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lieges of the House of Hohenzollern. By a natural association of ideas
we find him this year thinking much and deeply about religion; for,
though artists are not a species remarkable for the depth or orthodoxy
of their views on religious matters, art and religion are close
allies, and probably the greater the artist the more real religion he
will be found to have.

In this year, accordingly, the Emperor made his remarkable confession
of religious faith to his friend, Admiral Hollmann. He had just heard
a lecture by Professor Delitzsch on "Babel und Bibel," and as he
considered the Professor's views to some extent subversive of orthodox
Christian belief, he took the opportunity to tell his people his own
sentiments on the whole matter. In writing to Admiral Hollmann he
instructed him to make the "confession" as public as possible, and it
was published in the October number of the _Grenzboten_, a Saxon
monthly, sometimes used for official pronouncements. The Emperor's
letter to Admiral Hollmann contained what follows: -

"I distinguish between two different sorts of Revelation: a
current, to a certain extent historical, and a purely
religious, which was meant to prepare the way for the
appearance of the Messiah. As to the first, I should say
that I have not the slightest doubt that God eternally
revealed Himself to the race of mankind He created. He
breathed into man His breath, that is a portion of Himself,
a soul. With fatherly love and interest He followed the
development of humanity; in order to lead and encourage it
further He 'revealed' Himself, now in the person of this,
now of that great wise man, priest or king, whether pagan,
Jew or Christian. Hammurabi was one of these, Moses,
Abraham, Homer, Charlemagne, Luther, Shakespeare, Goethe,
Kant, Kaiser William the Great - these He selected and
honoured with His Grace, to achieve for their peoples,
according to His will, things noble and imperishable. How
often has not my grandfather explicitly declared that he was
an instrument in the hand of the Lord! The works of great
souls are the gifts of God to the people, that they may be
able to build further on them as models, that they may be
able to feel further through the confusion of the
undiscovered here below. Doubtless God has 'revealed'
Himself to different peoples in different ways according to
their situation and the degree of their civilization. Then
just as we are overborne most by the greatness and might of
the lovely nature of the Creation when we regard it, and as
we look are astonished at the greatness of God there
displayed, even so can we of a surety thankfully and
admiringly recognize, by whatever truly great or noble thing
a man or a people does, the revelation of God. His influence
acts on us and among us directly.

"The second sort of Revelation, the more religious sort, is
that which led up to the appearance of the Lord. From
Abraham onward it was introduced, slowly but foreseeingly,
all-wisely and all-knowingly, for otherwise humanity were
lost. And now commences the astonishing working of God's
Revelation. The race of Abraham and the peoples that sprang
from it regard, with an iron logic, as their holiest
possession, the belief in a God. They must worship and
cultivate Him. Broken up during the captivity in Egypt, the
separated parts were brought together again for the second
time by Moses, always striving to cling fast to monotheism.
It was the direct intervention of God that caused this
people to come to life again. And so it goes on through the
centuries till the Messiah, announced and foreshadowed by
the prophets and psalmists, at last appears, the greatest
Revelation of God to the world. Then he appeared in the Son
Himself; Christ is God; God in human form. He redeemed us,
He spurs us on, He allures us to follow Him, we feel His
fire burn in us, His sympathy strengthens us, His
displeasure annihilates us, but also His care saves us.
Confident of victory, building only on His word, we pass
through labour, scorn, suffering, misery and death, for in
His Word we have God's revealed Word, and He never lies.

"That is my view of the matter. The Word is especially for
us evangelicals made the essential thing by Luther, and as
good theologian surely Delitzsch must not forget that our
great Luther taught us to sing and believe - 'Thou shalt
suffer, let the Word stand.' To me it goes without saying
that the Old Testament contains a large number of fragments
of a purely human historical kind and not 'God's revealed
Word.' They are mere historical descriptions of events of
all sorts which occurred in the political, religious, moral,
and intellectual life of the people of Israel. For example,
the act of legislation on Sinai may be regarded as only
symbolically inspired by God, when Moses had recourse to the
revival of perhaps some old-time law (possibly the codex, an
offshoot of the codex of Hammurabi), to bring together and
to bind together institutions of His people which were
become shaky and incapable of resistance. Here the historian
can, from the spirit or the text, perhaps construct a
connexion with the Law of Hammurabi, the friend of Abraham,
and perhaps logically enough; but that would no way lessen
the importance of the fact that God suggested it to Moses
and in so far revealed Himself to the Israelite people.

"Consequently it is my idea that for the future our good
Professor would do well to avoid treating of religion as
such, on the other hand continue to describe unmolested
everything that connects the religion, manners, and custom
of the Babylonians with the Old Testament. On the whole, I
make the following deductions: -

"1. I believe in One God.

"2. We humans need, in order to teach Him, a Form,
especially for our children.

"3. This Form has been to the present time the Old Testament
in its existing tradition. This Form will certainly
decidedly alter considerably with the discovery of
inscriptions and excavations; there is nothing harmful in
that, it is even no harm if the nimbus of the Chosen People
loses much thereby. The kernel and substance remain always
the same - God, namely, and His work.

"Never was religion a result of science, but a gushing out
of the heart and being of mankind, springing from its
intercourse with God."

It is anticipating by a few months, but part of a speech the Emperor
made in Potsdam at the confirmation of his two sons, August Wilhelm
and Oscar - two Hohenzollerns as yet not distinguished for anything in
particular - may be quoted in this connexion. Naturally he began by
comparing his sons' spiritual situation with that of a soldier on the
day he takes the oath of allegiance: they were _vorgemerkt_, that is,
predestined as "fighters for Christ." "What is demanded of you," the
imperial father went on, "is that you shall be personalities. This is
the point which, in my opinion, is the most important for the
Christian in daily life. For there can be no doubt that we can say of
the person of the Lord, that He is the most 'personal personality' who
has ever wandered among the sons of men.... You will read of many
great men - savants, statesmen, kings and princes, of poets also: but
nevertheless no word of man has ever been uttered worthy of comparison
with the words of Christ; and I say this to you so that you may be in
a position to bear it out when you are in the midst of life's turmoil
and hear people discussing religion, especially the personality of
Christ. No word of man has ever succeeded in making people of all
races and all people enthusiastic for the same cause, namely, to
imitate Him, even to sacrifice their lives for Him. The wonder can
only be explained by assuming that what He said were the words of the
living God, which are the source of life, and continue to live
thousands of years after the words of the wise have been forgotten.
That is my personal experience and it will be yours.

"The pivot and turning-point," he continued,

"of our mortal life, especially of a life full of
responsibility and labour - that is clearer and clearer to me
every year I live - lies simply and solely in the attitude a
man adopts towards his Lord and Saviour;"

and he concludes by exhorting his sons to disregard what people may
say about the cult of Christ being irreconcilable with the tasks and
responsibilities of "modern" life, but simply to do their best,
whatever their occupation, to become a personality after Christ's
example.

This is a sound and just statement of Christian faith, and it is
quoted here to justify the view that the Emperor's soldiers and his
Dreadnoughts, his mailed fist and shining armour, are built and put on
in the spirit of precaution and defence. The attitude, it cannot of
course be denied, is based on the un-Christlike assumption that all
men (and particularly all peoples and their governments and
diplomatists) are liars; but in his favour it may be urged that for
that saying the Emperor could cite Biblical authority. And yet there
is an inconsistency; for the saying is that of one of those same wise
men whose words, the Emperor admits, are transitory and mortal.

It is possible that the Emperor had a presentiment of some kind that
his life was now in danger, and that the presentiment may have attuned
his thoughts to meditation on Christ's life and teaching; for it is a
fact, well worthy of remark, that in the fear of death man's one and
only relief and consolation is the knowledge that there was, and is, a
mediator for him with his Creator. The address at his sons'
confirmation was delivered on October 17th, and on Sunday morning,
November 8th all the world, it is hardly too much to say, was
astonished and pained to learn, by a publication in the _Official
Gazette_, that the Emperor the day before had had to submit to a
serious operation on his throat. The announcement spoke of a polypus,
or fungoid growth, which had had to be removed; but all over the world
the conclusion was come to that the mortal affliction of the father
had fallen on the son and that the Emperor was a doomed man. Most
providentially and happily it was nothing of the sort. On the 9th the
Emperor was out of bed and signing official papers, on the 15th he was
allowed to talk in whispers, and on the 17th it was declared by the
physicians that all danger was over and that no more bulletins would
be issued. On December 14th the Emperor received a congratulatory
visit from the President of the Reichstag, who reported to Parliament
his impression that "the Emperor had completely recovered his old
vigour (great applause) and that his voice was again clear and
strong."

The Emperor had passed through what one may suppose to have been the
darkest hour of his life. He was naturally in high spirits, and a few
days after went to Hannover, where he made a martial speech in which
he toasted the German Legion for having "by its unforgettable heroism,
in conjunction with Blücher and his Prussians, saved the English army
from destruction at Waterloo," a view, of course, which to an
Englishman has all the charm of novelty.

One or two further memorable incidents of 1903 may be recorded.
Theodore Mommsen, the now aged historian of Rome, the greatest scholar
of his time, died in November. He was in his day a Liberal
parliamentarian of no mean ability; but for such men there is no
career in Germany. However, as it turned out, the German people's loss
proved to be all the world's gain. A son of the historian now
represents a district of Berlin in the Reichstag. Two years before the
historian's death an exchange of telegrams in Latin took place between
him and the Emperor. The occasion was the Emperor's laying the
foundation-stone of a museum on the plateau where the old Roman
castle, known as the Saalburg, stands. The Emperor telegraphed:

"Theodoro Mommseno, antiquitatum romanarum investigatori
incomparabili, praetorii Saalburgensis fundamenta jaciens
salutem dicit et gratias agit Guilelmus Germanorum
Imperator."

To which the historian, with a modesty equal to his courtesy, replied:
"Germanorum principi, tam majestate quam humanitate, gratias agit
antiquarius Lietzelburgensis."

Mention may also be made of a very characteristic speech of the
Emperor's this year at Cüstrin, where he was unveiling a monument to a
favourite Hohenzollern, the Great Elector. Cüstrin, it will be
remembered, is the town where Frederick the Great, another of the
Emperor's favourites, was imprisoned by an angry father, along with
his friend Lieutenant Katte, when Frederick was trying to escape the
parental cruelty and violence.

Referring to Frederick's declaration that he was the "first servant of
the State," the Emperor said: -

"He could only learn to be so by subordination, by
obedience, in a word by what we Prussians describe as
discipline. And this discipline must have its roots in the
King's house as in the house of the citizen, in the army as
among the people. Respect for authority, obedience to the
Crown, and obedience to parental and paternal
influence - that is the lesson the memories of to-day should
teach us. From these attributes spring those which we call
patriotism, namely the subordination of the individual ego,
of the individual subject, to the welfare of all. It is what
is particularly needed at the present time."

The Emperor was, of course, thinking of the Social Democrats. Having
finished his speech, he went and for a while stood thoughtfully at the
historic window of Cüstrin Castle, from which Frederick watched the
execution of his unfortunate companion, Katte.

Only the year 1904 separates us from the Emperor's Morocco adventure.
The economic ideas which have been referred to as the basis of German
foreign policy were germinating in his mind, and the plans for at
least a partial realization of them were working in his head.
Addressing the chief burgomaster of Karlsruhe in April, just a year
before he started for Tangier, he spoke of Weltpolitik. "You are
right," he told the burgomaster,

"in saying that the task of the German people is a hard
one.... I hope our peace will not be disturbed, and that the
events that are now happening will open our eyes, steel our
courage, and find us united, if it should be necessary for
us to intervene in world-policy."

The Emperor had, no doubt, specially in mind the birth of the
Anglo-French Entente and the war between Russia and Japan, both events
forming the dominant factors of the political situation at this time.
The Russo-Japanese War arose primarily from the unwillingness of
Russia to evacuate Manchuria after the Boxer troubles in China. The
incidents of the war are still fresh in public memory.

It need only be recalled here that Germany was neutral throughout the
conflict, that both President Roosevelt and the Emperor offered their
services as mediators in its course, and that on the capture of Port
Arthur by Admiral Nogi, in January, 1905, the Emperor telegraphed his
bestowal of the _Ordre pour le Mérile_ on General Stoessel, the
Russian defender of Port Arthur, and on Admiral Nogi.

In the troubled history of Anglo-German relations is to be recorded
the presence, in June of this year, of King Edward VII at Kiel with a
squadron of battleships to pay an official visit to his nephew. The
two fleets, those sunny days, formed a splendid spectacle - the two
mightiest police forces, the Emperor would probably agree in saying,
the world could produce. In fact, the Emperor had some such thought in
mind, for he addressed King Edward as follows: -

"Your Majesty has been welcomed by the thunder of the guns
of the German fleet. It is the youngest navy in the world
and an expression of the reviving sea-power of the new
German Empire, founded by the late great Emperor, designed
for the protection of the Empire's trade and territory, and
intended, equally with the German army, for the preservation
of peace."

One or two other incidents of interest in the Emperor's life may close
the record of this year. One of them was the arrival of the Italian
composer, Leoncavallo, in Berlin, to hand the Emperor the text of the
opera "Der Roland von Berlin," Leoncavallo had composed at the
Emperor's express request. Roland was a "strong, valiant and pious"
knight of Charlemagne's time - like the Emperor, let us say - who
originally hailed from Brittany - that lone and lovely Cinderella of
France - and afterwards, for some unexplained reason, came to be the
type of municipal independence in Germany.

During the summer the Emperor and the Empress made an excursion, when
on the Saalburg, to the statues of the Roman Emperors Hadrian and
Severus. Did the Emperor recall, one wonders, as he stood before the
figure of Hadrian, that pagan monarch's address to his soul: -

"Animula vagula, blandula,
Hospes, comesque corporis,
Quae nunc abibis in loca,
Pallidula, rigida, nudula,
Nee, ut soles, dabis jocos?"

It sounds a little gloomy as a quotation, but, fortunately for Germany
and the Emperor, for "nunc" can be put, _pace_ the poet, the
indefinite, yet all too definite, "aliquando."




XII.



MOROCCO



1905

The Emperor started for Tangier towards the end of March, but before
that he had got through imperial business of a miscellaneous kind
which exemplifies the life he leads practically at all times.

In January he had exchanged telegrams with the Czar and the Mikado
concerning his bestowal of the Order of Merit on Generals Stoessel and
Nogi, asking permission to bestow the Order and receiving expressions
of consent. Another telegram went to the composer Leoncavallo in
Naples, congratulating him on the success there of his "Roland von
Berlin." In February, the Emperor opened an international Automobile
Exhibition in Berlin, received Prince Charles, Infanta of Spain, and
the King of Bulgaria, unveiled a monument to his ancestor, Admiral
Coligny, who was killed in the Bartholomew massacre, listened to a
naval captain's lecture on Port Arthur, opened the new Lutheran
Cathedral (the "Dom") in Berlin, telegraphed thanks to the University
of Pennsylvania for its doctor's degree which the Emperor said he was
proud to know George Washington once held, attended a lecture by
Professor Delitzsch on "Assyria," and was present at a memorial
service for the painter Adolf von Menzel, who died this month. In
March he visited Heligoland, inspected the progress of some
alterations at the Royal Opera in Berlin, and sent the Gold Medal for
Science to Manuel Garcia, on the occasion of the latter's hundredth
birthday, as recognition of his invention of the laryngoscope, or
mirror for examining the throat.

Just before starting for Morocco the Emperor made the speech in which
he claimed that Germans are the "salt of the earth." In the same
speech he had previously declared that as the result of his reading of
history he meant never to strive after world-conquest. "For what," he
asked,

"has become of the so-called world-empires? Alexander the
Great, Napoleon the First, all the great warrior heroes swam
in blood and left behind them subjugated peoples, who at the
first opportunity rose and brought their empires to ruin.
The world-empire which I dream of will be, above all, the
newly established German Empire, enjoying on every side the
most absolute confidence as a peaceable, honest, and quiet
neighbour, not founded on conquest by the sword, but on the
mutual confidence of nations, striving for the same
objects."

While on the way to Morocco the Emperor put in at Lisbon to pay a
visit to the King of Portugal, and with the latter attended a meeting
of the Geographical Society. From Lisbon he went to Gibraltar, and
from thence, after a few hours' stay, he started for Tangier.

The Morocco incident, as it is often too lightly called, should rather
be regarded as a phase in the world's economic history and an
occurrence of moment for the future peace of all nations than the mere
game on the diplomatic chess-board many writers appear to consider it.
According to French critics, and they may be taken as representative
of the feeling everywhere prevalent during the seven years the
incident lasted, its origin was a matter of alliances and the balance
of power. Germany, according to these writers, wanted to preserve the
position of hegemony in Europe she had obtained under Bismarck, and
consequently felt annoyed by the Triple Entente, which robbed her of
her traditional friend Russia and set up an effective counterpoise to
the Triple Alliance of which Germany was the leading Power, and on
which she could, or believed she could, rely for support in case of
war with France. In going, therefore, to Tangier, at the moment when
her defeat by Japan rendered Russia for the time being of little or no
account in the considerations of diplomacy, the Emperor, according to
these writers, in reality was making a determined attempt to break the
Entente combination and protect his Empire from political isolation or
inferiority.

It is quite possible that such were the motives of the Emperor's
action, but if so he was building better than he knew. The
vicissitudes of the Moroccan episode are described briefly below, yet
some remarks of a general nature as to the whole episode considered in
its historical perspective may be permitted in advance. But first,
what is historical perspective? It may perhaps be defined as that view
of history which shows in its true proportions the relative importance
of an event to other events which strongly and permanently leave their
mark on the character and development of the period or generation in
which they occur. Regarded from this standpoint the Morocco incident
can claim an exceptional position, for it was the first occasion in
modern diplomatic history on which a Great Power officially proclaimed
_urbi et orbi_ the doctrine of the "open door," the doctrine of equal
economic treatment for all nations for the benefit of all nations, and
was willing to go to war in support of it.

It was not, of course, the first time the demand for the open door had
been made; loudly and bloodily, too; since most wars from those of
Greece and Rome to the war between Russia and Japan of recent years
were waged with the intention, or in the hope, of opening, by conquest
or contract, territory of the enemy to the mercantile enterprise of
the victors. But this was the open door in a very selfish and
restricted sense, and though many isolated events had occurred of late
years, the international agreements regarding China among them,
proving that the idea of the open door was gaining strength as a right
common to all nations, it was not until the Emperor went to Tangier
that a Great Power risked a great war in order to exemplify and
enforce it.

The Emperor and his advisers were probably not moved by any altruistic
sentiments in the matter, and their sole reason for action may have
been to see that German subjects should not be excluded from Moroccan
markets. It may also be that Germany was resolved that if there was to
be a seizure of Morocco she should get her share of the territory to
be distributed, notwithstanding her refusal, revealed by the late
Foreign Secretary, Kiderlen-Waechter, in the Reichstag's confidential
committee, to accede to Mr. Chamberlain's proposal, made some time
before the incident, for a partition of the Shereefian Empire. But the
acquisition of territory does not seem to have been the mainspring of
her policy, while from the beginning to the end of the incident,
however theatrical and questionable her diplomatic conduct may have
been at moments during the negotiations, she was throughout consistent
and successful in her demand for economic equality all round. This is
a great gain for the future, for, with the world nearly all parcelled
out, economic considerations, which are almost in all cases
adjustable, are now the most weighty factors in international
relations.




Online LibraryStanley ShawWilliam of Germany → online text (page 20 of 31)