Stanley Shaw.

William of Germany online

. (page 22 of 31)
Online LibraryStanley ShawWilliam of Germany → online text (page 22 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

founded on God and our Saviour. As He is the most impressive
personality which has left its illuminating traces on the
earth up to the present time, which finds an echo in the
hearts of mankind and impels them to imitate it, so may your
career imitate His, and thus will you also fulfil the laws
and follow the traditions of our House.

"May your home be a happy one and an example for the younger
generation, in accordance with the fine sentence which William
the Great once wrote down as his confession of faith; 'My powers
belong to the world and my country.' Accept my blessing for your
lives. I drink to the health of the young married couple."

The record of this memorable year may be closed with mention of an
institution which is not only a special care of the Emperor's, but is
also a landmark in the relation of Germany and America which may prove
to be the forerunner, if it has not already done so, of similar
interchange of ideas and information between nations which only
require mutually to understand each other in order to be the best of

The system of an annual exchange of professors between America and
Germany was suggested, it is believed, to the Emperor in this year by
Herr Althoff, the Prussian Minister of Education. The Emperor took up
the idea with enthusiasm, and after discussing it with Dr. Nicholas
Murray Butler, President of Columbia University, who was invited to
Wilhelmshohe for the purpose, had it finally elaborated by the
Prussian Ministry of Education which now superintends its working.

The original idea of an exchange only between Harvard and Berlin
University professors was, thanks to the liberality of an American
citizen, Mr. Speyer, extended almost simultaneously by the
establishment of what are known as "Roosevelt" professorships. The
holders of these positions, unlike the original "exchange" professors
between Harvard and Berlin only, may be chosen by the trustees of
Columbia University from any American university and can exchange
duties for two terms, instead of one in the place of the exchange
professors, with the professors of any German University. Harvard
professors have been succesively: Francis G. Peabody, Theodore W.
Richards, William H. Scofield, William M. Davis, George F. Moore, H.
Munsterberg, Theobald Smith, Charles S. Minog; and Roosevelt
professors: J.W. Burgess, Arthur T. Hadley, Felix Adler, Benj. Ide
Wheeler, C. Alphonso Smith, Paul S. Reinsch, and William H. Sloane.

Writing to the German Ambassador in Washington, Baron Speck von
Sternburg, in November, 1905, the Emperor said:

"Express my fullest sympathy with the movement regarding the
exchange of professors. We are very well satisfied with
Professor Peabody, the first exchange professor, and
thankful to have him. He comes to me in my house, an
honourable and welcome guest. My hearty thanks also to Mr.
Speyer, for his fine gift for the erection of a
professorship in Berlin. The exchange of the learned is the
best means for both nations to know the inner nature of each
other, and from thence spring mutual respect and love, which
are securities for peace."

The idea of the exchange, as described by Professor John W. Burgess,
of Columbia University, the first Roosevelt professor to Germany, is

"an exchange of educators which has for its purpose the
bringing of the men of learning of one country into other
countries and by a comparison of fundamental ideas to arrive
at a world-philosophy and a world-morality upon which the
world's peace and the world's civilization may finally and
firmly rest."

The conception of a world-philosophy and a world-morality upon which
the world's peace and civilization may rest is not new, being now a
little over 1900 years old, and, moreover, educators and men of
science in all countries are constantly exchanging ideas by personal
visits, correspondence, and publications; but in any case, the
Emperor's exchange system has the advantage that it brings the
educators into touch with large numbers of the rising generation in
America and Germany and undoubtedly helps towards a better mutual
understanding of the relations, and in especial the economic
relations, of the two countries.

It has worked well, and the Emperor has encouraged it by showing
constant hospitality to the American professors who have come to
Berlin since the system was instituted. One or two episodes have given
rise to a diplomatic question as to whether or not exchange professors
and their wives have the privilege of being presented at Court. The
question has practically been decided in the negative. This, however,
does not prevent the Emperor entertaining the professors at his
palace, or making the acquaintance of the professors' wives on other
than Court ceremonious occasions.




In the domestic life of the Emperor during these years fall two or
three events of more than ordinary interest. From the dynastic point
of view was of importance the birth of a son and heir to the Crown
Prince in the Marble Palace at Potsdam.

The Emperor was at sea, on his annual northern trip, when the birth
occurred. As the ship approached Bergen the town was seen to be gaily
decorated with flags. As it happened, everybody on board knew of the
birth except the Emperor, but none of the officers round him ventured
to congratulate him, because they supposed he knew of it already and
were waiting for him to refer to it. At Bergen the German Minister,
Stuebel, and German Consul, Mohr, came on board. The Minister, being a
diplomatist, said nothing, but the Consul, as Consuls will, spoke his
mind and ventured his congratulations. "What? I am a grandfather!"
exclaimed the Emperor. "Why, that's splendid! and I knew nothing about
it!" The captain of the ship then asked should he fire the salute of
twenty-one guns usual on such occasions. "No," said the Emperor, "that
won't do. Mohr is a great talker. Let us first see the official
despatches from Berlin." The party, including the Emperor, went down
into the cabin to await the despatches, which were being brought from

On their arrival a basketful of State papers was placed before the
Emperor. The first one he took out was a telegram from the Sultan of
Turkey with congratulations (great merriment); the second from an
unknown lady in Berlin, with a name corresponding to the English
"Brown," with four lines of congratulatory poetry; and it was not
until more than a hundred despatches had been opened that they came to
one from the Minister of the Interior and another from the Empress
announcing the birth. Popular reports at the time represented the
Emperor as boiling over with anger at his being kept or left in
ignorance of the happy event. As a matter of fact, he was in high
good-humour, and himself mentioned a similar occurrence at Metz in
1870, when an important movement of the French army was not reported
because it was assumed that it was already known to the Intelligence
Department. As a public sign of his satisfaction he amnestied the
half-dozen of his subjects who happened to be in gaol as punishment
for _lèse majesté_.

Another domestic event at this time was the celebration by the Emperor
and Empress of their silver wedding. Berlin, of course, was
illuminated and beflagged. There was a great gathering of royal
relatives, a State banquet, and a special parade of troops. At the
latter were remarkable for their huge proportions two former
grenadiers of the regiment of Guards the Emperor commanded in his
youth. They were now settled in America, but came over to Germany on
the Emperor's particular invitation and, of course, at his private

The last item of domestic interest this year (1906) worth record was
the marriage of Prince Eitel Frederick, the Emperor's second son, with
Princess Sophie Charlotte of Oldenburg. In his speech to the bridal
pair on their wedding-day the Emperor referred to the personal
likeness the young Prince bore to his great-grandfather, Emperor
William, and expressed the hope that the Prince might grow more like
him in character from year to year.

Meantime the Emperor had to pass through a season of great annoyance
owing to the scandal which arose in connection with the so-called
"Camarilla." The existence of a small and secret group of viciously
minded men among the Emperor's entourage was disclosed to the public
by the well-known pamphleteer, Maximilian Harden, a Jew by birth named
Witowski, who as a younger man had been on semi-confidential terms
with Prince Bismarck and subsequently with Foreign Secretary von
Holstein. As a result of Harden's disclosures some highly placed
friends of the Emperor were compromised and had ultimately to
disappear from public life as well as from the Court. It was perfectly
evident throughout that the Emperor had been totally ignorant of the
private character of the men forming the "Camarilla," and nothing was
proved to show that the group which formed it had ever unduly, or
indeed in any fashion, influenced him.

An allusion made to the scandal by a deputy in the Reichstag brought
the Chancellor, Prince von Bülow, to his feet in defence of the
monarch. "The view," he said,

"that the monarch in Germany should not have his own
opinions as to State and Government, and should only think
what his Ministers desire him to think, is contrary to
German State law and contrary to the will of the German

("Quite right," on the Right). "The German people," continued the

"want no shadow-king, but an Emperor of flesh and blood. The
conduct and statements of a strong personality like the
Emperor's are not tantamount to a breach of the
Constitution. Can you tell me a single case in which the
Emperor has acted contrary to the Constitution?"

The Chancellor concluded:

"As to a Camarilla - Camarilla is no German word. It is a
hateful, foreign, poisonous plant which no one has ever
tried to introduce into Germany without doing great injury
to the people and to the Prince. Our Emperor is a man of far
too upright a character and much too clear-headed to seek
counsel in political things from any other quarter than his
appointed advisers and his own sense of duty."

The Camarilla scandal was all the more painful as it was made a ground
for insinuations disgraceful to German officers as a body. Such
insinuations were, as they would be to-day, entirely unfounded.

Another thing that annoyed the Emperor this year was the publication
of ex-Chancellor Prince Hohenlohe's Memoirs. The publication drew from
him a telegram to a son of the ex-Chancellor in which he expressed his
"astonishment and indignation" at the publication of confidential
private conversations between him and Prince Hohenlohe regarding
Prince Bismarck's dismissal. "I must stigmatize," the Emperor

"such conduct as in the last degree tactless, indiscreet,
and entirely inopportune. It is a thing unheard-of that
occurrences relating to a sovereign reigning at the time
should be published without his permission."

Germans as a people are passionately fond of dancing, and though
everybody knows that the people of Vienna bear away the palm in this
respect, claim to be the best waltzers in the world. The Emperor,
accordingly, won great popularity among the dancers of his realm this
year by lending a favourable ear to the sighing of the young ladies of
the provincial town of Crefeld for a regiment which would provide them
with a supply of dancing partners. The Emperor took occasion to visit
the town, and brought with him a regiment of the Guards from
Düsseldorf to form part of the new garrison. He was received by the
city authorities, and was at the same time, doubtless, greeted from
balcony and window by multitudes of fair-haired Crefeld maidens, who
looked with delightful anticipations on the gallant soldiers, who were
to relieve the tedium of their evenings, riding by. "To-day," the
Emperor told the assembled city fathers, "I have kept my word to the
town of Crefeld, and when I make a promise I keep it too (stormy
applause). I have brought the town its garrison and the young ladies
their dancers." The "stormy applause" was again renewed - amid, one may
imagine, the enthusiastic waving of pocket-handkerchiefs from the
windows and the balconies.

The salient feature of foreign politics just now was, naturally, the
close on March 31st of the Conference of Algeciras. Its results have
been referred to in the chapter on Morocco, and mention need only be
made here of the famous telegram regarding it sent by the Emperor on
April 12th of this year (1906) to the Foreign Minister of Austria,
Count Goluchowski. "A capital example of good faith among allies!" he
telegraphed to the Count, meaning Austria's support of Germany at
Algeciras. "You showed yourself a brilliant second in the tourney, and
can reckon on the like service from me on a similar occasion."

Internal affairs, and particularly the parliamentary situation in
Germany, had during the three or four years before that of the
"November Storm" demanded a good deal of the Emperor's attention. The
everlasting fight with the rebel angels of the Hohenzollern heaven,
the Social Democracy, had been going on all through the reign. Now the
Emperor would fulminate against it, now his Chancellor, Prince von
Bülow, would attack it with brilliant ability and sarcasm in
Parliament. Still the Social Democratic movement grew, still the
_Vorwärts_, the party organ, continued to rail at industrial
capitalists and the large landowners alike, still Herr Lucifer-Bebel
bitterly assailed every measure of the Government. The fact seems to
be that the people were getting restive under the imperial burdens the
Emperor's world-policy entailed. The cost of living, partly as a
result of the new German tariff, with maximum and minimum duties,
which now replaced the Caprivi commercial treaties, was steadily
rising. The Morocco episode had ended without territorial gain, if
with no loss of national honour or prestige. The Poles were
antagonized afresh by a stricter application of the Settlement Law for
Germanizing Prussian Poland. Colonial troubles in South-west Africa
with Herero and other recalcitrant tribes were making heavy demands on
the Treasury.

The parliamentary situation was, as usual, at the mercy of the Centrum
party, which, with its hundred or more members, can always make a
majority by combining with Liberal parties of the Left (including the
Socialists) or Conservative parties of the Right. In December, 1906,
when the Budget was laid before Parliament, it was found to contain a
demand for about £1,500,000 for the troops in South-west Africa. The
Centrum refused to grant more than £1,000,000, and required, moreover,
an undertaking that the number of troops in the colony should be
reduced. The Social Democrats, with a number of Progressives and other
Left parties sufficient to form a majority, joined the Centrum, and
the Government demand was rejected by 177 to 168 votes. On the result
of the voting being declared, Chancellor von Bülow solemnly rose and
drew a paper from his pocket. It was an order from the Emperor
dissolving Parliament.

The general elections were to be held in January following, and great
efforts were made by the Emperor and Chancellor to secure a Government
majority against the combined Centrists and Socialists. The country
was appealed to to say whether Germany should lose her African
colonies or not; a patriotic response was made, and, though the
Centrum, as always, came back to Parliament in undiminished strength,
the Socialists lost one-half of their eighty seats.

The Emperor, needless to say, was tremendously gratified. On the night
the final results were announced he gave a large dinner-party at the
Palace, and read out to the Royal Family and his guests the bulletins
as they came in. Towards one o'clock in the morning the official
totals were known. The streets were knee-deep in snow, but the people
were not deterred from making a demonstration in their thousands
before the palace. By and by lights were seen moving hurriedly to and
fro along the first floor containing the Emperor's apartments. A
general illumination of the suite of rooms followed, a window was
thrown up, and the Emperor, bare-headed, was seen in the opening.
Instantly complete stillness fell on the vast square, and the Emperor,
leaning far out over the balcony, and evidently much excited, spoke in
stentorian tones and with a dramatic waving of his right arm as
follows: "Gentlemen!" - the "gentlemen" included half the hooligans of
Berlin, but such are the accidents of political life -

"Gentlemen! This fine ovation springs from the feeling that
you are proud of having done your duty by your country. In
the words of our great Chancellor (Bismarck), who said that
if the Germans were once put in the saddle they would soon
learn to ride, you can ride and you will ride, and ride
down, any one who opposes us, especially when all classes
and creeds stand fast together. Do not let this hour of
triumph pass as a moment of patriotic enthusiasm, but keep
to the road on which you have started."

The speech closed with a verse from Kleist's "Prince von Homburg," a
favourite monarchist drama of the Emperor's, conveying the idea that
good Hohenzollern rule had knocked bad Social-Democratic agitation
into a cocked hat.

The result of the elections enabled the Chancellor to form a new
"bloc" party in Parliament, consisting of conservatives and Liberals,
on whose united aid he could rely in promoting national measures. As
the Chancellor said, he did not expect Conservatives to turn into
Liberals and Liberals into Conservatives overnight nor did he expect
the two parties to vote solid on matters of secondary interest and
importance; but he expected them to support the Government on
questions that concerned the welfare of the whole Empire.

Before 1907, the year we have now reached, Franco-German and
Anglo-German relations had long varied from cool to stormy. They had
not for many years been at "set-fair," nor have they apparently
reached that halcyon stage as yet. During the Moroccan troubles it was
generally believed that on two or three occasions war was imminent
either between France and Germany or between Germany and England. That
there was such a danger at the time of M. Delcassé's retirement from
the conduct of French foreign affairs just previous to the Algeciras
Conference is a matter of general conviction in all countries; but
there is no publicly known evidence that danger of war between England
and Germany has been acute at any time of recent years. Nor at any
time of recent years has the bulk of the people in either country
really desired or intended war. There has been international
exasperation, sometimes amounting to hostility, continuously; but it
was largely due to Chauvinism on both sides, and was in great measure
counteracted by the efforts of public-spirited bodies and men in both
countries, by international visits of amity and goodwill, and by the
determination of both the English and German Governments not to go to
war without good and sufficient cause.

Among the most striking testimonies to this determination was the
visit of the Emperor to England in November, 1907.

The visit was made expressly an affair of State. The Emperor was
accompanied by the Empress, and the visit became a pageant and a
demonstration - a pageant in respect of the national honours paid to
the imperial guests and a demonstration of national regard and respect
for them as friends of England. Nothing could have been simpler, or
more tactful or more sincere than the utterances, private as well as
public, of the Emperor throughout his stay. His very first speech, the
few words he addressed to the Mayor of Windsor, displayed all three
qualities. "It seems to me," he said, "like a home-coming when I enter
Windsor. I am always pleased to be here." At the Guildhall
subsequently, referring to the two nations, he used, and not for the
first time, the phrase "Blood is thicker than water."

At the Guildhall, on this occasion, the Emperor reminded his hearers
that he was a freeman of the City of London, having been the recipient
of that honour from the hands of Lord Mayor Sir Joseph Savory on his
accession visit to London in 1891. He then referred to the visit of
the Lord Mayor, Sir William Treloar, to Berlin the year previous, and
promised a similar hearty welcome to any deputation from the City of
London to his capital. "In this place sixteen years ago," continued
the Emperor,

"I said that all my efforts would be directed to the
preservation of peace. History will do me the justice of
recognizing that I have unfalteringly pursued this aim. The
main support, however, and the foundation of the world's
peace is the maintenance of good relations between our two
countries. I will, in future also, do all I can to
strengthen them, and the wishes of my people are at one with
my own in this."

The procession that followed upon the visit to the Guildhall made a
special impression on the Emperor. "I was so close to the people," he
said afterwards,

"who were assembled in hundreds of thousands, that I could
look straight into their eyes, and from the expression on
their faces I could see that their reception of the Empress
and myself was no artificial welcome but an out-and-out
sincere one. That stirred us deeply and gave us great
satisfaction. The Empress and I will take back with us
recollections of London and England we shall never forget."

While at Windsor the Emperor received a deputation of sixteen members
of Oxford University, headed by Lord Curzon, who came to present him
with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws voted him by the University
while he was still on his way to England. It was a picturesque scene:
the members of the University in their academic robes were surrounded
by a brilliant company representing the intellect of the country; and
the Emperor, with the doctor's hood over his field-marshal's uniform,
was the cynosure of all eyes.

The Emperor's reply to Lord Curzon's address, highly complimentary to
the University though it was, was perhaps chiefly remarkable for the
expression of his expectations from the Rhodes' Scholarship
foundation. "The gift of your great fellow-countryman, Cecil Rhodes,"
he said,

"affords an opportunity to students, not only from the
British colonies, but also from Germany and the United
States, to obtain the benefits of an Oxford education. The
opportunity afforded to young Germans during their period of
study to mix with young Englishmen is one of the most
satisfactory results of Rhodes's far-seeing mind. Under the
auspices of the Oxford _alma mater_, the young students will
have an opportunity of studying the character and qualities
of the respective nations, of fostering by this means the
spirit of good comradeship, and creating an atmosphere of
mutual respect and friendship between the two countries."

The Emperor had always admired the Colossus of South Africa,
discerning in him no doubt many of those attributes which he felt
existed in himself or which he would like to think existed; and the
admiration stood the test of personal acquaintance when Cecil Rhodes
visited Berlin in March, 1899, in connexion with his scheme for the
Cape to Cairo railway. It does not sound very complimentary to his own
subjects, the "salt of the earth," but it is on record that the
Emperor then said to Rhodes that he wished "he had more men like him."
At the close of the visit the Empress returned to Germany, while the
Emperor took a much needed rest-cure for three weeks at Highcliffe
Castle, a country mansion in Hampshire he rented for the purpose from
its owner, Colonel Stuart-Wortley.

In the course of this work, it may have been noticed, no particular
attention has been devoted to the Emperor in his military capacity.
The reason is, because it is taken for granted that all the world
knows the Emperor in his character as War Lord, that he is practically
never out of uniform, and that his care for the army is only
second - if it is second - to that for the stability and power of his

Online LibraryStanley ShawWilliam of Germany → online text (page 22 of 31)