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William of Germany by Stanley Shaw

Part 6 out of 7

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characterized better or more rightly (applause)."

A German saying has it that one is wiser coming from, than going to,
the Rathaus, the place of counsel. It is easy to see now that it would
have been better had the Emperor not written the letter, better had
the _Times_ not brought it to public notice, better, also, had the
Emperor or Lord Tweedmouth or Sir Edward Grey--for one of them must
have spoken of it to a third person--not let its existence become
known to anyone save themselves, at least not until the international
situation which prompted it had ceased. As regards the Emperor in
particular, judgment must be based on the answer to the question, Was
the letter a private letter or a public document? The _Times_ regarded
it as the latter, and many politicians took that view, but probably
nine people out of ten now regard it as the former. For such, the
reflection that it was part of a private correspondence between two
friendly statesmen, both well known to be sincere in their views that
a country's navy--that all military preparations--are based on motives
of national defence, not of high-handed aggression, must absolve the
Emperor from any suspicion of political immorality. It was unfortunate
that the letter was written, unfortunate that it was made known
publicly, but, as it is an ill wind that blows nobody good, the
episode may profit monarchs as well as meaner folk as an object lesson
in the advantages of discretion.

Discussion of the Tweedmouth letter had hardly ceased when the whole
question of the "personal regiment" was again, and as it now, five
years after, appears, finally thrashed out between the Emperor and his
folk. Before, however, considering the _Daily Telegraph_ interview and
the Emperor's part in it, something should be said as to the state of
international ill-feeling which caused him to sanction its

The ill-feeling was no sudden wave of hostility or pique, but a
sentiment which had for years existed in the minds of both nations--a
sentiment of mutual suspicion. The Englishman thought Germany was
prepared to dispute with him the maritime supremacy of Great Britain,
the German that England intended to attack Germany before Germany
could carry her great design into execution. The proximate cause of
the irritation--for it has not yet got beyond that--was the decision,
as announced in her Navy Law of 1898, to build a fleet of battleships
which Germany, but especially the Emperor, considered necessary to
complete the defences, and appropriate for affirming the dignity, of
the Empire.

This was the _origo_, but not the _fons_. The source was the Boer War
and the Kruger telegram, though the philosophic historian might with
some reason refer it in a large measure also to the surprise and
uneasiness with which the leading colonial and commercial, as well as
maritime, nation of the world saw the material progress, the waxing
military power, and the longing for expansion of the not yet
forty-year-old German Empire. Forty years ago the word "Germany" had
no territorial, but only a descriptive and poetical, significance;
certainly it had no political significance; for the North German
Union, out of which the modern German Empire grew, meant for
Englishmen, and indeed for politicians everywhere, only Prussia.
Prussia was less liked by the world then than she is now, when she is
not liked too well; and accordingly there was already in existence the
disposition in England to criticize sharply the conduct of Prussia and
to apply the same criticism to the Empire Prussia founded. In this
condition of international feeling England's long quarrel with the
Transvaal Republic came nearer to the breaking-point; at the same time
there was an idea prevalent in England that Germany was coquetting
with the Boers--if not looking to a seizure of Transvaal territory, at
least hoping for Boer favour and Boer commercial privileges. The
Jameson Raid was made and failed; the Emperor and his advisers sent
the fateful telegram to President Kruger; and the peace of the world
has been in jeopardy ever since!

The "storm" arose from the publication, in the London _Daily
Telegraph_ of October 28, 1908, of an interview coming, as the editor
said in introducing it, "from a source of such unimpeachable authority
that we can without hesitation commend the obvious message which it
conveys to the attention of the public." As to the origin and
composition of the interview a good deal of mystery still exists. All
that has become known is that some one, whose identity has hitherto
successfully been concealed, with the object of demonstrating the
sentiments of warm friendship with which the Emperor regarded England,
put together, in England or in Germany, a number of statements made by
the Emperor and sanctioned by him for publication. Whether the Emperor
read the interview previous to publication or not, no official
statement has been made; it is, however, quite certain that he did. At
all events it was sent, or sent back, to England and published in due
course. The immediate effect was a hubbub of discussion, accompanied
with general astonishment in England, a storm of popular resentment
and humiliation in Germany, and voluminous comment in other countries,
some of it favourable, some of it unfavourable, to the Emperor.

The text of the interview in the _Daily Telegraph_ was introduced, as
mentioned, with the words:--

We have received the following communication from a source
of such unimpeachable authority that we can without
hesitation commend the obvious message which it conveys to
the attention of the public.

And continued as follows:--

Discretion is the first and last quality requisite in a
diplomatist, and should still be observed by those who, like
myself, have long passed from public into private life. Yet
moments sometimes occur in the history of nations when a
calculated indiscretion proves of the highest public
service, and it is for that reason that I have decided to
make known the substance of a lengthy conversation which it
was my recent privilege to have with his Majesty the German
Emperor. I do so in the hope that it may help to remove that
obstinate misconception of the character of the Kaiser's
feelings towards England which, I fear, is deeply rooted in
the ordinary Englishman's breast. It is the Emperor's
sincere wish that it should be eradicated. He has given
repeated proofs of his desire by word and deed. But, to
speak frankly, his patience is sorely tried now that he
finds himself so continually misrepresented, and has so
often experienced the mortification of finding that any
momentary improvement of relations is followed by renewed
out-bursts of prejudice, and a prompt return to the old
attitude of suspicion.

As I have said, his Majesty honoured me with a long conversation, and
spoke with impulsive and unusual frankness. "You English," he said,

"are mad, mad, mad as March hares. What has come over you
that you are so completely given over to suspicions quite
unworthy of a great nation? What more can I do than I have
done? I declared with all the emphasis at my command, in my
speech at Guildhall, that my heart is set upon peace, and
that it is one of my dearest wishes to live on the best of
terms with England. Have I ever been false to my word?
Falsehood and prevarication are alien to my nature. My
actions ought to speak for themselves, but you listen not to
them but to those who misinterpret and distort them. That is
a personal insult which I feel and resent. To be for ever
misjudged, to have my repeated offers of friendship weighed
and scrutinized with jealous, mistrustful eyes, taxes my
patience severely. I have said time after time that I am a
friend of England, and your Press--or, at least, a
considerable section of it--bids the people of England
refuse my proffered hand, and insinuates that the other
holds a dagger. How can I convince a nation against its

"I repeat," continued his Majesty,

"that I am the friend of England, but you make things
difficult for me. My task is not of the easiest. The
prevailing sentiment among large sections _of_ the middle
and lower classes of my own people is not friendly to
England. I am, therefore, so to speak, in a minority in my
own land, but it is a minority of the best elements, just as
it is in England with respect to Germany. That is another
reason why I resent your refusal to accept my pledged word
that I am the friend of England. I strive without ceasing to
improve relations, and you retort that I am your arch-enemy.
You make it very hard for me. Why is it?"

Thereupon I ventured to remind his Majesty that not England alone, but
the whole of Europe had viewed with disapproval the recent action of
Germany in allowing the German Consul to return from Tangier to Fez,
and in anticipating the joint action of France and Spain by suggesting
to the Powers that the time had come for Europe to recognize Muley
Hand as the new Sultan of Morocco.

His Majesty made a gesture of impatience. "Yes," he said,

"that is an excellent example of the way in which German
action is misrepresented. First, then, as regards the
journey of Dr. Vassel. The German Government, in sending Dr.
Vassel back to his post at Fez, was only guided by the wish
that he should look after the private interests of German
subjects in that city, who cried for help and protection
after the long absence of a Consular representative. And why
not send him? Are those who charge Germany with having
stolen a march on the other Powers aware that the French
Consular representative had already been in Fez for several
months when Dr. Vassel set out? Then, as to the recognition
of Muley I Hand. The Press of Europe has complained with
much acerbity that Germany ought not to have suggested his
recognition until he had notified to Europe his full
acceptance of the Act of Algeciras, as being binding upon
him as Sultan of Morocco and successor of his brother. My
answer is that Muley Hafid notified the Powers to that
effect weeks ago, before the decisive battle was fought. He
sent, as far back as the middle of last July, an identical
communication to the Governments of Germany, France, and
Great Britain, containing an explicit acknowledgment that he
was prepared to recognize all the obligations towards Europe
which were incurred by Abdul Aziz during his Sultanate. The
German Government interpreted that communication as a final
and authoritative expression of Muley Hand's intentions, and
therefore they considered that there was no reason to wait
until he had sent a second communication, before recognizing
him as the _de facto_ Sultan of Morocco, who had succeeded
to his brother's throne by right of victory in the field."

I suggested to his Majesty that an important and influential section
of the German Press had placed a very different interpretation upon
the action of the German Government, and, in fact, had given it their
effusive approbation precisely because they saw in it a strong act
instead of mere words, and a decisive indication that Germany was once
more about to intervene in the shaping of events in Morocco. "There
are mischief-makers," replied the Emperor,

"in both countries. I will not attempt to weigh their
relative capacity for misrepresentation. But the facts are
as I have stated. There has been nothing in Germany's recent
action with regard to Morocco which runs contrary to the
explicit declaration of my love of peace which I made both
at Guildhall and in my latest speech at Strassburg."

His Majesty then reverted to the subject uppermost in his mind--his
proved friendship for England. "I have referred," he said,

"to the speeches in which I have done all that a sovereign
can to proclaim my goodwill. But, as actions speak louder
than words, let me also refer to my acts. It is commonly
believed in England that throughout the South African War
Germany was hostile to her. German opinion undoubtedly was
hostile--bitterly hostile. The Press was hostile; private
opinion was hostile. But what of official Germany? Let my
critics ask themselves what brought _to_ a sudden stop, and,
indeed, to absolute collapse, the European tour of the Boer
delegates who were striving to obtain European intervention?
They were feted in Holland; France gave them a rapturous
welcome. They wished to come to Berlin, where the German
people would have crowned them with flowers. But when they
asked me to receive them--I refused. The agitation
immediately died away, and the delegation returned
empty-handed. Was that, I ask, the action of a secret enemy?

"Again, when the struggle was at its height, the German
Government was invited by the Governments of France and
Russia to join with them in calling upon England to put an
end to the war. The moment had come, they said, not only to
save the Boer Republics, but also to humiliate England to
the dust. What was my reply? I said that so far from Germany
joining in any concerted European action to put pressure
upon England and bring about her downfall, Germany would
always keep aloof from politics that could bring her into
complications with a Sea Power like England. Posterity will
one day read the exact terms of the telegram--now in the
archives of Windsor Castle--in which I informed the
Sovereign of England of the answer I had returned to the
Powers which then sought to compass her fall. Englishmen who
now insult me by doubting my word should know what were my
actions in the hour of their adversity.

"Nor was that all. Just at the time of your Black Week, in
the December of 1899, when disasters followed one another in
rapid succession, I received a letter from Queen Victoria,
my revered grandmother, written in sorrow and affliction,
and bearing manifest traces of the anxieties which were
preying upon her mind and health. I at once returned a
sympathetic reply. Nay, I did more. I bade one of my
officers procure for me as exact an account as he could
obtain of the number of combatants in South Africa on both
sides, and of the actual position of the opposing forces.
With the figures before me, I worked out what I considered
to be the best plan of campaign under the circumstances, and
submitted it to my General Staff for their criticism. Then I
dispatched it to England, and that document, likewise, is
among the State papers at Windsor Castle, awaiting the
serenely impartial verdict of history. And, as a matter of
curious coincidence, let me add that the plan which I
formulated ran very much on the same lines as that which was
actually adopted by Lord Roberts, and carried by him into
successful operation. Was that, I repeat, the act of one who
wished England ill? Let Englishmen be just and say!

"But, you will say, what of the German navy? Surely that is
a menace to England! Against whom but England are my
squadrons being prepared? If England is not in the minds of
those Germans who are bent on creating a powerful fleet, why
is Germany asked to consent to such new and heavy burdens of
taxation? My answer is clear. Germany is a young and growing
Empire. She has a world-wide commerce, which is rapidly
expanding, and to which the legitimate ambition of patriotic
Germans refuses to assign any bounds. Germany must have a
powerful fleet to protect that commerce, and her manifold
interests in even the most distant seas. She expects those
interests to go on growing, and she must be able to champion
them manfully in any quarter of the globe. Germany looks
ahead. Her horizons stretch far away. She must be prepared
for any eventualities in the Far East. Who can foresee what
may take place in the Pacific in the days to come--days not
so distant as some believe, but days, at any rate, for which
all European Powers with Far Eastern interests ought
steadily to prepare? Look at the accomplished rise of Japan;
think of the possible national awakening of China; and then
judge of the vast problems of the Pacific. Only those Powers
which have great navies will be listened to with respect
when the future of the Pacific comes to be solved; and if
for that reason only Germany must have a powerful fleet. It
may even be that England herself will be glad that Germany
has a fleet when they speak together on the same side in the
great debates of the future."

Such was the purport of the Emperor's conversation. He spoke with all
that earnestness which marks his manner when speaking on deeply
pondered subjects. I would ask my fellow-countrymen who value the
cause of peace to weigh what I have written, and to revise, if
necessary, their estimate of the Kaiser and his friendship for England
by his Majesty's own words. If they had enjoyed the privilege, which
was mine, of hearing them spoken, they would doubt no longer either
his Majesty's firm desire to live on the best of terms with England or
his growing impatience at the persistent mistrust with which his offer
of friendship is too often received.

There are more indiscretions than one in the interview, but the most
important and most dangerous was the Emperor's statement that at the
time of the Boer War the Governments of France and Russia invited the
German Government to join with them "not only to save the Boer
Republics, but also to humiliate England to the dust." Such a
revelation coming from the Emperor ought, one would suppose, to have
caused serious trouble between Great Britain and her Entente friends.
That it did not is at once testimony to the cynicism of Governments
and the reality and strength of the Entente engagement. In private
life, if a fourth person confidentially told one of the three partners
in a firm that the other two partners had invited him to join them in
humiliating him to the dust, there would have been a pretty brisk, not
to say acrimonious correspondence between the proposed victim and his
partners. Governments, it appears, look on things differently, and so
far as the public knows, England simply took no notice of the
Emperor's communication. Possibly, however, the Emperor had put the
matter too strongly and an explanation of some kind was forthcoming.
If so, it must be looked for among the secret archives of the Foreign
Office. It was at once suggested that the Emperor made the revelation
expressly to weaken, if not destroy, the Entente. One can conceive
Bismarck doing such a thing; but it is more in keeping with the
Emperor's character, and with the indiscreet character of the entire
interview, to suppose it to be a proof of deplorable candour and

The excitement in Germany caused by the publication of the interview
soon took the shape of a determination on the part of the Chancellor
and the Federal Council, for once fully identifying themselves with
the feelings of Parliament, Press, and people, that "something must be
done," and it was decided that the Chancellor should go to Potsdam,
see the Emperor, and try to obtain from him a promise to be more
cautious in his utterances on political topics for the future. The
Chancellor went accordingly, being seen off from the railway terminus
in Berlin by a large crowd of people, among whom were many
journalists. To Dr. Paul Goldmann, who wished him God-speed, he could
only reply that he hoped all would be for the best. He looked pale and
grave, as well he might, since he was about to stake his own position
as well as convey a mandate of national reproach.

What passed at Potsdam between the Emperor and his Chancellor has not
transpired. Naturally there are various accounts of it, one of them
representing the Emperor as flying into a passion and for long
refusing to give the required guarantees; but as yet none of them has
been authenticated. It should not be difficult to imagine the mental
attitudes of the two men on the occasion, and especially not difficult
to imagine the sensations of the Emperor, a Prussian King, on being
impeached by a people--his people--for whom, his feeling would be, he
had done so much, and in whose best interests he felt convinced he had
acted; but whatever occurred, it ended in the Emperor bowing before
the storm and giving the assurances required.

The Chancellor's countenance and expressions on his return to Berlin
showed that his mission had been successful, and there was great
satisfaction in the capital and country. The text of these assurances,
which was published in the _Official Gazette_ the same evening, was as

"His Majesty, while unaffected by public criticism which he
regards as exaggerated, considers his most honourable
imperial task to consist in securing the stability of the
policy of the Empire while adhering to the principle of
constitutional responsibility. The Kaiser accordingly
endorses the statements of the Imperial Chancellor in
Parliament, and assures Prince von Buelow of his continued

After returning to Berlin, Prince Buelow gave in the Reichstag his
impatiently awaited account of the result of his mission, and made
what defence he could of his imperial master's action in allowing the
famous interview to be published. Before giving the speech, which was
delivered on November 10, 1908, it will be as well to quote the five
interpellations introduced in Parliament on the subject, as showing
the unanimity of feeling that existed in all parts of the House:--

1. By Deputy Bassermann (leader of the National Liberals):

"Is the Chancellor prepared to take constitutional
responsibility for the publication of a series of utterances
of his Majesty the Kaiser in the _Daily Telegraph_ and the
facts communicated therein?"

2. By Deputy Dr. Ablass (Progressive Party):

"Through the publication of utterances of the German Kaiser
in the _Daily Telegraph_, and through the communication of
the real facts in the _Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung_
caused by the Chancellor, matters have become known which
demonstrate serious short-comings in the treatment of
foreign affairs, and are calculated to influence
unfavourably the relations of the German Empire to other
Powers. What does the Chancellor propose to do to devise a
remedy and to give full effect to the responsibility
attributed to him by the Constitution of the German Empire?"

3. By Deputy Albrecht (Socialist):

"What is the Chancellor prepared to do to prevent such
occurrences as have become known through the _Daily
Telegraph's_ communications regarding acts and utterances of
the German Kaiser?"

4. By Deputy von Norman (Conservative Party):

"Is the Chancellor prepared to submit further information
regarding the circumstances which led to the publication of
utterances of his Majesty the Kaiser in the English Press?"

5. By Prince von Hatzfeldt and Freiherr von Gamp (Imperial

"Is the Chancellor willing to take precautions that such
occurrences as that brought to light by the publication in
the _Daily Telegraph_ shall not recur?"

In reply to the interpellations Prince von Buelow said:--

"Gentlemen, I shall not apply myself to every point which
has just been raised by previous speakers. I have to
consider the effect of my words abroad, and will not add to
the great harm already caused by the publication in the
_Daily Telegraph_ (hear, hear, on the Left and Socialists).

"In reply to the interpellations submitted, I have to
declare as follows:--

"His Majesty the Kaiser has at different times, and to
different private English personalities, made private
utterances which, linked together, have been published in
the _Daily Telegraph_. I must suppose that not all details
of the utterances have been correctly reproduced (hear,
hear, on the Right). One I know is not correct: that is the
story about the plan of campaign (hear, hear, on the right).
The plan in question was not a field campaign worked out in
detail, but a purely academic (laughter among the
Socialists)--Gentlemen, we are engaged in a serious
discussion. The matters on which I speak are of an earnest
kind and of great political importance--be good enough to
listen to me quietly: I will be as brief as possible. I
repeat therefore: the matter is not concerned with a field
campaign worked out in detail, but with certain purely
academic thoughts--I believe they were expressly described
as 'aphorisms'--about the conduct of war in general, which
the Kaiser communicated in his interchange of correspondence
with the late Queen Victoria. They are theoretical
observations of no practical moment for the course of
operations and the issue of the war. The chief of the
General Staff, General von Moltke, and his predecessor,
General Count Schlieffen, have declared that the General
Staff reported to the Kaiser on the Boer War as on every
war, great or small, which has occurred on the earth during
the last ten years. Both, however, have given assurances
that our General Staff never examined a field plan of
campaign, or anything similar, prepared by the Kaiser in
view of the Boer War, or forwarded such to England (hear,
hear, on the Right and Centre). But I must also defend our
policy against the reproach of being ambiguous _vis-a-vis_
the Boers. We had--the documents show it--given timely
warning to the Transvaal Government. We called its attention
to the fact that in case of a war with England it would
stand alone. We put it to her directly, and through the
friendly Dutch Government in May, 1899, peacefully to come
to an understanding with England, since there could be no
doubt as to the result of a war.

"In the question of intervention the colours in the article
of the _Daily Telegraph_ are too thickly laid on. The thing
itself had long been known (hear, hear). It was some time
previously the subject of controversy between the _National
Review_ and the _Deutsche Revue_. There can be no talk of a
'revelation.' It was said that the imperial communication to
the Queen of England, that Germany had not paid any
attention to a suggestion for mediation or intervention, is
a breach of the rules of diplomatic intercourse. Gentlemen,
I will not recall indiscretions to memory, for they are
frequent in the diplomatic history of all nations and at all
times ('Quite right,' on the Right). The safest policy is
perhaps that which need fear no indiscretion ('Quite right,'
on the Left). To pass judgment in particular cases as to
whether or not a breach of confidence has occurred, one must
know more of the closely connected circumstances than
appears in the article of the _Daily Telegraph_. The
communication might be justified if it were attempted in one
quarter or another to misrepresent our refusal or to throw
suspicion on our attitude; circumstances may have previously
happened which make allusion to the subject in a
confidential correspondence at least intelligible.
Gentlemen, I said before that many of the expressions used
in the _Daily Telegraph_ article are too strong. That is
true, in the first place, of the passage where the Kaiser is
represented as having said that the majority of the German
people are inimically disposed towards England. Between
Germany and England misunderstandings have occurred,
serious, regrettable misunderstandings. But I am conscious
of being at one with this entire honourable House in the
view that the German people desire peaceful and friendly
relations with England on the basis of mutual esteem (loud
and general applause)--and I take note that the speakers of
all parties have spoken to-day in the same sense ('Quite
right'). The colours are also too thickly laid on in the
place where reference is made to our interests in the
Pacific Ocean. It has been construed in a sense hostile to
Japan. Wrongly: we have never in the Far East thought of
anything but this--to acquire and maintain for Germany a
share of the commerce of Eastern Asia in view of the great
economic future of this region. We are not thinking of
maritime adventure there: aggressive tendencies have as
little to say to our naval construction in the Pacific as in
Europe. Moreover, his Majesty the Kaiser entirely agrees
with the responsible director of foreign policy in the
complete recognition of the high political importance which
the Japanese people have achieved by their political
strength and military ability. German policy does not regard
it as its task to detract from the enjoyment and development
of what Japan has acquired.

"Gentlemen, I am, generally speaking, under the impression
that if the material facts--completely, in their proper
shape--were individually known, the sensation would be no
great one; in this instance, too, the whole is more than all
the parts taken together. But above all, gentlemen, one must
not, while considering the material things, quite forget the
psychology, the tendency. For two decades our Kaiser has
striven, often under very difficult circumstances, to bring
about friendly relations between Germany and England. This
honest endeavour has had to contend with obstacles which
would have discouraged many. The passionate partisanship of
our people for the Boers was humanly intelligible; feeling
for the weaker certainly appeals to the sympathy. But this
partisanship has led to unjustified, and often unmeasured,
attacks on England, and similarly unjust and hateful attacks
have been made against Germany from the side of the English.
Our aims were misconstrued, and hostile plans against
England were foisted on us which we had never thought of.
The Kaiser, rightly convinced that this state of things was
a calamity for both countries and a danger for the civilized
world, kept undeviatingly on the course he had adopted. The
Kaiser is particularly wronged by any doubt as to the purity
of his intentions, his ideal way of thinking, and his deep
love of country.

"Gentlemen, let us avoid anything that looks like
exaggerated seeking for foreign favour, anything that looks
like uncertainty or obsequiousness. But I understand that
the Kaiser, precisely because he was anxious to work
zealously and honestly for good relationship with England,
felt embittered at being ever the object of attacks casting
suspicion on his best motives. Has one not gone so far as to
attribute to his interest in the German fleet secret views
against vital English interests--views which are far from
him. And so in private conversation with English friends he
sought to bring the proof, by pointing to his conduct, that
in England he was misunderstood and wrongly judged.

"Gentlemen, the perception that the publication of these
conversations in England has not had the effect the Kaiser
wished, and in our own country has caused profound agitation
and painful regret, will--this firm conviction I have
acquired during these anxious days--lead the Kaiser for the
future, in private conversation also, to maintain the
reserve that is equally indispensable in the interest of a
uniform policy and for the authority of the Crown ('Bravo!'
on the Right).

"If it were not so, I could not, nor could my successor,
bear the responsibility ('Bravo!' on the Right and National

"For the fault which occurred in dealing with the manuscript
I accept, as I have caused to be said in the _Norddeutsche
Allgemeine Zeitung_, entire responsibility. It also goes
against my personal feelings that officials who have done
their duty all their lives should be stamped as
transgressors because, in a single case, they relied too
much on the fact that I usually read and finally decide
everything myself.

"With Herr von Heydebrand I regret that in the mechanism of
the Foreign Office, which for eleven years has worked
smoothly under me, a defect should on one occasion occur. I
will answer for it that such a thing does not happen again,
and that with this object, without respect to persons,
though also without injustice, what is needful will be done

"When the article in the _Daily Telegraph_ appeared, its
fateful effect could not for a moment be doubtful to me, and
I handed in my resignation. This decision was unavoidable,
and was not difficult to come to. The most serious and most
difficult decision which I ever took in my political life
was, in obedience to the Kaiser's wish, to remain in office.
I brought myself to this decision only because I saw in it a
command of my political duty, precisely in the time of
trouble, to continue to serve his Majesty the Kaiser and the
country (repeated 'Bravo!'). How long that will be possible
for me, I cannot say.

"Let me say one thing more: at a moment when the fact that
in the world much is once again changing requires serious
attention to be given to the entire situation, wherever it
is matter of concern to maintain our position abroad, and
without pushing ourselves forward with quiet constancy to
make good our interests--at such a moment we ought not to
show ourselves small-spirited in foreign eyes, nor make out
of a misfortune a catastrophe. I will refrain from all
criticism of the exaggerations we have lived through during
these last days. The harm is--as calm reflection will
show--not so great that it cannot with circumspection be
made good. Certainly no one should forget the warning which
the events of these days has given us ('Bravo!')--but there
is no reason to lose our heads and awake in our opponents
the hope that the Empire, inwardly or outwardly, is maimed.

"It is for the chosen representatives of the nation to
exhibit the prudence which the time demands. I do not say it
for myself, I say it for the country: the support required
for this is no favour, it is a duty which this honourable
House will not evade (loud applause on the Right, hisses
from the Socialists)."

Prince Buelow's speech requires but little comment--its importance for
Germany is the fact that it brought to a head the country's feeling,
that if the Emperor's unlimited and unrestrained idea of his
heaven-sent mission as sole arbiter of the nation's destinies was not
checked, disaster must ensue. The speech itself is rather an apology
and an explanation than a defence, and in this spirit it was accepted
in Germany. It is fair to say that the Emperor has faithfully kept the
engagement made through Prince Buelow with his people so far, and
unless human nature is incurable there seems no reason why he should
not keep it to the end of the reign. More than four years have passed
since the incidents narrated occurred. The storm has blown over, the
sea of popular indignation has gone down, and at present no cloud is
visible on the horizon.

Besides the Tweedmouth Letter and the "November Storm" there were one
or two other notable events in the parliamentary proceedings of the
year. The Reichstag dealt with Prussian electoral reform and the
attitude of Germany towards the question of disarmament. As to the
first, the Government refused to regard it as an imperial concern,
though the popular claim was and is that the suffrage should be the
same in Prussia as in the Empire, viz., universal, direct, and secret.
This claim the Emperor will not listen to, on the ground that it would
injure the influence of the middle classes by the admission of
undesirable elements (meaning the Socialists); that the electoral
system for the Empire, with the latter's national tasks, should be on
a broader basis than in the case of the individual States, where the
electors are chiefly concerned with administration, the school, and
the Church; and that it would bring the Imperial and Prussian
Parliaments into conflict to the injury of German unity. The Emperor
has made only one reference to electoral reform in Prussia, a promise,
namely, he gave the Diet in October of this year, that the regulations
concerning the voting should experience

"an organic further development, which should correspond to
the economic progress, the spread of education and political
understanding, and the strengthening of the feeling of State

No reform, however, has yet been effected by legislation.

As to disarmament, Germany's position is simply negative, though it
may be noticed by anticipation that she has recently (1913) expressed
her disposition to accept the proportion of ten German to sixteen
English first-class battleships suggested by Sir Edward Grey in 1912
as offering the basis of a possibly permanent arrangement. At the time
now dealt with, however, Chancellor von Buelow asserted that no
proposal that could serve as a basis had ever been submitted to his
Government, and added that even if such a proposal were made it was
doubtful if it could be accepted. It was not merely the number of
ships, he said, that was involved; there were a host of technical
questions--standards, criteria of all sorts, which could not be
expressed in figures, economic progress abroad and the possible effect
of new scientific inventions--to be considered. Lastly there were the
navy laws, which the Government was pledged to carry out. As for
military disarmament, the Emperor and his advisers regard it as
impossible, considering the unfavourable strategic situation of
Germany in the midst of Europe, with exposed frontiers on every side.

This year the Emperor and his family took up their quarters for the
first time in their new Corfu spring residence "Achilleion." They were
met by the Royal Family of Greece, who showed them over the Castle,
and in the evening were welcomed by the mayor of Corfu, who, in a
flight of metaphor, said his people desired to wreathe the Emperor's
"Olympic brow" with a crown of olive. That the Emperor did not pass
his days wholly in admiring the beauty of the scenery was shown by the
fact that a few days after his arrival he delivered a lecture in the
Castle on "Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar," being prompted thereto
by a book on the subject by Captain Mark Kerr, of H.M.S. _Implacable_.
The Emperor illustrated his lecture with sketches drawn by himself of
the positions of the united French and Spanish fleets during the

Almost every year sees some specialty produced at the Royal Opera in
Berlin. This year it was Meyerbeer's "Les Huguenots," performed in the
presence of the French Ambassador in Berlin, Monsieur Jules Cambon,
and two directors of the Paris Opera. The Emperor told Monsieur
Messager, one of the latter, that he had taken an infinity of trouble
to get the right character, colour, and movement of the period of the
opera, and explained his interest in the work by the fact that he had
lost two of his ancestors, Admiral Coligny and the Prince of Orange,
in the historic massacre. This opera, with Verdi's "Aida," are still,
as given at the Royal Opera, the favourite operas of the Berlin

Americans, like all other people, regard the Emperor with friendly
feelings, but for a time this year their respect for him suffered some
diminution owing to what was known as the Tower-Hill affair. When the
American Ambassador in Berlin, Mr. Charlemagne Tower, resigned his
post in 1908, the Washington authorities found difficulty in choosing
a suitable successor. Mr. Tower was a wealthy man, who by his personal
qualities, aided by a talented wife, whom the Emperor once described
as "the Moltke of society," and by frequent entertainments in one of
the finest houses of the fashionable Tiergarten quarter, had fully
satisfied the Emperor of his fitness to represent a great nation at
the Court of a great Empire. The Emperor has a high opinion of his
country, and, in small things as in great, will not have it treated as
a _quantite negligeable_: consequently a millionaire was not too good
for Berlin. The impression produced by Mr. Tower on Republican America
was not quite the same. When Ambassador in St. Petersburg, Mr. Tower
had invented a Court uniform for himself and staff of a highly ornate,
not to say fantastic, kind, and when in Berlin was thought to take too
little trouble to win popularity among his American fellow-colonists.
This non-republican attitude, as it seemed to be, met with a good deal
of adverse criticism in America, and the Washington authorities, for
that or for some other reason, considered it advisable to choose as
Mr. Tower's successor a man of another type. Their choice fell on Dr.
David Jayne Hill, American Minister at Berne, a former President of
Rochester University, the author of a standard work on the History of
Diplomacy, and as renowned for the amiability of his character as for
his academic attainments. A further reason for choosing him was that
he had been attached to the service of the Emperor's brother, Prince
Henry, during the latter's visit to the United States some years
before. Dr. Hill spoke German excellently, was able and distinguished,
and, if not a man of great means, was sufficiently well-to-do to
represent his country becomingly at the Court of Berlin. His selection
was in due course communicated for _agrement_ to the German Foreign
Office, and by it, also in due course, transmitted to the Emperor. The
Emperor without more ado signed the _agrement_ and the arrival of Dr.
Hill in Berlin was daily expected.

Just at this time, however, Mr. Tower gave a farewell dinner to the
Emperor, and invited to it specially from Rome the American Ambassador
to Italy, Mr. Griscom. Mr. Griscom was accompanied by his clever and
attractive wife. The dinner-party assembled, and Mr. Griscom and his
wife were placed in the immediate neighbourhood of the Emperor. Before
dinner was over it was evident that the Griscoms had made a most
favourable impression on the imperial guest. Accordingly, so the story
goes, when towards the end of dinner the Emperor, in his impulsive
way, exclaimed, "Now, why didn't America send me the Griscoms instead
of the Hills?" or words to that effect, the company was not completely
taken by surprise. When, however, the Emperor went on to suggest to
his host to telegraph to President Roosevelt to make the change, it
became evident that an international incident of exceptional delicacy
had been created. Mr. Tower, who would perhaps have acted with better
judgment had he declined to adopt the Emperor's suggestion, cabled to
President Roosevelt, and at the same Mr. Griscom wrote to him
privately. Before Mr. Griscom's letter arrived, perhaps before Mr.
Roosevelt was in possession of Mr. Tower's telegram, the words of the
Emperor had become known in Berlin, were cabled to the American Press,
and much indignation at the Emperor's conduct was aroused in all parts
of America. The two Governments, as well as Dr. Hill, were placed in a
position of great embarrassment. In view of the state of public
opinion in America, and in view also of the American Government's
engagement _vis a vis_ Dr. Hill, the Washington authorities could not
withdraw a nominee who had been already signalled to it from Germany
as _persona grata_. The only way possible out of the difficulty was to
employ the machinery of the official _dementi_, and this was
accordingly done. It was denied by the Foreign Office that the Emperor
had expressed dissatisfaction with Dr. Hill's appointment, and the
incident closed with the carrying out of the original arrangements and
the arrival of Dr. Hill in Berlin. Subsequent events proved that had
the Emperor known Dr. Hill personally he would never have thought of
expressing dissatisfaction at the prospect of seeing him as Ambassador
at his Court, for Dr. Hill, during the two years of his stay, fully
vindicated the wisdom of the Washington Government's choice, and
before he left his post had earned the Emperor's complete respect, if
not his cordial friendship.




Next year, 1909, was the year of the famous finance reform measure
which, though finally carried through, led to the resignation of
Chancellor von Buelow. It had been obvious for some years that a
reorganization of the imperial system of finance with a view to
meeting the growing expenses of the Empire, and in especial those of
the army and navy, was necessary if imperial bankruptcy was to be
avoided. The practice of taking what were known as matricular
contributions from the separate States to make up for deficits in the
imperial budgets, and of burdening posterity by State loans, had one
day to cease. At the beginning of the reign the National Debt was 884
million marks (L44,200,000), and in 1908 over 4,000 million marks
(L200,000,000). A year before this Prince Buelow had made his first
proposals for reform, including new taxes on beer, wine, tobacco, and
succession duties on property.

All parties in Parliament, except of course the Social Democrats,
admitted that fresh imposts were inevitable, but, very naturally, no
party was willing to bear them. The Conservatives would not hear of an
inheritance tax and the Liberals would not hear of duties on popular
consumption. The result was to make the Centrum masters of the
political field and place the Conservative-Liberal "bloc" at its
mercy. After long discussion, the Government proposals were put to the
vote on June 24th, and as the Centrum threw in its lot with the
Conservatives, the proposals were rejected by 195 votes to 187. Prince
Buelow thereupon went to Kiel and tendered his resignation to the
Emperor, but at the latter's urgent request consented to remain in
office until financial reform in one shape or another had been
effected. This result was attained a month later, after much
compromising and discussion. The Chancellor renewed his request for
retirement, and the Emperor agreed. On the same day, July 14th, that
the resignation took effect, it was officially announced that Herr von
Bethmann-Hollweg, who had hitherto been Minister of the Interior, was
appointed to succeed Prince von Buelow as Imperial Chancellor.

An impression prevails widely in Germany that Prince Buelow's
retirement was due to the loss of the Emperor's favour owing to the
Prince's attitude towards the monarch during the "November storm."
Prince Buelow, very properly, has always refused to say anything about
his relations with his royal master, but a lengthy statement he made
to a newspaper correspondent referring his resignation to the conduct
of the Conservatives, and a letter from the Emperor gratefully
thanking the Prince in the warmest terms for his "long and intimate
co-operation," and conferring upon him at the same time the highest
Order in the Empire, that of the Black Eagle, should be sufficient
evidence to disprove the supposition. It is more probable that the
Prince was weary of the cares of office and of the strife of party.
Moreover, he had, in the state of his health, a strong private reason
for retirement. Four years before, on April 5, 1906, he had fallen
unconscious from his seat on the ministerial bench during the
proceedings in the Reichstag, and although he was back again in
Parliament, perfectly recovered, in the following November, the attack
was an experience which warned him against too great a prolongation of
such heavy work and responsibility as the Chancellorship entails.

The retirement of Prince Buelow meant the disappearance of the most
notable figure in German political life since the beginning of the
century. In ability, wit, and those graces of a refined and richly
cultivated mind which have so often distinguished great English
statesmen, he was a head and shoulders above any of his
fellow-countrymen; while the mere fact that he was able to maintain
his position for almost twelve years (he had been, as Foreign
Secretary for over two years, the Emperor's most trusted counsellor
and the real executive in foreign policy) is a convincing proof of his
tact and diplomatic talent, as well as of his statesmanship.

His successor, the present Chancellor, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, is a
man of another and very different type. He incorporates the spirit of
Prussian patriotism of the most orthodox kind in its worthiest and
best manifestations, but as yet he has given no proofs of possessing
the breadth of view, the oratorical talent, or the urbanity which
distinguished his predecessor. Prince von Buelow's career as a German
diplomatist in foreign capitals made him an acute and highly polished
man of the world. The present Chancellor has spent all his life within
the comparatively narrow confines of Prussian administrative service.
It is, of course, too soon to pass final judgment on him as German
Prime Minister.

The visit of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to Berlin in
February, 1909, disposed finally of the idea, which had prevailed in
Germany as well as abroad for two or three years, that England was
pursuing a policy aiming to bring about the "isolation" of Germany in
world-politics. The visit was an official one, paid, of course,
chiefly to the Emperor; but its most remarkable feature politics
apart, was the friendly relations which King Edward established with
the Berlin City Fathers at a reception in the Town Hall. It was not
that he said anything out of the way to the assembled burghers; but
his simple manner, genial remarks, and perhaps especially the
sympathetic way in which he handled the loving-cup offered by his
hosts, made an instantaneous and strong impression.

The controversy that raged round the so-called "Flora Bust"
contributed not a little to the gaiety of nations towards the close of
this year. The bust, an undraped wax figure, reproducing the features
of Leonardo da Vinci's famous "La Joconde," was bought by Dr. Wilhelm
Bode, Director of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin, for L8,000
from a London dealer as an authentic work of the celebrated Italian
painter, dating from about the year 1500. It was brought with a great
flourish of trumpets to Berlin, and a chorus of self-congratulation
was raised in Germany on the successful carrying off of such a prize
from England. The harmony, however, was rudely disturbed by the
publication of a letter from Mr. F.C. Cooksey, art critic of the
_Times_, stating that the bust was not by da Vinci at all, but was in
reality the work of Mr. R.C. Lucas, an artist of some note forty or
fifty years ago, and that it had for long occupied a pedestal in
Lucas's suburban garden.

The Emperor, whose curiosity as well as patriotism was aroused, spent
half an hour on November 11th discussing the bust with Dr. Bode and
examining an album containing photographs of the works of Lucas. At
the close of his inspection the Emperor expressed great delight at the
acquisition, as to the genuineness of which he declared he "had not
the slightest doubt," and said he did not regard the price paid as
extremely high. Unfortunately for the Emperor's conviction, a letter
now appeared in the _Times_ from Mr. A.C. Lucas, a son of R.C. Lucas,
who said he recollected the making of the bust, and suggested that
there might be found in its interior a piece of cloth, probably a part
of an old waistcoat of his father's, which had been used as a sort of
filling. In the presence of such a statement there was only one thing
left to be done: to examine the interior of the bust. First of all it
was subjected to the Roentgen rays, the result being to show that the
interior was not homogeneous. A few days after, there was a great
gathering of experts at the Museum, a hole was cut in the wax at the
back of the bust, a bent wire was introduced, and the search for the
famous piece of waistcoat began. It was a dramatic moment as Professor
Latghen with his wire explored the interior of the bust, and the
tension reached its highest point when the Professor, drawing from the
bust what was evidently a piece of cloth, exclaimed, "_Hier ist die
Veste!_" On being further withdrawn the substance proved to be about
two square inches of a grey, canvas-like material, feeling soft and
velvety to the touch. It was a disagreeable discovery for the Germans,
but it was got over by the suggestion that the original bust had been
entrusted to Lucas for repair, and that in this way the waistcoat had
got into it. The "poor English newspapers," Dr. Bode said, referring
to the sarcastic comments on the discovery from the other side of the
Channel, "had had, without any acquaintance with our bust or with the
work of its alleged forger, to give this particular form of expression
to their ill-humour at the sale." As a matter of fact, the bust,
whoever made it, is a lovely work of art, as every one who has seen it
readily admits.

The Emperor's friendship with Mr. Theodore Roosevelt, which was now to
be confirmed by personal acquaintance, throws a side light on his own
character, and testifies to his desire to keep in touch with the
rulers of other countries--another illustration, by the way, of his
consistency, since he laid down the policy of cultivating friendly
relations with foreign rulers at the very commencement of his reign.
Probably many letters in the large characteristic handwriting of both
men have passed between them, and there probably always existed a
desire on the part of the wielder of the mailed fist to make the
personal acquaintance of the advocate of the big stick. The meeting
occurred in May, 1910, after Mr. Roosevelt had shot wild beasts in
Africa, visited Egypt, London, Vienna, Rome, and other continental
cities, with a cohort of newspaper correspondents, and caused by his
speeches political, if fortunately harmless, disturbance almost
everywhere he went. When in Berlin he was to have lodged at the
Emperor's palace; but the Emperor's hospitable intent was frustrated
by the death of King Edward VII, which prevented all entertainment in
the home of his German nephew.

The Roosevelt party, consisting of the ex-President, Mrs. Roosevelt,
and Miss Ethel Roosevelt, arrived in Berlin on May 11th from
Stockholm, and at noon the same day were taken by royal train to
Potsdam. At the New Palace the party were heartily greeted by the
Emperor, whom they found standing on the steps waiting to receive
them. After shaking hands the Emperor led his guests into a small
reception-room, where they were introduced to the Empress, the Crown
Prince and Crown Princess, and other members of the imperial family.
The Emperor then took them to the Shell Room, so called from its being
inlaid with shells and rare stones, and here were found some of the
Emperor's high officials, including Admiral von Mueller, chief of the
Marine Cabinet, and one of the most able and amiable of the Emperor's
entourage, who had met Mr. Roosevelt when on his trip to America with
Prince Henry several years before. Luncheon followed at six small
tables in the Jasper Gallery, the Emperor taking his seat between Mrs.
Roosevelt and the Crown Princess, while the Empress had Mr. Roosevelt
on her left and her eldest son, the Crown Prince, on her right.
Princess Victoria Louise, the Emperor's only daughter, occupied a seat
on Mr. Roosevelt's left. After lunch was over the guests went back to
the Shell Room, and here the Emperor, taking Mr. Roosevelt apart,
began a conversation so long and animated that the shades of evening
began to fall before it ended. The Roosevelts did not return to Berlin
by train, but were first driven by the Emperor to inspect Sans Souci,
and were afterwards whirled back to Berlin in the yellow imperial

Only two other incidents of the visit need be mentioned. One of them
was a lecture on "The World Movement," delivered by Mr. Roosevelt in
very husky tones (for he was suffering badly from hoarseness) at
Berlin University, in the presence of the Emperor and Empress. The
other was a parade of 12,000 troops, arranged by the Emperor at
Doeberitz, the great military exercise camp near Potsdam, which Mr.
Roosevelt, clad in a khaki coat and breeches, and wearing brown
leather gaiters and black slouch hat, observed from horseback beside
the Emperor. As the troops went by at the close of the review the
Emperor and Mr. Roosevelt saluted in military fashion simultaneously.

Immediately after the visit of the Roosevelts, the Emperor was called
to England to attend the funeral of King Edward VII. The imperial
yacht _Hohenzollern_, with the Emperor on board, arrived in England on
May 19th. Next day the Emperor travelled to Victoria terminus, where
he was received and warmly embraced by King George. They proceeded to
Buckingham Palace, where the Emperor's first call was made on the
widowed Queen Alexandra. On the 21st took place the funeral of King
Edward, the procession to Westminster Abbey, where the service was
held, being headed by King George with the Emperor on his right and
the Duke of Connaught on his left. Both the Emperor and the Duke were
dressed in Field-Marshal's uniform and carried the batons of their
rank. The countenance of the Emperor is described by a chronicler of
the time (and the _Times_) as wearing "an expression grave even to

The procession moved slowly on to the famous Abbey, the Emperor riding
a grey horse, saluting at intervals as he rode along. On arrival at
the Abbey an incident occurred. As soon as Queen Alexandra's carriage
arrived and drew up, the Emperor, according to the accounts of
eyewitnesses, ran to the door of the carriage with so much alacrity
that he had reached it before the royal servants, and when it appeared
that her Majesty was not to alight from that side of the carriage, the
Emperor motioned the lacqueys round to the other door, and was there
before them to assist her Majesty. This he did, after himself opening
the door. The Emperor remained in England only a very few days after
the funeral, seeing old friends, among them Lord Kitchener.

As of interest to both Englishmen and Germans may be mentioned the
tour through India undertaken by the Crown Prince in November. Steele
once happily said of a Lady Hastings that "to love her was a liberal
education"; to make a tour through India, it might similarly be said,
is an education in the extent and character of British imperial power
and administration. The Crown Prince naturally devoted a goodly share
of his time to the delights of sport, including tiger-shooting and
pig-sticking, but he must also have learned much of England's fine
imperial spirit from his intercourse with an official hierarchy as
honest and conscientious as that of his own country. The Crown Prince,
on his return home, published a volume of hunting reminiscences which
does no small credit to him as an author.

The Emperor's "shining armour" political remark dates from this
period. He was on a visit to his Triplice ally, Kaiser Franz Josef, in
September, 1910, and made a speech at the Vienna Town Hall on the 21st
which contained a reference to the loyal conduct he claimed Germany
had observed when the action of Austria-Hungary in annexing Bosnia and
Herzegovina, despite the wording of the Treaty of Berlin, had raised
an outcry in other countries, and in particular strained Austrian
relations with Russia. After thanking his audience for the personal
reception given him, he continued:

"On the other hand, it seems to me I read in your resolution
the agreement of the city of Vienna with the action of an
ally in taking his stand in shining armour at a grave moment
by the side of your most gracious sovereign."

The outcry caused in the world by Austria's high-handed annexation,
and especially in Russia, theoretically always Austria's most probable
enemy, owing to conflicting interests in the Balkans, subsided, we
know, as suddenly as it was raised. The reason, it is currently
believed, and the form in which the rays of the shining armour acted,
was an intimation from the Emperor to the Czar that, if necessary,
Germany was prepared to fight for Austria.

Peoples are said to have the institutions, and husbands the wives,
they deserve; but if German cities, and especially Berlin, have the
police they deserve, the fact speaks very uncomplimentarily for their
inhabitants. Foreigners in Germany, coming from countries where
manners are more natural and obliging, frequently use the adjectives
"brutal" and "stupid" when speaking of the Prussian constable. The
proceedings of the Berlin police during the Moabit riots in the
capital in September this year are often quoted as an example of their
brutality, while, as to stupidity, it is enough to say that a stranger
in Berlin, discussing its mounted police, naively remarked that what
most struck him about them was the look of intelligence on the faces
of the horses. Judgments of this kind are too sweeping. It should be
remembered that Germany is surrounded by countries of which the
riff-raff is at all times seeking refuge in it or passing through it,
that polyglot swindlers of every kind, the most refined as well as the
most commonplace, abound, and that Anarchists are not yet an extinct
species. For the Prussian police, moreover, there is a Social Democrat
behind every bush.

Possibly to this condition of things, and to the suspicion that Social
Democratic organizers were about, was due the gallant charge made by
half a dozen policemen, with drawn swords in their hands and revolvers
at their belts, on four inoffensive English and American journalists
during the Moabit riots. Towards midnight of September 29th the
journalists were seated in an open taximeter cab, in a brilliantly
lighted square, which some little time before had been swept of
rioters--rioters from the Berlin police point of view being any one,
man, woman, or child, who is, with guilty or innocent intent, it makes
no difference, in or near a theatre of disturbance. Suddenly half a
dozen burly policemen, led on by a police spy, as he afterwards turned
out to be, charged the cab and laid about them with their swords. They
probably only intended to use the flat of their weapons, but one of
them succeeded in slashing deeply the hand of Reuter's representative,
who was of the party. The other journalists escaped with contusions
and bruises, thanks chiefly to the sides of the cab impeding the
sword-play of the attackers.

The journalists naturally complained to their Ambassadors, who took up
their cause with commendable readiness. Without immediate effect,
however; the authorities, though themselves very strong on the point
of duty, wondered much at journalists being in a place where duty
alone could have brought them, and refused any sort of apology or
other satisfaction. The Government, however, eventually expressed its
"regret," and a year or two after, possibly in the spirit of
conciliation and compensation, agreed to give foreign journalists in
Berlin the _passe-partout_, or _coupe-fil_, as it is known in France,
which is one of the privileges most valued by the journalist, native
and foreign, in Paris.

Among the international agreements of the year was a commercial one
between Germany and America. Commercial relations between the two
countries have never been quite satisfactory to either, and if there
is no tariff war, occasions of tariff tension, with consequent
disturbance of trade, constantly arise. Germany's European commercial
treaties have secured her a sufficiency of raw material for her
industry. Her chief object now is not so much perhaps to facilitate
imports of material from other countries as to find markets, in
America as elsewhere, for her industry's finished products.
Consequently she strongly dislikes the high tariff barriers of the
United States, inaugurated by the Dingley tariff of 1897, and has in
addition certain grievances against that country regarding customs
administration in respect of appraisement, invoices, and the like. Her
commercial connexion with America dates from the treaty of "friendship
and commerce" made by Frederick the Great, and having the
most-favoured-nation treatment as its basis; a regular treaty of the
same kind between Prussia and America was entered into in 1828; and
since then commercial relations have been regulated provisionally by a
series of short-term agreements which, however, America claims, do not
confer on Germany unrestricted right to most-favoured-nation
treatment. By the agreement now in force, concluded this year (1910),
America and Germany grant each other the benefit of their minimum

Since the "November storm" the Emperor had made no reference to the
doctrine of Divine Right, nor given any indication of a desire to
exercise the "personal regiment" which is the natural corollary to it.
It has been seen that the doctrine, viewed from the English
standpoint, is a species of mental malady to which Hohenzollern
monarchs are hereditarily subject. It recurs intermittently and
particularly whenever a Hohenzollern monarch speaks in Koenigsberg,
the Scone of Prussia, where Prussian Kings are crowned. When at
Koenigsberg this year the Emperor suffered from a return of the royal
_idee fixe_. "Here my grandfather," he said,

"placed, by his own right, the crown of the Kings of Prussia
on his head, once again laying stress upon the fact that it
was conferred upon him by the Grace of God alone, not by
Parliament, by meetings of the people, or by popular
decisions; and that he considered himself the chosen
instrument of Heaven and as such performed his duties as
regent and as ruler."

Speaking of himself on the occasion he said:

"Considering myself as an Instrument of the Lord, without
being misled by the views and opinions of the day, I go my
way, which is devoted solely and alone to the prosperity and
peaceful development of our Fatherland."

The Emperor, by the way, on this occasion made what sounds like an
indirect reference to the Suffragette craze. "What shall our women,"
he asked, after mentioning the pattern Queen of Prussia, Queen Louise,

"learn from the Queen? They must learn that the principal
task of the German woman does not lie in attending public
meetings and belonging to societies, in the attainment of
supposed rights in which women can emulate men, but in the
quiet work of the home and in the family."

The Emperor's reference to his divine appointment did not pass without
a good deal of popular criticism in Germany, but nearly all Germans
were at one with the Emperor in his view of the proper sphere for
womanly activities.

The Emperor's domestic life for the last two or three years, including
the early months of the present year, have passed without special
cause of interest or excitement, if we except the visit he and the
Empress made to London in May, 1911, to be present at the unveiling of
Queen Victoria's statue, and the announcement he was able to make a
few months ago that his only daughter, Princess Victoria Louise, had
become engaged to Prince Ernest August, Duke of Cumberland, the still
persisting claimant to the Kingdom of Hannover, absorbed by Prussia in
1866. The visit to London lasted only five days and produced no
incident particularly worthy of record. The engagement of Princess
Victoria Louise, while generally believed to be a love-match,
possesses also political significance for Germany, not indeed as
putting an end to the claim of the Duke of Cumberland, but as
practically effecting a reconciliation between the Hohenzollerns and
Guelphs. The young Duke of Brunswick had already implicitly renounced
his claim to Hannover by entering the German army and taking the oath
of allegiance to the Emperor as War Lord, so that, when his father
dies, the Guelph claim to Hannover will die with him.

It is difficult to determine whether the Government's abandonment of
its design to amend the Prussian franchise system in 1910, its
submissive attitude towards the Pope's Borromeo Encyclical in 1911,
the rapid rise in food prices which marked both years, or finally, the
Emperor's failure to secure a slice of Morocco for Germany had most
antagonizing effect on German popular feeling; but whatever the cause,
the general elections of January, 1912, proved a tremendous Socialist
victory, which must have been, and still remains, gall and wormwood to
the Emperor. Notwithstanding official efforts, over one-third of the
votes polled at the first ballots went for Social Democratic
candidates. The number of seats thus obtained was 64, and this number,
after the second ballots, rose to 110, thus making the Socialist party
numerically the strongest in the Reichstag. Up to the present,
however, Herr Bebel and his cohorts appear to be happy in possessing
power rather than in using it.

Before completing the Emperor's domestic chronicle of more recent
years, a few lines may be devoted to the role in which he has last
appeared before the public--that of farmer. On February 12, 1913, he
attended a meeting of the German Agricultural Council in Berlin, and
with only a few statistical notes to help him narrated in lively and
amusing fashion his experiences as owner of a farm, the management of
which he has been personally supervising since 1898. The farm is part
of the Cadinen Estate, bequeathed to him by an admirer and universally
known for the majolica ware made out of the clay found on the
property. The Emperor was able to show that he had achieved remarkable
success with his farm, and particularly with a fine species of bull,
_Bos indicus major_, he maintained on it. A year or two before, at a
similar meeting, when speaking of the same breed of bull, he caused
much hilarity among the military portion of his audience by jokingly
remarking that it had "nothing to do with the General Staff." On the
present occasion he also caused laughter by recounting how he had
"fired," to use an American expression exactly equivalent to the
German word employed by the Emperor, a tenant who "wasn't any use."
The Emperor, however, would, as it turned out, have done better by not
mentioning the incident, for the Supreme Court at Leipzig a few days
subsequently quashed the Emperor's order of ejectment on the tenant
and condemned him to pay all the costs in the case. The role of
farmer, it may be added, is one which, had he been born a country
gentleman like Bismarck, the Emperor would have filled with complete
success. But in what role would he not have done well?

Foreign politics everywhere for the last three or four years have been
full of incident, outcry, and bloodshed. The state of things, indeed,
prevailing in the world for some time past is extraordinary. A
visitant from another planet would imagine that normal peace and
abnormal war had changed places, and that civilized mankind now regard
peace as an interlude of war, not war as an interlude of peace. He
would be wrong, of course, but the race in armament, which threatens
to leave the nations taking part in it financially breathless and
exhausted, might easily lead him astray. On some of the situations
with which these politics are concerned we may briefly touch.

For the last three or four years the dominant note in the music of
what is called the European Concert, taking Europe for the moment to
include Great Britain, has been the state of Anglo-German relations.
There have been times, as has been seen, when public feeling in both
England and Germany was strongly antagonized, but all through the
period there has been evident a desire on the part of both Governments
to adopt a mutually conciliatory attitude, and if the war in the
Balkans does not lead to a general international conflagration, which
at present appears improbable, the two countries may arrive at a
permanent understanding. There was, and not so very long ago, a
similar state of tension, prolonged for many years, between England
and France. That tension not only ceased, but was converted into
political friendship by the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904. Parallel
with this tension between England and France was the tension between
England and Russia, owing to the latter's advance towards England's
Indian possessions. The latter state of things ended with the
Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1907, and it should engender satisfaction
and hope, therefore, to those who now apprehend a war between England
and Germany to note that neither of the tensions referred to, though
both were long and bitter, developed into war.

The tension between England and Germany of late years has been
tightened rather than relaxed by ministerial speeches as well as by
newspaper polemics in both countries. One of the most disturbing of
the former was the speech delivered by Mr. Lloyd George at the Mansion
House on July 21, 1911. Doubtless with the approval of the Prime
Minister, Mr. Asquith, Mr. Lloyd George said:

"I believe it is essential, in the highest interest not
merely of this country, but of the world, that Britain
should at all hazards maintain her place and her prestige
amongst the Great Powers of the world. Her potent influence
has many a time been in the past, and may yet be in the
future, invaluable to the cause of human liberty. It has
more than once in the past redeemed continental nations,
which are sometimes too apt to forget that service, from
overwhelming disasters and even from national extinction. I
would make great sacrifices to preserve peace. I conceive
that nothing would justify a disturbance of international
goodwill except questions of the gravest national moment.
But if a situation were to be forced upon us in which peace
could only be preserved by the surrender of the great and
beneficent position Britain has won by centuries of heroism
and achievement, by allowing Britain to be treated, where
her interests are vitally affected, as if she were of no
account in the cabinet of nations, then I say emphatically
that peace at that price would be a humiliation intolerable
for a great country like ours to endure."

These rhetorical platitudes were uttered at the time of the
"conversations" between the French and German Foreign Offices about
the compensation claimed by Germany for giving France, once for all, a
free hand in Morocco. Germany was apparently making demands of an
exorbitant character, and what Mr. Lloyd George really meant was that
if Germany persisted in these demands England would fight on the side
of France in order to resist them. As a genuinely democratic speaker,
however, he followed the rule of many publicists, who are paid for
their articles by the column and say to themselves, "Why use two words
when five will do?"

Another unfortunate remark that may be noted in this connexion was
that made by Mr. Winston Churchill in referring to the German navy as
"to some extent a luxury." The remark, though true (also to a certain
extent), was unfortunate, for it irritated public opinion in Germany,
where it was regarded as a species of impertinent interference.

As evidence of the desire on the part of the Emperor and his
Government for a friendly arrangement with England may be quoted the
statement made in December, 1910, by the German Chancellor, Herr von
Bethmann-Hollweg, _to_ the following effect:--

"We also meet England in the desire to avoid rivalry in
regard to armaments, and non-binding _pourparlers_, which
have from time to time taken place, have been conducted on
both sides in a friendly spirit. We have always advanced the
opinion that a frank and sincere interchange of views,
followed by an understanding with regard to the economic and
political interests of the two countries, offers the surest
means of allaying all mistrust on the subject of the
relations of the Powers to each other on sea and land."

The Chancellor went on to explain that this mistrust had manifested
itself "not in the case of the Governments, but of public opinion."

With regard, in particular, to a naval understanding between England
and Germany, Chancellor von Buelow, in a Budget speech in March, 1909,
declared that up to that time no proposals regarding the dimensions of
the fleets or the amount of naval expenditure which could serve as a
basis for an understanding had been made on the side of England,
though non-binding conversations had taken place on the subject
between authoritative English and German personalities. In March last
year (1912) such proposals may be said to have been made in the form
of a suggestion by Sir Edward Grey during the Budget debate that the
ratio of 16 to 10 (i.e., 50 per cent. more and 10 per cent. over)
should express the naval strength of the two countries. The suggestion
was "welcomed" by Admiral von Tirpitz on behalf of Germany in
February, 1913. And there the matter rests.

A perhaps inevitable result of the tension between England and Germany
during the period under consideration has been the amount of mutual
espionage discovered to be going on in both countries. An incident
that attracted wide attention was the arrest in 1910 of Captains
Brandon and Trench, the former of whom was arrested at Borkum and the
latter at Emden. They were tried before the Supreme Court at Leipzig,
and were both sentenced to incarceration in a fortress for four years.
Many other arrests, prosecutions, and sentences have taken place both
in England and Germany since then, with the consequence that English
travellers in Germany and German travellers in England, particularly
where the travellers are men of military bearing and are in seaside
regions, are now liable, under very small provocation, to a suspicion
of being spies. An English lady recently made the acquaintance of a
German in England. He was a very nice man, she said, and went on to
relate how they were talking one day about Ireland. She happened to
mention Tipperary. "Oh, I know Tipperary," the German officer said;
"it is in my department." "It was a revelation to me," the lady
concluded when repeating the conversation to her friends. As a matter
of fact, the Intelligence Departments of the army in both Germany and
England are well acquainted with the roads, hills, streams, forts,
harbours, and similar details of topography in almost all countries of
the world besides their own.

In regard to 1911 should be recorded the journey of the Crown Prince
and Crown Princess to England to represent the Emperor at the
coronation of King George in June; the outbreak in September of the
Turco-Italian War, which placed the Emperor in a dilemma, of which one
fork was his duty to Italy as an ally in the Triplice and the other
his platonic friendship with the Commander of the Faithful; and,
lastly, the suspicion of the Emperor's designs that arose in connexion
with the fortification of Flushing at a cost to Holland of some
L3,000,000. The Emperor was supposed to have insisted on the
fortification in order to prevent the use of the Netherlands by Great
Britain as a naval base against Germany. Like many another scare in
connexion with foreign policy, the supposition may be regarded only as
a product of intelligent journalistic "combination."

Finally, among subsidiary occurrences, should be mentioned the meeting
of the Emperor and the Czar in July, 1912, at Port Baltic in Finnish
waters, accompanied by their Foreign Ministers, with the official
announcement of the stereotyped "harmonious relations" between the two
monarchs that followed; and the premature prolongation, with the
object of showing solidarity regarding the Balkan situation, of the
Triple Alliance, which, entered into, as mentioned earlier, in the
year 1882, had already been renewed in 1891, 1896, and 1902. The next
renewal should be in 1925, unless in the meantime an international
agreement to which all Great Powers are signatories should render it

The war in the Balkans need only be referred to in these pages in so
far as it concerns Germany. The position of Germany in regard to it,
so far, appears simple; she will actively support Austria's larger
interests in order to keep faith with her chief ally of the Triplice,
and so long as Austria and Russia can agree regarding developments in
the Balkan situation, there is no danger of war among the Great
Powers. People smiled at the declaration of the Powers some little
time ago that the _status quo_ in the Balkans should be maintained;
but it should be remembered that the whole phrase is _status quo ante
bellum_, and that, once war has broken out, the _status_, the position
of affairs, is in a condition of solution, and that no new _status_
can arise until the war is over and its consequences determined by
treaties. The result of the present war, let it be hoped, will be to
confine Turkey to the Orient, where she belongs, and that the Balkan
States, possibly after a period of internecine feud, will take their
share in modern European progress and civilization.

The amount of declaration, asseveration, recrimination (chiefly
journalistic), rectification, intimidation, protestation,
pacification, and many other wordy processes that have been employed
in almost all countries with the avowed object of maintaining peace
during the last four years is in striking contrast to the small
progress actually made in regard to a final settlement of either of
the two great international points at issue--the limitation of
armaments and compulsory arbitration.

Enough perhaps has been said in preceding pages to show the attitude
of the Emperor, and consequently the attitude of his Government,
towards them. A history of the long agitation in connexion with them
is beyond the scope of this work. The agitation itself, however, may
be viewed as a step, though not a very long one, on the way to the
desired solution, and it is a matter for congratulation that the two
subjects have been, and are still being, so freely and copiously and,
on the whole, so sympathetically and hopefully ventilated. The great
difficulty, apparently, is to find what diplomatists call the proper
"formula"--the law-that-must-be-obeyed. Unfortunately, the finding of
the formula cannot be regarded as the end of the matter; there still
remains the finding of what jurists call the "sanction," that is to
say, the power to enforce the formula when found and to punish any
nation which fails to act in accordance with it. Nothing but an
Areopagus of the nations can furnish such a sanction, but with the
present arrangements for balancing power in Europe, to say nothing of
the ineradicable pugnacity, greed, and ambition of human nature, such
an Areopagus seems very like an impossibility. Time, however, may
bring it about. If it should, and the Golden Age begin to dawn, an
epoch of new activities and new horizons, quite possibly more novel
and interesting than any which has ever preceded it, will open for



What strikes one most, perhaps, on looking back over the Emperor's
life and time, are two surprising inconsistencies, one relating to the
Emperor himself, the other to that part of his time with which he has
been most closely identified.

The first arises from the fact that a man so many-sided, so impulsive,
so progressive, so modern--one might almost say so American--should
have altered so little either in character or policy during quarter of
a century. This is due to what we have called his mediaeval nature. He
is to-day the same Hohenzollern he was the day he mounted the throne,
observing exactly the same attitude to the world abroad and to his
folk at home, tenacious of exactly the same principles, enunciating
exactly the same views in politics, religion, morals, and art--in
everything which concerns the foundations of social life. He still
believes himself, as his speeches and conduct show, the selected
instrument of Heaven, and acts towards his people and addresses them
accordingly. He still opposes all efforts at political change, as
witness his attitude towards electoral reform, towards the
Germanization of Prussian Poland, towards the Socialists, towards
Liberalism in all its manifestations. He is still, as he was at the
outset of his reign, the patron of classical art, classical drama, and
classical music. He is still the War Lord with the spirit of a bishop
and a bishop with the spirit of the War Lord. He is still the model
husband and father he always has been. Most men change one way or
another as time goes on. With the Emperor time for five-and-twenty
years appears to have stood still.

The inconsistency relating to his time arises from the contrast
between the real and the seeming character of the reign. For,
strikingly and anomalously enough, while the Emperor has been steadily
pursuing an economic policy, a policy of peace, his entire reign, as
one turns over the pages of its history, seems to resound, during
almost every hour, with martial shoutings, confused noises, the
clatter of harness, the clash of swords, and the tramp of armies. From
moment to moment it recalls those scenes from Shakespearean drama in
which indeed no dead are actually seen upon the stage, but at
intervals the air is filled with battle cries, "with excursions and
alarms," with warriors brandishing their weapons, calling for horses,
hacking at imaginary foes, and defying the world in arms.

And yet in reality it has been a period of domestic peace throughout.
Though there has been incessant talk of war, and at times war may have
been near, it never came, unless the South West African and Boxer
expeditions be so called. Commerce and trade have gone on increasing
by leaps and bounds. The population has grown at the rate of nearly
three-quarters of a million a year. Emperor William the First's social
policy has been closely followed. The navy has been built, the army
strengthened, the Empire's finances reorganized; in whatever direction
one looks one finds a record of solid and substantial and peaceful
progress and prosperity. A great deal of it is owing, admittedly, to
the Germans themselves, but no small share of it is due to the
"impulsive" Emperor's consistency of character and conduct.

Probably the inconsistencies are only apparent. Germany and her
Emperor have grown, not developed, if by development is meant a
radical alteration in structure or mentality, and if regard is had to
the real Germany and the real Emperor, not to the Germany of the
tourist, and not to the Emperor of contemporary criticism. It has been
seen that the Emperor's nature and policy have not altered. The
Constitution of Germany has not altered, nor her Press, nor her
political parties, nor her social system, nor, indeed, any of the
vital institutions of her national life. With one possible
exception--the navy. The navy is a new organic feature, and, like all
organisms, is exerting deep and far-reaching influences. Germany, of
course, is in a process of development, a state of transition. But
nations are at all times in a state of transition, more or less
obvious; and it will require yet a good many years to show what new
forms and fruits the development now going on in Germany is to bring.
The Emperor, it is safe to say, will remain the same, mediaeval in
nature, modern in character, to the end of his life.

The main thing, however, to be noted both about Germany and the German
Emperor is what they stand for in the movement of world-ideas at the
present time. Germans cause foreigners to smile when they prophesy
that their culture, their civilization, will become the culture and
the civilization of the world. The sameness of ideas that prevailed in
mediaeval times about life and religion--about this life and the life
to come--was succeeded, and first in Germany, by an enormous diversity
of ideas about life and religion, beginning with the Rationalism (or
"enlightenment," as the Germans call it) which set in after the
Reformation and the Renaissance; and this diversity again
promises--let us at least hope--to go back, in one of the great
circles that make one think human thought, too, moves in accordance
with planetary laws, to a sameness of views among the nations in
regard to the real interests of society, which are peace, religious
harmony through toleration, commercial harmony through international
intercourse, and the mutual goodwill of governments and peoples. For
all this order of ideas the Emperor, notwithstanding his mailed fist
and shining armour, stands, and in this spirit both he and the German
mind are working.

More than half a century has passed over the Emperor's head; let us
look a little more closely at him as the man and the monarch he is
to-day. Time appears to have dealt gently with him; the heart, one
hears it said, never grows bald, and in all but years the Emperor is
probably as young and untiring as ever.

His personal appearance has altered little in the last decade. An
observer, who had an opportunity of seeing him at close quarters in
1902, describes him, as he then appeared, as follows:--

"I was standing within arm's length of him at Cuxhaven,
where we were waiting the landing of Prince Henry, his
brother, on his return from America. The _Deutschland_ had
to be warped alongside the quay, and the Emperor, in the
uniform of a Prussian general of infantry, meanwhile mixed
with the suite and chatted, now to one, now to another, with
his usual bonhomie. I was speaking to the American attache,
Captain H----, when the Emperor came up, and naturally I
stood a little to one side.

"The thing that most struck me was the Emperor's large grey
eyes. As they looked sharply into those of Captain H---- or
glanced in my direction, they seemed to show absolutely no
feeling, no sentiment of any kind. Not that they gave the
notion of hardness or falsity. They were simply like two
grey mirrors on which outward things made no impression.

"Two other features did not strike me as anything out of the
ordinary, but the whole face had an air of ability,
cleverness, briskness, and health. The Emperor is about
middle height, with the body very erect, the walk firm, and
is very energetic in his gestures. I did not notice the
shortness of the left arm, but that may have been because
his left hand was leaning on his sword-hilt. Captain H----
told me he could not put on his overcoat without assistance,
and that the hand is so weak he can do very little with it.
There was nothing of a Hohenzollern hanging under-lip."

The following judgment was formed a year or two ago by an American
diplomatist: "I have often met him," the diplomatist said,

"and only speak of the impression he made on me. I would
describe him as intelligent rather than intellectual. He
appreciates men of learning and of philosophic mind, and
while not learned and philosophic himself, enjoys seeing the
learned and philosophic at work, and gladly recognizes their
merit when their labours are thorough and well done. His
mind is marvellously quick, but it does not dwell on
anything for long at a time. It takes in everything
presented to it in, so to speak, a hop, skip, and jump.

"In company he is never at rest, and surprises one by his
lively play of features and the entirely natural and
unaffected expression of his thoughts. He is sitting at a
lecture, perhaps, when a notion occurs to him, and forthwith
indicates it by a humorous grimace or wink to some one
sitting far away from him. He is always saying unexpected
things. On the whole, he is a right good fellow, and I can
imagine that, though he can come down hard on one with a
heavy hand and stern look, he does not do so by the instinct
of a despot, but acting under a sense of duty."

Another diplomatist has remarked the Emperor's habit in conversation
of tapping the person he is talking to on the shoulder and of
scrutinizing him all over--"ears, nose, clothes, until it makes one
feel quite uncomfortable."

The next sketch of him is as he may be seen any day during the
yachting week in June at Kiel:--

"The Emperor is in the smoking-room of the Yacht Club,
dressed in a blue lounge suit with a white peaked cap. He is
sitting carelessly on the side of a table, dangling his legs
and discussing with fellow-members and foreign yachtsmen the
experience of the day, now speaking English, now French, now
German. He seems quite in his element as sportsman, and puts
every one at ease round him. His expression is animated and
his voice hearty, if a little strident to foreign ears. His
right hand and arm are in ceaseless movement, emphasizing
and enforcing everything he says. He asks many questions and
often invites opinion, and when it differs from his own, as
sometimes happens, he takes it quite good-humouredly."

To-day the Emperor is outwardly much the same as he has just been
described. He is perhaps slightly more inclined to stoutness. His
features, though they speak of cleverness and manliness, are forgotten
as one looks into the keen and quickly moving grey eyes with their
peculiar dash of yellow. He is well set up, as is proper for a soldier
ever actively engaged in military duties, and his stride continues
firm and elastic. He is still constantly in the saddle. His hair,
still abundant, is yet beginning to show the first touches of the
coming frost of age, and the reddish brown moustache, once famous for
its haughtily upturned ends, has taken, either naturally or by the aid
of Herr Haby, the Court barber, who attends him daily, a nearly level

In public, whether mounted or on foot, he preserves the somewhat stern
air he evidently thinks appropriate to his high station, but more
frequently than formerly the features relax into a pleasant smile. The
colour of the face is healthy, tending to rosiness, and the general
impression given is that of a clever man, conscious, yet not
overconscious, of his dignity. The shortness of the left arm, a defect
from birth, is hardly noticeable.

The extirpation of a polypus from the Emperor's throat in 1903, which
must have been one of the severest trials of his life when the history
of his father's mortal illness is remembered, might lead one to
suppose that his vocal organs would always suffer from the effects of
the operation. It has fortunately turned out otherwise. His voice was
originally strong by nature, and remains so. It never seems tired,
even when, as it often does, it pleases him to read aloud for his own
pleasure or that of a circle of friends. It frequently occurs that he
will pick up a book, one of his ancient favourites, Horace or Homer
perhaps, Mr. Stewart Houston Chamberlain's "Foundations of the
Nineteenth Century"--a work he greatly admires--or a modern
publication he has read of in the papers, and read aloud from it for
an hour or an hour and a half at a time. Nor is his reading aloud
confined to classical or German books. He is equally disposed to
choose works in English or French or Italian, and when he reads these
he is fond of doing so with a particularly clear and distinct
enunciation, partly as practice for himself, and partly that his
hearers may understand with certainty. This is not all, for there
invariably follows a discussion upon what has been read, and in it the
Emperor takes a constant and often emphatic part. It has been remarked
that at the close of the longest sitting of this character his voice
is as strong and sonorous as at the beginning.

He is still the early riser and hard worker he has always been; still
devotes the greater part of his time to the duties that fall to him as
War Lord; still races about the Empire by train or motor-car,
reviewing troops, laying foundation-stones, unveiling statues,
dedicating churches, attending manoeuvres, encouraging yachting at
Kiel by his presence during the yachting week, or hurrying off to meet
the monarch of a foreign country. He still enjoys his annual trip
along the shores of Norway or breaks away from the cares of State to
pass a few weeks at his Corfu castle, dazzling in its marble whiteness
and overlooking the Acroceraunian mountains, or to hunt or shoot at
the country seat of some influential or wealthy subject. In fine, he
is still engaged with all the energy of his nature, if in a somewhat
less flamboyant fashion than during his earlier years, in his, as he
believes, divinely appointed work of guiding Prussia's destiny and
building up the German Empire.

It is because he is an Empire-builder that his numerous journeys
abroad and restlessness of movement at home have earned for him the
nickname of the "travelling Kaiser." The Germans themselves do not
understand his conduct in this respect. If one urges that Hohenzollern
kings, and none of them more than the Great Elector and Frederick the
Great, were incessant travellers, they will reply that their kings had
to be so at a time when the Empire was not yet established, when
rebellious nobles had to be subdued, and when the spirit of
provincialism and particularism had to be counteracted. Hence, they
say, former Hohenzollerns had to exercise personal control in all
parts of their dominions, see that their military dispositions were
carried out, and study social and economic conditions on the spot; but
nowadays, when the Empire is firmly established, when the
administration is working like a clock and the post and telegraph are
at command, the Emperor should stay at home and direct everything from
his capital.

The Emperor himself evidently takes a different view. He does not
consider the forty-year-old Empire as completed and consolidated, but
regards it much as the Great Elector or Frederick the Great regarded
Prussia when that kingdom was in the making. He believes in
propagating the imperial idea by his personal presence in all parts of
the Empire, and at the same time observing the progress that is being
made there. He is, finally, a believer in getting into personal touch,
as far as is possible, with foreign monarchs, foreign statesmen, and
foreign peoples, for he doubtless sees that with every decade the
interests of nations are becoming more closely identified.

In connexion with the subject of the Emperor's travelling, mention may
be made of the fact that many years ago he thought it necessary to
explain himself publicly in reference to the idea, prevalent among his
people at the time, that he was travelling too much. "On my travels,"
he said,

"I design not only to make myself acquainted with foreign
countries and institutions, and to foster friendly relations
with neighbouring rulers, but these journeys, which have
been often misinterpreted, have high value in enabling me to
observe home affairs from a distance and submit them to a
quiet examination."

He expresses something in the same order of thought in a speech
telling of his reflections on the high sea concerning his
responsibilities as ruler:

"When one is alone on the high sea, with only God's starry
heaven above him, and holds communion with himself, one will
not fail to appreciate the value of such a journey. I could
wish many of my countrymen to live through hours like these,
in which one can take reckoning of what he has designed and
what achieved. Then one would be cured of over
self-estimation--and that we all need."

When the Emperor is about to start on a journey, confidential
telegrams are sent to the railway authorities concerned, and
immediately a thorough inspection of the line the Emperor is about to
travel over is ordered. Tunnels, bridges, points, railway crossings,
are all subjected to examination, and spare engines kept in immediate
readiness in case of a breakdown occurring to the imperial train. The
police of the various towns through which the monarch is to pass are
also communicated with and their help requisitioned in taking
precautions for his safety. Like any private person, the Emperor pays
his own fares, which are reckoned at the rate of an average of fifteen
shillings to one pound sterling a mile. A recent journey to
Switzerland cost him in fares L200. Of late years he has saved money
in this respect by the more frequent use of the royal motor-cars. The
royal train is put together by selecting those required from fifteen
carriages which are always ready for an imperial journey. If the
journey is short, a saloon carriage and refreshment car are deemed
sufficient; in case of a long journey the train consists of a buffer
carriage in addition, with two saloon cars for the suite and two
wagons for the luggage. The train is always accompanied by a high
official of the railway, who, with mechanics and spare guard, is in
direct telephonic communication with the engine-driver and guard. The
carriages are coloured alike, ivory-white above the window-line and
lacquered blue below.

All the carriages, with the exception of the saloon dining-car, are of
the corridor type. A table runs down the centre of the dining-car; the
Emperor takes his seat in the centre, while the rest of the suite and
guests take their places at random, save that the elder travellers are
supposed to seat themselves about the Emperor. If the Emperor has
guests with him they naturally have seats beside or in the near
neighbourhood of their host. Breakfast is taken about half-past eight,
lunch at one, and dinner at seven or eight. The Emperor is always
talkative at table, and often draws into conversation the remoter
members of the company, occasionally calling to them by their nickname
or a pet name. He sits for an hour or two after dinner, with a glass
of beer and a huge box of cigars before him, discussing the incidents
of the journey or recalling his experiences at various periods of his

The Emperor's disposition of the year remains much what it was at the
beginning of the reign. The chief changes in it are the omission of a
yachting visit to Cowes, which he made annually from 1889 to 1895,
and, since 1908, the habit of making an annual summer stay at his
Corfu castle, "Achilleion," instead of touring in the Mediterranean
and visiting Italian cities. January is spent in Berlin in connexion
with the New Year festivities, ambassadorial and other Court
receptions, drawing-rooms, and balls, and the celebration of his
birthday on the 27th. The Berlin season extends into the middle of
February, so that part of that month also is spent in Berlin. During
the latter half of February and in March the Emperor is usually at
Potsdam, occasionally motoring to Berlin to give audience or for some
special occasion. April and part of May are passed in Corfu. Towards
the end of May the Emperor returns to Germany and goes to Wiesbaden
for the opera and Festspiele in the royal theatre; but he must be in
Berlin before May has closed, for the spring parade of the Berlin and
Potsdam garrisons on the vast Tempelhofer Field. His return on
horseback from this parade is always the occasion of popular
enthusiasm in Berlin's principal streets. In early June the Emperor
stays at Potsdam or perhaps pays a visit to some wealthy noble, and at
the end of the month the yachting week calls him to Kiel. Once that is
over he proceeds on his annual tour along the coast of Norway.
September sees him back in Germany for the autumn manoeuvres. October
and November are devoted to shooting at Rominten or some other
imperial hunting lodge, or with some large landowner or industrial
magnate. The whole of December is usually spent at Potsdam, save for
an annual visit to his friend Prince Fuerstenberg at Donaueschingen.
Naturally he is in Potsdam for Christmas, when all the imperial family
assemble to celebrate the festival in good old German style.

In music, as we know, he retains the classical tastes he has always
cultivated and sometimes dictatorially recommended. Good music, he has
said, is like a piece of lace, not like a display of fireworks. He
still has most musical enjoyment in listening to Bach and Handel. The
former he has spoken of as one of the most "modern" of composers, and
will point out that his works contain melodious passages that might be
the musical thought of Franz Lehar or Leo Fall. He has no great liking
for the music of Richard Strauss, and his admiration of Wagner, if
certain themes, that must, one feels, have been drawn from the music
of the spheres, be excepted, is respectful rather than rapturous. Of
Wagner's works the "Meistersingers" is "my favourite."

A faculty that in the Emperor has developed with the years is that of
applying a sense of humour, not originally small, to the events of
everyday life. He is always ready to joke with his soldiers and
sailors, with artists, professors, ministers--in short, with men of
every class and occupation. Several stories in illustration of his
humour are current, but a homely example or two may here suffice. He
is sitting in semi-darkness in the parquet at the Royal Opera House.
"Le Prophete" is in rehearsal, and it is the last act, in which there
is a powder cask, ready to blow everything to atoms, standing outside
the cathedral. Fraulein Frieda Hempel, as the heroine, appears with a
lighted torch and is about to take her seat on the cask. Suddenly the
imperial voice is heard from the semi-gloom: "Fraulein Hempel, it is
evident you haven't had a military training or you wouldn't take a
light so near a barrel of gunpowder." And the _prima donna_ has to
take her place on the other side of the stage. Or he is presenting
Professor Siegfried Ochs, the famous manager of the Philharmonic
Concerts, with the Order of the Red Eagle, third class, and with a
friendly smile gracefully excuses himself for conferring an "Order of
the third class on a musician of the first class," by pleading
official rule. A third popular anecdote tells of a lady seated beside
him at the dinner-table. Salad is being offered to her, but she thinks
she is bound to give all her attention to the Emperor and takes no
notice of it. Thereupon the Emperor: "Gnadige Frau, an Emperor can
wait, but the salad cannot." Possibly the Emperor had in mind Louis
XIII, who complained that he never ate a plate of warm soup in his
life, it had to pass through so many hands to reach him.

The German takes his theatre as he takes life, seriously. To cough
during a performance attracts embarrassing attention, a sneeze almost
amounts to misdemeanour. To the German the theatre is a part of the
machinery of culture, and accordingly he is not so easily bored as the
Anglo-Saxon playgoer, who demands that drama shall contain that great
essential of all good drama, action. To the Anglo-Saxon, the more
plentiful and rapid the action is, the better. The German, differing
from most Anglo-Saxons, likes historical scenes, great processions,
costume festivals, the representation of mediaeval events in which his
monarchs and generals played conspicuous parts. The Emperor has the
same disposition and taste.

Yet both national taste and disposition, like other of the nation's
characteristics, are slowly altering with the growth of the modern
spirit, and Germans now begin to require something of a more modern
kind, a more social order, something that comes home more to their
business and bosoms. Greater variety in subject is asked for, more
laughter and tears, more representations of scenes and life dealing
with everyday doings and the fate of the people as distinguished from
the doings and fate of their rulers and the upper classes. The Emperor
has not followed his people in the new direction. He regards the stage
as a vehicle of patriotism, an instrument of education, a guider of
artistic taste, an inculcator of old-time morality. Its aim, he
appears to think, is not to help to produce, primarily, the good man
and good citizen, but the good man and good monarchist,
and--perhaps--not so much primarily the good monarchist as the liege
subject of the Hohenzollern dynasty. Having secured this, he looks for
the elevation of the public taste along his own lines. He assumes that
the public taste can be elevated from without, from above, when it can
only be elevated proportionately with its progress in general
education and its purification from within. Consequently he is for the
"classical," as in the other arts. But apart from its aims and uses,
the theatre has always appealed to him. His fondness for it is a
Hohenzollern characteristic, which has shown itself, with more or less
emphasis, in monarch after monarch of the line. Nor is it surprising
that monarchs should take pleasure in the stage, since the theatre is
one of the places which brings them and their subjects together in the
enjoyment of common emotions, and shows them, if only at second hand,
the domestic lives of millions, from personal acquaintance with which
their royal birth and surroundings exclude them.

The Emperor treats all artists, male and female, in the same friendly
and unaffected manner. There is never the least soupcon of
condescension in the one case or flirtation in the other, but in both
a lively and often unexpectedly well-informed interest in the play or
other artistic performance of the occasion, and in the actors' or
actresses' personal records. The nationality of the artist has
apparently nothing to do with this interest. The Emperor invites
French, Italian, English, American or Scandinavian artists to the
royal box after a performance as often as he invites the artists of
his own country, and, once launched on a conversation, nothing gives
him more pleasure than to expound his views on music, painting, or the
drama, as the case may be. "Tempo--rhythm--colour," he has been heard
to insist on to a conductor whom in the heat of his conviction he had
gradually edged into a corner and before whom he stood with
gesticulating arms--"All the rest is _Schwindel_." At an entertainment
given by Ambassador Jules Cambon at the French Embassy after the
Morocco difficulty had been finally adjusted, he became so interested
while talking to a group of French actors that high dignatories of the
Empire, including Princes, the Imperial Chancellor and Ministers,
standing in another part of the _salon_, grew impatient and had to
detach one of their number to call the Emperor's attention to their
presence. Since then, it is whispered, it has become the special
function of an adjutant, when the occasion demands it, diplomatically
and gently to withdraw the imperial _causeur_ from too absorbing

Several anecdotes are current having reference to the Emperor as
sportsman. One of them, for example, mentions a loving-cup of
Frederick William III's time, kept at the hunting lodge of Letzlingen,
which is filled with champagne and must be emptied at a draught by
anyone visiting the lodge for the first time. This is great fun for
the Emperor, who a year or two ago made a number of Berlin guests,
including Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg, the Austrian Ambassador,
Szoghenyi-Marich, the Secretary for the Navy, Admiral von Tirpitz, and
the Crown Prince of Greece stand before him and drain the cup. As the
story goes, "the attempts of the guests to drink out of the heavy cup,
which is fixed into a set of antlers in such a way as to make it
difficult to drink without spilling the wine, caused great amusement."

The principles of sport generally, it may be here interpolated, are
not quite the same in Germany as in England, though no country has
imitated England in regard to sport so closely and successfully as
Germany. Up to a comparatively few years ago the Germans had neither
inclination nor means for it, and though always enthusiastic hunters,
hunting--not the English fox-hunting, but hunting the boar and the
bear, the wolf and the deer--was almost the sole form of manly sport
practised. _Turnen_, the most popular sort of German indoor
gymnastics, only began in 1861, a couple of years after the birth of
the Emperor. There are now nearly a dozen cricket clubs alone in
Berlin, football clubs all over the Empire, tennis clubs in every
town, rowing clubs at all the seaports and along the large rivers,
nearly all following English rules and in numerous cases using English
sporting terms. At the same time sport is not the religion it is in
England--indeed, to keep up the metaphor, hardly a living creed.

The German attitude towards sport is not altogether the same as the
English attitude. In England the object of the game is that the best
man shall win, that he shall not be in any way unfairly or unequally
handicapped _vis-a-vis_ his opponent, and the honour, not the
intrinsic value of the prize, is the main consideration. These
principles are not yet fully understood or adopted in Germany,
possibly owing to the early military training of the German youth
making the carrying off the prize anyhow and by any means the main
object. It is _Realpolitik_ in sport, and a _Realpolitik_ which is not
wholly unknown in England; but while the spirit of _Realpolitik_ is
still perceivable in German sport, it is equally perceivable that the
standard English way of viewing sporting competition is becoming more
and more approached in Germany.

The Emperor is an enthusiastic patron of sport of all healthy outdoor
kinds, not as sympathizing with the English youth's disposition to
regard play as work and work as play, to give to his business any time
he can spare from his sport, but because he estimates at its full
value its place in the national health-budget. His personal likings
are for bear-shooting, deer-stalking, and yachting, but he also wields
the lawn-tennis racket and the rapier with fair skill. The names of
several of his hunting lodges---Rominten, Springe, Hubertusstock, and
so on--are familiar to many people in all countries. Rominten preserve
is in East Prussia, and embraces about four square miles, with
little lakes and some rising ground. September is the Emperor's
favourite month for visiting it. Here one year he shot a famous
eight-and-twenty-ender antelope, which had come across from Russian
territory. Before the present reign the deer, or pig, or other wild
animal used to be beaten up to the royal sportsman of the day, but
that practice has long ceased, and the Emperor has to tramp many a
mile, and at times crawl on all fours for hundreds of yards, to get a

We have seen that the Emperor's position as King and Emperor renders
inevitable his adoption, either of natural bent, which is extremely
probable, or from a policy in harmony with the wishes of his people,
of a view of the monarch's office that to perhaps most Englishmen
living under parliamentary rule must seem antiquated, not to say
absurd. This attitude apart, the Emperor possesses, as it is hoped has
been sufficiently shown, as modern and progressive a spirit as any of
his contemporaries. His instant recognition of all useful modern
appliances, particularly, of course, those of possible service in war,
is a prominent feature of his mentality. He went, doubtless, too far
in heralding Count Zeppelin, in 1909, as "the greatest man of the
century," but the very words he chose to use marked his appreciation
of the new aeronautical science Count Zeppelin was introducing.
Similarly, the moment the automobile had entered on the stage of
reliability it won a place in the imperial favour, and is now his most
constant means of locomotion. He has never, it is true, emulated the
enterprise of his son, the Crown Prince, whom Mr. Orville Wright had
as a companion for a quarter of an hour in the air at Potsdam three
years ago, but his interest in the aeroplane is none the less keen
because he is too conscious of his responsibilities to subject his
life to unnecessary risk.

Before closing our sketch of the Emperor as a man by quoting
appreciations written by two contemporary writers, one German and the
other English, it may be added that there is a statesman still--it is
pleasant to think--alive who could, an he only would, draw the
Emperor's character perfectly, both as man and monarch. Indeed, as has
been seen, he has more than once sketched parts of it in Parliament,
but only parts--the whole character of the Emperor, on all its sides

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