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They refused, knowing that to leave the shelter of the embassies meant
torture and death. One of them, however, the German Minister, Freiherr
von Ketteler, ventured from his Legation and was killed in broad
daylight on his way to the Chinese Foreign Office. Only one of the
Minister's party escaped, to stagger, hacked and bloody, into the
British Legation with the news. This Legation, as the strongest
building in the quarter, became the refuge of the entire diplomatic
corps, with their wives, children, and servants. It was straightway
invested and bombarded by the Boxers, and as the days and weeks went
on the other Legation buildings were burned, and the refugees in the
British Legation had to look death at all hours in the face.

The murder of von Ketteler excited anger and horror throughout the
world, and in no breast, naturally, to a stronger degree than in that
of the German Emperor. All nations hastened to send troops to Pekin.
Japan was first on the scene with 16,000 men under General
Yamagutschi. Russia followed next with 15,000 under General Lenewitch,
then England with 7,500 under General Gaselee, then France with 5,000
under General Frey, then America with 4,000 under General Chaffee,
Germany with 2,500 under von Hopfner, Austria and Italy with smaller
contingents - in all more than 50,000 men, with 144 guns. A little
later the expeditionary corps from Germany, 19,000 strong, under
General von Lessel, and that from France, 10,000 strong, arrived. At
the suggestion, it is said, of Russia, and by agreement among the
European Powers, united by a common sympathy and in face of a common
danger, the German Field-Marshal, Count Waldersee, was appointed to
the supreme command of all the European forces. At the same time naval
supports were hurried by all maritime nations to the scene, and within
a short period 160 warships and 30 torpedo boats were assembled off
the Chinese coast.

The march to Pekin and the relief of the imprisoned Europeans are
incidents still fresh in public memory. In the crowded British
Legation fear alternated with hope, and hope with fear, until, on the
forenoon of August 14th, a boy ran into the Legation crying that
"black-faced Europeans" were advancing along the royal canal in the
direction of the building. In a few minutes a company of Sikh cavalry,
part of some Indian troops diverted on their way to Aden, galloped up,
all danger was over, and the refugees were saved.

The Boxer troubles ended on May 13, 1901, with the signature by Li
Hung Chang in the name of the Emperor of China of a treaty of peace,
the main conditions of which were the payment by China within thirty
years of a war indemnity to the Powers of 450 million taels
(£66,000,000) and an agreement to send a mission of atonement to the
Courts of Germany and Japan - for among the foreign victims of the
Boxers in the previous year had been the Japanese representative in
China, Baron Sugiyama.

For two or three weeks the action of the Emperor with regard to the
Chinese mission of atonement brought him into universal ridicule.
Prince Chun, a near relative of the Chinese Emperor, who had been
appointed to conduct the mission, reached Basle in September, 1901, on
his way to Berlin. Here he lingered, and it soon became known that a
hitch had occurred in his relations with Germany. It then transpired
that the delay was caused by the Emperor's having suddenly intimated
that he expected Prince Chun to make thrice to him, as he sat on his
throne at Potsdam, the "kotow" as practised in the Court of China. In
view of the surprise, laughter, and criticism of Europe, the Emperor
modified his demand for the "kotow" to its symbolic performance by
three deep bows. Prince Chun thereupon resumed his journey. An
impressive, if theatrical, scene was prepared in the New Palace at
Potsdam, where the Emperor, seated on the throne, his marshal's baton
in his hand, and flanked by Ministers and the officers of his
household, received the bearer of China's expressions of regret.
Whatever one may think of the scenic effect provided, the reply the
Emperor made to Prince Chun, after the three bows arranged upon had
been made, is a model of its kind - general not personal, sorrowful
rather than angry, warning rather than reproachful. The Emperor said -

"No pleasing nor festive cause, no mere fulfilment of a
courtly duty, has brought your Imperial Highness to me, but
a sad and deeply grave occurrence. My Minister to the Court
of his Majesty the Emperor of China, Freiherr von Ketteler,
fell in the Chinese capital beneath the murderous weapons of
an imperial Chinese soldier, who acted by the orders of a
superior, an unheard-of outrage condemned by the law of
nations and the moral sense of all countries. From your
Imperial Highness I have now heard the expression of the
sincere and deep regret of his Imperial Majesty the Emperor
of China regarding the occurrence. I am glad to believe that
your Imperial Highness's royal brother had nothing to do
with the crime or with the further acts of violence against
inviolable Ministers and peaceful foreigners, but all the
greater is the guilt which attaches to his advisers and his
Government. Let these not deceive themselves by supposing
that they can make atonement and receive pardon for their
crime through this mission alone, and not through their
subsequent conduct in the light of the prescriptions of
international law and the moral principles of civilized
peoples. If his Majesty the Emperor of China henceforward
directs the government of his great Empire in the spirit of
these ordinances, his hope that the sad consequences of the
confusion of last year may be overcome, and permanent,
peaceful and friendly relations between Germany and China
may exist as before, will be realized to the benefit of both
peoples and the whole of civilized humanity. In the sincere
wish that it may be so, I welcome your Imperial Highness."

The Emperor's other speeches referring to the Boxer movement at this
period have been adversely commented on as showing him in the light of
a cruel and blood-thirsty seeker after revenge. This is an unjust, at
least a hard, judgment. A passage in his address at Bremerhaven to the
expeditionary force when setting out for China is the main proof of
the charge - in which, after referring to the murder of von Ketteler,
he said:

"You know well you will have to fight with a cunning, brave,
well-armed, cruel foe. When you come to close quarters with
him remember - quarter ('Pardon' is the German word the
Emperor used) must not be given: prisoners must not be
taken: manage your weapons so that for a thousand years to
come no Chinaman will dare to look sideways at a German. Act
like men."

It is difficult, of course, to reconcile such an address with
Christian humanity practised, so far as humanity can be practised, in
modern war, but it should be remembered that the Emperor was speaking
in a state of great excitement, and that, according to Chancellor
Prince Bülow's statement in the Reichstag subsequently, confirmation
of the news of the murder of his Minister to China had only reached
the Emperor ten minutes before he delivered the speech.

There is one incident, however, though not a very important one, in
connexion with the troubles, which may fairly be made a matter of
reproach to the Emperor - the seizure, on his order, of the ancient
astronomical instruments at Pekin and their transference to Sans
Souci, in Potsdam, where they are to be seen to the present day. The
troops of all nations, it is known, looted freely at Pekin; but the
Emperor might have spared China and his own fair fame the indignity of
such public vandalism.

While writing of China it may not be superfluous to add that the
Emperor's foreign policy in the Orient cannot be expected to present
exactly the same features, or proceed quite along the same lines, as
his foreign policy in Europe. By far the greater part of Europe is now
as completely parcelled out and as permanently settled as though it
were a huge, well-managed estate. The capacities of its high roads,
its railways, its great rivers, with their commercial and strategic
values and relations are perfectly ascertained; and the knowledge, it
is not too much to say, is the common property of all important
Governments. It is not so, or not nearly to the same extent, in the
Orient. In Europe there is little or no difficulty in distinguishing
between enterprises that are political and those that are commercial,
or in recognizing where they are both; and if a difficulty should
arise it can be arranged by diplomatic conversations, by a conference
of the Powers interested, or in the last resort - short of war - by
arbitration. This is not so simple a matter in the Orient, where
conditions are at once old and new, where interests of possibly great
magnitude are as yet undetermined or unappropriated, where possibly
great mineral sources are undeveloped and the capacities of new
markets unascertained; where, in short, the decisive factors of the
problem are undiscovered, it may be unsuspected.

In such cases there is often no certain and readily recognizable line
of demarcation between the two kinds of enterprise; and an undertaking
that may present all the appearance of being a purely commercial
scheme, and be solemnly asseverated to be such by the Power or Powers
promoting it, may turn out on closer examination to be one of great
political significance and incalculable political consequence. Of such
enterprises two immediately spring to mind, the Cape to Cairo railway
and the Baghdad railway, not to mention a score of problematic
undertakings in other parts of Africa or Asia. It will be useful to
keep this general consideration in view when forming an opinion
regarding the Emperor's Oriental policy. That policy is, so far,
almost entirely commercial. Long ago wars used to be made for the sake
of religion, then for the sake of territory. Now they are made for the
sake of new markets.

Yet the Far East is changing with the change in conditions everywhere
in modern times, and it is evident that the premises for any
conclusion as to German foreign policy there may, at any given moment,
be subject to modification. Partly owing to the growth of Germany's
European influence, and to the increase in her navy which has helped
her to it, she is to be found of recent years playing a role in the
Far East which would have been unintelligible to the German of the
last generation. There are many Germans to-day, as in Bismarck's time,
who ridicule the notion that the possibilities of trade in Oriental
countries justify the national risk now run for it and the national
expenditure now made upon it; but it is sometimes forgotten that,
apart from the chance of obtaining concessions for the building of
railways, for the establishment of banks, for the leasing of mines and
working of cotton plantations, there is a large German export of
beads, cloth, and, in short, of hundreds of articles which appeal to
barbarian or only semi-civilized tastes.

Germany, too, looks hopefully forward to a future in which she will be
supplied with the raw material of her manufactures by her colonies, or
failing that by her subjects trading abroad in the colonies of other
nations. This is one of the main objects of her Weltpolitik. As Prince
von Bülow said: "The time has passed when the German left the earth to
one neighbour and the sea to another, while he reserved heaven, where
pure doctrines are enthroned, to himself;" and again: "We don't seek
to put anybody in the shade, but we demand our place in the sun;" and
the idea finds technical expression in the phrase on which Germany
lays so much stress, the "maintenance of the open door." Her policy in
the Far East, as in Europe, is thus on the whole a commercial one; she
seeks there as elsewhere new markets, not new territory. Accordingly
she supports the principle of the _status quo_ in China, and therefore
raised no objection to the Anglo-Japanese Agreement of 1902 which,
among other objects, secured it.

In January, 1901, the Emperor was called to England by the sudden,
and, as it was to prove, fatal illness of his grandmother, Queen
Victoria. His journey to Osborne, where he arrived just in time to be
recognized by the dying Queen, and his abandonment of the idea,
impressive and almost sacred to a Prussian King and the Prussian
people, of being present on his birthday, January 27th, at the
bicentenary celebration of the foundation of the Prussian Kingdom,
made a deep and sympathetic impression on the people of England.
Usually on State occasions the Emperor does not display a countenance
of good humour, or indeed of any sentiment save perhaps that of a
sense of dignity; but on the occasion in question, as he rode in the
uniform of a British Field-Marshal beside Edward VII, his looks were
those of genuine sorrow. Public sympathy was not lessened when it
became known that he had mentioned the pride he felt in being
privileged to wear the uniform of two such soldiers of renown as the
Duke of Wellington and Lord Roberts; and added that the privilege
would be highly estimated by the whole German army. It was a
chivalrous remark, the offspring of a chivalrous disposition.

The Emperor had hardly returned to Germany when, on February 6th, the
only attack ever made on his person occurred in Bremen. He had been at
a banquet in the town hall, and was being driven through the
illuminated streets to the railway station to return to Berlin, when a
half-witted locksmith's apprentice of nineteen, Dietrich Weiland by
name, flung a piece of railway iron at him with such good aim that it
struck him on the face immediately under the right eye, inflicting a
deep and nasty, but not dangerous wound. The Emperor proceeded with
his journey, the doctors attending to his injury in the train, and in
a few weeks he was well again. Weiland was sent to a criminal lunatic
asylum. The attempt had, apparently, nothing to do with Anarchism or
Nihilism or the Social Democracy. When the Emperor alluded to it
afterwards in his speech to the Diet, he referred it to a general
diminution of respect for authority.

"Respect for authority," he said to the Diet,

"is wanting. In this regard all classes of the population
are to blame. Particular interests are looked to, not the
general well-being of the folk. Criticism of the measures of
the Government and Throne takes the coarsest and most
injurious forms - and hence the errors and demoralization of
our youth. Parliament must help here, and a change must be
made, beginning with the schools."

It was natural enough that a few days after, addressing the Alexander
Regiment of Guards, who were taking up quarters in a new barracks near
the palace in Berlin, he should tell them the barracks were like a
citadel to the palace, and that, as a sort of imperial bodyguard, the
regiment "must be ready, day and night as once before" - he was
referring to the "March Days" - "to meet any attack by the citizens on
the Emperor."

At Bonn in April the Emperor attended the matriculation
(immatriculation, the Germans call it) of his eldest son, the Crown
Prince, at the university. He was in civil dress, one of the rare
public occasions during the reign when he has not been in uniform, but
this did not prevent him delivering a martial address to the
Borussians. "I hope and expect from the younger generation," he said
to the students,

"that they will put me in a position to maintain our German
Fatherland in its close and strong boundaries and in the
congeries of German races - doing to no one favour and to no
one harm. If, however, anyone should touch us too nearly,
then I will call upon you and I expect you won't leave your
Emperor sitting."

A great shout of "Bravo!" went up when the Emperor ceased, and the
students doubtless all thought what a fine thing it would be if he
would only lead them straightway against those cheeky Englanders.

At the end of June, on board the Hamburg-American pleasure-steamer
_Princess Victoria Luise_, the Emperor pronounced the famous
sentence - "Our future lies on the water." The year before he had said
something like it, and it is worth quoting as the Emperor's first
explicit allusion to Weltpolitik. "Strongly," he exclaimed,

"dashes the beat of ocean at the doors of our people and
compels it to preservation of its place in the world, in a
word, to Weltpolitik. The ocean is indispensable for
Germany's greatness. The ocean testifies that on it and far
beyond it no important decision will be taken without
Germany and the German Emperor."

His words on the present occasion were:

"My entire task for the future will be to see that the
undertakings of which the foundations have been laid may
develop quietly and surely. We have, though as yet without
the fleet as it should be, achieved our place in the sun. It
will now be my task to hold this place unquestioned, so that
its rays may act favourably on trade and industry and
agriculture at home inside, and on our sail-sports on the
coast - for our future lies on the water. The more Germans go
on the sea - whether travelling or in the service of the
State - the better. When the German has once learned to look
abroad and afar he will lose that 'hang' towards the petty,
the trivial, which now so often seizes him in daily life."

And he closed: "We must now go out in search of new spots where we can
drive in nails on which to hang our armour."

Early in August the Emperor was called to the death-bed of his mother,
the Empress Frederick, at her castle in Cronberg. She died on the
afternoon of her son's arrival, on August 5th. The Emperor ordered
mourning throughout the Empire for six weeks, and forbade all "public
music, entertainments, theatrical or otherwise" until after the
funeral. The Empress was buried in the mausoleum attached to the
Friedenskirche in Potsdam on the 13th of the month.

The delivery of a famous speech on art by the Emperor in December
brings the chronicle of 1901 to a close, but perhaps it will not
displease the reader if a new chapter is opened for the purpose of
quoting it and of considering the Emperor in what is a traditional
Hohenzollern relationship.




X.



THE EMPEROR AND THE ARTS

Art is a favourite subject of conversation on the Continent, where it
is more popularly discussed than in England and where authorities of
all kinds are more alive to its educative capabilities. It is
eminently "safe" ground, does not savour of gossip, and no one need
leave the field of discussion with the feeling that he has been driven
from it. Hence it is the salvation of diplomatists who are
apprehensive of committing their Governments or themselves when mixing
in general society, and it doubtless does good service for the Emperor
also upon occasion. Indeed it is a topic on which he speaks willingly
and well.

Unfortunately for precision of thought and speech, though useful for
the man in the street, the word "art" has been pressed into the
service of metaphor more than almost any other word in language. We
are told in turn that everything is an art - hair-dressing,
salad-dressing (a different kind), lying, flying, dying. The Germans
are trying to make an art of life. Whistler wrote about the "Gentle
Art of Making Enemies." One hears of "artful hussies" and "artful
dodgers." People are described as "artful" in the small diplomacies of
intercourse. Jugglers, acrobats, sword-swallowers, "supers" at the
theatre, the men who play the elephant in the pantomime would all be
mortified if they were not addressed as "artists," In short,
everything may be called an art.

But what, truly, is art? The question is as hard to answer
satisfactorily as the questions what is truth or what is beauty? The
notion "art" usually occurs to the mind as contrasted with the notion
"nature"; the word is derived from the Sanskrit root _ar_, to plough,
to make, to do; and accordingly art may be taken to be something made
by man, as contrasted with something made, or grown, or given by God.
How art came into existence it is of course impossible to do more than
conjecture. The necessities of primitive man may have stimulated his
inventive powers into originating and developing the useful arts for
his physical comfort and convenience; and his desire for recreation
after labour, or the mere ennui of idleness, may have urged the same
powers into originating and developing the fine and plastic arts for
the entertainment of his mind. Or, lastly, if no better reason can be
found, and though Sir Joshua Reynolds laid it down that all models of
perfection in art must be sought for on the earth, it may be that
seeing and feeling instinctively the glory and beauty of the Creation,
mankind began gradually, as its intelligence improved, to burn with a
longing to imitate, reproduce, and represent them.

However art arose, it seems true to say, as a German writer has well
said, that when a work of art, whether a poem or a picture or a
statue, causes in us the thought that so, and in no other way, would
we ourselves have expressed the idea, had we the talent, then we may
conclude that true art is speaking to us, whatever the idea to be
expressed may be. Everything demands thought, but our thoughts are an
unruly folk, which never keep long on the same straight road, and love
to wander off to left and right, here finding something new and there
throwing away something old. The artist, when he conceives a plan, has
to fight with the host of his thoughts and find a way through them.
They often threaten to divert him from it, but on the other hand they
often lead him to his goal by novel paths along which he finds much
that is new and valuable.

This is a doctrine that, sensible though it is, would hardly be
subscribed to by the Emperor, to whom no new movement in art strongly
appeals, and who thinks that such movements, unless founded on the old
classical school, the Greek and Roman school of beauty, ought, in the
public interest, to be discouraged. However, let him speak for
himself. He set forth his art creed in a speech which he delivered on
December 18, 1901, to the sculptors who had executed the Hohenzollern
statues in the famous Siegesallée at Berlin, and which ran
substantially as follows: -

"I gladly seize the occasion, first of all, to express my
congratulations and then my thanks for the manner in which
you have assisted me to carry out my original plan. The
preparation of the plan for the Siegesallée has occupied
many years, and the learned historiographer of my House,
Professor Dr. Poser, is the man who put me in a position to
set the artists clear and intelligible tasks. Once the
historic basis was found the work could be proceeded with,
and when the personalities of the princes were established
it was possible to ascertain those who had been their most
important helpers. In this manner the groups originated and,
to a certain extent, conditioned by their history, the forms
of them came into existence.

"The next most difficult question was - Was it possible, as I
hoped it was, to find in Berlin so many artists as would be
able to work together harmoniously to realize the programme?

"As I came to consider the question, I had in view to show
the world that the most favourable condition for the
successful achievement of the work was not the appointment
of an art commission and the establishment of prize
competitions, but that in accord with ancient custom, as in
the classical period, and later during the Middle Ages, was
the case, it lay in the direct intercourse of the employer
with the artists.

"I am therefore especially obliged to Professor Reinhold
Begas for having assured me, when I applied to him, that
there was absolutely no doubt there could be found in Berlin
a sufficiency of artists to carry out the idea; and with his
help, and in consequence of the acquaintances I have made by
visiting exhibitions and studios in Berlin, I succeeded in
getting together a staff, the majority of whom I see around
me, with whom to approach the task.

"I think you will not refuse me the testimony that, in



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