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number at the bye-elections? In such a case William II, equally unable
to surrender in favour of the clericals or to submit to the socialists,
will find himself, as others have been before him, driven to adopt the
ultimate remedy of war.



February 12, 1892. [19]

If the States of Germany, in joining themselves on to Prussia, have
thereby increased in power, they have gained very little in humanity.
The circular, secretly issued by Prince George of Saxony, commanding the
12th Army Corps, reveals something of the brutalities and exquisite
torture which German soldiers have to suffer. This circular was
addressed to the commanders of regiments, and has been published by a
socialist newspaper, the _Vorwärts_. This Prince of Saxony is indignant
at these things, doubtless because he is a Saxon; Bavaria, we are told,
declines to accept the application of the Prussian Military Code. By
common consent, the House of Peers and the Chamber of Deputies at Münich
have voted against subscribing to a condition of things which permits men
to behave like real savages. Military Germany takes pleasure in cruelty,
sentimental Germany is moved by the tortures inflicted on her children.
Brutality and sentiment rub elbows, and are so strangely intermingled
amongst our neighbours that I, for one, abandon all attempts at
understanding them.

It was Von Moltke who said one day that the army was the school of all
the virtues. Next day the same Field-Marshal put into circulation
certain formulas for the infliction of cruelty, intended for the use of
commanding officers.

"If a superior officer should order an inferior to commit a crime, the
inferior must commit it." Thus says William II, who in the very next
breath expresses his sentimental concern over the unfortunate lot of a
woman of loose life handed over to the tender mercies of a bully!


William's latest quarrel, it seems, is with liberty of conscience. The
_summus episcopus_ of the evangelical religion becomes the protector of
clericalism in Germany. He, the elect of God, has discovered the power
of the Catholic Church. This was the power that broke Bismarck, but it
will not break William II, for he intends to assimilate it. He dreams of
establishing his Protectorate over Catholicism in Europe, America, Africa
and in the East; his destiny lies in a world-wide mission, which only
Catholicism can support. He will, therefore, dominate the papacy, and
through it will govern the world.



February 26, 1892. [20]

The list of Emperor William's vagaries continues to grow. He, who was
once the father of socialists, now pursues them with all manner of
cruelty, in order to be revenged for their opposition to the scholastic
law. This law is his dearest achievement. He produced it under the same
conditions as his socialist rescripts, all by himself, without consulting
his Minister. It seems that Von Sedlitz was instructed to bring it
forward without discussing its terms. This is a reactionary _coup
d'état_ in the same way that the rescripts on socialism were a democratic
stroke. Will this "new course" of Imperial policy, as they call it in
Germany, last any longer than its predecessor? I presume so, for it
corresponds more closely than the old one to the autocratic instincts of
William II.

The National, Liberal and Progressive parties, and even the Socialists,
who had turned full of hope towards their Liberal Emperor, now vie with
each other in turning their backs on the Sovereign, who fulfils the
policies of a Von Kardoff or a Baron von Stumm, the most determined
Conservatives of the extreme party.

The Universities of Berlin and Halle, together with all the other
educational institutions, have addressed petitions to the Landtag,
protesting against the re-organisation of the primary schools, which it
is proposed to hand over to the Church. Sixty-nine professors out of
eighty-three, six theologians out of eight, including amongst them
certain members of the Faculty, have signed this protest. The greatest
names of German science and literature have here joined forces. Liberals
like Herr Harnack have made common cause with such anti-Semite
Conservatives as Professor Treitschke. Mommsen, Virchow, Curtius
Helmholtz, stand side by side in defence of the rights of liberty of
thought. William is becoming irritated by the lessons thus administered
to him and the opposition thus displayed, and his nervousness continues
to assume an aggressive form.

Alsace-Lorraine is undisturbed, and all Europe bears witness to its
pacific tendencies; nevertheless, the German Emperor is bringing forward
a Bill before the Reichstag for declaring a state of siege in
Alsace-Lorraine, which includes even a threat of war, and opens the door
to every abusive power on the part of the civil authority. The speech
which he addressed to the members of the Diet of Brandenburg is the most
complete expression which the Emperor, King of Prussia, has yet given of
his latest frame of mind.

How dare they criticise him, or discuss his policy! Let them all go to
the devil! He, whose policy it is to block emigration, now wishes for
nothing better than that all his opponents should leave Germany. But it
is impossible to revoke public opinion wholesale, like an edict. If it
is difficult now to expel all malcontents from Prussia, what will it be
when their number is legion? William II has promised to his people a
glorious destiny, happiness, and the protection of Heaven. Truly these
Germans must be insatiable if they ask for more!



March 12, 1892. [21]

William II aims at concentrating all power, and, to organise the work of
espionage, in the hands of the military authorities. If the Prussian law
of 1851 is still effective, the Emperor in case of need will be able to
dispense with a vote of the Reichstag. This law confers on every general
and on his representative, who may be an officer of eighteen years of
age, the right to declare a state of siege in the event of war
threatening. On the other hand, the projected Bill against espionage
meets with very general approval. Your German has got spies on the
brain. He wishes to be able to indulge in spying in other countries, but
to prevent it in Germany. The _Frankfurter Zeitung_ and the _Vorwärts_
assert that the proposed law against the revealing of military secrets
was inspired by the publication of the report by Prince George of Saxony,
containing revelations of a kind which the Emperor does not wish to occur
again. One of the articles of this law against spying reveals the
Prussian character in all its beauty. One has only to read it, in order
to understand the inducements which the Government of William II holds
out to informers. The end of this article runs as follows: "Every
individual having knowledge of such an infringement, and who shall fail
to notify the authorities, is liable to imprisonment."

To hear these Germans, one would think that France and Russia are
flooding the Empire with spies, whilst Germany never sends a single one
of them to France or Russia. In the first place, all these statements
are purely cynical; and in the second Germany can very well afford to
dispense with professionally selected spies, inasmuch as every German
prides himself on being one at all times in the service of the Fatherland.



April 12, 1892. [22]

William II makes a solemn promise to his august grandmother, Queen
Victoria, and to the "best beloved" of his Allies, the Emperor of
Austria, that he will restore the Guelph Fund. Francis Joseph has
obtained from the Duke of Cumberland the somewhat undignified letter of
renunciation, which we have all read, and now it is either up to Rogue
Scapin or Bre'r Fox, just as you please! William II says that he never
meant to give back the capital, but only the interest! It is easy to
imagine the effect produced on those concerned by the revelation of this
astonishing mental reservation. But this is not all! The King of
Prussia - always short of money, always in debt on account of his
extravagant fancies and expensive clothes, and half ruined by his mania
for running to and fro - had made certain arrangements for meeting his
creditors by means of the Guelph Fund, but with the proviso, needless to
say, that they affected only the interest!!

It is said that the heir of the House of Hanover has written a second
letter which evoked a sickly smile from William II, and of which
Councillor Rössing has suppressed the publication with some difficulty.


Amongst other things, William II has had quick-firing guns, supplied to
the people of Dahomey by slave merchants. The Berlin _Post_, directly
inspired by the Emperor, tells us exactly what is his object in so doing -


"England and Russia will not help France to settle her difficulties in
her colonies. These two Powers are far too pre-occupied with the
struggle for supremacy in Asia. France is, therefore, reduced to looking
to Germany as her sole support. If France consents to work together with
Germany, Africa will be won for civilisation, and for the best
civilisation of all, the Franco-German, but so long as France pursues
this task single-handed, she will not attain her end, and will find in
Africa nothing but disappointment."


Such evidences of effrontery remind us that William II is the pupil of
Bismarck. We are, therefore, justified in concluding that the Germans
realise that it is not Aristides the Just who has been exiled, but a
master rogue, whom his pupil now imitates.



April 29, 1892. [23]

William II continues to expel from Berlin all unemployed workmen, quite
regardless of the cause of their temporary or continuous idleness. He
sends them back to their native parishes, without caring in the least
whether they will find there the work which they are unable to secure at
the capital. The "Workmen's Emperor" compels an emigration into the
interior of all the most discontented, the most irritated and wretched,
thus sowing throughout all the land the evil seed of the most dangerous
kind of propagandist. The spirit of Germany is full of surprises for any
one who takes the trouble to observe it carefully, and it is not only in
the acts of the Emperor that we perceive its contradictions.

To take one instance out of a thousand. Five non-commissioned officers
of dragoons have just been tried at Ulm, accused of having beaten
recruits with sticks until they drew blood. They have been acquitted,
after having proved that they acted under the orders of their captain.
In this connection it is interesting to read the following -

"The Court of Saverne has just condemned a carrier named Schwartz to six
weeks' imprisonment and a fine of ten marks for ill-treating his horse."

The unstable grandson of the steadfast William I threatens before long to
get between his teeth a fourth war minister; he has already devoured
three chiefs of the general staff, and, in a few years, as many ministers
as his grandfather had during the whole course of his long reign.

It remains to be seen whether, after the withdrawal of the scholastic
law, William II will still find a majority willing to accept his new and
disturbing schemes.



May 28, 1892. [24]

As the German Empire has no other force of cohesion except such as lies
in militarism, William is necessarily compelled to do everything to
magnify and increase it. Whereas we in France are free to develop the
quality rather than the quantity of our army, Germany, finding the
elements of cohesion only in her military agglomerations is compelled to
increase unceasingly the number of her soldiers.

At this very moment William is planning to add a permanent effective of
40,000 men to the tactical units. In return, he will promise Parliament
and the country a provisional two years' service, being quite capable of
withdrawing his promise so soon as the vote has been secured.

Numbers, always numbers! It is the German Emperor's only ideal, and he
becomes further and further removed from any principle of selection. . . .


The German newspapers make a speciality of the fabrication of sensational
rumours. I could not ask any better vengeance for our beloved country
than to have their stories placed before the most loyal of Sovereigns,
the most far-seeing of diplomats, of the politician the furthest removed
from sordid calculations that the world knows or has ever known, that is
to say, of the Emperor Alexander III. . . .

But all this is just a manoeuvre of the enemy who plays his own game, and
it has no importance whatsoever beyond that which credulous and anxious
people choose to give it. Inasmuch as the renewal of the Triple Alliance
has produced a definite situation, which affords no opportunity for any
of the combinations which might have resulted had it been broken up into
independent parts, the Tzar with his usual foresight was naturally led to
proclaim his _rapprochement_ with France, and this he has done. What
change has there been in the situation since Kronstadt? None at all,
unless it be that Lord Salisbury has revealed something more of the
nature of his intrigues at Sofia, and of the anti-Russian intentions of
his Bulgarian policy. The King of Italy has surrendered himself a little
more into the hands of the King of Prussia, placing at the disposal of
William's diseased restlessness further and inexhaustible sources of
trouble and uneasiness for Europe.



July 9, 1892. [25]

It seems to me that the speech addressed by William to his new Admiralty
yacht at the port of Stettin has not attracted sufficient notice. It is
simply beautiful, a very choice morsel indeed. To show how little I
exaggerate, I will ask my readers to study it in the actual text, and I
would like to engage the services of the King of Prussia to collaborate
in the _Nouvelle Revue_ for a page in precisely the same style. Here is
this little masterpiece of classic purity -


"Thou art ready to glide into thy new element, to take thy place amidst
the Imperial war-ships, and thou art destined to carry our National Flag.
Thine elegant construction, thy light sides, showing no sign of the heavy
threatening defensive turrets, such as are carried by our war-ships
destined to fight the foe, indicate that thou art consecrated to works of
peace. Lightly, as on the wing, to cross the seas, bringing distant
lands closer to each other, giving rest and recreation to workers,
happiness to the Imperial children, and to the august mother of the
country, - that is thine appointed task. May thy light artillery be worn
by thee as an ornament and not as a weapon of war.

"It is for me now to give thee a name. Thou shalt carry that which my
Castle bears, whose towers rise so high towards Heaven, that which, lying
amidst the beautiful country of Suabia, has given its name to my family.
It is a name which recalls to my Fatherland centuries full of labour, of
work done with and for the people, of life devoted to the people, of good
examples set in leading the people in paths of literature and in many
struggles. The name which thou shall bear means all this. Mayest thou
do honour to thy name, and to thy flag, to the great Elector who, first
of all men, taught us our Mission on the sea, and to my great ancestors
who, by works of peace as in fierce warfare, knew how to keep and
increase the glory of our fatherland. I baptize thee _Hohenzollern_!"



August 29, 1892. [26]

William II, claiming as usual to be ahead of every change of opinion in
Europe, and to direct it, has chosen a very singular pretext to make
profession of his faith as a pacifist, at the moment when Lord Rosebery
was doing the same, and when the visit of our squadron to Genoa was about
to emphasise a relaxation of tension in the relations between France and
Italy.

On June 24, 1890, the following motion was adopted by the Reichstag -


"The Governments of the Confederated German States are requested to take
into serious consideration the introduction of the two years' period of
military service for the Infantry."


Without deigning to remember this, and without bothering his head as to
the discomfiture of the peasantry, who believed the Emperor to be really
favourable to a scheme which he had openly patronised hardly six months
before, on the ground that he had been greatly impressed by General
Falkenstein's report; indifferent also to the difficulty of the situation
in which he was placing Von Caprivi, advocate of the two years'
system - the Emperor-King (apparently just because on that day it had
pleased him to make a declaration in favour of peace) made a speech to
his officers after the last review of the Guards, and summarily condemned
any reduction in the term of military service. Moreover, he requested
his hearers to repeat his words and to let people know the motives which
impelled him thus to set his face against a reform, which, not having
secured his approval, must remain in the limbo of fantastic schemes.

Much stir and commotion follows, and as usual a great deal is said about
the most changeable and the most feather-headed of Sovereigns; then we
have a new interpretation of his speech by the Press, contradictions of
the original text, withdrawal by the Emperor himself of his original
words, and finally, as net result: a great deal of noise, and the
attention of all Europe directed towards William II. What more could he
ask?

Soon, thanks to the insidious activities of Austria in Servia, and thanks
to that of his own police on the Franco-Belgian frontier, William will be
able to threaten Europe with War.



September 12, 1892. [27]

William has given up the idea of his trip to Hamburg, cholera being the
sort of jest for which he has no relish. To make up, he has rushed off
to Canossa. The Black Alliance, as the Liberals call it, is an
accomplished fact. The price paid to the Catholics for their assistance
has been a matter of bargaining; what William II wants is an increase in
the peace-footing of the army, and of the annual contingent of recruits,
so that Germany's army of 300,000 men may always be ready.

In twenty years the War budget has been raised from 309 to 700 millions,
as the result of these new plans. The _Freisinnige Zeitung_ wonders what
will happen on the day when the opposition of the Catholic Centre shall
cease, which has always been a check upon military expenditure and which,
nevertheless, has not prevented Germany from spending 11,597 millions
upon armaments since 1871.

Will Austria follow once more the lead of Berlin? The object of William
II's visit to Vienna, accompanied by Von Caprivi, is to decide her to do
so. In the Empire of the Hapsburgs, as in Germany, people are asking;
"What is going to be the end of all this expenditure?" The _Vaterland_,
discussing William's voyage, says that "the pact between the three great
powers appears to be beginning to be very shaky."



September 29, 1892. [28]

William II thinks that War is impending and close at hand; he feels that
Italy is inclined to argue, and Austria to assert herself. According to
the tradition of Von Moltke, he wishes to be ready at the hour of his own
choosing.

In the last volume of the Field-Marshal's memoirs, there is a letter
addressed by him to the deputy, Count de Bethusy Huc, dated March 29,
1869, in which the following words occur -


"After a war like that which we have just ended, one can hardly wish for
another. I desire, however, to profit by the occasion which now offers
to make war on France, for, unfortunately, I consider this war to be
absolutely necessary, and indispensable within a period of five years;
after that, our organisation and armament, which are to-day superior, may
be equalled by the efforts of France. It is therefore to our interest to
fight as soon as possible. The present moment is favourable; let us
profit by it."



November 12, 1892. [29]

If you would take the measure of the hatred which the Emperor-King of
Prussia, has towards Russia, read the _Youth of William the Second_ by
Mr. Bigelow, his companion in childhood, the friend of his youth, and the
passionate admirer of his imperial greatness.

In the eyes of Mr. Bigelow, William II is endowed with all the virtues,
all the qualities, and a hatred of evil; he is a complete master of every
conceivable kind of science. He is a person of tact, foresight, and
superior feelings, he possesses the noblest qualities of courage and
sense of honour. He knows better than any one else everything concerning
government, business, trade and industry. Of his military art, it were
needless to speak; it is conspicuously evident. A brilliant talker and a
fine orator, his lucidity of observation, his judgment, and his rapidity
of decision are all alike, incomparable.

Mr. Bigelow's William has a complete knowledge of the history of Europe
and of the character of its peoples. There is nothing that he does not
know of the upper and lower foundations of the views of European
statesmen, past and present. A frank and loyal fellow withal, good to
children, he feels keenly the sufferings of soldiers ill-treated by their
officers, and the hardships of the working classes exploited by their
masters.

Frederick the Great is the only one who in any way approaches him. Then,
as to his magnanimity, he proved it to M. Jules Simon, by offering him
the musical works of the said Frederick the Great, with a letter which,
according to Mr. Bigelow, should have made France give up her foolish
ideas about Alsace-Lorraine, were it not for the fact that "from the
drawing-rooms of the Faubourg Saint Germain to the garrets of Montmartre,
all Frenchmen suffer from an incorrigible mania for revenge."

To the great satisfaction of Mr. Bigelow, however, it has been given to
England to understand, and she knows how to promote William's mission.
On August 9, 1890, she ceded to him Heligoland, the Gibraltar of Germany.
It is not I who put these words into the mouth of the friend of the King
of Prussia! "Since Waterloo," adds Mr. Bigelow, "England has not been on
such good terms with Germany."

A very touching confession for us to remember! Hatred of Russia finds
expression in a hundred ways under the pen of Mr. Bigelow. Nothing that
is Russian can find favour in his sight; the least of the sins of Russia
are barbarism, corruption, vice of every kind, cruelty and ignorance.
After having piled up all the usual accusations, he stops, and one might
think that it was for lack of materials. But not at all! He could, but
will not say more about it; and this "more" assumes most fabulous
proportions "so as not to compromise my German friends." I imagine that
some of those friends of his must figure on the margin of the Russian
budget, for if it were not so, why should they be liable to be
compromised?

Travelling down the Danube by boat, Mr. Bigelow was able to make use
everywhere of the German language. Every intelligently conducted
enterprise which he found on his way was in the hands of Germans.
"Sooner or later," said he, "the Danube will belong to Germany."

According to Mr. Bigelow, all the people who have the misfortune to live
in the neighbourhood of the frontiers of Russia only dream of becoming
Germans, in order to escape her.

There is one remarkable quality which William II possesses and which Mr.
Bigelow has forgotten, and that is his talent as a scenic artist and
_impresario_ for any and every kind of ceremony; in this he is past
master. For the 375th Anniversary of October 31, 1517, the day on which
the famous theses, which inaugurated the Reformation, were posted by
Martin Luther on the door of the chapel at Wittenberg, the Emperor-King
surpassed himself. The Imperial procession aroused the greatest
enthusiasm in the little town by its successful reconstruction of the
historic picture. The speech of the _summus episcopus_ cast all sermons
into the shade by its lofty tone and spirit of tolerance.



[1] _La Nouvelle Revue_, January 16, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[2] _La Nouvelle Revue_, February 1, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[3] _La Nouvelle Revue_, March 1, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[4] _La Nouvelle Revue_, March 15, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[5] Spanish insurrection against the French invasion under the first
Empire.

[6] _La Nouvelle Revue_, April 1, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[7] _La Nouvelle Revue_, May 1, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[8] _La Nouvelle Revue_, May 15, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."

[9] _La Nouvelle Revue_, June 1, 1891, "Letters on Foreign Policy."


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