

But the Emperor is waiting to be heard. His entire speech need not be
quoted, but only its chief contentions. In introducing his remarks he
claimed to speak with knowledge as having himself sat on a
public-school bench at Cassel.

The Social Democracy being to the Emperor what King Charles's head was
to Mr. Dick, it is not surprising to find almost his first statement
being to the effect that if boys had been properly taught up to then,
there would be no Social Democracy. Up to 1870, he said, the great
subject of instruction for youth was the necessity for German unity.
Unity had been achieved, the Empire was now founded, and there the
matter rested. "Now," said the Emperor, "we must recognize that the
school is for the purpose of teaching how the Empire is to be
maintained. I see nothing of such teaching, and I ought to know, for I
am at the head of the Empire, and all such questions come under my
observation. What," he continues,

"is lacking in the education of our youth? The chief fault
is that since 1870 the philologists have sat in the high
schools as _beati possidentes_ and laid chief stress upon
the knowledge to be acquired and not on the formation of
character and the demands of the present time. Emphasis has
been put on the ability to know, not on the ability to
do--the pupil is expected to know, that is the main thing,
and whether what he knows is suitable for the conduct of
life or not is considered a secondary matter. I am told the
school has only to do with the gymnastics of the mind, and
that a young man, well trained in these gymnastics, is
equipped for the needs of life. This is all wrong and can't
go on."

Then the Empire-builder speaks--what is wanted above all is a national

"We must make German the foundation for the gymnasium: we
must produce patriotic young Germans, not young Greeks and
Romans. We must depart from the centuries-old basis, from
the old monastic education of the Middle Ages, when Latin
was the main thing and a tincture of Greek besides. That is
no longer the standard. German must be the standard. The
German exercise must be the pivot on which all things turn.
When in the exit examination (_Abiturientenexamen_) a
student hands in a German essay, one can judge from it what
are the mental acquirements of the young man and decide
whether he is fit for anything or not. Of course people will
object--the Latin exercise is very important, very good for
instructing students in other languages, and so on. Yes,
gentlemen, I have been through the mill. How do we get this
Latin exercise? I have often seen a young man get, say 4-1/2
marks, for his German exercise--'satisfactory,' it was
considered--and 2 for his Latin exercise. The youngster
deserved punishment instead of praise, because it is clear
he did not write his Latin exercise in a proper way; and of
all the Latin exercises we wrote there was not one in a
dozen which was done without cribbing. These exercises were
marked 'good,' but when we wrote an essay on 'Minna von
Barnhelm' (one of Lessing's dramas) we got hardly
'satisfactory.' So I say, away with the Latin exercise, it
only harms us, and robs us of time we might give to German."

The Emperor goes on to recommend the study of the nation's history,
geography, and literature ("Der Sage," poetry, he calls it).

"Let us begin at home," he says; "when we have learned
enough at home, we can go to the museums. But above all we
must know our German history. In my time the Grand Elector
was a very foggy personage, the Seven Years' War was quite
outside consideration, and history ended with the close of
the last century, the French Revolution. The War of
Liberation, the most important for the young citizen, was
not taught thoroughly, and I only learned to know it, thank
God, through the very interesting lectures of Dr. Hinzpeter.
This, however, is the _punctum saliens_. Why are our young
men misled? Why do we find so many unclear, confused
world-improvers? Why is our government so cavilled at and
criticized, and so often told to look at foreign nations?
Because the young men do not know how our conditions have
developed, and that the roots of the development lie in the
period of the French Revolution. Consequently, I am
convinced that if they understood the transition period from
the Revolution to the nineteenth century in its fundamental
features, they would have a far better understanding of the
questions of to-day than they now have. At the universities
they can supplement their school knowledge."

The Emperor then turned to other points. It was "absolutely necessary"
to reduce the hours of work. When he was at school, he said, all
German parents were crying out against the evil, and the Government
set on foot an inquiry. He and his brother (Henry) had every morning
to hand a memorandum to the head master showing how many hours it had
taken them to prepare the lessons for the day. In the Emperor's case
it took, "honestly," from 5-1/2 to 7 hours' home study. To this was to
be added 6 hours in school and 2 hours for eating meals--"How much of
the day," the Emperor asks, "was left? If I," he said, "hadn't been
able to ride to and from school I wouldn't have known what the world
even looked like." The result of this, he continued, was an

"over-production of educated people, more than the nation
wanted and more than was tolerable for the sufferers
themselves. Hence the class Bismarck called the
abiturienten-proletariat, all the so-called hunger
candidates, especially the Mr. Journalists, who are often
broken-down scholars and a danger to us. This surplus, far
too large as it is, is like an irrigation field that cannot
soak up any more water, and it must be got rid of."

Another matter touched on by the Emperor was a reduction in the amount
to be learned, so that more time might be had for the formation of
character. This cannot be done now, he remarks, in a class containing
thirty youngsters, who have such a huge amount of subjects to master.
The teacher, too, the Emperor said, must learn that his work is not
over when he has delivered his lecture. "It isn't a matter of
knowledge," he concludes "but a matter of educating the young people
for the practical affairs of life."

The Emperor lastly dealt with the subject of shortsightedness. "I am
looking for soldiers," he said.

"We need a strong and healthy generation, which will also
serve the Fatherland as intellectual leaders and officials.
This mass of shortsightedness is no use, since a man who
can't use his eyes--how can he do anything later?"

and he went on to mention the extraordinary facts that in some of the
primary classes of German schools as many as 74 per cent, were
shortsighted, and that in his class at Cassel, of the twenty-one
pupils, eighteen wore spectacles, while two of them could not see the
desk before them without their glasses.

The Englishman in Germany often attributes German shortsightedness to
the Gothic character of German print. It is more probable that the
long hours of study spent poring over books without fresh-air
exercise, judiciously interposed, is responsible for it.

It has been said that every one, like the Emperor, has his own theory
of education, but there is one passage in the Emperor's speech with
which almost all men will agree--that, namely, in which he urges that
knowledge is not the only--perhaps not the chief--thing, but that
young people must be educated for the practical affairs of life.
Unfortunately, as to how we are successfully to do this, the Emperor
is silent; and it may be that there is no certain or exact way. One
could, of course--but we are concerned with the Emperor.

The difference of opinion between the Emperor and Bismarck regarding
the Emperor's visit to Russia seems to have left no permanent ill-will
in the Emperor's mind, for on returning in October, 1889, from visits
to Athens, where he attended the wedding of his sister Sophie with the
Heir-Apparent of Greece, Prince Constantine (now King Constantine),
and Constantinople, where he was allowed to inspect the Sultan's
seraglio, he sent a letter to the Chancellor praying God to grant that
the latter's "faithful and experienced counsel might for many years
assist him in his difficult and responsible office." In January, 1890,
however, the question of renewing the Socialist Laws, which would
expire shortly, came up for settlement. A council of Ministers, under
the Emperor's presidency, was called to decide it. When the council
met, Bismarck was greatly surprised by a proposal of the Emperor to
issue edicts developing the principles laid down by his grandfather
for working-class reform instead of renewing the Socialist Laws. The
Reichstag took the Emperor's view and voted against the renewal of the
Laws. It only now remained to give effect to the Emperor's edicts.
They were considered at a further council of Ministers, at which the
Emperor exhorted them to "leave the Social Democracy to me, I can
manage them alone." The Ministers agreed, and Bismarck was in a
minority of one. This, however, was only the beginning of the end.
Bismarck decided to continue in office until he had carried through
Parliament a new military Bill, which was to come before it in May or
June. Meanwhile fresh matters of controversy between the Emperor and
the Chancellor arose regarding the grant of imperial audiences to
Ministers other than the Chancellor. Bismarck insisted that the
Chancellor alone had the right to be received by the Emperor for the
discussion of State affairs.

The quarrel was accentuated by a lively scene which occurred between
the Emperor and the Chancellor about this period in connexion with a
visit the leader of the Catholic Centre party had paid the Chancellor,
and on March 17th the Emperor sent his chief Adjutant, General von
Hahnke, to say he awaited the Chancellor's resignation. Bismarck
replied that to resign at this juncture would be an act of desertion;
the Emperor could dismiss him. At the same time the Chancellor
summoned a meeting of Ministers for the afternoon, but while they were
discussing the situation a message was brought from the Emperor
telling them he did not require their advice in such a matter and that
he had made up his mind about the Chancellor. The messenger on the
same occasion expressed to Bismarck the Emperor's surprise at not
having received a formal resignation. Bismarck's reply was that it
would require some days to prepare such a document, as it was the last
official statement of a "Minister who had played a meritorious part in
the history of Prussia and Germany, and history should know why he had
been dismissed." Three days later, on March 20th, an hour or two after
the formal resignation reached the palace, the Emperor's letter
granting the Chancellor's request for his release, naming him Duke of
Lauenburg and announcing the appointment of General von Caprivi as his
successor, was put into the old Chancellor's hands.



While the ex-Chancellor is bitterly meditating on the unreliability
and ingratitude of princes, yet having in his heart, as the records
clearly show, the loyal sentiments of a Cardinal Wolsey towards his
royal master, even though that master had cast him off, we may be
allowed to pause awhile in order to give some account of the Court of
which the Emperor now became the centre and pivot.

Human imagination, in its worship of force as the source of ability to
achieve the ends of ambition and desire, very early conceived the
courts of kings as fairylands of power, wealth, luxury, and
magnificence--in a word, of happiness. The same imagination represents
the Almighty, whose true nature no one knows, as a monarch in the
bright court of heaven, and his great antagonist, Satan, who stands
for the king of evil, is enthroned by it amid the shades of hell. The
fiction that courts are a species of earthly paradise is still kept up
for the entertainment of children; while the adult, whom the annals of
all countries has made familiar with a long record of monarchs, bad as
well as good, is disposed to regard them as beneficial or otherwise to
a country according to the character and conduct of the occupant of
the throne, and to believe that they are at least as liable to produce
examples of vice and hypocrisy as of virtue and honesty.

The court of the German Emperor in this connexion need not fear
comparison with any court described in history. True, courts all over
the world have improved wonderfully of recent years. Their monarchs
are more enlightened, they are frequented by a very different type of
man and woman from the courts of former times, their morale and
working are more closely scrutinized and more generally subjected to
criticism, and they are occupied with a more public and less selfish
order of considerations. The Court of the Emperor is, so far as can be
known to a lynx-eyed and not always charitably thinking public,
singularly free from the vices and failings the atmosphere of former
courts was wont to foster. There is at all times, no doubt, the
competition of politicians for influence and power acting and reacting
on the Court and its frequenters, but of scandal at the Court of
Berlin there has been none that could be fairly said to involve the
Emperor or his family. Dame Gossip, of course, busied herself with the
Emperor in his youth, but whatever truth she then uttered--and it is
probably extremely little--on this head, there is no question that
from the day he mounted the throne his Court and that of the Empress
has been a model for all institutions of the kind.

The life of courts, the personages who play leading parts in them,
their wealth and luxury, and the currents of social, amorous, and
political intrigue which are supposed to course through them have in
all countries and in all ages strongly appealed to writers, fanciful
and serious. Perhaps one-third of the prose and poetic literature of
every country deals, directly or indirectly, with the subject, and
determines in no small degree the character of its rising generations.
The great architects of romance, depicting for us life in high places,
and often nobly idealizing it, or working the facts of history into
the web of their imaginings and thus pleasantly combining fact with
fiction, aim at elevating, not at debasing, the mind of the reader. A
second valuable source of information on the topic are the memoirs of
those who have set down their observations and recorded experiences
made in the courts to which they had access. Among this class,
however, are to be found unscrupulous as well as conscientious
authors, the former obviously cherishing some personal grievance or as
obviously actuated by malice, while the latter are usually moved by an
honest desire to tell the world things that are important for it to
know, and at the same time, it is not ill-natured to suspect, enhance
their own reputation with their contemporaries or with posterity. The
multitudinous tribe of anecdote inventors and retailers must also be
taken into account. In our own day there is still another source of
information, which, agreeably or odiously according to the temperament
of the reader, keeps us in touch with courts and what goes on
there--the periodical press; while afar off in the future one can
imagine the historian bent over his desk, surrounded by books and
knee-deep in newspapers, selecting and weighing events, studying
characters, developing personalities, and passing what he hopes may be
a final judgment on the court and period he is considering.

For a study of the Emperor's life, as it passes in his Court, a large
number of works are available, but not many that can be described as
authoritative or reliable. Among the latter, however, may be placed
Moritz Busch's "Bismarck: Some Secret Pages of His History," three
volumes that make Busch almost as interesting to the reader as his
subject; Bismarck's own "Gedanke und Erinnerungen," which is chiefly
of a political nature; and the "Memorabilia of Prince Chlodwig
Hohenlohe-Schillingsfuerst," who was for several years Statthalter of
Alsace-Lorraine and subsequently became Imperial Chancellor in
succession to General von Caprivi. These works, with the collections
of the Emperor's speeches and the speeches and interviews of
Chancellor Prince von Buelow, may be ranked in the category of serious
and authentic contributions to the Court history of the period they
cover. Then there are several German descriptions of the Court,
reliable enough in their way which is a dull one, to those who are not
impassioned monarchists or hide-bound bureaucrats. In the category of
works by unscrupulous writers that entitled "The Private Lives of
William II and His Consort," by a lady-in-waiting to the Empress from
1888 to 1898, easily takes first place. Certainly it gives a lively
and often entertaining insight into the domestic life of the palace,
but it is so clearly informed by spite that it is impossible to
distinguish what is true in it from what is false or misrepresented.
Finally, for the closer study of individual events and the impressions
they made at the time of their happening, the daily press can be
consulted. For the Bismarck period the biography of Hans Blum is of
exceptional value.

What may be termed the anecdotic literature of the Court is
particularly rich and trivial, and this is only to be expected in a
country where the monarchy and its representative are so forcibly and
constantly brought home to the people's consciousness. Yet it has its
uses, and is referred to, though sparingly, in the present work. "The
Emperor as Father of a Family," "The Emperor and His Daughter's
Uniform," "The Amiable Grandfather," "The Emperor as Husband," "The
Emperor as Card Player," "How the Emperor's Family is Photographed,"
"What does the Emperor's Kitchen Look Like," "Adieu, Auguste"
("Auguste" is the Empress), "The English Lord and the Emperor's
Cigarettes," "When My Wife Makes You a Sandwich," "What the Emperor
Reads," "The Emperor's Handwriting," "Can the Emperor Vote?" (the
answer is, opinions differ), "Washing Day at the Emperor's," "The
Emperor and the Empress at Tennis," "Emperor and Auto," are the sort
of matters dealt with. Literature of this kind is beyond question
intensely interesting to vast numbers of people, but helps very little
towards understanding a singularly complex human being placed in a
high and extraordinarily responsible position.

Strictly speaking, there is no Imperial Court in Germany, since the
King of Prussia, in accordance with the Imperial Constitution, always
succeeds to the imperial throne, and therefore officially the Court is
that of the King of Prussia only. The distinction is emphasized by the
fact that the Court is independent of the Empire as regards its
administration and finance. It is a state within a state, an _imperium
in imperio_. In all that pertains to it the Emperor is absolute ruler
and his executive is a special Ministry. At the same time it is almost
needless to add that the Court of Berlin is practically that of the
Empire. It is this character, apart from Prussia's size and
importance, that distinguishes it from other courts in Germany and
reduces them to comparative insignificance in foreign, though by no
means in German, consideration.

The Court of the Empire and Prussia--and the same thing may be said of
the various other courts in Germany--engages popular interest and
attention to a much larger extent than is the case in England. The
fact is almost wholly due to the nature of the monarchy and of its
relations to the people. In England a great portion of the popular
attention is concentrated on Parliament and the fortunes of its two
great political parties. The attention given to the Court and its
doings is not of the same general and permanent character, but is
intermittent according to the occasion. The Englishman feels deep and
abiding popular interest at all times in Parliament, whether in
session or not, because it represents the people and is, in fact, and
for hundreds of years has been, the Government.

The reverse may fairly be said to be the case in Germany. In Germany
popular attention has been from early times concentrated on the
monarch, his personality, sayings and doings, since in his hands lay
government power and patronage. Monarchy of a more or less absolute
character was accepted by the people, not only in Germany but all over
the Continent, as the normal and desirable, perhaps the inevitable,
state of things; and it is only since the French Revolution that
parliaments after the English pattern, that is by two chambers elected
by popular vote, yet in many important respects widely differing from
it, were demanded by the people or finally established. Up to
comparatively recent times the monarch in Prussia was an absolute
ruler. Frederick William IV, after the events of 1848, was compelled
to grant Prussia a Constitution which explicitly defined the
respective rights of the Crown and the people in the sphere of
politics; and the Imperial Constitution, drawn up on the formation of
the modern Empire, did the same thing as regards the Emperor and the
people of the Empire; but neither Constitution altered the nature of
the monarchy in the direction of giving governing power to the people.
Both secured the people legislative, but not governing power.
Government in the Empire and Prussia remains, as of old, an appanage,
so to speak, of the Court, and the fact of course tends to concentrate
attention on the Court.

It has been said that the Court is a state within a state, an
_imperium in imperio_. In this state, within Prussia or within the
Empire, it is the same thing for our purpose, there are two main
departments, that of the Lord Chamberlain (_Oberstkammeramt_) and that
of the Master of the Household (_Ministerium des Koeniglichen Hauses_).
The first deals with all questions of court etiquette, court
ceremonial, court mourning, precedence, superintendence of the courts
of the Emperor's sons and near relatives, and of all Prussian court
offices. The second deals with the personal affairs of the Emperor and
his sons, the domestic administration of the palace, the management of
the Crown estates and castles, and is the tribunal that decides all
Hohenzollern differences and disputes that are not subject to the
ordinary legal tribunals. Connected with this Ministry are the
Herald's office and the Court Archives office. The chief Court
officials include, beside the Lord Chamberlain and the Master of the
Household, a Chief Court Marshal. The Master of the Household is also
Chief Master of Ceremonies, with a Deputy Master of Ceremonies who is
also Introducer of Ambassadors, two Court Marshals, a Captain of the
Palace Guards, a Court Chaplain, Court Physician, an Intendant in
charge of the royal theatres, a Master of the Horse who has charge of
the royal stables, a House Marshal, and a Master of the Kitchen. All
these officials are princes (_Fuerst_) or counts (_Graf_), with the
title Highness (_Durchlaucht_) or Excellency.

Court officials also include the various nobles in charge of the royal
palaces, castles, and hunting lodges at Potsdam, Charlottenburg,
Breslau, Stettin, Marienburg, Posen, Letzlingen, Hohkoenigsberg,
Homberg von der Hoehe, Springe, Hubertusstock, Rominten, Korfu (the
"Achilleion"), Wiesbaden, Koenigsberg, etc., to the number of thirty
or more. The Empress has her own Court officials, including a Mistress
of the Robes and Ladies of the Bedchamber, also with the title of
Excellency, the Ladies being chosen from the most aristocratic
families of Germany. The Empress has her own Master of the Household,
physician, treasurer, and so on. Similarly with the households of the
Crown Prince, other royal princes and the Emperor's near relatives.

Every order the Emperor gives that is not of a purely domestic kind
passes through one of his three cabinets--the Civil Cabinet, the
Military Cabinet, or the Marine Cabinet. The cost of the first, with
its chief, who receives L1,000 a year, and half a dozen subordinate
officials on salaries of L200 to L350, is budgeted at about L10,000 a
year. The Military Cabinet is a much larger establishment, having
several departments and a staff of half a hundred councillors and
clerks. The Naval Cabinet, on the other hand, is composed of only
three upper officials and five clerks. The Emperor's "civil list" is
returned in the Budget as L860,000 roughly. His entire annual revenue
does not exceed L1,000,000. Out of this he has to pay the expenses of
his married sons' households and make large contributions to public
charities. He was left, however, a very considerable sum of money by
the Emperor William. The Crown Prince, as such, receives a grant of
L20,000 a year, chiefly derived from the royal domain of Oels in
Silesia. Like all fathers of large families, the Emperor has been more
than once heard to complain that he finds it difficult to make both
ends meet.

The Emperor's staff of adjutants are exceptionally useful and
important people. At their head is the chief of the Emperor's Military
Cabinet. Not less important are the members of the Emperor's Marine
Cabinet, consisting of admirals, vice-admirals, and wing-admirals. The
personal adjutants divide the day and night service between them, so
that there may always be three adjutants at the Emperor's immediate
disposal. The adjutant announces Ministers or other visitors to the
Emperor, telegraphs to say that His Majesty has an hour or an hour and
a half at his disposal at such-and-such a time, or intimates that an
audience of half an hour can be given in the train between two given
points. They act as living memorandum books, knock at the Emperor's
door to announce that it is time for him to go to this or that
appointment, remind him that a congratulatory telegram on some one's
seventieth birthday or other jubilee has to be sent, or perhaps
whispers that Her Majesty the Empress wishes to see him. All the
Emperor's correspondence passes through their hands. They accompany
the Emperor on his journeys and voyages, and when thus employed are
usually invited to his table. The Emperor reads of some new book and
tells an adjutant to order it, and the latter does so by communicating
with the Civil Cabinet.

Court society in Berlin includes the German "higher" and "lower"
nobility, with the exception of the so-called Fronde, who proudly
absent themselves from it; the Ministers; the diplomatic corps; Court
officials; and such members of the burghertum, or middle class, as
hold offices which entitle them to attend court. The wives, however,
of those in the last category are not "court-capable" on this account,
nor is the middle class generally, nor even members of the Imperial or
Prussian Parliaments as such. Members of Parliament are invited to the
Court's seasonal festivities, but as a rule only members of the
Conservative parties or other supporters of the Government. The
nobility, as in England, is hereditary or only nominated for life, and
the hereditary nobility is divided into an upper and lower class. To
the former belongs members of houses that were ruling when the modern
Empire was established, and, while excluding the Emperor, who stands
above them, includes sovereign houses and mediatized houses. Some of
the ancient privileges of the nobility, such as exemption from
taxation, and the right to certain high offices, have been abolished,
but in practice the nobility still occupy the most important charges
in the administration and in the army. The privileges of the
mediatized princes consist of exemption from conscription, the
enjoyment of the Principle called "equality of birth," which prevents
the burgher wife of a noble acquiring her husband's rank, and the
right to have their own "house law" for the regulation of family
disputes and family affairs generally. No increase to the high
nobility of Germany can accrue as no addition will ever be made to the
once sovereign and mediatized families. With the exception of these
houses the rest of the German nobility, hereditary and non-hereditary,
is accounted as belonging to the lower nobility. That part of the
German aristocracy who refuse to go to court, and are accordingly
called by the name Fronde, first given to the opponents of Cardinal
Mazarin, in the reign of Louis XIV, consist chiefly of a few old
families of Prussian Poland, Hannover (the Guelphs), Brunswick,
Nassau, Hessen, and other annexed German territories, and of some
great Catholic houses in Bavaria and the Rhineland. Their dislike is
directed not so much against the Empire as against Prussia. The
Kulturkampf had the effect of setting a small number of ancient
Prussian ultramontane families against the Government.

Not much that is complimentary can be said of the German aristocracy
as a whole. "Serenissimus" is to-day as frequently the subject of
bitter, if often humorous, caricature in the comic press as ever he
was. A few of the class, like Prince Fuerstenberg, Prince Hohenlohe,
Count Henkel-Donnersmarck and some others engage successfully in
commerce; many are practical farmers and have done a good deal for
agriculture; several are deputies to Parliament; but on the whole the
foreigner gets the impression that the class as such contributes but a
small percentage of what it might and should in the way of brains,
industry, or example to the welfare and the progress of the Empire.

It is difficult to communicate an impression of the Court, whether at
the Schloss in Berlin or the New Palace in Potsdam, and at the same
time avoid the dry and dusty descriptions of the guide-books. If the
reader is not in Berlin, let him imagine the fragment of a mediaeval
town, situated on a river and fronted by a bridge; and on the bank of
the river a dark, square, massive and weather-stained pile of four
stories, with barred windows on the ground floor as defence against a
possibly angry populace, and a sentry-box at each of its two lofty
wrought-iron gates. It may be, as Baedeker informs us it is, a
"handsome example of the German renaissance," but to the foreigner it
can as equally suggest a large and grimy barracks as the
five-hundred-years-old palace of a long line of kings and emperors.
And yet, to any one acquainted with the blood-stained annals of
Prussian history, who knows something of the massive stone buildings
about it and of the people who have inhabited them, who strolls
through its interior divided into sombre squares, each with its cold
and bare parade-ground, who reflects on the relations between king and
people, closely identified by their historical associations, yet
sundered by the feudal spirit which still keeps the Crown at a
distance from the crowd, above all to the German versed in his
country's story--how eloquently it speaks!

When one thinks of the Court of Berlin one should not forget that the
New Palace, the Emperor's residence at Potsdam, sixteen miles distant
from the capital, is as much, and as important, a part of it as the
royal palace in Berlin itself. The Emperor divides his time between
them, the former, when he is not travelling, being his more permanent
residence, and the latter only claiming his presence during the winter
season and for periods of a day or so at other parts of the year, when
occasion requires it. It is only during the six or eight weeks of the
winter season that the Empress and her daughter, Princess Victoria
Louise (now Duchess of Brunswick), go into residence at the Berlin
royal palace. There is a railway between Potsdam and Berlin, but since
the introduction of the motor-car the Emperor almost always uses that
means of conveyance for the half-hour's run between his Berlin and
Potsdam palaces.

The other section of the Court, if Potsdam may be so described, is
hardly less rich in memories than the old palace by the Spree. Indeed
it is richer from the cosmopolitan point of view, for though Frederick
the Great was born in the Berlin Schloss and spent some of his time
there, it was at Potsdam that, when not campaigning, he may be said to
have lived and died. To this day, for the foreigner, his personality
still pervades the place, and that of the Emperor sinks,
comparatively, into the background. The tourist who has pored over his
Baedeker will learn that Potsdam has 53,000 inhabitants and is
"charmingly situated"--it depends on your temperament what the charm
is, and to guide-book framers all tourists have the same
temperament--on an island in the Havel "which here expands into a
series of lakes bounded by wooded hills." He will learn that the old
town-palace, which few visitors give a thought to, was built by the
Great Elector, that Frederick the Great lived here in "richly
decorated apartments with sumptuous furniture and noteworthy pictures
by Pater, Lancret, and Pesne"; that it contains a cabinet in which the
dining-table could be let up and down by means of a trap-door, and
"where the King occasionally dined with friends without risk of being
overheard by his attendants"; that the present Emperor, then Prince
William, lived here with his young wife when he was still only a
lieutenant. He will drive to the New Palace--now old, for it was built
by Frederick the Great in 1769, during the Seven Years' War, at a cost
of nearly half a million sterling--and gaze with interest at the
summer residence of the Emperor. If he is an American he may think of
his multi-millionaire fellow-citizen, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who, when
driving up to call on his erstwhile imperial schoolfellow and friend,
was nearly shot at by a sentry for whom the name Vanderbilt was no
"Open Sesame." He will see before him a main building, seven hundred
feet in length, three stories high, with the central portion
surmounted by a dome, its chief facade looking towards a park. The
whole, of course--for Baedeker is talking--forms an "imposing pile,"
with "mediocre sculptures, but the effect of the weathered sandstone
figures against the red brick is very pleasing." Here the Emperor's
father, Frederick III, was born, lived as Crown Prince, reigned for
ninety-nine days, and died. Here, too, are more "apartments of
Frederick the Great," with pictures by Rubens, including an "Adoration
of the Magi," a good example of Watteau and a portrait of Voltaire
drawn by Frederick's own hand. In the north wing are situated the
present Emperor's suite of chambers, where distinguished men of all
countries have discussed almost every conceivable topic, political,
social, religious, martial, artistic, financial, and commercial, with
one of the most interesting talkers of his time. No bloody tragedy has
defiled the palace, as did the murder of Lord Darnley at Holyrood,
that of the Duke of Guise (Sir Walter Scott's "Le Balafre") the
chateau of Blois, the execution of the Bourbon Duc d'Enghien the
palace of Vincennes, or the murder of the boy princes the Tower of
London. But bloodless tragedy, and exquisite comedy, and farce too,
have doubtless had their hour within the walls. One such incident of
the politico-tragic kind was that which passed only two years ago
between the Emperor and his Imperial Chancellor, when Prince von Buelow
went as deputy from the Federal Council, the Parliament, and the
people to pray the Emperor to exercise more caution in his public, or
semi-public statements; and the historian may possibly find another,
and not without its touch of comedy, in the reception by the Emperor
of the Chinese prince, who headed the "mission of atonement" for the
murder of the Emperor's Minister in Pekin during the Boxer troubles.

From the New Palace our foreigner will probably drive to the Marble
Palace, which (for Baedeker is ever at one's elbow with the facts) he
will mark was built in 1796 by Frederick William II, who died here,
was completed in 1845 by Frederick William IV, and was the residence
of the present Emperor at the time of his accession.

But while our foreigner has been hurrying from one palace to another,
with his mind in a fog of historical and topographical confusion--if
he is an American, half-hoping, half-expecting to meet the Emperor or
Empress and secure a bow from one or other, or--why not?--one of
William's well-known vigorous _poignees de main_, there is always one
thought predominant in his mind--Sans Souci. That is the real object
of his quest, the main attraction that has brought him, all
unconscious of it, to Berlin, and not the laudable, but wholly
mistaken efforts of the "Society for the Promotion of Tourist
Traffic," which seeks to lure the moneyed and reluctant foreigner to
the German capital. Our foreigner enters the Park of Sans Souci and
his spirit is at rest. Now he knows where he really is--not in the
wonderful new German Empire, not in modern Berlin with its splendid
and to him unspeaking streets, its garish "night-life," its
faultily-faultless municipal propriety, not in Potsdam, "the true
cradle of the Prussian army," as Baedeker, deviating for an instant
into metaphor, describes it, but simply in Sans Souci. He is now no
longer in the twentieth century, but the eighteenth--one hundred and
fifty years ago or more--in Frederick's day, the period of pigtails,
of giant grenadiers in the old-time blue and red coats, the high and
fantastic shako made of metal and tapering to a point, of
three-cornered hats resting on powdered wigs, of yellow top-boots, and
exhaling the general air of ruffianly geniality characteristic of the
manners and soldiers of the age.

As our foreigner advances through the park, where, as he is told, the
Emperor makes a promenade each Christmas Eve distributing ten-mark
pieces (spiteful chroniclers make it three marks) to all and sundry
poor, he will notice the fountain "the water of which rises to a
height of 130 feet," with its twelve figures by French artists of the
eighteenth century, and ascend the broad terraced flight of marble
steps up which the present Crown Prince is credited with once urging
his trembling steed--leading to the Mecca of his imagination, the
palace Sans Souci itself. The building is only one story high, not
large, reminding one somewhat of the Trianon at Versailles, though
lacking the Trianon's finished lightness and elegance, yet with its
semicircular colonnade distinctly French, and impressive by its
elevated situation. The chief, the enduring, the magical impression,
however, begins to form as our foreigner commences his pilgrimage
through the rooms in which Frederick passed most of his later years.
As he pauses in the Voltaire Chamber he imagines the two great
figures, seated in stiff-backed chairs at a little table on which
stand, perhaps, a pair of cut Venetian wine-glasses and a tall bottle
of old Rheinish--the great man of thought and the great man of action,
the two great atheists and freethinkers of Europe, with their earnest,
sharply featured faces, and their wigs bobbing at each other,
discussing the events and tendencies of their time. And how they must
have talked--no wonder Frederick, though the idol of his subjects,
withdrew for such discourse from the society of the day, with its
twaddle of the tea-cups and its parade-ground platitudes.

As in our own time, there was then no lack of stimulating topics. The
influence of the old Catholicism and the old feudalism was rapidly
diminishing, the night of superstition was passing, and the age of
reason, that was to culminate with such tremendous and horrible force
in the French Revolution, was beginning to dawn. The encyclopaedists,
with Diderot and d'Alembert in the van, were holding council in
France, mobilizing the intellects of the time, and, like Bacon, taking
all knowledge for their province, for a fierce attack on the old
philosophy, the old statecraft, the old art, and the old religion. Are
such topics and such men to deal with them to be found to-day, or have
all the great problems of humanity and its intellect been started,
studied, and resolved? And are motor-cars, aeroplanes, dances,
Dreadnoughts, millinery, rag-time reviews, auction bridge, the rise
and fall of stocks, and the last extraordinary round of golf, all that
is left for the present generation to discuss?

However, the guardian of the palace has moved on, the other members of
the party are getting bored, and our foreigner follows the guardian's
lead. Thus conducted, he passes through half a dozen rooms, each a
museum of historical associations--the dining-room with its round
table made famous by Menzel's picture (now in the Berlin National
Gallery) in which Frederick and his guests are seen seated, but in
which it is difficult if not impossible to be certain which is the
host; the concert-room with the clock which Frederick was in the habit
of winding up, and which "is said to have stopped at the precise
moment of his death, 2.20 a.m., August 17th, 1786"; the death-chamber
with its eloquent and pathetic statue, Magnussen's "Last Moments of
Frederick the Great"; the library and picture gallery. Strangely
enough, Baedeker has no mention of a female subject portrayed in the
concert-room in all sorts of attitudes and in all sorts and no sort of
costume. Yet every one has heard of La Barberini, the only woman, the
chroniclers (and Voltaire among them) assure us, Frederick ever loved.
She was no woman of birth or wit like the Pompadour, Recamier or
Stael, but of merely ordinary understanding and the wife of a
subordinate official of the Court. She charmed Frederick, however, and
may have loved him. If so, let us remember that the morals of those
days were not those of ours, and not grudge the lonely King his
enjoyment of her beauty and amiability.

One thing only remains for our foreigner to see--the coffin of
Frederick in the old Garrison Church. It lies in a small chamber
behind the pulpit and looks more like the strong box of a miser than
the last resting-place of a great king. For such a man it seems poor
and mean, but probably Frederick himself did not wish for better. He
must have known that his real monument would be his reputation with
posterity. In fact the chroniclers agree, and the noble statue of
Magnussen confirms the impression, that at the close of his stormy
life he was glad finally to be at rest anywhere. "_Quand je serai
la_," he was wont to say, pointing to where his dogs were buried in
the palace park, "_je serai sans souci_."

In every court there is a disposition on the part of courtiers to
agree with everything the monarch says, to flatter him as dexterously
as they can, to minister to princely vanity, if vanity there be, to
"crawl on their bellies," in the choice language of hostile court
critics, or "wag their tails" and double up their bodies at every bow;
show, in short, in different ways, often all unconsciously, the
presence of a servile and self-interested mind. The disposition is not
to be found in courts alone. It is one of the commonest and most
malignant qualities of humanity, and can any day and at any hour be
observed in action in any Ministry of State, any mercantile office,
any great warehouse, any public institution, in every scene, in fact,
where one or many men are dependent for their living on the favour or
caprice of another. On the other hand, let it not be forgotten that
this innate tendency of human nature is at times replaced by another
which has frequently the same outward manifestations, but is not the
same feeling, the sentiment, namely, of embarrassment arising from the
fear of being servile, and the equally frequent embarrassment arising
from that principle which is always at work in the mind, the
association of ideas, which in the case of a monarch presents him to

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